Remembrance – George Ernest Nicholson

Today we remember Billingborough Lincolnshire man, George Ernest Nicholson, on the anniversary of his death on this day, 3rd May 1917, serving with the 13th Battalion King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.

George was born in Billingborough in the summer of 1882 to William Nicholson, a farm labourer born in Billingborough in 1857 and his wife Adah Lyne born in Horbling in 1859

They were married 0n 13 June 1882 Billingborough and continued to live in Billingborough having nine children by 1911 although four had died in childhood:-
George Ernest Nicholson, 1882, Billingborough
Albert Edward Nicholson, 1884, Billingborough
Edith Emily Nicholson, 1886, Billingborough (Died)
Minnie Nicholson, 1887, Billingborough
Walter Nicholson, 1892, Billingborough
Herbert Nicholson, 1895, Stow
Maud Nicholson, 1897, (Died)
Alice Grace Nicholson, 1898, (Died)

The family lived at Blackmiles, No 7 vine Street, Billingborough in 1891, possibly moved to Stow in the 1890s. By 1901 George is an 18 year old Yardman agricultural cattle labourer in Dowsby lodging with the Sutton family. He eventually moved back to Billingborough to live with his Aunt and Uncle in Cowgate and is now a 28 year old labourer on the 1911 Census.

George enlisted into the Army at Lincoln, although the exact date is unknown. No known attestation papers survive for George and so his exact enlistment date or dates he moved battalions etc., are currently unknown.

The medals rolls shows that George 48751 of the Kings Liverpool Regiment was not entitled to the 15 star and so know that he did not serve abroad before the end of 1915. The Kings Liverpool rolls show that he was only in that Battalion but the soldier’s Died in the Great war suggests that he was formerly in the Royal Lancaster Regiment 25517, this is at conflict with a newspaper article that suggests that he transferred into the King’s Liverpool from the Notts and Derby Regiment. More research is needed here.

All we do know is that at the time of death he was with the King’s Liverpool Regiment and so to look at his military life we have transcribed the following excerpt from their Battalion Diary. This gives the Battalion movements for the last month of George’s life.

Battalion Diary – 13th (Scottish) Battalion The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment

9th Brigade – 3rd Division

1st April 1917 – Arras
Remained in billets in Arras

2nd April 1917 – Arras
Remained in Billets in Arras

3rd April 1917
Remained in billets in Arras. 2 Officers and about 35 other ranks who were not to go into the attack left Arras for Wanquetin at 9.30pm. This party afterwards moved to St Vaast where they were attached to the 256th G.A. as ammunition carrying party. Orders received for the dumping of stores at Wanquentin to be completed by night of 5th / 6th April.

4th April 1917 – Arras
The battalion moved from its present billets in Arras and were billeted in cellars in town.

5th April 1917 – Arras
Remained in billets up to the 5th.

6th April 1917 – Arras
Remained in same billets

7th April 1917 – Arras
Remained in the same billets. Orders received to move up to the assembly Trenches about 10pm on the 8th.

8th April 1917 – Arras
Battalion commenced to move up to the assembly trenches, by companies at intervals, first company left at 9.10pm and the others at 10 minute interval; Battalion Headquarters established in Iceland Trench. 2/Lieut A Wynne was killed in assembly trenches by a shell.

9th April 1917 – (First day of the Battle of Arras)
At 7am the battalion attacked. The right assaulting company took Harfleur Trench without difficulty, but the left company owing to heavy fire were first unable to enter the trench. The fact that they did so eventually is due to the sound leadership of the officers and the undeniable spirit of the men. Difficulty was experienced in advancing through Tilloy Wood owing to the fact that it was strongly wired, and little of the wire had been cut. Hostile snipers caused a number of casualties owing to their good shooting and good positions, which could not be readily discovered. The barrage put up by our artillery was very effective and greatly assisted men to gain their final objective, i.e. the village of Tilloy by 8.30am.
19 officers and 449 men of the enemy were taken prisoners by this battalion; also 7 machine guns, 2 trench mortars, 1 bomb thrower, and vast quantities of machine gun ammunition in belts, S.A.A bombs and trench mortar ammunition.
The following officers were killed 2/Lieut E G Racine, 2/Lieut E B Flenley and the following were wounded 2/Lieut G K Price, 2/Lieut G Carson, 2/Lieut A E Littler, 2/Lieut L A Bane, 2/Lieut H O Foot, 2/Lieut H G Faragher; casualties in other ranks 170.
Battalion Headquarters moved up to the third German line at 9am.

10th April 1917
At 8.30 am Battalion Headquarters were moved up to the village of Tilloy. About 10pm orders were received to be ready to move up at 15 minutes notice.

11th April 1917
At 2.30am orders received to move up to occupy reserve trenches in from Bois de Boeufs. Battalion Headquarters established in disused German gun-pits.

12th April 1917
Remained in this position as Divisional reserve. Captain H V Briscoe wounded.

13th April 1917
Orders received to move forward to support attack on village of Guemappe; advanced from present position at 2.30pm in artillery formation; order cancelled and battalion returned to original position. At 6pm Battalion moved forward in support to 1st Northumberland Fusiliers in an attack on Guemappe. An intense artillery barrage was put up by the enemy and the Brigade retired a little way and commenced to dig in in a position due south of Wancourt. Lieut A F Robertson and 2/Lieut E M Gardiner wounded; other ranks casualties 40.

14th April 1917
Work ceased about 3am when the battalion was relieved by the KOSB of the 87th Brigade, and marched back to their old position East of Bois de Boefs, arriving at 5am. At 11am companies commenced to march to billets in Arras. Commanding officer commended Battalion on the excellent work done during the attacks.

15th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras. The Battalion was complimented by the Brigadier and also by the Divisional General who thanked them for the exceptionally good work performed by them.

16th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras

17th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras

18th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras. Commanding Officer inspected all companies separately.

19th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras. 3rd Division Gas Corporal inspected the Box Respirators of all ranks.

20th April 1917 – Arras
Billets in Arras. Orders received that Brigade would move to Duisans in the afternoon, but this was cancelled until the 21st.

21st April in 1917 – Arras
Battalion moved to Dusians; first company moving of at 10.30am remainder at 200 yards interval; took over huts from H.L.I. 46th Infantry Brigade; relief completed 1.15pm

22nd April 1917 – Duisans
Battalion remained in Duisans.

23rd April 1917
At 12.30pm orders were received to move about 2pm. Headquarters and first company moved at 2.30pm and remaining companies at intervals of 200yds; took up billets vacated by 7th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry 8th Brigade who had proceeded to the trenches.

24th April 1917
Billets in Arras

25th April 1917
Billets in Arras. Parades under company arrangements.

26th April 1917
Billets in Arras. Parades under company arrangements.

27th April 1917
As on 26th

28th April 1917
Remained in billets in Arras. Baths allotted to Battalion from 7am to 10.30am.

29th April 1917 – Arras
Remained in billets in Arras. Various Church Services held. The attack practiced by the battalion in the afternoon.

30th April 1917
Billets in Arras. Baths allocated to the Battalion from 10am to 1pm. The attack again practiced by the Battalion.

The undermentioned have been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and good work during the operations from the 9th to 14th April:-
19092 Sergt. Edmondson. C
22132 LCpl Jones J
52330 LCpl Oakes R
51862 LCpl Robinson W
42963 Pte Hunter T
48770 Pte Simms C

1st May 1917 – Arras
The Battalion moved from billets in Arras by companies at intervals of 15 minutes, Headquarters and the first company moving off at 8.15pm to take up positions in the front line trenches.

2nd May 1917
Remained in front line trenches

3rd May 1917
About 1am the Battalion moved to their assembly positions and at 3.45am the two leading companies moved out of the front line trench.
Strong Lewis gun fire was maintained on the enemy’s front line to prevent his escaping the barrage by leaving the trenches.
Notwithstanding the difficulty presented by the darkness which had not lifted, the leading companies hugged the barrage, although assailed by heavy machine gun fire, the attack progressed to a line running North South about 100 yards East of Bois Des Aubepines.
A hostile counter attack was launched at the leading companies from the North and North East. It was completely beaten back, but the line was greatly depleated by machine gun fire and rifle fire from the northern flank and also from a North Westerly direction, which took it in the rear.
A second and strong hostile counter attack which was delivered from the North Flank was met very gallantly, but the line was by this time so thin, no supports having come up that a withdrawl was necessary to prevent the troops being cut off. The withdrawl was carried out in good order in conjunction with the 4th Royal Fusiliers, back to the original front line trench.
The following officers were killed, Captain H E Coates, 2/Lieut H B Williams, the following officers were wounded, Captain J Hunter, Captain G W Byng, 2/Lieut W M Lee, 2nd Lieut H Harris and the following officers were reported missing. Lieut J A Phillips, 2/Lieut A J Innes, 2/Lieut Mc C Daly. 2/Lieut D F Wilkinson was wounded but remained at duty.

4th May 1917
The Battalion continued to consolidate the position held and in spite of heavy hostile fire, made good progress.

This consolidation and holding the line continued until the night of the 11th / 12th of May when the Battalion was relieved by the 10th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers and proceeded to Trenches North of the Cambrai Road. Here they remained in trenches and provided working parties for the line until the 15th when they proceeded to billets for rest and refitting.

George was originally reported as missing although the official records show that he died on the 3rd May 1917.

Grantham Journal Saturday 16th June 1917
MORE SAD NEWS has reached here. Mr Tom Stennett of the Square has been officially notified that his son, Pte A Stennet (Sherwood Foresters) has died of wounds received on April 12th. Nothing has been heard of him since that date, and the parents experienced many weeks of suspense and anxiety. Another son is with the forces in Egypt.
Pte Geo Nicholson (Notts and Derby’s transferred from the K.L.R) has also been reported as missing. Another son, Walter is with the Lincolns. The friends of those heroes have every sympathy.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private George E Nicholson, 48751, 13th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) who died on 3 May 1917 Age 36. Son of William and Ada Nicholson, of Burton Lane, Billingborough, Lincs. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial.

Also remembered on the Billingborough Roll of Honour in St Andrew’s Church.…/george-…/

We will remember them.

Remembrance – Ernest Robinson

Today we remember local Bourne man, Ernest Robinson who died this day (19th April) 1917 serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

Ernest was born in the summer of 1889 in Bourne to John Robinson born in 1853 in Bourne, a bricklayer, and his wife Susannah Barnes, born in 1850 inBillingborough.

The couple were married in 1877 in the Sleaford district.

Ernest was one of four children;
-Sarah Elizabeth Barnes, 1876, Sleaford (Half sister)
-Charles William Robinson, 1879, Bourne
-Herbert Robinson, 1885, Bourne
-Ernest Robinson, 1889, Bourne

The family lived at 31 Woodview Bourne and in 1911 Ernest is listed at home on census night and working as a Coal Porter at the gas works.

Ernest along with both his brothers joined the army during WW1 although Charles and Herbert both survived the war.
On Monday 31st August 1914, less that 4 weeks after war was declared, Ernest along with 14 other local men left Bourne station to join the Lincolnshire Regiment.

* Grantham Journal Saturday 5 September 1914

HEARTY SEND-OFF FOR RECRUITS:- On Monday morning, a company of fifteen left Bourne Station to join the Lincoln Regiment of Lord Kitchener’s Army. The company met at the recruiting station in West Street and were escorted to the station by the Bourne Brass Band and a large number of the residents of the town. The names were:- Arthur Mason, Fred W Savage, John Thos Baldock, Geo Sherwin, George Carver, Frank Baldock (married), H Cleary, W Herbert Bloodworth (married), Percy J Vickers, Walter Parker (married), Ernest Robinson, Harry Darnes (Bourne), Joe Smith, Walter Archer and Percy Cave (Witham-on-the-Hill, the latter three being the result of a meeting at Witham-on-the-Hill on Sunday evening, addressed by Lord Kesteven and Lieut K. R. G. Fenwick and presided over by Col C. Birch-Reynardson.

Ernest joined the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although his records are not available and it is assumed were destroyed in the warehouse fire in the Blitz during World War Two.

Ernest was awarded the 1915 star meaning that he saw action abroad in 1915. Other than this and the fact that he was listed in the 2nd Battalion on his effects register, not much is known about his exact movements from the official records.

The 6th Lincolnshire was formed in the first week of the war and stationed themselves at Belton Park near Grantham, ready to receive recruits. By the end of the month they had formed 4 companies of new recruits from the men that answered Kitchener’s call. It was noted that the physical standard of troops for the 6th Battalion was high due to the high numbers go agricultural workers that joined the Battalion.

The 11th Northern Division including the 6th battalion and  Ernest, stated to to move from their training camps to Salisbury Plain, the 6th battalion being sent into camp at Frensham in March 1915, where final training was carried out. On the 31st of May the division was inspected by king George V on Hankey Common before entraining to Liverpool and then embarking on the Empress of Britain for the Dardanelles.

They arrived in Alexandria on July 12th and once age embarked on the 16th eventually dropping anchor in Mudros Harbour on the 18th. After another 2 days at anchor the Battalion was transhipped by small river steamers to Cape Hellas and then by trawlers onto the River Clyde which was now stranded on the beach near Sedd el Bahr.

It was only after 6 weeks of heavy fighting, including Sulva Bay, Scimitar Hill and Chocolate Hill, that we find Ernest on the wounded list of the 3rd September. It was reported that, whilst serving with C company of the 6th Battalion, Ernest took a shrapnel wound to his right buttock and foot.
He was transferred by a sick convoy to the 19th General Hospital in Alexandria arriving on the 115th August and spent the next 20 days receiving treatment on Ward A.
On the 3rd September he was returned to England arriving from the convoy ship on the 13th September 1915 and being admitted to Queen Alexandra’s Hospital in Millbank London. He was discharged from hospital on the 18th February 1916, although another note says 10 days S.F(Bn). In other wounded cases we have seen soldiers receiving furlough immediately after leaving hospital. The only other piece of information is that in the observation column it notes Westminster.

– In a letter home published in the Grantham Journal 23rd October 1915;
Private F Hinson No2 B company, six platoon, 6th Lincolns is writing from the Dardanelles to his parents. Mr and Mrs Jabez Henson, Woodview, Bourne says:-

“We have been here a fortnight, I have just been talking to young Bloodworth from Bourne Gas House. We are in the same company. Of those who came from Bourne in this company only Bloodworth and Rooksby are left. The rest are killed or wounded. Among the wounded were Vickers, Ernest Robinson, Savage and Baldock (whose brother is missing). Young Wray (who was my pal in France) and I are together again.”

It is likely that by the time Ernest had convalesced he would have joined another Battalion or Regiment where he is most needed. We do know from his medal roll that he also served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although no dates are given. We can only assume that at this point he embarks for France, possibly around the 28th February if he received 10 days furlough. On arriving in the camp in France it is likely he was reassigned to the 2nd Battalion rather than being shipped back to the 6th.

At some point  Ernest was promoted to acting corporal and this shows in the medal roll. The note appears between the 6th Battalion. and the 2nd Battalion notes.

Whilst Ernest was away from his Battalion, The 6th Lincs were evacuated from Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, on the night of the 20th and 21st December. They then fought in Egypt before moving to France on the 1st July 1916. The battalion entered the Battle of the Somme on the 15th July near Fleurs.

As we do not know exactly when Ernest was posted to the 2nd Battalion we will jump forward to April 1917 when we know that Ernest was killed. Of the two battalions the 2nd were certainly in the Arras area.

The 2nd Battalion started April 1917 at Fins on the Dessart Wood outpost line. The Battalion was then relieved and went into divisional support in Equancourt Wood and then at Fins ready for an attack on Gouzencourt Wood on the 4th April. Once the objectives were met the Battalion moved back to Fins, to be relieved on the 6th April and moving to Lieramont in divisional reserve.

From the 8th April the 2nd Battalion were in training, before moving to Nurlu on the 11th to provide working parties for road mending.

On the 16th April the Battalion moved into divisional support in trenches north east of Heudecourt. On the 17th they were in support trenches and working on them to create a defensive line.

The battalion relieved the Berkshire Regiment in the outpost line in front of Gonnelieu on the 18th. At 12 midnight 6 patrols attempted to enter Gonnelieu but were held up in the wire in front of the village and constantly fired upon by rifles & machine guns and were unable to press forward. This was carried out by A & C Companies. 1 officer killed, 2 officers wounded, 11 other ranks killed, 26 wounded, 7 missing.

The next day, 19th April, the battalion were in the outpost line, artillery and patrols were active on both sides.

Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson was killed in action on the 19th April 1917.

Grantham Journal Saturday 19 May 1917

LOCAL CASUALTIES. Corpl Jos Brown son of Mr and Mrs Brown of Eastgate, Bourne is in hospital at Hampton Court suffering from wounds in his back and right hand. He is one of six sons, five of whom are in the army. Pte G Sherwin, son of Mr and Mrs Luke Sherwin, Bourne who some months ago was officially notified as wounded and missing, is now reported dead. The official notification of Pte Sherwin’s death was received by his parents last week. A memorial service for Pte Sherwin and Pte W Needham was held on Sunday at the Abbey Church. Official notification has this week been received that Corpl E Robinson, son of Mr and Mrs John Robinson, Woodview, Bourne has been Killed in action. Corpl Robinson was attached to the Lincolns.

CWGC – In memory of Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson, 8570, 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 19 April 1917. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial and on the Bourne war memorial.

We will remember them

19th April 1917

Sunday 19th April 1917


Today we learn of the sad death of Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson of Bourne who died today serving his country with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

He will be missed by all in the town, his sacrifice will not be forgotten. we send our condolences to his family.