Surnames A - B

 

Private 32392 Walter Ernest Abell

2nd Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment

Formerly 27948, Leicestershire regiment

Killed in Action 1st December 1917, Aged 20.

Commemorated Cambrai Memorial panel 9 & 10

Private 64488 Frederick Adcock

9th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers.

Formerly 20088, West Riding                                    

Killed in Action 25th October 1918, Aged 27.

Buried Romeries Communal Cemetery Ext. VIII A3  

Private Frederick Adcock, was killed in action on October 25th in a successful attack on two villages held by the enemy. In a letter of sympathy to the widow who lived at 2 Court D. Pinfold Gate. Loughborough the chaplain wrote: Our men are dying to save the world from German rule. They are dying for others and no death can be nobler. You may well be proud of your husband who was faithful even unto death. Adcock was 27 years Of age and formerly worked at the Brush joining the army in February 1915. He had only been married 18 months.

Private 11870 John William Adcock

 

7th East Surrey Regiment

Killed in Action 22th April 1916, Aged 39.

Buried Vermelles British Cemetery II. H. 24.

Served under the alias of 'John Arthur Jennings'

 

John William Adcock was born in 1877 in Syston. He was the elder son of Richard Adcock, a framework knitter, and his wife Ann Jane (née Cart) of Brookfield Street, Syston, who were married in 1876. Richard and Ann Jane Adcock had one other son Joseph Richard and a daughter Florence Elizabeth Ann before Richard died, aged 28, in 1887 in Loughborough. In 1891 John was living with his widowed mother, brother and sister at 6 Barrow Street, Loughborough and his mother was supporting her family by working as a hosiery seamer. John, aged 14, was now an apprentice brick maker. Later that same year John's mother was remarried to Thomas Yeomans, a bricklayer.

On 29th August 1894 John, a labourer, attested at Leicester for the 3rd Leicestershire Regiment under the name of 'John Arthur Jennings'. He was sent to the Depot as Private 4179. On 5th October 1894 he was transferred to the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment. On 7th March 1896 he deserted from Aldershot.

By 1901 John's mother Ann Jane and Thomas Yeomans were living at 14 Southfield Road, Loughborough, with Florence Adcock and John's half-brother Thomas Yeomans, aged 8. The Yeomans family later moved to 38 Ashby Square.

In 1900 John had married Louisa Kirby in Loughborough but the marriage did not last. In 1911 John, now a boating labourer, was living in lodgings at 53 Mill Street, Loughborough, while his wife had moved to 58 Salop Street, Birmingham, to be a housekeeper for George Nicholls a motor body finisher.

John, aged 38 and a rope maker, enlisted in London on 15th September 1915 using, as later testified by his brother, the alias of 'John Arthur Jennings'. John gave his home address as 9 Buckhorn Square, Loughborough, stated that he was married and that Anna Caroline Jennings was his next-of-kin and dependant. Prior to 1915 John had met Anna Caroline Olsen, a Norwegian domestic cook who was working for Eric and Dorothy Burder of 129 Ashby Road and by 1915 John and Anna appear to have been living together at 9 Buckhorn Square, Loughborough. Anna Caroline Olsen was subsequently described by the military authorities as John's 'unmarried wife' and sole legatee.

John joined the East Surrey Regiment at Kingston-upon-Thames as Private 11870. Ten days after he enlisted he was punished for being absent from tattoo, being drunk in the barracks and being deficient of kit. One month later he was again punished, this time for 'for overstaying his pass'. He nevertheless successfully completed his training as a Bomber with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Dover.

He was sent to France on 17th March 1916 and joined the 7th (Service) Battalion of the East Surreys at Sailly Labourse on 19th March. The battalion then moved to billets in Bethune before going into the trenches at Vermelles. On 10th April the battalion moved into Brigade Reserve at Annequin before being sent to guard the Hohenzollern Redoubt. Two days later on 27th April 1916 John was killed in action, aged 39. He is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery Grave II.H.24. His gravestone is inscribed with the alias under which he served in WW1.


Memorial in the name of J. A. Jennings.

George Scott Adlard  R.A.F

 

Died 6th March 1920, Aged 30

Loughborough Cemetery 42/316 

 

George Scott Adlard lived at 19 Heathcote Street. Loughborough. 

Sergeant 3198 William Ainsworth

2nd Bn. Coldstream Guards

Killed in Action 13th September 1914, Aged 23.

Buried Vailly British Cemetery, Aisne II.F. 16. 

William Ainsworth was the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Ainsworth of 37 Judges Street, Loughborough. He embarked for France with the 2nd Coldstreamers on 12th August 1914 as part of the 'First Army Corps' commanded by Sir Douglas Haig. On arrival in France the battalion were mobilised at Le Cateau and ordered to the Belgian Front and put to work digging trenches between Binche and Mons. Following a tactical retreat ordered by Sir Douglas Haig an Anglo-French counter-offensive was begun with the First Battle of the Aisne. William was killed on the second night of the Battle of the Aisne when the 2nd Coldstreamers were advancing across the River Aisne in dense fog.

Trumpeter 1860  Alfred George Aldridge

1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry.                                    

Killed in Action 7th February 1915, Aged 20.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate)   Panel 9

Alfred was the only son of George and Emma Louisa Aldridge of 24 Broad Street, Loughborough. He had three sisters Florence, Hilda and Ethel and prior to the war Alfred was employed at the Empress Works.

The 1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry was mobilised on 5th August 1914 and billeted in the village of Palgrave, Suffolk, until 1st November 1914. They were then put on a train to Southampton with the horses, landed at Le Havre on November 2nd and marched for two days up to Ypres.

They took part in the First Battle of Ypres and were in reserve to some other units. They were sent to the trenches several times, being transported there in buses and leaving the horses back at the billets. The weather was very bad with mud everywhere. After the battle they were billeted for one night just outside the moat at Ypres where they were badly shelled and lost a lot of horses. From there they marched back again to billets in different farmhouses and farm buildings around Hazebrouck. Alfred Aldridge was shot through the heart by a German sniper early on Sunday morning of 7th February 1915, while digging trenches at Zillebeke, near Ypres.

Alfred's parents initially received the news of his death from Sergeant-Major Parker, followed by a letter from Major Thompson, Alfred's commander. Major Thompson's letter spoke in feeling terms of his loss to the squadron, and added that he was buried on the outskirts of a wood just behind the trenches and that a wooden cross had been erected to mark the place of his grave. He said 'His cheery disposition will be greatly missed by his comrades'.

Alfred is also commemorated on the memorial in Loughborough Parish Church.

Private S/15027 Charles Herrick Allen

2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany's)

Killed in Action 3rd May 1917, Aged 20.

Buried Roeux British Cemetery, France C. 65. 


Charles Herrick Allen was born on 2nd September 1896 at Woodhouse Eaves, Leicestershire, and baptised on 17th January 1897 at St. Paul's Church, Woodhouse Eaves. His second forname of Herrick is likely to have been a tribute to the Herrick family of the Beaumanor Estate.

Charles was the son of John William Allen and his wife Sarah Jane (née Jones) who were married on 16th July 1876 at St, Mary's Church, Humberstone, Leicester. Charles' father was an agricultural labourer until he was in his fifties when he became a bricklayer's labourer. Charles's parents lived all their married life at 44 Main Street, Woodhouse Eaves and they had fifteen children, thirteen of whom survived. Charles had five brothers John, William, Lloyd, Frank and Baldwin and seven sisters Annie, Beatrice, Louisa, Amelia, Daisy, Elsie and Frances.

In 1911 Charles, aged 14 and entered on the census return by his father as 'Eric Allen', was a garden boy. He appears to have enlisted sometime in the summer of 1916 and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders as Private S/15027. Extant Army records also display a degree of confusion over his name, one recording him as 'Charles E.' and another as 'Charles Frederick'. As his service papers have not survived his exact date of enlistment and entry into France are unknown. In January 1917, however, the 2nd Seaforths received a batch of 119 reinforcements of ordinary rank soldiers and it is possible that Charles was in this group.

In early January 1917 the 2nd Seaforths were in huts at Suzanne south-east of Albert and employed unloading trains at Bray-Tourbière station. Training took place from 10th-18th January before the battalion took over the front-line trenches in the area of Bouchavesnes. Further training followed at Camp 13 and at Suzanne before the battalion returned to the trenches on 10th February. A few days later there was an outbreak of German measles, Camp 4 became a hospital and the rest of the battalion was put into isolation until the end of the month at Camp 18. Training then resumed until 14th March at Suzanne. The battalion subsequently moved to Ourton near St. Pol where the men practised for a forthcoming attack until 4th April.

The Arras Offensive began on 9th April and over the next eleven days the battalion suffered casualties of 14 Officers and 407 Ordinary Ranks. The battalion then rested in billets in a large chateau at Givenchy le Noble before returning to the line at Arras on 30th April. On 3rd May the 2nd Seaforths were involved in a further operation to capture the cemetery north of Roeux and Charles was killed in action aged 20.

Charles was buried in Roeux British Cemetery, Grave C. 65. He is remembered under the name of 'C. E. Allen' on the war memorial and on the Roll of Honour in St. Paul's Church at Woodhouse Eaves.

Charles' brother Lloyd served with the Leicestershire Yeomanry and his brother Baldwin with the Royal Engineers. Both survived the war.


 

Private 40388 John Allen

1/5th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment

Killed in Action 28th June 1917, Aged 38

Commemorated Arras Memorial bay 5.

John Allen was born in Leadgate, Durham in 1879. He was the son of Charles Allen and his wife Emma (née Overall) who both came from Essex, but who were married in Lanchester, County Durham, in 1876. John's father was a labourer. By 1891 the Allen family had moved south again, this time to Upchurch in Kent where John's father had obtained employment as a cement factor in the Falcon Cement Works at Overshore, Otterham Creek and John, aged 22, was a brickfield labourer. John had six sisters Mary, Sarah, Rose, Alice, Kate and Lily. After John's father died at work in 1905 his mother moved to Chaffs Lane, Upchurch, with John and her only unmarried daughter Lily. It would appear that John subsequently moved to Loughborough.

John enlisted at Leicester and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 40388. His date of enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived. His service number indicates, however, that he enlisted in the late summer of 1916. Whether he was sent to France to join the 1/5th Battalion of the Leicesters in late 1916 or early 1917 is also unknown.

On 29th October 1916 the 1/5th Battalion moved to Millencourt for intensive battle training, and then to Halloy and Souastre at the beginning of December.

The battalion remained at Souastre until 11th March 1917 and then moved up to the front 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.

John was killed in action on 28th June 1917, aged 38. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial Bay 5, on the memorial in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Upchurch, and on the Carillon, Loughborough.




Memorial at Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Upchurch

 

Sergeant 5586 Percy Herbert Allen

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 25th September 1915, Aged 33.

Commemorated Loos Memorial panel 42 - 44. 

 

Percy Herbert Allen was born in Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, in 1882, the son of George Allen a printer compositor and Hannah ('Annie') Allen (née Busfield) who were married in Dacre, Yorkshire, on 24th February 1877. Percy had two brothers George and Arthur and two sisters Clarice and Nellie. In 1901 Percy's family lived at 11 Queen's Road, Loughborough.

On 13th June 1898 Percy, a hosiery worker for the Nottingham Manufacturing Company, attested at Loughborough for the 3rd Leicestershire Regiment and was appointed as a Private on 16th June 1898. On 10th March 1899, however, he purchased his discharge. In between times, on 19th September 1898 Percy had obtained work as a Parcels Delivery porter at Loughborough Midland railway station.

On 2nd November 1899 Percy again attested at Leicester for the Leicestershire Regiment and was appointed to the 2nd Battalion as Private 5586. From early 1900 Percy was stationed in Gibraltar and in 1902 he was posted to Fort George, Guernsey. While Percy was stationed there he was promoted to Corporal on 10th January 1903. He also met and married his wife, Violet Edith Maud Austin, in St. Peter Port. On 29th May 1906 Percy, who was at the time serving in the Regimental Depot in Leicester, was appointed a Lance Sergeant.

Percy and Violet had at least seven children, four of whom seem to have survived to adulthood: Dorothy, Percy William, Cyril and Dennis. Percy must have left the military as in 1911 he was an iron foundry labourer and living with his wife and family at 34 George Street, Loughborough.

On 2nd November 1911, however, he was re-engaged by the Leicestershire Regiment and sent to Egypt and India. He was subsequently appointed Lance Sergeant at Portsmouth on 8th August 1914, Acting Sergeant at Fort Purbrook, Portsmouth, on 25th August 1914 and promoted to Sergeant on 8th September 1914. He embarked at Southampton for the British Expeditionary Force on 11th December 1914.

In 1915 the 2nd Battalion of the Leicesters, part of an Indian Army formation led by Major-General Charles Blackader, took part in the battles of Neuve Chapelle (10th-13th March) and Aubers Ridge (9th May) and an additional night attack on 15th May, the first day of the Battle of Festubert. 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.

The initial attack at Loos was to be made by three divisions, with the Meerut Division leading the attack on the Indian front; Blackader's brigade, with two Gurkha battalions and the 2nd Leicesters, was on its right flank. Whilst the attack successfully crossed no-man's land under cover of the barrage, the right flank of the brigade was caught up in defensive wire, and only one battalion successfully made its way into the German trenches. Gas also affected some of the men and the smoke caused a dense fog, making direction difficult. From the 2nd battalion 72 men were killed, 217 wounded, 42 were gassed, and 96 were recorded as missing. Percy, aged 33, was one of those killed.

Percy's wife Violet died in the flu epidemic of 1918.

 

Private 1175 Walter Allen

1/5th. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 18th April 1915, Aged 21.

Buried Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery II. H 2  

Mr. Walter John Allen and his wife Mary Alice Allen of 117 Russell Street Loughborough received news that their son Walter had been killed in the trenches at hill 60 on April 18th 1915, he was aged 21 years. Mrs. Allen received a letter of   sympathy from Lieutenant Vincent, who said he was doubly interested in the deceased soldier and also his brother George who was also in the Battalion, from the fact that both men worked at the Brush Co work, which he was associated with in civil life. Walter left behind a wife Anne and child. Walter had been an instrumentalist in the band of the 5th Battalion (Territorial) Leicestershire Regiment before the war. When Walter went on active Service his wife and child went to live with her parents at 4 Lady Bank Tamworth Staffs.

 

Company Sergeant Major 240358 Edwin Angrave MM

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 5th October 1918, Aged 38.

Buried Tincourt new British Cemetery, Somme France  V1. F. 19. 

 

Mr. George Angrave and his wife Ann of Nanpanton received official notification that their son, Edwin Angrave 1/5thBattalion Leicestershire Regiment whilst attacking the Hindenburg Line was struck by a shell fragment and died from his wounds on October 5th1918. He was 38 years old. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in 1/5 Leicester's, and went to France in February 1915. He served with his unit for 3 years and seven months. Company Sergeant Major Angrave was awarded the French Medal Millitaire for good work in the spring of 1918. Prior to the war he lived at Woodhouse Eaves and was well known and respected. He also served in the Boar War with the Leicestershire Volunteer service Company.
St. Pauls F.C. Edwin Angrave (Goalkeeper) back row 4 from left.

  

Private 36455 George Randall Angrave

1/4th Bn. Essex Regiment.

Formerly 165756, R.H. and R.F.A.                                    

Killed in Action Palestine 3rd November 1917, Aged 19.

Buried Gaza War Cemetery Israel.  XXIX. B. 13.

(His brother Thomas Edward Angrave also fell see below)  

George Randal Angrave son of Mrs Catherine Angrave and the late George Angrave was killed in action in Palestine on Saturday 3rd November 1917 he was 19 years of age and lived at 40 Paget Street Loughborough. He was the second son of Mrs Angrave to die whilst doing his duty for his country her son Thomas Edward Angrave was killed on 17th August 1915. 
Carillon Collection

 

Gunner 1397 Herbert Angrave

1st North Midland Bde, Royal Field Artillery                                    

Died of tuberculosis, Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hants. 17th March 1916, Aged 22.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 15 - 134.
  

Herbert Angrave was born in Loughborough in 1894, the son of Eli Angrave and Fanny Lawrence Antill who were married in Loughborough on 6th February 1892. Herbert had two surviving brothers Harry and Wilfred as well as a third brother Alec who died, aged 9 in 1907. Herbert's father was an elastic factory mechanic. Herbert's mother died, aged 29, on 25th October 1898 and in 1901 Herbert and his brothers together with their widowed father were living at 2 Broad Street, Loughborough with their widowed grandfather Eli Angrave, a maltster, and their maiden aunts Annie, Mary and Fanny. Herbert had a position as an ironmonger's apprentice with Messrs. Morgan & Green of Baxtergate.

Herbert enlisted at Boston, Lincolnshire, on 5th September 1914. At the time he was working as an ironmonger for R. J. Harwood of Boston and living at 43 Red Lion Street, Boston. He was posted to the 1st Lincolnshire Battery of the 1st North Midland Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as Gunner 1397. He was initially posted to Luton for training. King George V inspected the troops on 9th February 1915 and Herbert arrived in Boulogne on 6th March 1915. A few days later he was reprimanded for being absent from his billet without leave. His first months abroad were spent in the Ypres Salient. Herbert was at Hooge in late July when the German liquid fire attack took place and also in the attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 13th October 1915.

On 25th February 1916 Herbert was admitted to the 2nd North Midlands Field Ambulance with tubercular peritonitis. The following day he was transferred to 30 Casualty Clearing Station and then to No. 2 General Hospital at Le Havre. The hospital ship St. Denis transferred him to the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley, Hampshire on 2nd March 1916. Herbert died there on 17th March 1916, aged 22.

Herbert's funeral took place at Loughborough Cemetery on Tuesday 22nd March 1916. Mr. T. Hills of Quorn conducted the ceremony, the coffin bearers were from Glen Parva Depot, and a bugler sounded the Last Post. Herbert is buried in Grave 15-134 at Loughborough Cemetery.

Herbert's brothers also served in the war, Harry with the Army Veterinary Corps and the Royal Fusiliers and Wilfred as a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery. Unlike Herbert they both survived.
 

Private 3605 Thomas Edward Angrave

D Coy. 1/5th. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 17th August 1915, Aged 19.

Buried Sanctuary Wood Cemetery II. M. 19. 

(His brother George Angrave also fell see above)

Private 3605 Thomas Edward Angrave died of wounds on 17th August 1915, aged 19. Thomas was born in 1896 in Loughborough to George Angrave, a hosiery needlemaker, and his wife Catherine (née Peach). The eldest of six children (the others being George Randall, Wilfred, who died aged three months, Mary, Annie and Elizabeth) Thomas grew up at 40 Paget Street, Loughborough. When Thomas' father George unfortunately died in 1909, the family moved next door to 40 Paget Street and by 1911 Thomas, aged 14, was employed as a student clerk in the hosiery office of the Nottingham Manufacturing Company.

Upon the outbreak of World War One, Thomas joined up to the D Coy 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. After training the 1/5th Battalion landed at Le Havre, France, on 28th February 1915. Thomas was killed in action less than six months later. He was buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Zillebeke, near Ypres, Grave II. M.19.

Following his death Mrs Catherine Angrave received a letter from Lieutenant Mould, sending his condolences on the death of her son Thomas. He wrote: "I am truly sorry that your son met his death during our last tour of the trenches. All the members of the platoon that knew the full value of their brave and loyal comrade feel his loss. He met his death while on sentry duty, the bullet striking him in the head and killing him instantly". Sunday Mass was said at St Mary's Church Loughborough where Thomas Edward Angrave was a regular attendant. The Rev. Father Hart said "a soldier who died doing his duty was a martyr. Such a martyr was surely young Angrave, who laid down his life for the sacred cause of the allies".

Thomas Angrave was a relative of diary writer and soldier Alfred Angrave. Thomas' brother George Randall Angrave was killed in Palestine two years later. Both brothers are commemorated on the War Memorial in St. Peter's Church, Loughborough. One of the bells in the Carillon also has the names of the brothers engraved on it - the bell was the gift of the Nottingham Manufacturing Company in memory of all their co-workers who died in the war.
Carillon Collection

Gunner 94598 Walter Armstrong

 

88 Siege Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Died of Pneumonia 3rd November 1918, Aged 34.

Buried Etaples Military Cemetery, XLIX. A. 15. 

 

Son of Herbert William and Caroline Armstrong. Husband of Mrs. Armstrong of 5a Fennel Street Loughborough. He had one child.

Sergeant 10159 Roland Austin

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 9th June 1916, Aged 25.

Buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery, I. A. 3.

 

Roland Austin was born in 1891 in Marylebone, London, the son of George Thomas Austin, a cabinet maker, and his wife Rhoda (née Bick), the daughter of a French polisher. Roland's parents were married on 28th April 1889 at St. James's Church, Hampstead Rd, London. Roland had two brothers George and Arthur and four sisters Kathleen, Marjory, Rhoda and Hilda. In 1891 the family lived at 35 Huntley Street, St. Pancras, but by 1901 had moved to 82 Loftus Road, Hammersmith. In 1911 they were living at 70 Loftus Road, but Roland had left home and was earning his living as an assistant chemist to John Thomas Smith, chemist and druggist, at 39 Market Street, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. By 1914 Roland had moved to Loughborough to be an assistant chemist and dispenser to Mr A. B. Martin of Market Place, Loughborough.

Roland enlisted on 17th August 1914 at Loughborough and was sent to Bordon, Hampshire for training. Initially appointed at Private 10159 to C Company of the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment he was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal on 14th September 1914 and Acting Corporal on 30th November 1914.

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. Roland embarked for France on 29th July 1915 and was confirmed in the position of Corporal on 29th September 1915.

In September Roland'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. On 18th February 1916 Roland was appointed Sergeant.

Roland was only 25 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.

Roland is buried in Bienvillers Military cemetery, Grave I. A. 3.

Private 40106 Matthews Taylor Aves

 

1st Bn, North Staffordshire Regiment.

Formerly 27898 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 31st July 1917, Aged 27.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 55  

 

His wife and two children lived at 40 Wellington Street Loughborough..

 

 

Sergeant 1523 Henry Bacchus

 

8th Bn, Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment).

Killed in action 15th August 1917, Aged 24.

Commemorated Vimmy Memorial. 

(His brother Robert Bacchus also fell see below) 

Mr. Edmund Baccus and wife Alice of 45 Fearon Street Loughborough received official news from the company officer that their son Henry Baccus was killed by a sniper bullet through the head whilst in an attack on the 15th August 1917. He also said the 24 year old was a good soldier, always cool and acted most gallantly in the attack. Henry was formerly employed at the Falcon works, but went to Canada where he enlisted in August 1914. He went to the front in February 1915 and has been on furlong twice to England. He's the second son of Mr. & Mrs. Baccus to lose his life. His younger brother Robert was killed in action June 1915.

Private 1441 Robert Bacchus

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 4th June 1915, Aged 20.

Buried Lindenhoek Chalet Cemetery I. D. 16. 

(His brother Henry Bacchus also fell see above)

Robert Bacchus was born in 1895 in Loughborough, the second son of Edmund Bacchus, a joiner in the building trade, and Alice Seagrave who were married in Loughborough in 1890. He was one of a family of 10 children who unfortunately lost their mother when she died in 1908.

In 1911 Robert's widowed father Edmund was living with his children at 15 George Street, Loughborough, and Robert was an apprentice joiner at Messrs. William Moss Ltd. Edmund Bacchus later moved to 45 Fearon Street.

Robert joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment which was mobilised in 1914. After a training period in Luton Robert's Battalion sailed for France on 26th February 1915 in very rough seas. They travelled by train via Rouen, Abbeville and St. Omer to Arneke where they detrained for Hardifort. The Battalion was then held in reserve for, but did not take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. For the whole of April they were in trenches near Wulverghem and subjected to continual sniping by the enemy, and then moved on to Zillebeke, followed by a tour in the area of Mount Kemmel. After this they were moved to a slightly different part of the line to relieve the Sherwood Foresters. They had been in this new position under 24 hours when the Germans began a bombardment. Colonel Jessop, of the 4th Lincolnshires, was in the road talking to the Officer in Charge Colonel Jones, while orderlies held the two horses close by. A shell fell almost on the party, killing Colonel Jessop and the two orderlies Bacchus and Blackham and the two horses and injuring Colonel Jones. Bacchus was only 20 when he was killed. He is buried at Lindenhoek Chalet Cemetery, south-west of Ypres, Grave 1.D.16.

Robert's father received a letter from Sergeant E. V. A. Harris who wrote on behalf of No. 1 Platoon of which he was in charge 'to express sympathy with you in your sad loss. Your son was a general favourite with all of us. He was a good soldier and always did his duty cheerfully. His grave is in the little cemetery close to the firing line, and I can assure you that his grave will be well cared for. I hope you can take consolation that your son died fighting for King and Country.'

Private 43442 Albert Edward Bacon

 

2nd Bn. Essex Regiment

Formerly 16042 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th August 1917, Aged 22.

Commemorated Arras memorial Bay 7 

 

Mr. Bacon of 10 George Street Loughborough received notification that his son Albert Edward Bacon was killed in action August 1917. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment when war broke out. Prior to the war he was employed on a farm at Wymswold.

Private 4724 Frederick Joseph Bacon

 

1/5th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers (Territorial)

Killed in Action 1st October 1916, Aged 22.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10b, 11b & 12b. 

 

Frederick Joseph Bacon was born in Long Whatton, Leicestershire, on 10th February 1894 and baptised at All Saints Church, Long Whatton on 25th March 1894. He was the son of John Bacon and his wife Mary Jane (née Pywell) who were married in Leicester in 1877. Frederick had one brother George and five sisters Mary, Sarah, Florence, Ethel and Agnes. Another brother John had died aged eleven in 1903. Frederick was enrolled at Long Whatton School on 25th April 1897. His father ran the Gables Farm of 61 acres in Long Whatton. and by 1911 Frederick was helping his father on the farm.

Frederick's Army Service record has not survived and his date of enlistment is unknown but he joined the 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 4724. It is said that he lived in Loughborough before he went to war and enlisted at Leicester. It is unlikely that he went to France and Flanders before 1916 as he was not awarded the 1914/15 Star medal.

From January to the end of March 1916 the 1/5th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers was in the trenches in the area of Ypres and being subjected to a considerable amount of artillery fire from the enemy. Occasional breaks were taken in Poperinghe. On 1st April the battalion marched to Locre, a small village in West Flanders, to hold the front there. There was a break in Bailleul, French Flanders, in May, after which the battalion returned to Locre where they remained until late July.

On 22nd July the news was received that the battalion would be moving towards Neuve Eglise, Alsace, and they marched to camp at Dranoutre, south of Ypres. The battalion stayed at Dranoutre until 7th August when they marched via Meteren to Strazeele. On 11th August they entrained at Bailleul for Doullens, Somme, and then marched to billets in Candas and Fienvillers. From there they marched to Naours and Pierregot and arrived at Hénencourt on 17th August. A period of training commenced at Hénencourt Wood and continued until 7th September. On 8th September they marched through Albert and went into dugouts at Lozenge Wood. On 10th September the battalion was ordered to take over some more of the front line trenches around Martinpuich which the enemy was attacking with a heavy barrage.

On 15th September the Battle of Flers-Courcelette began and Frederick's battalion was in action between High Wood and Martinpuich, having been sent to reinforce an attack by the 1/4th and 1/7th Northumberland Fusiliers. The Battle continued until 22nd September but the 1/5th Northumberland Fusiliers were pulled from the front line on 16th and took up a position in dugouts a little further back. The battalion remained in nearby trenches until the end of the battle. On 25th September the battalion moved even further back from the front to Contalmaison. After two days of providing working parties on the roads the battalion returned to the trenches near Martinpuich on 29th September and were once again under heavy bombardment by the enemy.

On 1st October 1916 the battalion was ordered to attack and capture Eaucort l'Abbaye north-west of Martinpuich and during this attack Frederick, aged 22, was killed in action. His body was never found and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 10B, 11B and 12B. Frederick is also remembered on the Memorial Cross, Main Street, Long Whatton.

Private 12088 Charles Ernest Bailey

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action Mesopotamia 6th April 1916, Aged 17.

Commemorated Basra  Memorial panel 12. 

 

Charles Ernest Bailey was born in Loughborough in the summer of 1898. He was the eldest son of Charles Bailey, a labourer turned brick maker, and his wife Alice (née Booles) who were married in Loughborough a few months before their son was born. Charles Ernest had two brothers Sidney and Lawrence and two sisters Rose and Doris; another brother Harold died aged one in 1901. In 1901 the family home was at 1 Park Row, Park Road, Loughborough, but by 1911 it was at 8 Pinfold Gate.

When Charles Ernest enlisted at Loughborough on 27th August 1914 he was only just sixteen, although he gave his age as seventeen. He stated his occupation as riveter. He was accepted as Private 12088 for the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and sent for training as a recruit at Portsmouth. By May 1915 he had been posted to Hull for duty with the Humber Garrison.

On 17th February 1916 he was once again posted, this time to join the 2nd Leicesters in the Persian Gulf. He 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 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. Charles, with the 2nd Leicesters, was part of a night march in massed formation on the enemy's new position. As dawn broke on 6th April the troops came under withering fire from the enemy. This continued throughout the whole day and one officer and 45 men of the 2nd Battalion were killed. Charles had only been with his battalion for three days when he was killed in action on 6th April 1916, aged 17.

Charles is remembered on the Emmanuel Church Roll of Honour, Loughborough, as well as on the Basra Memorial, Iraq, and the Carillon.

Drummer 1392 Rowland James Baker

 

1/8th Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)

Died at Home 28th September 1914, Aged 22.

Buried Newark Upon Trent Cemetery M. C. 299. 

 

Rowland James Baker was born in Leicester in 1892, the son of John William Baker, a machine fitter, and Elizabeth Smith who were married in Leicester in 1887. His mother was born in Loughborough and in his youth Rowland attended the Loughborough Baptist Church Sunday School. Rowland had one brother Peter. His parents later moved to 49 Albert Street, Newark, Notts.

Prior to enlistment Rowland Baker was a brewer's labourer (1911) and then a storekeeper for Simpson's Ltd (1912). He enlisted on 12 March 1912, and was firstly a Private and then a Drummer in the Sherwood Foresters 1/8th Battalion.

After mobilisation at Newark when war was declared the 1/8th Sherwood Foresters marched via Radliffe-on-Trent to Derby and entrained for Luton on 15th August, 1914. On 21st August they moved to Harpenden and began a period of training. Rowland died in hospital in England just over one month later.

Private 16445 Charles Frederick Ball

 

7th Bn, Royal Dublin Fusiliers.                                    

Killed in Action 13th September 1915,  Aged 36.

Buried Lala Baba Cemetery Turkey, II. A. 8.

              

Charles Frederick Ball was the son of Alfred Bramley Ball and Mary Bowley Kirby who were married in Edmonton, Middlesex, in 1876. Charles was born in Loughborough in 1879 and was usually known as 'Fred'. He had four brothers Alfred, John, Herbert and George and one sister Constance. Charles's father, a pharmaceutical chemist with premises at 14 High St, Loughborough, died in 1889 and his mother moved, firstly to 86 Park Road, and then to 8 Forest Road.

Fred was educated at Loughborough Grammar School. He loved languages, enjoyed travel and became a fine cricketer and golfer. His true passion, however, was for botany.

As a young man Fred worked for several years in Messrs. Barron's Nursery, Elvaston, Derby, and subsequently was employed in Barr's Nurseries in Surbiton, Surrey. From there he entered Kew in July 1900, worked first in the Temperate House, and was soon promoted to sub-foreman in the Herbaceous and Alpine Department. Leaving Kew in 1903, he joined his brother in a market garden at Nottingham, but found the business insufficient to support two, and returned to Kew. In December 1906 Fred was appointed foreman in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin, and seven months later, having passed the necessary examination, Assistant to the Keeper, Sir Frederick Moore.

Although an exceedingly good all-round plantsman, Fred had a special interest in Alpines, and generally spent his annual leave collecting and studying the flora of the Swiss Alps and northern Italy. In 1911, sponsored by Pierce, the O'Mahony of Kerry, he visited Bulgaria and obtained permission for a fellow Kewite, Herbert Cowley, to accompany him. The two men were personal guests of King Ferdinand. Many of Fred's photographs from Bulgaria appeared in the horticultural press, and the collection of Haberleas which he sent home greatly added to the Glasnevin collections. Fred was afterwards was invited to give a lecture before the Royal Horticultural Society in London.

He was editor of Irish Gardening, and a member of the Kew Guild Committee. Another interest was plant-breeding, and several of his hybrids, including Calceolaria JBallii, received favourable commendation.

In late November 1914, Fred enlisted in the 7th (Pals) Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, marrying his girlfriend Alice Agnes Lane of 15, Percy Place, Dublin, soon afterwards on 16th December 1914. During her husband's absence Alice, a lady of Scottish and Irish descent, tried to cheer and help the wounded.

Fred's battalion, which included a number of Dublin footballers whom he knew, was trained in endless route marching, trench digging and musketry at the Curragh Camp, County Kildare, Ireland, and in Hampshire. The battalion sailed from Devonport on the SS Alaunia for the Mediterranean on 11th July 1915, travelling via Gibraltar, Malta, to Alexandria, Egypt. On 25th July they arrived at Mitylene, Lesbos, Greece. On 6th August they were transhipped to HMT Fauvette and departed for Suvla Bay in Gallipoli, arriving the following morning. They were immediately involved in the attack on Chocolate Hill, followed by the Battle for Kizlar Dagh from 13th-15th August.



Escallonia 'C.F.Ball'
The dangers of the front, however, did not deter Fred from his love of botany and he sent numerous seedlings from the Suvla sector to the gardeners of Glasnevin. A comrade invalided home remembered seeing Fred lying behind a big boulder digging up "weeds", with Turkish bullets spitting all around him. Fred was killed in action in the battle for Scimitar Hill on 13th September 1915. He is commemorated at Loughborough Grammar School, St. Mobhi's Church, Glasnevin, and on the Carillon.

An obituary in the Irish Times spoke of Fred as 'one of the foremost horticulturists in Ireland, and one of the best authorities on flowers. He had a fearless, brave tender and true disposition, and those who mourn him must thank god for lending them such a beautiful life, for a little while'.

Another obituary noted that: 'Charles was a delightful companion, unassuming, sincere and a most lovable man'. The hedge plant Escallonia 'C.F.Ball' was named in his honour.

 

Sapper 145711 Roland Banks

Royal Engineers

Died at Home 27th June 1919, Aged 22.


Buried Loughborough Cemetery 48/107. 

Private 21737 Albert Barker

 

C Coy. 7th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment

Killed in Action 21st May 1916, Aged 30.


Buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery, I. A. 38. 

 

Albert Barker was born in 1885 in Loughborough, the son of Elias Barker, a framework knitter from Belper, Derbyshire, and his first wife Alice (née Lakin). Albert's parents were married in Loughborough in 1870 and Albert had five brothers William, Alec, Joseph, James and Arthur and one sister Mary. In 1881 the family was living at 4 Rectory Place, Loughborough, but by 1891 had moved to 54 Cambridge Street. After Albert's mother died in 1899 his widowed father moved with Albert, James and Arthur to 3 Holland Street.

In 1902 Albert's father was remarried to Mary Ellen Hudson and in 1904 Albert acquired a half-sister Dorothy. His father and step-mother moved to 7 Moira Street and Albert became an iron moulder. On 27th December 1909 Albert himself was married to Ann Turner at St. Peter's Church, Leeds. Albert and Ann initially lived with Albert's sister Mary (Mrs. Pepper) and her husband John and family at 9 Cobden Street but later moved to 3 Thomas Street. Albert and Ann had three children: Ada (born 1910), Arthur (born 1912) and Harold (born 1913).

One source states that Albert enlisted in Loughborough, with no date given, another that he enlisted on 28th September 1915 at Barnard Castle, County Durham. Loughborough as the place of enlistment seems rather more likely though certainly some men of the Leicestershire Regiment were at Barnard Castle in the autumn of 1915. As Private 21737 Albert joined C Coy of the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.

What is certain is that Albert entered the theatre of war in France on the 29th December 1915. At that point the 7th Leicesters were involved in various trench warfare activities in the area of Arras. The freezing weather of January 1916 made life doubly difficult and in February they were required to take over extra trench areas vacated by the French who were concentrating every effort at the Battle of Verdun. These new trenches eventually included those in front of Bailleulment to the left of existing positions and to the right as far as far as Hannescamps. At the same time the enemy redoubled their efforts in shelling Berles-au-Bois.

When not in the trenches the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April 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 repairing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers au Bois. Those not building the railway were in the trenches. On 21st May 1916 the 7th Leicesters were repairing the support line at Bienvillers when some trench mortar bombs fell in the right half of the battalion's line. Three men were killed, including Albert, and four were wounded. Albert was aged only 30 when he was killed.

Albert is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Grave I. A. 38. His widow later moved with their children back to her home town of Leeds and settled at 54, Lower John Street, Bramley, Leeds, Yorkshire.
 

Private 265187 Albert Ernest Barker

 

1/7th Bn, Sherwood Foresters. (Notts & Derby Regt).                                    

Died of Wounds 16th October 1917, Aged 21.

Buried Lapugnoy Military Cemetery. VI. A. 15.

(His brother Reginald Horace Barker also fell see below)  

Albert was the Son of Mr. John Thomas and Annie Barker of 22 Mona Street Beeston Notts formerly of Leopold Street Loughborough. Albert was one of the leaders of Notts and Derby in an attack on a German position when he was badly wounded. Mrs. Barker received very comforting letters from the chaplain and Captain of the Company. The letter reads, when I took command of the company I realized what a fine straight boy your son was. I was wounded the same night that he was and were both sent to the same hospital. Whilst he was here I visited him frequently, every day. The boy was very ill when he arrived here, but he was so brave and cheerful all the time. All my sympathy goes out to you, he was such a brave lad. You must always remember he lived each day like he died a very brave and gallant Englishman.  
 

 

Sergeant 265254 Reginald Horace Barker

 

1/7th Bn, Sherwood Foresters. (Notts & Derby Regt).

Killed in action 30th June 1917, Aged 22.

Commemorated Arras Memorial Bay 7. 

(His brother Albert Ernest Barker also fell see above) 

Reginald Horace Barker was born in Loughborough in 1895, the son of John Thomas Barker and his wife Annie (née Clowes). Reginald’s parents were married on 27th June 1894 at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Quorn. Reginald had two brothers Albert and Arthur. Another sibling had died in infancy. In 1901 the Barker family lived at 72 Fisher Street, Nottingham and Reginald’s father was a grocer. By 1911 the family had moved to 40 Leopold Street, Loughborough, and Reginald’s father was now a master baker, with his wife Annie assisting in the business. Reginald, meanwhile, aged 15, was a printer’s apprentice at the Echo Works in Loughborough. The family later moved to 22 Mona Street, Beeston, Nottinghamshire.

Reginald was a Private with the 1/5th Leicestershire Territorials and was mobilised in August 1914 as Private 1944. He transferred to the 1/7th (Robin Hood) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) as Private 265254 and at some point was promoted to Sergeant.

The Robin Hood Battalion moved on mobilisation to Harpenden and then in November 1914 to Bocking, Braintree, Essex. On 25th February 1915 the battalion left Southampton for Le Havre. They entrained at Le Havre for Cassel and marched to Reweld before moving to Ploegsteert for trench instruction. Part of March was taken up with additional training before the battalion moved into the trenches at Lindenhock on 4th April. Further trench tours at Lindenhock and Kemmel followed, with rest periods at Locre. On 20th June the battalion marched to Vlamertinghe and provided trench support at Sanctuary Wood and in July on the Hooge trench line they experienced the German liquid fire attack. From 25th August to 28th September the battalion did trench tours south of Verbranden- Molen, with rest periods at Busseboom. On October 1st they entrained for Fouquereuil, marched to Hinges and began trench tours on the Hulluch-Vermelles Road. On 13th October they took part in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, after which they moved to Druvin, Gosnay and Béthune. In November they did trench tours at Richebourg-St.-Vaast before moving to Robecq, Boesghem and St.Isbergues in December.

On 7th January 1916 the battalion was sent to Marseilles but the projected departure for Egypt was aborted. The battalion returned to Pont Rémy and was back in the trenches at Boyan Cassalle by 9th March and throughout April, with breaks at Mont St. Eloi, Doffine and Penin. In early May there were digging parties at Humbercamps and in late May trench tours at Foncquevillers. Practice attacks and working parties at Bienvillers followed in June until the battalion moved up to the front line at Foncquevillers in preparation for the first day of the Somme on 1st July.

The battalion sustained 424 casualties in the attack on 1st July and was withdrawn to Bienvillers on the same day into Divisional Reserve. The battalion remained in reserve at Saulty, Bellacourt and Bailleulval until the end of July when the men returned to the trenches at Bretencourt. Further trench tours at Bretencourt took place, with breaks at Bailleulval and Bellacourt, until the end of October. From 3rd until 22nd November there was training at Conteville and Noyelle before the battalion was sent to clean up the village of Warluzel. In December the battalion was back on trench tours at Fonquevillers where the enemy was very active before a Christmas break was taken at Souastre.

From January to mid-March 1917 the battalion remained on trench tours at Fonquevillers before being sent to Nedonchelle and then to billets at Fosse Calonne, a mining village west of Lens, for road work. At the end of April they went into the front line in the Lievin sector and May was spent in the support line in the Loos St. Pierre sector, trench digging. In June 1917 the battalion was in the front and support lines at Lievin, Bully-Grenay, and at Loos St. Pierre where they incurred 45 casualties from enemy gas bombs. On the night of the 29th/30th June as the battalion moved forward in a surprise attack on the enemy in the Lievin Sector Reginald, aged 22, was killed by an enemy sniper while leading his platoon.

Reginald’s body was never recovered. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial Bay 7. He is also commemorated on the memorial in St. John the Baptist Church, Beeston, on the Nottingham County Council Roll of Honour, and on the Carillon.

It is understood that shortly before he died, Reginald had received instructions to return to England in order to take a commission.

Reginald’s brother Albert who was also in the same regiment sent the news to his father. Albert died of wounds on 16th October 1917.

 

 

Private O/5173 Harold George Barker

 

39th Ordnance (light) Mobile Workshop, Royal Army Ordanance Corps.

Died 7th July 1919, Aged 25.

Buried Kantara War Cemetery Egypt. C. 71. 

 

Husband of Mrs Barker 22 Clifford Road, Loughborough

Private 18487 Richard Lee Barker

7th Bn. Norfolk Regiment.

Killed in Action 7th May 1917, Aged 33.


Buried Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery, Wancourt. II. B. 11. 

Richard Lee Barker was born in Wimbotsham, Norfolk, on 22nd March 1884 and baptised on 29th June 1884 at the Church of St, Mary the Virgin, Wimbotsham. He was the son of Richard Lee Barker (Senior), a farm labourer, and his wife Sarah (née Fendick) who were married in Norfolk in 1870. Richard Junior had a brother William and a sister Alice and from 1881 to 1891 the Barker family lived in Stow Bridge Road, Wimbotsham. Richard Senior died in 1899 and in 1901 Richard Junior, who was now a domestic gardener, was living with his brother William, sister Alice, her husband and family and their widowed mother Sarah in Station Road, Wimbotsham.

In 1911 Richard married Daisy E. Spinks and the couple settled in Stow Bridge Road. By June 1915 they had two sons Richard and Archie. Between 1915 and 1917 Daisy and the children moved to Loughborough.

Richard enlisted with the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment in Norwich and joined the Regiment as Private 18487. His date of enlistment is unknown as his service record has not survived. He later transferred to the 7th (Service) Battalion, but again, the date of transfer is also unknown. He was sent to France on 7th October 1915. It seems likely that Richard was posted to the 7th Battalion in October 1915 in view of the battalion's disastrous losses of men at the Battle of Loos.

By 21st October the 7th Battalion, part of the Army's 12th (Eastern) Division, had moved to Fouquières-lès-Béthune for a short rest before returning to the front line at the Hohenzollern Redoubt until 15th November, when they went into reserve at Lillers. On 10th December their Division took over the front line north of La Bassée canal at Givenchy. Between 12th December 1915 and 18th January 1916 in a quiet period of trench-holding, the Division nonetheless suffered the loss of 102 officers and 670 men killed, wounded or missing.

On 19th January 1916 they began a period of training in open warfare at Busnes. Units then moved back into the front line at Loos on 12th-13th February 1916 and by 15th February held the line from there to the Hohenzollern Redoubt. The area of the Hohenzollern Redoubt had become one where underground mine warfare was very active. On 2nd March 1916 the Royal Engineers detonated four mines enabling craters and important observation points over enemy lines to be captured. Severe fighting in the crater area continued until 26th April when the Division was relieved and a period of rest and training began before moving to the Somme.

In June the Division moved to Flesselles and carried out a training exercise. They moved to Baizieux on 30th June and went into the Reserve at Hencourt and Millencourt on 1st July. They relieved the 8th Division at Ovillers-la-Boisselle that night and attacked at 3.15 the following morning with mixed success. On 7th July they attacked again and despite suffering heavy casualties in the area of Mash Valley, succeeded in capturing and holding the first and second lines close to Ovillers. They were withdrawn to Contay on the Arras front on 22nd July.

They moved to the Arras front on 22nd August, returning to the Somme at the end of September, taking over forward positions in appalling conditions at Geuedecourt, where the Fourth Army mounted an attack on 7th October to little effect. On 19th October the Division returned to Arras.

Arras proved to be a relatively quiet sector although there were frequent trench raids and shellfire. On 17th December 1916, the Division moved out of the front line for rest - its first since June - in the Grande Rullecourt and Ambrines areas.

As early as January 1917, the Division received notice that it would take part in an offensive at Arras. It moved to the front in that sector on 14th January and did not leave other than for periods of rest until towards the end of 1917. The Division was in action at Arras from 9th-14th April in the First Battle of the Scarpe, from 28th-29th April in the Battle of Arleux and from 3rd-4th May in the Third Battle of the Scarpe.

Richard was killed in action on 7th May 1917, aged 33. He is buried in Feuchy Chapel Cemetery, Wancourt, near Arras, Grave II. B. 11. Richard is remembered on the Wimbotsham and Stow Bardolph (East) War Memorial, Norfolk, and on the war memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building in Loughborough.




Wimbotsham and Stow Bardolph (East) War Memorial


Private 4628 George William Barnett

 

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

Killed in Dublin Ireland, 27th April 1916, Aged 23.

Buried Eastern Health Board Grounds, Kilmainham, County Dublin.

 

George William Barnett was born on 8th March 1893 in Wymeswold, Leicestershire, the son of William Barnett and his wife Kate Elizabeth (née Smith) who were married in the Loughborough area in 1893 just prior to George's birth. George had two brothers John and Walter; another brother James had died as an infant. George's father who started out as an electric winder's labourer became an iron sawyer for Herbert Morris Ltd crane builders of Loughborough. In 1901 the Barnett family lived at 3 Court G, Baxter Gate, Loughborough but by 1911 had moved to 21B Factory Street and from thence by 1915 to 79 Cobden Street. In 1911 George was employed as a shop assistant for a tea and provision merchants and still living at home. He attended the Baptist Church.

George attested on 20th December 1915 at Newark, Nottinghamshire, where he was now working as a shop assistant and living at 14 Sydney Street. He joined the 2/8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) as Private 4628 and was mobilised on 25th January 1916. He was sent for basic training at Watford. Most of George's battalion were still unfamiliar with their weapons and had not yet had live firing practice when in April 1916 they were pulled out of Watford with the 2/5th, 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions 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.

On 26th April the Nottinghamshire battalions (2/7th and 2/8th) were ordered to march through the centre of Dublin while the Derbyshire battalions (2/5th and 2/6th) were to march round the city and enter from the west. The Nottinghamshire battalions were caught in merciless crossfire in the area of Mount Street Canal Bridge and Northumberland Road and suffered numerous casualties. On the following day the 2/7th and 2/8th battalions were 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.

The 2/7th and 2/8th Battalions of the Foresters lost over two hundred men killed or wounded at Mount Street on 26th April and at the South Dublin Union on 27th April. George William Barnett, aged 23, was one of those who lost their lives on 27th April. He is buried in a collective grave with the grounds of the offices of the Eastern Health Board, Kilmainham, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
The image to the left shows the resting place of 5 British soldiers and 2 Irish Volunteers killed during the 1916 Easter Uprising. The graves are situated in the grounds of what used to be part of Dr. Steeven's Hospital across the road from Heuston Station, Dublin.

Private 14739 William Barnett

 

4th Bn, Coldstream Guards.

Died of Wounds 11th December 1915, Aged 22.

Buried Longuenesse (St Omer). II. D. 17. 

 

 

William Barnett was born in Wymeswold, Leicestershire, on 22nd February 1893. He was the son of Isaac Barnett and Sarah Barnett (née Basford) who were married in the Loughborough area in 1874. William had five brothers Edward, Robert, Thomas, John and Isaac and three sisters Hannah, Mary and Martha. William's father Isaac Senior was initially an agricultural labourer and shepherd at St. Maur Farm, Burton on the Wolds but by 1901 he had become a waggoner and the family had moved to Walton Road, Prestwold. When William's mother Sarah died in early 1911 his father moved to 28 Judges Street, Loughborough. As his father had been William himself was now a farm labourer.

William enlisted in January 1915 and joined the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Coldstream Guards as Private 14739. In July 1915 the 4th Battalion (Pioneers) of the Coldstream Guards was raised at Windsor from this Reserve Battalion. William was sent to France with the 4th Battalion (Pioneers) on 15th August 1915 to join the Guards Division.

At St. Omer training was then begun in earnest for the forthcoming Battle of Loos. The Pioneers, picked for their stamina and strength particularly with a pick and shovel as well as fighting capability, supported all the other Guards battalions arriving at Lone Tree near Loos as the vanguard. During the Battle of Loos they remained in support and it is clear that other Guards companies that took high casualties were then strengthened by men such as the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards Pioneers.

At the beginning of November 1915 the Pioneers were ordered north to the front around Laventie and moved to a new position in trenches near Neuve Chapelle. Here while employed in tunnelling and mining they were subjected to artillery bombardments by the enemy.

William died of wounds at Laventie on 11th December 1915, aged 22. He is buried at Longuenesse, St. Omer, Grave II.D.17. His father died at 8 Cradock Street, Loughborough, two weeks before William died.

Private 16639 Edward Barradell

 

East Riding Yeomanry

Died at Sea 10th October 1918, Aged 18.

Buried Grange Gorman Cemetery, County Dublin Ireland RC. 601

 

Son of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Barradell, of 35 Oxford street, Loughborough.

Private 50633 George Henry Barradell

10th Bn. Cheshire Regiment

Formerly 30544, Leicestershire Regiment

Died of Wounds 13th August 1917, Aged 34.

Buried Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, XVII. F. 11.

Private 23863 Charles Ernest Barrett

2nd Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th March 1917, Aged 20.

Commemorated Basra Memorial. Iraq. Panel 12

(His brother Walter Barrrett also fell see below)

Charles Ernest Barrett was born in 1896 in Loughborough, the son of Charles Barrett and Sarah Barrett (née Watson) who were married in Loughborough in 1893. Charles had two brothers Walter and George, one sister Florence and one half-sister Nellie. Charles was only three when his father died, aged 26, and in 1901 Charles was living with his mother, his aunt Elizabeth Watson, and siblings at 121 Meadow Lane. In 1906 Charles's mother married George Russell, a machine painter for an electrical engineering company. The family then moved to 2 Freehold Street and by 1911 Charles, aged 14, was a grocer's boy. Over the next four years Charles progressed to being a grocer. He also held a position with the Working Men's Industrial Society, Pinfold Gate. Between 1914 and 1915 Charles's family moved to 42 Freehold Street.

Charles enlisted at Loughborough on 19th June 1915 and joined the 10th (Reserve) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 23863. He was sent to Barnard Castle, Co. Durham and then in November 1915 to Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire to complete his training.

On 8th March 1916 Charles married Alice Vivien Willday [or Wilday] at St. Bartholomew's Church, Quorn. In May 1916 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment in Mesopotamia and on 14th May he embarked at Devonport on the H.T. Llandovery Castle. He arrived in Basra on 15th June and, having travelled up the Tigris, joined his battalion in the field on 8th July.

The Tigris Corps which had recently occupied the Dujaila Redoubt south of Kut was keeping a close watch on the Ottoman forces. The intense heat from June to August, however, caused a heavy toll from sickness and disease among the troops. Charles had only been with his battalion for three weeks when he fell ill and was taken to hospital where he remained for a week. He rejoined his battalion on 7th August only to be sent to hospital again on 29th August. He was not back with his unit until 28th January 1917. Charles's daughter Gladys was born on 27th September 1916 but it is unlikely that he ever saw her.

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 Charles'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. Charles was killed in action on 9th March 1917, aged 20.

Charles is commemorated on the Basra memorial, Iraq, Panel. 12. His brother Walter who was with the 6th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment had been killed on the Somme in September 1916.

Charles's widow Alice, who remained in Leicester Road, Quorn, was remarried in 1927 to William H. Preston in Quorn.

Private 10252 Walter Barrett

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 23rd September 1916, Aged 22.

Buried Heilly Station Cemetery, Somme, IV. E. 78.

(His brother Charles Barrett also fell see above)

 
 
Walter Barrett was born in Loughborough in 1894, the son of Charles Barrett and Sarah Barrett (née Watson) who were married in Loughborough in 1893. Walter had two brothers Charles and George, one sister Florence and one half-sister Nellie. When Walter was six his father died, aged 26, and in 1901 Walter was living with his mother, aunt Elizabeth Watson, and siblings at 121 Meadow Lane. In 1906 Walter's mother married George Russell, a machine painter for an electrical engineering company. The family then moved to 2 Freehold Street and by 1911 Walter, aged 16, was a woodworker in an electrical car business. By 1914 Walter had become a boiler maker for H. Colman and Son of Meadow Lane, Loughborough. Between 1914 and 1915 Charles's family moved to 42 Freehold Street.

Walter enlisted on 18th August 1914 at Loughborough and joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, part of Kitchener's First New Army, as Private 10252. He was 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. Walter arrived in France on on 30th July 1915.

In September Walter's battalion was sent to the area of Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras and near the front line. 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. On 20th July the battalion entrained at Ribemont and detrained at Saleux, after which they marched to Hengest. Travelling part of the way in lorries and part of the way on foot they reached Arras on 27th July and relieved the 8th Leicesters in the trenches on 7th August. The remainder of August was spent in the trenches and in billets in Arras.

On 4th September the battalion left Arras for Liencourt and after a week there for training moved to Fricourt and Bernafay Wood, east of Montauban-de-Picardie. Here from 19th to 24th September the men were employed in the improvement of communication and support trenches. It is not known when Walter was wounded but he died from his wounds, aged 22, in No. 30 Casualty Clearing Station on 23rd September 1916.

Walter was buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé, Somme, Grave IV. E. 78. His brother Charles who also served with the Leicestershire Regiment died in Mesopotamia in March 1917.

Lieutenant  Howard Cyril Barrow

 

Machine Gun Corps.

Killed in action 20th Sept. 1917, Aged 23            

Commemorated  Tyn Cot  154-159

 

Mr. George Richardson Barrow and his wife Sarah Caroline Barrow of 11 Gregory Street Loughborough, received information that their eldest son Lieutenant Howard Cyril Barrow York and Lanc Regiment attached to a machine gun company, fell in battle on September 20th 1917. He had been abroad over a year. He was on the staff of Barclays bank at Barnsley when he was enlisted on October 8th 1915. A letter to his parents from one of the officers reads, your son fell nobly doing his duty. I am sure he would not have wished to have died better. Up to the very last moment he showed personal courage, encouraging his men in there duties. He was a great example. Please accept on behalf of myself and brother officers who deeply regret his loss our most deep sympathy. He was well liked by his men who have lost a good comrade in danger.

Private 240411 Eric Graham Barsby

7th. Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Gassing 24th December 1917, Aged 20.

Buried Epehy Wood Farm Somme. III. J. 15. 

(His brother John E. Barsby also fell see below)

Mrs. Barsby of 25 Howard Street Loughborough received news from the chaplain of her son Private Eric Graham Barsby had died on Christmas Eve 1917. He was close to the lines in a village sleeping in a cellar, when a gas shell came over and exploded. Gassing the occupants before they had time to wake and put on their gas respirators. He was 20 years old and had enlisted in August 1914. He was the second son to loose his life, his brother Ernest was killed in action in September 1915.

Private 10401 John Ernest Barsby

6th. Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 10th September 1915, Aged 20.

Buried Berles-Au--Bois Church Yard. S. 15. 

(His brother Eric G. Barsby also fell see above)

John Ernest Barsby was born in 1895 in Loughborough, the son of John Barsby, a tailor, and his wife Ellen (née Gosling) who both came from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and who were married there in 1881. John Ernest had nine siblings: Beatrice, Frances, Ethel, Jane, Marion, William, Eric, Gladys and Cyril and in 1901 the family lived at 18 Havelock Street, Loughborough. John Ernest's father unfortunately died in 1904 and by 1911 John was employed as a pattern fitter at the Empress Works. His widowed mother and eight of her children, including John, had now moved to 22 Havelock Street. By 1914 they had moved again, to 25 Howard Street.

John enlisted on 25th August 1914 and arrived at the Depot of the Leicestershire Regiment on 27th August, being transferred into the 6th (Service) Battalion on 30th August. The Battalion was sent firstly to Salisbury Training Centre and then to Bordon, Hampshire. Although arms and equipment were only gradually obtained the recruits were judged ready for war by spring 1915.

The Battalion then became part of the 6th New Army, 37th Division. In April 1915 the Division concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain and 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 by 2nd August all units were concentrated near Tilques, near St. Omer in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. On 10th September 1915 John was on sentry duty in the trenches near Berles au Bois when he was killed by sniper fire.

Private Clarke of Queens Road, Loughborough, wrote to Mrs. Barsby telling her he was standing next to her son when he was shot. A Corporal also wrote to Mrs. Barsby, and said that he 'died at his post like a British Hero'. The Lieutenant of the platoon also wrote to say 'We all regret his death most deeply, and his loss will be felt by everyone in the platoon. Your son died at his post doing his duty like a soldier'. John is commemorated on memorials at All Saints Church and St. Peter's Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Private 13296 George Barson

 

3rd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died at Home 11th September 1915, Aged 36.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery, 45/225. 

 

George Barson was born at Mountsorrel Road, Quorn in 1879. He was the third son of George Barson, a carpenter and joiner, and his wife Mary Ann (née Adkins) who were married in Loughborough in 1895. George Junior originally had eight siblings, but only five survived to adulthood: Emery, Arthur, Maggie, Jane and Lily. By 1891 the family had moved to 10, Lower Cambridge Street, Loughborough.

George Junior started his working life as a baker and confectioner, but on 12th March 1900 he attested for the 7th Queen's Own Light Dragoons (Hussars). Two days later he was posted as Private 7556, and in December 1900 transferred to the 20th Hussars. Whether George joined the 20th Hussars at Mhow, India, is unknown, but it is likely that he went to South Africa during the closing stages of the 2nd Boer War. The 20th Hussars took part in Kitchener's operations against the Boer 'commandos' of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. George unfortunately became medically unfit and was discharged from the Hussars at Aldershot on 7th February 1902.

He returned to Loughborough and took a job as a railway goods porter and in 1904 married Rebecca Wardle in Loughborough. George and Rebecca settled at 42 Russell Street and by 1912 had three children: Albert, George and Vera. By 1914 they had moved to 28 Russell Street.

When war broke out George re-enlisted on 3rd September 1914 and was appointed as Private 13296 with the 3rd Leicestershire Regiment. He arrived in France to join the 2nd Leicesters in the British Expeditionary Force on 12th December 1914 but on 25th January 1915 he was admitted to hospital with rheumatic fever, sent back to England on the hospital ship St. Patrick and admitted to the Southern General Hospital, Southmead, Bristol. He returned to France on 2nd April 1915, but nineteen days later he was admitted to hospital at Le Havre with bronchitis and shipped back to England again on 24th April. George died from bronchitis and pneumonia, while on leave at home, on 11th September 1915.

George was accorded a military funeral and buried at Loughborough Cemetery. The service was conducted by the Rev. R. F. Handford and was attended by a firing and bugle party from Glen Parva. Sergt. Miller was in command of a party of soldiers from the North Midland Mounted Brigade at Garendon, and a number of the 1/5th Battalion, under Sergt. Everitt, also attended. The mourners were Mrs. Barson (widow) and her three children, Mr. and Mrs. E. Barson (brother and sister-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Tripp, Mr. and Mrs. Burnham (sisters and brothers-in-law), Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Stenson and Mrs. Peacock.

Shortly after her husband's death Rebecca Barson gave birth to their fourth child, Edna. George Barson's older brother Emery, who had been with the Northumberland Fusiliers since 1899 and also fought in the First World War survived the conflict.

Private 13111 George Henry Bassford

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 18th September 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Chapelle British Cemetery, II. D. 18. 

 

George was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Bassford of 13 Mill Street Loughborough. He was one of the first to join up with Kitcheners Army in August 1914. He had been severely wounded in the head in the battle of the Somme in 1916. After recovering from his injuries he went back to France at the end of March 1918. Before the war he was employed at the Brush Works. He had served for four years in the army, and was just 22 years of age at his death.
1st Leicesters, George is in the 2nd row from the back, 5 in from the left.

 

Private 18/22 Alfred Baum

 

18th Bn, Durham Light Infantry.

Killed in Action 3rd August 1916, Aged 30.

Buried St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, iii. g. 16. 

 

Alfred Baum was born in 1886 in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, and not in Loughborough as one record suggests. He was the elder son of Firley Baum, a stone quarryman, and his wife Rebecca (née Wesley) who were married in Mountsorrel on 23rd February 1886. Alfred had one younger brother Wilford. In 1901 the family lived at 3 Quorn Road, Mountsorrel, and Alfred, aged 14, had already joined his father in the stone quarry and was working as a sett-maker. By 1911 Alfred had left the quarry at Mountsorrel and was working as a quarryman-sett-maker in Tenbury on the Hill, Ludlow, Shropshire. Between 1911 and 1914 he appears to have moved on again to County Durham where his father had relatives in Middleton-in-Teesdale. Alfred's parents, meanwhile, moved to 96 Loughborough Road, Mountsorrel, and later to 150 and then 26 Loughborough Road.

Alfred enlisted at Darlington on 7th October 1914. He joined A Coy of the 18th (Service) Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry as Private 18/22. This battalion, often referred to as the 'Durham Pals', was the only battalion in the country funded by public subscribers rather than the Government. Alfred's military training began at Cocken Hall on the banks of the River Wear near Durham City. In December 1914 he moved to Fencehouses near Houghton-le-Spring, returned to Cocken Hall in February 1915 and then went to Fencehouses again in March. In May 1915 the battalion moved to Cramlington, Northumberland, and then to Ripon, Yorkshire, and came under the orders of the 31st Division of the Army. After about four months at Ripon the Division was ordered to move to Fovant, Wiltshire.

On 6th December 1915 Alfred sailed from Liverpool on the RMS Empress of Britain for Egypt, arriving at Port Said on 21st December. On 28th December the battalion entrained in open trucks for Kantara. They camped on the east bank of the Suez Canal and were employed on the reconstruction of trenches and improvement of the Canal defences. The expected warning order to prepare for departure to Mesopotamia was, however, cancelled and on 2nd March the battalion entrained for Port Said. Preparations were made for a return to France and on 5th March Alfred left Egypt on the H.T.Ivernia.

Having arrived at Marseilles on 11th March the battalion entrained for Pont Rémy in Picardy. A series of long and exhausting marches followed until the battalion arrived at Beaussart on 28th March. They then proceeded to the front line trenches east of Auchonvilliers near Beaumont-Hamel. In mid-April the battalion moved into support at Colincamps and on 28th April into reserve at Bertrancourt. In mid-May they were in the front line trenches at Bus-lès-Artois. When increased enemy action around 24th May began to make the Colincamps area very hazardous the battalion was moved back into camp in Warnimont Wood near Bus-lès-Artois and did not go up to hold the line again until 30th June.

From 1st to 4th July at the start of the Somme Offensive Alfred's A Coy and the battalion's B Coy were heavily shelled and mostly unsuccessful in the Battle for Serre and there were many casualties. Twelve officers in the battalion and nearly 60% of the other ranks were killed but Alfred survived. On 4th July the remainder of the 18th battalion was relieved by the Worcesters and moved to Louvencourt. On 8th July the battalion entrained at Conteville for Berguette and from there marched to La Perreière in the area of Béthune. After six days resting the battalion marched to La Fosse, near Lestrem, and solid training was started again, including bomb-throwing, bombing tactics and musketry. On 27th July the battalion, now reinforced, went into the front line trenches at La Fosse where they were once again on the receiving end of bombardment and raids made by the Germans.

Alfred was killed in action on 3rd August 1916, aged 30. He is buried in St. Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoué, Pas de Calais, Grave III. G. 16. A newspaper casualty list gave Alfred's place of residence as Loughborough, but it has not been established that he ever lived there. He is remembered on the Castle Hill War Memorial, Mountsorrel, on the Roll of Honour in St. Peter's Church, Mountsorrel, on the Memorial in St. Mary's Church, Middleton in Teesdale, and on the War Memorial in the Horsemarket, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Alfred's brother Wilford who served with the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment was killed in France in 1917, accidentally gassed by the Royal Engineers.




War Memorial, Horsemarket, Middleton-in-Teesdale

 

Private 13200 Charles Roland James Baxter

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment. (Stretcher Bearer)

Killed in action 22nd March 1918, Aged 28.

Commemorated Pozieres Memorial panel 29 & 30. 

 

Charles was the son of Mr. Benjamin and Mrs Alice Baxter of 56 Woodgate Loughborough.

  

Private 27282 Albert William Beadman

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 29th April 1917, Aged 26.

Commemorated Arras Memorial Bay 5. 

 

Albert William Beadman was born in Loughborough in 1890 and baptised on 21st October 1891 at All Saints' Church, Loughborough. He was the only surviving son of William Finney Beadman, a bricklayer, and his wife Alice Ensor Beadman (née Frake) who were married at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, on 25th October 1885. Albert had three sisters Helen, Annie and Alice; two brothers Herbert and Frank had died in infancy. In 1890 the family lived at 50 Ashby Square, Loughborough. They later moved to 69 Station Street and then to 12 Broad Street.

In 1911 Albert was a bricklayer's labourer and on 30th May 1914 he married Louisa Dorothy Wheldon at Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough. After they were married Albert and Louisa set up home at 46 The Banks, Sileby, and Albert took a job as a shoehand.

Albert enlisted on 8th December 1915 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 27282. He was assigned to the Army Reserve and posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion on 4th April 1916. He embarked at Folkestone for France on 27th July 1916 and reached Etaples on the following day. At Calais on 23rd August he was posted to the 7th Battalion and two days later joined the 7th Leicesters in the trenches at Agnez-lès-Duisans, near Arras.

After ten days training at Denier and Sars-le-Bois the battalion entrained for the Somme on 12th September and bivouacked outside Montauban north-east of Bernafay Wood. On 25th September they fought very bravely and successfully at Gueudecourt in an action which was part of the Battle of Morval.

On 4th October the battalion entrained once more for the north and the countryside of Loos, taking over positions opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt with rest billets at Mazingarbe, Philosophe, or Vermelles. Training at Cauchy-à-la-Tour and Houtkerque followed. Back in the trenches in March 1917 the battalion experienced what one soldier called 'the bombardment of our lives'.

On 29th March the battalion entrained at Noyelles for Saulty-Larbret and marched to La Cauchie and on to Moyenneville. On 4th April the battalion went into the front line at St. Leger Croisilles, with breaks at Moyenneville. From 15th to 23rd April the battalion was in training at Bailleulval before returning to the trenches at St. Leger Croisilles.

Albert was killed in action on 29th April 1917, the second day of the Battle of Arleux. He was 26. Albert's wife received a letter from the Lieutenant of Albert's Company which said: 'I regret to inform you that your husband Private A. W. Beadman was killed on the 29th of last month. I buried him in a cemetery nearby and marked his grave with a cross, with all particulars on. A dozen men and I myself were within ten yards of him when a shell dropped behind him, and wounded two others also. Death was instantaneous. He was a good man, and I was very sorry to lose him. And I hope you will please excuse the delay of writing, and accept my deepest sympathy in your sad loss'.

Albert is commemorated on the Arras Memorial Bay 5, on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Albert's widow was married again in Loughborough in 1920 to William S. Gillingham.

 

Lance Corporal 7746 Charles Beaumont

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th September 1916, Aged 29.

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

 

Charles Beaumont was born in Leicester in 1888, the second son of William Beaumont, a hairdresser, and Annie Beaumont (née Measures). William and Annie had been married in Leicester in 1886 when they were both aged 17 and they soon had three children William, Charles and Violet. In 1891 the family was living at 39 Bedford Street, Leicester. When William died in 1893 aged only 23, Annie married David Martin, a widowed shoe finisher with a small son Ernest, a few months later. By 1901 the family had moved to 43 Leadenhall Street and Charles, aged 13, was a shoe shaper. He now had two step-siblings, Isaac and Florence Martin and by 1911 there were four more Doris, Nelly, Cyril and George Martin. When Charles's step-father died in 1911 his mother moved the family to 16 Leadenhall Street.

By 1911, however, Charles was no longer living at home but was in India. On 21st August 1905, aged 18, Charles had attested at Leicester. He had already been serving with the militia and in 1905 he signed up to serve for twelve years, nine with the Army and three with the Army Reserve. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 7746. He had tattoos on his right arm of a sailor, a cross and the Prince of Wales' feathers.

After initial training at Leicester and Colchester Charles was sent to India. He served in southern India at Bellary and Fort St. George, Madras, and in northern India at Ranikhet and Bareilly. In 1912 he sustained a severely sprained knee while playing football, for which he was hospitalised. Charles's period of service with the regular army expired on 21st August 1914 and it is likely that he returned to England at this point. Being in the Army Reserve, however, he would have been recalled and it is likely that at this point he joined the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as a Lance Corporal. He was sent to France on 12th October 1914.

The 1st Leicesters, part of the 6th Division of the Army had just fought at the 1st Battle of the Aisne and in October 1914 were moved north into Flanders and involved in continual fighting. In November they were in action at the 1st Battle of Ypres.

In the spring of 1915 they were stationed near Armentières, and were involved in an attack intended to divert the enemy from the area of Neuve Chapelle. In June and July 1915 they were fighting again at Hooge. Charles must have returned to England in the autumn of 1915 as he married Daisy Jackson in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, between October and December 1915.

Between January and July 1916 the 1st Leicesters were on the Ypres Salient. On 1st August 1916 they left the trenches at Potizje and entrained at Proven for France. They reached billets at Lealvillers, Somme, on 4th August and on the following day marched to camp in Mailly-Maillet Wood. A period of training and working parties followed. On 14th August they went into the trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, where they remained until 19th when they returned to the Mailly Wood camp. On 27th August they left for Flesselles. Here additional training took place. On 8th September they occupied former German trenches in the area of Trônes Wood on the northern slope of the Montaubon Ridge while in the following days the build-up for a major battle took place.

Charles was killed in action on the 15th September, the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. He 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.

His widow Daisy married Thomas E. Brookes in Loughborough in 1922 and settled at 24 Tyler Avenue, Loughborough.

 

Private 22394 Herbert Beaver

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action Mesopotamia 23rd April 1917, Aged 29.

Commemorated Basra Memorial Iraq, Panel 12. 

 

Herbert Beaver was born in 1887 in Oakham, Rutland, the son of William Beaver and his wife Sarah Alice (née Lewin) who were married in Oakham on 4th March 1875. Herbert had five brothers John, Tom, James, Ernest and Charles and six sisters Hannah, Mary, Annie, Florence, Sarah and Janet. Three other siblings had died young. Herbert's father was at various times a general labourer, a brickyard labourer and a farm labourer and his mother was a dressmaker. In 1891 the family lived at Rotten Row, Cold Overton Road, Oakham. By 1901 they had moved to Northgate Street, Oakham.

On 21st November 1908 Herbert married Frances Matlock at Loughborough Register Office and the couple set up home at 13 Canal Bank, Meadow Lane, Loughborough. In 1911 Herbert was employed as a cowman on a farm and his wife worked in hosiery as a German seamer. Herbert's parents were also living in Loughborough by 1911 at 32 Burder Street.

On 15th June 1914 Herbert, who was now living at Dean Street, Oakham, and was employed as a labourer, attested at Oakham to join the Leicestershire Territorial Force for four years. He joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private1952. He was discharged after 115 days, however, as medically unfit.

On 29th October 1915 he enlisted again with the Leicestershire Regiment at Market Harborough. At the time he was employed as a labourer at Great Oxenden while his wife was still in Loughborough at Stone Yard, Church Gate. Herbert joined the 10th (2nd Reserve) Battalion of the Leicesters as Private 22394 and was sent to Rugeley Camp at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

His second start with the Leicesters did not go smoothly. On 30th January 1916 he was declared a deserter. Having rejoined from desertion just under one month later he was given 24 days detention for absence.

On 14th May 1916 Herbert was posted to C Coy of the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment in Mesopotamia and he embarked at Devonport on the H.T. Llandovery Castle. He arrived in Basra on 15th June and, having travelled up the Tigris, joined his battalion in the field on 8th July.

The Tigris Corps which had recently occupied the Dujaila Redoubt south of Kut was keeping a close watch on the Ottoman forces. The intense heat from June to August, 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 the end of February 1917 Kut had been reoccupied by the Tigris Corps and the final push towards Baghdad began. Baghdad was entered on 11th March. On 8th April Balad Station was successfully taken, thus securing the line from balad to Sidigharib. After Harba was taken on 9th April the Turks fell back to Istabulat. On 21st April the Tigris Corps was ordered to attack Istabulat. General Maude wrote in his despatch of 15th October 1917 'The assault was delivered in dashing style by the Leicester supported by the 51st Sikhs and the 56th Rifles' and the Ottomans withdrew on 22nd, being forced also to surrender the Summarrah rail yard the following day. Casualties on both sides were, however, high and Herbert was killed in action on 23rd April, aged 29.

Herbert is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 12. His father died a few months after Herbert and his mother moved to Bourne, Lincolnshire.

A local newspaper account read as follows: 'Mrs. Beaver's family have a fine record of soldiering. The eldest son who died out in India was in the regular army and went through the Tirah Campaign. Another son James was in the Hussars when war broke out, and went to France with the original Expeditionary Force and took part in all the early battles, where he was severely wounded. Two other sons served in the ranks. Tom who was in the Northhamptonshire Regiment, was severely wounded after a battle against the Turks, when he had some marvellous escapes, one bullet, after he was crawling back with two wounds in the leg, cutting clean through the soles of his boots without touching the skin. A younger son (an Emmanuel Church Brigade boy) Lance Corporal. C. Beaver in the Leicesters was slightly wounded. Two daughters married soldiers'.

 

Private 241691 Alfred Beck

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died a Prisoner of War on or after 8th June 1917, Aged 25.

Commemorated Arras Memorial, Bay 5. 

Alfred Beck was born in Loughborough in 1891 and baptised at Emmanuel Church on 21st December 1894. He was the son of Arthur Beck and his wife Mary (née Peel, afterwards Stephens) who were married on 18th November 1890 at Emmanuel Church. Alfred's father was a bricklayer's labourer. Alfred's mother was the widow of George Wake Stephens when she married Arthur Beck and she already had four sons Arthur, Frank, Oliver and William Stephens, half-brothers to Alfred. Alfred had one full sibling Mary Beck. From 1901 to 1911 the Beck/Stephens family lived at 8 New Street, Loughborough and by 1911 Alfred, aged 19, was a tilemaker at Tucker's brickyard.

Alfred enlisted in August 1915 and joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private 4625. He was later re-numbered as Private 241691 and sent to France sometime in 1916 or 1917. His service papers have unfortunately not survived.

In mid-February 1916 the 1/5th battalion took over the line north of the River Ancre opposite Beaumont-Hamel in France. 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. 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.

It is not known exactly when Alfred was taken a prisoner of war by the Germans, but he was listed as a prisoner of war by the Red Cross. He died on or after 8th June 1917, aged 25, and is commemorated on the Arras memorial Bay 5, and on the memorial in Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

 

Private 31025 John Ernest Beck

 

1st Bn, South Staffordshire Regiment.

Presumed Killed in Action 13th May 1917, Aged 30.

Commemorated Arras Memorial Bay 6. 

 

John Ernest Beck was born in 1887 at 1 John Street, Loughborough. He was the son of Josiah Wallace Beck, a carpenter, and his wife Sarah (née Hudson) who were married at Traffic Street Primitive Methodist Chapel, Derby, in 1878. John had one brother Percy and one sister Daisy. By 1901 the Beck family had moved to 7 Park Retreat, Smethwick, Staffordshire, and John, now aged 14, was an errand boy. John's father was a member of the General Union of Carpenters and Joiners and later of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners. John's parents later moved to Long Eaton and then Littleworth, Worcestershire.

In 1909 John married Charlotte Jones at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Smethwick. John was now employed as a grocer and lived with his wife at 90 Well Street, Birmingham. By 1911 they had a small son John Harold.

John appears to have enlisted at Smethwick sometime in the summer of 1915 but the exact date of his enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived. He joined the South Staffordshire Regiment as Private 31025 and was posted to France to join the 1st Battalion at some point in 1916. The 1st South Staffordshires received drafts of ordinary rank reinforcements in Jnauary, April, May, June and October 1916 and John could have been in any one of these drafts.

In January 1916 the 1st South Staffordshires were in the area of Le Mesge before moving to Bray sur Somme at the beginning of February. They remained in this area until the end of May doing trench tours. In June they moved to Mericourt and then to the Bois des Tailles.

On the first day of the Somme Offensive, 1st July 1916, they launched an attack and the whole battalion advanced to Mametz. They continued to advance until, on 5th July, they were relieved from the front line under very heavy shell fire. On 13th July the battalion took up a position in a valley behind Bazentin le Petit and launched an attack on the following day. Ordered to withdraw on 16th the battalion moved by train and route march to Vaux-en-Amienois where they stayed until 12th August in rest billets for training. Training continued at Dernancourt until 26th August when the battalion moved to the trenches in the Delville Wood sector. Here the battalion provided arrying parties amid very heavy enemy shelling.

In September 1916 the battalion moved from Fricourt via Doudelainville and Bailleul to Meteren and went into the trenches in the Douve sub-sector. Rest periods were taken at Romarin Camp. On 9th November the battalion left Meteren and over the next eleven days marched to the trenches at Beaumont-Hamel, afterwards moving to the trenches near the Mailly-Maillet to Serre road. From 11th December, after two short interludes in the 'Kaffir Camp' at Bertrancourt there were further trench tours and additional training. Most of January and half of February 1917 was taken up with training at Mailly-Maillet and Raicheval. The battalion returned to the front line trenches at Beaumont-Hamel on 22nd February before an advance was made on Serre two days later Further training followed at Bertrancourt, Arqueves and Mailly-Maillet until 22nd March. The battalion then proceeded to Puisieux and Courcelles to fill in bomb craters made by the enemy. On 27th March they took up position in front of St. Leger preparatory to an attack on Croisilles. After a second attack on 2nd April the battalion was employed on railway construction at Puisieux au Mont. On 18th April the battalion moved into the line south-east of Croisilles, and afterwards camped near Gomiecourt, then at Sapignies and Behagnies for training.

On 11th May an attack on Bullecourt was in preparation. The attack began on 12th May and continued on 13th. John went missing on 13th May 1917 and was presumed killed in action, aged 30. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial Bay 6.

John's brother Percy enlisted in 1914 and joined the Hussars but was discharged two months later as medically unfit.

 

Private 16247 Herbert Sidney Bellamy

 

12th Bn, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in Action 26th September 1917, Aged 27.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier & Face 1c & 2a. 

 

Herbert was the brother of Mrs. Hacket of the Beacon Restaurant Baxter Gate Loughborough. Before joining up at the outbreak of war he worked at Peterborough.

 

Private 241708 Charles Sydney Bennett

1/5th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment

Killed in Action 17th August 1917, Aged 25.

Commemorated Loos Memorial panel 42 - 44.

Private 4651 George Bennett

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 20th May 1916, Aged 44.

Buried  St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, A. 21. 7.

 

George Bennett (Junior) was born in 1871 in Shepshed, Leicestershire. He was the son of George Bennett (Senior), a builder from Shepshed, and his wife Sarah (née Lakin) who were married in in 1861. George Junior had three brothers Samuel, Francis and William and four sisters Mary, Elizabeth, Agnes and Catherine. The Bennett family lived at 13 Loughborough Road, Shepshed and in 1891 George Junior was employed as a shoe riveter.

In 1895 George Junior, who had become a bricklayer's labourer, married Mary Garton Blood probably in Shepshed. The couple firstly set up home in The Lant, and then moved to Brook Street, both in Shepshed. They soon had five children, four of whom survived: George William, Reginald, Sarah and Deborah. Mary Garton Bennett later moved to Springfield Road.

The date of George Junior's enlistment is unknown, but he was serving as Private 4651 with the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment in France in 1916. From 9th March 1916 the 1/5th Leicesters were in the area of Vimy Ridge, Pas de Calais. The battalion's routine followed a regular pattern of six days in the front line trenches, six days in support, six days in reserve and six days rest. The support positions were in the Zouave valley. Nearby was Talus des Zouaves, an embankment honeycombed with solid deep dugouts which afforded the Leicesters a measure of protection. Towards the end of April the battalion moved via Camblain l'Abbé to trenches in order to carry out mining work for the first eight days of May. On 9th May the battalion then moved on to Mont-St.-Éloy. At some point during this period George Junior was wounded and transferred to a military hospital in Rouen. He died on 20th May 1916 and was buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Grave A. 21.7.

George is commemorated on the Shepshed War Memorial as well as on the Carillon. His elderly mother Sarah died about the same time as her son.

Private 10904 Frank Benskin

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 9th June 1916, Aged 24.

Buried Bienvillers Military Cemetery, I. A. 3.

 

Frank Benskin was born in 1891 in Loughborough, the son of Walter Benskin, a steam engine maker and fitter, and his wife Mary (née Guess). Frank's parents had married in Loughborough in 1883. Frank had five brothers John, Walter, Edward, Leonard and Thomas and three sisters Polly, Nellie and Irene. In 1891 the family were living at 131 Paget Street, Loughborough, and in 1901 at 37 Station Road. Frank's mother died in 1902 and by 1905 Frank's father had taken Emmy Baum as his partner. Walter Benskin and Emmy had four more children Walter, Harry and George and Doris, all half-siblings of Frank, and moved the family to 121 Burder Street. In 1911 Frank was employed as a polisher at the Brush Company.

Frank enlisted at the end of August 1914 and joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 10904. 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. Frank embarked for France on 29th July 1915.

In September Frank'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.

Frank was only 24 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.

Frank is buried in Bienvillers Military cemetery, Grave I. A. 3. He is commemorated on memorials at All Saints Church and Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, and on the Brush Company Roll of Honour (in the Carillon Museum) as well as on the Carillon.
 

Private 235108 Sydney Frederick Benson

4th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers.                     

Died of Wounds 21st August 1918, Aged 21.

Buried Etaples Military Cemetery LXVII. G. 13. 

Sydney was the son of Mrs. Louisa Benson of 94 Cobden Street Loughborough.

 

Private 291955 Arthur Bexon

 

10th Bn, Cheshire Regiment.

Killed in Action 1st August 1917, Aged 19.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate)  Panel 19 - 22. 

 

 
Arthur was the son of Mr. Harry and Mrs. Clare Bexon of 11 Bridge Street Loughborough. Arthur was employed at Messrs Tuckers Brickyard before the war.

 

Private 13990 Alfred Biddles

C Coy. 8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 5th January 1916, Aged 29.

Buried St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, A.16.3. 

Alfred Biddles was born in 1889 in Loughborough, the youngest child of William Biddles, an agricultural labourer, and Emily Biddles (née Hopewell) who were married in Loughborough in 1872. Alfred had three older brothers William, John and Henry and two older sisters Maria and Eliza. Between 1881 and 1900 the family lived at 13 The Rushes, Loughborough, where Alfred's mother had a green grocery business. In 1899, however, Alfred's father died and his mother died the year after. Alfred then went to live with his uncle Henry Hopewell and his wife Alice, who lived at 98 Leopold Street, Loughborough and by 1911 was employed as an engineer fitter. Alfred was also the Treasurer of the Loughborough Olympic Football Club.

Alfred enlisted on 4th September 1914 and joined C Company of the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 13990. Alfred's battalion was part of Kitchener's New Army. It was attached to the 23rd Division of the Army and initially assembled in Hampshire. The King, the Queen and Princess Mary visited the fledgling Division on 29 September. In early December, as the weather worsened, the Division moved into Aldershot. Another move was made to Shorncliffe, Kent at the end of February 1915. In April the battalion joined the 37th Division of the Army and moved to Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. All units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill on 25th June.

On 29th July 1915 Alfred left Folkestone for France. Initially his battalion concentrated near Tilques. On 5th September the battalion moved to the Merris Vieux-Berquin area, where trench familiarisation began under the tutelage of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions. Nine days later they moved to the front line sector at Bois Grenier, south of Armentières.

On 27th November 1915 Alfred was wounded by shrapnel and admitted to 48 Field Ambulance. By 16th December he was in No. 5 General Hospital, Rouen, dangerously ill where he died on 5th January 1916, aged 27. Alfred is remembered on the memorials at Emmanuel Church and St. Peter's Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

 

Private 2975 James Henry Biddles

1/5th. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th October 1915, Aged 19.

Commemorated Loos Memorial panel 42 - 44. 

(His father James H. Biddles also fell see below)

Private 2975 James Henry Biddles (Junior) was born in 1897 in Loughborough to James Henry Biddles, a brickworks labourer, and Sarah Biddles (née Beck) who were married in Loughborough in 1896. The eldest of eight children (James, George, Thomas, Beatrice, William, Edith, Alfred and Ernest), James grew up at 5 Market Street, Loughborough. By 1911, however, he and his family had moved to 32 King Street and James, like his father, had found work as a brickworks labourer.

On 26th October 1914 James signed up in Loughborough to fight with the 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. His father James Henry and brother George Biddles also signed up to the Leicestershire Regiment.

James Junior'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. 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. On this day James Henry Biddles was killed in action aged 19.

James is commemorated on Loos Memorial Panel 42 - 43 in France. He is also commemorated at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough.

James's father was killed in action on 20th July 1915. James's brother George survived the war having been transferred to the Highland Light Infantry from the Leicestershire Regiment and was awarded the Military Medal. Sarah Biddles, having lost both her husband and son, later moved to 6 Queen Street, Loughborough.

Private Biddles' medals are on display in the Loughborough Carillon Museum.

 

Lance Corporal 3015 James Henry Biddles

1/5th. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 20th July 1915, Aged  39.

Buried Sanctuary Wood, Zillebeke. IV. Q.7.

(His son James H. Biddles also fell see above)

James Henry Biddles was born in Loughborough on 7th September 1875, the son of Thomas Biddles, a gardener and seedsman of 63 Ashby Road and Sarah Ann Biddles (née Gaskin). By 1891 the family had moved to 6 Albert Place and James had acquired three sisters, Ellen, Edith and Beatrice. At the age of 15 James was a hosiery factory hand.

James' father Thomas Biddles had died in 1893 and three years later in 1896 James married Sarah Beck in Loughborough. After his marriage James became a brickmaker in Tucker's brickyard and he and Sarah lived at 5 Market Street, Loughborough. James' mother had also died in 1905. By 1911 James and Sarah had moved to 32 King Street and they had seven children: James Henry, George, Thomas, Beatrice, William, Edith, and Alfred. A final son Ernest was born in 1913 and the family moved to 15 King Street.

James Biddles enlisted at Loughborough on 28th October 1914 and joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private 3015. After an initial training period he went to France on 28th February 1915. They travelled by train via Rouen, Abbeville and St. Omer to Arneke where they detrained for Hardifort. The Battalion was then held in reserve for, but did not take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. For the whole of April they were in trenches near Wulverghem and subjected to continual sniping by the enemy, and then moved on to Zillebeke, followed by a tour in the area of Mount Kemmel. After this they were moved to a slightly different part of the line to relieve the Sherwood Foresters.

On 22nd May 1915 James was promoted to Lance Corporal. On 22nd June the battalion was moved back to Zillebeke in the Ypres Salient where they were subjected to shelling at least three times a day. Lance Corporal Biddles was killed on 20th July 1915. According to J.D.Hills' account of the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment 'The enemy retaliated with salvoes of whizz-bangs, we had had upwards of 45 casualties. Among the killed was L/Cpl. Biddles of "A" Company, who had risked death many times on patrol, only to be hit when sitting quietly in a trench eating his breakfast. This NCO, old enough to have his son serving in the company with him, was never happier than when wandering about in No Man's Land, either by day or night, and from the first to the last day of every tour he spent his time either patrolling, or preparing for his next patrol.'

Lance Corporal Biddles is buried at Sanctuary Wood, Zillebeke, Grave IV.Q.7. A local newspaper of the day published the following:

Died as an Englishman Should

Mrs. Biddles of 15 King Street Loughborough received an interesting letter of sympathy from one of her late husband comrades. It will be recalled that Lance Corporal Biddles who has a son in the 1/5th Leicester's at the front had been killed in the trenches on the same day that he returned. He left a wife and eight [sic. i.e. seven] children. The writer of the letter after saying how much he feels with the family in their sad loss, continues: 'I can assure you that Lance Corporal Biddles was a universal favourite with all and I know that he was a man whom all knew they could rely on whatever was happening. He was of the greatest assistance to officers and men alike, and in him we have all lost a friend and a valued comrade who was always to the fore when there was anything which wanted doing. Please accept on behalf of A Company and myself our sincere condolence. I hope it will be a consolation to you to know that your husband died at the post of duty as a loyal Englishman should.'

After her husband was killed, followed by her son, also called James Henry, in the October of the same year Sarah Biddles moved to 6 Queen Street, Loughborough. A second son, George T. Biddles MM, survived the war having been transferred from the Leicestershire Regiment to the Highland Light Infantry. The medals belonging to Lance-Corporal Biddles are in the Carillon War Memorial Museum.

 

Private 9276 John Reginald Birch

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action Mesopotamia 8th April 1917, Aged 23.

Commemorated Basra Memorial Iraq.  Panel 12. 

 

John Reginald Birch was born in Barbados in 1894. He was the elder son of John Birch and his wife Mabel Ethel Birch (née Graydon) who were married on 25th October 1893 at the Bethel Wesley Church, Barbados. John Junior's father was a Sergeant Major with the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. He had served in Bermuda and Halifax (Nova Scotia) prior to being sent to the West Indies. In December 1895 John Birch Senior was posted to Cape Colony, South Africa and Laurence, John Reginald's brother, was born there in Simonstown in 1897. A third sibling died young.

John Senior remained in South Africa for the duration of the 2nd Boer War but his wife returned to England with the children and in 1901 was living in the Glen Parva Barracks near South Wigston, Leicestershire. In November 1902 John Senior was posted to India where he remained for four years stationed at Fort St. George, Madras, and then Belgaum. Whether his wife and sons joined him there is unknown. John Senior returned to England in November 1906 and in 1911 the Birch family was living at Hawcliffe Road, Mountsorrel. John Junior, however, was not with them- he had just enlisted at Lichfield. John Senior and his wife later moved to Kimberley Lodge, Knightthorpe Road, Loughborough.

John Junior joined the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 9726. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 2nd July 1913. In August 1914 John's battalion was in Ranikhet with the Indian Corps (Gharwal Brigade) in the Meerut Division and was ordered to proceed to France. The troops left Karachi on 21st September and arrived at Marseilles on 12th October 1914. They then transferred via Orleans, Lillers and Calonne-Ricouart to the frontline trenches. For the next month they came under continued shellfire, bombing and sniping from the enemy but, nevertheless, continued to strengthen the trenches.

In 1915 John took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle (10th-13th March) and Aubers Ridge (9th May), the first day of the Battle of Festubert. 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 Béthune. John's battalion was next deployed at the Battle of Loos. John was fortunate to survive the initial attack at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915 - from his battalion 72 men were killed, 217 were wounded, 42 were gassed and 96 were recorded as missing.

The 2nd Battalion was rather depleted after the Battle of Loos, but was ordered to the Persian Gulf where Britain was fighting Turkish forces allied to the Germans. On 10th November 1915 John embarked at Marseilles and arrived at Basra on 8th December 1915. From there he 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 7th 1916 General Aylmer's leading troops, under Major General Younghusband, challenged the enemy at the Battle of Sheikh Sa'ad, with the intention of relieving General Townshend at Kut. The Battle of Wadi followed on 13th January and the Battle of Hanna on 21st January. An attack on the Dujaila Redoubt failed in March but the British captured Fallahiyeh and Beit Asia in April. An attack on Sannaiyat failed and on 29th April General Townsend was forced to surrender at Kut.

The Tigris Corps managed to occupy the Dujaila Redoubt south of Kut and kept a close watch on the Ottoman forces. The intense heat from June to August, however, caused a heavy toll from sickness and disease among the troops. As the heat lessened in September and October 1916 the enemy 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 John'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. On 9th and 10th March the enemy shelled the advancing troops but the Battalion entered Baghdad on 11th March, succeeded in occupying the city and remained there until 25th March. On 25th March the battalion marched to Babi and then Mushaidie Station. On April 4th the battalion was ordered to occupy Balad Station and secure the line from Balad to Sidigharib.

On 8th April 1917 the battalion marched from Sumaika and came under hostile gun fire near Balad Railway Station. John Reginald Birch was killed during this action. He is remembered on the Basra Memorial, Iraq, Panel 12.

John Senior, who was a storekeeper in 1914, reenlisted for the war and was served at home being given a training role with the 3rd, 9th and 10th battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment.

 

Sergeant 168202 Frederick Bird

 

B Bty. 275 Bde, Royal Field Artillery.

Killed in Action 20th October 1918, Aged 27.

Buried Esplechin Churchyard, Tournai, Hanaut. II. A. 2. 

 

Frederick was the husband to Mrs. Helena Bird of 65 Herbert Street Loughborough.

Lance Corporal 30231 Robert Birkin

 

9th Bn, Devonshire Regiment.

Killed in action 26th October 1917, Aged 21.

Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 38 - 40. 

 

Robert was the son of Mr. Luke and Mrs. Mary Angelina Birkin of 19 Gordon Street Loughborough. He joined the army early in the war. He had been employed at the Falcon Works. The Herald Newspaper reported on the 15th November 1917 that his Captain had written earlier, and said he hoped Lance Corporal Birkin had been taken prisoner, but it may be four months before definite news reaches the War Office.

Lance Corporal G/15037 Arthur Charles Bishop

 

11th Bn, Royal Sussex Regiment.

Killed in Action 31st July 1917, Aged 27.

Buried Track "X" Cemetery, St. Jean-Les-Ypres. E. 17. 

 

Mrs. Bishop who lived with her parents at the White Heart Churchgate Loughborough received a letter from the Lieutenant of her husbands Platoon. He said her husband Arthur Charles Bishop Lance Corporal G/15307 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment had been killed in action on Tuesday 31st July 1917. He said his death was caused by a shell during the second day of the new big advance, and added that he was buried in ground taken from the Germans. He also said in his letter your husband was one of our best N C O's and will be a great loss to us all. He was always cheerful even under the most trying conditions. I offer you the sympathy of all in your grief. He worked at the Brush in Loughborough before going to war.

Private 12166 Frederick Bishop

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th July 1916, Aged 22.

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

 

Frederick Bishop was born in Loughborough in 1895, the son of Thomas and Ellen Bishop (née Gibson) who were married in Loughborough that same year. Ellen already had a son Herbert Gibson, aged 7, when she was married and with Thomas Bishop she had five more children Frederick, Thomas, George, John and Jessie. Frederick's father was a textile dyer's labourer and in 1901 the Bishop family lived at 73 Regent Street, Loughborough. By 1903 they had moved to William Street from where Frederick's mother was summoned to court for common assault on a neighbour Mrs. Mary Yeomans and fined 10 shillings.

In May 1907 Frederick's mother was living in Providence Square, Loughborough, where she was hit with a knuckle duster and stabbed with a pair of scissors by a neighbour, Mrs. Rosanna Marriott. By 1911 Frederick's mother had moved again, this time to Wheat Sheaf Yard, Loughborough, describing herself as a widow and a hosiery seamer. It seems, however, that Frederick's father Thomas Bishop was still alive and had simply left his wife. In 1911 Frederick's mother was sent to prison for fourteen days for stealing a pork pie and polonies, while under the influence of alcohol, from the shop of Edward Hasenfuss, butcher in Bedford Square. Frederick, meanwhile, who was now aged 15, had become a tile maker. By 1914 he had moved on to become an engine driver.

Frederick enlisted in Loughborough on 1st September 1914 and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 12166. From the Depot he was sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Frederick'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 Walter travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques.

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. On 13th March 1916 Frederick was admitted to 48 Field Ambulance with an abscess. In April 1916 he moved with the 8th Leicesters 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, 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 they 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 14th and 15th July the battalion advanced on Bazentin Le Petit Wood. During this operation Frederick, aged 22, was killed in action.

Frederick is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2C and 3A, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Frederick's brother Thomas served with the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment but suffered an enlarged heart after contracting pneumonia in 1916 and was discharged from the Army in 1917. Frederick's half-brother Herbert Gibson served as 'Herbert Bishop' with the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and unfortunately lost an eye as the result of a wound in France in 1915. Frederick's younger brother George served with the Coldstream Guards from April 1918 onwards.

Private 12284 John Arthur Black

7th. Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 19th December 1915, Aged 22.

Buried Humbercamps Communal Cemetery I. C 3.  

John Arthur Black was born in 1893 in Loughborough, the fourth and youngest son of John Henry Black, a farm labourer from Rempstone, and his wife Annie Elizabeth Black (née Orridge) who were married in Loughborough in 1881. John had three brothers James, George, and Frank and one sister Annie and in 1901 the family lived at 18 Buckhorn Square, Loughborough. When John's mother Annie died in 1907 the family split up. John's father moved firstly to 115 Meadow Lane, Loughborough, to live with his widowed sister Mrs. Ellen Fox and then to Nottingham Road, while John and his younger sister Annie went to live with their older brother James and his wife Annie at 34 Pinfold Gate.

John, who was now a core maker in the Falcon Works iron foundry, enlisted on 31st August 1914, and was in the first group from the foundry to join up. As Private 12284 with the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment he was sent to Aldershot for training. In April 1915 his battalion was moved to Cholderton on Salisbury Plain, and on 25th June they were in spected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 29th July 1915 they received orders to proceed to France. For the remainder of 1915 the battalion was involved in various trench warfare activities in the Arras area of northern France.

John died of wounds in the 48th Field Ambulance on 19th December 1915. On the day he was wounded he was working on a parapet of a trench in dense fog. Suddenly the fog lifted, and the German guns opened fire from their machine guns hitting him. He is buried at Humbercamps Communal Cemetery between Arras and Doullens in the Pas fe Calais, Grave I.C.3.

A report of his death included the following:

'Before enlisting John had for some time been a member of Miss Cayless's Bible Class in Emmanuel Parish, Loughborough. Writing on the day before he was wounded to a fellow member of the Bible Class he talked about the time of the boys coming home after the declaration of peace, and what a hearty rejoicing there would be. He also reminded his friend of the Christmas Festivities the previous year, and what a great time they had all had together. It is interesting to know, as showing the genuine character of the lad, that he had written to his brother's wife, telling her to look into the pocket of his civilian clothes, which he had left behind and she would find five shillings, which he wished her to spend upon his nephews and nieces at Christmas.'
 
John's Memorial Plaque.

Private 241179 Thomas William Blackwell

D Coy. 1/4th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 4th May 1918, Aged 24.

Buried Fouquieres Churchyard Ext. I. 72.           

Thomas was the son of Mr. William and Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Blackwell of 4 Freehold Street Loughborough. He had enlisted in September 1914, after completing his apprenticeship with Mr. Partridge at Baxter Gate Loughborough. He had been for some time servant to Lieutenant Dakin of Shepshed, and on the day of his death was one of a section in another platoon, which were holding a post under fire. He was killed with his Corporal by a shell, and another man was wounded. The Company Officer wrote. He was splendid and always performed any task allotted to him cheerfully and willingly. His devotion to duty was an example to his comrades, who join with me in mourning his loss. I tender my sincere and deepest sympathy to you and trust that you will be given strength to bear this great bereavement. "God rest the soul of a brave soldier.

Private 17518 William Blood

2nd Bn. Leicestershire Regiment

Died of Wounds 3rd October 1916, Aged 26.                                                                     

Buried Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.  XXI. B. 2.

William Blood was born in 1889 in Loughborough. He was the son of Thomas Henry Blood, a shoemaker, and his wife Charlotte (née Hall). William's parents both came from Shepshed and they were married in 1883. Thomas and Charlotte Hall had eight children but by 1911 only three were still alive, most having died in infancy. William was the only surviving son; his older brother George had died, aged 23, in 1909. William had two surviving sisters Blanche and Edith. In 1891 the family lived at 27 Union Street, Loughborough, but by 1901 had moved to 134 Paget Street. Between 1901 and 1911 they moved again, this time to 44 Ratcliffe Road. In 1911 William and his sisters were all factory hands in cotton hosiery.

William's service record with the Army has not survived so it is not possible to tell exactly when he enlisted. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 17518 and it seems likely that he did so towards the end of 1915. He certainly appears not to have served overseas until 1916 as he was not awarded the 1914/15 Star Medal.

In the winter of 1915/1916 the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, as part of the Army's 7th Indian Division, was moved to Mesopotamia to form the Tigris Corps. 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.

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 the enemy raised its activities in sniping and bombing and at some point William was wounded and taken to one of the military hospitals set up in Amara. He died from his wounds on 3rd October 1916, aged 26, and was buried in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq, Grave XXI. B. 2. In 1933 the grave headstones were removed after it was found that they were being damaged by salts in the soil and a memorial wall erected instead with the names of the dead engraved upon plaques.

Thomas and Charlotte Blood thus lost their only surviving son and now only had two daughters left from the original eight children born to them.
Amara War Cemetery.

Lance Corporal 11118 Bernard Walter Bombroff

2nd Bn. Royal Scots. (Lothian Regiment).

Formerly 10828 3rd Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.             

Killed in Action 13th October 1915, Aged 22.

Buried Brandhoek Military Cemetery I. G. 15. 

Bernard Walter Bombroff was born in Loughborough in 1893. He was the son of John Edmund Bombroff, an engine fitter, and his wife, Charlotte Maria (née Briggs) who were married in Loughborough in 1876. John and Charlotte Bombroff had fifteen children altogether, but five died at or soon after birth. Bernard had three brothers. William, John Henry and Archibald and six sisters Eliza, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Rosetta, Lilian, and Vera. In 1901 the Bombroff family lived at 2 Railway Terrace, Loughborough. By 1911 they had moved to 144 King Street and Bernard, aged 18, was a dye-yard helper.

Bernard had already been serving for a year as Private 10828 with the 3rd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, Special Reserve when he enlisted in the Army as a Regular on 25th April 1912, giving his trade as labourer. At the time of this enlistment he made a formal application for a transfer to the Royal Scots which was granted with immediate effect. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) as Private 11118 and was sent to Plymouth. Subsequent postings sent him to the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the Royal Scots, but he ultimately returned to rejoin the 2nd Battalion.

During his first year and a half with the Royal Scots Bernard was charged with a number of offences including 'irregularity on duty', untidiness, trespassing on private land, and not cleaning his rifle, for which he was duly punished. He nevertheless eventually settled down and not long afterwards on the 23rd April 1914 he was awarded his first 'Good Conduct Badge' and was recorded as a 3rd Class Shot for Service, and Proficiency Pay.

On 19th August 1914 he was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal (unpaid) and embarked for France on the 19th December 1914. He served there until he suffered a hernia and on the 10th February 1915 he was transferred to the 1st London General Hospital, Myatt Park, Camberwell, London SE11 where he had an operation and remained as a patient for twenty-eight days (11th February to 10th March 1915).

He returned to France on 19th May 1915 but was again hospitalised at No. 6 General Hospital, Rouen, with a sprained knee on 19th June. He stayed there for four days and was discharged to join his battalion at Hooge, Belgium. On 17th July 1915 he was posted to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion of the Royal Scots.

He was killed in action at Hooge, Belgium on 13th October 1915, aged 22. One military record indicates that at the time of his death he was acting in the rank of Sergeant. His battalion had spent early October in the Sanctuary Wood sector of Belgium and was not involved in any serious action, although there were some casualties. Lance Corporal Bernard Walter Bombroff was killed in the trenches by a sniper and is buried at Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Vlamertinghe, near Ypres, Grave 1.G.15.

Bernard's mother had died in early 1915 and his personal effects were sent to his sister, Miss Elizabeth Bombroff of 57 Toothill Road, Loughborough.

Bernard is also commemorated on the memorial at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough.

Private 10248 Ernest William Bonser

 

1st Bn, Coldstream Guards.

Killed in Action 14th September 1914, Aged 20.

Commemorated La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre  Memorial. 

 

Ernest William Bonser was born in 1894 in Hugglescote, the only son of William Bonser, a coalminer, and his first wife Rebecca Selby. Ernest's mother died in 1908 and by 1909 he had a step-mother Edith and a half-brother Thomas. By 1911 Ernest had joined his father in the mine but between 1913 and 1914 he joined the Coldstream Guards. Ernest was killed in action at the First Battle of the Aisne when the 1st Coldstreamers were climbing with some difficulty up the narrow paths north of the river Aisne towards Vendresse and Cerny and were raked by enemy fire.

Private 241241 Thomas Fergus Christopher Bonser

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th August 1917, Aged 24.

Buried Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe. I. U. 39.

 

Fergus was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bonser of 31 Derby Road Loughborough. He was mobilized with the Territorials in August 1914, joining up from the Falcon Works, formerly working at Messrs. G. Tucker and son's brickyard Leicester Road. He was a member some time ago of Emmanuel Bible Class, and his name is on the Roll of Honour of that church. The news was sent in a letter from his Lieutenant, who wrote regretting the sad news, and added that he had been killed by a shell on the morning of August 15th, and died instantly. He had been with the Battalion a long time and was well liked by his comrades, and was a good and willing soldier, who died a soldier's death. The whole company joined in offering their deepest sympathy with the family in their loss. Mr. and Mrs. Bonser also received a letter of sympathy from the Chaplain to the Battalion. 

Private 15135 Fergus O'Conner Bonser

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 14th July 1916, Aged 23.

Commemorated Thiepval, Memorial, Somme, pier 7 face 2c & 3 a. 

 

Fergus O'Conner (or O'Connor) Bonser was born in Loughborough in 1893, the son of Walter Bonser, a bricklayer's labourer, and his wife Bertha (née Cragg). Fergus' parents were married in Loughborough in 1892 and Fergus was baptised at the Methodist Church, Loughborough, on 23rd February 1893. Fergus had three brothers Walter, Arthur and Bernard and four sisters Ada, Dora, Nellie and Bertha. In 1901 the Bonser family lived at 7 Pinfold Jetty, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 2 Selbourne Street. Fergus was employed at the Brush Company.

Fergus enlisted just after the outbreak of war and joined the 9th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 15135. 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 Fergus' battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Fergus was encamped on Perham Down.

Fergus must have been granted some leave at the beginning of June as on 2nd June 1915 he married Ada Mayatt at the Church of St. John the Baptist in Halling, Kent. Just under two months later, on 29th July 1915, Fergus was sent to France, travelling from Folkestone to Boulogne on the SS St. Seiriol.

Initially the 37th Division concentrated 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 Fergus, aged 23, was one of those killed in action.

The first news Fergus' parents received of the death of their son was in a letter from Private Samuel Robinson, a comrade in the same regiment, who wrote that it was a hand grenade which did the deadly work. Although Private Robinson was not a witness, he made enquires of his missing chum, and sent the sad news to the parents in accordance with an arrangement made between them previously.

Fergus is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier 7 Face 2C and 3A and on the memorial at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon. He is also remembered on the Brush Electrical Engineering Company Roll of Honour (in the Carillon Museum).

His widow later remarried William A. Snell in 1917, in the Strood, Kent registration district and resided at 5, Stone Cottages, Essex Road, Lower Halling, Rochester, Kent.

Private 242109 Hector Robinson Booth

 

2/6th Bn, South Stafordshire Regiment.

Killed in action 30th November 1917, Aged 20.

Commemorated Cambrai, Memorial, Louveral. Panel 7. 

 

Hector was the oldest son of Mr. Benjamin James and Mrs. Clare Emma Booth of 132 Station Street Loughborough. Hector was employed in the offices of Messrs M Wright and Sons Mill street factory, at the time of enlisting in May 1916, and went to France in February 1917. He was a regular communicant at St. Peters Church, where his name appears on the roll of honour. The parents later received a letter from his Lieutenant offering the sympathy of himself and the men in their loss. The letter states that Booth was killed instantly and he was buried with a comrade from the same platoon. It was a terrible day, he adds, and you may well be proud of a son who stuck to his post through it all and now lies a silent witness to that great effort of British troops to win back some of that part of France held by the foe. Your sons many pals wish me to convey to you a message of sympathy in your loss of one who was ever cheery and a help to his comrades.

Bombardier 59007 John William Bottrill

 

A Bty, 100th Bde., Royal Field Artillery.

Died of Wounds 4th March 1917, Aged 32.

Buried Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery Greece, 946. 

 

John William Bottrill was born on 24th October 1884 at Albert's Buildings, Oakham, Rutland. His birth was registered under the name 'John William Baker' and he was the natural son of Hannah Baker, shoe fitter, father unknown. In 1891 six-year old John William was living at John's Court, Oakham, with his aunt Ann Ellen Broom (known as 'Ellen', née Baker), a machinist at a shoe factory, and her husband John Broom, a general labourer. John Henry Broom had married Ann Ellen Baker (known as 'Ellen') in Oakham in 1875. Hannah Baker had married John James Hubbard Taylor in Oakham in 1885, but her son John William remained with his aunt.

After John Henry Broom died, aged 38, in Oakham in 1892 Ellen Broom appears to have moved to 23 Mill Street, Loughborough as in 1901 she was living there with John Rodgers, a bricklayer's labourer. She was listed as 'Ellen Rodgers' and John William, described as 'son', now aged 16 and an engineering labourer, has assumed the name of 'John William Rodgers'.

By 1911 Ellen, now described as a 'widow', and John William had moved again, this time to Coventry. Both had taken the new surname of 'Bottrill'. In 1903 John William had married a young woman from Loughborough, Sarah Ann Jarram, in Coventry. At the time of the marriage both John William, a labourer, and his bride gave their address as 8 House, 2 Court, Castle Street, Coventry. The parish register entry for John William's marriage lists his father as 'John Bottrill' (possibly John Rodgers now known as 'John Bottrill' or a different person altogether).

By 1911 John William and Sarah Ann had three children Kathleen Ellen (known as 'Nellie'), Sarah and Thomas (all with the surname of 'Bottrill') and in 1911 they were all living with Ellen at 9 St. Agnes Lane, Coventry. John William was now employed as a general carman. [Ann] Ellen Bottrill died in the early summer of 1911 in Coventry and John William and Sarah Ann had another daughter Elizabeth in 1913.

John William enlisted on 5th January 1915 while working as a labourer in Coventry. As Gunner 59007 he was initially sent to No. 3 Depot of the Royal Field Artillery at Hilsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire for training. On 20th February 1915 he was posted to the 22nd Division of Artillery. On 28th June 1915, while stationed at Aldershot, he received five days punishment for overstaying leave by three days. In July 1915 he was posted to No.15 Reserve Battery and on 3rd September was appointed to A Battery, 100th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. John William left Aldershot on 5th September and went to Southampton from where he sailed for Marseilles in France. Just over two months later, on 21st November he boarded a ship heading for Salonika, Greece where he arrived on 13th December. He was promoted to Bombardier on 26th December 1915.

Anglo-French forces had begun landing at the Greek port of Salonika on 5th October 1915. The troops were sent to provide military assistance to the Serbs who had recently been attacked by combined German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies. The intervention came too late to save Serbia and, after a brief winter campaign in severe weather conditions on the Serbian frontier, the Anglo-French forces found themselves back at Salonika. At this point the British advised that the troops be withdrawn. However, the French - with Russian, Italian and Serbian backing - still believed something of strategic importance could be gained in the Balkans.

During the first four months of 1916 the British Salonika Force had enough spadework to last it for the rest of its life. Large amounts of barbed wire were used and a bastion about eight miles north of the city was created connecting with the Vardar marshes to the west, and the lake defences of Langaza and Beshik to the east, and so to the Gulf of Orfano and the Aegean Sea. After preparing the port of Salonika for defence, the troops moved up country and dug-in. Further Allied contingents of Serbian, Italian and Russian troops arrived in the summer and offensive operations began. The Bulgarian attempt at invasion of Greece in July was repulsed near Lake Doiran. At the beginning of October 1916 the British, in co-operation with her allies on other parts of the front, began operations on the River Struma towards Serres. The campaign was successful with the capture of the Rupell Pass and advances to within a few miles of Serres. In November 1916 Monastir fell to Franco-Serb forces.

On 1st March 1917 John William was attached to the 200th Railway Construction Company of the Royal Engineers but was hit by a shell. He died of wounds in No. 29 General Hospital, Salonika on 4th March 1917, aged 32. John William's wife Sarah Bottrill, who had moved with the children to 8 Ashby Square, Loughborough, when her husband enlisted, unfortunately received conflicting information about what had happened to her husband. On March 15th she received official notice of her husband's death. On March 18th she received an official wire that he was dangerously ill in No, 29 General Hospital, Salonika.

John William was buried in Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, Grave 946. He is remembered on the website Rutland Remembers as well as on the Carillon.

Private 40743 William Edgar (Billy) Bourne

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Formerly 4848 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 23rd March 1918, Aged 21.

Commemorated Arras Memorial Bay 5. 

William Edgar Bourne, known as 'Billy' to his family and friends, was born in in 1896 in Loughborough, the son of Moses Bourne, cashier at a terracotta brick company, and Eliza Ann Bourne (née Moore).His parents were married in the Ashby de la Zouch area in 1894. The Bourne family lived at 12 Herbert St., Loughborough and by 1911 Billy's father had become Secretary of the brick company. Billy had one brother Frank and one sister Alice. Billy attended Loughborough Grammar School and the Baptist Church Sunday School.

Billy enlisted on 2nd December 1915 at Loughborough and gave his profession as accountant. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 4848 and was trained as a signaller. He was sent to France on 4th September 1916 to join the 1/5th Leicesters but was re-posted to the 1st Battalion on 19th September 1916, joining C Coy with the new service number of 40743.

He was killed in action on 23rd March 1918 and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, Bay 5.

 

Driver L/34973 Sidney Alfred Bowler

 

16th Div.Ammunition Col. Royal Field Artillery.

Died of Influenza 16th November 1918, Aged 34.

Buried Terlincthun British Cemetery Wimille, XI. A. 35. 

 

Sidney Alfred Bowler was the second son of Thomas Bowler, a general dealer in stores, and Clara Bowler (née Pollard) who were married in Loughborough in 1879. The couple had eight children but only five survived into adulthood. As well as Sidney these were Albert Edward Bowler, and Edna, Dorothy and Sarah Bowler. In 1911 the family lived at 11 Garton Rd, Loughborough and at that time Sidney was an assistant fishmonger. Previously, in 1901, the family had lived at 14 Victoria St, Loughborough, and Thomas Bowler had a haberdashery shop in which Sidney helped.

Sidney's wife Lily (née Smith) whom he married in the autumn of 1915 was from a family which had a long association with the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Woodhouse Eaves.

Sidney served as a Driver with the Divisional Ammunition Column of the Royal Field Artillery with the 16th (Irish) Division of the Army. He was sent to France on 22 February 1916 to join the Division which was concentrated in the Bethune area.

The Division served on the Western Front with distinction throughout the war, taking part in the following battles: 1916 - Guillemont and Ginchy (both on the Somme); 1917 - Messines and Langemarck; 1918 - St. Quentin and Rosieres. After suffering very heavy casualties a decision was taken to return the Division to England where it was reconstituted. The Division returned to France in August for the final advance in Artois.

Sidney died of influenza five days after Armistice Day.

 

Gunner 140922 James Bowley

 

107 Bty. 23rd Bde. Royal Field Artillery.

Killed in action 18th November 1917, Aged 22.

Buried Solferino Farm Cemetery, Brielen. II. B. 6. 

 

James was the son of Mr. W H Bowley of Hathern Lounds Farm Loughborough.

Air mechanic 2nd Class 297969 George Bradshaw

 

(Halton Camp) Royal Air Force.

Died of Pneumonia 28th October 1918, Aged 17.

Buried Halton (St Michael) Church Yard. Buckinghamshire. 

 

George was the son of Arthur and Edith Bradshaw of 120 Ashby Road Loughborough. George died of pneumonia at Halton Camp Buckinghamshire. He had two sisters May and Florrie.

Private M/340809 Stanley Bradshaw

 

1011th mechanical Transport Coy. Army Service Corps.

Died of Pneumonia Egypt 3rd November 1918, Aged 31.

Buried Alexandria (Hadra) War Cemetery Egypt. E. 125. 

 

Stanley was the son of John Henry & Mary Jane Bradshaw of 92 King Street, Loughborough.

Private 202287 John Thomas Bradwick

1/4th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Formerly 25867 Bedfordshire Regiment.             

Killed in Action 6th October 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Rue-De-Bois Military Cemetery Fleurbaix II. B. 13. 

John was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bradwick of 13 Burder Street Loughborough. He left a sister Nance, and brother Harold.

Sergeant L/28853 Colin Bramall

A Bty, 160th Bde, Royal Field Artillery                       

Killed in Action 10th May 1917, Aged 29.

Buried St. Nicolas British Cemetery, Arras, I. F. 18.  

Colin Bramall was born in Bradfield, Yorkshire, on 9th January 1888 and baptised on 5th February 1888 at St. Nicholas' Church, Bradfield. He was the eldest child of Joseph Bramall and his wife Harriett (née Buckley) who were married in Bradfield in the summer of 1887. Colin's father was initially a farm labourer and then a stockman. In 1891 the family home was at Moorside, Wortley, Yorkshire, but by 1906 the family had moved to Hollygate Farm, Stapleford Park, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where Colin's father had gained employment as farm manager. Colin had five brothers Reginald, Arthur, Bernard, Joseph and Cyril. In 1901, when he was thirteen, Colin was also a stockman, but when the family moved to Leicestershire he took employment as a cleaner for the Midland Railway and joined the Lincoln Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants.

Colin married Clara Elizabeth Miller in Nottingham in 1910 and the couple set up home at 57 King's Meadow Road, Nottingham. In early 1911 Colin was still working for the Midland Railway but not long after this he joined the Leicestershire Constabulary as Police Constable no. 168, firstly being stationed at Loughborough and then at Wymeswold. Colin and Clara firstly lived in Burder Street, Loughborough and then moved to Brook Street, Wymeswold. By 1916 they had three children Joseph, Colin and Clara.

In June 1916 Colin enlisted in Leicester and joined the Royal Field Artillery as Private L/28853. His service papers have not survived but it is known that he was posted to 'A' Battery of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade and that at some point he was promoted to Sergeant.

The 160th Brigade had been raised in Sunderland in March 1915, with shipyard workers and miners providing the backbone of the unit. Months of training in artillery and horsemanship followed the creation of the brigade. The ironic tag of 'The Idle and Dissolute' was given to the men of the 160th as an affectionate tribute to their formidable fighting prowess,

Colin is likely to have joined the brigade at Featherstone Park, Haltwhistle, Northumberland. On 26th July 1915 the brigade moved to Kirkby Malzeard near Ripon, Yorkshire and to Corton, Wiltshire, on 3rd October. In late 1915 Colin's wife and family moved to 7 Clark's Row, Oxford.

On 9th January 1916 the brigade embarked at Southampton for Le Havre and the battlefields of northern France. From Herbelles the brigade moved to Blaringhem and Erquinghem. By 25th March they were in Fleubaix shelling the front line enemy trenches. On 13th April the brigade marched to the army training centre at Lumbres and on 5th May they were in action at Albert. On 1st July, at the opening of the Somme Offensive, the brigade bombarded the enemy defences in the Tara Valley, Albert. This was followed by a bombardment of Contalmaison, Mametz and Ovilliers on 7th July, of Bazentin le Petit on 14th July, of Pozières on 17th July and of Martinpuich on 23rd July.

During August 1916 the brigade was at Querrieu and Armentières before moving to Chapelle d'Armentières on 1st September where they remained until mid-February 1917. In late February the brigade was at Ploegsteert and Steenwerck and in March at Valhuon and in Villers Brûlin. By 1st May 1917 the brigade was in Arras for the Arras Offensive.

Colin was killed in action on 10th May 1917 near Arras, aged 29. A bomb exploded near him, killing him instantly. He was buried in St. Nicolas Cemetery, Arras, Grave I. F 18. His brother Reginald who was with the same brigade of the Royal Field Artillery was able to attend Colin's funeral.

Colin's widow received letters from the Army Chaplain, the Reverend H. R. Peel, who buried Colin, and Major A. P. Hodges, R.F.A. The latter wrote: 'It is with the greatest regret that I write to tell you of the death of your husband yesterday afternoon. He was unfortunately struck with a shrapnel bullet while at gun position and died practically at once. Nothing that I can say will make your great loss any less, or make it any easier to bear but let me speak a few words in his praise, Of the N.C.O.s and the men in the Battery he was held to be one of the very best. His bravery, his capability, his keenness, and his cheerfulness under all conditions made him universally popular with officers and men'.

Colin is remembered on memorials at St. Mary's Church, Wymeswold, St. Mary Magdalene Church, Stapleford, and the Leicestershire Constabulary, Enderby.

In 1919 Colin's widow married Sergeant Percy Oliver of the Royal Garrison Artillery at St. Ebbe's Church, Oxford. Colin's brother Reginald survived the war as did his brother Arthur who served with the Royal Garrison Artillery. Like Colin both brothers were with the Leicestershire Constabulary.

 

Private 21654 Albert Bramley

17th Protection Coy Royal Defence Corps.

Formerly 20452, Leicestershire Regiment

Died at Home 4th January 1917, Aged 56.

Buried Botley Cemetery, Oxford, I. 1.73.

(His son John H. Bramley also fell see below)

Albert Bramley was born in 1859 in Loughborough, the son of Henry Bramley and Mary Ann Bramley (née Butterworth) who were married at Loughborough Parish Church on 15th May 1848. Albert's father was a master tailor and in 1861 the Bramley family lived in Wood Gate, Loughborough. Albert had three brothers Harry, William and Arthur and two sisters Sarah and Emmeline. By 1871 the family had moved to 13 Wellington Street. After Albert's father died in 1874 Albert's mother moved to 12 Wellington Street but by the summer of 1879 Albert was no longer living at home. Like his brother William before him, Albert had joined the Army.

On 8th July 1879 Albert, who had become a framework knitter, had attested at Derby for a period of short service and had joined the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot as Private 1938. In 1881, following the Cardwell Reforms, the 95th Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment) and in 1881 Albert signed up for another ten years with the 2nd Sherwood Foresters on 1st July 1881. He was then sent to South Camp, Aldershot.




2nd Derbyshire Regiment, Aldershot 1881

On 28th December 1881 Albert was dispatched to Gibraltar as preparation for a posting to India. In July 1882, however, the 2nd Anglo-Egyptian War began and the 2nd Sherwood Foresters were diverted to Egypt on 7th August to help restore order in Alexandria which had just been bombarded by the British in support of the Khedive. The 2nd Sherwood Foresters remained there until 11th October when they left for Bombay on HMS Euphrates. Having arrived at Bombay on 30th October the battalion was sent by train to Deolali and then to Allahabad before marching to Lucknow, arriving there on 30th October 1882. The battalion remained in Lucknow and although British forces, including the battalion, were held on a war-footing in early 1885 due to Russian aggression in Afghanistan, by the end of May 1885 tensions had relaxed. Large scale manoeuvres began at Delhi at the end 1885 and the Battalion marched out of Lucknow on 27th October 1885.

Albert stayed in India until 12th November 1885. He then returned home to the Normanton Barracks, Derby and completed his twelve years' service on 9th July 1891, having been awarded the Egyptian Medal and the Khedive Star.

Albert married Elizabeth Staniforth in 1888 in Loughborough and he and Elizabeth initially lived with Albert's mother at 13 Wellington Street, Loughborough. When Albert left the Army he resumed employment as a framework knitter but he later became a machinist's labourer. By 1901 Albert and Elizabeth had moved to 65 Wellington Street. By 1911 they had moved again to 78 New King Street. Albert and Elizabeth had fourteen children but only ten survived to adulthood: Sarah, Albert, John, Alice, Arthur, Gertrude, Ida, Winnie, Wilfred and Frederick.

In 1915 Albert, who was now 55, enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 20452 but was transferred to the 17th Protection Company of the Royal Defence Corps as Private 21654 in 1916. The role of the Royal Defence Corps was to provide troops for security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom for prisoner of war camps, vulnerable points (docks etc.), Ireland, and special military areas (government camps, munitions etc).

Albert died from appendicitis in Oxford on 4th January 1917, aged 56. He was buried in Botley Cemetery, Oxford, Grave I. 1. 73. His son Albert (Junior), who served with the Army Service Corps, 11th Divisional Coy, Mechanical Transport, survived the war. His son John who served with the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, died of wounds received in action in October 1918.

Corporal 12540 Gilman Bramley

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 6th October 1917, Aged 23.

Commemorated tyne Cot Memorial panel 50 - 51. 

 

Gillman was the son of Mrs. Martha Bramley of 56 Regent Street Loughborough. Bramley joined up in September 1914 at which time he was employed at Tuckers Brickworks. He was an old member of Loughborough Emmanuel Church Lad's Brigade, and also a member of the bible class. Bramley was finishing his last day in the trenches, and was due to come home on leave, having been away for twelve months, when a shell fell near by, and he was killed instantly.

Private 201544 John Henry Bramley

 

A Coy 1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds at Home 18th October 1918, Aged 25.

Buried Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery, Glamorganshire, E.B. 86. 

(His Father Albert Bramley also fell see above) 

 

John was the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Bramley of 78 New King Street Loughborough. Her husband Albert also fell in the Great War.

Lance Corporal 22490 David Frederick Brandon

 

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

Killed in action 26th September 1917, Aged 37.

Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial panel 99 - 102 & 162 & 162a. 

 

David was the husband of Beatrice Ward (Formerly Brandon) of 31 Granville Street Loughborough.

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Private 14763 Herbert Brett

10th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers

Killed in Action 6th July 1916, Aged 17.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial pier & face 3C & 3D.

Herbert Brett was born in Walworth, Camberwell, London in 1898, the son of Frederick Ernest and Alice Brett (née Lucas) who were married on 4th April 1886 at St. Mary's Church, Peckham, Camberwell. Herbert had seven brothers Charles, Alfred, Henry, Frank, Thomas, Albert and John and one sister Isabel. Herbert's father was a fishmonger. In 1891 the family lived at 2 Millais Street, Camberwell. By 1901 they had moved to 2 Sutherland Square, Newington, and by 1911 to 14 Westhall Road, Camberwell. They later moved to 9 Camberwell Grove, but by this time Herbert had left home and moved to Loughborough.

Herbert enlisted at Deptford, London, and joined the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers as Private 14763. His dates of enlistment and of joining his battalion in the field are unknown. The 10th Battalion was raised in Bury as part of Kitchener's Second New Army and joined the 52nd Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. After initial training close to home the Division moved to Bovington Camp, Dorset, to continue training and then in late May 1915 moved to Hursley, near Winchester in Hampshire.

The Division had been selected for Home Duties but this was reversed and they proceeded to France landing at Boulogne on 15th July 1915, concentrating at Tilques, near St. Omer. They next moved into the Southern Ypres Salient for trench familiarisation and then took over the front lines in that area. In the spring of 1916 they were in action at the Bluff, south-east of Ypres on the Comines Canal. They then moved south to the Somme, seeing action during the Battle of Albert in which the Division captured Fricourt on 2nd July 1916.

Herbert was killed in action on 6th July 1916, aged 17. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3C-3D.

Herbert's brother Charles Brett served with the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery and was killed in action near Ypres on 12th January 1918. His brother Frank served as a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery (London Brigade) and survived the war.

Second Lieutenant Harry Hedley Brewin

 

Z Coy. 2nd Bn, Hampshire Regiment.

Killed in Action 12th August 1918, Aged 25.

Buried Borre British Cemetery, II. G. 23.

 

Harry was the son of Mr. John and Mrs. Emma Brewin of Loughborough.  He was married to Mrs. O Brewin of 20 Howard Road Reigate Surrey.

Sergeant 13244 John William Briggs D.C.M.  M.M.

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 17th October 1917, Aged 22.                                                                                                

Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial panel 50 & 51. 

 

 
John was the husband of Mrs. Briggs of 3 Radmore road Loughborough; prior to enlisting he was assistant manager under his father-in-law Mr. J. E. Hodgson at the Universal trading Co, Baxter Gate Loughborough. Sergt. Briggs who was 22 years of age was awarded the Military Medal on June 16th 1917 and was recommended for another award for his gallantry between October 1st - 4th. Writing to his widow the officer of the Company says he was killed by a shell while leaving the line with a working party after having just completed a days work. He suffered no pain, as death was instantaneous. He was one of the best N.C.O.'s in the company and had done some remarkably fine work recently in actions in which the battalion took a prominent part. Everyone in the battalion deeply deployed his death, as he was most popular with the battalion. Briggs received a POSTHUMOUS AWARD of the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Sergeant 21688 George Harold Bright

 

11th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 18th August 1916, Aged 24.

Buried Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery I. D. 1. 

 

George Harold Bright was born in Leicester in 1892, the eldest child of George Bernard Bright, a journeyman tailor, and his wife Elizabeth (née Hutchinson), a tailoress who later became a maternity nurse. George Harold's parents were married in Leicester in 1891 and they had thirteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. George Harold had three brothers Albert, Sydney and Frank and six sisters Grace, Hiverher, Rose, Ethel, Hilda and Daisy. In 1901 the family home was at 36 Fleet Street, Leicester, and in 1911 at 34 Dannatt Street, Leicester. George Harold's parents later moved to 96 Beatrice Road, Leicester. In 1911 George Harold was a hairdresser and still living at home.

By the time George Harold enlisted on 21st October 1915 he was a master hairdresser. He attested at Leicester and joined the 11th (Service) Battalion (Midland Pioneers) of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 21688. Pioneer battalions were created to provide the Royal Engineers with skilled labour for building roads and trenches, but they were still fighting soldiers. The Midland Pioneers Battalion was formed at Leicester in October 1915 by the Mayor of Leicester and a local committee and on 29th March 1916 they left Southampton for Le Havre on the H.M.T Lydia, with their equipment on the H.M.T Rossetti. George Harold had been promoted to Acting Lance Corporal on 24th November 1915, a position confirmed on 10th February 1916. He was further promoted to Lance Sergeant on 18th March 1916.

On 31st March the battalion left Le Havre and entrained for Hazebrouck and Poperinghe. They marched to Houtkerque on 1st April and three days later to Esquelbec where they remained until 15th April. Orders then came for the battalion to return to camps at Houtkerque for field working parties and instruction. On 16th July the battalion moved to Brandhoek for trench work in the area of Brandhoek and Ypres.

In August 1916 the battalion was moved to the Gézaincourt area of France, south-west of Doullens in the region of the Somme. George Harold had now been promoted to Sergeant. He died of wounds received in action on 18th August 1916, aged 24. He was awarded a certificate from the King for conspicuous bravery in the field and for devotion to duty, was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches of 13th November 1916 and gazetted on 4th January 1917.

George Harold is buried at Gézaincourt Communal Cemetery, Grave I. D. 1. He is remembered on the war memorial at St. Augustine's Church, Leicester. A newspaper report gave his former place of residence as Loughborough, but this remains unproven.

Private 9824 Alec Brookes

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 7th January 1916, Aged 20.

Commemorated Basra Memorial Iraq panel 12                                                                        

 

Alec Brookes was born in 1895, the son of Albert Brookes, a railway cooper and plater, and Rosa Brookes (née Bradshaw) who were married in Loughborough in 1895. Alec had three younger brothers James, Ernest and George, and four younger sisters Gertude, Laura, Dorothy and lastly Kathleen, born in 1918 and whom Alec never knew. Alec became a Primitive Methodist, but in his youth attended the Emmanuel Bible Class. In 1901 his father was a railway porter and the family lived at 5 Railway Terrace, Loughborough. By 1911, however, the family had moved to 26 Burder Street, Loughborough and Alec, aged 16, was a needlemaker while his father had become a crane driver.

When Alec originally enlisted on 13th December 1913 as a Reservist with the 3rd Leicesters he was a rivet header at the Brush Company. He joined the Regular Forces at Leicester on 29th January 1914 and was posted as Private 9824 to 1st Leicesters on 7th April 1914. He remained in Leicester until August 1914 when he was sent to Fermoy, Ireland. On 21st August 1914 he was posted to the 3rd Leicesters at Portsmouth until 14th November 1914 when he was sent back to the Depot at Leicester. On 18th January 1915 he embarked from Southampton for France, having been posted to join the 2nd Leicesters. The 2nd Leicesters took part in the Battles of Nueve Chapelle (10th - 13th March), and Aubers Ridge (9th May). The next couple of months were spent alternately in the trenches or in billets while war training, in the area of Calonne and Vieille Chapelle north-east of Bethune. On 14th June 1915 Alec was admitted to hospital from a field ambulance, having lacerated his shoulder. He rejoined his battalion at the end of June. The corps was then rested in a quiet sector before being deployed for the Battle of Loos.

Alec was fortunate to survive the initial attack at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915 - from his battalion 72 men were killed, 217 were wounded, 42 were gassed and 96 were recorded as missing. The 2nd Battalion was rather depleted after the Battle of Loos, but was ordered to the Persian Gulf where Britain was fighting Turkish forces allied to the Germans. On 10th November 1915 Alec 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.

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. Alec died of wounds received in this battle.

After his death his property returned to his mother consisted of 2 photos, 2 brass rings and 1 farthing.

Private 477109 John Henry Brookes

 

Royal Canadian Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th April 1917 Aged 25.

Buried La Chaudière Military Cemetery, Vimy, VII.B.13.                                                                           

John Henry Brookes, often known as 'Henry' was born on 15th July 1891 in Loughborough, the son of Charles Edwin (known as 'Edwin') and Emma Brookes (née Mee) who were married at All Saints Church, Loughborough, Loughborough on 24th December 1877. Edwin and Emma Brookes had eleven children, seven of whom survived. Edwin Brookes, called 'Nobs of Blue' by local people, was a framework knitter, then a firewood dealer, and subsequently a labourer. Emma Brookes was a mill hand, spinning wool. In 1881 the family lived at 7 Court B, Sparrow Hill, Loughborough.

In 1879 Edwin Brookes was fined for being drunk and disorderly in Loughborough and a year later was in court for stealing a shawl. In 1881 both Edwin and Emma were charged with assaulting William Hallam in Loughborough. In 1888 Edwin Brookes was sentenced to three months hard labour for unlawfully wounding his wife Emma. He struck her with his wooden leg, threw her to the ground and kicked her in the face. Emma Brookes was granted a judicial separation from him, with financial support for the children. Emma, however, clearly did not leave her husband as John Henry was born in 1891 and another son Edwin Edward in 1893. In addition, in 1891 Edwin Brookes was also charged with neglecting to send his children to school and in 1892 both parents were in court together for assaulting Violet Hodson.

By 1901, however, Emma Brookes had finally left her husband. She was living at 25 Talfourd Street, Small Heath, Birmingham and working as a charwoman, washing and cleaning at the Pump Tavern Lodging House, Bull Ring. She had four of her children with her, including John Henry and Edwin Edward. Her husband Edwin Brookes, meanwhile, was back living with his parents in Loughborough, together with his son Albert.

In 1907 John Henry (aged 16) and his brother Edwin Edward (aged 14), the latter described as a 'wastrel', were separately sent by the Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes organization, St. Luke's Road, Birmingham to Fairview Station, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. John Henry arrived in Canada from Liverpool on 24th May 1907 on the SS Carthaginian and Edwin Edward on the SS Siberian in August 1907.

By 1911 their father Edwin was in the Loughborough workhouse and he died in 1913.

John Henry enlisted on 23rd August 1915 at Halifax, Nova Scotia as 'John Henry Brooks'. He was tattooed on both forearms and gave his occupation as a farmer. He joined the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) as Private 477109 and was one of 20 former Middlemore boys to join the regiment.

In August 1915 the Regiment proceeded to England, where it was re-armed and re-equipped. It landed at Boulogne on November 1st, and on moving up the line it went into the trenches for the first time, with the First Canadian Division, opposite Messines.

At the beginning of 1916 the Regiment went into the line with the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade at Wulverghem, later moving to Kemmel and then to Ypres. The Regiment's first general action was in the German attack (June 2nd to June 5th) on Sanctuary Wood and Hooge in the Ypres Salient. Between June and August some extremely gallant trench raids and expeditions were carried out by the Regiment.

In September 1916 the Regiment moved south with the Canadian Corps to the Somme, where until November they took part in very severe fighting at Flers-Courcelette, Regina Trench, and elsewhere. On 8th October at Regina Trench the RCR and one other battalion were the only Canadian battalions to capture and for the time hold objectives but with heavy loss.

After the fighting on the Somme the Regiment was so depleted that it was obliged to reorganise. In November the Battalion moved north again to Neuville St.-Vaast, nothing of much importance happening with the exception of raids.

John Henry Brookes, aged 25, was killed in action at La Folie Farm, Vimy, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9th April 1917. He was buried at La Chaudière Military Cemetery, Vimy, Grave VII. B. 13. He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial under the name 'John Henry Brooks'. He was also remembered on the Talfourd Street Memorial, Birmingham (now lost).

Edwin Edward also enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 17th August 1915 as 'Edwin Brooks' at Camp Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada. John Henry and Edwin Edward's brother Albert joined the Leicestershire Regiment. Edwin Edward and Albert both survived the war. Edwin Edward returned to Nova Scotia to his wife. He changed his name to 'John Edward Brookes' before 1922 and became a lumberjack. Albert emigrated to Dandenong, Victoria, Australia.

Private 1904 Thomas Brookes

 

Leicestershire Yeomanry.

Killed in action 13th May 1915, Aged 22.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 5. 

 

Thomas Brookes, born in Loughborough in 1893, was the younger son of James and Elizabeth Brookes of 24 Paget Street, and later of 5 Gladstone Street, Loughborough. Thomas had an older brother Charles and an older sister Elizabeth. His father was a joiner's moulding machinist and in 1911 young Thomas was an apprentice in a hosiery factory.

Thomas enlisted towards the end of 1912.

He was killed during the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge. He is also commemorated on a memorial in the St. Peter's Church building, Storer Road, Loughborough.

Note: All the military records for Thomas Brookes, except for one, record his surname as 'Brooks', which is incorrect. This error is also repeated on memorials to Thomas Brookes. His medals were also issued under the incorrect surname of 'Brooks'.

Private 8778 Joseph Brown

2nd Bn, Manchester Regiment.

Killed in Action 28th October 1914, Aged 34.

Commemorated Le Touret Memorial panel 34 & 35.         

Joseph Brown was the son of George Brown, a widower of 34 Warner Place, Loughborough. Joseph's mother had died in 1893, when he was 13 years old, leaving Joseph and his six sisters and two brothers. When Joseph was called up to the reserve he had already served nine years with the colours and was employed at William Cotton Ltd. of Loughborough.

Joseph's battalion landed at Le Havre on 16th August 1914. The battalion then entrained via Rouen and Amiens to Le Cateau, marched to St. Vaast-Le Bavai and Hainin and was given orders to form a defensive line near Wasmes on the Mons-Condé Canal. Here they came under enemy attack, and similarly a few days later at Dours until they were ordered to retreat. On 6th September the battalion was ordered back into the attack.

By the end of October the battalion had almost reached its limit, the men were exhausted from the battles at La Cateau, the retreat and the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne, and once again they were holding a long line with exhausted troops and being attacked day and night. It was at this point that Joseph Brown lost his life.

Sergeant 8544 Herbert Browton

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 20th November 1917. Aged 27.

Buried Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery V. C. 16. 

 

Herbert was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thos Browton of 65 Herbert Street Loughborough. Herbert was in the regular army, having seen nearly ten years service. He was an old Church Gate scholar under the late Mr. Judges.

Private 20852 Douglas John Bryan

 

16th Coy. Machine Gun Corps.

Formerly 11538 Leicestershire Regiment.                                    

Died of Wounds 21st December 1917. Aged 19.

Buried Mount Huon Military Cemetery VI. C 14B.

 

Douglas was the son of Mr. William and Grace Bryan of 6 Hartington Street Loughborough.

Sergeant 41087 Charles William Bugden

 

1/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Formerly 9199 Royal West Kent Regiment.                                    

Died of Wounds 28th October 1918, Aged 36.

Buried St Sever Cemetery Extension Rouen S. III. C . 6.

 

Charles was the husband of Mrs. Bessie Bugden of 34 Moor Lane Loughborough. Sergeant Bugden enlisted in August 1914. He also served in the South African Campaign. His parents lived at Walnut Tree Cottage, East Sutton Maidstone.

Private 266432 Lawrence William Bunney

 

5th Bn, Lincolnshire Regiment.

Killed in action 3rd July 1917, Aged 23.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial Somme pier & face 1 C. 

 

Lawrence was the son of Mr. Thomas Bunney of 94 Corporation road Nuneaton, late of Loughborough. Pte. Bunney was one of the old 1/5th Leicesters, and first went to France in 1915. He was invalided home and worked at the Empress Works eventually rejoining for active service, and again went to France in January. He was a member of the Borough Band.

Lance Corporal 41473 Almond Trevosa Burder

 

11thBn, Royal Irish Rifles.

Formerly 5085 Bedfordshire Regiment.                                    

Died of Wounds 30th March 1918, Aged 34.

Buried St Sever Cemetery Extension P. VII. E. 12A.

 

Lance Corporal Burder was wounded in the head, and died on the hospital train. Before joining the army, Corpl, Burder was with Messrs, Freeman, Hardy and Willis Branch, Market Place Loughborough, and was one of the earliest members of the Volunteer Force and took a keen interest in the movement. At the time he offered his services to the army in 1915, he was rejected but he subsequently voluntarily underwent an operation, after which he was accepted. He had seen active service in France, Egypt and other fields of battle. He was 34 years of age, and his parents lived in Leominster and had two other sons serving with the colours.

Private 203316 William Burnham

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died Egypt 27th January 1918, Aged 40.

Buried Maala Cemetery Yemen E. 58. 

 

William was the husband of Mrs. Mary Ann Burnham of 8 Paget Street Loughborough. He enlisted in the spring of 1917, and was sent on Garrison Duty abroad.

 

Private 33860 Thomas Arthur Butler

7th Bn. Norfolk Regiment.

Killed in Action 8th August 1918, Aged 20.


Buried Morlancourt British Cemetery no 2 Somme A. 10.