Rifleman S/26148 Thomas Edwin Capers 8th Rifle Brigade, DOW 13/04/1917 VII. F. 9. WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY
courtesy of Jim Smithson, Dec. 2010
Thomas Edwin Capers was born and brought up in Ibstock, he was 26 and single at the outbreak of the Great War. Thomas was the youngest of three brothers and had two sisters, all born in Ibstock to parents Thomas and Sarah where the family had lived since about 1880. All the males of the family had worked either in
Pte. 36748 William Blakley Tyers 25th Northumberland Fusiliers, KIA 10/9/1917 I. E. 27 HARGICOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
William Blakley Tyers was nearly thirty when he joined the Army, most likely as a conscript in about February 1917. He was married with two young sons. William had been born in Measham were he had spent his infancy before his family moved to Ibstock in around 1890. One of five children, William was the oldest son of Walter and Mary Tyers. He was working as a grocer's assist
Pte. 27936 Arthur Hammersley 7th North Staffs, KIA 25/1/1917, Panel 34. Memorial: BASRA MEMORIAL
Arthur Hammersley was a thirty year old married man with a family when he joined the Army in the spring of 1916, either as a conscript or as someone who had attested under the Derby Scheme in late 1915. Arthur had been born and raised in Bedworth, Warwickshire, some 20 miles south of Ibstock. As an adult he had worked as a miner and had married local girl Alice Richards in 1912, their first chi
Nine men from Ibstock are known to have served in the 16th Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps during the Great War, nicked named the “Churchman's Battalion” because of it's association with the “Church Lad's Brigade” (CLB).
Early in September 1915 Lord Grenfell, Governor & Commandant of the CLB, had formally applied to the War Office for permission to raise a service battalion of past and present members of the CLB. After the War Office approved, the battalion was raised as the 16t
Pte. 20759 Noel Victor Lane 7/8th KOSB, KIA 20/6/1916 buried IV. B. 3. Cemetery: VERMELLES BRITISH CEMETERY
Noel Victor Lane was just 19 when he travelled to Leicester and volunteered to join the Army. He was born in Earl Shilton, as were both his father and grandfather before him. His father Henry had run the “Lord Nelson Inn” in Earl Shilton before moving the family to Ibstock in around 1905, where he had advertised in a local trade directory as a carpenter and general store holder. By
Five men on the Ibstock war memorial served in the 8th Leicesters: Private 13070 Arthur Henry Houghton; Private 13147 Alfred Sleath; L/Cpl 13209 George Riley; Private 16131 Joseph Satchwell and Private 203426 John Howitt Wright.
Arthur Houghton and Alfred Sealth were amongst Ibstock's earliest volunteers. Ibstock born miner, Arthur Houghton was 27 years old and single when he volunteered on 3rd September 1914, his family home was at 297 Melbourne Road, Ibstock.
Alfred Sleath (spelt Sleith on
While nearly a quarter of the men named on the Ibstock war memorial served in various battalions of the Territorial Force, another sizeable proportion responded to Kitchener's call to arms and joined the County's “New Army” Battalions. The 6th (service ) Battalion of the Leicestershire regiment had been the first to be formed at Leicester in August 1914 as part of K1. The 7th was formed in September 1914 as part of K2, and the 8th and 9th followed in the same month as part of K3.
George Burton and George Sharpe were not the only men on the Ibstock war memorial to have started their Army life with one of the Leicester TF battalions before being transferred. Men who had trained with and fully expected to join one of their County's TF battalions were diverted on arrival in France to a unit they had no previous connections with.
John William Steel was just 18 years old when he attended his medical at the Glen Parva barracks on 6th March 1917, it was to be another seven mo
For the second time I seem to have found a long standing injustice done to a man whose name appears on the Ibstock memorial. At first, I just accepted that there were two Robert Hollands listed in SDGW and on CWGC amongst the casualties from Ibstock. I was even as blind to think the name appeared twice on the memorial itself while I was busy collating my lists. Of course, when I checked the memorial images the two consecutive names are Robert Holland and Robert Hollard. But that still left me
Most of the territorials on the Ibstock memorial served in the 46th (North Midland) Division, but two others found themselves in the 1st/1st battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment. For nineteen year old George Burton and twenty four year old George Sharpe the war was to be short and intense.
Burton and Sharpe were just two of a group of miners from Ibstock, and its surroundings, who were processed at Leicester's Market Place recruiting office in March and April of 1918. Harry Harrison and
Four men on the Ibstock war memorial served in the Staffordshire territorials: Arthur Allen as private 202032, 1st/6th Staffordshire Bn.; George Cooper as private 202036, 1st/5th Staffordshire Bn.; Walter Fowkes as as private 241855, 1st/6th Staffordshire Bn. and Bertram Redshaw as private 202030, 1st/5th Staffordshire Bn.
There are no service papers for these men, but they were in the army long enough to be renumbered in early 1917, and as their medal index cards are without dates or the awar
Over a year before Albert Mattley enlisted, both Bertie Farmer and Harry Partner had volunteered at Leicester and had been first posted to the 2nd/4th Leicesters. Their time in the second-line territorials was short as both were sent to France in a draft of reinforcements to the 1st/4th Leicesters.
Pte. Harry Partner's original army number was 3559, and Cpl. Bertie Farmer's was 3561. Close enough to make you think they were recruited together, but such are the vagaries of army numbering that
While Harry Badcock and other November recruits who where initially in the 2nd/5th Leicesters became part of the first draft of reinforcements to the 1st/5th Leicesters, Wilfred Mason and Arthur Quilter remained with their initial unit. Mason's and Quilter's service papers have not survived, but their original army numbers point to them being recruited at Coalville not many days apart in November 1914. They were both miners and close neighbours in Ellistown, and if not actual friends, they wou
They say dead men can't talk, and except for the very few who have recently slipped into history, the veterans voices have long been silent. It's all very well re-constructing someone's story from papers records but personal testimony adds a whole new dimension. Some of us may have letters and diaries from the period to bring things to life, and for a few their relatives wrote books.
In my case, I just have the scraps of hand me down tales of the family menfolk who served in the Great War.
The fate of three other men on the Ibstock war memorial is intertwined with that of the 1st/5th Leicesters. After young Harry had become just an entry on a casualty form, the battalion moved from the Ypres Salient to Hohenzollern, from the proverbial frying pan into the fire zone.
Much has been written about the attack of the 46th North London Division on the Hohenzollern redoubt on the 13th October 1915. ( See this GWF thread for example:
The part played by the 1st/5th Leicesters is
They say war is a young man's game, and there are many nineteen year olds amongst the names on the Ibstock war memorial. But this is partly due to the influence of the Military service acts of 1917 and 1918, where young men became eligible for conscription regardless of occupation. But what in modern times would be shocking, was fairly common amongst the ranks of the early volunteers, and that is the underage soldier.
No proof of age was demanded of volunteers and recruiting offices could b
I may be linked to the Ibstock war memorial, but essentially I am the outsider who is looking in. Perhaps it is an impertinence to say anything at all about these men, and certainly I am not able to tap into local knowledge like those in the community might. So I run the risk of giving an incomplete picture.
For a small village (around 5,000 souls in 1915) built on coal, perhaps it's no exaggeration to say everyone knew everyone else: they had grown up together, worked together and had been
Thanks to the dedication and tireless efforts of a small group, the “Tunnellers Memorial” was unveiled on 19th June this year at Givenchy, close to the site of the Shaftesbury Shaft. It's dedicated to all tunnellers and specifically to Sapper William Hackett VC of 254 Tunnelling Company RE, and Pte.Thomas Collins of the 14th BN, The Welsh Regiment.
Courtesy of Jeremy Bannnig at
BBC footage of the unveiling can ge seen http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10371047, and a p
The question of how many Ibstock miners in total served as tunnellers in the Great War is not easily answered. Particularly when you consider the memorial bears the names of men from Ellistown, Heather, Earlshilton, Groby and possibly Markfield. Just how far should the net be caste? In any case, with only a 1 in 4 to 1in 3 chance of finding a man's service papers, any count would be a guesstimate.
One name that doesn't appear on the memorial is Charles Heathcote Walker who died of wounds on
Miner Robert Ashby is the third man on the Ibstock memorial to have lost his life while serving as a tunneller. His profile is that of an older man whose years of work experience warranted his special enlistment on the highest rate of pay. Robert was aged 35, with a wife and three children, at the time he enlisted. He signed his papers in London on 21 June 1915 where the 170th-178th Companies of the Royal Engineers depot office address was 3, Central Buildings, Westminster SW. The front sheet
Another man on the memorial to lose his life after exchanging working in the pits for undermining the Germans was Isaac Lewis. His service papers are lost.
Born in Ibstock in 1889, the son of a miner, Isaac was one of eight siblings. Isaac had married Emily Blakesley in the summer of 1914 and by 1915 their daughter Edna was born. He had not been recruited along with the earlier volunteers in June, but wasn't long behind them. There's no indication from his MIC that he was a tunneller, but it
As I talked about Naylor MM in my last blog entry, it seems the right time to say something about George Miller Chamberlain DCM.
George was born in Ruddington, Notts around 1890, and his father, Thomas, was likely to have been amongst the last of the framework knitters working in Ruddington ( see: http://www.rfkm.org/aboutus.html ). By the turn of the century the family had moved to Ibstock, seeking new employment. George's father was now working in the Colliery and his older brother James, ag
Scratch a war memorial and you'll find a colonial. Well, perhaps that's an exaggeration, but you should never discount the possibility of your man serving in the CEF, the ANZACS or even the South African forces. There are two such men on the Ibstock war memorial: Pte. 414621(CEF) C.T.Partner and Pte.3850 J.W.Naylor(AIF) MM.
The CGWC refers to casualties like these as having Canadian or Australian nationality for instance, but I wonder if this is really true. Just how many of these British bor
It can't escape your notice that the names on the Ibstock war memorial are not in strict alphabetical order. We can make an intelligent guess as to why this is, and clearly from the CWGC entries it's not by date of death. So how are they ordered?
Really it's was only going to be any surviving service papers that might reveal the answer. Presuming I could find any, there was still the question as to how they might be scattered amongst the names. What was needed were papers of about three cons
Anyone researching names on a war memorial has to be alert to what I call the “name game”. Possible alternative spellings, the transposition of forenames, and the difference between family names and those used on official documents, are all typical examples.
But it's easy to be distracted and you might not expect both the CWGC register and SDGW entry for the same soldier to be wrong. Yet this is what had happened with Pte. 3293 Badcock.H.C. Somehow he had become “Badcook.H.C”, both in CWGC