We annually pay deserving tribute to the vast number of souls who lost their lives through two World Wars. In a two minute silence reflecting 1918 Armistice Day on the 11th hour, 11th day of every 11th month, lets also offer grateful remembrance to veterans who managed to wear their victory medals. Families were more thankful regaining a loved one, instead of those proudly kept letters and memorials, such as our very own WWI plaque widely called a Widows Penny.
Veterans rarely wished to recall their horrific experiences, so those who served at home or in less volatile areas abroad felt more obliged expressing relief. Nonetheless, they all fulfilled some tactical role as and wherever needed. Usually proudly enlisting for the Sherwood Foresters, any mining background might lead false assumption they all had undergrounds skills. Transferrals into Kitchener's Marines were for tunnel diggers undermining both WW enemy positions.
Mrs Bett Abbott presents full documentation of her highly decorated heroic grandfather. Born 1882 in Hucknall Huthwaite to Reuben and Sarah, their son was actually named Sam Thomas Lee. By altering his birth certificate and thereafter dropping first name, Private T Lee enlisted 1899 with 2nd Sherwood Foresters. From a Queens South Africa medal serving in the Boer War, he gained rank of Sergeant & a rarely awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal as a brave veteran of World War I.
Fully certificated life & career of soldier Lee merits individual coverage.
Mr David Porter presents Uncle George Davis. A 13 year old office boy at 1911 CWS Hosiery Factory became a veteran of The Great War serving the Sherwood Foresters in France and Flanders. Returning and rejoining CWS 1915 he was a WW Two Major of the Sutton Home Guard, while eventually gaining promotion through to Group Manager of three CWS factories including Huthwaite and Wath-on-Dearne.
Mrs Linda Edwards and son Andrew researched her grandfathers military years. In brief summary, 21 year old John Walter had ambitions to join the Kings Royal Rifle Corp in Winchester. But just 10 days after, his 9th March 1910 medical discharge abruptly ended hope. Settling back to coal mining, marriage and 1911 birth of son John George, call to join Kitchener's army merited second chance.
Sutton enlistment 8th September 1914 results in Pte J W Gunby joining Sherwood Foresters 8th Battalion. Trained and shipped out August 1915 to Ruen, only to get sent back on a medical ship 2 days later suffering hernia / leg damage. Retaking post then left a new born daughter Doreen 10th June 1916. Rejoining unit at 46th North Midland Division base added to the 12th Reinforcement. Combining Sherwood Foresters 8th and 7th Battalions then formed part the North Midlands Territorial Forces / 46th Division.
John Walter was deployed 3rd July 1916 on the western front line at Gommecourt, where British Army had been repelled 2 days prior with huge losses. Battle of Gommecourt in combination with other attacks against trenched German forces are infamously known as the ‘Battle of The Somme’.
After 3 months conditions in the field, Private Gunby was diagnosed with Bronchitis on 24th September 1916. Transferal over several days via field hospitals lands this soldier back in England spending further weeks among Military Hospitals.
March 1917 medical in Lincolnshire stated his disability of Bronchitis had been sustained due "standing up to his waist in water" and "exposure to ‘dirt/dust’ in the trenches". That reclassified him as a reserve moved to lighter duties, recognised by awarding the Silver War Badge May 1917.
Following periodic medicals, John was finally discharged from army duties 4th June 1918 in Lichfield when diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis. Reported service was described "Very Good" and personality "sober, honest & trustworthy."
Raised and living out married life in New Street John Walter was nephew to Havenhand grocers and Gunby decorators on Market Street.
Mike Smith presents his grandfather Beresford to be the one standing rear right. At the age of 34 living on George Street, he enlisted in 1915. War records prove his discharge dated 7th May 1918 through illness, returning to what was still largely considered a Huthwaite address. Although they cannot all be identified, there's a likely chance these Sherwood Foresters were all formerly work chums at the Brierley Hill Colliery. This retired WWI veteran died in 1959, long after attending a jubilant WWII street party on VE Day.
Robert Holland joined a Sherwood Foresters battalion who faced heavy losses, transferring George into the Durham Light Infantry. He served in Colognes occupying forces before returning to the CWS, where he wed Miss Alice Beardsley in 1921 and fathered a family, extending a currently featured Holland surname as donated by his sons Robert and Aubrey.
Mike Smith discovers marital connections to add army service records fully naming Arthur Edward as a son of Charles Vardy. This 19 year old Boot Repairer living on Sutton Road joined the army reserve 17th Feb 1916. Mobilized six months later and posted abroad, his battle wound gives reason for discharge on 3rd Oct 1917, resulting also in the dutifully awarded War Badge.
The Military Medal had been conferred upon Private A. E. Vardy 58667, 17th Sherwood Foresters, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Vardy, of Sutton-road. At the time of writing full particulars were not available, but the official intimation and the ribbon had been received by his parents, the date of the award being September 2nd, and the authority, the G.O.C., 18th Brigade. On the same day Private Vardy was badly wounded in the head by a German sniper, and was brought over to England. The medal ribbon was sent to him by his parents while he was a hospital inmate at New Maiden, Surrey. He is however rapidly recovering, and was to officially receive the medal on Wednesday, while he was expected home this week-end. Private Vardy was born at B Winning, but has lived nearly all his life in Huthwaite. To be precise, his home is in Sutton parish, and he is eligible for the reward which the Sutton Council is bestowing on its gallant townsmen. He was formerly a boot maker in business near his home, and joined up last year. At the end of December, being a Class A man, he was sent to the front in France, and has distinguished himself as stated.
Mr Ken Swain reveals from his marital links Lance Corporal George Blow in full uniform. Returning to Huthwaite, this WWI veteran ran a Newcastle Street blacksmiths shop.
We found a record giving date of envoy 29.08.15, serving in France under Notts Derbys Sherwood Foresters and credited with 3 awards marked by Victory, British and Star medals.
Private Alfred Henry Riley was born Jan 1894 in Huthwaite. A younger brother likewise joined the Canadian Infantry to list W Riley on the Huthwaite cenotaph. Featuring Private Wilfred Riley with honoured Huthwaite remembrance will relate all family members before and beyond emigration.
Pte Alfred H Riley enlisted 10th February 1915. Shipment to face German front lines via England landing 30 Jan 1916, exposed June capture to spend wartime held in a Prisoner of War Camp. Release from German guards allowed this unharmed Private Riley safe return to Thorhild in Alberta.
Trev Ashmore recalls the sad fate of his young uncle, who'd firstly served the 7th Notts Home Guard camping out on Chesterfield Road. Alan Shooter was born at Ashfield Road, and by altering his birth certificate managed to enlist aged 17 years and two weeks into the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards in December 1942. Alan saw action in Northern Italy before his 1947 demob leave took him cycling into Derbyshire, resulting in death by road accident, still only 21.
Jack Owen was born in North Wales, but moved to Huthwaite in 1908 working at New Hucknall Colliery. He married Lily Wright in 1909 before joining the Notts and Derby Regiment seeing action at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Ypres, where he was gassed and discharged September 1916. Living first at Ashfield Road, then 91 Main Street. There he died in 1929, aged just 44 as a probable outcome from his gassing.
Helen Wilson reveals her grandfather Alan, who was born 1920 in Huthwaite. He was the youngest of four children to be baptised and raised here following marriage of Jessie Burton to Elias Stendall. The family did move to Sutton in 1930, from where at age 20 Alan was called up for WWII Military Service on 30th May 1940, shown with comrades as Private 4921057 in the 2nd Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. Certificate of thanks dated Sept 1945 precedes final release stamped 31 July 1946, stating duties of clerk and map reader in Field HG, serving in Dutch DP Camps.
Seven years of varied and thrilling war service have been completed by Ex-Sgt. J. Ward, of Newcastle Street, and many residents will extend to him a warm welcome. Ex-Sgt. Ward, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Ward, of Barker Street, was sent on active service seven months after enlistment and was soon in the Middle East war zone. He was subsequently sent to India during the period of unrest, and took part in quelling the serious disturbances. After two years and four months, he was again transferred to the Far East, where his courage and resourcefulness (along with others) were matched against the cunning of the Japs. After five years overseas, Sergt. Ward returned to England, where for 10 months he was in the Military Police, which he has left with an excellent record. He has now returned to work at Teversal Colliery, where he was employed before the war, and all his friends will wish him the best of luck in the future. Ex-Sergt. Ward is 32 years of age, and is married.