Category Archives: Soldiers

242013 Pte Walter Harwood from Dulwich

Enlisted in June 1916 and was one of the Londoners posted to the 2/6th Battalion in September 1916; made prisoner of War during the Battle of Cambria.

Walter enlisted in June 1916 and arrived in France with the 2/6th Battalion in February 1917. He was captured on the 1st December 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai when he was wounded in the arm and leg. He was interned in Dulman POW Camp and was demobilised in March 1919 and awarded a pension.

Walter died in May 1922.

4762/201761 Pte Arthur ‘Jack’ Baldwin

Served with the 1/5th Battalion in France from 1916; wounded twice with “A” Company, the 10th Battalion.

Jack seated left with the three men that appear to belong to the Robin Hood Rifles.

Jack has a 4-digit Regimental number indicating that he arrived in France before the 1917 Territorial Force renumbering. He was still serving with the 1/5th Battalion at the time if renumbering. At some point he transferred to the 10th Battalion. Jack was later wounded in April 1918.

1433/305127 Sergeant William Henry Drabble from Southwell

A pre-War Territorial who arrived in France in March 1915 and was killed in action on the 4th October 1917.

Post card sent from Sergeant William Henry Drabble to his mother Alice from Braintree in early 1915. The message describes a planned Inspection by the King, which occurred on the 19th February 1915.

William would have first served with “H” (Southwell) Company and then with “B” (Newark and Southwell) Company when they merged in early 1915.


William is buried in Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe (grave ref. II.U5) along with his 3 comrades that died during that trench duty.

“Our most unpleasant experience undoubtedly was on October 4th when we got caught in the bombardment connected with an attempted Boche raid on the 7th Battalion whom we were relieving … B Company unfortunately got mixed up with some of the shelling and lost several men, including Sergt. Drabble, who was killed.

[The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914-1919, 1/8th Battalion]

“Information has been received by Mr. and Mrs. Drabble, Easthorpe, Southwell, that their eldest son, Serge. W. H. Drabble, Sherwood Foresters was killed in action on October 4th, two days prior to his 23rd birthday. Sergt. Drabble was offered a commission in February last, but he declined. For nearly 12 months prior to the War, Sergt. Drabble was assistant with Mr. G. T. Smith, grocer, Bridge Place, Worksop, by whom he was highly esteemed. Of a very genial disposition, he made many friends amongst the young men in the town. He was a keen footballer and a member of the Worksop Thursday Team. The news of his death will be deeply felt by his friends in Worksop, and their sympathy will go out to his parents in their bereavement.

[Worksop Guardian 2 November 1917]

After the War William’s mother received a pension.

2512/305608 L/Cpl Ellis William Hudson, a miner from Mansfield

Enlisted into the 8th Battalion in August 1914, arrived in France in June 1915 (1st Reinforcement), transferred to 2/8th and 2/6th Battalions, wounded and made a Prisoner of War on 21st March 1918. Disembodied in March 1919.

In the 1911 Census we can see that Ellis is a 19 year old coal miner living with his extended family in Newgate Lane, Mansfield.


Service with the 1/8th and 2/8th Battalions: 1914-1918

Ellis enlisted into the (2/)8th Battalion in August 1914 and signed the Imperial Service Agreement at Mansfield. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in December 1914 and arrived in France in June 1915 with the 1st Reinforcement.


It would appear that at some point in the Summer of 1917, Ellis was transferred to England (possibly through being wounded) and he married Edith Brough. However, his wounding is not mentioned on his Military History Sheet.

Ellis returned to France and was posted to the 2/8th Battalion on 20th September 1917 and later transferred to the 2/6th Battalion in January 1918 when the 2/8th Battalion were disbanded.


Kaiserschlacht – the German Spring Offensive: 21st March 1918

A “Next of Kin” record for Ellis Hudson, which records that he wrote home in April 1918 and that a Red Cross List from September 1918 records that he was in Munster II POW Camp. It also records that he had been wounded in the fingers and shoulder.


Repatriation and Discharge: Jan-Feb 1919

Ellis was repatriated to England in December 1918 and following a letter from his pre-War employers, “The Bolsover Colliery Company Limited”, he relinquished his unexpired portion of the 2 months released Prisoner of War leave and returned to work.

Ellis was awarded a pension died in October 1975 aged 83.

3406/241056 Pte Richard Clewlow

A collier from Danesmore who arrived in France in 1916 and served until the end of the Great War. Here he is wearing the 1914 Pattern equipment.

These items were sold on eBay – I didn’t win the auction – but I think that his story needs to be told.

Diary page, which appears to be written on May 22nd 1916, which is consistent with the 8th – 10th Reinforcements.
July 1st 1917

Made an attack on Cite St Edwards [sic] at 2.45 AM. Got into German trenches held it until 8.0 AM but had to retire on account of being run out of bombs + ammunition. I was out numbered by the Germans. Come into support for D Coy Cite St Laurence [sic].

See here, here and here

August 8th 1917

2nd Lt Evans killed at 4pm – see here.

Richard Evans
September 21st and 22nd 1917

Relieved West Yorks in support on Hill 70. CO Col C B Benson killed – see here.

Moved into front line + relieved the Durham Light Infantry – see here.

Cyril Benton Johnson
October 4th 1917

One hours P drill. Relieved 5th S.F. in support in Hurdle Trench shelled all the way coming in from Loos – see here.

November 4th 1917

Raid. Missing. Sgt Salt M, L/C Brailsford WH, L/C Simpson, Pte Metcalfe C, Pte Ormerod, Pte Richardson.

See here and here.

September 27th – 29th 1918

Came up from Brigade Reserve ready for the attack.

In reserve.

Made an attack taken the village of Magny 5,000 prisoners 9 field guns we had tanks in action 32nd Division through us and advanced a way forward – see here.

809/240063 Pte Jim Cook from Clay Cross

A Pre-War Territorial who enlisted in November 1908. Arrived in France in February 1915 and later served with the 2nd Battalion. Disembodied in February 1919.

1914-15 Trio awarded to Jim Cook
Medal Role
Attestation Form

Jim was a 20 year old miner from Clay Cross when he enlisted and was posted to Letter G (Clay Cross & District Company). Jim arrived in France with the rest of the 46th North Midland Division in February 1915. Jim caught typhoid/enteric fever in September 1915 and was transferred to Hospital in England.

Medical Record

Following treatment in Tooting Hospital Jim was discharged in October 1915 and posted to the 3/6th Battalion. He was later transferred to the Command Depot at Ripon in March 1916.

Northern Command Depot

In August 1918 Jim was transferred to the Army Reserve and returned to work at Clay Cross No 2 Pit.

Army Service Record

Jim returned to France in April 1918 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion. He was wounded on 17th April 1918; suffering from gsw in the upper right arm. At that time the 2nd Battalion were holding front line trenches in the Dickebusch Sector when they were heavily shelled and the Germans attempted to raid a bombing post.

4516 Pte Frank Shelton from Chesterfield

A bit of a rogue or a ‘wrong ‘un’……..

Frank Shelton was born in Chesterfield in 1891 and was a pipe moulder by trade. He enlisted into the 6th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters early in 1908. He was married to Hannah and they lived in Brewery Street close to the Hospital

Chesterfield

Frank enlisted into the Grenadier Guards in August 1908 and achieved a 3rd Class certificate of education in October 1909. However, it would appear that Frank suffered from a lack of military discipline and was eventually discharged due to ‘misconduct’ in May 1912.


Medal Roll

Frank enlisted into the 6th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters in August 1915 and was issued the Regimental number 4516. His 4-digit number on the medal index card records his entitlement to the BWM and VM and suggests that he arrived in France in 1916.

At some point (before the 1917 Territorial Renumbering) Frank was transferred to the 1/6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment where he rose the rank of acting Sergeant.


Pension Record

Frank was eventually discharged in March 1919 and received a pension.

72118 Pte Charles Augustus Humphries

A ‘Londoner’ who was posted to the 2/7th Battalion, the Robin Hoods, in July 1917 and captured during the ‘Kaiserschlacht’ on 21st March 1918

Charles was awarded the BWM and VM

Unfortunately, not a lot is known about Charles Augustus Humphries. He was born in Islington on the 5th August 1880, but there does not appear to be any census or birth records for that precise date (note: the birth of a Charles Augustus Humphries was recored in Islington in 1881).


It is not known when Charles enlisted into the British Army, but he was part of a contingent of approximately 65 men that were transferred to the 2/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 28th July 1917.

These men were given the service numbers 72093-72158. A service record for Charles does not exist, but a record for 72152 Pte John William Moore, from Paistow in East London, does exists and from this we can draw several conclusions.

Army Form B. 103: Casualty Form – Active Service

John Moore was posted to the 2/7th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters on the 28th July 1917 along with the 64 other men. This appeared to happen at the 63rd Infantry Base Depot. John had originally served with the 47th and 43rd Training Reserve Battalions at Sandhill. It’s possible that Charles also trained with one of these Battalions.


Medal Role

Charles only served in France with the 2/7th Battalion from July 1917, therefore taking part in the 59th Division attack on 26th September during the 3rd Battle of Ypres.

2/7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters War Diary
Trench Map

The 2/7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters were responsible for capturing the ‘S’ Area, whilst the 2/6th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters were responsible for capturing the ‘R’ Area.


Charles was made a prisoner of war on the 21st March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It is not known when he was repatriated.

2190 Pte Walter Edward Lamb from Chapel-en-le-Frith

A pre-War Territorial who originally served with ‘H’ (Whaley Bridge, New Mills and Hayfield) Company and arrived in France in February 1915 with ‘B’ (Whaley and Chapel) Company. Wounded by a shell explosion in Ypres on 4th July 1915. Discharged due to wounds in May 1916.

The casualties numbered thirty-two; nine men were killed or died of their wounds and another 23 were wounded. 

On 4th July a routine fatigue party 200 strong and under the command of Captain Edgar Heathcote marched to the front line, but came under heavy shellfire on the return journey:-

“On the Saturday night we went up to the lines on fatigue, and travelled up a long way in motor lorries; it was quite an exciting journey for us after we left the lorries to march through Ypres, especially as for many of us it was the first experience of the war. Fritz was sending over a few gas shells and we were all sneezing and rubbing our eyes. We drew spades and set off after a short rest, landed at the work, finished off fairly quickly and started for home – home consisting of bivvies made from water-proof sheets, and some of us hadn’t even got those. We had a pretty rough journey coming through Ypres, had just downed tools and started the march towards the houses, when Fritz began shelling; of course he managed to get a lucky shot right in the middle of us, killing and wounding about half the party, many of whom had not yet even seen the trenches”.

[Battalion History]

See here https://derbyshireterritorials.uk/the-great-war-1914-1918/1915-2/ypres/