A mem­ber of Long­cliffe club

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.

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE -

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.

Wal­ter Stan­ley Gim­son.

Wal­ter Stan­ley Gim­son was born in Le­ices­ter on 3rd March 1885.

He was the son of Wil­liam Gim­son, a tim­ber mer­chant, and his wife Martha (née Wil­liams) who were mar­ried at St. Peter’s Church, North Rauceby, Lin­colnshire, on 11th April 1876. Wal­ter had four broth­ers Wil­liam, Henry, Ed­ward and Al­bert, and four sis­ters Emily, An­nie, Mary and Margery.

In 1891 the fam­ily was liv­ing at 110 Re­gent Road, Le­ices­ter, but by 1901 had moved to Rothe­say, Vic­to­ria Road (now Univer­sity Road), Le­ices­ter.

Wal­ter be­came a cab­i­net maker and for some years was a prin­ci­pal in the firm Gim­son and Slater, cab­i­net mak­ers of Not­ting­ham. Wal­ter be­came well-known in Not­ting­ham and was a prom­i­nent play­ing mem­ber of the Notts Rugby Club as well as a keen crick­eter and golfer.

In Not­ting­ham he boarded with the Slater fam­ily at Hawthorns, Dag­mar Grove, Alexan­dra Park. He sub­se­quently moved to 9 For­est Road, Lough­bor­ough, and joined the Long­cliffe Golf Club.

At the out­break of war Wal­ter en­listed with the Not­ting­ham ath­letes in the Sher­wood Foresters and joined the 10th (Ser­vice) Bat­tal­ion as Pri­vate 17286. He was soon pro­moted to the rank of Cor­po­ral and then Sergeant. The pre­cise dates of his en­list­ment and pro­mo­tions, how­ever, are un­known.

The 10th Bat­tal­ion was formed at Derby in Septem­ber 1914 and came un­der or­ders of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Di­vi­sion of the Army.

The bat­tal­ion moved to Wool, Dorset, and on to West Lul­worth in Oc­to­ber 1914, re­turn­ing to Wool in De­cem­ber. In June 1915 the bat­tal­ion moved to Winchester for fi­nal train­ing.

On 14th July 1915 the bat­tal­ion trav­elled to Folke­stone and on 15th July landed at Boulogne.

From St. Omer the bat- talion moved to Ren­inghelst and went into the trenches near Hooge on 27th July. Fur­ther trench tours fol­lowed in Au­gust with a break at Oud­er­dom. By Septem­ber the bat­tal­ion was in Sanc­tu­ary Wood re­pair­ing trenches and was heav­ily shelled by the en­emy on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

On 25th Septem­ber the en­emy be­gan a par­tic­u­larly fierce at­tack on Sanc­tu­ary Wood and two counter-at­tacks failed. On Oc­to­ber 6th the bat­tal­ion was with­drawn to Eecke and Caestre for two weeks rest but was back in the trenches at Sanc­tu­ary Wood by 21st Oc­to­ber.

Novem­ber be­gan with work­ing par­ties for the Royal En­gi­neers, fol­lowed by trench tours at Ypres. On the 22nd Novem­ber 1915 Wal­ter was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal suf­fer­ing from in­fluenza. He was dis­charged on the 25th Novem­ber and re­turned to duty.

On 14th De­cem­ber en­emy shelling cut all wires on the Al­lied front, blew in all dugouts on the front and sup­port line. This was fol­lowed by a phos­gene gas at­tack and an as­sault by Ger­man raid­ing par­ties.

Wal­ter wasad­mit­ted to hospi­tal again on 14th De­cem­ber, this time with a shrap­nel wound in his side.

He was trans­ferred to the Divi­sional Rest Sta­tion three days later.

It seems likely that Wal­ter re­turned to his bat­tal­ion some­time in early Jan­uary 1916 while they were un­der­go­ing re­or­gan­i­sa­tion and train­ing at Houlle. The bat­tal­ion left Houlle by rail for Poper­inghe on 5th Fe­bru­ary and marched to Oud­er­dom be­fore go­ing into the trenches north of the Ypres-Comines canal in an area known as the Bluff. Here on the night of the 14th/15th Fe­bru­ary the Ger­mans be­gan an ex­ten­sive shelling op­er­a­tion be­fore in­vad­ing the front and sup­port lines of the Al­lies.

Counter-at­tacks were again un­suc­cess­ful and the 10th Sher­wood Foresters suf­fered heavy ca­su­al­ties. A fur­ther coun­ter­at­tack on 2nd March, how­ever, achieved bet­ter results. From 7th-18th March the bat­tal­ion was in train­ing at La Crèche.

On 15th March 1916 Wal­ter re­ceived a com­mis­sion as a Tem­po­rary 2nd Lieu­tenant in the King’s Own (York­shire Light In­fantry).

On 23rd May 1916 he was trans­ferred to the General List for duty with Trench Mor­tar Bat­ter­ies and on 30th July 1916 he was pro­moted to Act­ing Cap­tain while com­mand­ing the 61st Trench Mor­tar Bat­tery, part of the 61st Brigade of the 20th (Light) Di­vi­sion. Wal­ter joined the 61st Trench Mor­tar Bat­tery in the line in the Ypres area.

Front-line trench mor­tars, known in the Bri­tish Army as ‘fly­ing pigs’ played an im­por­tant role in any at­tack as they were al­ways cer­tain to draw en­emy fire.

In the New Year’s Hon­ours List on the 1st Jan­uary 1917 Wal­ter was awarded the Mil­i­tary Cross ‘for an act or acts of ex­em­plary gal­lantry dur­ing ac­tive op­er­a­tions against the en­emy’.

Be­tween April and June 1917 while on leave from the front Wal­ter mar­ried Is­abel Beatrice So­her (née Moss) at Ful­ham Reg­is­ter Of­fice, Lon­don. Is­abel was the daugh­ter of Ed­win Moss of Lough­bor­ough and in 1914 was di­vorced from her first hus­band Le Roy So­her, an Amer­i­can car me­chanic with Straker and Squire.

Wal­ter and Is­abel had only been mar­ried for a few months when Wal­ter, aged 32, was killed in ac­tion on 16th Au­gust 1917, the first day of the Bat­tle of Lange­marck.

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing the news of his death to his wife a fel­low of­fi­cer said: ‘Gim­son was one of the most pop­u­lar of­fi­cers in the Di­vi­sion and when killed in the ad­vance to­wards Lange­marck was act­ing like a hero’.

Wal­ter is buried in Bard Cot­tage Ceme­tery, near Ypres, Grave IV. B. 48. His name was also added to his par­ents’ head­stone in Welford Road Ceme­tery, Le­ices­ter.

A group of mem­bers of the Long­cliffe Golf Club vis­ited his grave near Ypres and placed a wreath on be­half of the mem­bers of the golf club.

Wal­ter’s widow died in County Ar­magh, Northern Ire­land, in 1927.

Charles Syd­ney Ben­nett.

Charles Syd­ney (or Sid­ney) Ben­nett, known as ‘Charley’ to his fam­ily, was born in Stafford on 1st March 1892 and bap­tised at Christ Church, Stafford, on 1st April 1892.

He was the el­dest child of Charles Ben­nett and his wife Mary Ellen (née Emery) who were mar­ried at St. Leonard’s Church, Marston, Stafford­shire, on Box­ing Day 1891.

Charley had one brother Arthur and two sis­ters Fanny and Elsie.

Charley’s fa­ther was a pipe track labourer and the fam­ily moved around from the Com­mon, Stafford in 1892, to Red­hill, Arnold, Not­ting­hamshire in 1901 and to Iveshead Road, Shep­shed, in 1911. In 1911 Charley, aged 19, was a pipe track labourer like his fa­ther.

In the sum­mer of 1912 Charley mar­ried Gertrude Martin in Stock­port and their son Sid­ney was born in Lough­bor­ough not long after­wards. Charley and Gertrude had a sec­ond son Charles, also born in Lough­bor­ough, in 1915.

Charley en­listed at Lough­bor­ough in the sum­mer or au­tumn of 1915 and joined the 1/5th Bat­tal­ion of the Le­ices­ter­shire Reg­i­ment as Pri­vate 4656.

He was later renum­bered as Pri­vate 241708. As his ser­vice papers have not sur­vived his pre­cise date of en­list­ment is un­known. He was not sent to France un­til at least 1916. The 1/5th Le­ices­ters in France re­ceived drafts of re­in­force­ments in March, April, July and Novem­ber 1916 and also in Fe­bru­ary 1917.

Charley could have been in any of these drafts but the most likely one is that of 5th July 1916. On that date the bat­tal­ion’s war di­ary specif­i­cally men­tions that a draft of 61 men from the 3rd and 5th Bat­tal­ions of the Le­ices­ter­shire Reg­i­ment re­ported for duty at Bienvillers.

From 9th March 1916 the 1/5th Le­ices­ters were in the area of Vimy Ridge, Pas de Calais, ei­ther in the front line, in sup­port, in re­serve or at rest. On 27th April the bat­tal­ion was sent to the neigh­bour­hood of Neuville St. Vaast to work with the French and English tun­nellers and then to bil­lets in Luchaux for bay­o­net train­ing. This was fol­lowed by a pe­riod at Souas­tre dig­ging ca­ble trenches, and con­struct­ing bomb stores and gun pits in prepa­ra­tion for a ‘big push’.

On 4th June 1916 the bat­tal­ion was moved up to trenches near Gom­me­court. This was fol­lowed by fur­ther train­ing at War­lin­court. Dur­ing this time Sa­muel was al­lowed some home leave.

On 30th June the bat­tal­ion as­sem­bled in a trench near Fon­c­quevillers Church ready for the di­ver­sion­ary at­tack at Gom­me­court on the first day of the Somme Of­fen­sive planned for 1st July.

On 1st July 1916 the 46th Di­vi­sion of the Army, of which the 1/5th Le­ices­ters were part, had 2445 ca­su­al­ties at Gom­me­court.

On 7th July they re­lieved the 4th Lin­colnshires in the trenches op­po­site Es­sarts-lès-Buc­quoy. The bat­tal­ion re­mained in the area of Monchy-au-Bois un­til 29th Oc­to­ber, ei­ther in the trenches or rest­ing at Bienvillers or Pom­mier. The bat­tal­ion’s next move was to Mil­len­court for in­ten­sive bat­tle train­ing, re­turn­ing to Hal­loy and then Souas­tre at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber.

The bat­tal­ion re­mained at Souas­tre un­til 11th March 1917 and then moved once more up to the line tak­ing over 2,600 yards of frontage from the La Brayelle road to the Han­nescamps- Monchy road.

On 17th March they moved into Gom­me­court for road mend­ing be­fore mov­ing to Ber­tran­court, Raincheval and then Rainvillers not far from Amiens.

On 28th March the bat­tal­ion marched to Saleux, en­trained for Lillers in the north, and marched to Laires. Train­ing took place un­til 13th April and con­tin­ued for three fur­ther days at Man­queville, after which the bat­tal­ion moved to the western out­skirts of Lens. From there they marched to Bully-Gre­nay and went into the front line trenches where they were heav­ily shelled.

On 29th April the bat­tal­ion went into rest bil­lets in cel­lars at Cité St. Pierre un­til 3rd May when they went into sup­port trenches. On 8th they went into bil­lets at Fosse 10 near Petit Sains for train­ing and on 12th into re­serve at An­gres. Fur­ther trench tours south-west of Lens fol­lowed un­til 26th May when the bat­tal­ion went into bil­lets at Mar­quef­fles Farm for train­ing in bay­o­net fight­ing and bom­bard­ment and to prac­tise meth­ods of at­tack. On 6th June the bat­tal­ion was back in the line and on 8th June went into the at­tack, suf­fer­ing 96 ca­su­al­ties. Apart from two breaks at Red Mill from 9th-13th and 18th-20th June the bat­tal­ion was in the trenches un­til 22nd June. On 21st June C Coy was ac­ci­den­tally gassed by the Royal En­gi­neers, re­sult­ing in 94 ca­su­al­ties of whom 22 died. Back at Mar­quef­fles Farm from 22nd the bat­tal­ion had Lewis gun and sig­nalling classes as well as at­tack train­ing over a flagged course.

On 27th June the bat­tal­ion moved up to the line ready to at­tack on the fol­low­ing day. As they climbed out of the trenches on 28th June they met with the in­evitable ma­chine gun fire and over the next two days 60 Or­di­nary Ranks were killed.

Re­lieved from the trenches at Lievin on 3rd July the bat­tal­ion moved to Monchy-Bre­ton for re­or­gan­i­sa­tion and train-

ing un­til 22nd July when they moved to Vau­dri­court be­fore go­ing into the line at Hul­luch un­til 28th July.

After re­spite at Noeuxles-Mines the bat­tal­ion was at Fouquières un­til 14th Au­gust, prac­tis­ing for an at­tack. Mov­ing to Noyelles the bat­tal­ion went into the trenches on 15th Au­gust.

Charley, aged 25, was pre­sumed to have been killed in ac­tion in a raid on the Ger­man trenches at Hul­luch on the night of the 16th/17th Au­gust 1917.

He is com­mem­o­rated on the Loos Me­mo­rial, Pan­els 42-44. He is also re­mem­bered on the war me­mo­rial in Shep­shed, on the war me­mo­rial in the former St. Peter’s Church build­ing, Lough­bor­ough, and on the Car­il­lon.

Wil­liam Dol­phin

Wil­liam Dol­phin was born in 1891 in Lough­bor­ough, the son of James Dol­phin and his wife Brid­get (née Dyer) who were mar­ried in Not­ting­ham in 1888.

Wil­liam was born shortly be­fore his fa­ther, after 12 years’ ser­vice in Eng­land, Gi­bral­tar, Egypt and In­dia with the 2nd Bat­tal­ion of the Der­byshire Reg­i­ment, was dis­charged from the Army.

In 1901 Wil­liam’s fa­ther gave one more year’s ser­vice to the Army, in the Ord­nance Corps of the Third Royal Northern Re­serve Reg­i­ment. When James Dol­phin was not in the Army he was a slater’s labourer.

Wil­liam had three broth­ers John, James and Ed­win and one sis­ter An­nie. In 1891 the Dol­phin fam­ily lived at 12 Dead Lane, Lough­bor­ough, but by 1901 had moved to 46 Pom­phret Street, off Warner Street, Not­ting­ham. After Wil­liam’s mother died, aged 40, in 1905 the fam­ily split up.

On 3rd Jan­uary 1907 Wil­liam, aged 17 and a general labourer for Messrs. Gold­smith and Co., card­board mak­ers of Not­ting­ham, at­tested to serve for six years with the mili­tia and joined the 4th Bat­tal­ion of the Sher­wood Foresters (Notts and Derby Reg­i­ment) as Pri­vate 1750.

In 1911 Wil­liam was in Crown­hill Bar­racks, Ply­mouth, Devon, with the 2nd Sher­wood Foresters while his broth­ers John, a col­lier, and James, a news ven­dor, were in lodg­ings at 59 Red Lion Street, Not­ting­ham.

Ed­win had moved to Liver­pool and be­come an Or­di­nary Sea­man. An­nie, mean­while, had been sent to the Con­vent and Home of the Good Shep­herd, a re­for­ma­tory for girls in East Finch­ley, Mid­dle­sex, and had be­come a laun­dry worker there.

Wil­liam’s fa­ther ini­tially re­mained in lodg­ings in Not­ting­ham but re­turned to Lough­bor­ough and died in Lough­bor­ough in 1945.

It seems likely that Wil­liam was re­called at the out­break of war in 1914 but ex­act details of his war ser­vice are un­avail­able as his papers have not sur­vived.

It is known, how­ever, that as Pri­vate 10400 he served with the 9th (Ser­vice) Bat­tal­ion of the Sher­wood Foresters. This was formed at Derby in Au­gust 1914 and came un­der the or­ders of the 33rd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Di­vi­sion.

The bat­tal­ion moved ini­tially to Bel­ton Park, Gran­tham, Lin­colnshire, and then to Fren­sham, Sur­rey, on 4th April 1915.

They sailed from Liver­pool at the end of June 1915 via Mu­dros and landed near Lala Baba at Su­vla Bay on 6th and 7th Au­gust. The 9th Sher­woods were in ac­tion near Het­man Char (also known as Het­man’s field) south-east of Choco­late and Green Hills on the 9th and the 21st Au­gust. Both these ac­tions were un­suc­cess­ful and the ca­su­alty fig­ures very high.

On 19th and 20th De­cem­ber 1915 the 11th Di­vi­sion was with­drawn from Gal­lipoli, mov­ing to Im­bros then Egypt at the end of Jan­uary 1916.

The Di­vi­sion con­cen­trated at Sidi Bishr and took over a sec­tion of the Suez Canal de­fences on 19th Fe­bru­ary.

On 17th June 1916 the Di­vi­sion was ordered to France to re­in­force the Third Army on the Somme.

The 9th Bat­tal­ion left Alexan­dria on the H.T Oriana on 1st July and ar­rived in Mar­seilles two days later. From Mar­seille the bat­tal­ion trav­elled by train to St. Pol.

After train­ing at Berneville the bat­tal­ion was in the front line on the Somme near Ar­ras on 27th July. From 19th Au­gust to 5th Septem­ber there was fur­ther train­ing at Gouy-enAr­tois, Estrée-Wamin and Acheux be­fore the bat­tal­ion re­turned to the trenches south of Thiep­val.

The bat­tal­ion took part in the cap­ture of WundtWerk (Won­der Work) on 14th Septem­ber and after a short break at Mail­leyMail­let was in ac­tion at the bat­tle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd Septem­ber) and the Bat­tle of Thiep­val Ridge ( 26th -28th Septem­ber).

By 5th Oc­to­ber the bat­tal­ion had moved to Mes­nil-Domqueur where they re­mained in train­ing un­til 11th Novem­ber.

After mov­ing via Coulonvillers, Mon­trelet , Martin­sart and Vaden­court the bat­tal­ion went into the trenches at Hedauville on 21st Novem­ber. From 30th Novem­ber un­til 16th De­cem­ber the bat­tal­ion was at En­gel­belmer pro­vid­ing work­ing par­ties on the roads and in Aveluy Wood.

On 17th De­cem­ber the bat­tal­ion moved to the front at St. Pierre Div­ion, re­main­ing there un­til 5pm. on Christ­mas Day when they re­turned to En­gel­belmer.

In Jan­uary 1917 there were fur­ther trench tours at St. Pierre Div­ion with breaks at En­gel­belmer be­fore a move to Coulonvillers for train­ing at the end of the month un­til 15th Fe­bru­ary.

The rest of Fe­bru­ary and most of March was taken up with work­ing par­ties on the rail­ways at Fame­chon.

On March 24th the bat­tal­ion moved to Orville and then to Vauchellesles-Authie for train­ing un­til 19th April when the bat­tal­ion moved firstly to Ba­paume and then at the be­gin­ning of May to Morchies for trench du­ties.

After a move to Her­mies from 7th to 15th May, fol­lowed by a rest at Mon­tauban and Fri­court the bat­tal­ion en­trained at Al­bert for Caestre and marched to Gode­waersvelde. On 24th May came an­other move to Westoutre for work­ing par­ties and train­ing.

From 7th-11th June the bat­tal­ion took part in an at­tack at Wytschaete (part of the bat­tle of Messines) and then moved to Kem­mel for sal­vage work.

On 24th June the bat­tal­ion moved to Re­nes­cure for train­ing un­til 16th July when they went into the front line and sup­port trenches north of Ypres. Here on 21st July the en­emy bom­barded them with high ex­plo­sive and gas shells.

On 29th July, while the bat­tal­ion was in process of leav­ing the trenches for camp, they were again ham­pered by heavy en­emy gas shelling.

On 16th Au­gust the bat­tal­ion re­turned to Canal Bank, Ypres, and to the old Bri­tish front line.

On 17th Au­gust the en­emy heav­ily shelled the bat­tal­ion as it moved for­ward. En­emy shelling con­tin­ued over the next three days.

The point dur­ing the Bat­tle of Lange­marck when Wil­liam was wounded is un­known but he died of his wounds on 20th Au­gust 1917, aged 28.

He is buried in Brand­hoek New Bri­tish Ceme­tery Grave no. 3. I. D.

Wil­liam’s brother John who also served with the Sher­wood Foresters was killed in ac­tion on 1st July 1917.

His brother Ed­win served with the Royal Naval Re­serve and sur­vived the war.

His brother James served with the Royal War­wick­shire Reg­i­ment but was dis­charged be­cause of a leg de­for­mity. Wil­liam’s sis­ter An­nie died in 1915, aged 20.

Men of the 5th Bat­tal­ion Le­ices­ter­shire Reg­i­ment gather in Lough­bor­ough’s Queen’s Park ready to go to war.

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