Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Friday, 31 October 2014




Private 3/169

2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Missing presumed dead - 31st October 1914

Frederick William Musgrove was the son of a well known member of the Staveley and New Whittington communities.  His father was Inspector Jonas Musgrove. 

Fred was born on 11th November 1884 at 10 Speedwell Terrace in Staveley.  His mother was Emily Musgrove nee Wells.  He wasn't the first child born to Emily and Jonas he had an elder brother named George Henry and five elder sisters; Marian, Emily, Harriett, Gertrude and Agnes.  The Musgrove household would be a noisy one; the terraced cottages on Speedwell Terrace were stone built properties with stone flagstone floors.

He was baptised on 6th January 1885 at St John's Church in Staveley. 
Jonas Musgrove was born around 1847 in Selby, Yorkshire, Emily Wells was born around 1851 in North Anston, South Yorkshire.  The couple married in autumn of 1869 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

1891 Census www.ancestry.co.uk

By 1891 the Musgrove family had moved home to Chesterfield Road, Staveley.  They have two new editions to the family; Lillian aged 3 years old and baby John Wells aged just 11 months. 

It is evident from the places of birth of Fred and his siblings that the Musgrove family moved around the area, most likely in relation to Jonas' career progression -

*George Henry, Marian, Emily and Harriett born Beighton
*Gertrude born Belper
*Agnes born Mackworth
*Fred, Lillian and John born Staveley
*Walter born in New Whittington in 1892.

Like many families at that time the Musgrove family was a large one.  Fred's eldest sister left home and married John William Rodgers at St John's Church, Staveley on 16th December 1891.  Fred's youngest brother Walter was not born until the year after in 1892.  Marian and John Rodgers were also proud parents that same year in 1892 when they bore a daughter named Alberta Emily.

A few years later on 1st March 1894 Emily Musgrove another of Fred's elder sisters also married.  She wed a mechanical engineer named Ben Jackson Marson at St John's Parish Church, Staveley. 

Next to tie the knot was Fred's eldest brother George Henry on 11th July 1894.  He married Ann Jacques at St John's Parish Church, Staveley.  Jonas and Emily would be celebrating the marriage of their grown up children George Henry and Emily whilst nursing their youngest son Walter who was still a toddler. 

1895 Bulmers History www.ancestry.co.uk
At some time in between the 1891 and 1895 Jonas was promoted to Inspector of Derbyshire Police.  The family would be known and respected by the locals of the area.  The Bulmers History, Topography and Directory records Jonas Musgrove under the Staveley area as County Police Inspector in 1895.

By the 1901 census the lives of the Musgrove family had taken a different pathway.  Fred and his family are now living at 112 High Street, New Whittington.  Jonas is no longer described on the census as a police inspector, instead he has changed his career to become a licensed victualler. 

Fred was 16 years old by now and as did many of the local men he was working as a coal miner.  Harriett his sister had married George Buck on 12th September 1900 at Whittington.  George was a young police constable from Cannington in Somerset.  On the night of the 1901 census Emily was staying with Harriett and George at their home in Alfreton, Derbyshire.  

Frederick has a taste of the military life ....

Service record www.findmypast.co.uk 

On 22nd August 1901 Fred took the plunge and enlisted to the local Militia Regiment.  He signed up to the 3rd Derby Regiment at the recruiting office in Sheffield.  The service records tell that Fred was living at the Crown Hotel in New Whittington.  He was employed as a labourer for a Mr Richardson of Staveley. 

Fred appears to have exaggerated his age.  He would only have been 16 years and 9 months at the time of enlistment.

Private 8524....
Description from service records www.findmypast.co.uk
Fred was 5ft 5 3/8 inches tall, he weighed 105lbs had a fresh complexion with grey eyes and brown hair.  He had scars on his forehead and back of his hands. 

Fred would be what was known as a "saturday night soldier" meaning that he was a part time soldier.  Initially Fred was required to partake in 56 days worth of training, after that time he would return home and continue his everyday life, got to work each day at his regular employment.  He would have agreed to undertake regular training sessions and military camps, amounting to three to four weeks a year, this was often seen as a paid holiday for the local lads and was often the incentive to enlist.

J. Musgrove is documented as the father of Fred.  His address was Crown Hotel, New Whittington, Derbyshire.

Whilst Fred was serving with the colours life in New Whittington and the Musgrove household continued.  His siblings George, Marian, Emily and Harriett gave him more nieces and nephews.  Sad news came in 1902 when the youngest daughter of George died aged only 2 years old.  She was named Marian Zylpha taking the Christian name of her Aunty Marian. 

Agnes Musgrove another of Fred's sisters married Edward Hosey in 1903.  The couple had their first child a daughter named Emily after her Grandmother in 1907. 

Fred's younger siblings continued their studies; Lillian May and John Wells were both studying to qualify as teachers during this time.  Young Walter remained at school.

This close family was to have a terrible loss in 1905 when Fred's mother Emily sadly died.  She was aged only 54 years old.  From the story so far it would appear that Emily was a treasured mother who was always on hand to help her growing family when needed. 

Tragedy hits....

Hull Daily Mail 29th November 1907 page 3

The sad news of the death of prominent figure Jonas Musgrove was reported in the Hull Daily Mail and the local newspaper the Derbyshire Times (30th November 1907 p8).  Jonas died on 28th November 1907 whilst visiting his sister Mrs T Upton at his birth town of Selby.  It appears that whilst he was there it was the annual festivities associated with the hiring fair of Martinmas. On the Monday he went along to the fair on Wide Street and partook in the entertainment enjoying a ride on the round-about.  Jonas must have lost his grip as the Derbyshire Times records...

"while the machine was in motion he seems to have dropped off one of the "cockerels" and falling, a large fracture of the skull was the consequence.  He was picked up by relatives and conveyed into Millgate, where he lost consciousness, and death ensued at noon on Thursday"
Probate entry for Jonas Musgrove www.ancestry.co.uk

Jonas was returned to New Whittington and was buried on 1st December 1907 at St Bartholomews Church.  He was aged 61 years old.  He left effects of £1184 11s 2d.  His eldest son George was the executor of his will. 

Life after Emily and Jonas....

The 1911 census finds the Musgrove family separated now their parents had passed away.  Fred had returned to live in Staveley, working as a coal miner he was lodging with Zilpha Willis and her son John Henry at 36 Lowgates.

The two younger siblings; Lillian May and Walter have moved along with their elder sister Gertrude to live at 95 Handley Road, New Whittington. 

Eldest boy George Henry has now taken over the running of the George & Dragon public house on Church Lane in the centre of Chesterfield.  May be he used his inheritance to buy his dream? 

Marian is living with her family not far away from Fred at Lowgates, Staveley.  She has four children now; Alberta Emily, Ida Emily Winifred, Wilfred Eric John and Marjorie Musgrove Rodgers. 

Emily is living in Barrow Hill which is the next village to Staveley.  She has two children; Emily and Roy.

Harriett and her police sergeant husband George Buck have been posted at Stoney Middleton on the edge of the Peak District.  The couple have two daughters; Edith Emily and Ella Musgrove. 

Agnes and Edward Hosey were running the Dusty Miller Inn at New Whittington.  They had three children named; Emily, John and Edward but sadly had lost two sons; John at 6 months of age, Edward under 1 month of age.

John Wells the baby of the family was now 20 years old and had left New Whittington to study at York Training College.  He was a student teacher residing at Lord Mayors Walk, York.  The college was a teacher training college for men only.

New beginnings....

Passenger lists Orvieto www.ancestry.co.uk
1914 brought opportunity and a great adventure for two of the Musgrove family.  Lillian May and Walter set of on the journey of a life time.  They travelled down to London and boarded the Orvieto ship on 13th March 1914 destined for Australia.

Lillian May had qualified as a teacher, Walter was a miner.  They travelled with Walter's friend George Huckle.  A whole new life awaited these young travellers..... if only the Great War had not reared its ugly head.

Back in blighty and Gertrude Mary Musgrove had her own reasons to celebrate in 1914, she married Sydney Vowles. 

Frederick's War....

Unfortunately Fred's service records from his WW1 service have not survived but we know that he enlisted at Pontefract.  The 3rd Reserve Battalion were based at Pontefract at this time and it was the training depot.

Fred joined the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry  (KOYLI) and was now Private 3/169.  At the outbreak of WW1 the 2nd Battalion were stationed in Dublin, Ireland and mobilised immediately arriving in Le Harve on 16th August 1914.

The date on Fred's medal card stated that he entered the field of war on 19th September 1914 when he joined the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France.  Fred would join a demoralised and worn out battalion who had only weeks before been involved in the Battle of Mons.  The 2nd KOYLI had suffered great losses on 26th August in the battle of Le Cateau.  The war diary states that 600 of their battalion were either killed or missing presumed dead, this included 18 officers and 532 other ranks.  When the final trench was captured by the German troops,16 officers and 320 other ranks were taken prisoner.

The need to call up the reservists would be necessary and Fred may have been hastily mobilised after the wipe out the KOYLI suffered on that day.  He would meet his battalion at La Gobbine Wood during an unusually quiet period.  The days had been reported as "quiet all day" and "nothing happened all day".  There were notes regarding German troops patrolling the outer area of the woods, but other than that a well earned break was being enjoyed by the 2nd Battalion KOYLI.

The battalion moved on and arrived in nearby Missy on 25th September, reporting sniper fire along the way.  On 1st October Fred and his comrades were relieved by the 1st Essex Regiment and they set off on what would be many days worth of marching from village to village;

*2nd October Vasseny
*3rd October Violaine
*4th October Hartennes
*5th & 6th October Lagny
*7th October Fresnoy
*8th October Abbeville
*9th October Queschart

On 14th October the battalion suffered losses whilst an attack at Vermelles; 4 killed, 12 wounded and 2 missing.  Four days later on 18th October the battalion was stationed in the trenches at Lannoy.  On this day they reported 17 men killed and 82 men wounded.  They remained in the trenches for another two days until marching at 5.00am on 21st October.  They arrived in Lorgies on 22nd October  to hear word that the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borders had attacked the German troops using their bayonets.

On 25th October Fred would witness enemy aircraft overhead, they fired heavy shell fire directly into the KOYLI trenches.  The attack lasted all day and the war diary reports that 2 men were buried alive when the loose soil was bombarded too heavily.  The dairy states "The men were considerably shaken but stuck splendidly to their posts".  The sheer bravery of Fred and his fellow men saw its reward when later that afternoon the German troops made an advance for their trenches only to be held off by the KOYLI.  On this day; 17 killed, 1 officer and 25 men wounded.

The battalion remained under heavy fire for the coming days, remaining in the trenches and sustaining heavy casualties during this period. 

The dairy entry for the 30th October tells that eventually the bombardment stopped, a quiet day until evening when "the enemy made a strong attack which was repulsed".  The KOYLI were relieved from this hell by the 2nd Battalion Garhwal Rifles.  They were now able to find relative safety and reflect on their lost comrades.

The war diary notes that their losses were roughly 300 men over the past week in the trenches at Richebourg L'Avoue, 2 officers were killed and 1 wounded.
Fred's war was over on 31st October 1914, when he was reported missing presumed dead.  After reading the war diary it may be that Fred was killed in any of those days previous to that date. 

Two years on in 1916 the family receive more sad news of the death of Walter the youngest of the Musgrove family.  At this time they may still not have come to terms with the fact that Fred was dead, the obituary for Walter tells...

"An elder brother of his was reported missing in the early stages of the war, and has not been heard of since"

Fred's "missing in action" or his death were never reported in the local newspaper.

Frederick William Musgrove, Private 3/169 is remembered at Le Touret Memorial in France.  He has no known grave but his name is engraved on panel 31 at the memorial.

Medal card Frederick Musgrove www.ancestry.co.uk

Fred was awarded the Victory, British, 14 Star and Clasp for his service.

Life went on....

The Musgrove family continued as best they could, each had taken a different path and with it came its own joys and sadness. 

George Henry Musgrove may have died in 1936 aged 65 years old.

Marian Annie lived through WW1 and died in 1933.  Her own son Wilfred Eric John Rodgers enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment on 22nd June 1918.  He was 18 years and 4 months old.  We can only imagine how Marian would feel having to chance losing her own son as she had her brother.  Wilfred survived and married Annie Laming in 1928.  He died in 1986 aged 86 years old.

Marian applied for her brother Frederick's 1914 Star medal in 1919.

Emily died in 1933.

Harriett may have died in Cleethorpes in 1958 but this would need to be confirmed.

Gertrude Mary spent the war years alone, whilst her new husband Sydney served with the Army Ordnance Corps from 8th December 1915 till his demobilisation on 20th March 1917.  They had at least one daughter; Mary Vowles was born in 1917.  After marriage Gertrude remained living on Handley Road until her death on 27th October 1952.  She had frequent visits from her younger brother John Wells and his family during this time. 

Lillian May arrived in Australia on 23rd April 1914 she wasted no time at all and married her sweetheart Samuel Huckle on 25th April 1914.  Samuel was a local lad born in New Whittington.  Lillian would most likely have grown up with him.  When she travelled out to Australia she was chaperoned by her own brother Walter and George Huckle.  George was the younger brother of Samuel. 

1943 Electoral Roll www.ancestry.co.uk

Lillian and Samuel lived at 59 Margate Street, Kogarah, New South Wales.  The 1943 electoral roll above shows that the two Huckle brothers remained close; Samuel and Lillian lived at number 59 and George and his wife Lucy lived at number 57. 

Lillian and Samuel had one daughter named Dorothy Musgrove Huckle.  George and Lucy had a son Ronald Huckle.  Lillian died in 1968, Samuel in 1973.  I will tell more of this story in the blog post for Walter Musgrove.

In 1911 John Wells was studying hard at teacher training college in York.  At the outbreak of WW1 he joined his fellow students and enlisted with the Old Boys Public School Regiment.  He joined at Manchester on 5th September 1914.  John was discharged on 21st June 1915 as medically unfit. 

Derbyshire Times 26th May 1944 p8

Life was an adventure for John as it was for Lillian and Walter.  John travelled as soon as the tensions of WW1 had settled; on 26th September 1919 he left London for Cape Town where her lived until his death on 18th May 1944. 

Despite the miles he did return to New Whittington on at least two occasions; he arrived in July 1925 with his wife Ethel and his 1 year old son John.  They stayed at his sister Gertrude's home at 95 Handley Road and are listed on the return journey as leaving Southampton on 11th December 1925 destined for Cape Town.  John travelled alone when his name appears on the passenger lists from London to Durban leaving on 18th November 1938.  He once again had stayed with his sister Gertrude in her new abode at 72 Handley Road, New Whittington. 

Walter arrived in Australia full of adventure, when the outbreak of WW1 was announced he was in the north of the island with George Huckle.  The pair made their way walking over 400 miles through a  fierce sandstorm and enlisted to fight for their King and Country.  Walter served with the Australian Expeditionary Force and sadly lost his life on 25th July 1916.  His story will be told on 25th July 2016.

Staveley Memorial....

Frederick and Walter Musgrove are not only remembered on the St Barnabas Memorial; their names also appear on the Staveley Memorial.

The story of Frederick William Musgrove and his family comes to an end for now.  I think, from the information that I have found on this family that they were a close and loving family who remained in contact despite the miles and tragedies life threw at them.

Please feel free to add comments by clicking on the little pen icon at the bottom of the screen.

If you have any more information on the Musgrove family I would love to hear from you and add to this post.

With thanks -

To the kind ladies Ann & Diane on Facebook who searched the Australian records for information on Lillian and Samuel Huckle.

To the knowledgeable Martin and Craig for answering my queries on 1914-1918 WW1 forum.

Reference and further reading -

Medal Rolls
Service records
Soldiers who died in the Great War
Immigration records
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times and Hull Daily Mail
CWGC http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx

2nd Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry war diaries http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7352257

1 comment:

  1. Lovely write up Louise. You are doing the boys proud. :) Wendy