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27 November 2020     WFRA NEWSLETTER     Volume 11 Issue 53


Those readers who have met me through branch meetings and my work with the Association will know that as well as being the Notts and Derby Area Secretary and Newsletter Editor, I am also the Parochial Church Council Secretary for the Parish of Kimberley and Nuthall and Churchwarden for St Patricks Church also in Nuthall.  

Today Nuthall has been swallowed up by the urban sprawl of Nottingham, but in 1914 it was a small village with a parish church, public house and a fine Palladian house belonging to the Rev Robert Holden.  The house was demolished in 1966 to make way for Junction 26 of the M1 motorway.

St Patrick’s Church is a small church which can trace its origins back to the 13th Century and it also houses some of the finest stone carvings in the diocese including an alabaster effigy of Sir Robert De Cokefield who was an early patron of the church and also fought in France during the 100 Years War.  However, it is not our rich medieval past which I am going to talk about today, it is World War One. 

In all sixty six men left Nuthall village for the trenches of the Western Front and beyond.  Eleven of them made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return home and it is the lives of these men that I will be telling you about.

The memorial in the church comprises a stained glass window in the south wall of the nave and an alabaster and slate tablet below. The tablet bears the dedication: 'This window is erected to the Glory of God and in ever loving memory of those brave men of Nuthall who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great war of 1914-1918 in the cause of justice and freedom.' Nuthall war memorial committee raised £183 1s 6d which met the cost of the window (approx. £94), the tablet (approx. £41) and the costs of the faculties and the service of dedication. The memorial was probably dedicated some time after September 1920, when the bills for the memorials were paid, and before the end of November by which time the accounts for the costs associated with the service of dedication had been met. The window was supplied and installed by Burlison & Grylls, one of the most successful stained glass firms in England, and the tablet was supplied and installed by FS Birch, monumental sculptor, of Montague Street, Bulwell.

The Memorial in St Patrick’s Church, Nuthall

The memorial window in St Patrick’s Church Nuthall

Cyril John Beardsmore

Cyril was born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire in 1873 he was the eldest son of Francis a brewery clerk and Annie Beardsmore.  He was the brother of William Bernard Beardsmore.

Cyril was appointed as a railway clerk on 6 December 1907 aged 15 at the goods account office Great Central Railway in Nottingham. (Railway employment records/register 1833-19156). The register further states that on 6 January 1915 he 'Joined the colours' as S4/055611 Pte C Beardsmore of the Army Service Corps.  Cyril's short service attestation took place in Nottingham on 14th January 1915 , where he was given a medical examination and declared fit for active service.  Mr W H Hobson his employer at his former work place - the goods accountant office, Great Central Railway, Queen’s Walk, Nottingham wrote the following reference dated 15 January 1915 in reply to army form B64C - Cyril is a most reliable clerk, sober, trustworthy in every respect and a good accountant, just for the man for the Army Service Corps. He began training at Aldershot on 20 January 1915.  He had only served for 23 days when he died of pneumonia on 5 February 1915.  He is buried in St Patrick's Churchyard Nuthall, Nottingham.
Commonwealth Grave No2749852 - CWGC Website
In memoriam published 5 February 1916 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- BEARDSMORE. In loving memory of Cyril Beardsmore (Private, Army Service Corps), who died at Aldershot, 5 February 1915. There is a link that even death cannot sever, true love and memory will last for ever. Ever in my thoughts.”

Victor William Beardsmore

Victor William Beardsmore was born in Marylebone, London in 1898.  He lived with his grandparents William and Mary Beardsmore and their two coal miner sons Percy and Lewis.  He was employed as an underground pony driver in the local colliery.

He enlisted as 280353 Pte Beardsmore into the 1/1st Bn South Nottinghamshire Hussars at Nottingham and was killed in action on 28 November 1917 in Egypt aged 21.  He is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial.

In memoriam published 28 November 1918 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “BEARDSMORE. – In loving memory of Pte. Victor William Beardsmore, aged 20, who gave his life for his country 28 November 1917. Gone but not forgotten.”

John Booth

 John Booth was born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire in 1897 the son of John a butler at Nuthall Temple and Matilda Ann Booth (née Starr) they lived at the Old Post Office, Nuthall, Nottinghamshire.

John enlisted at Nottingham as 90014 Gunner Booth into A Battery 95th Brigade Royal Field Artillery and landed in France on 13 May 1915, he was killed in action on 10 October 1917 aged 20.  He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Panels 4 to 6
Commonwealth Grave No 845443 - CWGC Website

Thomas Hollis Hall

Thomas Hollis Hall was known to his family and friends as ' Hollis'. He was born in Wigsley Nottinghamshire in 1896 the son of Francis Charles Tomlinson Hall a farm foreman and Elizabeth Hall (née Haynes).

Thomas enlisted as 1284 Pte Hall into the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) at Kimberley, Nottinghamshire and was drafted to the Western Front in France on 2 March 1915. By the time of his death he had attained the rank of Sergeant. He was killed in action 14 October 1915 aged 19. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France
Commonwealth Grave No 1764495 - CWGC Website
Extra Information

Thomas's brother Cyril Hedley Hall known to his family and friends as 'Hedley' also served (2082) with 1/5th Bn Sherwood Foresters. He survived the war, moved to Spondon Derby, married twice and died in his 70's.

Arthur Langley

Arthur Langley was born in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire in 1896 the son of Thomas a coal miner and Fanny Langley, née Bishop.  They lived at 31, Noel Street, Kimberley.  Arthur worked as a coal miner at the same colliery as his father.

Arthur enlisted as 81036 Bombardier Langley of The Royal Field Artillery at Nottingham and first entered a theatre of war on 1st April 1915 in Egypt.  He died in the Military Hospital at Lichfield on 23rd October 1918 aged 22.  His body was returned for burial at St Patrick's churchyard, Nuthall.
Commonwealth Grave No 2749853 - CWGC Website

George Priestley

George was born in Nuthall on 22 August 1886. He was the son of George and Eliza Priestley and older brother of Harry.  George was a farm labourer and he and Eliza , formerly a dressmaker, were living at 96 Bailey Street, Basford.

George joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Portsmouth Division) as PO/14346 Pte Priestley on 24 November 1905.  He served on HMS Irresistible which took part in operations in the Dardanelles.  George was killed when HMS Irresistible hit a mine on 18 March 1915 during an attack on the narrows' forts and sank.  Another battleship, HMS Ocean, was also sunk by a mine in the same engagement.  George's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, he was 29 years old.

A short account of the sinking of HMS Irresistable.

HMS Irresistible, Capt Douglas Dent, with 2nd Division, hit alongside at 15:14hrs by heavy shell from Fort Hamadieh and by 15:32hrs had taken a slight list, drifting with engines stopped about 16:15hrs.  Mined near Eren Keui Bay (J/C - shore torpedo from White Cliffs battery), exploded under starboard engine-room near centre-line, engine-room quickly flooded, midship bulkhead buckled and port engine-room flooded leaving both engines disabled. Took 7° list to starboard, down by the stern and Turks concentrated fire on her, destroyer HMS Wear and a picket boat came to assist and HMS Ocean was ordered to stand by to tow.  As HMS Irresistible could not be saved, abandon ship was ordered under heavy fire causing casualties on deck, but ten volunteers stayed to get a wire across to HMS Ocean, list increased and ship lay bows on to the Asiatic shore leaving HMS Ocean subjected to cross-fire.  The two ship's captains decided to take off the volunteers, Irresistible abandoned at 17:50hrs, and HMS Ocean withdrew, the intention being for destroyers and minesweepers to try to save her after dark.  According to the Turks, she drifted back towards the Narrows Forts, was fired on and sank about 19:30hrs.  Four officers were killed, only three men got out of the rapidly flooded engine room, twenty eight surviving officers and five hundred and eighty two men were taken off by HMS Wear.  There were two hundred casualties and six hundred and ten survivors from both ships.
According to an 'In Memoriam' notice placed in the local paper in 1916, George had a fiancee, Lucy.
Commonwealth Grave No 3034016 - CWGC Website
Extra Information
Nottingham Evening Post, 12 April 1915 ‘Pte G Priestley, RMLI, 31 Nansen Street, Bulwell, missing, feared killed on the Irresistible, sunk in the Dardanelles.’ Nottingham Evening Post, 12 April 1915: ‘Priestley. On March 18th, killed in action, Private George Priestley, RMLI (HMS Irresistible), son of George and the late Eliza Priestley, Nuttall-road, Cinderhill, Nottingham.’

Harry Priestley

Harry was the son of George and Eliza Priestley and younger brother of George.  Harry married Clara Beedman on 30 January 1915; at the time of their marriage they were living at 2 Spring Terrace, Church Lane, Bulwell.  They had one child, Joyce, born 5 August 1915.  Harry was employed as a horseman.

Harry attested as on 11 December 1915 and was transferred to the Army Reserve as 113811 Gunner Priestley the following day.  He was mobilised on 14 August 1916 and posted the same day to No. 4 Depot Royal Garrison Artillery.  He was posted to British Expeditionary Force France on 13 February 1917 joining the 4th Army Pool on 20 February before transferring to the 115th Bde on 21 February.  He was admitted to hospital on 20 July 1917 and died of a cerebral tumour on 10 August 1917 aged 28.  He is buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt (grave ref. I.F.14). 

Clara, completed a form for the army in May 1919 listing Harry's surviving blood relatives. However, she named only herself, her daughter and Harry's father, George Priestley of Nuthall.  Clara was awarded a pension of 18/9d for herself and her child with effect from 25 February 1918.
Commonwealth Grave No 244487 - CWGC Website

Ernest Roberts

Ernest Roberts was born in Plungar, Leicestershire in 1895 the son of Alfred a foreman platelayer and Sarah Ellen Roberts (née Weston).  He was the younger brother of Walter.  At the outbreak of WW1, they lived at New Farm Lane, Nuthall, Nottinghamshire.  Ernest worked as a domestic gardener

Ernest enlisted as 266526 Pte Roberts into the 2/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) at Nottingham.  He was promoted to Lance Corporal and died of wounds received in battle on 27th September 1917 aged 22.  He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium, grave reference VI. F. 8.  Commonwealth Grave No 153852 - CWGC Website

Walter Roberts

Walter Roberts was born in Plungar, Leicestershire in 1893 the son of Alfred a foreman platelayer and Sarah Ellen Roberts (née Weston) and the older brother of Ernest Roberts.  Walter worked as a bookbinders apprentice.

Walter Roberts, enlisted as 306819 Pte Roberts of the 2/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) at West Bridgford and died of wounds received in battle on 4th May 1915 aged 22, at 34th Casualty Clearing Station.  He is buried in La Chapelette British and Indian Cemetery, Peronne.
Commonwealth Grave No 615984 - CWGC Website

 Albert Roberts

Albert was born in Nuthall, Nottinghamshire in 1890 and was the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Walters and the brother of Ellen, Sidney, Frank and Phyllis Walters.  They lived on Main Street Nuthall Nottinghamshire.  Albert was married to Edith (née Chapman) Walters.
Albert was employed as a miner / holer at the local colliery.  At the outbreak of war Albert joined the 1st Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) as Pte 41009 Roberts.  He was killed in action near Arras in Northern France on 20 May 1917 aged 27.

Extra Information
No CWGC or UKSWD records. ID confirmed by Soldiers' Effects Register and 1911 Census.

Lewis Beardsmore

Lewis was born on 28 June 1889.  He was the son of William and Mary Beardsmore, the brother of Percy Beardsmore and uncle of Victor William Beardsmore who was killed in action 28 November 1917 serving with the South Notts Hussars.  They lived on Watnall Lane, Nuthall, Nottinghamshire.  Lewis married Fanny Elizabeth Shaw 31 October 1917 and they had two daughters born at Doncaster - Marjorie (1917) and Beatrice M (1920). They lived at 12, Swan Street, Bentley near Doncaster.  Lewis was employed as a coal miner (haulage).

Lewis enlisted 6 January 1915 as S/3236 Pte Beardsmore of the Royal Marines Medical Unit and was discharged from the Royal Naval Division on 10 December 1918 due to the effects of being gassed in France.

After his discharge Lewis continued to suffer ill heath due to the effects of gas on his respiratory system.  Lewis died on 24 January 1922 aged 32.  With effect from 25 January 1922, Fanny received a weekly pension for herself and daughters of £2 5/8d.  As Lewis was still alive at the time the memorial was installed his name does not appear on it.  However, his name does appear in the memorial book that includes the names of all of the men from Nuthall who served in WW1.  His name also appears on the war memorial installed in the Basil Russell Playing Fields by Nuthall Parish Council in 2014.



I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to look after such a beautiful and historic Parish Church and such a fine memorial to the brave men of Nuthall.   May they all rest in peace forever.


The following are available to support veterans and their families who may be experiencing mental health difficulties;

Forcesline Tel: 0800 731 4880 (between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday)
Combat Stress (24 hours)
Veterans and their families; Tel: 0800 138 1619
Serving personnel and their families; Tel: 0800 323 4444
Samaritans (24 hours); Tel: 116 123


Mark Dack
for Executive Committee


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