Remembrance – Anthony Ellingworth

Today we remember Private Anthony Ellingworth of Horbling who was killed in action on 10th July 1916, serving with the 10th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.


Anthony Ellingworth was born  in October 1887 and was baptised in Billingborough Church on the 23rd October 1887. His father Henry Ellingworth, who had worked as a Miller at Stow Mill, was born in Horbling in 1851 and married Sarah Harriss in the Sleaford District in 1875. Sarah was born in Walcott, near Billinghay, in 1852.

When Henry married Sarah in 1875 she already had one son, Mason Harris who was born in 1873.


The couple originally lived around Billinghay but had moved to High Street Billingborough by 1879, two years later the census gives Henry’s occupation as a journeyman Miller.


The census of 1891 finds the family in Horbling.  By now the family had expanded to 10 out of their eventual family of 11 children and Henry is now listed as a general labourer. Their children were:-


  • Mason Harris, 1873, Helpringham (half brother)
  • Herbert Henry Ellingworth, 1875, Billinghay
  • Minnie Ellingworth, 1877, Billinghay
  • William Ellingworth, 1879, Billingborough
  • Frank Ellingworth, 1881, Billingborough
  • Edith Ellingworth, 1882, Billingborough
  • Susannah Ellingworth, 1883, Billingborough
  • Sarah Elizabeth Ellingworth, 1885, Billingborough
  • Anthony Ellingworth, 1887, Billingborough
  • Thomas Ellingworth, 1889, Horbling
  • Harris Ellingworth, 1892, Horbling


In 1901 the family are still in Horbling, Henry working as an Agricultural Labourer and the thirteen year old Anthony is working as a Groom Boy, but this states ‘not domestic’ and therefore we are to assume that he is a groom on a farm.


Unfortunately in November 1909 Henry dies leaving the now 36 year old Sarah in Horbling with four children still at home in 1911. Each child is now grown up William working as a Farm Labourer, Elizabeth a Domestic, Thomas and Harris both working as Grooms.

Anthony by now has moved away from home, living in Grantham and has a job as a Railway Signalman. He is living with William Dunmore, a Railway Goods Guard, and his family at 56 Red Cross Street. Anthony is living in the household as a Boarder along with William’s wife, two school aged sons and their three year old daughter. As this is only a five room house we can imagine that life was very cramped for Anthony.


When war was declared it did not take the now 27 year old Anthony long to answer the call of duty and he enlisted in Bradford possibly in August of 1914.

Anthony’s service records have not been found and so using a calculation on the War gratuity payment that his mother Sarah received, it would indicate that he joined in the Month following the 11th August. This is also confirmed by a newspaper clipping saying that he enlisted soon after the declaration of war.


Research into Anthony’s war has to be made by piecing together surviving records such as Pension and Battalion Diaries. 60% of all WW1 service records were destroyed in a warehouse fire in the London Blitz during WW2.


On enlisting Anthony was  given the regimental number of 11733, and then at some point posted to the 10th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.

The 10th Battalion was formed in September 1914 as part of Kitchener’s Third Army. After being formed in Halifax they were then moved to Frensham for training as part of the 69th Brigade of the 23rd Division. Following on from Frensham they were moved to Aldershot where training continued.


In February 1915 they moved to Folkestone and then Bramshott before eventually being mobilised for war in August 1915.


If a soldier was posted for overseas service before the end of November 1915 he would receive the 1915 Star as a medal, unfortunately no record of this can be found with Anthony.

We have however found that there is a 1915 Star medal roll in the name of J W Ellingworth with the same 11733 regimental number, serving with the Duke of wellington’s. As there cannot be two regimental numbers in the same Battalion we have to assume that Anthony and J W Ellington are one in the same.

Newspaper articles after his death do say that he had been in France for something like 11 months and the letter from his Sergeant says that Anthony had been under him for 9 months .

Anthony also known as  J W Ellingworth to the Army for whatever reason, arrived in France on the 28th August 1915.


The Battalion Diary tells of their mobilisation from Bramshott. The Battalion received their orders on the 23rd August 1915, and they left Liphook Station in three parties starting on the 24th.

The first Party consisted of transport, machine Gun Section and 110 men of A company sailed to Harvre from Southampton. The remaining parties sailed to Boulogne from Folkestone on the 27th.


On arriving at 11:30pm in Boulogne the main party encamped for the night two and a half miles from the harbour. At 5am they were on the move again eventually arriving at Watten around 4pm, then marching to Nortleulinghem and their billets, once again meeting up with the transport section.


Here the Battalion undertook training consisting mainly of route marches and it was not until the 6th September that they marched out of Nortleulinghem for Wallon Cappell. The next day it was marching again and the destination of Outersteen. The 50mile march over two days took its toll especially on the first day when the 20 miles plus a mixture of hard roads and great heat was given as the cause for numerous men to fall out.


They were now in the Ballieul sector of the western front to receive instruction, eventually on the 13th September the men of C and D companies saw trenches for the first time and were there for 24 hours of instruction. A and B companies taking over the trenches then next day for their 24 hour instruction.


We refer again to the Battalion Diary to take us through Anthony’s and the Battalion’s first action of the war.


The first full tour of the trenches took place on the 15th September and now the Battalion had taken over the trenches occupying T52, T53, T54 and part of the Bois Grenier line from Moat Farm to the North east. Despite enemy sniping during the Battalion reported no casualties.


On the 16th the Battalion Diary reports: ‘ All quiet. Artillery duel over our heads. German’s retaliated on our trenches but did no damage – we suffered our 1st casualty no 13684 Pte Arthur Hargreaves A Company was sniped whilst cooking his dinner. He died instantaneously. In the evening the dumping ground was swept by machine gun fire by the enemy, during this time Lance Corporal 11611 R W Tillebrooke of A Company was shot through the head. Both casualties were buried in the Bois Grenier Church Yard, crosses were erected over their bodies.

During their first tour of the trenches a few other things were of note apart from the weather which was described as ‘all you could wish for’. On the night of the 17th an alarm was sent up that the Germans were attacking our trenches but no attack arrived.

On the 19th the trenches were passed over by hostile aircraft and anti-aircraft ammunition was wasted on them as none were hit.

That same night the Germans shouted across to our lines, but what they said was hardly audible as we are 400yards from their trenches.


A great bombardment was started from our side on the 21st September and during a period of enemy retaliation one of the two tanks in the water farm was punctured. This was serious it was now difficult to maintain a big supply of water.

During the that night working parties were using sand bags to surround the remaining water and then on the second day of the Bombardment the Battalion received orders that on the Wednesday they were to carry out an attack.


24th September 1915

At 4am all were in position and at 4.25am the bombardment commenced, all guns of all calibre and rifles were firing rapid. The Germans sent up many flares but did not retaliate until our bombardment ceased. They then sent several heavy shells and Whizz Bangs into us without however doing any harm to the trenches. During this affair  5 men were wounded some seriously. After this all was quiet for some hours at about 9am our guns commenced a steady bombardment of the enemy lines, doing much damage to their parapets but very little otherwise.

The enemy retaliated with heavy shells (4-5 howitzers and 77mil) which damaged our communication trenches in parts. During the morning we suffered a casualty No 11641 Pte A Flitcroft, D Company. He was shot through he head by a sniper. In the afternoon one man was wounded.

In the evening we got the order to cut gaps in our wire. Operational orders were given to the companies. In the evening hostile aircraft were active but owing to the wet and a stiff breeze did not remain in the air long. During the night all was quiet, working parties from each company went outside our parapet and cut openings in our wire, through which we could pass if the order to advance was given.


25th September 1915

4.25am – Punctually to the minute a most terrific bombardment by our artillery on the German lines commenced. This was the commencement of. Forward movement by the 3rd Army Corps which in its turn was a small part of a large advance by the French and English troops.

Almost simultaneously the enemy retaliated and a terrible artillery fire was kept up for several hours and did not quieten until about 2pm. For the most part, the German shells burst behind our firing trench

 and in consequence little material damage was done . The moral effect however was great. Our men were splendid, especially considering it was their first real action. During the morning we only suffered 14 casualties of which only 2 were serious, one proved fatal the man dying shortly after being admitted to the field ambulance.

At 4.30am the 8th Division crossed to the German trenches covered by smoke bombs and took over the trenches with no difficulty. They passed on, meanwhile the 69th Brigade of infantry 10th Duke of Wellingtons and 8th Yorkshire Regiment being in fire trenches kept up a bombardment with rifle fire which had the effect of drawing a great portion of the enemy fire from the troops which were actually attacking. During the morning, no orders were received to advance. The attacking battalions were relieved during the day which showed a very satisfactory advance by the allies.

The message with reference to the German movement afterwards from Lille gave misgivings of a heavy counter attack by the enemy. The men by now are completely worn out having been 12 nights in succession in the trenches, followed up by this terrible bombardment


26th September 1915

The morning of the 26th a Brigade order was received to the effect that the Battalion would be relieved

 by the 11th West Yorkshire and that we were to take over their billets about 1 1/2 miles north of Bois Grenier. During the day it was exceptionally quiet.

Reassuring Bulletins were received from HQ showing good progress on the part of the allies, the French as well as on the part of the British troops.

At 7.30pm reliefs commenced and by 11.30pm was complete. By 12.30pm the battalion was in its new billets, which consisted of small huts specifically built for the purpose.

During the last two days in the trenches, owing to the mud which was ankle deep, matters were rather uncomfortable for the men.


27th – 30th September 1915

Nothing to report. Good news continued to arrive from all sides. On the morning of the 30th C & D companies relieved the 8th Yorks in the Bois Grenier line. Weather colder and some rain.


This extract from the Diary shows that the Battalion had a fairly through first tour of the trenches, 12 nights in total and during this time they has received their first casualties, seen hostile aircraft, been subject to artillery and machine gun fire, been in support of a forward advance, been ankle deep in water and provided working parties to save their drinking water and cutting their own wire.


We  now move forward to Christmas 1915 and the Battalion were in billets at Rolanderie farm near Erquinghem to the south west of Armentieres.


24th December 1915

Still very rainy, to walk about is difficult, our heavy artillery has been at work all day, nothing further to report.

CHRISTMAS EVE – artillery duels in progress ours is sending some very heavy shells over. A plentiful supply of useful presents has arrived for the Battalion and all are making as merry as possible under the circumstances.


25th December 1915

The weather continues rainy. Artillery duels are still in progress our heavies being particularly active. A concert for the Battalion has been arranged for.

The above mentioned took place in a large barn close to billets which was prettily decorated. The programme which is attached was gone through and greatly enjoyed.

Our heavy artillery is very active again. The rain came on very heavily and continued through the night.



During 1916 the Battalion would be part of the relief of the French 17th Division between Boyaude l’Ersatz and the Souchez River and the German attack on Vimy Ridge, before arriving on the Somme for the Start of the Battle of the Somme with, the Battle for Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Fleurs-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Transloy and the Capture of Sars.


Unfortunately for Anthony he would not see many of those battles and to continue his story we move forward to the start of the Battle of the Somme once again told from the 10th Battalion Diary.


The battalion were in Enquin Les Mines on the 23rd June when they received orders to move the next day to The Somme by train, travelling by night via Lillers, Chocques, Calonne Ricoart, St Pol, Doullens, Vignacourt, through Amiens to Longueau. They detrained at 2.30pm.

The Battalion moved off again at 4am on the 25th passed through Amiens to Fremont where they took over billets at 9am. Eventually by the 30th June, the eve of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the Battalion had moved on to Coisy and billets and bivouacs.


1st July 1916 – Coisy

Fine day . A little training being done, received orders from Brigade that the Battalion would be prepared to move at 6 hours notice. Definite orders soon followed and the Battalion moved off at 8pm.


2nd July 1916 – Baizieux

Arrived at Baizieux at 2am. The Battalion was rested by the best means at disposal about 7.30 received orders that the Battalion would move at 8.25pm to North West of Albert. The place was reached at midnight and Battalion was bivouacked in a field.


3rd July 1916 -Becourt

Received orders that the Battalion would move to Becourt Wood. We formed up at 11am and arrived at 4pm. There we stayed the night.


4th July 1916 – Becourt

Still at Becourt Wood. During the day there was a heavy downpour of rain and as a consequence things were not comfortable. During the evening orders were received to capture and consolidate certain positions.


5th July 1916 – Trenches

A copy of the operations carried out is attached marked ‘A’. This is the first time that the Battalion has been employed on an attack, and it is a great pleasure for me to say that all ranks worked magnificently.
 The Battalion is composed of the real material. The men worked well under the guidance of their officers. Many ddeds of valour were performed by both officers and men. Our casualties read as follows:-

4 officers killed, 2 officers wounded, 13 other ranks killed, 66 other ranks wounded

Discipline played an important part in the operations and the training of the past 10 months in this country has not been work in vain. There was much individual effort and intelligence shown. The battalion was relieved by the 8th Yorks Regiment, the Battalion returning to Becourt Wood – the relief complete at 10pm. The undermentioned officers were lost to the Battalion and are greatly missed – they were popular with all ranks.

Captain H M S Carpenter – Killed

Lieutenant A K Laverack – Killed

Lieutenant L Hammond – Killed

2nd Lieut W D Taylor – Killed

2nd Lieut C Snell – Wounded

2nd Lieut C G Meryweather – Wounded


6th July 1916 – Becourt

Fine day which was spent easily, the men cleaning themselves up and relating to each other their past recent experiences. At 7pm orders were received for the Battalion to move to a field for the night south of Albert. Arrived there at 8.30pm. A good square meal was provided for all ranks.


7th July to 8th July 1916 – Lozenge

Reveille 4am, received orders to issue two days’ iron rations to the Battalion. Moved off at 6am & marched via Becourt Wood to the captured trenches on the left of Lozenge Wood.

Rain began to fall heavily at 9am and continued throughout the day. The 24th infantry brigade attacked Horse Shoe Trench and Shelter Alley. About 8pm the Battalion moved to the dump at Lozenge Wood where they were at once instructed to dig themselves in. We sustained a few casualties during the process.


9th July 1916 – Trenches

Artillery is moving forward. In the late evening C&D Companies were fitted up with all requirements for an attack and they were accompanied by about 50 of the Royal Engineers and proceeded to the front line system of defences, to the left rear of Peak’s Wood. A & B Companies moved to the right of Sunken Road and dug themselves in whilst HQ proceeded to the German Bakery on the left of the same wood. This bakery is a substantial construction and is about 20 feet below the surface and has two tunnel staircases. It is at present being used by our own men as an advanced dressing station. It is quite proof against shell fire. Beyone heavy artillery fire there is nothing to report.


10th July 1916 – Contalmaison

About 6pm A & B Companies moved up to the trenches occupied by C & D Companies and just at this point the enemy placed a heavy barrage on the ridge and heavily shelled the now crowded trenches causing many casualties. C & D Companies advanced on Contalmaison and were followed later by A & B Companies as will be seen in the attached copy of operations marked ‘B’ the attack on the village by the 69th Brigade was a great success. Our HQ assisted by a carrying party of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own carried stores, ammunition, bombs etc. straight by the road to Contalmaison and assisted in the consolidation of the captured positions. A large quantity of 4.2 shells and stores of other descriptions were found in dug-outs, they having been abandoned by the enemy in his flight. Our artillery kept up a continuous barrage and we held the position.


11th July 1916

About 3am our machine guns were in action against a small party of the enemy, who it is thought were coming to surrender. Our men did not leave anything to chance, as the light was bad their intention could only be assumed. They however returned. Judging by the state of the village, the enemy did not intend to leave this position and was probably under the impression that it was impregnable. The artillery worked magnificently. They were called upon to make a great effort and responded to it. It is impossible to speak too highly of the that branch of the service. The Battalion moved into a field North West of Albert and bivouacked for the night.


Private Anthony Ellingworth of the 10th battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment was killed in action on the 10th July during the attack on Contalmaison.



Grantham Journal Saturday 19th August 1916
of Horbling
Lance-Corpl. Anthony Ellingworth, the fifth son of the late Mr. Henry and Mrs. Ellingworth, of Horbling, Folkingham, was killed in action during the great advance at the beginning of July.  Lanc-Corpl. Ellingworth enlisted in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment soon after the declaration of war, and had been our in France for something like eleven months.  during that time, he had been in many engagements, and had, luckily come out unscathed.  The news of his death will be received in the village with the profoundest regret.  His mother has received a sympathetic letter from Sergt. B. McAvan, of her son’s regiment.  He states- “He was the best lad in the Company, and all the boys send you their deepest sympathy in your trouble.  He was loved by everyone, because he was such a good, quiet lad, and it’s a pity to be losing such fine young fellows.  I have had him under me this last nine months, so I know well enough.”



Sgt Brian McAvan was awarded the Military Medal during  July 1916 but he would himself be killed in action on the 3rd May 1917.



Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

  • In memory of Private Anthony Ellingworth, 11733, 10th Bn., Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) who died on 10 July 1916. Remembered with honour, Thiepval Memorial


Anthony Ellingworth is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour in St Andrew’s Church Horbling Lincolnshire.

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 – Richard Christian

Remembrance – Richard Christian

On 22nd November we remember Kirkby Underwood soldier, Richard Christian who died 100 years ago this day. Richard born in 1884 was one of 10 children born to Robert Christian, a bricklayer, and his wife Elizabeth Marshall, both born in Kirkby Underwood. By the age of 16 Richard was a horseman on a farm and living with the Ruskin family in Swinstead. One year later Richard attested to the militia of the 4th Lincolnshire Regiment on the 22nd May 1902 and was living in Billingborough.
Richard drilled with the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire regiment until April 1908 when he was discharged when the Territorial and Reserve Forces act disbanded the volunteer and militia units and placed the men on regular army reserve. In 1911 Richard was living with his mother and younger siblings in Kirkby Underwood, his father having passed away. Richard married Kate (Catherine) Maples in the Autumn of 1913 and by 1918 they had 4 children. Richard joined the Durham Light Infantry during the war and was later transferred to the 409th Company of the labour Corps. The 409th company was known as the Kesteven and Lindsay company which was based at Lincoln. The labour Corps traditionally took men who were wounded and then classed as less than A1 fitness and this would indicate that Richard was either wounded or, at the age of 34 not fit for front line service. Richard died in England on the 22nd November 1918, 11 days after the end of the war. Rather than an act of war Richard was the victim of a family tragedy. On the 19th November Richard and Kate became parents for the 4th time when baby Kate was born. Only 3 days later both Richard and his wife Kate died within hours of each other of acute influenza (Spanish Flu being rife at the time) and baby Kate eventually died on the 29th November. All three are buried in Billingborough churchyard in a grave marked and tended by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission. Richard Christian is commemorated on the Kirkby Underwood memorial.

Remembrance – Ernest Durham

Once the military Cemetery in Le Treport town was full a new cemetery on the south west side on top of the cliffs was found.

Mont Huon military cemetery has another 2349 burials from the hospitals around Le Tréport.

Today we are paying our respects to Billingborough man Ernest Durham who died of wounds 100 years ago on 17th August 1918 aged 30.

Ernest was a married man, Billingborough born and bred. He joined the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) in Bourne.



Remembrance – Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson

Remembrance – Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson

Today we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the death of Billingborough man Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson, killed in action 28th July 1917.

Leslie was born in early 1894 in Billingborough the eldest of three sons born to Charles Grosvenor Hodgkinson, a Journalist born in Grantham and his wife Mary Ann Burrows of Swinsted.
His two brothers Charles Norman, 1895 and Thomas Basil, 1897 were also born in Billingborough. Their parents had married in the Nottingham area in 1893.

The young family made their home on the High Street in Billingborough as can be seen in the 1901 census although by 1911 Leslie was working as an insurance clerk and living at 14 Mansfield Grove, Nottingham and lodging with Fanny Nelson.

The young men of Billingborough were quick to answer their call and the Grantham Journal carried an article on the 12th September 1914 naming the “Local Patriots”

“Several Billingborough and Horbling young men have rallied most patriotically to the nation’s call. Their names and the regiments in which they have enlisted are as follows:-H.J. Tebb, Royal Horse Artillery, R,W Tebb, Royal Horse Artillery and Herbert Tebb, 11th Hussars, sons of Mr. H. Tebb (Horbling); Leslie G Hodgkinson, Royal Field Artillery and C Norman Hodgkingson, Royal Engineers, sons of Mr. C.G. Hodgkinson; Ernest Smith, Royal Field Artillery and Albert Smith, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, sons of Mr. William Smith, Bootmaker. Mr Smith has also another son in the regular service, viz., Bandman Archie Smith, 3rd King’s Royal Rifles. The following have enlisted in Lord Kitchener’s New Army: – Fred Harrison, son of Mr. H.C. Harrison; Walter Nicholson, W. Carpenter (Horbling), Frank Corn, W. Watson (Horbling), Harris Ellingworth (Horbling), W. Swin (Horbling), H. Kemp (G.N. railway clerk, Billingborough), W. Birch and W.H. and J.F. Pattinson (Stow). Mr. John Marshall, hairdresser, who saw active service in the South African war, has also been accepted. The Yeomanry ranks include Eric Barber, son of All. J.S. Barber, of Rookfield. There are several others serving in the Regular Army. The recruits mentioned are in addition to the lads – mostly farm hands – who enlisted on Monday night.”

A further article on the 24th of December 1914 mentioned Leslie Hodgkinson as one of the lads that had recently been home for short leave.

Leslie was posted to “B” Battery of the 58th Brigade Royal Field Artillery and sailed with them and on the 9th August they landed at Anzac Cove in Galipoli. A week later it was moved to the Left Flank Artillery in the Suvla Bay area and came under temporary command of the 10th (Irish) Division.

Leslie wrote a letter home that was edited into an article by the Grantham Journal on the 21st August under the headline “Sunshine and Flies”

Writing from “Somewhere with the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force” Bombardier Leslie G Hodgkinson, of the R.F.A. gives some interesting particulars of the difficulties encountered by the troops. He says their greatest troubles are the intense heat and the pestering habit of the flies. There is one continuous blaze of sunshine from the rising to the setting of the orb, and the hottest days in England are not in it with the heat out there. there are myriads of flies, covering their food every time it is served, and pestering them at all times, more especially when they want to snatch a few hours’ sleep. The sand blows about in blinding clouds, covering everything and they must have eaten quite a lot with their food. Although we, in England, have been having record rains this summer, they have not seen a spot since they left England at the beginning of July. In spite of the discomforts, the general health of the troops is good, and a fine spirit of courage and determination pervades the lot of them.

The Brigade remained in Galipoli until the 18th December 1915 and sailed for Alexandria, Egypt, arriving there on the 2nd January 1916. They stayed in Egypt for 6 months, a regular story for many of the ex Galipoli brigades, before being posted to France in preparation for the Somme offensive.

Leslie is next mentioned in another Grantham Journal article on the 23rd June 1917.

“ON LEAVE- Mr. C. G. Hodgkinson’s eldest son, Leslie who is in the R.F.A. has returned home this week for his first leave, after being abroad for two years. After going through the Gallipoli campaign, he was sent to Egypt for six months, prior to being transferred to France, where he has been fighting since June 1916. His battery was engaged in all the big battles on the Somme and although he saw severe fighting at Arras, La Boisselle, Pozieres, Thiepval, Courcellette, Le Says, Bapaume and Bullecourt, his worst experiences were in the Ypres Sector. With his Artillery officer, he went over the top with the infantry and tells some thrilling accounts of what he saw after the explosion of the mines. In spite of the long and arduous work he had had to perform and the privations and hardships suffered on the Gallipoli Peninsula , he looks very little the worse for his experiences.”

Leslie rejoined his battery in the Ypres Salient immediately after his leave, although his return was short lived as less than a month later he would be killed in action just days before the battle of Passchendaele (3rd Battle of Ypres) commenced.

In memory of Gunner Leslie Grosvenor Hodgkinson (20981)
“B” Bty, 58th Bde, Royal Field Artillery who died on 28 July 1917 Age 23
Son of Charles Grosvenor Hodgkinson and Mary A Hodgkinson, of Billingborough, Lincs

Remembered with honour, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

We were very honoured to be in Ypres on the 100th anniversary of Leslie’s death and were pleased that we could pay our respects on this sad anniversary.