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.

Sunday, 9 August 2015



Corporal 12590

9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters Regiment

Killed In Action - 9th August 1915

Whilst researching Francis I have been fortunate to have made contact with his Great Grand daughter who has very kindly written an account on Francis and his life and also added some photographs of the family which she is happy to be posted on this blog.....

"Francis Maskery

Francis Maskery was a very tall man with broad shoulders.  He stood 6ft 3in in his stocking feet and had to bend his head to get through the cottage door (his wife, Hilda who was about 5ft tall just stood above his elbow).  Francis had golden, ginger thick hair, a fair complexion and a moustache.

He was the son of William Maskery and Mary (Swift) and had many brothers and sisters.  His childhood was spent in an old farmhouse on the edge of Binkley Wood, near Chesterfield.  He worked as a labourer at the ironworks.

When he was 20 years old he got a young girl pregnant, this was Hilda Buck.  Hilda was only 14 years old but the couple were married.  Hilda Buck and Francis Maskery were married on 4th December 1905 at Chesterfield Register Office.  Hilda lied about her age saying that she was 17 years old.  The couple lived with Hilda's sister and her husband, the Leggets at the back of a shop in Glumangate, Chesterfield.  Their daughter, Voilet was born on 7th July 1906 at these premises.

When Violet was still a baby the couple got a house on London Street, New Whittington, Nr Chesterfield.  Francis became a coal face worker at the pit which was very hard work.  Emily, the couples next child was born on 24th December 1907 and the third child Ivy was born on 6th May 1909.  Hilda was only just 18 years old and had three daughters" 

by The Great Grand Daughter of Francis Maskery

Meet the Maskery family....

Francis was born on 7th December 1883 (1) at Binkley Hendley near West Handley, Derbyshire.  He was the son of William and Mary Maskery. 

William Maskery and Mary  Swift married on 25th December 1876 at Staveley Parish Church. Their first daughter Maud Isabella was born in 1878, followed by Walter in 1880.  In 1881 the Maskery family were living at Springwell in the parish of Staveley.  William head of the house worked as a shoeing smith for the colliery.  Next to be born was another son, named Robert Coulter he was born around 1882 and then came Francis in 1883.  A daughter named Clara Ann was born in 1885 followed by Minnie Elizabeth in 1887 and Mary Alice in 1889.  William jnr was next born on valentines day 1891.

Entry in Handley CofE school log book
Francis started school on 8th April 1889, he went to Handley Church of England School.

By the 1891 census the Maskery household at Binkley was very cramped; William aged 32 and Mary aged 33 had eight children to feed.  The ages ranged from 13 years to 2 months old.  The home they lived in had just four rooms; a two up, two down. 

Changes for the family by 1901....

Ten years on and William and Mary were still living at Binkley.  There were three new members of the family; Lily May aged 6, Ivy Gertrude aged 4 and John Cyril aged 2 years old.  Robert was now working, employed as a coal miner, Minnie, Mary and William were all at school. 

Maud Maskery had left home and married Henry Isaac Vickers in 1897, on the 1901 census the Vickers family were living at 33 Long Row in Unstone.  Maud had four young children; Harry, Wilfred, Hedley and Ethel.

Walter was boarding at West Handley, he was working as a coal miner below ground, still single he was 21 years of age.  Clara had also left the family home and was in service .  She was employed as a general domestic servant by Thomas Windle a general under manager at one of the local mines. 

Where was Francis?....

Service record Francis Maskery
Francis Maskery doesn't appear on the 1901 census.  Further investigation finds that on 25th February 1901 Francis had enlisted with the Royal Marines.  He had signed his papers at Chesterfield, we will never know the reasons why, was it on a whim or his boyhood dream?

Interestingly he gives his date of birth as 20th December 1882, making him nearly one year older than his true age.  His real age was only just 17 years old, however that would have been old enough to join up without his parents consent, so the reason for this is unknown.

Francis progressed well through his training, he passed his examinations including his swimming test at the recruitment depot at Deal in Kent on 10th July 1901.  On 12th September 1901 Francis Private 10718, was transferred to Plymouth, his general character was described as "Good". 

Francis embarked on the Hibernia on 16th August 1902, over the next years Francis appears to change.  His character is now documented as "in diff" (indifferent).  However, at the same time his ability is stated as "V G" (very good).

Service record
Francis returned to the naval base at Plymouth in the summer of 1903 but by 1904 things appear to have gone downhill for him.  On 31st March 1904 Private 10718 F Maskery was discharged "having been convicted by civil power of theft".

More telling in his demise are the final comments "General character Bad".  What had Francis done to earn himself this title, I have unfortunately not found out at this time.

Francis must have decided to return home to his family in Chesterfield.  He met the young lady called Hilda Buck, she was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Anne Buck.  Thomas ran the Rising Sun public house in New Whittington.  Hilda was one of nine children, she was born on 29th July 1891.


Francis and Hilda were married on 4th December 1905; Francis was a few days under 21 years old, Hilda was 14 years old.  They hid the age difference by getting married at the nearest town's register office in Chesterfield, not the local church.  Hilda was recorded as 17 years of age, a much more accepted age for marriage in 1905.  There were two witnesses at the ceremony; W Mitchell and M Maskery (2).

The newlyweds moved in with Hilda's sister Edith and her husband Jesse Leggett.  They lived in the town centre on Glumangate, which was were Hilda and Francis' first daughter Violet was born on 7th July 1906.

Not long after, the couple made their own home on London Street, New Whittington, close to Hilda's parents pub in the same village.  Two more little girls followed not long after; Emily on 24th December 1907 and Ivy on 6th May 1909. 

1911 the eve of war....

Francis and Hilda were living at 56 London Street, New Whittington.  Francis was aged 27 years old, Hilda was 22 years old on the census return.  The three girls were Violet aged 4 years, Emily 3 and Ivy 1.

The Maskery household was slightly smaller by 1911; William snr was still working as a colliery blacksmith.  He was 52 years old and the census tells that he and Mary had borne 14 children in total; 11 were still living and 3 had died.  There were only three children living with the couple in 1911; William jnr a 20 year old coal miner, Ivy Gertrude aged 14 and John Cyril aged 12 years old.  The family lived at 30 Doe Lea.

Maud and Henry Vickers had moved home to live at West Handley, Henry was now working as a horseman on a farm.  The family had also grown in numbers and Maud has eight children; Harry, Wilfred, Hedley, Ethel, Arthur, Joseph, Ivan and baby Grace.

Walter had married Fanny Hodgkinson on 8th April 1901 at Newbold.  On the 1911 census the family were living at West Handley with three children; Nesbith May, Mary Alice, Walter and Bertha.  Walter was working as a coal miner.

Robert married Alice Maud Allen in 1903.  They now had three children; Clive, Robert jnr and baby Gladys.  Like his siblings the family lived at West Handley and he worked as a coal miner hewer.

Clara married widower George Parkinson Galley in 1908.  He had a 7 year old daughter named Ethel Elizabeth by his first wife Elizabeth (Elizabeth died in 1906).  Clara and George soon had a daughter of their own, little Marjorie Isabel was born in 1909.  By 1911 the family were living at 2 Britannia Buildings, George worked as a joiner.

Minnie married Harold William Goodhand on 9th July 1907 at Swanwick, Derby.  In 1911 Minnie and Harold were living at 76 Church Street, Old Whittington.  They had no children however a daughter Evelyn was born later that year.  Harold worked as a groom and gardener.

Mary Alice married Arthur Beard in 1908.  Arthur worked as a blacksmiths striker at the colliery.  By 1911 the couple had two children; Norman and Dorothy May.  They lived at 126 Doe Lea, near Chesterfield.

William jnr married on 18th May 1912.  His bride was Evelyn Harston and they married at Ault Hucknall, Mansfield. 

Lilly May was aged 18 years old on the 1911 census and was working for Robert Else at domestic duties.  Robert had his own business as a mineral water manufacturer.  They lived at Lea Wood, Matlock.  On 31st May 1911 Lily married insurance agent James William Kirk.  James was a local lad, he lived at 96 Church Street, Old Whittington.

Francis' war....

Francis served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  His service records have not survived but a newspaper article states that Francis enlisted "soon after war broke out".  The rank that Francis took of Corporal shows that despite of him being a little wild in his youth, Francis had shown the Army that he was responsible enough to lead men.  His previous records in the Royal Marines stated that his ability was "Very Good" and so it appears that Francis now aged 33 years old was living up to that statement.  Francis was known as Corporal F Maskery 12590.
The 9th Battalion was a service battalion, it formed in Derby in August 1914 and set sail from Liverpool in July 1915, arriving in Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915. 

Derbyshire Times 13th November 1915 p8
The newspaper article stated that Francis left England at the end of June 1915.  Whether he sailed out with the 9th Battalion is unknown as his last letter home was dated 5th August.  Tragically only days later on 9th August 1915 he was reported missing in action.  The battalion were forced to evacuate from Gallipoli in December 1915.

The war diaries for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters during the time period relevant to Francis' service are missing however searching the internet I have managed to locate a post which gives details from the 33rd Brigade War Diaries which includes an account of the 9th August 1915 for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The article can be found here.

The diary states that the 9th Battalion left at 4am on 9th August to take up their position in line at Damak Jelik Bair by 6am.  They were soon caught up in sniper fire but were not able to return that fire.  By 15.30 that day many of the battalion had been forced back; A and B Coys were both under Captain Squires; "He was at once killed and his left platoon decimated as the Turks had pushed a larger force about 2 Coys into the gap and began to open a heavy enfilade fire on both A and B Coysref from the above link to the post on the WW1 invision forum.

Hilda wrote to the War Office and they informed her that Francis was reported as wounded in action on 9th August 1915.  As late as November 1915 Hilda was still frantically trying to locate her husband and ascertain his well being.  Sadly the death certificate for Corporal Francis Maskery regimental number 12590 gives his date of death as 9th August 1915; aged 29 years old; "assumed to have died" (3). 

Francis is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, panel 150 to panel 152.  He has no known grave.   

Corporal Francis Maskery was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

Life went on....

Hilda and the girls probably read the last letter Francis penned over and over.  The words stating that "he thought it would be a long time before they met again" would be sadly reflected upon.
Emily, Ivy & Violet Maskery
Credit & thanks to C. Beadle
Photo credit & thanks
to C Beadle
Life however had to go on, Hilda had three little girls to look after, Violet 9, Ivy 8 and Emily 7 years old.  Life must have been a struggle for such a young widow; Hilda had just reached her 24th birthday when Francis died. 

Hilda did become pregnant again and on 21st November 1918 another daughter named Grace was born.  The birth was registered as Grace Maskery, mothers maiden name Buck.

A more settled time eventually arrived for Hilda and she married Isaac Goodwin in 1925, ten years after the death of Francis.  Hilda and Isaac had a son named Eric but sadly he died at only three months old.

Hilda and Isaac lived in Hollingwood and she died there on 26th December 1964 aged 73 years old. 

Derbyshire Times 19th March 1937
page 26

William and Mary Maskery, Francis' parents lost two sons in close succession of each other; John in 1914 and Francis in 1915. 

They remained living at Doe Lea.  The couple celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 1937 and the event was mentioned in the local newspaper. 
It told how  the couple had lost Francis and Cyril (John) and of William's career as a blacksmith.
Mary died in 1944 and William died on 20th December 1945. 
Maud and Henry Vickers had four more children; William, Millicent, Cyril and in 1918 the final son named John Francis Vickers (possibly taking his middle name from his Uncle Francis Maskery).  Maud died in 1958.

Walter died in 1960 aged 80 years old.

Robert Coulter died in 1958 aged 76 years old.

Clara and George Galley may have had two more daughters; Edna in 1914 and Dorothy in 1919.  George died in 1943 and Clara died in 1977 aged 92 years old.

Minnie and Harold Goodhand travelled and appear on the incoming passenger lists from Quebec, Canada.  They arrived in the UK on 7th July 1950, their given address was 113 Langer Lane, Chesterfield.  Harold died in 1964, Minnie died in 1972 aged 85 years old.

Mary and her husband Arthur Beard may have had four more children.  Mary died only one year after her father, in 1946 she was aged 57 years old. 

William jnr and Evelyn had at least two sons; Kenneth born 27th August 1912 and Archibald in 1915.  William enlisted with the Grenadier Guards during WW1.  His service record has survived, the address given is 30 Doe Lea.  He enlisted at White City on 12th February 1915 but he was discharged "on medical grounds" on 19th August 1915.  No further details are given in the service records.  He was discharged just 10 days after his elder brother Francis had been killed in Gallipoli. 

William died in 1975 aged 84 years old.  Evelyn died a year later in 1976 aged 85 years old.

Lily and James Kirk may have a daughter named Phyliss born in 1912.  I can find one death for a Lily May Kirk registered at Ilkeston in 1976.  If this is correct then Lily would have been 80 years old, but these details may be incorrect without registration certificates. 

Ivy married Joseph Shorthouse in 1917.  They may have three sons; Gordon, Ivan and Joseph.  Ivy Shorthouse died in 1978 aged 81 years old. 

Derbyshire Times 29th July 1914 p3
John Cyril got a job working for Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Company at the Glapwell colliery.  He was employed as a rope boy.  Tragedy struck on 28th July 1914 when he was found crushed inbetween some tubs. 
The report from the "Coal mining accidents and deaths" website states -  
He was walking along an endless rope haulage road which was level at this point, the speed of the rope being 24. miles an hour. He met an empty set of five tubs which got off the way a few yards in front of him and he ran forward to get behind it. The front tub sided over and he was crushed by it against the pack.
John Cyril was only 15 years of age.  He was buried on 31st July 1914 at Ault Hucknall.  His death was also noted in the Derbyshire Times on 29th July 1914.

Special thanks to C Beadle for the written details,
photographs and documents she
provided for use in this remembrance
of Corporal Francis Maskery.
If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Francis Maskery or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.
I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.

The Great Grand daughter of Francis is editor of a magazine called The Maskery Magazine, for anyone interested a copy of the magazine is kept at Chesterfield Local Studies Library.  The magazine includes many interesting articles, one of which tells the story of Francis' brothers WW1 service.  Feel free to email me and I will pass any messages on to her.

She also kindly provided a copy of the birth certificate for Francis Maskery (1), marriage certificate for Hilda Buck & Francis Maskery (2) and death certificate for Corporal Francis Maskery (3). 


Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times
CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org
School admission books @ Find My Past
Service record @ Find My Past

Coal mining history resource centre -



  1. Wonderful story. Mary Swift is a descendant of mine.

    If Carol (Beadle) reads this could you please contact me at jayne@the-handleys-derbyshire.com please?

    Thank you.

  2. Lily May was my paternal Great Grandmother....she had two daughters Ivy, and Phylis, and a son Francis....my Grandad...and possibly named for his Uncle.
    Fantastic to fill in the gaps....
    Thanks, Andy Kirk

  3. Lily May was my Great Grandmother, and she had three children, Ivy, Phylis, and Frank, my Grandad.....

    She and James separated at the end of the War, sadly, and we believe he moved to Nottingham.

    Thanks for this fascinating account of my Great Uncle, who was a bit of a lad wasn't he...!?

    Andy Kirk

  4. Hi Andy and thank you for your comments and updates on Lily May and her family. Much appreciated. Glad you liked the write up. Francis does appear to be an interesting character to say the least, but then the times he lived in made him what he was. We can be grateful for his bravery and courage. Louise