George. T. Andrews

George was born in December 1894 in Ravenstone. He was employed as a miner at nearby Ibstock Colliery. George enlisted at Coalville in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth (1/5th) Leicestershire Battalion. On his final leave in early 1915 before embarking for France, George’s last words to his distraught parents before he boarded the train at Coalville Station were: “I will do my best to avenge my brother’s death”. His brother had already been killed in the first onslaught. George was to spend nearly five months on the Western Front, as a private soldier in ‘B’ Company until his death, being killed instantly on the 23rd July 1915, aged twenty years. “It is with much regret that I have to write to tell you of the loss of your son Private George Andrews on Friday night last. The enemy exploded a mine immediately under the trench where your son was standing. Every search has been made for him but unfortunately we have been unable to find him, and this will always be the case. We shall erect a cross where your son was last seen. George’s name can be read on the War Memorial in Ravenstone Churchyard.

Major Baker

Major was the third son of Mr & Mrs Joseph Baker, and was born in 1896 in Hugglescote.
He became a collier at the South Leicestershire Colliery in Ellistown . Major (2431) enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion; however, by April of 1915 he was serving with the 2/5th (Reserve) Battalion. Major would have been involved in subduing the Easter Irish Up-rising in Dublin in 1916, and in March 1917 was near to Mericourt on the Western Front. It was reported in the Coalville Times of the 4th May 1917 that he was very badly wounded. Lance Corporal Major Baker wrote a letter to his parents, explaining that both of his feet had been amputated due to the seriousness of the injuries received. He also stated that he was hospitalised in France, but hoped to return to England shortly. Major survived his fearsome wounds.

Walter Saddington Baker

Walter was born in Coalville on the 5th November 1889. He was educated in Coalville and grew to be a very able and intelligent young man. He was teaching administration skills to others at the age of 14 and also taught piano and organ, which he mastered at a relatively young age. Upon leaving school he took up the position of costing clerk at Stableford’s Wagon Works, Coalville, and continued his studies to become a draughtsman by means of a correspondence course. Walter enlisted at Coalville in mid August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Major Baker, above was his first cousin. His sharp-mind was soon noticed and he was sent to Aldershot to familiarise himself with various military techniques and methods. Walter departed Liverpool Docks on the 21st May 1915 aboard H.M.T. ‘Mauritania’ headed for the Mediterranean. He was soon promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After his first leave of war in 1918, Walter returned to the Western Front and assisted in the final push for victory. Walter was very proud as 155 Brigade led the ceremonial entry parade into Mons, Belgium, on the 15th November 1918; it was the same town that the initial conflict had started in 1914.After assisting in the wind-down of regimental affairs he was finally demobbed in February 1919. His outstanding contribution to the war-effort deservedly earned a Meritorious Service Medal and a ‘Mention in Despatches’.

William Baker

William was born in October 1897 in Stamford, Lincolnshire. His father, George, took his family to Leicestershire to gain employment at Ellistown Colliery. They lived at 2, Ashburton Road, Hugglescote (next door to Wilfred Robinson of the Fifty). Upon leaving school he followed his father down the mines when he obtained a job at Bagworth Colliery. Young William enlisted at Coalville in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion and although only sixteen years of age (nearly seventeen) he was accepted following a white lie. During service with the Fifth Battalion, William (2554) was wounded and hospitalised for a time. When fully recovered he was reposted to the 1st Leicestershire Battalion (40739), and died of wounds near to Loos in France on the 5th September 1917. William, the ‘company orderly’, was accompanying the Commanding Officer to the trenches when a shell-explosion killed him instantly. William was only nineteen years of age when he met his death after serving two and a half years on the Western Front. His name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial, and also on a tablet in St. John Baptist Church in Hugglescote.

James Bancroft

James was born in the 1890s in Thringstone, a village two kilometres north of Coalville. He lived on John Street. James enlisted at Coalville in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He was wounded in 1915, treated in France and hospitalised in England, and upon recovery was reallocated to the 8th Leicestershire Battalion (110th Brigade of the New Army). The Battalion was in trenches at Epehy on the Cambrai Sector of France when the Germans launched their huge Spring Offensive on the 21st March 1918. Throughout the day the battle raged in Epehy, hand-to-hand fighting from one street to the next, with ruined houses and cellars proving excellent cover for both sides, especially snipers. As the cover of night descended, the enemy launched another heavy barrage to prevent allied reinforcements from reaching the battlefront. It is no longer possible (if ever) to learn what happened to Private James Bancroft (2564-240636) who lost his life on that day. James’s name is remembered on the War Memorial Plaque in St. Andrew’s Church.

Frederick Bartlam

Frederick was born in the 1890s in Osbaston, a village some ten kilometres (seven miles) south of Coalville. Frederick was residing in Coalville and had many friends and associates in the town. His mother was a resident of Osbaston, however his father had died on the 8th July 1914. Whether his death influenced Frederick’s decision is uncertain, but he enlisted at Market Bosworth in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Frederick (2561) was one of many Leicestershire soldiers who fell at the charge in the Battle of Hohenzollern Redoubt on the 13th October 1915. The Coalville Times published notice of his death on the 10th December 1915, and informed readers that he was one of the original first fifty and was very popular with all his associates. Frederick’s name can be read on the Memorial in the Market Place of Market Bosworth.

Cecil Thomas Beadman

Mr & Mrs Thomas Beadman and their sons moved into the area from East Grinstead in Sussex. Cecil was their first-born son in 1895. He studied at evening classes and passed Board of Education Examinations in Drawing. Due to his exceptional ability and efforts, Cecil was employed as a draughtsman in the drawing office of Wootton Brothers, an internationally known iron-works company. Samuel Boot Snr – the father of Sam Boot (another of the first fifty) worked on a lathe for the same company. Mrs Beadman died suddenly in July 1914, and in the middle of the following month Cecil enlisted at Coalville into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. On the night of the 14-15th May 1915, Cecil was in a large party of battalion-men digging a much-required new trench at Zillebeke in the Ypres Salient. The War Diary states: “All digging records were broken as a consequence of enemy fire”. The Germans could hear the digging and randomly raked the inky-dark area with machine-gun fire. Cecil (2566) was killed by a burst of bullets and died instantly. The Coalville Times of the 28th May 1915 confirms the death of a ‘Hugglescote Territorial’ and the detail about him being one of the first fifty. Cecil was just twenty years of age. Cecil is buried near to his best pal, Sam Boot, at Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery, just to the south of Kemmel. Cecil’s name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial, and also on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church, Hugglescote.

George Harry Bennett

George was born in the 1890s in Pike Street, Shepshed. George was a collier, and enlisted at Coalville into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. George suffered the hell-like conditions of ‘life’ on the Western Front. He was a frontline soldier at battlefronts Ypres, Hohenzollern (Loos), and Vimy Ridge. He was wounded at Gommecourt on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916. (There were sixty thousand British casualties on that day alone, mostly in the first hour of battle). A bullet ripped through his forearm, permanently damaging guides, tendons, etc. Following his initial treatment at Boulogne Hospital he was forwarded to York Hospital. The serious bullet injury to his left arm meant that his left hand was ‘locked like a claw’and he saw no more service. He and his wife had four children and he was involved in the Miners’ Strike of 1926. He was struck down by T.B. (Tuberculosis) in 1940. The following four long years of World War 2 and rationing did not help, and in-spite of his strong will and Markfield Sanatorium’s greatest efforts, he succumbed in 1945 to what was largely an incurable illness at that time.

John George Bennett

Always called George, but not related to the above. He was born on the 3rd April 1895 in Hugglescote. Upon leaving school he obtained a job as a fitter at Wootton Brothers’ internationally known Iron Works Company. He enlisted in his hometown in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. George met his death on the 15th July 1915, aged just twenty years at Trench 35, infamously labelled as ‘Bomb Corner’ near to Hill 60 in the Ypres Salient of Belgium. George’s last letter home was dated the 11th July 1915: “ I am writing to say that we are off to the trenches in all probability tonight. I don’t feel very well, but if I land up there all right I shall be better. Thanks very much for the parcel, but I don’t feel like eating much at present. The reason is I cannot keep anything down. Anyhow, one cannot always feel up to the mark, but it makes it rather bad, as you have to get along just the same, unless you are absolutely done. I can’t tell you any more as it is posting time, so remember me to all the neighbours and give my love to the kiddies. Wish me the best of luck. Your ever-loving son, George”. Mr. J. Bennett received confirmation of the death of his son dated the 23rd July1915 from the Record Office at Lichfield: “It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has been received this day from the War Office notifying of the death of No 2558, Private J.G. Bennett, of the 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. The death occurred on the field of battle and I am to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Army Council on your loss. The cause of death was wounds”. Another letter arrived: “The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in their sorrow. “Kitchener”. The Coalville Times of the 30th July 1915 prints the details of the death of one of the Fifty. George’s name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial, and on a tablet in St. John The Baptist Church at Hugglescote.

Harold Groves Blackham

Harold was born in 1893 at Smethwick, now a suburb of Birmingham. He was the son of Mr. A. P. Blackham, Conservative Agent. Harold was living in digs in Hugglescote. He enlisted at Coalville in mid-August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He was employed as a clerk for Mr. W. Baldwin, the Conservative Agent for the Bosworth Division of Leicestershire. The War Diary states: ‘The Battalion was in the Messines Sector of Belgium with the headquarters in nearby Kemmel. Colonel Jones had found a new home for himself in the village—a small shop in a lesser street. He had been there for less than twenty-four hours, when at mid-day on the 4th June 1915, the Germans started to bombard the area with their deadly 5.9 inch shells. The colonel was in discussion with Colonel Jessop of the 4th Battalion, just outside of the house, with two orderlies Robert Bacchus (1441) a pre-war Territorial from Rempstone, and Harold Blackham (2553) holding the two horses close by. The very first shell that came over exploded amongst them! Colonel Jones was injured in the hand, neck and thigh, whilst the other three men were killed, so too the horses. Harold was just twenty-one years of age.
When his father received notification of his death he wrote: “Such sympathy as we have received helps us to bear our sorrow. It is gratifying to know that our dear lad was so beloved, and we have the satisfaction of knowing that he died nobly, fully prepared to meet his God, in the cause of freedom, King and country. He died for others. The Coalville Times of the 25th June 1915 prints regarding the death of another of the Fifty. Harold’s name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial, and on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church at Hugglescote.

Edgar Ewart Boot

Edgar was born in 1894 in Coalville. He was the son of Mr & Mrs Arthur Boot of 43, Park Road in the town. Edgar attended Christ Church Bible Class and played for their successful league championship side of 1909-10, alongside Walter Handford and Thomas Catlow, two more of the Fifty. After leaving school he was employed at Stableford’s Wagon Works until he enlisted at Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Edgar was badly gassed during the charge at the Battle of Hohenzollern Redoubt on the 13th October 1915, and received three months treatment at Manchester Hospital. The Coalville Times of the 7th January 1916 commented that, Edgar, one of the Fifty, was much improved and would soon be returning to Battalion Headquarters. He received promotion to corporal with the service number 58972, before once again being wounded and forwarded for hospitalisation in England. Edgar survived the conflict and in 1919 returned to work at Stableford’s, and at the time of its closure in 1928 held a senior position within the company. Enquiries lead to an assumption that at best there is only a distant relationship with the soldier below.

Ernest Samuel Boot

Always known as Sam. He was born in Hugglescote in 1897. Sam operated a lathe at Wootton Brothers Iron Works, and young Sam’s best friend, Cecil Beadman was a draughtsman at the same company. Sam was working at Stableford’s Wagon Works at the outbreak of the war. He volunteered in Ashby de la Zouch, perhaps thinking he’d be less known there, he was only a little over seventeen years of age. With the customary white lie he was accepted, and was far from being alone with such a falsification. On the 1st April 1915, the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion took over some shallow, hurriedly dug and particularly dangerous frontline trenches in the Messines Sector of Belgium. The trenches were badly exposed, being situated on the lower slopes of the German held hillock of Spanbroekmolen (Hill 76). Several lads were to lose their lives, invariably by sniping. It was on the 15th April 1915 that young Sam died. A witness, Private John George Bennett said that he died instantly when a German sniper’s bullet found its target, his head. He was approaching his eighteenth birthday. A friend, almost certainly Cecil Beadman, took a photograph of the wooden cross upon his grave and sent it to his parents, and his grave can be seen at Lindenhoek Chalet Military Cemetery, just south of Kemmel. It appears that Sam Boot was the first of the Fifty to die in the Great War. Despite all of his training, it was said that he never fired his rifle in anger. Private Ernest Samuel’s grave is in Plot 2, Row H, and Grave Number 3 at Lindenhoek Military Cemetery. He lies near to his best pal, Cecil Beadman. Sam’s name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial, and also on a tablet in St. John Baptist Church in Hugglescote.

Albert Cecil Bradshaw

Always called Cecil, he was born on the 23rd July 1895 in Coalville. He was employed as a blacksmith at Stableford’s Wagon Works. Cecil enlisted in Coalville in the third week of August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He proved to be a very capable soldier and was promoted to lance corporal in 1915 and to a full corporal a year later. Wounded at the storming and capture of the Somme village of Gommecourt in March 1917, he was admitted to hospital in France with a gunshot wound to the knee and suffering from shell shock. Cecil wrote to his parents explaining these details and telling them not to worry, and that he was getting-on as well as could be expected. The Coalville Times of the 24th August 1917, proudly exclaimed that Corporal A. C. Bradshaw, ‘One of the Fifty’, was at home on leave for the week after being involved in much fighting. Cecil met his death one month before Armistice Day. He was killed whilst serving as a Lance-Sergeant, still with the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion on 11th October 1918. His final battle was in France, close to Riquerval Wood, about twenty-five kilometres (fifteen miles) northeast of St. Quentin. He was 23. His name can be read on the town’s Clock Tower Memorial and the war memorial in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Coalville.

Fred Briers

Fred was born on the 21st November 1892 in a cottage owned by Stableford’s Wagon Works on Mantle Lane, Coalville. His father worked for the company, and Fred attended the local Belvoir Road School, and later followed his father into employment for the same engineering works. Fred enlisted in Coalville in late August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He was injured very early in the campaign; a photograph shows him with a walking stick. Following hospital treatment and recovery he was allocated to the 7th Leicestershire Battalion (16025). Details reveal that in 1918 he was an acting-corporal (TR/5/19158 with H Company of the 53rd Y.S B.N. N.F.S.) Fred married Nellie Baker whilst in his late thirties (related to Walter Baker of the Fifty). They had three children. A tall and imposing military figure even after the war, he served in Coalville’s Home Guard during World War 2. He was for many years a chief inspector and administrator for Midland Red Buses and later was manager of Coalville’s Midland Red Bus Service garage. Fred was a very good friend of Tom Catlow (another of the Fifty), and a bus conductor for the same company. He died on the 9th January 1986, aged ninety-three years.

Thomas Lord Catlow

Thomas (Tom) was born on the 24th January 1889 in Coalville. He proved his worth as an excellent footballer, playing for the church team, which won the 1909-10 League. The goalkeeper in that side was Walter Handford, one of the Fifty as was outfielder, Edgar Ewart Boot. After leaving school, he became an apprentice blacksmith at Stableford’s Wagon Works. Tom, together with several pals enlisted in their hometown into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. During the course of the war he was badly wounded and discharged from the Army, spending the remainder of the war working in a munitions factory in Nottingham. After this, work was hard to come by but his fortunes improved when one of his old military pals, Fred Briers, who was a chief inspector on Midland Red Buses, helped to obtain for him the position of a bus conductor. This was typical of the surviving twenty-two members of the Fifty, who for the remainder of their lives did their utmost to support each other during some very difficult times. Harold said that although his father rarely spoke of his military experiences he remembers his warm friendships with Walter Handford, Jabez Emmerson, Fred Briers and Charles Hatter. Tom died on the 22nd January 1978, having reached the age of 88 years.

Charles Cavendish

Charles Cavendish was born on the 14th October 1885, in Kensington, London. He later moved to the Coalville area with his family. 1n 1916, aged 16, he moved to Hugglescote to live with a coal miner and his wife. Charles became employed as a miner at South Leicestershire Colliery until war broke out. He travelled to Loughborough to join the 5th Leicestershire Battalion. He served with the Battalion until he was wounded at Ypres, and following a period of recovery was allocated to the Fourth (1/4th) Leicestershire Battalion, after their heavy losses at the Battle of Hohenzollern Redoubt. He was again wounded, this time to the head by shrapnel during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, and was hospitalised for seven weeks. On the 21st October 1917, Charles was wounded yet again, dangerously so in the chest by shrapnel from a bomb dropped by a German aircraft. He was in the St. Elie Left Sector, just to the south of the Hohenzollern Redoubt. He returned to England for hospital treatment, and then rejoined his mates at the frontline in France by March 1918. On June 18th Charles, with others, was gassed on the outskirts of the village of Gorre, and recovered sufficiently to return to his unit. After displaying tremendous bravery and determination on several occasions Private Charles Cavendish (241465) was killed on 2nd July 1918. He was victim to a high-explosive shell that killed him instantly. He has no resting place and his name is commemorated on Pane 42/44 at the Loos Memorial, and also can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial. He was just 32 years old.

Arthur Congrave

Arthur was born in 1897 in Ravenstone and was a good friend of Harry (Henry) Walker, another of the Fifty. Upon leaving school he obtained employment at Stableford’s Wagon Works in Coalville. Arthur enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion, aged seventeen. Arthur (2545) was badly wounded at Monchy au Bois in France, and had to have his right leg amputated and, for anything other than short journeys, he used an invalid carriage. Whilst in hospital in France his mother travelled to visit him. He was later transferred to a hospital at Edmonton. For many years, Arthur kept on his mantelpiece the jagged piece of shell casement, that had ripped into his upper thigh and which caused him so much pain and anguish. Arthur married Emma Bentley, the daughter of Ely Bentley, a local farmer, and they had four children. Arthur spent most of his working life in the Lamp Cabin at Snibston Colliery, where another of the Fifty, namely Jabez Emmerson, was the manager. Arthur died in 1970 and lies buried in Ravenstone Churchyard.

Joseph William Cowley

Joseph (mostly called Bill) was born in 1896 and lived with his family in Hugglescote. Coming from a musical family, Bill was a chorister at St. John the Baptist Church in the village. Upon leaving school he followed the traditional route of many of his friends and became a miner, working for a spell at South Leicestershire Colliery before moving to Stableford’s Wagon Works as a blacksmith’s striker. Later his mining skills were to be put to use beneath the battlefields of the Great War. Bill Cowley along with his school friends Bill Massey and Cecil Beadman were among the early volunteers to sign up at Coalville into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. In the spring of 1915 ‘tunnel-mining’ was a serious problem. The Germans were digging and detonating high explosives beneath our lines. Lieutenant Aubrey Moore, a qualified mine surveyor, asked for volunteers to form a counter-tunnelling section. Twenty-four men volunteered. Bill was one of them. It was never possible to detect all of the enemy mines, and on the evening of the 23rd July 1915 one devastated a huge section of the Battalion’s frontline. Many died instantly, some suffocated under mounds of earth and casualties were heavy. On the 1st July 1916 began the Battle of the Somme. Prior to this period, British tunnellers had been very active in the Somme region, preparing several enormous mines that were to be exploded concurrently on that opening day. Later, a similar operation was to apply in the area of the Messines Ridge in Belgium. Private William Cowley (2560) was killed on the 8th May 1916, aged just 20 years. He remains buried in the tunnel. His name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, in France. He is also remembered on the town’s Clock Tower Memorial, and also on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church at Hugglescote. Shortly after Bill’s death, on Empire Day, the Church School’s flag was set at half-mast in his memory.

Henry Cramp

Henry was born in the 1890s and was the son of John Cramp. Little is known of him except that he managed his father’s hairdressing business in Ellistown. He enlisted at Coalville in mid-August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. In the Coalville Times of the 29th June 1917, it announced that he had earlier received wounds whilst fighting with the Fifth Battalion in France. It continued that after recovery Henry was posted to another unit fighting in the Salonica Campaign (Balkans) against the Bulgarians. He was subsequently wounded again and was hospitalised in Malta. The article proudly stated that: ‘He was one of the first fifty volunteers’. Henry survived the war.

Charles Dedman

‘Charley’ was born in 1887 in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. Research finds him working for a Mr. R. Tebbett, a saddler on Hotel Street, Coalville from 1904-14, and during this time he lived in nearby Swannington. Charley (2450) enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. It is ironic that for several weeks of his military training, he was based in the town of his birth. It is assumed that he was wounded and reposted, because little is known until his death. Charley received a bullet to the head whilst serving as a rifleman with the 13th Kensington (County of London, Princess Louise’s Battalion), the London Regiment. His battalion reported him missing on the 9th September 1916, and he was laid to rest at Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, on the Somme. (Revised service number 7948). The Commonwealth War Graves Commission gives his age as twenty-nine years. A friend in Swannington received a letter from a French soldier, Clesse Noel, who sympathetically wrote that Charley had been struck in the head by a German bullet, from which he died. He added that he was buried two hundred yards northeast of (censored), and that he found the Swannington address on a photograph lying near to his body. A lot of friends attended his burial and the grave is marked by a little wooden cross”. The Coalville Times of the 17th November 1916 confirmed his death and wrote that his mother still resided in Sawbridgeworth, and that she still had three other sons fighting in the Forces. His name can be read on the War Memorial Plaque in Swannington Church (spelt Deadman).

Jabez Emmerson. D.C.M.

Jabez was born in Bagworth, a small mining village five kilometres (three miles) southeast of Coalville in 1894. He enlisted in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. In February 1915 the Battalion landed at Le Havre, France. Jabez (2532) was in No8 Platoon, ‘C’ Company, and quickly received promotion to lance corporal and kept a diary of his activities in 1915. Jabez continued to demonstrate great leadership qualities and was promoted to sergeant. He was selected as an officer cadet and sent for officer training to Scotland in July 1916. On the 25th October 1916 he was commissioned and transferred to the 7th Leicestershire Battalion. The Coalville Times of the 19th October 1917 stated that Jabez had been admitted into hospital in France with severe gunshot wounds to the leg. He participated in some of the worst conflicts of the war and possessed outstanding leadership qualities. After the war he returned to Coalville and continued as a mining surveyor until 1924, when he became manager of Snibston Colliery. Jabez died on the 1st April 1980, and his ashes lie close to his friend Walter Handford’s in St. David’s Garden of Remembrance. It is believed that Jabez was the last of the Famous Fifty to pass-on.

William Henry Emmerson

William, brother of Jabez, was born in Bagworth in 1888. Whilst working as a mining surveyor, he enlisted at Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. William Emmerson used all of his surveying knowledge and skills as a tunneller alongside his brother, Jabez, in the early stages of the war. He fought in the Battle of Hohenzollern, surviving unscathed, however, within a few days he was suffering from severe stomach cramps, and was sent to Cambridge Hospital for treatment (appendix removed). He quietly won promotion to Quarter Master Sergeant and remained with the Fifth Leicestershire for the full four years. After the war, William returned to the mining surveyor position that had been retained for him, at Swanick Colliery, Derbyshire. In 1948 he held the position of senior surveyor and was responsible for six local pits. William, quieter than his brother, yet equally intelligent, died on the 22nd March 1973.

Francis Glynn

‘Frank’ resided at 119, North Street at Whitwick. Little is known of him other than following school he was employed as a miner at a local colliery. He enlisted at Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion, ‘D’ Company. At the outbreak of the war he was working at Stableford’s Wagon Works, Coalville. The Coalville Times of the 15th January 1915 prints a ‘Stableford’s Roll of Honour’, listing the names of seventy-three ex-employees now serving with the King’s Forces. During his spell with the Fifth Battalion, Frank (2527) utilised his mining experience as part of Lieutenant Aubrey Moore’s Tunnelling section. It seems that his abilities were sought after, because he was subsequently transferred and completed the war as a Sapper (WR/179208) with the Royal Engineers. Frank survived the war.

Walter Gray

Walter was born in Hugglescote in 1894. Amongst his good friends were Fred Briers, Walter Baker, Victor Woolley, George Bennett and John Williamson. Following school he was employed as a driller at Stableford’s Wagon Works. At the time of his enlistment in Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion, he and his brother James were living at his Auntie Gray’s house, 183, Belvoir Road, Coalville. Victor Woolley, one of the Fifty wrote from the trenches to inform Mr & Mrs Gray of their son’s death. A letter from Lichfield Territorial Office confirmed it. Private Walter Gray (2528) died on the evening of the 23rd July 1915, when the Germans blew a mine under Trench 50, close to Hill 60, in the Ypres Salient. The Coalville Times of the 24th September 1915 chronicled Walter’s death. Walter’s body was never found. He is remembered on the Menin Gate War Memorial in Ypres, Belgium and his name can be read on Ebenezer Chapel’s Roll of Honour, on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church, Hugglescote, and on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial. He was a mere twenty years of age when he met his death.

Isaac Hall

Isaac was born in Thringstone in 1896. Following school, he was employed as a miner at Whitwick Colliery. Isaac enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He was seventeen years old. The Coalville Times of the 26th February 1915 released a letter sent to his wife, whereby he wrote the weather had been bitterly cold but now he was in ‘a hot spot’, but it is all in a good cause. The same newspaper on the 5th April 1915 confirmed his death, and wrote that he was the first Whitwick soldier (he was living there pre-war) to be killed in the war. Isaac (2521) met his death at the same time as Walter Gray and George Andrews on the 23rd July 1915. He was aged eighteen years. A German mine exploded under trench 50 close to Hill 60, in the Ypres Sector. Fortunately Isaac’s body was located in that melee of death and destruction and he is buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, close to where he fell in the Ypres Salient, Belgium. His name can be read on the War memorial in St. Andrew’s Church.

James Horace Hall

James was born in Whitwick in 1895. After leaving school he was employed at Stableford’s Wagon Works, where his father also had employment. He enlisted at Coalville in mid August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion and was wounded in Belgium. Later he was sent home with ‘trench feet’. Upon recovery he was reposted to the 1st Leicestershire Battalion and on October 14th 1917 sent a field card home stating that he was quite well. He was delighted because he had just been promoted to lance corporal. A letter received on Monday 29th October 1917 informed his parents that their only son was killed in action on the 15th October 1917. He was killed in the Loos Sector of France. The Coalville Times of the 2nd November 1917 notified readers of the death of another of the Fifty. James’s name can be read on the tablet at the Wesleyan Church and also on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial.

Walter Handford

Walter was born on the 28th August 1893 in Wigston, later moving to Coalville as a toddler with his parents. An early photograph of Walter shows him as goalkeeper for Christ Church (Coalville) Football League Team, Champions 1909-10. Two other members of the team were also in the Fifty, namely Thomas Catlow and Edgar Boot. He was a medallist from the Victoria College of Music. Upon leaving college he became music-master at Ashby Boys’ High School, also the choirmaster and organist for St. Helen’s Church, Ashby. Walter was among the first to enlist. He was already friendly with the confident, outgoing Jabez Emmerson and that friendship continued for the remainder of his life. Walter was a trusted and respected non-commissioned officer with the Battalion. The Coalville Times of the 7th January 1916 proudly reported that Walter Handford, one of the ‘Famous Fifty’ had been in Coalville during the week; he was on leave from France. In the same newspaper of the 11th August 1916 it states that he had been wounded, no other details. Promotions followed and he was selected as an officer cadet. He returned home for a spell of leave at the end of 1917 before passing on to Trinity College, Cambridge for Officer Training. Walter returned to the frontlines to take his place initially as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Ninth Leicestershire Battalion of the 110th Brigade, Leicestershire Regiment. However, heavy losses meant a reorganisation and he became an officer in the Eighth Battalion. On the 27th May 1918 Walter Handford was among a group of brave men who had no option but to lay down their arms and surrender to the Germans. He survived a terrible six months before returning home in January 1919. He opened a greengrocer shop at 121, Belvoir Road, Coalville. Walter died from heart failure on the 22nd November 1977.

Isaac Harper

Isaac was born in the 1890s in Hugglescote. Little is known of him other than he worshipped at St. John The Baptist Church and attended the Church School. Isaac volunteered at Coalville in mid-August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion and has the service number of 2522. The Coalville Times of the 19th March 1915 has his name listed along with nearly seventy others in a Roll of Honour of ‘old boys’ now serving in the King’s Forces. His serial number and Battalion is clearly listed with many others in the same battalion. John Harper (below) has the service number of 2523 in the same battalion, but their relationship is unknown – perhaps they were brothers or cousins who joined the 5th Leicestershire’s within minutes of each other. Isaac Harper survived the war.

John W. Harper

‘Jack’ was born in 1892 in Hugglescote. Jack was employed as a blacksmith’s striker by Stableford’s Wagon Works. He enlisted at his hometown during mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He rapidly won the admiration and respect of his comrades and proved himself a good leader on the field of battle. At the time of his death he was a sergeant in charge of the Lewis-Gun section, under the command of Captain Aubrey Moore of ‘C’ Company. The Battalion had recently moved to the frontline near to Fosse 3, (Lens Sector) when a shell burst at the entrance of the Company’s Headquarters. He was one of seven wounded but died the following day, the 7th June 1917. He was aged twenty-five years.
Captain Aubrey Moore wrote to his parents: ‘It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that your son, Sergeant John Harper has died of wounds received on the night of June 6th. An enemy shell dropped on the road killing and wounding some men who were with your son. Please accept the deepest sympathy of the officers, N. C. O.’s and men of the Company. Your son was a general favourite with everyone and we deplore his loss bitterly. As you no doubt know he was in charge of the company’s Lewis guns, and was a thoroughly capable instructor, and a most valuable man. I shall have a very hard task to replace such a man. He did his duty and was a thorough sportsman, always bright and cheerful. Words fail to express my deep regret in your sad loss. If ever a man did his duty for his country it was your son and he died a soldier’. Sergeant ‘Jack’ Harper is remembered on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial and on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church at Hugglescote.

Frederick Wilfred Hart

Frederick was born in 1895 in Burton on Trent in Staffordshire. Whilst he was young, the family moved to 35, London Road in Coalville. One of his school friends was Jack Harper. The L. and N.W.R. Railway at Coalville employed Frederick as a train-engine cleaner. Frederick (2535) and Charlie Hatter (2534) enlisted together at Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Afterwards, the pair went for a drink to celebrate receiving the ‘King’s shilling’ and to toast a future victory. On the 8th June 1915, the Battalion was on the slopes of Spanbroekmolen (Hill 76) in the Messines Sector of Belgium. Here, Frederick lost his life aged just 20. In the personal effects sent back to his friend’s parents, Mr & Mrs Jewsbury, was an unfinished letter: “Simply glorious day. Day five in the trenches –soon to leave for a rest. Quiet during the day—more fun at nights”. Several lads had already been sniped in the shallow trenches and they were being deepened when Frederick returned to his lookout role. Frederick’s suspicion had been aroused and he had just told one of his pals to keep down, when a rifle shot was heard and a bullet entered his chest. A friend described the scene, “He sank to his knees with a look of puzzlement---stunned. He then fell over backwards trapping his knees under his body. We pulled him in but we knew he was dead—the bullet had passed through his heart, and he’d lost a lot of blood”. Frederick’s name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial and on a tablet in the Wesleyan Church.

Charles Hatter

Charlie was born in Hugglescote on the 26th April 1894. Among his school friends were
William (Bill) Massey, Bill Cowley, Cecil Beadman and Jack Harper. He undertook a blacksmith- apprenticeship at Stableford’s Wagon Works. He furthered his education at night school. Bill Massey and Charlie were best friends and they took-up amateur boxing around 1910 and displayed their skills to many an audience on the county circuit. They signed up together and on the 23rd July 1915 he rescued Bill after the enemy blew a mine under their trenches. Bill was shaken and partly buried, but his best pal frantically dug him out, and in turn they saved others. Three of the Fifty, George Andrews, Isaac Hall and Walter Gray were killed by the blast. Charlie’s first wound came when the enemy artillery shelled the area. Pte Charles Hatter was stunned and peppered by shrapnel following a shell exploding near to him, and was sent to hospital for treatment and recuperation. In July 1917, Charlie felt a ‘thud in the back’. He couldn’t move and just lay there for three nights and two days. On the third night he managed to crawl back to the trenches. He made a full recovery despite the bullet never being removed from its place near his backbone. He survived the war but could not return to his job as a blacksmith due to the adverse affects of the forge-smoke on his gas affected lungs. He passed away on the 24th January 1970.

Arthur William Hodgetts

Always known as Dennis, he was born in Leicester on the 16th May 1897. The family moved to Coalville after Dennis’s father obtained employment down the mines. Dennis, a very good young footballer, left school and followed his father working at a local colliery. He enlisted at Coalville in mid August into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. During the next three years, Dennis experienced some appalling situations and great emotional upheavals. He faced heavy shell bombardments, machine gun fire, asphyxiating gas, trench mortars, and sniping. He went ‘over the top’ in such battles as Ypres, Hohenzollern (Loos), Vimy Ridge and the Somme. At some time during the final year, he was wounded or possibly gassed, and did not recover until after the Armistice. Shortly after the war Dennis left the pits and decided to train as an electrician with Balfour and Beatty. He suffered terrible family loss losing two baby sons and then his wife after she delivered a baby girl. Dennis bravely battled on the best he could, and enjoyed his lighter moments when his excellent footballing skills enabled him to play for Coalville Town F.C. Dennis died during a terrible accident, whilst undertaking an electrical repair, in which he was electrocuted when someone mistakenly turned the power back on. He was just over forty years of age.

Cecil Hurley D.C.M

Cecil was born in 1896 in Donisthorpe. He enlisted at Ashby in late August 1914. Little is known of the man’s early life, but he must have been a collier for he volunteered for Lieutenant Aubrey Moore’s counter-tunnelling section in the spring of 1915. Cecil was in good company, working alongside him were men of the calibre of Jabez and William Emmerson, Bill Cowley, Bill Toon, Harry Starbuck and William Barney. Clearly, he was a very brave man for undertaking this highly dangerous activity, and for his courageous displays was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. (D.C.M.). From 1916 onwards Cecil reverted to the role of an infantryman, and sadly Corporal Cecil Hurley (2579-240255) D.C.M. was killed on active service in the battle of Pontruet on the 24th September 1918. He rests at Bellingcourt British Cemetery, close to his friend George Underwood. It was during this battle that Lieutenant J.C.Barrett was awarded the Victoria Cross. He survived to within seven weeks of the Armistice after risking his life on the Western Front for nearly four years.

John Lowe

Always known as ‘Johnny’, he was born in 1893 in Coalville. Upon leaving school, Johnny found employment at South Leicestershire Colliery. He was a good pal to Frederick Hart and Charlie Jewsbury, and in addition they were in the same Coalville Scout Troop. Johnny enlisted at Coalville in mid-August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion, around the same time as Frederick. He also trained as a gunner and joined Charlie as part of the Machine Gun Corps, under the command of Lieutenant A.T. Sharpe. Neither officers, nor men, enjoyed the prospect of a machine-gun nest being situated close to them in the trench. The weapon was so devastating when in use, especially to troops caught in open ground, that as a preliminary to any attack the machine gun posts were always targeted for heavy shelling.
Johnny survived the war in a manner of speaking. A relative remembered ‘a shell-blast permanently upset the balance of his mind. Before the war he was a typical young man but afterwards he had the shakes, “it was upsetting to see”.

William Massey

Always Bill. He was born in 1895 in Hanley, which is now a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. The family moved to Hugglescote at the turn of the century. Bill enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. After doing so, he had a chat and persuaded his best pal, Charles Hatter, to followed soon afterwards. The ‘likely lads’ were good soldiers and adapted smoothly to the rigours of army life and were very popular. This was especially so at Luton when one or two pre-war soldiers tried ‘with unnecessary force’ to bully some of the Fifty. Little did they know that William and Charlie were very good boxers. The bond within the Fifty was always very close and, for the survivors, this continued for life. On the evening of the 23rd July 1915, Bill (2512) was badly shocked and almost totally buried when the enemy detonated a mine under their trench (50) near to Hill 60, Ypres Sector. It is a fact that despite the furore of battle and the smoky twilight, Charlie heard his calls, found him and frantically dug him out. Shortly after, on the 8th August 1915, Bill was on duty in Trench 50, close to where he was almost buried some two weeks earlier, when he met his death at the age of twenty years. He was shot through the head when on sentry duty. His burial spot was repeatedly fought over during the war years and so no trace of his body survived. His name is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. Also it can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial and on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church ain Hugglescote.

William Newbold

William was born in 1896 in Coalville but as an infant the family moved to Hugglescote. After leaving school he was employed by the Midland Meat Company of Coalville. He enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. William embarked for France in February 1915, but was wounded in the fighting at Ypres in August of the same year. When, after several months he was fully recovered from his wounds he was reposted to Lord Kitchener’s New Army, joining the 9th Leicestershire Battalion. It is possible he was involved in the very heavy fighting around the Arras Sector in the early part of 1917 onwards, and certainly participated in the action at Polygon Wood from 1st October 1917 (Ypres Sector). Private William Newbold (2493-40229) was killed in the fighting at the aforementioned Wood on the 31st October 1917. The Coalville Times of the 30th November 1917, prints a letter sent to his parents from his commanding officer: “ I should like to take the opportunity of saying how highly we all thought of him, and what a really good soldier he was. He was certainly one of the staunchest and most valuable men of my Company, and I offer my deepest sympathy, and that of his comrades. William’s name can be read on the Memorial Tablet in St. John the Baptist Church and on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial.

Walter Pettitt

Walter was born in 1895 at Horm-in-sea in Cambridgeshire . Whilst a child, the family moved to Hugglescote. Just prior to the war the Pettitt family moved yet again to Ellistown.
After leaving school, Walter obtained employment as a miner at nearby Nailstone Colliery. He enlisted at Coalville in early August 1914 into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. In the spring of 1915 he volunteered for Lieutenant Aubrey Moore’s tunnel counter-mining and was involved in operations at Messines and Ypres. He fought as a frontline soldier at the battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt and also on the Somme. Walter was awarded one week of home- leave in the latter part of July 1917, and was killed nine days after returning to his unit. He was marching in 4’s with B Company when an enemy shell fell amongst them. Eleven were killed outright, including Walter (2488-240564) and fourteen others were wounded.
Walter had been wounded earlier in the war and had three or four narrow escapes. On one occasion, he was saved by his tin flask that was strapped to his body. He left the flask as a keepsake with his parents. Walter was just twenty-one years of age when he died, and his name can be read on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial.

Wilfred Robinson

Wilfred was born in 1896 in Hugglescote. Next door lived William Baker, who attended the same school and was one of the Fifty. Wilfred (2482) enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. He was promoted and, the War Diary in August 1917 states: ‘Heavy trench-mortars were terrifying and few could face them with indifference, Lance Corporal W. Robinson and his Lewis Gun team treated them with scorn, and used rapid rifle fire at them’. Wilfred (53656) was transferred to the 56th Machine-Gun Corps and survived the conflict. Such transfers to this corps were not uncommon due to the high death rate amongst them, being especially targeted by the enemy artillery.

Thomas Robson

Tom was born in the 1890s and lived in Ellistown. He held the reputation for being the first man to volunteer from his village into the King’s Armed Forces. He enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. It was recorded in the Coalville Times of the 11th August 1916 that he had been wounded. Tom was a very good friend of Cliff Scott (another of the first fifty). Tom (2502) survived the war.

Clifford Ernest Scott

Cliff was born in 1895 in Blaby. His father was Station Master there, and shortly after Cliff’s birth he secured the same position at Coalville East Railway Station. After leaving school, Cliff became a Telegram Messenger and later he obtained a position of a clerk with the L. and N.W.R. Railways in his hometown. He enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion and became part of ‘A’ Company. He died in Ypres aged 20. The location was once again in Trench 50; where so many of ‘the pals’ died. On the 1st September 1915 our artillery bombarded the German lines and the Germans retaliated. His dugout was hit and his friends dug him out by hand. He was unconscious when rescued but the Medical Officer, Captain Barton, could not save his life. His best friends A.Tovell and T.Robson dug his grave.

John Summers and Sidney Summers

The brothers John and Sidney Summers were born in Hugglescote. Both were born in the 1890s. John enlisted in Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. At some future date he was switched to the 51st Machine-Gun Corps and promoted to Lance Corporal (2487-53654). John, after serving over three years on the Western Front was killed on the 20th July 1918. His brother Sidney (Sid) enlisted in early September 1914, again into the Fifth Battalion. Although a relatively late entrant it was regimental policy to keep brothers together where possible at this stage of the war. When a good friend of his, Bill Massey, was killed in August 1915 Sid wrote a very compassionate letter to Bill’s parents explaining how he was killed, and how much he was liked. Sid (3001-240897) remained with the Battalion for three-and-a half years until he was killed on the 24th September 1918 during the storming of the village of Pontruet (St. Quentin Sector), France. John and Sid have their names etched on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial and also on a tablet in St. John the Baptist Church at Hugglescote.

George William Underwood

George was born in Loughborough in 1896 and family circumstances meant he was taken in as a foster child by a couple in Whitwick. George enlisted at Coalville into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion (‘C’ Company), and was a drummer with the battalion band.
He suffered and survived for four years on the Western Front until he too was killed on the 24th September 1918. George (2456-240576) was killed in the storming of the village of Pontruet. It is sad that another of the Fifty, after serving for so long was killed six weeks before the Armistice. He was twenty-two years of age. He lies buried close to his friend, Cecil Hurley, at Bellingcourt British Cemetery. George’s name can be read on Whitwick Parish Church Memorial and also on the Coalville Clock Tower memorial.


Lawrence and Thomas Handley Usherwood

Born in Coalville, Lawrence and Thomas were sons of an engine driver with the local railway.
Before the war, Lawrence worked for Stableford’s Wagon Works. Thomas (Tom) was born in 1894 and became a Sunday school teacher on the Wesleyan Plan as a ‘preacher on trial’. He was employed on the office staff with Wootton Brothers. They were both enlistments at Coalville in early September 1914 and featured in the same Company. It seems that Thomas accidentally shot himself and died from wounds on 22nd March 1917. A Lieutenant H. S. Simpkin wrote to his bereaved parents, “It is with deepest sympathy that I have to write to inform you of the death of your son. His death occurred under the most unfortunate of circumstances whilst cleaning a revolver. No one was actually with him at the time of the accident and so it is impossible to give you fuller details. To me he was more than a friend and I cannot express my feeling at such a happening. May God help you to bear this terrible loss. I have all of his belongings and I will either send them or bring them to you. I am expecting to be home in a very short time and I will make it my duty to call and visit you in Coalville. Again please accept my deepest sympathy. Thomas was 22 years of age. Lawrence (2698) was promoted to a non commissioned officer and survived the war. Tom’s name can be read on the war memorial in the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial.

Arthur Walker

Arthur was born in 1895 in Coalville. Following his education, Arthur was employed as a miner at South Leicestershire Colliery. Arthur (2475-240586) enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Unfortunately, little is known of his military career, and if wounded there are no reports as such. He remained a dutiful soldier with the same battalion throughout the war, completing it as a private soldier. As far as can be traced, he was not related to Henry Walker (below).

Henry Walker

Always referred to as Harry, he was born in August of 1895 in Ravenstone. After leaving school, Harry became a miner at the South Leicestershire Colliery at Ellistown. He was a chorister at the local church and was also a Sunday school scholar. Harry (2479) enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war, joining the Usherwood brothers in Sergeant Major Roland Hill’s Company of the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. It was in the early hours of the 2nd July 1915 that Harry narrowly avoided death in the infamous Trench 50, near to Hill 60 in the lethal Ypres Salient. Only the zigzag nature of the trench had saved his life. A mere few hours later, nineteen-year-old Harry lost his life. It was early morning, and as always even in this perilous area the birds were in chorus, when the sudden crack of a rifle silenced them for a few minutes. Harry, on guard duty had raised his head a little too far and he slumped to the bottom of the trench. Friends rushed to help him but it was evident that he had died within seconds. Private Harry Walker’s name can be read on the War Memorial in Ravenstone Churchyard.

Frederick Williamson

Frederick was born in 1892 in Whitwick. A few years later, the family moved to Coalville. He was a miner at Whitwick Colliery. He and his brother (below) were very well known in the town, as they used to give character-songs at many a concert, and were frequently in demand in North West Leicestershire. Both Frederick (2702) enlisted at Coalville in late August 1914 and served with the Fifth Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. Jack was a respected corporal in ‘A’ Company when he was killed on 24th March 1916. After his brother’s death, Frederick wrote home to inform his parents. He asked his father to break the news quietly to his darling mother. Frederick survived the war.

John William Williamson

John (called Jack) Williamson was born in 1893 in Whitwick. He later moved to Coalville with his family and became a miner at Whitwick Colliery. Jack attended evening classes and could write in Pitman shorthand (possibly taught by Walter Baker – one of the Fifty). He was also studying mining engineering. Jack (2693) enlisted at Coalville in late September and serve with the Fifth Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. Jack was a respected Corporal in ‘A’ Company when he was killed on 24th March 1916. A bombardment on March 23rd had left the frontline in a terrible condition and soldiers spent the night trying to repair posts and parapets. It was reported that just before his death, he was made a cadet and informed that he would shortly be sent to the Officer Training Unit. Jack’s name is etched on the Coalville Clock Tower Memorial and also on a tablet in Ebenezer Baptist Chapel.

Everard Victor Woolley MM

Known as Victor. He was born on the 20th May 1892 in Hugglescote. Victor was a good athlete and a very keen footballer and a good friend of Walter Handford. On leaving school at the age of fourteen he trained as an engineer at Stableford’s Wagon Works. Shortly before the war he took employment at South Leicestershire Colliery in Ellistown. He enlisted at Coalville in the first week of the war into the Fifth Leicestershire Battalion. Victor (2512) battled through the early stages of the war and was upset when his best pal, Walter Gray, was killed when the Germans detonated a mine under Trench 50 in the Ypres Salient. Long though he tried, he and others had to give up the search for his body. Victor gained promotion to the rank of corporal, and on 24th May 1917 showed great bravery and endurance during a tremendous barrage, to receive the Military Medal. Shortly after his arrival in France, Victor was wounded. A bullet entered through his left abdominal wall leaving a small hole, and exited by the right rear wall with a jagged effect. He pushed his own intestine in and held it until being rescued, it was then strapped-up. After convalescence and home leave, he returned to his unit. In October 1918, Victor was sent to the Officer Training Unit at St. John’s College, Oxford, where he also played football for the cadet team. Victor returned to Oxford and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 17th March 1919. After leaving the army in 1919 he had hoped to become an engineer, however the pay was insufficient to support a wife and shortly a child. He took the best-paid job available and laboured on the coalface at South Leicestershire Colliery. In the evenings he studied at Coalville Technical College. He was promoted to an over-man, then a deputy at Ibstock Colliery. Eventually, Victor was promoted to under-manager at Measham Colliery. He died from a heart attack on the 12th September 1954. He is buried in Hugglescote’s Station Road Cemetery.