2439/331067 Pte James Kirk from Burbage

Enlisted in October 1914 and was wounded at Ypres in July 1915. Following hospital treatment he was transferred to the 29th Battalion and then to the Royal Engineers.

Many thanks to Alison Mcbrayne who has kindly provided these images and documents about her grandfather.

This is his story…….

James was born in 1897 and in the 1911 Census he was living with his extended family in Ash Cottage in Burbage, close to Buxton. At that time he was as a telegraph messenger.

He enlisted into the 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters in early October 1914 and proceeded to France with them in February 1915. In the photo above he is carrying a ‘Long Lee’ Enfield rifle and1908 pattern webbing.

James is seen here with two of his pals. He is wearing an Imperial Service Badge and has a Lewis Gun ‘skill-at-arms’ badge on his left sleeve. This picture was possibly taken whilst the 1/6th Battalion were training at Harpenden in the summer of 1914; although the Lewis Guns had not been issues to the Army at that time, so it is also possibly taken in France during the Sumer of 1915.

Around the 3rd/4th July 1915, James was badly wounded in the chest, most likely during the shelling of a working party travelling through Ypres – see here.

Most likely the piece of shrapnel that wounded James in the chest at Ypres.

James was carried to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station for treatment.

“Dear Mrs Kirk, your son is in our hospital suffering from wounds. He has been very poorly but is better today. We are hoping that he will get on well now. He gets all the comfort and attention possible and I hope to be able to send you good news concerning him in a few days, yours sincerely RE Jones, Chaplain”

“Dear Mrs Kirk, your sone continues to make good progress. He may leave us any moment for a Base Hospital, but where that will be I cannot say. I hope he will be with you before many weeks are over. I sat with him this morning and he showed me a photograph of the house and of you, yours sincerely RE Jones.

Jame’s own diary records his wounding at Ypres.

“Wounded July 3rd .. 4th .. 1915 at Ypres, went to clearing station at Popperinge. Left Popperinge July 13th for Boulogne General Hospital. X-rayed three times and had 1 1/2 pints of blood pumped off my stomach. Left Boulogne for England July 26th. Sailed on SS Oxfordshire arrived at Southampton July 27th, and was sent down to Exeter where I was admitted into No 1 VA Hospital. Got up first time for two hrs. August 1st also on 3rd, 4th, 5th for two hours each day.”

“Taken seriously ill Aug 6th. Operated on Aug 23rd had over two pints of matter (puss) taken off chest. King and Queen visited hospital Sept 8th. Got up Sept 21st. Left Exeter for VA Hospital Budleigh Salterton Oct 14th. Taken ill again Oct 23rd. Got up again November 3rd. Left Budleigh Salterton for convalescent home at North Malton on Nov 27th. Left N Malton for No 5 VA Hospital Exeter to go before Medical Board on December 4th.

“Went before Medical Board on December 6th. Left Exeter for Convalescent Hospital at Topsham on December 10th. Went before Medical Board again at Exeter on Feb 9th 16. Discharged from Hospital at Topsham February 12th. Reported at the 29th Provisional Battalion on February 22nd.”

A group of convalescing men; possibly taken in the summer of 1915. James is seated 2nd from the left and wearing his Notts & Derby cap badge.

James and a pal. This is most likely taken after he was posted to the 29th Battalion at that time stationed at Walton-on-Naze in Essex because James is wearing a single wound stripe and a single overseas chevron on his left sleeve. James was still serving with the 29th(PB)/21st Battalion when they were renumbered in March 1917; his new number was 331067.

James later transferred to the Royal Engineers, where he served as a sapper with the Railway Operation Division.

Possibly taken after James had transferred to the Royal Engineers because he is wearing a lanyard on his left shoulder and he has no Notts & Derby shoulder badges.

James was eventually discharged in February 1919 and received a pension.

2061 Pte Edwin Gilbert from Southwell

A pre-War Territorial who died of wounds on 25th March 1916 aged 30

A post card sent by Edwin to his sister Nora in Southwell.

Private Edwin Gilbert enlisted at Newark whilst residing at Southwell, he served with the 1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. He died of wounds on 25th March 1916 at the No 3 General Hospital at Le Treport. He is buried at Le Treport Military Cemetery, Seine-Maritime, France – see here. At the time of his wounding the 1/8th Battalion were occupying the front line trenches near to Mont St Eloy.

Edwin’s sister Nora was awarded a pension. Note that his brother John Ernest also died of pneumonia whilst serving with the KRR.

6844 Rifleman John Ernest Gilbert of the 1st Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps died on the 4th November 1918 aged 31.

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


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.

663/240052 Sergeant Frank Greatorex from Clay Cross

Enlisted in May 1908 and arrived in France in February 1915. Caught pneumonia in May 1918, returned to England and was discharged in February 1919.

Medals awarded to Frank Greatorex (image courtesy of Shane Harper)
Medal Index Card
Frank only served overseas with the 1/6th Battalion
Frank was treated for pneumonia at the 23 CCS and 18th General Hospital before being transferred to England on the 16th May 1918.