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, 21 February 2016

THOMAS O'BRIEN

THOMAS O'BRIEN

Rifleman S/9128

The Prince Consorts Own Rifle Brigade

Killed in action - 27th February 1916

Thomas and his two sisters Mary and Catherine O'Brien were the children of Thomas and Mary O'Brien.  Thomas was born circa 1895 at New Whittington.  His two sisters were older than him; Mary was born in 1891, then came Catherine in 1892. 

Mr & Mrs O'Brien....

Thomas snr was born to Irish parents John and Mary O'Brien in Chesterfield on 20th June 1865.  The O'Brien family lived in the Whittington area and Thomas found himself employment with the railways.  He worked his way up the ranks from railway stoker in 1891 to railway engine driver by 1901. 

Mary was born in Ireland sometime around 1865.  She died aged only 34 years old in 1899.  Thomas jnr would have been around 4 years old at the time.

Thomas snr remarried in 1900, his new wife was 14 years his junior, born in 1880 her name was Alice Gertrude Needham.  Alice was 20 years old when she married Thomas snr; she became stepmother to three young children.  That same year Alice gave birth to a son named William. 

On the 1901 census the reformed O'Brien family were living at 16 Bamford Street, New Whittington.  The new addition William was aged 9 months old, sadly he may have died that same year or the year later (death certificate would be needed to confirm which entry is correct).

Thomas' childhood.... 

It appears that Thomas may have had a rather unsettled childhood.  His father and his step mother were the topic of gossip in 1903 when they appeared for three consecutive weeks in the newspaper; the Derbyshire Times. 

The first article on 18th March 1903 tells how Thomas snr complained to the police after Alice had been "very violent and threatened to murder all in the home.  She ill used his daughter Mary who was a child by his first wife.  She threatened also to cut the girls throat with a razor".  Poor little Mary would be around 12 years old at this time, she was called as a witness and told how "her stepmother had frequently ill used her and struck her with a stick, leaving black and blue marks on her body".   In her defence Alice told of the cruelty to her by Thomas snr, her mother Mrs Needham was called and told that Alice would not have married Thomas if he had "not got her into trouble".

The two further article's tell a story of an unhappy marriage, Thomas and Alice both took out a complaint against each other.  Thomas snr told how he arrived home one evening to find two men leaving via the back door.  He was asked "Can you bring evidence to prove how your wife has been carrying on?" to which he replied "Yes my child first told me.  I can bring witnesses.  Its the regular talk of New Whittington". 
The week later Alice asked for a separation order, stating "her husband had turned her out of the house in all sorts of weather and repeatedly struck her".  Thomas snr's reply was "I've been a good husband to you.  There's not been a better husband in New Whittington than me".
The judge agreed to allow a separation order, so long as Thomas snr paid Alice 5 shillings weekly maintenance.

1911....

How long the O'Brien family were at odds is not known, however Thomas snr and Alice were still living together at the time of the 1911 census.  They were residing at 116 Crown Yard, New Whittington.  Their were three children from this marriage; Annie born 1902, Margaret born 1909 and baby John aged only 5 months old.

Thomas jnr was still living with his father and stepmother.  He was aged 16 years old by now and worked as a colliery pit bank labourer.  Thomas' siblings Mary and Catherine were not recorded as living with the O'Brien family.

I am unable to locate Mary on the 1911 census but Catherine was working as a domestic servant at Creswell.  She was employed by Alfred Haywood who was a sweet confectioner. 

Thomas' war....
Entry from war diary, showing T O'Brien D Coy
Thomas enlisted on 18th March 1915 at Southend on Sea, he was aged 20 years and 1 month old.  He joined the 15th service battalion of the Rifle Brigade - the Prince Own Consorts Rifle Brigade.  He was attached to the 11th Battalion Rifle Brigade, Rifleman S/9128, D Coy.

His address at the time was 85 South Street, New Whittington.  His next of kin was noted as Mr Thomas O'Brien (father) of 50 High Street, New Whittington.

Thomas was a young man of 5ft 5 inches height, he had blue eyes and light brown hair and his religion was Roman Catholic. 

Thomas would undertake his basic training before joining the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F) on 17th September 1915.  The 11th Battalion had already joined the theatre of war, landing in Boulogne on 22nd July 1915.  In those early days there were not enough rifles for the men to train with, the war dairy tells how the men would share the rifles, taking their turn at a practise shot.  On 19th September at 4pm the war diary states "Draft of 30 other ranks arrived from 15th Btn Rifle Brigade". 

The timing of Thomas' entry was at a very crucial time; the Battle of Loos commenced on 25th September 1915.  At the time the 11th Battalion were in reserve at Laventie, they remained there until December when they moved back to the village of Sailly for Christmas.  Little would the men know but on that Christmas Day of 1915 in the front line trenches near to Laventie the B.E.F were living the true meaning of Christmas; the men were shouting over to each other from the trenches and eventually the two sides united in no mans land and showed peace to each other.  The accounts of two men present state that they played a game of football, but a British Sergeant Major became aware of the events and ordered the B.E.F to return to the trenches "We are here to kill the Hun, not make friends with him".

Exceptional duty....

On 31st October 1915 the following men belonging to the 11th Battalion Rifle Brigade were awarded medals for their exceptional conduct -


Captain G H Gilbey - Military Cross

Sergeant M Toole & Rifleman A Holmes -

Distinguished Conduct medal
"for gallantry rescuing comrades of a mine full of gas"


2nd Lieut A L Cope - Military Cross

Rifleman G Judkins - Distinguished Conduct medal

"for gallant offensive action when on patrol"
1916 dawned....



At the beginning of 1916 the 11th Battalion Rifle Brigade were moved on to the Ypres Saliant.   In the early days of February 1916 they were camped at Poperinghe until the night of 13th February when they marched to the train station.  The men had not been marching long when they were bombed by a German aeroplane; luckily the bombs fell short about 200 yards away from the men.  Whilst they began to board the train the station was also being attached by the German pilots.  The journey commenced, at a slow pace they eventually arrived at Asylum from where they marched to Ypres.  Despite the days bombardment only one soldier belonging to the 11th Battalion was injured.

On 22nd February 1916 Thomas and his comrades relived the  2nd Yorks and Lancs Regiment in the trenches.  For the next few days work was carried out on the front trenches "joining up posts and reclaiming trench wiring", however snow fell and the artillery action on both sides was strong. 
On the day of 27th February the battalion was successful to cut the wire, however the Germans soon retaliated and responded using heavy artillery fire at the garrison; the result was "heavy casualties".  Later that day the battalion were relived by the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade. 


Daily casualty record 11th Battalion Rifle Brigade

Rifleman T O'Brien S/9128 was killed in action on 27th February 1916.  His fellow comrades also fell on that day; Corporal S Lillywhite and Rifleman J Willows.




Thomas was buried at Essex Farm Cemetery in Belgium.  He has a simple headstone with a cross and his name and rank.  His grave reference is I.T.1.




Thomas was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

Thomas' fiancée....

Register of soldiers effects - entry for Thomas O'Brien


The "register of soldiers effects" is a record of to whom the deceased soldiers money owing was awarded.  It was most often given to the widow of the soldier, or in the case that the soldier was single then the parents or the siblings.  In Thomas' case however, he has nominated his fiancée to be the beneficiary.

He also wrote his soldiers will before he went of to join the B.E.F.  In this will he leaves his possessions to Miss M Foster of 85 South Street, New Whittington (the same address Thomas had given for his home address when he enlisted in 1915). 

Miss Mary Agnes Foster was a local girl, born in New Whittington in December 1892.  She was the daughter of Ralph Foster who was also employed as an engine driver on the railways.  The family moved to the neighbouring village and lived on Traffic Terrace in Barrow Hill.

Poor Mary would only be around 23 years old when she found herself with the heartbreaking news that her beloved fiancée Thomas had been killed whilst serving his King and Country.  Thankfully, Mary did find happiness again and married Fred Whitehead in 1918.  They went on to have a son and a daughter; Fred and Phyliss.  On the 1939 register Mary and her family are living at 142 South Street, New Whittington.  She died a year later in 1940 aged 47 years old.

Mary would be remembered by locals as the lady who ran the sweet shop in New Whittington.  Her obituary also states that she had two sons and one daughter, the second son may have been born in 1938.

Life went on....

Thomas O'Brien snr remained in the area, he can be found on the 1939 register living in the Markham Municipal Hostel on Hipper Street South, in the centre of Chesterfield.  He was recorded as a general labourer now, not a locomotive engine driver. 

Alice Gertrude the second wife of Thomas died in 1915 aged just 36 years old. 
Siblings of Rifleman T O'Brien
Mary O'Brien married Henry C Herbert in 1915.  The couple had at least one son and one daughter; Joan in 1916 and Arthur in 1920.  What became of Mary and her family after this date is unknown. 

Catherine O'Brien did not have an easy life, she was reported in the Derbyshire Times newspaper dated 14th January 1922.  The headline news "Young Womans Secret, New Whittington Charge Of Birth Concealment"


Poor Catherine had been walking out with a local lad named Henry Halford.  According to the newspaper article she had become pregnant and had told Henry the news.  They had planned to get married in January and had been to see a Priest to arrange the wedding.  The Priest had told them that they could not marry until the next month.  As Henry was also unemployed at the time, the wedding had not gone ahead.

Catherine was aged 25 years old and still lived at 50 High Street, New Whittington with her father Thomas and step sister Annie.  Annie stated that she shared a room with Catherine and had guessed about 3 months ago that she was pregnant.  On the day of 21st December 1921 Annie left for work and left Catherine still in bed asleep.  When she returned later that afternoon she found Catherine looking pale, but doing general household chores. 

The inquest heard how Catherine had given birth to a still born baby girl.  She stated that there was no one in the household and so she wrapped the baby in a blanket and then the next day burnt the child's body.  She wrote to Henry to ask for a meeting, which took place on 3rd January 1922 and broke the sad news to him. 

Catherine was disowned by her father "he refused to stand bail for his daughter, saying that he had finished with her".  Catherine was taken in by a married sister (possibly Mary?) to await her trial.

On 18th February 1922 The Derbyshire Courier reported that Catherine had been found guilty of confinement of birth.  She was to bound over to return for her judgement if required to do so.  At the trial Henry stood by his sweetheart and fought her corner, telling the jury how he had wanted to marry her, but as she was Roman Catholic and he was Protestant they needed to obtain a licence from the Pope.  He went on to say that he still wished to marry Catherine.  The judge and jury all felt deepest sympathy for Catherine in her time of difficulty and although she was found guilty it was with "a strong recommendation to mercy".

What became of Catherine after this date is not known, whether she was committed to serve a gaol sentence is not known at this time. Did Catherine and Henry marry? Sadly I have not found any evidence to say there was a happy ending to this tragic tale for Catherine. 

Annie O'Brien married George Weston in 1925.  George was a railway engine driver just like her father.  In 1939 the family were living at 38 St Johns Road, Staveley.  Annie died in 1989 aged 86 years old. 

Margaret O'Brien  may have married Harry Lawson in 1928 at Easington, Durham however this would need further clarification.  

Sarah O'Brien married Charles Watson at St Patricks Roman Catholic Church in New Whittington.  She was given away by her brother in law Mr George Weston and she wore a white satin beaute dress, with veil and shoes to match.  She carried a bouquet of pink carnations.  The younger bridesmaids were nieces of Sarah; Miss D Weston and Miss M Lawson wore pink ankle length crepe dresses and carried posies of pink carnations.  The marriage was announced in the Derbyshire Times 1st October 1937, page 27. 

Winifred Fowkes O'Brien  was born on 2nd April 1917.  I have not purchased a birth certificate for Winifred to clarify who her mother was.  Winifred would have never known her half brother Thomas, who had been killed in the Great War, but it is likely that she would have been raised knowing his heroic story and possibly seeing his photograph on the mantelpiece each day. 
Winifred married Kenneth Taylor in 1938.  On the 1939 Register Winifred and Kenneth were living in the O'Brien family home at 50 High Street, New Whittington.  Kenneth was employed as an iron foundry worker. 
Winifred died in 1989 aged 72 years old.
*****
If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Thomas O'Brien 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.


*****


Ref and further reading  -

Census
Parish registers

Medal rolls

Soldiers who died in the Great war

Register of soldiers effects

Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times, Derby Courier
Derbyshire Times -  18th March 1903 page 5, 25th March 1903 page 5 and 28th March 1903 page 7.
Obituary for Thomas O'Brien - Derbyshire Courier 11th March 1916 page and 14th March 1903 page 1.

Picture of Rifle Brigade insignia badge via Wikipadia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rifle_Brigade_(Prince_Consort%27s_Own)

11th Battalion Rifle Brigade War Diary - piece 2116, 59th Brigade, 20th light Division July 1915 - May 1919.


The Christmas Truce of 1915

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/12058701/The-forgotten-Christmas-truce-the-British-tried-to-suppress.html



Sunday, 14 February 2016

JOHN WILLIAM LONGMATE

JOHN WILLIAM LONGMATE


Private 18951

10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Missing presumed dead - 14th February 1916


John William Longmate was the first born child of James and Emily Longmate.  He was born in Brimington close to New Whittington in 1896.

James William, John's father was a local man, born in Staveley he worked as a moulder at the local iron foundry.  James married Emily Augusta Evans on 1st January 1896 at St John The Baptist Church in the centre of Staveley Town. 

Not long after in 1897 John's little sister arrived, named Elizabeth she was born on 11th December 1897.  In 1901 the family were living at 9 Canal Row, Staveley.  Another son was born on 18th June 1901 named Robert Edward and then on 26th March 1904 James Harold was born.
 

1911 census
www.findmypast.co.uk
The 1911 census finds the family have moved home and were now living in New Whittington.  They lived at 105 High Street, James was still employed as an iron moulder and John now aged 14 was following in his fathers footsteps as an apprentice iron moulder.  Elizabeth, Robert and James Harold would all still have been attending school.  The census form also states that there was another child born to James and Emily which had sadly died. 

John William Longmates war....

Unfortunately the service records for John have not survived but a newspaper article states that John joined up in the November of 1914.  If this was correct then John would only have been around 18 years old when he enlisted.  He joined the 10th Battalion Sherwood Forester Regiment, a local regiment he probably went along with a friend or two to enlist.

The 10th Battalion was a service battalion, formed in September of 1914 at Derby it was part of Kitcheners New Army.  Known as K2 this call for men was the second recruitment drive in just over one month.  The men would be signing a contract for "General Service" to serve for up to three years or the remainder of the war, whichever was the longest. 

On arrival in France on 15th July 1915 the battalion rested before taking the train the next day to St Omer.  The next days were spent marching to various billets.  On 18th July the men marched into Ebblingham, the war diary tells "the French watched two companies march in - much impressed!".

By 27th July they had reached Hooge, where they remained until 3rd August.  In this time they "witnessed the loss of some trenches and the failure of a counter attack.... total casualties during their stay; 14 other ranks wounded".   Interestingly, the diary also recalls "each company except D Company was able to send its men into the trenches for 24 hrs instruction while in the Ouderdom Road and at Reninghelst, fortunately without any casualties". 

August 1915 saw the battalion remaining in the Ouderdom and Reninghelst area.  They were to witness a German mine explode at 6.50pm on 21st August.  The enemy then carried out a short bombardment on the trenches occupied by the 10th Battalion, but luckily there was no damage or any casualties. 

The men remained in the trenches at Chateau Lankhof for five days of heavy bombardment.  On 25th August "2/Lieut Wilmot + 4 O.R wounded by a whizzbang". 

 
On 31st to 1st September the men marched to trenches in Sanctuary Wood, they were detached from the 51st Brigade and now attached to the 9th Brigade "for a special purpose".  The battalion joined the 7th Border Regiment.  The war diary describes the trenches in detail stating "the trenches were in good condition but were not riveted at all nor were the approach trenches boarded in most of their length.  36 hours rain on 2nd & 3rd caused many of the trenches to fall in and made much of the approach trenches impassable.  During our stay of 14 days much of this was remedied; the approach and reserve trenches were widened and riveted and duck boarding put down practically throughout; parapets were rebuilt and riveted ".  The battalion worked both in daylight and under the stars, which enabled them to build a new communication trench which was aptly named "Sherwood Road". 


During the days when the battalion were busy carrying out the above duties, mending the trenches, the enemy were carrying out heavy bombardment of Sanctuary Wood and Zouave Wood.  The battalion suffered casualties;
 

1st September 2 other ranks wounded

2nd September 1 other rank killed, 4 wounded
3rd September 8 other ranks wounded
5th September 2/lt Howard wounded, 1 other rank wounded
6th September 2 other ranks wounded
7th September 1 other rank wounded
8th September 2/Lieut Hutcheson killed by a sniper
9th September 1 other rank wounded
11th September 4 other ranks wounded
12th September 2 other ranks wounded
13th September Major Young killed, 4 other ranks wounded.

After such a tiring two weeks the men were rewarded with a whole five days rest in which they spent their time resting, playing football and boxing.  The relaxation time was over all too soon and they were soon back in the thick of it.  On 25th and 26th September the battalion took part in the battle at Hooge.  Their objective being to protect the right flank from attack, however over the two days they came under heavy enemy shell fire; total casualties - 2/Lieut Chandler and Chapman slightly wounded, 7 other ranks killed, 50 other ranks wounded and 1 other rank missing.

John may well have been present at the end of October 1915 when the men were relieving in the trenches near Sanctuary Wood, when "bands were heard playing in the enemy's line, on two or three occasions".  The war diary goes on to tell "on two fine mornings the enemy aeroplanes were extremely active and dropped smoke bombs on some material lying in the open, which was promptly shelled".
 
Christmas 1915 was spent in the trenches near Ypres.  On Christmas eve Lieutenant A G Shaw was shot dead by an enemy sniper.  "Christmas day was a quiet day in the trenches, troops were warned against relaxing their vigilance and there was a little artillery action".

The war diary finishes 1915 with the following entry, describing the 30th and 31st and the month of December 1915 -
"These two days were spent in rest camp.
Casualties for month of December
 
Lieut A. G. Shaw killed
22 O.R killed
38 O.R wounded

9 O.R wounded slightly at duty.
 

A very tiring and trying month for all ranks"

1916 dawns....




John and his comrades remained in the rest camp, they ate a New Years dinner "to the satisfaction of all ranks" and a second draft of 57 ordinary ranks arrived to make up the falling numbers.  Maybe, 1916 was going to be a good year? Were the men feeling positive optimism?

On 3rd January 1916 the battalion were marched to the Ypres ramparts to relieve the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers.  On 7th January the men took the train back to St Omer.  They billeted in Houlle and Malterie Houlle and rested whilst attempting to re-equip the battalion "as much as possible". 

During their time in Houlle a programme of training was undertaken, some of the men were sent to Brigade Schools for machine gun and signalling instruction.  The other men remained in camp and carried out Company Training.  Much football was played and on 19th January the 10th Battalion took on the 79th Brigade Royal Field Artillery in the divisional league.  Unfortunately they were beaten by 2 goals to 1.


After enjoying one month of rest, training and football the men must have been in better spirits and so from 5th to 8th of February the battalion moved off via train journey back to the front.  They relived the 7th Lincolnshires south east of Ypres on 13th February 1916.  The night of 13th February "past quietly with the exception of occasional H.E shrapnel"

14th February 1916....

By 12 noon the war diary reported "1 O.R killed, 7 O.R wounded including 3 slightly at duty"  What happened next was written as a report after the events had occurred.  The four company's of the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were occupied in the front line and support trenches, there were no men in reserve.
 
The night of the 13th was described as "relatively quiet" however, this would prove to be the lull before the storm that was to come in the future hours.  At 8.30am on 14th February the enemy commenced intermittent bombardment using "trench mortars, rifle grenades and some guns".  This continued until 3.30pm when "the enemy commenced a terrific bombardment in the front line".  Communication with the front line was soon cut off but the heavy shelling could be seen from the Brigade Headquarters and "as much retaliation was called for as could be obtained".

This retaliation commenced at 4pm but there seems to have been a misjudgement of exactly how bad the enemy's attach was, the 10th Battalion wrote  "we had great difficulty in impressing the Artillery with the seriousness of the situation.  At the height of the bombardment a message was received "is that sufficient".  The Artillery attack was not sufficient , described as "inadequate and poor in comparison with that coming over".  The Company Commander decided that it would be of no use to send any more men as the "front trenches were battered to the ground".

At 5.30pm it was reported that a mine had exploded in one of the trenches. The chilling events that followed are taken from the war diary....

"The Germans, preceded by a large number of bombers, who from some accounts were dressed in khaki, with white bands on their right arms, jumped into our front line trenches as the guns lifted and must have been well across "no mans land" before the bombardment lifted"

Once in our trenches the Germans found little resistance, what troops were left would have been worn out, most likely wounded and most definitely in shock  of the tragic situation which had just unfolded.  The enemy moved through the communication trenches but were stopped in their tracks by the B.E.F in the support trenches.

It was decided that a counter attack would take place and the 7th Lincolnshire Regiment and the 7th Border Regiment were brought in to back up the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The outcome of this attack was summed up in one small sentence "The counter attack was not successful".


Private John William Longmate lost his life at an unknown time during the tragic events of 14th February 1916.  The surviving men of the Battalion were relieved in the trenches on 15th February.  A counter attack with bombs was also ordered, but sadly this to was unsuccessful.
 
 
Missing in action....

 
Derbyshire Times 4th March 1916 p5
 
 
The news that there was worry over John's whereabouts soon arrived in New Whittington.  His "missing" status was reported in the Derbyshire Times at the end of February.  Just two weeks after John's given date of death.  The report also gave John's place of work before the war as Staveley Company's Ireland Colliery.

A more detailed article with a photograph of John was placed in the Derbyshire Times on 4th March 1916.  It reported that John had been present at Ypres, where there had been heavy fighting and that John had not been heard of since that time.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Local connections....

A local man named Charlie Millband had written to James and Emily Longmate to inform them that John was missing in action.  Charlie was the brother of Henry Millband who was fighting alongside John with the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  Henry was also reported missing in action on the same day.  At the time of the deaths of John and Henry, Charlie Millband was serving with the 7th Battalion Leicester Regiment but in a cruel twist of fate he was transferred to the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on 28th February 1916, just two weeks after his own brother had been killed whilst serving with them. 

As the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters suffered high loses over the early weeks of February 1916, Charlie would have been one of the men transferred to make up the numbers, but sadly it would be his own brothers and friends he was replacing.  Charlie no doubt spoke to members of the 10th who had been present with John and Henry at Ypres and would be fully aware of the state of fighting on the days leading up to the men's deaths.
 
Finally the sad news arrives....


Derbyshire Times 22nd April 1916 p4


At last the agonising wait for John's family and friends was finally over when in April a soldier wrote to James and Emily to inform them that he had found John's body.  The unnamed soldier had removed any personal possessions he could find on John which included his regimental pay book, photos, postcards and his jack knife.  These were all returned to James and Emily along with his letter.




John Longmate, Private 18951 is remembered at The Menin Gate Memorial in the Belgian city of Ypres.  His name can be found inscribed on the panel 39 or 41.




John was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.


Life went on....

James & Emily Longmate lived at 105 Chesterfield Avenue, New Whittington at the time of John's death.  The family appear to have remained in the surrounding area. 


Probate entry for James William Longmate
www.findmypast.co.uk
Emily died in 1943, James four years later on 10th June 1947.  His address was 48 Laburnum Street, Hollingwood.  His probate entry tells that the executor of the will was Robert Edward Longmate, blacksmith (his son).  The amount was £417 7s 5d.

Elizabeth Longmate may have married Oliver Barson in 1924.  Oliver was around the same age as her brother John, they had both worked in the iron moulding trade before the Great War.  Elizabeth and Oliver may have had a daughter named Joan in 1928.  In 1939 the family were living in the Staveley area.  Oliver died in 1956 and Elizabeth died in 1981.

Robert Edward Longmate died in 1975. 

James Harold Longmate may have married Muriel Mapes in 1942.  He died in 1980 aged 76 years old.
*****

If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on John William Longmate 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.


*****


Ref and further reading  -Census
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Probate register
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times
CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org


Illustrations via the Internet Archive  free book images.


War diary 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters - Ref WO 95 2002/2-1





















14th February 1916



On 14th February 1916 two men from New Whittington lost their lives to the Great War.


John Longmate was just 19 years old, the son of James and Emily Longmate.


Henry Millband was 21 years old, the son of the late Charles Millband and Ada Randall (formerly Millband).


The men were serving alongside each other with the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  On the day's around the date of 14th February 1916 the battalion saw some fierce fighting on the outskirts of Ypres, Belgium.  On the day of 14th February 1916 the battalion lost 125 men.

Read the stories of the two men by clicking on each mans name below -

 

Henry Millband




 
lest we forget x
 







HENRY MILLBAND

HENRY "HARRY" MILLBAND

Private 15143

10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Missing presumed dead - 14th February 1916

 

Henry was affectionately known as "Harry".  He was born on 9th May 1894 in Asfordby, Leicestershire.  Harry was the son of Charles and Ada Millband.  He was baptised at Asfordby on 3rd June 1894.

Charles Millband married Ada Roberts on 1st August 1892 at St Nicholas Church in Nottingham. 

Harry had a younger brother, named after their father, Charles jnr was born on 5th November 1896. 

 



Electoral Roll 1897 showing Charles Millband (senior)
www.findmypast.co.uk


 
 
 
 
 
Harry and Charles lost their father at an young age, Charles snr died in 1898, he was only 29 years old.  Only a year earlier in 1897 Charles had been included in the list of electors for the Asfordby area.  The family address was Bowley's Cottages, Asfordby, Melton Mowbray. 


Henry Millband school logbook entry 29th June 1897
The boys attended Asfordby Church of England School; Henry started school on 29th June 1897.  The entry in the school register simply gives the mothers name as "Ada" his father was not documented.  Charles jnr's first day was 8th January 1900, his address was given as Church Lane, his father was named as Charles Millband.   

A new start for Ada Millband....

Ada married John Randell in the summer of 1900, John was a locomotive engine driver at the blast furnace.  On the 1901 census the Randall family were living at Pump Lane, Asfordby.  Harry is recorded as the "son of" John and is named as Henry Randall.  Ada and John also had a son of their own named John he was just 4 months old. 

Charles jnr was not living with Harry and his mother Ada in 1901.  He had been adopted by William and Bathsheba Miller.  Bathsheba was the sister of Charles snr, the Aunt of Harry and Charles jnr.  Poor Ada probably found it too much to provide for two young sons after her husbands death.  It would have been common practice at that time for a family member to take in a child and help with their upkeep.  William and Bathsheba married in 1892, they lived Heanor in 1901.

 
Harry is recorded as leaving Asfordby Church of England school on 28th August 1905, the family most likely moved to New Whittington at sometime in the summer of this year. 


1911 the eve of the Great War....


1911 census Henry Millband

The Randall family had one more family member by now, Cecil Walter was born in Asfordby in 1905.  Harry, aged 16 years old, worked as a fitters labourer at the blast furnace.  


The family had moved home and now lived at 38 Devonshire Cottages, Barrow Hill.

 

Charles Millband was still living with his adoptive parents William and Bathsheba.  They lived at 69 Ebenezer Street, Langley Mill.  William and Bathsheba had never had any children of their own so I would hope that Charles was cherished and cared for well by the Miller couple.  Charles was aged 14 years and worked as a hosiery trimmer.  Another nephew named Ernest Millband was also living with the family.

 

Harry's war....

 

Harry Millband does not have any surviving service records, neither have I found any newspaper articles to provide us snippets of information regarding Harry's service.  The date on Harry's medal card states that he first entered the field of war in France on 14th July 1915. 

 

The 10th Battalion was a service battalion, formed in September of 1914 at Derby it was part of Kitcheners New Army.  Known as K2, this call for men was the second recruitment drive in just over one month.  The men would be signing a contract for "General Service" to serve for up to three years or the remainder of the war, whichever was the longest.

 

The 10th Battalion were carrying out their final basic training at Winchester in the June of 1915.  Part of the 51st Infantry Brigade, the 17th Division.  They left Winchester on 14th July 1915 for Folkestone where they embarked for Boulogne, France. 

On arrival in France on 15th July 1915 the battalion rested before taking the train the next day to St Omer.  The next days were spent marching to various billets.  On 18th July the men marched into Ebblingham, the war diary tells "the French watched two companies march in - much impressed!".

 

By 27th July they had reached Hooge, where they remained until 3rd August.  In this time they "witnessed the loss of some trenches and the failure of a counter attack.... total casualties during their stay; 14 other ranks wounded".   Interestingly, the diary also recalls "each company except D Company was able to send its men into the trenches for 24 hrs instruction while in the Ouderdom Road and at Reninghelst, fortunately without any casualties". 

 

August 1915 saw the battalion remaining in the Ouderdom and Reninghelst area.  They were to witness a German mine explode at 6.50pm on 21st August.  The enemy then carried out a short bombardment on the trenches occupied by the 10th Battalion, but luckily there was no damage or any casualties. 

 

The men remained in the trenches at Chateau Lankhof for five days of heavy bombardment.  On 25th August "2/Lieut Wilmot + 4 O.R wounded by a whizzbang". 

 
 

On 31st to 1st September the men marched to trenches in Sanctuary Wood, they were detached from the 51st Brigade and now attached to the 9th Brigade "for a special purpose".  The battalion joined the 7th Border Regiment.  The war diary describes the trenches in detail stating "the trenches were in good condition but were not riveted at all nor were the approach trenches boarded in most of their length.  36 hours rain on 2nd & 3rd caused many of the trenches to fall in and made much of the approach trenches impassable.  During our stay of 14 days much of this was remedied; the approach and reserve trenches were widened and riveted and duck boarding put down practically throughout; parapets were rebuilt and riveted ".  The battalion worked both in daylight and under the stars, which enabled them to build a new communication trench which was aptly named "Sherwood Road". 
 
 
During the days when the battalion were busy carrying out the above duties, mending the trenches, the enemy were carrying out heavy bombardment of Sanctuary Wood and Zouave Wood.  The battalion suffered casualties;
 
1st September 2 other ranks wounded
2nd September 1 other rank killed, 4 wounded
3rd September 8 other ranks wounded
5th September 2/lt Howard wounded, 1 other rank wounded
6th September 2 other ranks wounded
7th September 1 other rank wounded
8th September 2/Lieut Hutcheson killed by a sniper
9th September 1 other rank wounded
11th September 4 other ranks wounded
12th September 2 other ranks wounded
13th September Major Young killed, 4 other ranks wounded.


After such a tiring two weeks the men were rewarded with a whole five days rest in which they spent their time resting, playing football and boxing.  The relaxation time was over too soon and they were soon back in the thick of it.  On 25th and 26th September the battalion took part in the battle at Hooge.  Their objective being to protect the right flank from attack, however over the two days they came under heavy enemy shell fire; total casualties - 2/Lieut Chandler and Chapman slightly wounded, 7 other ranks killed, 50 other ranks wounded and 1 other rank missing.
 
Harry may well have been present at the end of October 1915 when the men were relieving in the trenches near Sanctuary Wood, when "bands were heard playing in the enemy's line, on two or three occasions".  The war diary goes on to tell "on two fine mornings the enemy aeroplanes were extremely active and dropped smoke bombs on some material lying in the open, which was promptly shelled".
 
Christmas 1915 was spent in the trenches near Ypres.  On Christmas eve Lieutenant A G Shaw was shot dead by an enemy sniper.  "Christmas day was a quiet day in the trenches, troops were warned against relaxing their vigilance and there was a little artillery action".

The war diary finishes 1915 with the following entry, describing the 30th and 31st and the month of December 1915 -

"These two days were spent in rest camp.
Casualties for month of December

Lieut A. G. Shaw killed

22 O.R killed
38 O.R wounded
9 O.R wounded slightly at duty.
 
A very tiring and trying month for all ranks"

1916 dawns....




Harry and his comrades remained in the rest camp, they ate a New Years dinner "to the satisfaction of all ranks" and a second draft of 57 ordinary ranks arrived to make up the falling numbers.  Maybe, 1916 was going to be a good year? Were the men feeling positive optimism?

On 3rd January 1916 the battalion were marched to the Ypres ramparts to relieve the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers.  On 7th January the men took the train back to St Omer.  They billeted in Houlle and Malterie Houlle and rested whilst attempting to re-equip the battalion "as much as possible". 

During their time in Houlle a programme of training was undertaken, some of the men were sent to Brigade Schools for machine gun and signalling instruction.  The other men remained in camp and carried out Company Training.  Much football was played and on 19th January the 10th Battalion took on the 79th Brigade Royal Field Artillery in the divisional league.  Unfortunately they were beaten by 2 goals to 1.

After enjoying one month of rest, training and football the men must have been in better spirits and so from 5th to 8th of February the battalion moved off via train journey back to the front.  They relived the 7th Lincolnshires south east of Ypres on 13th February 1916.  The night of 13th February "past quietly with the exception of occasional H.E shrapnel"

14th February 1916....

By 12 noon the war diary reported "1 O.R killed, 7 O.R wounded including 3 slightly at duty"  What happened next was written as a report after the events had occurred.  The four company's of the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were occupied in the front line and support trenches, there were no men in reserve.

The night of the 13th was described as "relatively quiet" however, this would prove to be the lull before the storm that was to come in the future hours.  At 8.30am on 14th February the enemy commenced intermittent bombardment using "trench mortars, rifle grenades and some guns".  This continued until 3.30pm when "the enemy commenced a terrific bombardment in the front line".  Communication with the front line was soon cut off but the heavy shelling could be seen from the Brigade Headquarters and "as much retaliation was called for as could be obtained".

This retaliation commenced at 4pm but there seems to have been a misjudgement of exactly how bad the enemy's attach was, the 10th Battalion wrote  "we had great difficulty in impressing the Artillery with the seriousness of the situation.  At the height of the bombardment a message was received "is that sufficient".  The Artillery attack was not sufficient , described as "inadequate and poor in comparison with that coming over".  The Company Commander decided that it would be of no use to send any more men as the "front trenches were battered to the ground".

At 5.30pm it was reported that a mine had exploded in one of the trenches. The chilling events that followed are taken from the war diary....

"The Germans, preceded by a large number of bombers, who from some accounts were dressed in khaki, with white bands on their right arms, jumped into our front line trenches as the guns lifted and must have been well across "no mans land" before the bombardment lifted"

Once in our trenches the Germans found little resistance, what troops were left would have been worn out, most likely wounded and most definitely in shock  of the tragic situation which had just unfolded.  The enemy moved through the communication trenches but were stopped in their tracks by the B.E.F in the support trenches.

It was decided that a counter attack would take place and the 7th Lincolnshire Regiment and the 7th Border Regiment were brought in to back up the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The outcome of this attack was summed up in one small sentence "The counter attack was not successful".

Private Henry Millband lost his life at an unknown time during the tragic events of 14th February 1916.  The surviving men of the Battalion were relieved in the trenches on 15th February.  A counter attack with bombs was also ordered, but sadly this to was unsuccessful.
 





Henry Millband, Private 18143 is remembered at The Menin Gate Memorial in the Belgian city of Ypres.  His name can be found inscribed on the panel 39 or 41.




Harry was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.

Life went on....


Ada Randell (formerly Millband) may have died in 1935 aged 60 years old. 

Charles Millband the brother of Harry also enlisted and served during the Great War.






Charles enlisted on 5th September 1914.  He was posted with the 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, Private 23836. 

He was 5ft 7 3/4 inches tall, weighed 125lbs.

His complexion was fair, with blue eyes and fair hair.

Charles religion was Wesleyan.

 
He remained with the Leicestershire Regiment until 27th February 1915, just two weeks after his brother Harry had been killed in action Charles was transferred to the 10th Battalion Sherwood Forester Regiment.  The same battalion as Harry had served with, which he and many fellow comrades had fallen on 14th February 1916.  How this must have felt for Charles we cannot imagine, he would be able to speak with Harry's surviving chums of the battalion, hear about the battle which took his elder brother, of the good times and the bad. 

Charles kindly wrote home to New Whittington as he is reported in the Derbyshire Times as having written to another local man's parents John Longmate, to inform them of his being reported as "missing in action". 




Charles served from 14th July 1915 until 18th August 1916 in France.  He was wounded on 6th August 1916 when he received a gun shot wound to the left hand.  He returned to England on 19th August 1916.  Charles was given recuperation time and then he was transferred to employment with the National Shell Filling Factory at Chillwell, Nottinghamshire. 



Charles was eventually discharged as being "no longer fit for war service" on 29th November 1917.  He was awarded the Silver War Badge on 17th January 1918 aged 23 years old, Charles was a civilian once more.

Charles may have married Florence Smith in 1918.  They were living in Nottingham in 1939 with three children.  There is a possible death registered for Charles Millband in Nottingham in 1962.


John "Herbert" Randall  & Cecil Randall I have been unable to find any definite records for the two half brothers of Harry Millband.  If anyone has any further information to add please contact me.


Asfordby Parish Hall Memorial....

Asfordby Parish Hall Memorial
with kind thanks to the Asfordby Parish Council

Harry Millband was not forgotten by his home village of Asfordby, he was remembered on the memorial which was erected in the Asfordby Parish Hall.
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With kind thanks to Asfordby Parish Council
for the photograph of the memorial
plaque.


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If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Harry Millband 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.

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Ref and further reading  -

Census
Parish registers
School admission register - Ashfordby Church of England School
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Probate register
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times
CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org

Illustrations via the Internet Archive  free book images.
War diary 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters - Ref WO 95 2002/2-1