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, 14 February 2016



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)

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.

With kind thanks to Asfordby Parish Council
for the photograph of the memorial


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.


Ref and further reading  -

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

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