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Memorial Biographies

Below are the biographical details we have been able to discover on the three World War One memorials at Bishop Street Methodist Church.

Bishop Street

Mansfield Street Mission

Temperance Hall Mission

 

Bishop Street Methodist Church

World War 1 Casualties

Memorial after cleaning v2On the Bishop Street Methodist Church War Memorial there are the names and units of 23 men who died in World War 1 and whom the peace time congregation chose to honour.  Other men from the 1914 congregation may also have fought and survived and others may have chosen to conscientiously object to conscription on religious grounds and served in other ways as non combatants.  The present congregation have chosen to research and preserve the memory of the war dead, as these are the only names which have come down to us. We do, however, honour the choices made by all the men connected to Bishop St Methodist Church who were eligible for service.

The deaths are recorded up to 1919 rather than the formal end of the war in 1918. Sergeant Herbert Brown died in November 1919, presumably from injuries sustained in the Great War.

The group of 23 men from Bishop St volunteered for service and saw action in the navy, on the Western Front and in Mesopotamia.  Most were aged between 18 and 26, and many of them were Kitchener volunteers.  Those who joined Leicestershire regiments fought and died in all their major engagements from 1914-18.  For the most part they were young privates, corporals and sergeants, together with three officers, who did their duty as best they could in dangerous and hazardous circumstances, and in many cases against impossible odds.  There are two instances of members of the same family, dying in the same year, within a few months of each other - the Churchhouse and Harriman brothers. Seven have official war graves and fifteen have their names commemorated on official war memorials in Leicester, Chatham, France and Mesopotamia.

 

The following list in alphabetical order describes the circumstances of their death and as much of their pre-war life as it has been possible to reconstruct from research.

 

Compiled by Alison Skinner, June 2014

Private  ERNEST BAKER 

1/4  Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born April-June 1896 in Leicester.  In 1911 he was living in l21 Albert St, Leicester and working as a wool hand.  His father was born in Birmingham and worked as a gas stoker. His mother was born in Leicester, and he had five brothers and one sister.

Died aged 19    7th August 1915

He was killed by a shell in the trenches.

Commemorated on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

 

Sergeant HERBERT BROWN

Royal Engineers

This man was not local to Leicester and the only name, rank and unit that seems to fit in the Commonwealth War Graves record is that of Farrier Sergeant H. Brown of the Signal Service Training Centre, Royal Engineers who died on 29 November 1919 and is buried in St Helen’s Cemetery, Lancashire. His connection to Bishop Street Methodist Church is unknown.

 

Sergeant  JOHN BREWIN

6th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan- March 1892 in Knighton, Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 55 Royal East St, Leicester and working as a button sewer. His father was born in Leicester and worked as a shoe hand, his mother was born in Dublin. He had three sisters and two brothers.

Died aged 24   17 July 1916 

He probably took part in the attack on Bazentin Le Petit Wood during 14-16 July 1916 and his death was recorded a day later.  Four Leicestershire Battalions took part in this action during the Battle of the Somme which resulted in heavy casualties, with losses recorded from all over the county.

Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

 

Second  Lieutenant  WILLIAM  KINGSLEY  CALLARD

5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born March 13 1897 in Leicester, baptised at Bishop St Methodist Church 18 April 1897. He taught in the Sunday School at Bishop St, was a local Methodist preacher and intended to become an ordained minister. In 1911 he was still at school and living at 122 London Rd, Leicester. His father was a baker and confectioner born in Torquay, Devon. His mother was born in Ludlow, Shropshire. He had one brother and one sister.

In 1915 he was awarded a scholarship in science by University College, Oxford and then signed up

Died aged 19   1 July 1916

He took part in the attack on the Gommecourt sector during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.  He was killed by a shell in the trenches while waiting to mount a counterattack.

Buried at Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Private WILLIAM  JOSEPH  CARTER

1st  Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born April –June 1896 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living in lodgings at 97 Andrew St, Leicester with his family and working as a boots lasting room helper. His father, who was born in Stoke Albany, Northants and was a finisher in the boot and shoe industry, was absent, possibly dead. His mother was working as a shoe machinist, and he had a brother and sister. In 1914 he was living at 28 Ridley St, Hinckley Rd, Leicester.

Died aged 19   19th March 1915

He was killed by a shell while in trenches in Rue Du Bois in France.

Buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, Nord, France.

 

Able Seaman  WILLIAM  CHENEY

HMS  Formidable  Royal Navy

Born 2 September 1891 in Leicester. In 1911 he was an Able Seaman living in lodgings at 15 Clove St, Chatham.  His father was born in Leicester and was a shoe finisher, and his mother was born in Woolwich, Middlesex. He had three brothers, and in 1914 the family were living at 31 Farnham St, Humberstone Rd, Leicester.

Died aged 23       1st January 1915

His ship was sunk by torpedo in the English Channel by a German U Boat with the loss of 35 officers and 512 men.

Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

 

Telegraphist ARTHUR  CHURCHHOUSE

HMS  ‘Stephen Furness’ Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Born 1899 in Leicester. In 1911 he was still at school living at 35 Walnut St,  Leicester. His father was a fruiterer born in St Albans, Herts, and his mother was born in Madingley, Cambridgeshire.  He had two sisters and one brother.

Died aged 18     13 December 1917

His ship was an armed boarding steamer which was sunk by a German U Boat in the Irish Sea west of the Isle of Man, with the loss of six officers and 95 ratings.

Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

 

Lance Corporal THOMAS WILLIAM  JAMES CHURCHHOUSE

19th Battalion  Manchester Regiment

Born April-June 1897 in Leicester, brother of Arthur Churchhouse so family details as above. In 1911 he was living at 35 Walnut St, Leicester and working as a printer. 

Died aged 20     31st July 1917

He may have been wounded during a major action by his regiment on 31st June 1917 in Ypres and died a month later, or during regular trench duty.

Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

 

Private HAROLD COOPER

9th Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1897 in Derby. In 1911 he was working as a clerk for a draper and living at 129 Firth Park Crescent, Sheffield. His father was a bricklayer born in Derby and his mother was born in Leicester. He had two brothers and two sisters.   He enlisted in Leicester.

Died aged 20    3rd May 1917

He was killed in action during the Battle of Bullecourt 3rd May 1917.

Buried at Bailleul Road East Cemetery, St Laurent-Blangy, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Second Lieutenant EDWIN ARTHUR ELSON

9th Battalion Middlesex Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1880 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as a taxation officer for Middlesex County Council and living at 36 Duckett Rd, Haringey. His father was a brush manufacturer and both his father and mother were born in Leicester.  He had five brothers and one sister. The family lived at 5 Freeman Cottages, Welford Rd, Leicester. He initially joined the 9th Battalion Middlesex regiment and on 29 September 1915 was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and transferred to the 2nd/5th  Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in July 1916.

Died aged 35      9th September 1916

He was killed in action by a sniper at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme.

Commemorated on Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

 

Sergeant  WILLIAM  SIMPSON  FOX

1/4  Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born July –Sept 1892 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as an apprentice draper and living at 22 Pocklington Walk, Leicester. His father, a draper employing others, was born in Heather, Leicestershire, and his mother was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He had a brother and two sisters. He enlisted on Sept 7 1914.

Died aged 23     13 October 1915

He was killed in action during the Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt, which was the major action involving the 1/4 Battalion of the Leicestershire regiment during WW1.

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Sergeant  WALTER  GLADDING

1/4  Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born 1890 in Grimsby. In 1911 he was working as a clerk for his maternal uncle who was a baker and corn flour merchant and living at Northcote, Birstall Hill near Leicester. His father was born in Great Limber, Lincolnshire and was a railway passenger guard, and his mother was born in Caister, Lincolnshire.  He had one brother, and the family lived at 260 Willingham St, Grimsby.

Died aged 25        13 October 1915

Killed in action during the Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Sergeant  ALFRED  GODDARD

8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born 1894 in Leicester.  In 1911 he was working as a knife filer for boot machines and living at 30 Grasmere St, Leicester. His father was an elastic  braider, born in Leicester, his mother was born in Bedford, and he had three brothers and eight sisters.

Died aged 25    27th May 1918

He died during the Battle of the Aisne on 27th May 1918 when the Leicestershire Brigade were forced to retreat, although numerous rearguard stands were made.

Buried at Hermonville Military Cemetery, Marne, France.

 

Private FRED HARRIMAN

2nd Battalion Border Regiment

Born 1892 in Sheffield. In 1911 he was living in Sheffield working as an iron moulders labourer for an iron foundry.  His father was born in Leicester and was first of all a framework knitter working in Albion St and then a hosiery hand (porter). His mother was born in Leicester and worked as a worsted reeler. He had four brothers and three sisters. 

He enlisted in Nottingham.

Died aged 22        26 October 1914

He died in action during the retreat across Belgium by British troops.

Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

 

Private TOM HARRIMAN

1st  Battalion  Royal Scots Fusiliers

Born Jan-March 1894 in Leicester. Brother of Fred Harriman so family details as above.  In 1911 he was working as a needle maker and living at 44 Napier St, Leicester. 

Died age 20     18 October 1914

He died in action during the retreat across Belgium by British troops.

Commemorated  on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Corporal CLAUDE FREDERICK WILLIAM HERINGTON

Leicester Yeomanry

Born March 26 1894, in Leicester, baptised at Bishop St Methodist Church 6th May 1894. In 1911 he was living at home in Forest View, Victoria Park, Leicester – no profession was noted.  His father was born in Kirdford, Sussex and worked as a draper. His mother was born in Tallington, Lincs. He had one sister.

Died aged 21    25 August 1915

He possibly died of injuries received at the Battle of Frezenberg May 12/13, or subsequently.

Commemorated at Leicester Welford Road Cemetery. 

 

Private FREDERICK  WILLIAM  JARVIS

2nd Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1897 in Leicester.  In 1911 he was working as an errand boy for a printer and was living at 90 Montague Rd, Leicester. His father was born in Great Glen, Leicester and worked as a builder’s labourer. His mother was born in Desborough, Northants.  He had two brothers and three sisters.

Died aged 19    16th January  1916

He was most likely wounded on January 13 during an attack against the Turks near the River Wadi during the Mesopotamian campaign of January –April 1916 and subsequently died.

Buried in Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.

His brother Charles Newstead Jarvis who joined the 8th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment was killed in action 3 May 1917 at Arras near the Hindenberg line.

 

Ordinary Seaman FRANK  EVERETT LANE

HMS  Pathfinder  Royal Navy

Born 26 October 1895 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as an errand boy and living at 81 Asylum St, Leicester. His father was a cellarman and his mother a hosier, both born in Leicester.  He had three brothers and two sisters. In 1914 he was living at 31 New Park St, Leicester.

Died aged 18      5th Sept 1914

His ship was sunk by a torpedo fired from a German U boat off St Abbs Head, Berwickshire with the loss of 259 men.

Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

 

Private FREDERICK ERNEST MIDDLETON

Leicestershire Yeomanry

Born 1898 in Leicester.  In 1911 he was still at school and living at 79 Conduit St, Leicester. His father was an assistant station master, born in Stroud, Kent, and his mother was born in Southwark, London.  He had three sisters and one brother. In 1914 he was living at 49 St Stephen’s Rd, Leicester.

Died aged 20     9th June 1918

In 1918 the Leicestershire Yeomanry were reformed and attached to other mounted units.  Private Middleton was attached to the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and would have taken part in the Battle of Moreuil Wood on 30th March.  He is reported to have died of wounds at home in June, which may have been received in this action.

Commemorated on the Brookwood (United Kingdom 1914-1918) Memorial, Surrey.

 

Lance Corporal CHRISTOPHER SHARPE

2nd Battalion  Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-Feb 1890 in Great Dalby, Leicestershire. In 1911 he was working as a draper’s assistant and living at 64 Dalby St, Great Dalby.  His father was born in Great Dalby and worked as an agricultural labourer. His mother was born in Barsby, Leicestershire. He had three sisters and two brothers.

Died aged 26     6th April 1916

He was killed during a frontal attack on Turkish positions at Sannaiyat during the Mesopotamian campaign.

Commemorated on Basra Memorial, Iraq.

 

Gunner ARTHUR TESTER

221st  Siege Battery  Royal Garrison Artillery

Born Jan-March 1893 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as a boot trade tacker and living at 2 Ruding St, Leicester. His father was a shoe hand finisher and his mother was a wool spinner, both were born in Leicester. He had three brothers and five sisters.

Died aged 24         9th January  1918

He was most likely killed during the course of routine duty.

Buried at Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Captain ARTHUR JOHN WAKERLEY

1/4  Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1893 in Leicester. In 1911 he was at Leys School, Trumpington Rd, Cambridge and then at Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge. His father Arthur Wakerley, born in Melton Mowbray, was a prominent Leicester architect and Alderman and regular worshipper at Bishop St.  His mother was born in Leicester, and he had five sisters, four of whom were baptised at Bishop St Methodist Church. In 1901 the family were living at 58 London Rd, Leicester and moved to Crown Hill, Gwendolen Rd in 1915.  Arthur John became a Wesleyan local preacher, like his father, and planned to train for the ministry. He was commissioned and promoted to Lieutenant on 25 May 1915 and later became Captain.

Died aged 23       8 June 1917

He was killed during a raid on enemy trenches near Lens in France.

Buried at Loos British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

He also has a plaque on the reading desk at Great Glen Methodist Church, Leicester.
See: http://www.leicestershirevillages.com/greatglen/johnarthurwakerley.html

 

Private  WILLIAM  CHARLES  WEIR

11th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1895 in Leeds. In 1911 he was working as a printer and living at 19 Laxton St, Leicester. His father was born in Sunderland, Durham and was a printer and lithographer. His mother was born in Leeds. He had two brothers and one sister.

Died aged 23     31st July 1918

The 11th Battalion was in action and sustained considerable casualties during 22-26 March 1918 in Ypres. Private Weir may have been wounded in this action or died in an isolated incident later on.

Commemorated at Leicester (Welford Rd) Cemetery.

 

Mansfield Street Mission
World War 1 Casualties

Mansfield Street War Memorial lo resBishop Street Methodist Church sponsored the Mansfield Street Mission which was held in the rented premises of Hope Hall, Mansfield Street from 1892 until it closed down in 1924.  This community recorded the names of 14 men associated with them who died in World War 1. The war memorial was transferred to Bishop Street Methodist Church when the mission closed. Unlike the Bishop Street Church War Memorial only the names are recorded, not the units they joined, so the task of identifying their records is harder. The best match has been made using all the evidence available and information about ten of the names is presented here. Four of them have to remain anonymous, as either their surnames are too common, or there are no official records of an individual of that name. In the case of John Spriggs it has been decided that John Sprigg is a more likely candidate for this particular memorial. The list includes Serjeant George King who won the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1914 and is buried in Welford Road Cemetery. Like the Bishop Street memorial there are two brothers from the same family commemorated and in the case of George Grogan, his brother Alfred, another recipient of the DCM, also died in action although his name does not appear on this plaque. Seven out of ten of the individuals named came from families involved in the shoe trade, a much more uniform employment experience than their peers remembered at Bishop Street Methodist Church.

The following list in alphabetical order describes the circumstances of their death and as much of their pre-war life as it has been possible to reconstruct from research.

Compiled by Alison Skinner, July 2014.

Tom  Chater

It has not been possible to identify a Great War casualty of this name.


Lance Corporal George Grogan

 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born July-Sept 1891 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 48 Providence Place, Leicester and working as a shoe hand. His father was born in Leicester and worked as a shoe finisher and died in1907. His mother was born in Nottingham and worked as a hosier linker.

Died aged 24    25 September 1915

The Leicestershire Regiment went over the top on the 25th September  1915 which was the first day of the Battle of Loos and were affected by a gas attack– many were killed although some reached their objective.  Lance Corporal Grogan’s body was not recovered.

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Loos-en-Gohalle, France.

George had three brothers, one of whom, Alfred Grogan, served in the 1/5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment which he joined before 1914 and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Croix de Guerre in 1914, “For gallant conduct at Vailly on 23rd September assisting to bring to cover a mortally wounded officer under heavy shell and rifle fire.” He died of wounds in the trenches on January 8 1918.


Private Walter Hill

8th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment

Born Jan- March 1887 in Leicester. In 1901 he was living at 100 Wilberforce Rd, Leicester and working as a clerk. He married in Leicester in 1905 and In 1911 he was living at 23 Priory Rd, Stamford, Lincolnshire with his wife and three children, all born in Leicester and working as an iron moulder. His father, born in Leicester, was a cow keeper in 1891, but living in Stamford and working as an iron moulder in the engineering works in 1911. His mother was born in Leicester and he had three sisters.

Died aged 29   30 January 1916

The 8th Battalion arrived in France on 10th September 1915 and took part in the Battle of Loos on 26 September where they suffered over 3,800 casualties. In January 1916  Private Hill was in the trenches and was killed in action, as a result of some enemy activity that day. He has a war grave.

Commemorated at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armetieres, France.

 
Herbert  Kenney

11th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1892 in Blaby, Leicestershire. In 1911 he was living at 8 Gosling St, Leicester and working as a shoe laster. His father was a basket maker, born in Blaby and his mother was born in Leicester. He had one brother and five sisters.

Died aged 25         24 January 1917

The 11th (Service) Battalion landed in France in March 1916. It took part in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme including the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy. 

Private Kenney was in trenches in January 24 1917 and died as the result of some enemy activity during that day. He has a war grave. 

He is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery, France.


Sergeant  George King  D C M

126  Battery Royal Field Artillery

Born Oct-Dec 1891in Leicester.  In 1911 he had already joined the 126 Battery, Royal Field Artillery and was living in the Louisberg Barracks, Headley, Hampshire. Because both his names are common it has not been possible to identify his family in Leicester beyond doubt.

Died aged  27       6 November 1918

The 126 Battery of the Royal Field Artillery was part of 29th Brigade, 4th Division and arrived in France in time for the Battle of Le Cateau on August 26 1914.The Division took part in the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of Aisne and the Battle of Messines from 12 October -2  November 1914.

George King was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for action on 18th October 1914. “Towards noon on the day in question, the battery of the RFA to which Bombardier George King belonged received orders to support the 10th Infantry Brigade in their attack on the German position. The Major commanding the battery proceeded to the observation post, which was on the roof of a barn situated on the left bank of the river Lys, to observe and control the fire of his men and Bombadier King accompanied him as his telephone operator.  On reaching the barn, it was found that the only way to get into communication with the first line trenches was to get a wire laid across the river. As no boat was available, Bombardier King recognised that the difficulty could only be overcome by swimming, and although the river was deep and rapid, he without a moment’s hesitation threw off his cap and tunic and, picking up a coil of wire, plunged into the water and swam across.  On reaching the farther bank he had to ascend a slope on which high explosive shells from the German batteries were continually bursting and make his way to within five hundred yards of the first line trenches, in order to connect the coil of wire he carried with the infantry wire. This dangerous task he accomplished without mishap and the communication having been thus established he ran down the slope, swam back to the barn and resuming his cap and tunic, took up the telephone and occupied himself with despatching  the observation officer’s instruction to the gunners.” Bombadier King was awarded the DCM “for conspicuous enterprise” and not long afterwards the Czar conferred upon him the Cross of St George (3rd Class).”

George King was promoted to Corporal after this action and then became a Serjeant .  As part of the 4th Division his unit took part in all the major actions of the war including the second battle of Ypres in 1915, the later stages of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Battles of Arras and Passchendaele in 1917 and all the phases of the war in 1918, from the German advance to the push towards the Hindenberg Line.  Serjeant King must have been wounded some time during 1918 and evacuated home where he died.

He is buried in Welford Rd Cemetery, Leicester, England.


Corporal Frederick Lacey

19th Battalion Manchester Regiment

Born Jul-Sept 1897 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 60 Mansfield Street, Leicester and working as a helper in the shoe trade. His father was a shoe finisher, born in Leicester and his mother, also born in Leicester, was a shoe machinist. He had two brothers and five sisters.

Died aged 19        23 April 1917

He took part in the opening stages of the Battle of the Scarpe on 23 April 1917 when his regiment launched an assault from Wancourt towards Vis en Artois. He died at some point during this action and his body was never recovered.

Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.

 

Lance Corporal  George Henry Lacey

6th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1895 in Leicester, brother of Frederick Lacey so family details as above. In 1911 he was living at 60 Mansfield St, Leicester and working as a yarn scourer.  

Died aged 22     21 March 1918

The Battalion took part in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Arras offensive and the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. On 21st March 1918 the Battalion was drawn into a fight for Epehy village in response to the German advance across the whole Western Front which started on that day. They were reported to have lost men from very heavy shelling and were being surrounded by German patrols. Lance Corporal Lacey died at some stage during this day and his body was never recovered.

Commemorated on Pozieres Memorial, France.


Harry Roper

It has not been possible to identify this record as all the existing Harry and H. Roper Great War casualties are not local to Leicester.


Harry Shepherd

It has not been possible to identify this record as all the existing Harry and H Shepherd Great War casualties are not local to Leicester,


Arthur Rylett

7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

Born July-Sept 1890 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 19 Osborne St, Leicester and working as a milkman. He was married to Mary Elizabeth James. His father was a shoe finisher, born in Leicester and his mother was a shoe machinist.  He had one brother and three sisters.

Died aged 27     27 November 1917

The 7th Battalion landed in France on 31st May 1915 and took part in the Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt in that year and the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. They were involved in various stages of the Arras offensive during the first half of 1917. During 20-24 November the regiment took part in an attack on the Cambrai front. It is likely that Private Rylett sustained an injury during the course of this action and was evacuated from the front and subsequently died of wounds. The cemetery where he has a war grave was a centre for casualty clearing stations in the area.

Buried at Tincourt  New British Cemetery, France.

Private John Sawbridge

4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1896 in Leicester.  In 1911 he was living at 72 Mansfield St , Leicester  and working as a currier. His father was a shoe finisher, born in Leicester and his mother was born in Rothley, Leicestershire. He had a brother and three sisters.

Died aged  20     14 April 1916

The 1/4th Battalion occupied trenches on Vimy Ridge from March 16-23 April 1916. They were overlooked by German troops at the top of the ridge who sent down shells, shrapnel and sniper fire. The Battalion lost 20 killed and 76 wounded during this period including Private Sawbridge who has a war grave.

He is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St- Eloi, France.


Private John Sprigg

4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

Born April-June 1893 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 220 Syston St, Leicester and working as a shoe finisher. His father was born in Northampton and worked as a shoe finisher and his mother was born in Leicester. He had one brother and six sisters.

Died  aged 23    4th June 1916

The 4th Battalion was based at Engelbelmer in France and during 3rd/4th June a number of men were killed and wounded as a result of German bombardment of their position during a raid carried out by other troops further to their left.

He is buried at Auchonvillers Military Cemetery, France.

 Tom Weston

There are two records of Tom Westons living in Leicester and serving with the Leicestershire Regiment.

Sergeant  Tom Weston was born in Humberstone on the outskirts of Leicester, served with the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and died on 14 May 1915 and is buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’avous, France.

Private Thomas Weston was born in Leicester and served with the 2/4th Leicestershire Regiment  and was killed in action on 25 March 1918. His parents lived at 32 Harrison Rd, Leicester. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France.

It is not possible to be sure beyond doubt which Tom Weston is commemorated on the Mansfield Street Mission War Memorial.


Gunner Bert Wood

“B” Battery, 8th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

Born 1895. It has not been possible to identify the family background of this soldier beyond doubt. His mother Mary Ann Wood was living at 8 Harcourt St, Leicester in 1914 after the death of her husband George Wood.

Died aged 21    21st April 1916 

The 8th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery was part of the 5th Division. In the spring of 1916 they took over a section of the front line between St Laurent, Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge in the Arras sector.  This was noted to have been a lively time with considerable sniping, mining and trench raids going on. Gunner Wood was killed in action on April 21 and has a war grave.

He was buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.

 

The Temperance Hall Mission

World War 1 Casualties

WW1 Temperance Hall MissionBishop St Methodist Church sponsored the Wesleyan Temperance Mission which was held in the premises of the Temperance Hall in Granby St. This Methodist society  recorded the names of 17 men associated with them who died in World War 1. The war memorial was transferred to Bishop St Methodist Church when the mission closed in the 1920s. Unlike the Bishop St Church War Memorial only the names and initials are recorded, so the task of identifying their records is harder than either the Bishop St or Mansfield Mission memorials. The best match has been made using all the evidence available and information about twelve of the names is presented here. Five of them have to remain anonymous, as either their surnames are too common, or it is not possible to link official records of an individual of that name to Leicester. Three of the people named were married and two lived in Tudor Rd, Leicester and probably knew each other. Two came from families whose fathers worked for the Midland Railway close to Granby St.

The following list in alphabetical order describes the circumstances of their death and as much of their pre-war life as it has been possible to reconstruct from research.

Compiled by Alison Skinner, September 2014.

 

Private WALTER ANDREWS

1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born July-Sept 1895 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living in 75 Tudor Rd, Leicester and working as a milk boy. His father was a foreman with a builder’s merchant, born in Thrussington, Leicester and his mother was born in Gilmorton, Leicester. He had two brothers and two sisters.

Died aged 20 3 November 1915

The Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 13th October 1915 was the first major engagement of the 1/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. The British troops came out of their trenches to attack the Dump, a strategic position which had not been adequately neutralised. They reached their first objective but came under heavy fire on carrying on towards Fosse Trench and the attack came to a standstill within 10 minutes. The Battalion sustained heavy losses and it is recorded that Private Andrews died of wounds sustained in the action. He has a war grave.

Buried at Phalempin Communal Cemetery. Nord, France.

 

Private PERCY DEARMER ASPITAL

19th Battalion Manchester Regiment

Born Jan-March 1896 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as a feeder with a heater machine for a boot manufacturer and living at 26 Vine St. His father was born in Uppingham, Rutland and was a finisher in a boot factory. His mother was born in Enderby, Leicestershire and worked as an overlocker in a hosiery factory. He had two brothers, -Charles who served in the Leicestershire Regiment and Lawrence Sydney who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Died aged 20 11 October 1916

As part of the 19th Battalion Manchester Regiment and the 30th Division, Private Aspital would have taken part in the Battle for Transloy Ridge which started on October 1st 1916 in the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme. He was probably killed while in the front line during this action rather than in an advance as his death occurred in circumstances where his body could be recovered. He has a war grave.

Buried at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval. Somme, France.

Private ARTHUR CYRIL BURDETT

1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born April-June 1897 in Rearsby, Leicestershire. In 1911 he was working as a clicker in the shoe industry and living at 48 Loughborough Rd, Leicester. His father was born in Barkby, Leicestershire and worked as an assurance agent and his mother was born in Leicester. He had four brothers and four sisters.

Died aged 21 15 April 1918

As a member of the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, Private Burdett would have fought in all the major actions throughout the war. It is recorded that he died as a prisoner of war on 15 April 1918. It is likely that he was captured during the major German advance in late March. Private soldiers and NCOs were subject to worse conditions in captivity than officers and some were kept behind the lines and required to work for their captors. Many died from overwork and undernourishment. His death in April a few weeks after capture might indicate that he was wounded at the time. He would have been buried in a local cemetery in eastern Germany and after the war his remains were transferred to an official war cemetery..

Buried at Berlin South-Western Cemetery. Germany.

F CLARKE

Because of the common surname It has not been possible to identify this World War 1 casualty commemorated on the Temperence Mission War memorial beyond doubt.

Private JOHN HICKLING

8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1893 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working as a clerk for a hosiery manufacturer and living at 52 Southampton St, Leicester. His father was born in Hoby, Leicestershire and worked as a checker for Midland Railways and his mother was also born in Hoby. He had one brother and two sisters.

Died aged 23 15 July 1916

On July 15 the 8th Battalion advanced between Memetz Wood and Bazentin Wood but came under heavy flanking fire from Contalmaison Villa. By late morning all but a corner of the wood had been taken. There was a heavy cost however as each Battalion lost around 100 men with 200 wounded. Private Hickling lost his life at some point during this engagement and his body was never recovered.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Private GEORGE HOOK

2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers

Born Oct-Dec 1896 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 89 Tudor Rd, Leicester and working as a machinist. His father was born in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire and worked as a foreman for the Midlands Railway and his mother was born at Sapcote, Leicestershire. He had one brother and two sisters.

Died aged 18 6 November 1914

Private George Hook was involved in a major action with the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers in the line to the east of Ypres in October 1914. There was a strong German attack on the line at Polderhoek on 22/23 October and on 24th October the battalion was outflanked but continued to hold its position. Its strength was reduced by half with more than 500 being killed or wounded. The depleted companies kept their position until Oct 30. It is likely that Private Hook, who died of wounds on November 6th sustained them following this engagement. He has a war grave.

Buried at Ypres Town Cemetery Extension, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Private CLARENCE JAVES

8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born April-June 1894 in Basford, Nottinghamshire. In 1911 he was living at 206 Fosse Road North, Leicester and working as a dyer’s labourer. His father was born in Basford, Notts and worked as a hosiery trimmer and his mother was also born in Basford. He had two brothers and one sister. He married Clarice White in Jan-Feb 1916.

Died aged 22 24 November 1916

As a member of the 8th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment Private Javes survived the Battle for Bazentin Ridge in July 1916 and in November his unit was occupying the Northampton trench on the Hohenzollern Ridge. He died in action while in the trenches. He has a war grave.

Commemorated at Vermelles British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

A H JONES

There are two A H Jones Great War casualty records with a Leicester regiment connection.

Albert H Jones who served with the 2/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and died on 18 October 1918 and is commemorated on the Vernon Rd Methodist Church War memorial.

Albert H Jones who served with the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and who died on September 9 1918.

It is not possible to know beyond doubt which A H Jones is commemorated by the Temperance Mission War memorial.

Private HAROLD WESTWICK (Harry) MAKEPEACE

1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1889 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 346 East Park Rd, Leicester and working as a motor car painter. His father was born in Coventry, Warwickshire and worked as a brush manufacturer and his mother was born in Tur Langton, Leicestershire. He had one brothers and one sister.

Died aged 26 13 October 1915

The Battle for the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 13th October 1915 was the first major engagement of the 1/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. The British troops came out of their trenches to attack the Dump, a strategic position which had not been adequately neutralised. They reached their first objective but came under heavy fire on carrying on towards Fosse Trench and the attack came to a standstill within 10 minutes. The Battalion sustained heavy losses and like many others Private Makepeace’s body was never recovered.

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

Private ARTHUR MASSEY

1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

Born 1890 in Aylestone Park, Leicester. In 1911 he was living with his brother’s family at 7 Fleetwood Rd, Leicester and was a fish salesman. His father was born in Bedworth, Warwickshire and worked as a shoe finisher and his mother was born in Gilmorton, Leicestershire and worked as a fishmonger. He had three brothers and two sisters. His brother Cyril served with the Leicestershire regiment and survived the war.

Died aged 24 29 October 1914

At the opening of the 1st Battle of Ypres in late October 1914 the Germans advanced in overwhelming. On Oct 22 they broke through the line as far as the 1st Coldstreams, who stood firm until relieved on the 24th. The Coldstreams were based between Zonnebeke and Ghelavelt and on Oct 29th the 1st Battalion was in the thick of the fighting. The men were driven from their trenches and four companies were surrounded but many refused to surrender and died fighting. Private Makepeace died with his fellow Guardsmen on this day and his body was never recovered.

Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

Corporal SYDNEY ERNEST RADFORD

 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment

Born Jan- March 1894 in Leicester. In 1911 he was living at 24 Warwick St, Leicester and working as a box cutter for the Coal Board. His father was born in Leicester and worked as a hawker and his mother was also born in Leicester and worked as a shoe machinist.

Died aged 22 14 July 1916

The 1st Battalion East Yorks was part of the 21st Division. In the Battle for Bazentin Ridge on July 14 1916 the 21st Division assembled after midnight in the darkness of No Man’s Land and formed up within 500 yards of the German line. The deployment was completed by 3am. The bombardment finished at 3.20am and 22,000 British infantry advanced on enemy lines. The 21st Division was attacked from Memetz Wood while crossing into Bazentin Wood. Corporal Radford died during this attack and his body was not recovered.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Private ARTHUR ERNEST SOAMES

8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment

Born July-Sept 1894 in Leicester. In 1901 he was living with his family at 23 Larch St, Leicester without other obvious brothers or sisters. His father was born in Pilsgate, Northants and worked as a gas works stoker and his mother was born in Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire.

Died aged 23 16 May 1917

As a member of 8th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment Private Soames was part of the 17th Northern Division which landed in France in 1915. They were involved in fighting in Ypres in the Autumn and he survived the Battle of the Somme where his regiment was part of the action at Albert and Delville Wood. Having survived the early parts of the Battle of Arras his division was sent to capture the village of Roeux on May 13-14. He was killed in action on 16 May 1917 and his body was not recovered.

Commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

G SIMPKINS

It has not been possible to identify a Leicester connection for any person of this name who died in World War 1.

A SMITH

This is a very common name and there are at least two A Smiths with a Leicestershire Regiment connection.

Albert Smith joined the 1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and died on 29 October 1918. A different Albert Smith joined the 1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and died on 10 April 1916. It is difficult to be sure which person is being commemorated on the Temperance Mission War Memorial.

Lance Corporal CHARLES STEARN M M

6th (Service) Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1893 in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire. In 1911 he was living at 33 Roslyn St, Highfields, Leicester and working as a baker. His father was born in Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire and was working as an agricultural labourer and his mother was born in Little Eversden, Cambridgeshire. He had two brothers.

He married Louisa Mabel Harrison in Oct-Dec 1914.who lived at 983 Green Lane, Leicester.

Died aged 24 12 November 1917

Lance-Corporal Stearn won the Military Medal which was awarded to non-commissioned soldiers for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty in the field, but citations for this medal are not usually recorded.

The 6th Battalion landed in France on 29th July 1915. In 1916 he would have fought in the later phases of the Battle of the Somme – the Battles of Albert, Bazentin Ridge, Morvel and Transloy. In 1917 he took part in the Battles of Scarpe, Bullecourt, Polygon Wood and Passchendaelle. By October the Leicester Brigade were back in the front line near Reutel, east of Polygon Wood where they stayed from Oct 15-Nov 16. He died on November 12 1917 while on duty in the trenches on a day that was relatively quiet, but on which support and reserve positions were intermittently shelled all day.

Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

A WARREN

It has not been possible to identify this casualty beyond doubt.

Private JOHN WATSON

Machine Gun Corps

Born 1886 in Ravenstone, Leicestershire. In 1911 he was living in Sinope near Ashby De La Zouch and was working as a fitter in an iron foundry. He was married with two young sons. His father was born in Cold Orton in Leicestershire and worked as a coal miner and his mother was also born in Cold Orton. He had three brothers and two sisters.

Died aged 32 30th November 1918

It is recorded that Private Watson was a former member of the Leicestershire Regiment before joining the Machine Gun Corps. There is no information about his unit, but it is recorded that he died of wounds shortly after the war ended.

Buried in Ravenstone (St. Michael) Churchyard, Leicestershire.

 

Humberstone Road Methodist Church

World War 1 CasualtiesHumberstone Road chapel

The Methodist Church on the corner site of Humberstone Road  and Clyde Street was built as a Wesleyan Chapel in 1862 as part of the Bishop Street Leicester Circuit, and functioned as a place of worship until 1963. It was pulled down in 1966 to be replaced in the early 1970s by the Cardinal Telephone Exchange, which at 84 metres is Leicester’s tallest building.

The War Memorial was deposited at Bishop Street Methodist Church , where for many years it was tucked away in an area behind the pulpit.

This community recorded the names of 9 men known to them who had died in World War 1.  Two of the names T. and A. Churchhouse were recorded in more detail on the Bishop St Methodist Church War Memorial and have been commemorated in the Heritage booklet compiled from these records. With only initials and surnames recorded it has taken some effort to identify individuals and the best match has been made using all the information available. Two names could not be identified beyond doubt, leaving 5 individuals whose family background and war service are recorded here.

We cannot be sure if these individuals were regular worshippers at Humberstone Rd but most seem to have lived reasonably close to the church and one, F. F. Horton, is recorded as getting married at Humberstone Rd Wesleyan Methodist Church.

There are two butchers and one tobacconist and just one worker in the shoe industry.  Most came from relatively large families but one was an only child and his family employed a family servant. All but one joined battalions of the Leicestershire regiment.  Three were older than average when they died at 26-32, two achieved the rank of Sergeant and one of these was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Humberstone Road WW1 War memorial

The following list in alphabetical order describes the circumstances of their death and as much of their pre-war life as it has been possible to reconstruct from research.

Compiled by Alison Skinner, January 2015

 

Able Seaman John Bowles

223rd Machine Gun Company, Royal Navy Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Born 27th August 1898 in Leicester. In 1911 he was still at school and living with his family in Stamford House, 97 Curzon St, Humberstone Rd, Leicester. His father was born in Bradford, Yorkshire and was a shoe maker and his mother was born in Leicester. He had two brothers and three sisters.

Died aged 19     13 March 1918   

Able Seaman Bowles joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves which was part of the Royal Navy Division, a unit founded by Winston Churchill as First Sea Lord as a means whereby the Navy could be represented on the Western Front. It was staffed by men who were additional to those needed by the Navy and allowed to observe naval rather than army traditions. Bowles initially enlisted as a signaller on 28 October 1915 and served with the 188th Brigade from December 12 1916 to January 9 1917.  He then seems to have caught influenza and was sent home from hospital in Estaples as under age. Able Seaman Bowles was later drafted into 223rd Machine Gun Company and served with them from 14 January 1918 to 13 March 1918. On March 1 1918 he moved into the 63rd Battalion of the Machine Gun Corp and had been promoted to Acting Leading Seaman at the time of his death. He died on active service in the trenches shortly before the major German advance. He has a war grave.

Buried at the Rocquigny-Equancourt Rd British Cemetery, Manancourt, Somme, France.

 

A. Braun

It has not been possible to identify a World War 1 casualty with this name.

 

Sergeant  Frank Flude Horton

9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Oct-Dec 1882.in Leicester. His middle name is his mother’s maiden name. In 1911 he was living with his mother, brothers and sister at 43 Wilson St, Melbourne St Leicester. He was a butcher by trade but was recorded as out of work. His father was a butcher born in Leicester and his mother was born in Buntingthorpe Leicestershire. He had two brothers and two sisters. He married Edith Rogers, the daughter of a baker on 25 September 1906 at Humberstone Wesleyan Chapel and they had a daughter named Margaret Helen born August 1907. His wife and daughter were with her family at 62 Crafton St, Leicester on census night in 1911.

Died aged 32       25th September 1916

Sergeant Horton enlisted on 31st May 1915 at the age of 31 in the 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment and was made a Corporal on 10th August 1915. He embarked for France at Folkestone on 9th September 1915. The Battalion was in trenches and in support up to the start of the Battle of the Somme. Frank Horton was made a Sergeant  on 16 May 1916.  The 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment took part in the Battle of Morvel on 25th September 1916 in the later stages of the Battle of the Somme. The attack was launched at 12. 35pm by the 8th and 9th Battalions together, but received a counter barrage from Gueulecourt. The 9th Battalion’s attack was held up by machine gun and rifle fire but they captured Goat Trench. Many were shot down in the middle ground however by snipers who had taken cover in shell holes. Sergeant Horton died sometime during this action and his body was not recovered.

Commemorated on the Thiepval  Memorial, Somme, France.

 

J. Hunt

As this is a very common name it has not been possible to identify this individual beyond doubt.

Sergeant  Albert Arthur Johns  DCM

1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

 Born Oct-Dec 1883 in Leicester. In 1901 Sergeant Johns was living with his family at 45 Southampton St, Leicester and working as a tobacconist’s assistant. In 1911 he was living in a boarding house in 43 Lower Hastings St, Leicester and working as the manager of a tobacconist shop.  His father was born in Finsbury, Middlesex and was a cigar maker.  His mother was born in Leicester and he had five brothers and two sisters.

Died aged 32         30th June 1916

Sergeant Johns joined the 4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 8th September 1914. The battalion landed in Le Havre on 3rd March 1915. He took part in the Battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt on October 13th 1915 where he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His citation in the London Gazette on the 29th November 1915 reads as follows:

“For conspicuous gallantry on 13th October 1915 when, with a party of five men he cleared with bombs the right flank of the Hohenzollern Redoubt encountering about ten of the enemy.  He then proceeded across the open ground under heavy machine gun fire to the east face and with bombs held back every attack while a party of the Monmouthshire Regiment  dug themselves in.” He was promoted to Lance Corporal immediately after and then Sergeant on the 31st January 1916.  He died in the trenches on 30th June 1916 while the Battalion was being relieved and going into reserve for the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He has a war grave.

Buried in the Foncquevillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

  

Private Horace Lovett

8th Battalion (Service) Leicestershire Regiment, 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born Jan-March 1896 in Leicester. In 1911 he was working for a boot manufacturer in the press room and living in 39 Rodney St, Leicester with his family.

His father was born in Dublin and worked for a timber merchant as a sawyer’s labourer. His mother was born in Leicester and he had three brothers and five sisters.

Died aged 22        24 September  1918

Private Lovett initially enlisted in the 8th Service Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and joined them in France in 1916. At some point he joined the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and took part in the major engagements on the Western Front and survived until the closing stages of the war.

On the morning of September 24th an attack was due to be made on the Quadrilateral-Selency position and the 1st Leicestershires took part on the right flank as part of 18th Brigade. They attacked at 5am but faced exceptionally strong opposition. The 1st Battalion then attacked Douai Trench at 10.30am.with “B” and “C” companies and were successful but many people were killed in the trench which was strongly held. There were 47 casualties including Private Lovett. His body was not recovered.

Commemorated on the Vis-En- Artois Memorial, Pas de Calais, France.

 

Private Thomas William Rowell

1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment

Born in Syston, Leicestershire in Oct-Dec 1891. In 1911 he was working as a butcher and living with his parents at 12 Wilson St, Leicester His father was born in Polesworth, Warwickshire and was a foreman in a grocer’s warehouse and his mother was born in Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire. He was his parents’ only child.

Died aged 26        24th September 1915.

Private Rowell enlisted in the 4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 22nd September 1914. After training he arrived in France on the 25th June 1915 and served until 24th September 1915.  On 24th September 1915 Private Rowell was serving in the trenches in Ypres with his battalion.  The unit diary records it as a relatively quiet day with rain making the trenches wet and muddy.  He was the only soldier killed on that day with one other man wounded. Barely three weeks later many of his comrades would have been killed at the Battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

 

Prepared by the Heritage Group of

BISHOP STREET METHODIST CHURCH
10A Bishop Street, Leicester, LE1 6AF

2014 - 2015

 

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