Category Archives: Casualties

241805 Pte Lancelot Harry Shillitoe from Bury St Edmunds

Enlisted into the 2/6th Battalion, transfered to the 10th Battalion and missing in action in April 1918.

Lancelot Shillitoe

Lancelot enlisted in Chesterfield into the 3/6th Sherwood Foresters in February 1916 and was one of several men from Bury St Edmunds that enlisted into the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters; Lancelot’s mother was from Chesterfield, which may explain his choice of Regiment.

Medal Index Card
Medal Role

Lancelot most likely arrived in France with the 2/6th Battalion in February 1917, but at some point transferred to the 10th Battalion. This would have been at an Infantry Base Depot and Lancelot might have been wounded or sick (and recovering).

Soldier’s Effects

He was posted missing (and death presumed) on 21st April 1918 whilst serving with 9 Platoon in ‘C’ Company. Lancelot appears on several British Red Cross Enquiry Lists including those issued on 2nd August and 20th November 1918.

At the time of his death the 10th Battalion were occupying front line trenches close to Aveluy Wood on the old Somme Battlefield the trenches were very shallow causing numerous casualties; ‘C’ company were occupying the OUTPOST LINE. On the 21st April the Germans began shelling the front line.

“From 9am to 6pm there was no news from Captain FB Joyce MC, who was in Command of two Platoons of ‘C’ Company holding the positions on the railway. During the afternoon the shelling increased in intensity; and at 6pm two runners arrived from ‘C’ Company saying that when they left at 5.15pm the Company had already suffered heavy casualties”

[10th Battalion History by Lieut. WN Hoyte]

It now seems certain that Lancelot. H. Shillitoe (Sherwood Foresters), nephew of Mrs J. G. Shea, Eastwood House, Chesterfield, who has been reported missing since April 21st 1918, was killed on that date. Information has been received through Red Cross sources that Cpl Shillitoe’s Company was held up by an enemy counter attack on the date stated, and a comrade states that he saw the young soldier laid low by gunshot. The occupation of the area by the enemy rendered it impossible to recover the body, but the soldier of whom inquiries have been made has no doubt whatsoever that Cpl. Shillitoe was killed. Cpl Shillitoe, who was 20 years old, was the third of four soldier sons of Mr Thomas Shillitoe, Upper Norwood, a London Contractor and Builder. His maternal grandmother was the late Mrs Stilwell, Glenholme, Chatsworth Road, Brampton. In civil life he was at the engineering works of Bryan Donkin Company, Derby Road. Joining up on February 8th 1916, when he was under military age, he went with the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters to Ireland in connection with the rebellion. His brother, who enlisted at the same time, is still serving. 

[Derbyshire Courier, 21st September 1918]

10th Battalion casualties.
Poziers Memorial
Pension Record

Lancelot body was not recovered after the War and he is Commemorated on the Poziers Memorial. His mother Sarah was awarded a pension after the war.

268073 Pte Frederick Albert Surman from London

One of the ‘London recruits’, but did he serve with the 1/6th or 2/6th Battalion……..

Victory and British War Medals
Medal Index Card

Frederick was born in Fulham in 1898 and was one of the ‘Londoners’ that were posted to the Sherwood Foresters Battalions of the 178th Brigade, 59th Division in September 1916.

Medal Roll

He originally served with the 2/7th Battalion because in Spring 1917 he was issued with a number allocated to the 7th Battalion (265001 – 305000). However, the medal roll shows that he was transferred to the 2/6th Battalion and then the 2nd Battalion before finally ending up in the Middlesex Regiment.

31 Ambulance Train 25th October 1917

In October 1917 Frederick suffered a shell wound to the right leg and was transported on the 31 Ambulance Train from Brauy to Commines. At this point he is recored as serving with ‘B’ Company in the 2/6th Battalion.

1/6 Battalion War Diary 19th-28th October 1917
2/6th Battalion War Diary 25th-31st October 1917

At the time of his wounding only the 2/6th Battalion was occupying front line trenches and recorded 11 other ranks wounded during their 5 days in the front line.

Admission and discharge book for No. 2 General Hospital at Le Havre – 2nd July 1916

Lists 78 men from the 46th North Midland Division who were wounded on the 1st July 1916 during the attack on Gommecourt


Division Patch

The men are from the following Battalions:-

5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Notts & Derby (139th Sherwood Brigade)

5th and 6th North Staffs (137th Staffordshire Brigade)

5th Leicesters and 4th Lincolns (138th Lincoln and Leicester Brigade)



The men were transported on the Hospital Ships HS Panama or HS Lanfranc to the UK.

HS Panama
HS Lanfranc

Kaiserschlacht vignettes: Robert Alwyn Dane from Eyam

2843/240759 Sergeant Robert Alwyn Dane from Eyam

2843/240759 Sergeant Robert Alwyn Dane

Robert enlisted in October 1914 into the 2/6th Battalion and arrived in France in February 1917. He was wounded in April 1917 and granted leave to the UK in September 1917. Robert was recorded as ‘missing in action’ on the 21st March 1918 and later died of his wounds on the 14th April.

Casualty Form – Active Service
Robert was wounded in the back
Derbyshire Time from 1918

100021 Pte Joseph Fletcher from Froggatt: a mothers desperate letter……..

Dear Sir

Is it possible to obtain any information from you concerning my son Pte Joseph Fletcher who was taken prisoner on 21st March 1918. I have received news from him fortnightly until the week before the signing of the Armistice: since I have had no news whatever, and we are very anxious about him.

Yours respectively, Mrs Fletcher

Joseph was repatriated on the 25th December 1918

Service with the 1/8th Battalion

Joseph was posted to the 1/8th Battalion on the 29th January 1918, which was holding front line posts near Cambrai when the Germans raided causing several casualties.

Service Record
Record of capture
Joseph was interned in Dulmen POW Camp

The tragic suicide of 3828 Company Sergeant Major Thomas Wood from Sheffield

On the 4th October 1915 at Belton Camp near to Grantham

Thomas was a 38 year old clerk when he enlisted into the 6th Reserve Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters in Chesterfield on the 2nd May 1915. Thomas had previously served over 18 years with the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and rising to the rank of Colour Sergeant.

Service Record for Thomas Wood recording that he had served in South Africa and Hong Kong and has passed numerous courses of instruction.

Attestation of Thomas Wood witnessed by Major C Harold Heathcote
Thomas was immediately posted to the 3/6th Battalion and promoted to the rank of Acting Company Sergeant Major. He was subsequently promoted to Acting Sergeant Major in June 1915.
In October 1915 Thomas took his own life
Newspaper article

Captain William Seaton, who had known him for a month, described Thomas as a very good man indeed and an excellent sergeant-major. Thomas left a wife and four sons who received a pension.

It would appear from Captain Seaton’s testimony and Thomas’s final letter that he was under considerable pressure “Try and think as well as you can of me. I have tried to do my best, but when there is only man, what are you to do? I cannot bear the strain any longer”

Thomas wrote to Major Towler stringing that “my accounts are in an awful muddle”, but on examination “so far as he knew the accounts were alright”.

The History of the 3/7th Reserve (Robin Hood) Battalion Sherwood Foresters, written in 1921, records that there were a shortage of Officers and NCOs in these early days of the Reserve Battalions.


Thomas’s widow Catherine and their four young sons were awarded a pension.

Queant Road Cemetery: 2/5th Battalion men commemorated in August 1924

“To the memory of these 9 British Soldiers who were buried by the enemy in 1918 in NOREUIL GERMAN MIL. CEM., but whose graves are now lost”

Graves Registration report Form

2/5th Sherwood Foresters

202077 Pte Ernest Richard Potts was born in 1892 and was a boot repairer from Duffield who enlisted in November 1915. Only served overseas with the 2/5th Battalion and death was ‘presumed’ on 21st March 1918. He left his wife Mabel who received a pension.

Pension Card

46841 Pte William Rook from Navenby in Lincolnshire. Enlisted in May 1916 and transferred from the 2nd Battalion. Death was ‘presumed’ on 21st March 1918 and his father received a pension.

Medal Roll

24561 Pte Thomas Hollins from Nottingham enlisted in March 1915 and had previously served with the 15th Battalion. He was killed in action on 21st March 1918 ‘or since’. His mother Jane was awarded a pension for life in November 1918.

Medal Roll

6970 Pte Edwin George Carter from Sneiton in Nottinghamshire aged 45. Previously saw service as a Sergeant in South Africa (1899-1902) with the 4th Battalion Derbyshire Regiment. Awarded Cape Colony and Orange Free State Clasps. Death was ‘presumed’ on 21st March 1918.

Medal Roll

307215 Pte William George Cross from Camberwell. Also served with 2/8th Battalion. Death ‘officially accepted’ as 21st March 1918. Left his wife Birdie who received a pension.

Medal Roll

241671 Sergeant Charles Breedon from Clay Cross. Death ‘assumed’ on 21/3/18 and he was actually serving with 2/6th Battalion. His mother Elizabeth was awarded a pension for life in November 1918.

Medal Roll

Other Battalions

200463 Pte Frederick Ridgway from Mossley in Staffordshire aged 23. Served with 2/6th Battalion North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales’s) Regiment. Son of Harry and Lucy Ridgway of Henleaze Gardens, Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol. Born at Newcastle-under-Lyme.

27164 Pte Richard Martin from Heatly in Cheshire, 1st Bn Shropshire Light Infantry died of wounds on the 2nd April 1918. The adopted son of Mr. & Mrs. William Mantle of Sandy Lane, Lymm.

41415 Pte Henry John Moles from Hitchin in Hertfordshire aged 19. 2/5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. http://www.hertsatwar.co.uk/biographies/569077/henry-john-moles.

Queant Road Cemetery

242256 Pte JW Gill on an undated casualty list from No. 1 Record Office in Lichfield……

‘Sick and wounded NCOs and Men of the…….’

16665 Pte George Kendall from Mansfield

16665 Pte George Kendall from Mansfield enlisted in Sept 1914 and arrived in France with the 12th Battalion on the 28th August 1915. He later joined the MGC and was Class Z in January 1919.

MIC
George was later to receive a pension

67045 Lance Corporal Ralph Morley

67045 L/C Ralph Morley enlisted on 10th Sept 1914 and only served overseas with the 11th Battn. He was discharged in April 1918 suffering from neurasthenia sickness; he would later receive a pension and a Silver War Badge.

MIC

71806 Pte Kenneth Tomlinson from Sheffield

71806 Pte Kenneth Hayter Tomlinson from Sheffield served with ‘C’ Company 11th Battalion and suffered from eczema to the face and placed on the 31 Ambulance train from Remy to Boulogne on the 18th July 1917. He later served with the 1st Battalion.

Medal Role
31 Ambulance Train 18th July 1917

85252 Pte Enoch Buckley from Oldham

85252 Pte Enoch Buckley from Oldham served overseas with the 15th Battalion from 27th July 1917 to 28th October 1917. He later transferred to the Royal Defence Corps.

Medal Role
Enoch would later receive a pension

331273 Pte Ernest Broadhead from Nottingham

331273 Pte Ernest Broadhead served with a number of Battalions including the 2/7th, 1/7th, 21st & 15th, 2nd and 5th Res. Ernest originally attested into the Robin Hoods (2/7th Battalion) in September 1914.

Casualty Form – Active Service

Ernest’s first regimental number was 2662 when he enlisted into the 2/7th Battalion. Ernest embarked from Southampton on the 28th June 1915 and disembarked the following day in Rouen. He was posted to the 1/7th Battalion on the 8th September 1916 and was wounded on the 5th October 1915.

At the time of his wounding the Robin Hoods were working on captures German trenches

Ernest returned the Robin Hoods on the 7th December 1915 after recovering in Hospital and spending 6 weeks with the 46 NM Base Depot. Ernest was wounded a second time on the 26th June 1916 and transferred to England on the HS Lanfranc. On the 28th June he was posted to the Command Depot at Ballyvonare.

Robin Hood War Diary for 26th June 1916
Hospital Ship Lanfranc
Casualty Form – Active Service

After recovering from his wounds Ernest was posted to the 21st Battalion in January 1917 and the to the 2/7th Battalion in September 1917. He arrived back in France on the 19th September 1917 and was posted to the 14th Infantry Base Depot at Calais. He was transferred to the 15th Battalion and joined them ‘in the field’ on the 23rd September. Ernest was wounded in action for a third time on the 22nd October 1917, whilst the Battalion were attacking German positions near Houthulst Forest. He was transferred to hospital in England on the HS Stan Antwerpen.

15th Battalion War Diary for 22nd October 1917
HS Stan Antwerpen

After recovering from his third wounding Ernest once again found himself going to France on the 19th March 1918. He was initially posted to the 8th Battalion at K Infantry Base Depot for record purposes, before being transferred to the 2nd Battalion on the 23rd March 1918. He was wounded in action for the fourth time on the 14th April 1918 and again returned to England on the HS Stan Antwerpen.

Casualty Form – Active Service
2nd Battalion War Diary 14th-15th April 1918
Ernest was eventually discharged in March 1919 and awarded a well deserved pension

242256 Private William Jack Gill

242256 Pte William Jack Gill arrived in France in Feb 1917 and served overseas with the 2/6th and 2nd Battns. Possibly enlisted in April 1916, but No other information is currently available.

Medal Roll

14736 Pte James Walters

14736 Pte James Walters arrived in France with the 10th Battalion on 14th July 1915 and later served with the 11th and 15th Battalions and the South Lancashire Regiment. He was discharged in January 1919.

Medal Roll

And the date……..

In summary Enoch Buckley and Ernest Broadhead’s service records would suggest that this casualty list was drawn up towards the end of October 1917.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to determine any more provenance.

On this day 21st April 1917 two men were wounded and John Brown and Victor Bonsall were killed in action

Both John (242122) and Victor (242335) were original members of the 2/6th Battalion and are buried next to each other in Templeux-Le-Guerard British Cemetery.

John was the husband of Louisa Brown of 141 Fairfoot Rd., Bow in London. He was born in London.

Victor was the son of Richard and Louisa Bonsall of Monyash, Bakewell in Derbyshire.

Pension Record for Victor Bonsall
Pension Record for John Brown

103039 Pte Frederick Blaydon – one of the ‘Bedfordshire Lads’………

Sherwood Foresters Cap Badge

Unfortunately, I carelessly let this Medal Pair ‘get away from me’ on a well known internet auction site last night, but I thought that I would still try to piece together Frederick’s story.


Frederick was one of approximately 112 men who were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters from the Bedfordshire Regiment and issued the new Regimental numbers running from 103024 (Herbert Meekins) to 103137 (George Webster). Many of these men had previously been numbered with a post-1917 6-digit Bedfordshire Territorial Force Regimental number (see below).

Section of the Sherwood Forester Medal Roll showing the transfer of Men from the Bedfordshire Regiment to the 2/6th Battalion.

But when and why did this transfer happen?

Fortunately the Service Records of at least two of this group of 112 men still exist:

103035 Pte John Male from Bath (see above).

103065 Pte Horace Crowle from Cornwall.

Casualty Form – Active service for 204038 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103035 Pte John Male
Casualty Form – Active Service for 103065 Pte Horace Crowie

These documents confirm that Pte John Male and Pte Horace Crowle – and by inference Pte Frederick Blaydon – were posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, before proceeding to France from Folkestone on the 28th March 1918.

They arrived at “L” Infantry Base Depot and were transferred to the 2/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 31st March 1918. This transfer was due to the losses suffered by the 2/6th Battalion (178th Bde, 59th Division) on the 21st March 1918 during the German Spring Offensive.


Neither John Male or Horace Cowle would survive the month

59th Division Casualties for April 1918

John Male was killed in action with B Company, 2/6th Battalion on the 16th April aged 48. He was the Son of Mr and Mrs Male of 13, Maytree Rd., Bitterne, Southampton. John’s body was exhumed near Kemmel Hall in July 1919 and he is now buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery.

Mount Kemmel – John’s body was found at 19 D, near to Kemmel Hall

Horace Cowle served with B Company and was listed as ‘missing in action’ during the defence of Kemmel on the 18th April 1918 aged 19. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Crowle of 1 Chapel Terrace, St. Blazey, Cornwall. Horace is commemorated on The Ploegsteert Memorial.

Horace had enlisted underage in November 1915. He arrived in France in December 1916 and was posted to the 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. However, in January 1917 he was returned to England.


Frederick Blaydon was later transferred to the 1/6th Battalion when the 2/6th was reduced to Cadre in May 1918 and survived the War.