Was appointed town postman
THROUGHOUT the centenary of the First World War, we have been remembering the soldiers from the Loughborough area who lost their lives while serving their country. Here, with the help of Marigold Cleeve and a small number of researchers from the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum, we look back at more of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in August 1917.
Herbert Hart Court.
Herbert Hart Court was born at 7A Park Street, Loughborough, in late 1886 or early 1887.
He was the son of Edwin Albert Court and his wife Catherine (née Hart) who were married at the General Baptist Chapel in Baxter Gate, Loughborough, on 9th October 1877.
When Herbert was born his father was a commercial traveller in the timber trade but by 1901 he had become a timber, slate and builders’ merchant.
Herbert had two brothers Albert and Arnold and two sisters Edith and Eveline. Herbert attended the Baptist Church Sunday School and in 1911 was a commercial clerk in the building trade.
Herbert appears to have enlisted in late 1915. He initially joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 25640 but was transferred to A Coy of the 6th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment sometime in late 1916.
More precise details of his enlistment, transfer, and arrival in France are unavailable as his service record has not survived.
The 6th Northants Battalion, however, received drafts of reinforcements in September and October 1916 and also in June 1917 and Herbert could have been in any one of these three drafts.
On 26th September 1916 the 6th Battalion took part in the capture of Thiepval, following which, on 3rd October, they entrained at Belle-Eglise and Acheux for Candas and marched to Berneuil.
After 10 days instruction they moved via Beauval and Warloy to Bouzincourt and then Albert. Several trench tours followed, with breaks at Warloy, Albert and Ovillers. On 22nd November they began a five-day march to Neufmoulin for refitting, drill and more training. Between 14th December 1916 and 11th January 1917 the battalion was at Canchy for training in bombing, signalling and bayonet fighting.
On 11th January 1917 the battalion left for Rubempré where they went into the line on 15th. This was followed by working parties organised from Warwick, Gloucester and McKenzie Huts before the battalion took over part of the battle front on 15th February as part of the Operations on the Ancre. On 17th February the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment was the right hand assault battalion at Boom Ravine, near Miraumont, with the 11th Royal Fusiliers on their left.
Whilst forming up before dawn, the two battalions were bombarded by German artillery and suffered many casualties.
After being withdrawn to Bouzincourt the battalion transferred to dugouts and tents in Thiepval Wood.
Between 22nd and 28th March they transferred by bus, train and on foot to Thiennes and later to Manqueville for training until 26th April. Returning by train to Arras on 27th April the battalion marched to NeuvilleVitasse and two days later went into the trenches west of Chérisy.
On 3rd May 1917 the battalion took part in the 3rd Battle of the Scarpe, incurring 120 casualties.
Returning to the Chérisy trenches on 2nd June the battalion captured an enemy trench on the following day. Night bombardment of the enemy resulted in retaliatory action with Minenwerfers. In mid-June the battalion marched to Warlincourt where training took place until 4th July.
After Warlincourt the battalion moved to Flanders, arriving at Canal Reserve Camp north-west of Dickenbusch on 6th July.
On 3rd August, in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the battalion was sent into the line, suffering heavy shelling and bombardment.
On 10th August the men were again ordered to attack and 50 Ordinary Ranks were killed and 40 were wounded.
Herbert, aged 30, was one of those killed. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, panels 43 and 45, and on the Baxter Gate Baptist Church Memorial as well as on the Carillon.
Herbert’s brother Arnold served with the Leicestershire Regiment and the Royal Engineers and survived the war.
Arthur Stevenson was born in Loughborough in early 1898.
He was the eldest son of Arthur Stevenson, a cotton pattern framework knitter, and his wife Mary Jane (née Gibson).
Arthur Junior’s parents were married at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, on 19th April 1897.
He had two brothers Walter and Leonard and one sister Mary. Another brother George died under the age of one.
In 1901 the family lived at 104 Leopold Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 79 Station Street.
Arthur Junior’s parents later moved to 12 Granville Street and then to 15 Beechwood Terrace, Burley, Leeds.
Arthur appears to have enlisted in late 1916.
He joined the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment (informally known as the Wirral Battalion) as Private 292136.
The 13th Cheshires received a large batch of 178 Ordinary Rank reinforcements from England on 13th February 1917 and it seems likely that Arthur was in this batch. It is impossible to know for certain whether this was the case, however, as Arthur’s service papers have not survived.
When the reinforcements arrived the battalion was in training at Carters Camp, De Seule, on the Ypres Salient.
On 20th February the battalion began a move via Caëstre and Campagne to Acquin where they remained for just over a month in further training, including digging and range practice.
At the end of May the battalion entrained at Watten for Bailleul and travelled by road to La Crèche.
More working parties followed before the Brigade concentrated at Breermerschen on 5th June. Here tools, bombs, and flares were issued in preparation for an attack and on 7th June the battalion took part in the Battle of Messines, suffering considerable casualties.
During the rest of June there were several trench tours in the line amid intermittent shelling. For the remainder of June and most of July the battalion was training at Matringhem and Abeele and providing working parties for road making.
On 5th August the battalion took over the line at Bellewarde Ridge, with two companies at Westhoek Ridge. On 10th August, from Windhoek Ridge, the battalion attacked the German front and support lines. 50 Ordinary Ranks were killed and 266 were wounded. Arthur, aged 19, was one of those killed.
Arthur’s body was never found. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, panels 19-22, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter’s Church building, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.
Arthur’s brother Walter served with the Sherwood Foresters. He survived the war.
George Henry Barradell.
George Henry Barradell was born in 1883 at 5 Fennel Street, Loughborough, and baptised on 17th January 1886 at All Saints Parish Church.
He was the eldest son of Herbert Barradell, a tailor, and his second wife Mary Lincoln (née Porter) who had both been widowed before marrying at All Saints Church on 3rd December 1882.
George had three brothers Leonard, Ernest and Arthur and one sister Mabel. He also had one surviving half-sibling Lillian from his father’s first marriage to Hannah Olliver.
Three other half-sisters had died young before George was born.
In 1891 the family lived at 50 Gladstone Street, Loughborough, but by 1901 had moved to 56 Ashby Road. George’s parents later moved to 137 Ratcliffe Road.
In 1901 George, aged 18, was a litho stone polisher but in January 1904 he was appointed a town postman in Loughborough. In June 1905 he became a rural postman on the Loughborough to Swithland route and on 8th June 1907 he married Edith Buxton from Cropwell Bishop, Nottinghamshire, at All Saints Parish Church, Loughborough.
In September 1910 George was appointed a postman at Leicester and he and Edith moved to 239 Western Road, Leicester. They later moved to 90 Stuart Street, Leicester. Their only child Herbert was born on 5th June 1914.
George enlisted at Leicester on 6th December 1915 and became part of the Army Reserve.
He was mobilised on 8th June 1916 and sent to the Leicestershire Regiment Depot. On 13th June he was posted to the 3rd Battalion of the Leicesters as Private 30544 and sent to join them at the Humber Garrison, Patrington, near Hull.
On 1st March 1917 George went to France, having been posted to the 6th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment in the trenches at Vermelles and in the Hohenzollern Sector.
Not long afterwards, on19th March 1917, George was transferred to the 10th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and became Private 50633.
On 17th April the battalion returned to Le Bizet for training and then moved to Rossignol Le Chien Blanc to work on the light railway and build heavy trench mortar replacements.
At the beginning of May there was thirteen days training at Setques.
On 6th June the battalion went into the assembly trenches and on the following day attacked the enemy in the Battle of Messines, incurring many casualties.
After being withdrawn to the support lines the battalion was moved to Ravelsburg and then to Dennebroeucq for training until 6th July, after which they travelled by bus and lorry to Winnipeg Camp near Bussebom. On 9th July they went into the trenches west of Ypres before proceeding to Bellewarde Beck to work on the trenches amid enemy shelling. Following a break at Reninghelst they went into the line on 1st August.
On that day the 10th Cheshires relieved the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment in support on the newly captured Bellewaarde Ridge. The men were distributed in shellholes in front of and behind the ridge and were continuously shelled. This operation was part of the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, near Boesinghe, which took place from 31st July to 2nd August 1917 and was part of the opening attack of the Passchendaele Offensive. After the battle and with his battalion proceeded via Halfway House to Vancouver Camp. On 10th August the battalion was ordered to move up to the front line at Westhoek Ridge where they were heavily bombarded on the following day.
Seventy ordinary Ranks were wounded during this action and 16 killed.
George was one of those wounded and he died from his wounds on 13th August 1917, aged 34.
He was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinghe, Grave XVII. F. 11.
George is commemorated on the war memorial of the Church of the Martyrs, Leicester, and on the war memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.
After her husband died George’s widow moved back to Loughborough to 36 Burder Street.
George’s brother Ernest enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment in 1914 but was discharged as medically unfit.