Surnames W

 

Private 10369 Sidney Wade

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th June 1916, Aged 21.

Buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery, I. A. 34. 

 

Sidney Wade was born in Loughborough in 1895, the son of Joseph and Sarah Wade (née Ablett) who were married in Loughborough in 1891. Sidney's father was a bricklayer's labourer.

Sidney had five sisters Elizabeth, May, Dorothy, Elsie and Gertrude and one brother Charlie. In 1901 the Wade family lived at 14 Rectory Place, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 111 Burder Street. Sidney's parents later moved to 17 Wellington Street.

Sidney enlisted at Loughborough on 26 August 1914. He was nineteen years and five months old, his trade was the same as that of his father - a brickyard labourer and he gave his religion as Church of England. He joined 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 10369. He was sent to Bordon, Hampshire for training.

In April 1915 the 6th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July 1915 the Division began to cross the English Channel and by 2nd August all units were concentrated near Tilques not far from St.Omer in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

Sidney embarked for France on 29th July 1915. In September Sidney's battalion was sent to the area of Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras. The battalion remained in this area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until July 1916 and was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage.

Sidney was 21 when he was killed. Sergeant Moffat Ecob of the 6th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment wrote a letter to his parents describing the unfortunate deaths of Roland Austin, Frank Benskin, Bertie Newbold and Sidney Wade, all in the 6th Leicesters and all from Loughborough. Ecob had gone out to fetch a working party and on his return found that the dug-out at Saulty (13 miles south-west of Arras) where he had left his four friends had been hit by a shell, blowing it to pieces. All four men had been killed instantaneously.

Bertie is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Grave I. A. 34. He is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Memorial, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Sidney's only brother Charles also served in the Army but survived the war.

Rifleman C/361 David Noel Wain

 

16th Bn, King's Royal Rifle Corps.

Died of Wounds 20th July 1916, Aged 19.

Buried Albert Communal Cemetery, Somme, I. J. 8. 

(his Brother John Wain also fell see below) 

David Noel Wain was born in 1896 in Loughborough, the son of Thomas Potter Wain and Mary Lillian Wain (née Harker) who were married in Leicester in 1881. Thomas Wain, who was a domestic gardener, and his wife Mary had twelve children, but only ten survived to adulthood. David had four brothers Richard, Thomas, John and Ralph and five sisters Rose, Florence, Laura, Monica and Phyllis. In 1901 the family lived at 77 Oxford Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to Cambridge Villa, Chestnut Street. In 1911 David was an office boy for a builder but by 1914 he had secured employment at the Brush Works.

David was a member of St. Peter's Church Lads Brigade and when war broke out he enlisted at Leicester and joined the 16th (Service) Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps as Rifleman C/361. This battalion was formed at Denham, Buckinghamshire, from current and previous members of the Church Lads' Brigade and became known as the 'Churchman's Battalion'. In March 1915 the battalion moved to Rayleigh in Essex, but it returned to Denham in May. In July 1915 there was another move to Clipstone Camp near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, before further move in August to Perham Down in Salisbury Plain for final training and firing practice.

In November 1915 the Division received a warning order to prepare to sail for France. David landed at Le Havre on 17th November. From the Le Havre, his battalion moved first by train via Abbeville to Thienne on 19th November and then after a few days in Boesegham it marched to Annezin by the 30th November. Training continued while different parts of the battalion were given some trench familiarisation in rotation. Others were attached to the 180th Tunnelling Company RE as working parties for mining activities. They moved to St.Hilaire on the 12th December, where they remained until the 28th December. On 28th/29th December they moved to billets in Bethune.

From January 1916 until July the battalion did trench tours near Bethune. In the trenches shelling, sniping, trench mortar bombs, patrols and accidents took a steady toll and set the pattern for the coming months of warfare. Between trench tours there were periods on relief when training, working parties and organised activity never really stopped.

On the 8th July the battalion received orders to move by train from Lillers to Saleux. A series of marches took them to Bercodel-Bercourt by the 13th July and to Fricourt on 14th. They then moved forward to an assembly point west of Sabot, Orders were received for an attack on 15th July to take place on the enemy's line by High Wood in front of Martinpuich to be proceeded by an half hour artillery bombardment. The 16th KRRC were to be in the support position for this assault. It was a disastrous day for the battalion, when it was reduced to about half its strength or less. David died in the 57th Field Ambulance on 21st July, aged 19, from wounds received on 15th July.

David is buried in Albert Communal Cemetery, Grave I. J. 8.

David's brother John who served with the 4th Lincolnshire Regiment died of wounds in 1918.

 

Signaller 43770  John Arthur Wain

 

4th Bn, Lincolnshire Regiment.

Formerly 37742 Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 21st April 1918, Aged 19.

Buried Wimereux Communal Cemetery, XI.  E. 8. 

(his Brother David Noel Wain also fell see below) 

Mr & Mrs Wain of 1 Chestnut street have received a letter from a general hospital in France, stating that their son, Signaller John Arthur Wain, Lincolnshire regiment, died after admittance to the hospital, on April 21st. The letter adds that he was wounded on 18thApril in both legs, the left leg having been amputated, and the right was badly fractured. During the short time he was in hospital everything possible was done for him and he was very plucky. Signaller John A. Wain who enlisted in the Leicestershire Regiment in February 1917 and was transferred afterwards. He had been out in France only about two months at the time of his death. Prior to enlisting he was employed at Messrs I. And R. The parents received a letter of sympathy from the firm. He was also a chorister at St. Peters for about ten years.

Lance Corporal 11864 George Lawton Wainwright

 

Scots Guards

Died at Home 6th September 1920, Aged 27.

Buried Tamworth Cemetery, Staffordshire 7800. 

 

George was the son of George Alfred & Ruth Lilian Wainwright of 22 Boyer Street, Loughborough.

Private 7376 Ernest Wakefield

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 8th March 1916,  Aged 29.

Commemorated Basra Memorial panel 12. 

 

Ernest Wakefield was born in Bottesford, Leicestershire, on 28th August 1886. He was the son of Thomas Wakefield a garden labourer from Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, and Sarah Ann Wakefield (née Tinkler) from Muston, Leicestershire. Thomas and Sarah had married in 1883 in the Grantham district and they had three sons: John William, Ernest and Walter.

Ernest's father unfortunately died in 1889, aged 29, the same year in which Ernest joined his older brother John William at Muston Church of England School. By 1891 his widowed mother was earning her living as a charwoman and she and her three young sons, aged 7, 5 and 2, lived in Village Street, Muston, Leicestershire. In 1893, however, Ernest's mother was remarried to an ironstone miner William King and by 1899 the family had moved to Stathern Road, Eaton, Leicestershire. Ernest's mother had nine more children with William King: Joseph, Lily, John, Harold, Robert, Arthur, Sidney, Percy and Nellie, all half-siblings to Ernest.

In 1904 Ernest joined the Army, enlisting in Melton Mowbray. As Private 7376 he served for a year in England and then for seven years in India stationed in Madras, Belgaum, Delhi, Bareilly and Ranikhet with 'C' Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. While he was in India he joined the Army Temperance Association India (ATAI) and was awarded a Temperance Medal bearing the inscription 'Watch and Be Sober'.

After leaving the Army in 1912 Ernest joined the Leicestershire Constabulary. On 17th February 1912 he was best man at his brother Walter's wedding at the Church of St. Denys, Eaton, and not long afterwards on 10th April 1912 Ernest himself was married to Agnes Louisa Tinkler at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Muston. Ernest and Agnes set up home in Burder Street, Loughborough, where Ernest was now stationed as a police constable. The couple had two children, George Ernest and Agnes (who died aged 16).

Ernest was recalled to the Colours at the outbreak of war in 1914. He was sent with the 1st Leicesters to France, arriving at St. Nazaire from Southampton on the Braemar Castle on 10th September 1914. By 19th September Ernest's battalion had reached the Aisne where a fierce battle was in progress and the battalion was subjected to shelling and sniping. The battalion was then withdrawn via Cassel and Croix Blanche to the area of Bois Grenier, Rue du Bois and Le Quesne where the shelling and sniping continued.

Ernest was wounded at in December 1914 when his battalion had just taken over the front line trenches in the Armentières - Bois Grenier sector. He was brought to a hospital in Manchester and then, after being at home for a time returned to the Armentières sector of France in April 1915. His battalion was transferred to the Ypres Salient at the end of May. In June 1915 he was gassed at Ypres and was removed to a London hospital, returning home to convalesce. He was then stationed at Patrington, near Hull, as he was deemed not yet sufficiently fit to serve abroad.

On 8th January 1916 Ernest and his wife were witnesses at the wedding of his wife's brother Private Amos Tinkler (1/5th Leicestershire Regiment). Almost immediately after the wedding Ernest received orders to proceed to Mesopotamia. It was at this point that he rejoined his old battalion, the 2nd Leicesters.

Ernest arrived in Basra towards the middle of February and travelled up the Tigris to the area south of Kut-al-Amara. At the time a third attempt was being made to relieve the besieged British force at Kut, which had resulted in muted trench warfare as the flooding season approached. General Aylmer therefore devised a plan whereby his force would cross the Tigris for a straightforward attack on the Turk-held Dujaila Redoubt, at the extreme outer edge of Es Sinn. Originally scheduled to begin on 6th March the attack was postponed for two days because of heavy rainfall. General Kemball led the main advance on 8th March but the attack failed. The British forces suffered 3,500 casualties and Ernest was one of those killed in action, aged 29.

Ernest's family did not hear of his death until almost a month later, on April 5th. Ernest is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 12, as well as on memorials at St. John the Baptist Church and Churchyard, Muston, St. Denys Church and Memorial Hall, Eaton, the Leicestershire Constabulary Police Headquarters, St. Johns, Enderby, and on the Carillon War Memorial, Loughborough.

Ernest's widow Agnes subsequently took George John Stafford, another police constable from Loughborough who was separated from his wife, as her partner. By George John Stafford she had five more children, two sons John (who died in Egypt in 1952) and Aubrey and three daughters Georgina, Dorothy and Sylvia. The Stafford family lived at Hospital Cottage, Muston, Leicestershire.

Private 12393 John Waldron

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died 26th August 1916, Aged 50.

Buried Duisans British Cemetery, VII.C.41.            

 

 

John centre with wife & sons

John Waldron (or Waldrom or Waldram) was born in Shepshed in 1866 or 1867, the son of William Waldron (or Waldrom or Waldram) a framework knitter of cotton shirts and his wife Anne a hosiery seamer. He was baptised in Shepshed on 4th April 1867. He had two brothers Thomas and John and two sisters Kate and Anne. By the time he was 16, in 1881, he had left home, had become a framework knitter, and was lodging with the Thurman family in Forest Street, Shepshed. He married Eliza Smith in 1887 and the couple set up home in Charnwood Road, Shepshed. John and Eliza had fourteen children, thirteen of whom survived to adulthood. In 1911 the family was living in Leicester Road, Shepshed but at some point after 1916 moved to 17 Salmon Street, Loughborough.

John enlisted at the Drill Hall in Loughborough on 14th September 1914 and said that he was aged 34, when in fact he was aged 48. On 5th September he joined the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 12393. His two eldest sons also enlisted.

On enlistment John was sent to Aldershot, Hampshire, for training. In April 1915 the 7th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. While he was at Perham Down a rumour went round that his battalion would shortly be sailing for France. When all leave was cancelled John managed to escape and made his way to Shepshed for a quick visit to his wife and family. He was caught by the police, returned to Wiltshire under escort and fined three weeks' pay for misconduct and a further thirteen days pay for being absent without leave between 2nd and 14th July.

John went to France on 25th August 1915 where his battalion gathered with the 37th Division at Tilques, near St. Omer. In September the 7th Battalion was sent to the area of Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras. The battalion remained in this area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until April 1916 and was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage. When not in the trenches being subjected to enemy shelling the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April 1916 they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as preparing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois. Towards the end of May the battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area.

At the beginning of July the 7th Battalion moved on to the Somme. They were at Fricourt on 13th July and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on 14th July. After Bazentin the battalion moved north to the trenches near Arras, supposedly for post-battle recuperation.

On 29th August John was one of a working party detailed to excavate chalk pits near the village of Duisans west of Arras. When heavy showers interrupted their work John and two other men took shelter from the rain under a chalk outcrop. The overhang unfortunately collapsed on the three men and buried them in chalk rubble. Two of the men were rescued but John's neck was broken and he could not be saved. A verdict of accidental death was returned at the Court of Enquiry on 30th August. John was aged 50 when he died. He is buried in Duisans British Cemetery Grave VII. C. 41.

John is remembered on the Shepshed War Memorial (opposite Glenmore Park), on the memorial in St. Botolph's Church, Shepshed, and on the memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

His two sons survived the war.

Private 7079 Arthur Sampey Walker

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 7th November 1914,  Aged 42.

Commemorated Ploegsteert Memorial, panel 4.

 

Arthur was unmarried, he was a reservist, and up to the time of being called up, lived with his sister, Mrs Lindsay, Queens road, Loughborough and was employed on the Midland Railway. 

Private 241135 Arthur William Walker

 

1/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 17th October 1918,  Aged 20.

Commemorated Vis-En-Artois Memorial, panel 5.

 

Arthur was the son of Robert & Clara Emily Walker of 77 Russell Street, Loughborough. 

Private 240952 Cecil Walker

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 31st August 1917,  Aged 32.

Buried Philosophe British Cemetery I. V. 18. 

 

Cecil was the brother of Elizabeth Walker of 9 Park Road, Loughborough.
 

Private 10174 John Walker

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 17th July 1916,  Aged 40.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 2c & 3a.

 

John Walker was born in Radford, Nottinghamshire, in 1876, the son of Henry Walker, an iron moulder, and Charlotte Walker (née Cooper) who were married in Radford in 1869. John had four brothers William, George, Harry and Frank and one sister Gertrude. In 1881 the Walker family lived at 94 Gregory Gardens, Lenton, Nottingham. By 1891 they had moved to 18 Westbury Street, Derby, and John, aged 14, was now a lace maker.

In 1897 John married Alice Holmes, the daughter of a rural postman, in Loughborough. By 1901 John had abandoned lace making and had joined his brothers Harry and Frank who were bread bakers in Derby. John and his wife Alice and their three-year old son George were living with John's parents and family at 123 Parliament Street, Derby. A couple of years later John obtained a job as a baker working for Ambrose Webster master baker of Regent Street, Loughborough, and he and Alice moved to Loughborough with George. After John's father died in 1906 his mother moved to 127 Station Street, Loughborough with a grandson Wilson Walker. In 1911 John and his family were living at 9 Fennel Street.

John enlisted at Loughborough in September 1914. He joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, part of Kitchener's First New Army, as Private 10174. John was then sent to Bordon, near Aldershot, Hampshire where the emphasis was on individual training, squadron and platoon drill. In March 1915 the battalion went into billets in Liphook.

In April 1915 the 6th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July 1915 the Division began to cross the English Channel and by 2nd August all units were concentrated near Tilques not far from St.Omer in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. John embarked for France on 29th July 1915.

In September John's battalion moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line south-west of Arras. In the months that followed the 6th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 8th Leicesters who relieved them. The battalion was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage and remained in the area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until July 1916.

On 1st July 1916 the 6th Battalion moved from Saulty to Humbercamps, where it was held in reserve for the Somme Offensive which had just begun. On 6th July the battalion marched to Talmas to join the Army's 21st Division. From 7th to 10th July the battalion was in Hengest-sur-Somme, and from there on 10th marched to Ailly, entrained for Méricourt, took buses to Méaulte, and then proceeded to Fricourt. Between 14th and 17th July the battalion took part in an attack on and successfully captured Bazentin-le-Petit Wood and village. John was killed in action in this battle.

John is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 2C and 3A and on the memorial at All Saints Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Sergeant 29013 Wilson Walker

 

2nd Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

formerly 15819 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 4th January 1917,  Aged 24.

Buried Vermelles British Cemetery, V. E. 34..

 

Wilson Walker was born in Ripley, Derbyshire in 1892. He was said to be the grandson of Henry Walker, an iron moulder, and his wife Charlotte Walker. It is possible that Wilson was the son of Henry and Charlotte's eldest son George Walker, although this is unconfirmed. In 1901 Wilson's putative father George Walker was an iron founder and living at 17 Salmon Street, Loughborough, with his wife Frances Alice (née Banks) whom he had married in Derby in 1899. Nine year-old Wilson, meanwhile, was with his grandparents at 123 Parliament Street, Derby. After Henry Walker died in 1906 his widow Charlotte moved with her grandson Wilson to 127 Station Street, Loughborough to be near not only her son George but also her son John who now worked as a baker for Ambrose Webster of Regent Street, Loughborough.

By 1911 Wilson, aged 18, was working as a housepainter for John Warriner, decorator, of Pinfold Gate and in 1913 he married Lavinia Mary Unwin in Loughborough. Wilson and Lavinia soon had two children Edna and Kenneth. During the war Lavinia and the children stayed with Lavinia's parents Francis and Violetta Unwin who ran the Coopers Arms at 3 Barrow Street, Loughborough.

Wilson enlisted in November 1914 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 15819. He later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. Wilson's service record has not survived and his date of transfer to the Sherwood Foresters is unknown but a little of his war experience can be gleaned from a newspaper report of his death.

After preliminary training Wilson was sent to France on 19th March 1915. Between that date and May 1915 he was wounded in France and sent back to a hospital in Manchester to recover. Following this he was drafted to a training camp and set out to the Dardanelles where he was present at the evacuation of Gallipoli from 20th December 1915 until 9th January 1916. From there he went to Egypt, where he underwent an operation in hospital for appendicitis, and returning to England he was sent to hospital in Bristol. Seven weeks after his recovery he was in action on the Somme. At some point he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then Sergeant.

Shortly before Wilson died he had been at a bombing station in France, only returning to the 2nd Battalion on 24th December 1916. At this time the 2nd Battalion was in billets at Labourse, three miles south-east of Béthune, cleaning and refitting. On Christmas Day the men played football and attended church services. There was also a concert in the evening.

On 27th December the battalion returned to the trenches in the Quarries sector near Mazingarbe which were in very poor condition. There it was relatively quiet until the New Year. On New Year's Day 1917, however, the trenches were badly strafed by the enemy. Wilson Walker was killed, aged 24, on 4th January 1917:

"The news was received through two letters sent from the captain and lieutenant of his company, of the death of Sergt. W. Walker. He was shot through the shoulder and lung while on the parapet of the trench attending to his duties. Sergt. Walker's devotion to his duties rapidly gained for him his promotion after being transferred to the Sherwood Foresters and that his loss will be felt is shown in the letters received from his officers, regretting the occurrence. The Captain of his company says: 'He was walking on the top of the parapet inspecting the wires at the time when he was shot through the shoulder and lung, and died in a few minutes in an officer's arms. It is a great loss to me for he was one of my best sergeants and always did his job thoroughly, without any grumbling'."

Wilson was buried in Vermelles British Cemetery, Grave V. E. 34. He is remembered on the Holy Trinity Church Memorial, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

In the summer of 1919 Wilson's widow was remarried to Harry Smith in Loughborough and she and Harry had two daughters, Jean and Nora.
 

Private 15986 Percy Wall

 

1/6th Bn, South Staffordshire Regiment.

Died 8th November 1918,  Aged 30.

Buried Les Baraques Military Cemetery VI. E. 8A.

 

Percy was the son of William & Mary Ann Wall of Loughborough, Husband of Mrs Wall of Loughborough.

Private 16466 Frank Poole Ward

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 14th July 1916, Aged 28.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 2c & 3a.

 

Frank Poole Ward was born in Loughborough in 1887, the son of John Masters Ward and his wife Ann (née Poole) and baptised at St. Michael's Church, Sutton Bonington, on 18th September 1887. Frank's parents were married on 26th December 1877 at St. Michael's Church, Stockton, Warwickshire. Frank's father was a railway signalman. Frank was one of ten children; he had four brothers Charles, Walter, Cecil and Roland and five sisters Winifred, Beatrice, Mary, Bertha and Gertrude. In 1891 the family lived at Broad Street, Syston, but by 1901 had moved to Sandford Road, also in Syston. In 1901 Frank, aged 14, was employed in leather boot manufacture; ten years later in 1911 he had become a railway porter at Loughborough Station and was a member of the Loughborough Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Workers.

The exact date of Frank's enlistment at Loughborough is unknown but he joined the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 16466. On enlistment he would have been sent to Aldershot, Hampshire, for training. In April 1915 the 7th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill.

Frank went to France on 29th July 1915 where his battalion gathered with the 37th Division at Tilques, near St. Omer. In September the 7th Battalion was sent to the area of Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras. The battalion remained in this area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until April 1916 and was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage. When not in the trenches being subjected to enemy shelling the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April 1916 they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as preparing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois. Towards the end of May the battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area.

At the beginning of July the 7th Battalion moved to the Somme. They were at Fricourt on 13th July and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on 14th July. On 14th July Frank, aged 28, was killed in action.

Frank is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial 2C and 3A, and on the Syston War Memorial in Central Park, Barkby Road, Syston.

Private 16417 George Arthur Ward

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 29th June 1915,  Aged 27.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 33. 

 

George Arthur Ward was born in Loughborough in 1887, the oldest surviving child of George Joseph Ward, a coal waggoner, and his wife Ada (née Miller). George Arthur's parents were married in Loughborough either at the end of December 1883 or between January and March 1884. George Arthur had two younger sisters Alice and Ethel and a younger brother Frank; another sister Florence had died aged one. In 1891 the family lived at 6 Greenclose Lane, Loughborough, but by 1911 they had moved to 39 Granville Street, Loughborough. By 1911 George Arthur's father had become a gas stoker and George Arthur, aged 23, was a carter for a builder.

George Arthur enlisted at Loughborough around mid-December 1914 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private No. 16417. After an initial training period he was sent to France on 3rd May 1915 to join the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters. At the time the 1st Leicesters were part of the 16th Infantry Brigade of the 6th Division of the Army and were stationed near Armentières, resting after the continual fighting in critical days of autumn 1914. The 6th Division of the Army continued to hold a quiet but very extended front till the end of May, receiving a succession of units from new Divisions to serve their apprenticeship to trench warfare.

On the 27th May 1915 began the relief of the Division by the 27th Division, and on the following days it moved northwards to join the newly formed VI Corps.

On the night of the 31st May/1st June the Division took over its new front in the Ypres Salient, commencing its long tour in that difficult region, and trench casualties almost doubled immediately.

George Arthur Ward was killed in action on 29th June 1915, aged 27. He appears to have been a victim of trench warfare, like so many others of his generation.

Private 27885 Herbert William (Bert) Ward

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 2nd March 1917,  Aged 27.

Buried Vermelles British Cemetery, V. B. 42.

 

Herbert William Ward, known as 'Bert', was born in 1889 in Loughborough, the son of Ernest Cartwright Ward and Amelia Ward (née Barnett) who were married in 1888 in Cossington. Bert had a younger brother Alfred and a younger sister Clara. Bert's father was a hosiery machine builder and the Ward family lived in Loughborough - at 100 Freehold Street in 1891, 22 Station Street in 1901, and 44 Church Gate in 1911. Bert's mother died, aged 45, in 1911 and two years later Bert, who had trained as a joiner and carpenter with Messrs. William Corah and Sons, builders and contractors, married Mabel Florence Smith in Loughborough. Bert and Mabel set up home at 4 Baxter Gate, Loughborough, and their daughter Irene was born in late 1914.

Bert enlisted between March and April 1916 and joined the 9th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 27885. As his service record has not survived it is not known when he was sent to France, but it was possibly sometime in the summer or autumn of 1916.

On 1st July 1916 the 9th Leicesters were ordered to move into position at Souastre in readiness to reinforce the troops attacking at Gommecourt. No orders came, however, and the men marched back to Humbercamps. Training continued on the 4th and 5th July. On 6th and 7th July they marched via Talmas to Crouy and on 8th and 9th July they rested and were addressed by the Divisional Commander on the forthcoming battle. On 10th July they moved to Ailly-sur-Somme and then entrained for Méricourt before going by bus to bivouacs in Méaulte north-east of Amiens. They then took over as Quadrangle Trench and Quadrangle support. On 11th there was heavy shelling but no infantry attack. On 12th July the 9th battalion was relieved and moved back to Fricourt. On 14th July the battalion moved up to the south edge of Mametz Wood just as an intense bombardment of the German positions began, and on to Bazentin-Le-Petit Wood.

Finally relieved on 16th July the battalion, which had suffered heavy casualties, marched to Fricourt and on to Ribemont on the following day. On 18th July they entrained at Méricourt for Saleux. After nine days of marching and some motor lorry transit the battalion arrived at Arras on 27th July, where for all of August the battalion was in the trenches or resting in billets at Arras. After some days training and resting at the beginning of September the battalion marched to Frevent and entrained for 'Edgehill' station near Dernancourt. On 16th September the battalion moved to bivouac near Fricourt and after two days moved again to bivouac in front of Bernafay Wood.

On 24th September the battalion moved up to the assembly trenches in front of Gueudecourt in preparation for an attack on the following day and were heavily shelled in the process.

On 7th October they entrained at Pont Remy for Béthune and marched to Fouquières-lès-Béthune. On 10th October they marched to Sailly-la-Bourse and went into the support trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector where trench mortars from the enemy did considerable damage. Between 11th October and 15th December the battalion was either in the front line trenches, in the support line or in reserve.

On 15th December the battalion was ordered to move to the Montmorency Barracks in Béthune where they stayed until 20th December when they marched to billets in Raimbart. The battalion remained in Raimbart in training until 27th January 1917. On 28th January the battalion marched to Lillers and entrained for Proven, from where they marched to billets in Houdeque-Watou. Training ensued until 13th February when they returned by train to Béthune. On 15th February they were back in the trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector and subjected to heavy enemy artillery fire.

On March 2nd, during an enemy bombardment Bert was killed, aged 27. He was buried in Vermelles British Cemetery, Grave V. B. 42.
 

  

Private 241269 James Utting Ward

 

2/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 12th January 1918,  Aged 21.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 27/26.

 

James was the son of Mrs. L. O. Ward of 16 Duke Street, Loughborough. He died at the King George Hospital London, he was wounded on the 6thSeptember 1917.

Private 25646 Arthur Wareham

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 3rd May 1917,  Aged 28.

Commemorated Arras Memorial bay 5. 

(his Brother Harry Wareham also fell see below)

Arthur Wareham was born in Loughborough in 1888, the son of Edwin Wareham and his wife Elizabeth Wareham (née Gutteridge) who were married in Loughborough in 1878. Arthur's father, who was a framework knitter, died in 1900 aged 44. Arthur's mother was a seamstress. In 1891 the Wareham family lived at 77 Gladstone Street, but after Arthur's father died they moved to No. 79 in the same street. In 1911 Arthur was a joiner and living at 87 Rendell St, Loughborough with his widowed mother, three younger brothers Henry, Albert and Robert, and his unmarried sister Maggie. Another sister Alice (Mrs. Clarke) lived nearby. Five other siblings had died in infancy.

Arthur enlisted on 10th December 1915. He was mobilised at Leicester on 29th February 1916 and posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 25646. He was sent to Patrington, Holderness, Yorkshire, where the battalion was on duty with the Humber Garrison. The Humber was heavily defended, not only by land based artillery but also from the air. Two new forts were built, one on Sunk Island and another at Killingholme Haven.

On 20th August 1916 Arthur was posted to the 6th Battalion of the Regiment in France and he joined his battalion in the trenches at Arras. On 7th September he was posted to the 9th Battalion and he joined them on the 16th September at Fricourt. After two days the battalion moved to Bernafay Wood, east of Montauban-de-Picardie.

On 24th September the battalion moved up to the assembly trenches in front of Gueudecourt in preparation for an attack on the following day and were heavily shelled in the process. From 25th to 28th September the battalion took part in the Battle of Morval and sustained considerable casualties - 12 officers and 274 ordinary ranks. On 2nd October the battalion moved from Bernafay Wood to Bernancourt and on 4th October entrained at 'Edge Station' for Longpré-les-Corps-Saints and then marched to Francières. On 7th October they entrained at Pont Remy for Béthune and marched to Fouquières-lès-Béthune. On 10th October they marched to Sailly-la-Bourse and went into the support trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector where trench mortars from the enemy did considerable damage.

Between 11th October and 15th December the battalion was either in the front line trenches, in the support line or in reserve. Arthur was wounded on 28th October but his service record does not include any further details or note how long he was out of action.

On 15th December the battalion was ordered to move to the Montmorency Barracks in Béthune where they stayed until 20th December when they marched to billets in Raimbart. The battalion remained in Raimbart in training until 27th January 1917. On 28th January the battalion marched to Lillers and entrained for Proven, from where they marched to billets in Houdeque-Watou. Training ensued until 13th February when they returned by train to Béthune. On 15th February they were back in the trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector and subjected to heavy enemy artillery fire. The battalion remained there in the front or support line until 27th March when they proceeded via Sailly Labourse to Gaudiemare for training.

From 7th - 15th April the battalion held the Outpost Line at Croisilles before moving to Bailleulval for further training. After a break in Ayette the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt and then to Boiry- Becquerelle where an attack was being planned. On 3rd May the battalion moved forward to attack. Total casualties were 16 officers and 299 ordinary ranks. Arthur, aged 28, was one of those killed.

Arthur is remembered on the Arras Memorial Bay 5 and on the memorial in All Saints' Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Arthurs brother Henry, who served with the 2nd Leicesters had been killed in action the previous year at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
 

Private 12045  Harry Wareham

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th March 1915.

Commemorated Le Touret Memorial panel 11. 

(his Brother Arthur Wareham also fell see above)

Henry Wareham, born in Loughborough in 1880 and better known as 'Harry', originally enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment in 1898. He served in South Africa with the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters as Private No. 5208 and took part in the Battles of Ladysmith and Bergendal and in operations about Badfontein and Lyndenburg. For his contribution Harry received the Queen's South Africa Medal with Transvaal and South Africa 1902 clasps.

By 1911 Harry was a wood machinist and living at 87 Rendell St, Loughborough with his widowed mother Elizabeth Wareham (née Gutteridge), three younger brothers Arthur, Albert and Robert, and his unmarried sister Maggie. Another sister Alice Clarke lived nearby. His father Edwin Wareham, a framework knitter, had died eleven years previously.

Harry reenlisted from the Special Reserve on 27th August 1914, aged 33. In WW1 he served with the 2nd Battalion of the Leicesters, having joined them in France on 15th December 1914 as Private no. 12045. (The 2nd Leicesters had been brought from India to France as the British Battalion of the Garhwal Brigade of the 7th Indian Division.)

The early spring of 1915 saw a great hammer blow delivered by British troops on the German position at Neuve Chapelle. One of the units chosen to spearhead the assault was the Indian Corps with its mixture of Gurkha, Garwahli and British troops. Along with their Indian comrades the 2nd Leicesters attacked the German position known as Port Arthur, near La Bombe crossroads. The Garhwal Brigade's Indian battalions were held up by uncut wire, but the 2nd Battalion of the Tigers smashed a way through or over all obstacles and quickly overwhelmed the enemy holding the trenches covering the village and woods at Neuve Chapelle.

Harry was killed in action on the last day of the battle of Neuve Chapelle. His younger brother Arthur, who joined the Leicestershire Regiment in 1916, also lost his life in the war, being killed near Arras in 1917.

 

Private 16488 Walter Bernard Waring

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds Mesopotamia 11th March 1917, Aged 19.

Commemorated Basra Memorial panel 12. 

 

Walter Bernard Waring, known as 'Bernard', was born in Loughborough in 1898. He was the son of Joseph James Ezekiel Waring (known as 'James Waring') and Catherine Waring (née Hull) who were married on 17th July 1897 at St. Paul's Church, Woodhouse Eaves. Bernard's father had attested for the Leicestershire Regiment 17th Foot on 6th September 1888 and before he was married had served in Bermuda, Halifax Nova Scotia and South Africa. Between February 1900 and August 1901 he was stationed in Egypt but his wife and young son remained in England at The Nook, Barrow on Soar. Bernard's father left the army in 1901 and the family moved to Sileby Road in Barrow. By 1911 the Waring family had moved to 9 Park Avenue Melton Mowbray as Bernard's father had taken a job as a slag cracker at a blast furnace. Bernard's parents later moved to 5 Peel Street, Loughborough, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Bernard seems to have enlisted in the early part of 1915 but as his service record has been lost his exact date of enlistment is unknown. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 16488. After preliminary training he was sent to France to join the 2nd Battalion of the Leicesters on 4th October 1915. He joined his battalion in the field on 7th October.

The 2nd Leicesters had just been fighting at the Battle of Loos with the Indian Corps, where they had been decimated and were now in urgent need of reinforcements. In November Bernard's battalion was ordered to the Persian Gulf where Britain was fighting Turkish forces allied to the Germans. On 5th December 1915 Bernard embarked at Marseilles and arrived at Basra on 31st December 1915. From there he travelled by boat up the River Tigris to Ali Gharbi, 150 miles south-east of Baghdad where his battalion joined the Tigris Corps under General Aylmer. 

In January 1916 General Townshend and his troops had been besieged at Kut-al-Amara since mid-December and three unsuccessful attempts were made to break the siege. Battles took place at Sheikh Sa'ad, the Wadi and Hanna resulting in many casualties. A further attack at Dujaila Redoubt in March failed, during which Bernard was wounded. He recovered and rejoined his battalion.

In April 1916 No. 30 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps carried out the first air supply operation in history. Food and ammunition were dropped to the defenders of Kut, but unfortunately their parcels often fell into the Tigris or into the Turkish trenches. On 5th April a battle began for Fallahiyeh which the British soon captured but with heavy losses. Beit Asia was taken on 17th April. A final effort against Sannaiyat was made on 22nd April but this was unsuccessful and the Allies suffered about 1,200 casualties in the process. During the remainder of April other attempts were made to dislodge the enemy from their position at Sannaiyat but without any success. All attempts to relieve Kut failed and on 29th April 1916 General Townshend was forced to surrender to the Ottomans at Kut.

The surrender at Kut was a severe blow to British prestige and morale and the troops were exhausted by their efforts. The Tigris Corps nevertheless still maintained a close watch on the Turks in the areas of Sannaiyat and Beit Isa. In mid-May it became apparent that the enemy had withdrawn from Es Sinn and the British were able to occupy the Dujaila Redoubt. The intense heat in June, however, caused a heavy toll from sickness and disease among the troops.

As the heat lessened in September and October 1916 the enemy had raised its activities in sniping and bombing from the right bank of the Tigris. In December the Tigris Corps had begun a long offensive operation with the purpose of dislodging the enemy from the right bank position and severing the enemy's communication channels. By 18th December the Tigris Corps had extended their grip on the Turkish defences and had cut in opposite Kut between the outer Turkish defences and the west of the Hai, while simultaneously bombarding Sannaiyat.

By the end of February 1917 Kut had been reoccupied by the Tigris Corps and the final push towards Baghdad began. On 4th March Bernard's battalion marched to Shargy and on the following day to Azizieh. Bawi was reached on the morning of the 8th March and the battalion was ordered to proceed towards Baghdad on the night of the 8th March. A halt was made at 6.00am on 9th at the Shawa ruins and one hour later the enemy began to shell the advancing troops. Bernard was wounded at some point during this operation. He died of his wounds on 11th March 1917, aged 19.

Bernard is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 12. He was remembered at a memorial service for the fallen at Holy Trinity Church, Barrow on Soar, on 31st October 1917. Bernard's father, who reenlisted when war broke out, survived the war.

Private 2131 George Arthur Waterfield

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th October 1915,  Aged 27.

Commemorated Loos Memorial, panel 42 - 44.

 

George Arthur Waterfield was born in Loughborough in 1887, the son of James Waterfield a postman originally from Woodthorpe and his wife, Sarah (née Wiggins) who were married in Barrow in 1880.

In 1891 the family lived at 17 Leicester Road and by 1901, when George was 13, the family had moved to 32 New King Street, Loughborough. George had two sisters, Clara and Mary and two brothers, Herbert and James. George's parents later moved to 29 King Street. The Waterfield family went to the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

George was a seasoned Territorial. He served for three years with the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Leicester Regiment and a further four years with the 5th Volunteer Battalion. After this period of service he became a goods porter with the Great Central Railway until he re-enlisted on the 26th August 1914, shortly after war was declared. He had also been in prison for debt.

George rejoined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private 2131. He left behind at 19 Mills Yard, Loughborough, his wife Florence Louisa (née Dawson) whom he had married in Loughborough on 8th June 1908, and two children George and Florence. A second daughter Edith was born the day after George left England to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.

George's battalion was based at Bishops Stortford in November 1914 but were soon moved to Luton to practise marching and night work. On 25th February 1915 they were ordered to entrain at Harlow for Southampton. They landed at Le Havre three days later, on 28th February 1915. They went by train to St. Omer, and then marched to Hardifort. The battalion spent the first few months in France in the Armentières sector, training and doing tours in the trenches. In June they moved to the Salient, near Zillebeke, where they remained until the beginning of October when they were ordered to move towards Loos.

On 12th October 1915 the battalion travelled to the Hohenzollern Redoubt, arriving in Vermelles at 10.00pm. They spent the next eight hours in communication trenches. On 13th October 1915 during the attack on the Redoubt, part of the final stages of the Battle of Loos, the 1/5th Battalion was in reserve until just after midday, when they 'went over the top' and came under intense machine gun fire. George was killed in action on the 13th October 1915, aged 27.

After George was killed his widow Florence moved with the children to 71A Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, to be with her mother Mrs. Marie Dawson but sadly Florence herself died in 1916 leaving her children in the guardianship of her mother. Mrs. Dawson appealed for a raise in the army pension to support the children but it is not known whether she succeeded.

Private 29085 Alfred Watson

 

16th Bn,Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

formerly 10581 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th July 1916, Aged 22.

Commemorated Loos Memorial, panel 87 - 89.

(his Brother Edward Watson also fell see below) 

Alfred Watson was born in Loughborough in 1894 to William Watson, a general labourer, and Elizabeth Ann Watson (née Gould), a seamstress, his parents having married in Loughborough in 1884. In 1891 the family was living at 2 Court B, Nottingham Road, Loughborough, but by 1901, following his father's death in 1897, Alfred, his mother and siblings (Eliza, Ruth, Edward, Edith and James) had moved to 6 Market Street, Loughborough. Alfred's mother was remarried in 1902 to Joseph Mallen Pountney, a labourer, and they had four more children (George, Priscilla, Elsie and John). The growing family moved to 34 King Street, and later to 4 Mills Yard. Alfred attended the Emmanuel Church Bible Class and by 1911, aged 17, had become an engineering labourer.

Alfred would appear to have enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment in about 1911 possibly as a territorial soldier. On 7th December 1914 he was sent to France as Private 10581 to join the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. The 2nd Leicesters had just arrived in France from Ranikhet, India, and were fighting with the Indian Corps. The 2nd Leicesters took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle (10th - 13th March 1915), Aubers Ridge (9th May 1915) and Festubert (15th - 25th May 1915). Albert was wounded on the first day of the Battle of Festubert, when the 2nd Leicesters were holding some front line trenches.

There is no record of when Alfred transferred to the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Chatsworth Rifles) but it is likely to have been when he recovered from his wounds. He was now Private 29085. Between May and early June 1915 the 16th Sherwood Foresters were at Buxton, Derbyshire. They moved to Redmires, near Sheffield on 8th June and on 2nd September moved to Hursley, near Winchester and came under orders of the Army's 39th Division. From Hursley they went to Aldershot, Witley and then Tidworth.

Alfred went to France for the second time on 1st February 1916. From Boulogne the battalion proceeded to Renescure, Robecq and then Paradis, south-west of Lestrem, when on 19th April they went into the trenches. In May and June they took tours in the trenches in the Neuve Chapelle sector. At the beginning of July the battalion the battalion entrained at Chocques for Bouque Maison, and from there marched via Beuval and Warloy-Baillon to Heilly. On 15th July Alfred's battalion was in bivouacs in Bois de Billon. There is no record of how Alfred was killed or where he was when it happened. It will probably always remain a mystery why he is remembered on the Loos Memorial (Panel 87-89) which is some distance away from Bois de Billon. It is possible that he had been temporarily attached to another unit.

Alfred is remembered on the Loos Memorial Panel 87-89, and on the Emmanuel Church Memorial in Loughborough as well as Carillon. His brother Edward, who was with the 2nd Leicesters had already been killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915.

Corporal 7984 Edward Watson

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 25th September 1915, Aged 28.

Commemorated Loos Memorial, panel 42 - 44.

(his Brother Alfred Watson also fell see above) 

Edward Watson was born in 1889 in Loughborough to William Watson, a general labourer, and Elizabeth Ann Watson (née Gould), a seamstress, his parents having married in Loughborough in 1884. In 1891 the family was living at 2 Court B, Nottingham Road, Loughborough, but by 1901, following his father's death in 1897, Edward, his mother and siblings (Eliza, Ruth, Alfred, Edith and James) had moved to 6 Market Street, Loughborough. Edward's mother was remarried in 1902 to Joseph Mallen Pountney, a labourer, and they had four more children (George, Priscilla, Elsie and John). The growing family moved to 34 King Street, and later to 4 Mills Yard.

On 3rd September 1906, at the age of 18, Edward, a labourer, signed up in Loughborough to the Leicestershire Regiment having already served with the 3rd Battalion of the same regiment. After two months at the Depot in Leicester Private 7984 Edward Watson was sent in November to join the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters at Shorncliffe Camp, near Cheriton, Kent. He stayed at Shorncliffe until 5th January 1910 when he moved to Talavera Barracks, Wellington Lines, Aldershot. In May 1911 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal, although he was later demoted to the rank of Private on account of misconduct. On 25th May 1912 Edward was transferred to 1st Class Army Reserve.

On 3rd January 1914, Edward married shoe machinist Mary Ann Lewin at Leicester Register Office and the couple set up home at 34 George Street, off Belgrave Gate, Leicester.

In August 1914, when war broke out, Edward was recalled to the 1st Leicesters and sent to France, landing at St. Nazaire on 9th September. He was subsequently posted to the 2nd Battalion when this battalion arrived in France from India in October 1914.

In February 1915 Edward was hospitalised for a week in Bailleul and Rouen, but recovered in time to join his battalion which took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March and the Battles of Aubers Ridge and Festubert in May.

The 2nd Leicesters spent the next couple of months alternately in the trenches or in billets while war training, in the area of Calonne and Vieille Chapelle north-east of Bethune. The corps was then rested in a quiet sector until it was deployed for the Battle of Loos. Edward was appointed Lance Corporal in June 1915, and then promoted to Corporal in August 1915.

The Battle of Loos began on 25th September 1915. Gas was deployed which immediately started to affect a number of the men, with smoke causing a dense fog making direction difficult. At 6.10am the troops began to make it over the German parapet and allied flags were seen flying over the German lines. As more troops dashed forward, they came under a lot of fire from rifles and Maxim guns which caused a great many casualties. It was on this day that Edward Watson was reported missing and presumed dead.

Edward's brother Alfred who served during WW1 with the Leicestershire Regiment and later the Sherwood Foresters was killed in action on 15th July 1916.

Private 17203 Arthur Watts

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 14th July 1916, Aged 34.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 2c & 3a.

 

Arthur Watts was born in Loughborough in 1882, the son of Edward Watts and Mary Ann Watts (née Pervin) who were married in Loughborough in 1866. Arthur's father was a carpenter and wheelwright and his mother was a hosiery worker. Arthur had four brothers Albert, Thomas, George, and Ernest and two sisters Harriet and Julia. Three other siblings had died before reaching adulthood. In 1881 the family lived at 53 Ashby Road, Loughborough, in 1891 at 81 Ashby Road, and in 1901 at 42 Union Street, Loughborough. Arthur's mother died in 1910 and in 1911 Arthur's father was living at 4 Regent Street, Loughborough, with his son Albert (also widowed), George and Ernest and three grandchildren. Arthur, meanwhile, now a hosiery hand machinist, was living at the Coach and Horses Inn in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire.              

Arthur enlisted just after the outbreak of war and joined the 9th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 17203. The 9th (Service) Battalion was raised at Leicester in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's Third New Army and joined 23rd Division as Divisional Troops. The units of the Division began to assemble at Bullswater and Frensham in Hampshire from September 1914 and the King, Queen and Princess Mary visited the fledgling Division on 29 September. In early December, as the weather worsened, the Division moved into Aldershot and then, at the end of February 1915, to Shorncliffe in Kent. In April 1915 Arthur's' battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Arthur was encamped on Perham Down.

On 18th August 1915 Arthur was sent to France and joined the 37th Division which was concentrating near Tilques. The 9th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Bienvillers-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 9th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 7th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois. In April 1916 the 9th Leicesters moved to the Doullens area for six weeks for cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May they returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

On 1st July 1916 the 9th Leicesters moved into position at Souastre in readiness to reinforce the troops attacking at Gommecourt. No orders came, however, and the men marched back to Humbercamps. Training continued on the 4th and 5th July. On 6th and 7th July they marched via Talmas to Crouy and on 8th and 9th July they rested and were addressed by the Divisional Commander on the forthcoming battle. On 10th July they moved to Ailly-sur-Somme and then entrained for Méricourt before going by bus to bivouacs in Méaulte north-east of Amiens. They then took over as Quadrangle Trench and Quadrangle support. On 11th there was heavy shelling but no infantry attack. On 12th July the 9th battalion was relieved and moved back to Fricourt. On 14th July the battalion moved up to the south edge of Mametz Wood just as an intense bombardment of the German positions began, and on to Bazentin-Le-Petit Wood. There were heavy casualties on this day and Arthur, aged 34, was one of those killed in action.

Arthur is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial 2C and 3A and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church, Loughborough.

Arthur's brother Ernest also enlisted in 1914 but was discharged within a month as being unfit for service.

Private 2116 William Webster

 

C Sqdn. Leicestershire Yeomanry.

Died 5th November 1915, Aged 35.                                                                                           

Buried Fauquembergues Communal Cemetery.

 

William died suddenly whilst on active service in France with his regiment. Trooper Webster was the third son of Mr., Ambrose Webster, of 11, Storer, Road Loughborough. He enlisted in the yeomanry when the war broke out, and went out with them to the front. He was a very popular figure in the town, and took a great interest in the Church Institute, and in all social matters was very much in evidence. Whist drives, dances, etc, saw him acting as M. C, and his services were much sought after in this direction. During the efforts for the building of St Peter's Church he helped assiduously in these directions to assist in the raising of funds. The death was very sudden, for trooper Webster was apparently in the best of health on Wednesday in last week, but was taken ill last Thursday and died, on Friday, being buried the following day.

In the course of a private letter to a friend, one of the members of the Loughborough Squadron of the Yeomanry gives an account of the funeral of Trooper W. Webster. He says the funeral took place about six miles away from the billet where the Loughborough Squadron was. It was understood that no parade would be required at the funeral, but that anyone could go. Nearly all the "C" Squadron turned out, and about 20 of the "B" Squadron. They drove to the town and left their horses in a field, and walked to the graveside. The Chaplain was attended by three R.A.M.C., one old veteran carrying the French colours, the Mayor of the town and some of the inhabitants, men women and children. The followers walked to the churchyard, where the chaplain read the burial service amidst a solemn silence, and the remains of another faithful soldier were laid to rest. He believed that everyone, French and English, felt the loss of a soldier and a friend. The deceased Yeoman had numerous friends in his squadron, who felt the loss of a good comrade, always ready and willing to do his bit.

 

Private 40682 Reginald Wells

 

11th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 28th May 1918,  Aged 21.

Buried Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, XXVIII. H. 9.

 

Reginald was the son of Mrs. Alice Wells of 1 KingStreet, Loughborough. He was a popular member of the Emmanuel Church Lads Brigade and Bible class and of the old Emmanuel Football Club. He joined the Leics. In December 1914, and after service in Ireland went to the front, and was wounded last November 1917, and had only lately returned to the front after recovery.

Corporal 13410 William (Billie) Wesley

 

(Nottingham) Royal Army Pay Corps.

formerly 37905 North Staffordshire Regiment.

Died of Pneumonia 9th July 1918, Aged 34.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 42/107.

William was the youngest son of Mr William & Mrs Wesley.

Private 11706 Frederick West

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 1st October 1917, Aged 22.                      

Buried Buttes New British Cemetery XXVI. B. 10.

 

Fred was the son of Mr F. & Mrs H. A. West of 93 Russell Street, Loughborough. Writing to the parents a chum in the company states that he was shot through the head by a German sniper and died instantly. His closest chums find his death a great loss for he was always one of the best. He had only just returned to the company after having a fortnights rest. Pte West who joined up in august 1914, formerly worked at the Empress Works.

Private 20909 Frederick West

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.                             

Killed in Action 9th April 1916, Aged 29.                      

Commemorated Basra Memorial panel 12.

 

Frederick West was born in Loughborough in 1886, the son of James Cooke West and his wife Clara (née Whelband). His parents were married in Loughborough in 1874 and James Cooke West was a house painter. Frederick had four brothers George, James, Charles and Albert and three sisters Martha, Rebecca and Clara, two other siblings having died in infancy. In the 1880s and 1890s the family lived at 71 Wellington Street, Loughborough, but later moved to 47 Moor Lane. In 1901 Frederick, aged 15, was a hosiery circular stitcher but he later became a weaver in a plastic web factory.

On 9th March 1912 Frederick married Nellie Ada Green who was also an elastic weaver in Loughborough. Frederick and Nellie settled at 3 Conery Passage and had two children: Winifred (born 1913) and Frederick (born early 1916).

Frederick enlisted at Loughborough on 19th August 1915. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 20909. From the Depot he was sent to Barnard Castle, County Durham, on 4th September where he remained until 2nd November 1915 when he was posted to Rugeley Camp in Staffordshire. On 17th February 1916 he was once again posted, this time to join the 2nd Leicesters in the Persian Gulf. Frederick arrived in Basra from Devonport on 21st March and travelled up the Tigris to join his battalion on 3rd April. His battalion was in the area of Hanna and the Dujaila Redoubt and still making attempts to relieve the Siege of Kut. On 5th and 6th April heavy bombardment on the enemy's position on both banks of the Tigris was carried out and the enemy retired to Fallahiya and then Sannaiyat. In the mistaken belief that the enemy had subsequently abandoned Sannaiyat troops including the 2nd Leicesters were ordered to advance into the area. They unfortunately found themselves under heavy enemy fire and during this action on 9th April 1916 Frederick was killed, aged 29. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial panel 12 and on the Carillon.

Second Lieutenant John Charles Wheatley

 

1/5th Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

Died of Wounds 3rd October 1918,  Aged 19.

CommemoratedVis-En-Artois Memorial, panel 7.

 

John was the son of Mr Charles Obadiah & Sarah Anne Wheatley, Derby road Loughborough headmaster of C E schools barrow on soar. John joined the Notts. OTC in 1917, was afterwards transferred to the Artists rifles, and obtained his commission in 1918, going to France in July. Many friends in Loughborough will sympathise with the family in their bereavement.

Lance Corporal 12159 Albert William Whitaker

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.                             

Killed in Action 25th September 1916, Aged 20.                     

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier & Face 2c & 3a.

 

Albert William Whitaker was born in 1895 in Loughborough, the elder son of Albert Whitaker and his wife Fanny (née Whitaker) who were married in 1895 in the Basford registration area of Nottinghamshire. Albert Junior's father, a chemist, was the manager of the Loughborough branch of Messrs. Boots Ltd. of Nottingham. Albert Junior had one younger brother Arthur and the Whitaker family lived at Galen House, 20 Radmoor Road, Loughborough.

When Albert Junior enlisted on 1st September 1914 he was also working as a chemist in the Loughborough branch of Boots. Albert joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 12159. His service record is under a misspelling of his surname as 'Whittaker'.

From the Depot Albert was sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Albert's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and Albert travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques. On 3rd August 1915 Albert was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal (unpaid).

The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois.

In April 1916 Albert had moved with the 8th Leicesters to the Doullens area for six weeks cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May the battalion returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector, but nearer Gommecourt. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve. On 6th July Albert's battalion left billets at Humbercamps and marched to Talmas, continuing on the following day to billets in Soues. On 10th July the battalion marched to Ailly-sur-Somme, entrained for Méricourt and travelled from there by lorry to bivouacs in Méaulte. Between 10th and 13th July the battalion was in the trenches near Fricourt and subjected to fairly continuous enemy fire.

On the 14th July the battalion was in action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. After the battle the battalion withdrew to Ribemont and then to Méricourt, and having entrained for Saleux, marched to Soues. From Soues the battalion moved to Longeau, Gouy-en-Ternois, Lattre St. Quentin and then to Arras where they went into the trenches on 29th July. Casualty figures for the battalion in July had been high: 17 officers and 415 other ranks had been killed, wounded or were missing.

The battalion went into Divisional Reserve at Agnez-les-Ouisans on 8th August but went back into the trenches at Arras on 18th August where they were on the receiving end of trench mortar bombs and heavy shells until 2nd September. They were relieved on 2nd September and marched to Duisans and on the following day proceeded to Lignereuil. On 13th September they marched to Frevent and entrained for Dernancourt. On 15th they reached a point between Fricourt and Méaulte before proceeding to Trônes Wood on 16th.

From 17th-23rd September the battalion was in reserve and supporting the troops in the front line by providing carrying parties. In the evening of 24th September the battalion marched up to take their position ready for an attack but before they reached this point the men were heavily shelled by the enemy. Just after midday on 25th September the 8th Leicesters launched a successful attack in waves on the right of Flers and then pressed on to Gueudecourt, Considerable losses, however, were suffered in this action.

Albert was killed in action on 25th September 1916, aged 20, two days after his rank as Lance Corporal (with pay) had been confirmed.

His commanding officer wrote that Lance Corporal Whitaker was killed in action during the battle of September 25th and that his end was quite painless. All the boys wished to express the deepest sympathy and added how much they would miss him, for he was always full of pluck and cheery. One of his pals writing home to a friend said the casualty took place while he was signalling to the battalion during the earlier stages of the action. He was ordered to stay back with the transport but asked to be allowed to go forward. 'He was a smart signaller in the battalion and knew no fear, I was with him the first time we went into action and admired his coolness', added the writer.

Albert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2C and 3A and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building in Loughborough as well as on the Carillon. He is also listed on the memorial for staff from the Boots Retail Branches which is kept at the Boots Archive and Record Centre, Thane Road, Beeston, Nottingham.

Private 241240 Arthur Whitbread

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Previously served as no. 3533.

Killed in Action 28th July 1917, Aged 26.

Buried Philosophe British Cemetery I. T. 53.

 

Arthur Whitbread (or Whitebread) was born in 1892 in Loughborough, the youngest son of Edward Whitbread (or Whitebread) and his wife Elizabeth Frances Thornton. Arthur’s parents were married on 18th April 1881 at All Saints Church, Loughborough and his father was a wicker basket maker. Arthur had three brothers Herbert, Edward and Ernest. In 1901 the Whitbread family lived at 15 Canal Bank, bridge Street, Loughborough, and by 1911 had moved to 49 Granville Street. In 1911 Arthur, aged 19, was a porter.

Arthur’s oldest brother Herbert served with the Leicestershire Regiment for eight years and died from peritonitis in 1908 while with the Regiment in Bellary, India.

Arthur joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private 3533 (later renumbered as Private 241240). The date of his enlistment, however, is unknown as his service record has not survived. He was sent to France on 26th June 1915, when the battalion was on the Ypres Salient near Zillebeke. The battalion remained here until the beginning of October when they were ordered to move towards Loos.

On 12th October 1915 the battalion travelled to the Hohenzollern Redoubt. They spent the next eight hours in communication trenches. On 13th October 1915 during the attack on the Redoubt, part of the final stages of the Battle of Loos, the 1/5th Battalion was in reserve until just after midday, when they 'went over the top' and came under intense machine gun fire.

In late October the battalion rested at Drouvin before moving to Calonne-sur-la-Lys for two trench tours between Neuve Chapelle and Festubert . They then moved on to billets at Merville for training. Training continued at Thiennes from 19th December until Boxing Day when the battalion moved into billets at Aire.

In early January 1916 the battalion was sent to Marseilles to await transport to Egypt. They had only just embarked on H.M.T. Andania when orders came that they were to disembark and travel back to the Somme area of Picardy - Gallipoli had been successfully evacuated and they were no longer needed in Egypt. In mid-February orders came for the battalion to take over the line north of the River Ancre opposite Beaumont-Hamel. On 29th February the battalion moved to the area of Doullens where the men worked on improving the trenches despite being subjected to a considerable bombardment from the enemy with mines and craters being blown.

From 9th March 1916 the 1/5th Leicesters were in the area of Vimy Ridge, Pas de Calais, either in the front line, in support, in reserve or at rest. On 27th April the battalion was sent to the neighbourhood of Neuville St. Vaast to work with the French and English tunnellers and then to billets in Luchaux for bayonet training. This was followed by a period at Souastre digging cable trenches, and constructing bomb stores and gun pits in preparation for a 'big push'.

On 4th June 1916 the battalion was moved up to trenches near Gommecourt. This was followed by further training at Warlincourt. On 30th June the battalion assembled in a trench near Foncquevillers Church ready for the diversionary attack at Gommecourt on the first day of the Somme Offensive planned for 1st July.

On 1st July 1916 the 46th Division of the Army, of which the 1/5th Leicesters were part, had 2445 casualties at Gommecourt. Arthur survived this battle and on 3rd July went with his battalion into billets at Bienvillers. On 7th July they relieved the 4th Lincolnshires in the trenches opposite Essarts-lès-Bucquoy. The battalion remained in the area of Monchy-au-Bois until 29th October, either in the trenches or resting at Bienvillers or Pommier. The battalion's next move was to Millencourt for intensive battle training, returning to Halloy and then Souastre at the beginning of December.

The battalion remained at Souastre until 11th March 1917 and then moved once more up to the line taking over 2,600 yards of frontage from the La Brayelle road to the Hannescamps-Monchy road. On 17th March they moved into Gommecourt for road mending before moving to Bertrancourt, Raincheval and then Rainvillers not far from Amiens.

On 28th March the battalion marched to Saleux, entrained for Lillers in the north, and marched to Laires. Training took place until 13th April and continued for three further days at Manqueville, after which the battalion moved to the western outskirts of Lens. From there they marched to Bully-Grenay and went into the front line trenches where they were heavily shelled. On 29th April the battalion went into rest billets in cellars at Cité St. Pierre until 3rd May when they went into support trenches. On 8th they went into billets at Fosse 10 near Petit Sains for training and on 12th into reserve at Angres.

Further trench tours south-west of Lens followed until 26th May when the battalion went into billets at Marqueffles Farm for training in bayonet fighting and bombardment and to practise methods of attack. On 6th June the battalion was back in the line and on 8th June went into the attack, suffering 96 casualties.

Apart from two breaks at Red Mill from 9th-13th and 18th-20th June the battalion was in the trenches until 22nd June. On 21st June C Coy was accidentally gassed by the Royal Engineers, resulting in 94 casualties of whom 22 died. Back at Marqueffles Farm from 22nd the battalion had Lewis gun and signalling classes as well as attack training over a flagged course. On 27th June the battalion moved up to the line ready to attack on the following day. As they climbed out of the trenches on 28th June they met with the inevitable machine gun fire.

On 30th June the battalion was heavily shelled. On 1st July they took over a captured new line near Lievin and were again shelled. From 3rd-21st July the battalion was in training at Monchy. The next move was to Vaudricourt and the Hulluch trenches. On 28th July, as the battalion was being relieved from the trenches Arthur, aged 26, was killed.

Arthur was buried in Philosophe British Cemetery, Grave I. T. 53.

Private 14052 Fred Whitcroft

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 25th January 1916, Aged 19.

Buried Humbercamps Communal Cemetery I. B. 9.

 

Fred Whitcroft was born in 1896 in Loughborough, the only son of Thomas Allen Whitcroft, a general labourer, and Mary Whitcroft (née Plant) who were married at Loughborough Parish Church on 16th May 1880.

In 1901 the family lived at 13 Railway Terrace. Fred had 3 older sisters Lizzie, Annie (Mrs. Simmons) and Kate.

Fred's mother Mary died in 1905, and in 1911 Fred, his father Thomas and sister Kate were living with George and Annie Simmons and family at 8 Morley Street, Loughborough. Thomas was now a general dealer and Fred was a milliner's errand boy. Fred's father died in 1912.

Fred enlisted in Loughborough, aged 18, on 5th September 1914. At that time he was a fitter. He was sent to the Leicestershire Regiment Depot at Leicester and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion as Private 14052. The 8th Battalion was raised at Leicester as part of Kitchener's Third New Army and joined the 23rd Division as Divisional Troops. The units of the Division began to assemble in Hampshire and in December moved into Aldershot and Ewshott. In February 1915 another move was made to Shorncliffe in Kent. In April 1915 the 8th Battalion transferred to the 37th Division and a Divisional HQ was established at Andover. The troops then concentrated on Salisbury Plain and on 25th June were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. Fred went with his battalion from Folkestone to France on 29th July 1915, where they initially concentrated near Tilques.

In January 1916 Fred was admitted to 48 Field Ambulance with rheumatism. He rejoined his unit two weeks later. At the time his battalion was in the Arras area, clearing out and repairing trenches around Never Ending Street and Nasty Lane while the enemy fired salvoes of high explosives and whizz-bangs at them. Fred was wounded in the field on 24th January 1916. He died from his wounds one day later, aged 19, and is buried in Humbercamps Communal Cemetery, between Arras and Doullens in the Pas de Calais, Grave I.B.9.
 

Lance Corporal Hubert Ronald White

 

1/6th Bn, South Staffordshire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 9th June 1918,  Aged 23.

Buried Loughborough  Cemetery 20/283.

 

The funeral took place at Loughborough Cemetery of Lance Corporal Hubert White, South Staffs Reg, who died at Ipswich hospital from gas poisoning and pneumonia. He belonged to Coalville, and was married last Christmas 1917 to Miss Ethel Miller, daughter of Mr H Miller 54 Ashby Rd Loughborough, the secretary of the borough band. A firing party attended the ceremony from Glen Parva and fired volleys over the grave, and "The last Post was sounded on the bugles. The bearers were all local men home on leave. Deceased comrades at Ipswich hospital sent a wreath.

 

Lance Corporal 569 William Henry White M.M.

 

23rd Bn (1st Sportsman's), Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).

Died of Wounds 26th November 1916, Aged 46.

Buried Boulogne Eastern  Cemetery VIII. D. 187.

 

William Henry White, known to his family and friends as 'Bill', was born on 22nd March 1870 in Loughborough. He was the second son of Frank White and his wife Sarah (née Barton) who were married in Rathdown, Co. Dublin, Ireland in 1856.

Bill's father Frank White and Frank's brother W. E. (William Edward) White inherited from their father and ran the old established firm of hosiery manufacturers Paget's and White's at Woodgate, Loughborough, and 12 Bishop Street, Leicester. As well as being influential business men Frank and W. E. White funded the building of the Philharmonic Hall in Baxter Gate, Loughborough, founded a choral society which gave performances in the old Corn Exchange (at that time nothing more than a barn with a tarpaulin roof) and raised an amateur orchestral band. A talented amateur joiner, Frank White was also a boat builder and in later years took to making violins.

Frank and Sarah White had nine children. Bill had two brothers Frank Robert and Eric and six sisters Clara, Alice, Zaidee, Eva, Jane and Olive. In 1871 the family lived at Park House, Loughborough. By 1891 the family had moved to The Widenings, Forest Road. Bill's father died on 4th June that year and his mother died in 1899.

Bill inherited his father's and uncle's interest in music and became a violin teacher. On 12th October 1893 he married Gertrude Martha Coleman at St. Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, and went to live at 100 Upper Cliff Road, Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk. Bill and Gertrude had four children Hilda, Eric, Mabel and Wallace before Gertrude died in 1907. After his wife died Bill took the children to visit his sister Jane (Madame Jules Paul Paschoud) and his sister Eva (Madame François Paschoud) in Switzerland. Bill and his family stayed at the pension of Jules's and François's sister Marie Paschoud Hutchinson, a widow and an acclaimed artist who had a young son Eric. Bill became the third member of the White family of Loughborough to marry a member of the Paschoud family when he married Marie on 14th July 1909 in Lausanne. After their marriage they lived with their children in Berne.

When war broke out Bill returned to England from Switzerland and joined the 23rd (Service) Battalion (1st Sportsman's) of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) as Private 569. The battalion was originally recruited at the Hotel Cecil in the Strand, London by Mrs E. Cunliffe-Owen, with a special War Office dispensation to form a unit from men up to the age of 45, who were then over the formal enlistment age, but who were fit and hard because they were sportsmen. Popularly known as the 'Hard as nails' Battalion it included several first class cricketers, the lightweight boxing champion of England, an ex-mayor of Exeter, and the author John Chesshire.

From 1914-1915 the Battalion was in training at Grey Towers Camp in Hornchurch, Essex. The training included army discipline, drills, route marching, shooting tests, bayonet exercises, night operations and trench digging. After a move to Clipstone Camp at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, for brigade training the battalion then moved to Candahar Barracks, Tidworth, Wiltshire, to undergo divisional training with the 33rd Division, of which it formed a part. Finally, after being reviewed with the Division by Queen Mary, the 1st Sportsman's Battalion left Folkestone for Boulogne on 15th November 1915. On 25th November the battalion was transferred to the 2nd Division.

From Ostrove rest camp the battalion entrained at Pont-de-Briques for Steenbecque from where they marched to Busnes, Béthune and Annequin. Here the men learnt how to 'hold the line' and received instruction in the use of the gas helmet. On 19th December the battalion took over a section of the trenches where German snipers were particularly troublesome. At the turning of the year the battalion had six days divisional rest in Busnettes.

On 19th January 1916 the battalion marched to Le Touret and took over a trench section at Festubert, returning to Béthune on 28th. In February the battalion was in Givenchy, Le Quesnoy, Barlin and Souchez, trench duty alternating with rest in billets. They remained at Souchez during March. After divisional rest at La Comte the next move was to Reclinghem before a return to the Souchez trenches. From late May to mid-June they were in the trenches at Berthouval after which they proceeded to Villiers aux Bois and Estrée Cauchie.

In July 1916 the 23rd Royal Fusiliers were engaged in the Battle of Delville Wood, after which two companies went to Longueval Alley and two remained to garrison and dig trenches at Montauban. On 29th July the whole battalion moved on to Méricourt l'Abbé, Fremont, Naours, Longuevillette, Authie, and Bus les Artois; and then, instead of the promised rest, found itself back in the trenches again at Hébuterne,

September was spent in the Hébuterne sector, and October saw many moves. Starting with Coieneux (Basin Wood) the battalion was at the Redan (Serre sector), Mailly-Maillet, Raincheval, and Acheux Wood, where the rail-head and a factory were bombed heavily from the air and shelled by the enemy. Finally, on 30th October, the Battalion went into the trenches in the Redan sub-sector where they remained, with occasional breaks at Bertrancourt, until the start of the Battle of the Ancre on 14th November.

It is not known exactly when and where Bill was wounded but he was transferred to No. 13 General Hospital at Boulogne and died there on 26th November 1916, aged 46. At some point Bill had been promoted to Lance Corporal. Shortly before he died he had been awarded the Military Medal. Bill was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Grave VIII. D.187.

Bill's older brother Frank was in charge of a prisoner of war camp in Abingdon, Berkshire, during the war.

Private 41103 Sidney Whiteman

 

1st Bn, Worcestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 30th October 1917.

Buried Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, III. E. 85.

 

His wife Mabel lived at 23 Salmon Street, Loughborough.

Private 50183 Ernest William Whitesmith

 

17th Bn,Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

Killed in Action 15th September 1916, Aged 29.

Buried Perth China Wall Cemetery, II. G. 4.

 

 

Sergeant 305161 Herbert Walker Widdowson

 

2/8th Bn,Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

Killed in Action 7th April 1917,  Aged 29.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 10c, 10d & 11a.

 

Herbert Walker Widdowson was born in 1887 in Loughborough, the son of Walter and Emma Widdowson (née Walker) who were married in Loughborough in 1884. Herbert's father was a hosiery machine fitter and in 1891 the Widdowson family lived at 56 Paget Street, Loughborough. Herbert had one brother Arthur and one sister Eva. By 1901 the family had moved to Narrow Lane, Hathern, to live next door to Herbert's widowed grandmother Sarah Widdowson. Herbert's parents later moved to 20 Chestnut Street, Loughborough.

Herbert became a joiner and wheelwright and in 1911 he was living and working with his uncle Wilfred Widdowson on the Thoresby Hall estate, Budby, near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire.

Herbert married Maude Nixon in the early summer of 1914 at Budby but the couple were not together for long. Herbert was already in training with the Territorials when war broke out and was immediately called up. As Private 35161 he went with the 2/8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) for special training at Newark. On 1st February 1915 the battalion moved to Luton and from there to Billericay until the end of the month when they returned to Stockwood Park, Luton for training in Japanese musketry. Another move followed to Dunstable before the battalion was sent to Watford at the end of August.

In April 1916 Herbert's battalion was pulled out of Watford and sent to quell the Irish rebels of the Easter Uprising in Dublin. The men were only equipped with Lee-Enfield rifles and bayonets; they had no hand grenades. At Watford each battalion had been provided with two Lewis machine guns each capable of firing .303 calibre bullets at a rate of up to 600 rounds per minute. At Liverpool, however, a loading officer made the grave error of insisting they left the Lewis guns behind. The Rebels under the command of Éamon de Valera were, in contrast, well-trained, well-equipped and on home ground.

The battalion was ordered to march through the centre of Dublin where it was caught in merciless crossfire in the area of Mount Street Canal Bridge and Northumberland Road and suffered numerous casualties.

On the following day the 2/8th battalion was detailed to escort a consignment of ammunition to the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin. Forcing their way through sniper fire they approached the South Dublin Union. As they came in sight rifle fire erupted from the Nurses' Home which, unknown to them, was held by members of the 4th Battalion of the Irish Volunteers. The Foresters attempted a frontal assault on the building but suffered casualties as they were repulsed by heavy fire and the battle for the Nurses' Home, both inside it and in the grounds, continued until the late evening.

After the Irish Rebellion was quelled the battalion spent the rest of the year on garrison duty in Ireland before finally reaching France on 23rd February 1917 where it had its first taste of trench warfare at Le Verguier north-west of St. Quentin. Herbert was killed in an attack there on 7th April 1917, aged 29. He had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant before he died.

The news was conveyed to his wife in a letter from his Captain which read as follows: 'I am very sorry indeed to have to write and tell you of the death in action of your husband, Sergt Widdowson. You will probably have heard before now, but you may care to have such details as I can give. He was in command of a platoon during recent operations, and his loss to the company will be great. As far as I can find out, his death was painless and he has been buried a little apart from others who fell at the same time, and a cross is being put over his grave. I am trying to get his bounty which was due to him, paid in to you. I can only end by repeating how great a loss he is to us and by offering my deepest sympathy of all who knew him - Yours sincerely, J S Oates, Capt.'

The Chaplain wrote: 'I am very sorry to tell you that your husband, Sergt Widdowson, was killed in action in the early hours of last Saturday, Easter Even. May I assure you of my deep sympathy with you in your loss. At the same time, I know you will be very proud that he died so gallantly. He is exceedingly highly spoken of by both officers and men, and is greatly missed throughout the battalion. You may be certain that he was killed outright and suffered no pain. I buried him on Tuesday last with some of his comrades and a cross is being erected on his grave. May God bless and comfort you and grant him rest - Yours very truly, Stanley Hide, Chaplain, C of E.'

Herbert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A. He is also remembered on the Budby War Memorial, on the Nottinghamshire County Council Roll of Honour, on the Hathern Memorial Cross, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough as well as on the Carillon.


Budby War Memorial (above)




Budby War Memorial detail of commemorative plate (above)





   Hathern Memorial Cross (left)

Sergeant S4/085948 Joseph Spencer (Joe) Wild

 

Royal Army Service Corps.

Died of Pneumonia 20th November 1915,  Aged 23.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 9/226

 

Joseph Spencer Wild, known as 'Joe', was born in Bury, Lancashire, in 1892, the son of Joseph Wild, a pork butcher, and Elizabeth Spencer Wild (née Mills). Joe's parents were married at Christchurch, Walmersley, Lancashire in 1890 and a year later were living at 357 Walmersley Road, Bury. Joe had a twin sister Florrie and an older brother Harry. What became of Joe's father is unknown but in 1900 his mother was remarried to John Whitworth Sacker, a widowed iron founder from Bury who had a young daughter Edith. By 1901 the family had moved to 69 Burder Street, Loughborough. In 1911 Joe was employed as a law clerk and the family were living at 14 Boyer Street. Joe's parents later moved to 39 Hudson Street.

Joe enlisted as Private S4/085948 with the Royal Army Service Corps and served with Supply. He was promoted to Acting Corporal and then to Sergeant. He died of pneumonia on 20th November 1915, aged 23 and is buried in Loughborough Cemetery Grave 9/226.

His funeral was reported as follows:

'Military honours were paid at the funeral, at Loughborough Cemetery, of Sergeant Joseph Spencer Wild, of the Army Service Corps. Deceased was the son of Mrs. Sacker and the late Mr. J.Wild, of 39 Hudson Street, Loughborough, and was 23 years of age. Before he enlisted he was in a good position in Leicester, and had previously done well at Loughborough Technical Institute, where he was a great favourite among the students. He had an illness while in camp at Aldershot, and came home on sick leave early, but very soon after severe pneumonia developed, and for several days he was unconscious, and died on Saturday. The mourners were: Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Sacker (step-father and mother), Mrs. F. James (sister), Mr. E. James (brother-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. T. Ward (cousins), Miss Rivington, and Mrs. Rivington. Mr. H. Miller and Miss Hart represented the office staff of Messrs, J. Marsh Ltd, (Leicester), where deceased was employed before joining the Army, and Mr. J. A. Martin (tutor) and Mr. H. H. Carpendale represented the advanced shorthand class at the Loughborough Technical Institute. The bearers were five sergeants and four corporals of the A.S.C. from Aldershot, under the command of Sergeant Major Ferris. The firing and bugle parties were from the Depot of the 17th Leicestershire Regiment at Glen Parva, and were under the command of Sergeant Manship. The coffin was covered by the Union Jack; on which was the late sergeant's headgear and belt. The Rev. F.W.Gostick and H. Hartley conducted the service, and after three volleys had been fired over the grave the "Last Post" was sounded. Wreaths were sent by the family, and floral tributes were also presented by his fellow clerks at Messrs, J. Marsh, Ltd, (Leicester), the clerical staff of the Labour Depot, A.S.C. Aldershot, and Mr. J.A.Martin and his shorthand friends.'

here!!!

Private 34442 John William Wilkins

 

11th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers.

Killed in Action 13th July 1917, Aged 35.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 8 & 12. 

John William Wilkins, known as 'Willie', was born in 1882 in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. He was the only surviving child of William Wilkins and his wife Sarah (née Underwood). Willie's parents were married on 29th October 1879 at St. George's Church, Leicester and Willie's younger brother Alfred died under the age of one.

In 1881 John and Sarah Wilkins were living at 191 Shobnall Street, Horninglow, Burton upon Trent and Willie's father was a brewer's labourer. Between 1881 and 1891 the Wilkins family moved to 28 Upper Baker Street, West Derby, Liverpool and Willie's father took a job as a brewer's storekeeper. After Willie's father died in 1893 Willie's mother, who came from Rothley, moved back to Leicestershire and in 1901 was living at 45 Gladstone Street, Loughborough, while Willie, now aged 18, was a hosiery apprentice. By 1911 Willie had progressed to being a hosiery warehouseman and on 18th January 1911 he married Mabel Gertrude Annie Harris at Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough. Willie and Mabel set up home at 127 Derby Road, Loughborough.

Willie appears to have enlisted in 1916 but as his service record has not survived his precise date of enlistment is unknown. He first joined the General Service Cavalry and was allotted the service number of 31423 but was transferred to the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 34442. On 22nd July 1916 the 11th Northumberland Fusiliers received a draft of 150 reinforcements and it is possible that Willie was in this draft.

At the end of July 1916 the battalion was taking part in the Somme Offensive in the Franvillers area, in action at Contalmaison and in the support line east of Bécourt Wood. Between 1st and 7th August they were in support between Mametz Wood and Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, in the front line north of Bazentin-le-Petit and in support at Bécourt.

Much of August was taken up with providing working parties for the Royal Engineers at Le Bizet. In early September there was a week's training at Nordascques before the battalion returned to Bécourt Wood, followed by going into the support and front lines near Martinpuich. They were in action at Le Sars on 3rd October and then moved to the trenches on the Ypres Salient near Zillebeke Bund. Between trench tours they rested at Toronto and Erie, E and Z Camps near Brandhoek or at the Infantry Barracks, Ypres. Trench tours in this area continued until 1st March 1917.

On 1st March 1917 the battalion moved to Bollezeele for training which lasted until 20th March when they moved to P and X Camps at Houtkerque. From Houtkerque the battalion provided working parties until 4th April when they moved back to Bollezeele for inspections and further training. On 13th April the battalion entrained at Esquelbecq for Poperinghe and on 15th April took over trenches in the Hooge Sector. At the beginning of May a move was made to the Steenvorde area for cleaning up and training until 8th May. On 10th May the battalion was back in the trenches at Ypres until 18th May when they moved to the Scottish Lines until the end of the month.

On 9th June the battalion was at Hill 60 in the Zillebeke Sector when the enemy launched an attack and the battalion suffered 127 casualties. After this the battalion was withdrawn to Camp O and then to Thieshouk. At the end of June they moved to Micmac Camp near Ouderdom. Back in the line on 4th July the battalion was subjected to heavy enemy shelling. Relieved on 13th July the battalion proceeded back to Micmac Camp. During the transfer, however, Willie was killed and four others wounded. Willie was aged 35.

Willie is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Panels 8 and 12. He is also remembered on the memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Private 8/12156 Albert Wilkinson

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.                                        

Killed in Action 16th May 1916, Aged 23.

Buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery, I. A. 88. 

 

Albert Wilkinson was born in East Norton, Leicestershire, in 1893. He was son and only child of William Wilkinson, a farm labourer, and his wife Harriet (née Carter). His parents were married in the Melton Mowbray area in 1891. Albert's mother sadly died when Albert was two years old and his father's sister Eliza Ann Wilkinson came to look after the household. In 1901 the family home was at Wilsthorpe near Long Eaton and Albert's uncle Jesse Wilkinson had joined them. By 1911 Albert's father and aunt Eliza Ann had moved with Albert to 31 Albert Street, Loughborough. Albert was now working in the Despatch Office of the Empress Works. Albert's father and aunt Eliza Ann later moved to 98 Russell Street.

Albert enlisted at Loughborough in 1914 and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 12156. He was initially sent to Aldershot for training and then to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Albert's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of the Second New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July 1915 the Division began to cross the English Channel and Albert travelled to France on 29th July 1915. The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlle, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them.

In April 1916 the 8th Leicesters moved to the Doullens area for six weeks for cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May the 8th Leicesters returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector. It was here that Albert was killed in action by the explosion of an enemy trench mortar bomb on 16th May 1916, aged 23. He is buried at Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, Grave I. A. 88. The same bomb also caused the death of Albert's friend and comrade, Private Tom Hudson of Queen's Road, from Hurst's boot shop, Church Gate. Albert and Tom were buried in adjacent graves.

Albert's Captain wrote: "He was a universal favourite especially on account of his very fine example, his splendid cheerfulness and courage. I know his sterling worth, for he has been with me since the birth of the battalion, and I have never had the slightest reason to find fault with him. He was a very good soldier indeed, and always ready to volunteer for anything, and had it not been for his diminutive size he would most probably been a sergeant." After the funeral the Chaplain also sent a comforting message which said that Wilkinson, although small in height, was strong and was an expert bomber. He had been at the Empress Works for eight years, and was thoroughly liked by all from the workmen to the management. He was very keen on improving his education. Sergeant J. A. Frake, a Loughborough man, in his letter of condolence said: "He was loved and respected by all".

Private Roland Wilkinson

 

Machine Gun Corps.

Died 2nd May 1919,  Aged 22.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 3/241.

 

Roland worked at the Clerk office Surveyor of Taxes & lived at 14 Victoria Street, Loughborough.

Private 7062 Arthur Wilson

 

Private 7062 1/10th (Scottish) Bn, The King's (Liverpool Regiment). Later renumbered as 357969

Killed in Action 7th January 1917, Aged 22.                            

Buried Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery V. D. 3.

 

Arthur Wilson was born in 1895 at Grovehill Road, Beverley, Yorkshire. He was the youngest child of Thomas Wilson and his wife Margaret (née Burgess) who were married in Beverley in 1880. Arthur's father was an agricultural machine minder and Arthur had three brothers Tom, Fred and George, and one sister Lydia. By 1901 the Wilson family had moved to 14 Curzon Street, Sculcoates, Hull. In 1911 Arthur, aged sixteen, was living with his married sister Lydia (Mrs. Arthur Simpson) and family at 22 Charles Street, Loughborough, and was employed as a hosiery packer by Messrs. J. and R. Morley. Arthur's mother, meanwhile, had taken a position as housekeeper to Mr. Sylvester Hanson, a grocer and insurance agent, at 3 Providence Row, Hull. The whereabouts of Arthur's father at this time are unknown.

Between 1911 and 1914 Arthur appears to have moved to Everton, Liverpool. He enlisted with the King's (Liverpool Regiment) as Private 7062 (later Private 357969} and joined the 1/10th (Scottish) Battalion, a Territorial Force. His service record has not survived but it appears that he enlisted towards the end of 1915 and was not posted to France until 1916.

On New Year's Day 1916 the 1/10th Battalion was resting in Reninghelst south-west of Ypres but on 8th January transferred to Bailleul and entrained for Pont Rémy. From there they marched to Heucourt-Croquoison south of Abbeville in Picardy where they remained until 4th February and received training in physical drill and bayonet fighting, musketry, range practice, route marching and French digging. The Army's 55th Division, to which the battalion now belonged, was inspected at Hallencourt on 29th January. On 4th February they moved to Prouville where training continued until 12th February when they went into the trenches at Bellacourt south-west of Arras. Trench tours alternated with time in billets at Grosville and La Herlière.

On 8th March the battalion moved to Saulty and continued with trench tours until the end of June. On 12th-13th July they moved to a position in front of Agny village, the battalion being in Brigade Reserve. On 18th July they were ordered to move to Bernaville and in late July they took over a section of front line near the village of Guillemont, Somme. They were in action at the Battle of Guillemont (3rd-6th September), the Battle of Ginchy (9th September) and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd September).

After Courcelette the battalion bivouacked near Pommiers Redoubt on the Montauban-Mametz Road, then moved to billets in Ribemont and on 30th September entrained at Méricourt for Longpré. From there they marched via Pont-Remy to Abbeville where, on 2nd October, they entrained for Proven, Belgium. From 'K Camp', Poperinghe, they moved to dugouts on the Canal Bank, Ypres, and then to the front-line trenches at Wieltze.

For the rest of October until mid-November they repaired trenches at Wieltze and Elverdinghe Chateau amid enemy shelling and provided cable-burying parties at Canal Bank, with periods of respite at Brandhoek. On 29th November a successful raid on the enemy was made from Canal Bank. Between 2nd and 18th December the battalion was in the front-line at St. Jean, in the Wieltze sector, improving the barbed wire entanglements and was again heavily shelled. Following this the battalion was sent to 'C Camp', Brandhoek, for training, cleaning up and refitting. They returned to the trenches near St. Jean on 28th December, and it was here on 7th January 1917 that Arthur was killed aged 22.

Arthur's platoon sergeant wrote that he was out wiring in the front of our trenches when a shell dropped close to him, death being instantaneous. He added 'I have been his platoon sergeant since last October, and have always found him very reliable and a fearless soldier, ever ready and willing to do whatever he was called upon to undertake. His death is a personal loss to me and the other members of the platoon. It may be some little consolation to you to know that he died a noble death, and you have the sympathy of the whole of this platoon'.

Private 9924 Frederick Wilson

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Disease Mesopotamia 28th September 1916, Aged 21.

Buried Amara War Cemetery Iraq, XIV. F. 5. 

 

Frederick Wilson, known to his family and friends as 'Fred', was born in Shepshed in 1895, the son of Edgar Wilson and his wife Elizabeth (née Higgott Mee) who were married in 1892 in the Loughborough area. Fred's father started out as a brickyard labourer but later became a stone quarry sledger. Fred had four brothers Charles, Joseph, Thomas and Leonard and three sisters Beatrice, Doris and Dulcie. Another sibling had died young. In 1901 the family lived in Britannia Street and in 1911 in Hallcroft, both in Shepshed. Between 1911 and 1914 they moved to 3 Hartington Street, Loughborough. By 1911 Fred, aged 15, had become a farm labourer, but by 1914 he had become a fitter.

Fred enlisted at Loughborough on 6th August 1914 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 9924. He joined the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion and was sent for training as a recruit at Portsmouth. By May 1915 he had been posted to Hull for duty with the Humber Garrison. At some point unknown in 1915 Fred was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment which in late November/early December 1915 left France for Basra, Mesopotamia where Britain was fighting Turkish forces allied to the Germans. From Basra Fred travelled by boat up the River Tigris to Ali Gharbi, 150 miles south-east of Baghdad.

In Mesopotamia General Townshend and his troops were under siege at Kut. On January 4th 1916 General Aylmer's leading troops, under Major General Younghusband, began to advance from Ali Gharbi towards Sheikh Sa'ad, with the intention of relieving General Townshend at Kut.

The Turkish commander Nur-Ur-Din had, however, effectively blocked any progress by placing approximately 22,500 troops and 72 guns on both banks of the Tigris at Sheikh Sa'ad, about 16 miles downstream from Kut. General Aylmer therefore ordered an attack on the enemy and very heavy fighting ensued on 7th January 1916 at the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad. Fred was wounded in action during operations between 6th and 8th January 1916.

In March an attack on the Turk-held Dujaila Redoubt, at the extreme outer edge of Es Sinn, failed. On 5th April there was a heavy bombardment on the enemy's position on both banks of the Tigris and the enemy retired to Fallahiya and then Sannaiyat. The 2nd Leicesters marched at night in massed formation on the enemy's new position but came under withering fire from the enemy. During the remainder of April further attempts were made to dislodge the enemy from their position at Sannaiyat but without any success. After repeated attempts to break through to Kut, General Townshend was compelled to surrender on 29th April 1916. His force in Kut-al-Amara of 13,164 soldiers became captives of the Ottomans.

The British viewed the loss of Kut as a humiliating defeat and further attempts to advance in Mesopotamia were ordered by the politicians on the British War Committee on 18th September 1916. It was about this time that Fred became ill in Mesopotamia. He died at Sheikh Sa'ad, probably on a hospital ship on the Tigris on the way to a field hospital at Basra, on 28th September 1916, aged 21.

Fred was buried in buried Amara War Cemetery, Iraq, Grave XIV. F. 5. He is remembered on the Carillon and also on the gravestone of his brother Joseph in Loughborough Cemetery. Joseph, aged 18, was fatally kicked in the heart by a horse in Cotes in 1919.

Second Lieutenant John Hardy Wilson

 

8th Bn,Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

Killed in Action 7th April 1917,  Aged 32.

Buried Vadencourt British Cemetery, I. C. 32.

 

John Hardy Wilson was born in Kegworth in 1884 and baptised at St. Andrews Church, Kegworth, on 17th August 1884. He was the only surviving child of Samuel Wilson, a farmer, and his wife Frances (née Thompson) who were married at St. Andrews, Kegworth, on 10th October 1883. The Wilson family lived at The Yews, High Street, Kegworth. John was educated at Loughborough Grammar School and at the age of 16 was articled to an architect. He became an architect and surveyor and worked for Nottinghamshire County Council. He was also a member of the Nottingham and Derby Architectural Society and a member of the University College Nottingham Officer Training Corps (OTC). When war broke out in 1914 John was living in Loughborough.

John enlisted in September 1914 and joined the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) as Private 17523. He was sent for training at Wool, Dorset, and on to West Lulworth in October 1914, returning to Wool in December. In June 1915 the battalion moved to Winchester and was sent to France on 14th July. After landing at Boulogne the battalion concentrated with their Division (the 17th Northern) near St. Omer. For the rest of 1915, after a period of trench familiarisation, they held the front lines at Ouderdom in the southern area of the Ypres Salient.

In 1916 the 10th Sherwood Foresters were involved in fighting at the Bluff (south-east of Ypres on the Comines Canal), part of a number of engagements officially known as the Actions of Spring 1916.

By the beginning of July 1916 the battalion had moved to the Somme and was in the area of Morlancourt and Montauban-de-Picardie. They saw action during the Battle of Albert in attacks north of Fricourt (1st July), at Lozenge Wood (2nd July), Fricourt Wood (3rd July) and north-east of Fricourt (7th July). On 11th July they entrained at Meaulté for Saleux and from there marched to St. Pierre à Gouy. From there they marched to Ailly-le-Haut-Clocher and then Hangest where they entrained for Méricourt, arriving there on 23rd July. Whether John was with the battalion throughout July is unknown as his service record has not survived, What is known is that he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Sherwood Foresters on 6th August 1916.

Having received his commission John joined the 2/8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters which was on garrison duty in Ireland in the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion. John's new battalion was sent to France on 22nd February 1917 where the ordinary ranks of soldiers experienced trench warfare for the first time north-west of St. Quentin. John was killed in an attack on Le Verguier on 7th April 1917, aged 32.

John is buried in Vadencourt British Cemetery, Maissemy, Grave I. C. 32. He is commemorated on the Kegworth War Memorial, on the War Memorial inside St. Andrews Church, Kegworth, on the Nottinghamshire County Council Employees War Memorial, on University College Nottingham OTC War Memorial, on Loughborough Grammar School War Memorial and on the Carillon.

Kegworth War Memorial

Private 13198 Joseph Henry Wood

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 3rd February 1916,  Aged 20.

Buried Berles-au-Bois Churchyard Extension, B. 6.

 

Joseph Henry Steele, afterwards Wood, was born in Mansfield, Nottiinghamshire, in 1895, the son Lily Steele. In 1900 his mother married John William Wood, a hosiery fitter, in Loughborough in 1900 and Joseph Henry was thereafter known by the surname of Wood. In 1901 John and Lily Wood were living at 31 Cobden Street, Loughborough, with Joseph and John William junior. By 1911 the family had moved to 61 Clarence Street, Loughborough, and Joseph now had three half-brothers John, Edward and Walter, and three half-sisters Gladys, Gwendoline and Jessie. Another half-brother Benjamin was born in 1914. Joseph now had employment as a khaki hand with N.M.C.

When war broke out both Joseph and his step-father John William enlisted. Joseph became Private 13198 in the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and his step-father, who had previously served with the volunteers, joined the 3rd Battalion of the same regiment.

Joseph's battalion was raised at Leicester as part of Kitchener's Third New Army and joined the 23rd Division as Divisional Troops. The units of the Division began to assemble in Hampshire and in December moved into Aldershot and Ewshott. In February 1915 another move was made to Shorncliffe in Kent. In April 1915 the 8th Battalion transferred to the 37th Division and a Divisional HQ was established at Andover. The troops then concentrated on Salisbury Plain and on 25th June were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. Fred went with his battalion from Folkestone to France on 29th July 1915, where they initially concentrated near Tilques.

In January 1916 Joseph's battalion was in the Arras area of the Pas de Calais, clearing out and repairing trenches around Never Ending Street and Nasty Lane while the enemy fired salvoes of high explosives and whizz-bangs at them. Joseph was killed in action while on sentry duty in the village of Berles-au-Bois, where he was billeted, on 3rd February 1916, aged 20. He was hit by a German high explosive shell and when found was still grasping his rifle and bayonet, game to the last. He was buried in Berles-au-Bois Churchyard Extension, Grave B.6, by the Reverend S. Magor, Wesleyan chaplain attached to the 9th Leicesters.

By 1919 the Wood family had moved to 11 Gordon Street, Loughborough. After the war ended Joseph's half-brother John enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment, transferring to the Sherwood Foresters, and his half-brother Edward enlisted with the North Staffordshire Regiment, transferring to the Leicestershire Regiment.

 

  

Private 11811 George Thomas Woolley

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 14th July 1916,  Aged 23.

Buried Flatiron Copse, Mametz, Somme XI. J. I. 

 

George Thomas Woolley was born in Kegworth in 1892, the son of George Woolley a farm labourer and his wife Emma (née Highton) who were married in the Loughborough registration district in 1880. George Thomas had two brothers Wilfred and Charles and five sisters Eunice, Sarah, Beatrice, Pollie and Maggie. In 1891 the family lived in The Square, Main Street, Long Whatton. By 1901 they had moved to Draper's Yard, Long Whatton. George Thomas's sister Maggie, aged 8, died in 1906 and his mother Emma and his sister Sarah both died in 1909. In 1911 his father was living with Pollie at Golden Square, Hathern. George Thomas, meanwhile, was lodging with the Cotton family at Whatton Fields and working for farmer Herbert Cotton as a herder. After George Thomas's sisters Pollie aged 16 and Beatrice aged 22 also died in 1912 his father appears to have moved to Thorpe Acre, Loughborough.

George Thomas enlisted soon after the First World War broke out and joined the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 11811. On enlistment he would have been sent to Aldershot, Hampshire, for training. In April 1915 the 7th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill.

George Thomas went to France on 29th July 1915 where his battalion gathered with the 37th Division at Tilques, near St. Omer. In September the 7th Battalion was sent to the area of Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras. The battalion remained in this area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until April 1916 and was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage. When not in the trenches being subjected to enemy shelling the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April 1916 they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as preparing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois. Towards the end of May the battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area.

At the beginning of July the 7th Battalion moved on to the Somme. They were at Fricourt on 13th July and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on 14th July. George Thomas was killed in action on 14th July 1915, aged 23. He is buried at Flatiron Copse, Mametz, Somme, Grave XI.J.1.

His only surviving sister Eunice had predeceased him by a couple of months.
 

 

Private 44041 John Woolridge

 

9th Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

 

Formerly 164023 R.H. & R.F.A.

Killed in Action 9th April 1917, Aged 33.

Buried Wancourt British Cemetery, V. G. 26.

 

John Woolridge was born in Aldershot in 1884, the son of Lewis Woolridge and Emma Fanny Woolridge (née Friday) who were married on 3rd October 1883 at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Aldershot, Hampshire. At birth he was registered as 'Johnny Woolridge' but all other official documents use the name 'John Woolridge'. John's father was a Driver in the Royal Artillery and in 1891 the Woolridge family was living at Shorncliffe Camp, Cheriton, Kent. John had four sisters Winifred, Aileen, Dorothy and Amy. By 1901 John's father had left the Army and was working on a farm and the family was living in Upper Street, Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset. John, now aged 17, was a butter roller at the Hillview Dairies in Okeford Fitzpaine.

On 11th April 1907 John married Rose Upshall at St. Andrew's Church, Okeford Fitzpaine, and in 1911 John and Rose were living in Okeford Fitzpaine with Rose's widowed father, a farm labourer. John was now working as a blender at Hillview Dairies and Rose was a glove maker. Rose's father died in the early summer of 1914 and when John enlisted at Sturminster Newton in late 1915 Rose moved to 111 Queen's Road, Loughborough. Rose's sister Isabella and her husband Henry Short ran a lodging house at 35 The Rushes and Rose's brother Charles also worked there as a groom.

John initially joined the Royal Artillery as Private 164023 but at some point transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) as Private 44041. His date of transfer is unknown as his service record has not survived. His date of entry into France is also unknown but it was no earlier than 1916 as he did not qualify for the 1914/15 Star Medal.

In 1916 the 9th Battalion of KOYLI was in action in the Battles of The Somme, including the Battle of Morval in which the Division captured Geudecourt. According to the battalion's war diary substantial reinforcements of ordinary ranks joined the battalion in late September and late December 1916 and in January 1917. John is likely to have been in one of these groups.

In early October 1916 the battalion was in training at Buigny l'Abbé and Chocques before going into the trenches in the Cambrin Sector where they were heavily bombarded by the enemy. They also provided assistance to Royal Engineers tunnelling parties. Respite from the trenches was in Annequin and Béthune. On 6th December the battalion marched to billets in Philosophe and worked on dugouts before going into the support trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector. On 28th December the battalion marched to Noeux-les-Mines.

All of January 1917 was spent training: route marches, tactical exercises and musketry. At the end of the month the battalion entrained for Esquelbecq and marched to Ledringhem where training continued and there were also working parties with the Royal Engineers on the railway west of Poperinghe. In mid-February the battalion moved to Annequin and went back into the trenches in the Cambrin Sector.

In early March the battalion marched via Béthune, Esqueldecq and Séricourt to Lucheux where they spent nine days on attack practice. Further moves followed to Berles-au-Bois, Adinfer and Bosieux-au-Mont. On 9th April 1917 the battalion made an assault on the Hindenburg Line which failed owing to misplaced artillery preparation. Eight officers and 176 ordinary ranks were killed, including John Woolridge.

John was 33 when he died. He was buried at Wancourt British Cemetery, Grave V. G. 26 and is commemorated on the Okeford Fitzpaine War Memorial, Dorset.

 

 

Private 17729 Harry Wootton

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 8th March 1916, Aged 18.                              

Commemorated Basra Memorial panel 12. 

 

Harry was born in Loughborough in 1898, the second son of Samuel Wootton, a bricklayer, and Emma Wootton (née Blunt). His parents had married in Loughborough in 1894. In 1901 the family lived at 4 Albert Street, Loughborough but by 1911 had moved to 53 Rosebery Street. Harry had one sister Elsie and two brothers Fred and Eric. Fred followed his father into the bricklaying trade and in 1911 young Harry, aged 13, was an errand boy.

Harry enlisted in Loughborough and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 17729. He was posted to 'B' Company of the 2nd Battalion and sent to France on 4th October 1915. Harry joined the remnants of the 2nd Battalion in the aftermath of the Battle of Loos and shortly afterwards his battalion was ordered from France to the Persian Gulf to reinforce the Mesopotamian Campaign.

Travelling via Marseilles, Alexandria and Port Suez they reached Basra in December 1915 and from there travelled by boat up the River Tigris to Ali Gharbi, 150 miles south-east of Baghdad.

The 2nd Leicesters, now part of the Anglo-Indian Tigris Corps, were ordered to try to break through the Ottoman lines to relieve the besieged garrison of Major General Townshend at Kut-al-Amara. On 4th January 1916 General Aylmer's leading troops, under Major General Younghusband, began to advance from Ali Gharbi, 150 miles south-east of Baghdad, towards Sheikh Sa'ad in the direction of Kut.

The Turkish commander Nur-Ur-Din had, however, effectively blocked any progress by placing approximately 22,500 troops and 72 guns on both banks of the Tigris at Sheikh Sa'ad, about 16 miles downstream from Kut. General Aylmer therefore ordered an attack on the enemy and very heavy fighting ensued on 7th January at the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad.

On January 9th the Turks were forced to abandon their remaining positions and retired upstream to the Wadi. General Aylmer concentrated his whole force on the left bank and attacked the Wadi position on the 13th January. Muted trench warfare followed for most of February.

General Aylmer therefore devised a plan whereby his force would cross the Tigris for a straightforward attack on the Turk-held Dujaila Redoubt, at the extreme outer edge of Es Sinn. Originally scheduled to begin on 6th March the attack was postponed for two days because of heavy rainfall. General Kemball led the main advance on 8th March but the attack failed. The British forces suffered 3,500 casualties and Harry was one of those killed in action, aged 18.

Harry is remembered on Panel 12 of the Basra Memorial, which was, until 1997, on the main quay of the naval dockyard at Maqil, on the west bank of the Shatt-al-Arab, about 8 kilometres north of Basra. In 1997 the President decreed that the memorial be moved. The re-location was carried out by the authorities in Iraq and the memorial re-located in its entirety 32 kilometres along the road to Nasiriyah, in the middle of what was a major battleground during the first Gulf War

Harry is also remembered on the Carillon Tower Memorial in Queen's Park, Loughborough, the memorial in St. Peter's Church Loughborough and the Swan Street Primitive Methodist Church Roll of Honour, Loughborough.

Private 41383 William Glaise Wormley

 

9th Bn, Norfolk  Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th April 1918,  Aged 30.

Commemorated Tyne Cott Memorial, panel 34-35 & 162a.

 

William was the husband of Annie Wormley of 10 Bampton Street, Loughborough.