Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial

War Memorial
Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial, St Mary’s Church, Main Road, Radcliffe on Trent, NG12 2FD

Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial is an enduring symbol of the losses suffered by the village in the First World War. When the war was over Radcliffe on Trent, like thousands of towns and villages across the UK, tried to make sense of the tragic events of the previous years and move forward. A memorial to those who died was a means of bringing the community together as well as an act of remembrance for those who would never return to the village.

Continue reading or jump to the following sections:

History of the Memorial

Men on Radcliffe on Trent Memorial

Full list of names on memorial

Nottinghamshire County Asylum Memorial

Those not remembered on Radcliffe Memorial

History of the Memorial

A public meeting was held in 1919 to discuss the provision of a memorial. Minutes of the annual meeting of the Easter Vestry, held the following year on April 7th 1920, show the committee approving ‘the erection of a soldier’s cross at the east end of the (St Mary’s) churchyard by the parishioners in memory of the gallant men of Radcliffe on Trent who fell in the great war 1914-1918’.

A faculty (licence) to carry out work on Church of England property was granted on 31st July 1920. It states:

‘A faculty this day passed the seal on the petition of the Reverend Robert Cecil Smith Master of Arts, the Vicar and Thomas Rose and Richard Joseph Turner the churchwardens of the Parish of Radcliffe on Trent in the County of Nottingham to enable the said Petitioners:-

To provide and erect a Memorial Cross in the Churchyard of the Parish of Radcliffe on Trent in the County of Nottingham aforesaid, containing an inscription in the words and figures following that is to say:-

“In memory of the gallant men of Radcliffe-on-Trent who fell in the Great War 1914-1919.” “Their name liveth for evermore.” ’

(Signed) Hayley S. Ransom, Registrar

Faculty

The petition, in the names of the Rev. Robert Cecil Smith and the churchwardens, together with a design referring to the provision and erection of a war memorial, was presented to Sir Alfred Bray Kempe, Dr. of Civil Law and Chancellor of Southwell on 18th May 1921. It was then deposited in the Registry of Episcopal and Consistorial Court of Southwell.

Radcliffe on Trent memorial was erected in the period between the granting of the faculty in July 1920 and its unveiling on March 27th 1921. The memorial is built in the traditional form of a cross with a bronze figure of St George set in the column. The design embodies concepts of heroism, sacrifice, national identity and solace offered by the Church of England. The primary inscription on the east face and below St George reads ‘In memory of the gallant men of Radcliffe on Trent who fell in the Great War A.D. 1914-1919’. Fifty two names of those killed are inscribed on plaques on the north and south faces of the plinth and nine names of those who died of ‘illness contracted while on active service’ on the west face. The biblical phrase ‘Their name liveth for evermore’ (Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15), chosen by Kipling for inscription on war memorials at home and abroad when he was a member of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is inscribed on the plinth. The phrase links Radcliffe servicemen to all those who lost their lives as a result of the Great War.

Choosing the names on Radcliffe on Trent Memorial

There were no national guidelines for who should or should not be included on a war memorial. Each town and village employed its own method. It has been difficult to establish how names were chosen in Radcliffe on Trent. Parish Council minutes from meetings held at this time do not mention the memorial. The vestry minutes for the period in question do not include the names of those to be inscribed.

IMG_4596 edRadcliffe on Trent War Memorial, south face

Minutes from St Mary’s Church bell-ringers annual meeting held on January 1st 1919 reveal an early attempt to draw up a list of war fatalities from the village. The bell ringers wrote down the names of forty-one men with the intention of ringing a half muffled peal of bells in their honour. Thirty-nine of the names later appeared on the memorial alongside those of a further twenty-two servicemen, bringing the total inscribed to sixty-one. The bell-ringers minutes read as follows:

St Mary’s Church Radcliffe on Trent

‘This is a roll of honour of names of Radcliffe men that have got killed or died of virious (sic) complaints during the great war with Germany from 1914 to the year 1919 and the Radcliffe bell ringers rang of each one of them with the bells half muffled except five marked Thus ( ). The ringers taking part was H. Parr, G. Nowell, C. Bakewell, S. Loach, C. Cudby, H. Spencer, F. Spencer with help from W. R. H. Buxton’.

Bell ringers grab from PDF

All but four of the men on the bell-ringers’ list were living in Radcliffe on Trent when they enlisted. The four exceptions are George Blatherwick, John Ould and William Roberts, who were living in Commonwealth countries, and Walter Dyson, a teacher in Nottingham.

The names on the list could be regarded as a summary of the bell-ringers’ knowledge of local men killed in the war. The use of their nickname initials suggests this was the case. Clarence James (Jim) Moody, a village blacksmith, is listed as ‘J. Moody’ and William Robert (Bob) Brice, a gardener, is ‘B. Brice’. Some of the men may have been less well known. Sydney Eldridge Newbury appears as D. Newbury and Walter Dawson appears as A. Dawson. Two names that were never inscribed are listed: N. Reeves and A. Rittie (possibly W. Ritter). We have not been able to trace these names. With these two exceptions, all the names listed by the bell-ringers later appeared on the war memorial. A further twenty-two names were added between the bell-ringers’ meeting in January 1919 and the unveiling in March 1921 but it is not known how the decision about the final list of names was reached. There may have been a local appeal for people to come forward with names.

In addition to those noted by the bell ringers, the following were inscribed on the memorial:

Five men who died of war-related illnesses after January 1st, 1919, the date of the bell-ringers’ meeting: Edward Bell, Leslie Hyde, Leonard Rushmore, Daniel Smith and Lawrence Turner; six attendants at Notts. County Asylum (the bell-ringers had already noted three attendants): William Barratt, Thomas Buggins, Percy Draper, Percy Kitchen, Samuel Parkes, Henry Voce;two junior officers: Percy Cox and William Ritter; five men who had little contact with the village at the time of the war: Sidney Bell (lived in New Zealand), John Richards (left the village as a young child), Cecil Ingram (worked in Sheffield, mother recently moved to the village) Joseph Hull (aunt lived in the village) Frederick Malsom (family moved to the village after 1911). Two other men whose names were inscribed were born and brought up in the village, George Brewster and William Lodge. They are not on the bell-ringers’ list but the omission may have been due to prolonged absence from the village. George had been a regular soldier since the early 1900s and William was working a miner in Shirebrook when he enlisted.

Two servicemen were added to the memorial after the unveiling: Edward Upton Bell who died in October 1922 and Lawrence Turner, who died in June 1923. Both men had a strong family presence in Radcliffe; Lawrence Turner’s father was one of the churchwardens named on the faculty. No further names were added after this point. Five years after the war ended seems to be the cut-off date for inclusion.

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Board recording the bell-ringers welcoming servicemen home, currently kept at St Mary’s Church

The bell ringers rang a Dale touch of 1919 changes of Bob Minor on Saturday May 24th 1919 as a welcome and safe return home for Stephen Loach, bell-ringer, after serving two and a half years with the forces in France. He was the ringer of the fourth bell.Later that year they rang a peal of Bob Minor for three hours and ten minutes on November 8th 1919 as a welcome home to all Radcliffe on Trent ex-servicemen.

Unveiling ceremony: March 27th 1921

Radcliffe on Trent Memorial was unveiled on Sunday afternoon, March 27th 1921, by Lt. Col. Charles Birkin C.M.G. who had commanded the 1st/7th Battalion (Robin Hood Rifles), The Sherwood Foresters, from 1914–1915. A great many villagers were present.

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The ceremony began with a procession of around 250 Radcliffe ex-servicemen, fronted by the local brass band playing the Dead March from Handel’s Saul. The men formed up in St Mary’s churchyard in front of the memorial. Buglers from the Robin Hoods sounded the Last Post and Reveille while all present stood to attention. A service was then conducted by the Rev. R. C. Smith and the cross was dedicated by the rector of Cotgrave, the Rev. J. P. Hales, D.S.O.

Addressing the crowd, Lt.Col. Birkin paid tribute to the men who died. His speech included the following remarks:

‘Radcliffe on Trent lost too many of the flower of its youth – men who could ill be spared, and could not be replaced – and the sympathy of all went out to the relatives. It must be a source of pride to them that the names of their dear ones would be inscribed for ever on the roll of honour of the village.

It was my good fortune, whilst serving in France, to see the devotion to duty and heroism of men such as those whose names are on this memorial, and I can say it left an impression on my mind that can never be effaced; and made me proud to be a member of the British nation and able to call such men my fellow countrymen’ (from The Nottingham Evening Post, March 28th 1921).

As he spoke, the cross was unveiled, revealing the bronze figure of St. George and the names of the inscribed men.

The Rev. J. P. Hales then told the crowd that they must see that the men’s sacrifices were not in vain and that their loved ones were not forgotten. He commented that the war was won by unity and that ‘whenever discords arose people should visit the memorial, think, and strive for unity at home’ (from The Nottingham Evening Post, 28th March 1921).

Relatives laid wreaths on the memorial at the end of the service, beginning a tradition that continues today.

Radcliffe on Trent war Memorials inside St Mary’s Church

The Communion Table in the Lady Chapel of St Mary’s Church, Radcliffe on Trent, is also a WWI War Memorial.

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Communion Table, St. Mary’s Church

The Table has a Lamb of God motif on the front panel and bears the names in alphabetical order of all those listed on the external memorial in the churchyard. The names William Barratt – Cecil Ingram are inscribed on the southern end of the table and the names Percy Kitchen- Henry Voce are inscribed on the northern end. The table was given by Radcliffe branch of the Church of England Men’s Society. The inscription on the front reads ‘The C.E.M.S. Memorial to those who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918’

Memorial plaque Charles Wightman Pike

There is one family memorial in the church.

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At a special vestry meeting held in the vestry of St Mary’s Church on 15th September 1918 after evensong, it was resolved ‘that this meeting approves the erection of a memorial tablet by Mrs. C. W. Pike in memory of her husband the late Charles Wightman Pike’. The plaque is situated in the North aisle from the west end.

The Men on Radcliffe on Trent Memorial

The sixty-one men on Radcliffe on Trent Memorial are a diverse group who vary according to where they were born, their social class, occupation, age and military experience. Only half of the men on the memorial were born in Radcliffe on Trent, Several were born in other parts of Nottinghamshire and a few further afield. At the time of enlistment, forty-nine of the men  had home addresses in Radcliffe on Trent. Twelve men lived elsewhere: five in other parts of Nottinghamshire, three in other counties and four in Commonwealth countries. By the end of the war, fifty two men of the men had family residing in the village. Six of the remaining nine men did not have strong local family connections but had lived and worked at the nearby Nottinghamshire County Asylum. Of the other three men, one had been a teacher at the village school whose parents had moved away, one was the son of the deputy clerk in Nottingham and one, an orphan, had been billeted in the village.

Most of those named on the memorial had manual occupations before they enlisted; their jobs included working as printers’ apprentices, gardeners, builders’ labourers, blacksmiths and electricians. Some of the men had middle class occupations; among the older servicemen on the memorial were a solicitor, solicitor’s clerk and two teachers. The five junior officers lived in large houses in the village (three lived next door to each other) and had fathers with professional occupations.

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William Ritter, Royal Flying Corps, killed in flying accident 1917

Forty four of those commemorated were in infantry regiments and eight were in the Royal Artillery. The remaining nine fatalities came from the Yeomanry (two men), Royal Flying Corps/RAF (two men, one of whom was ground crew and died in the U.K.), Royal Army Service Corps (two men), Guards (one man), Machine Gun Corps (one man) and Royal Engineers (one man). These figures support the common view that the infantry men had the worst of it. Fifty nine of the men were in the army and two in the R.A.F. There were no deaths among Radcliffe men in the Royal Navy.

Regular soldiers, reservists, territorials and volunteers

Nearly 80% of the men on Radcliffe on Trent memorial are known to have been either regular soldiers, reservists, territorials or volunteers. The names inscribed include six regular soldiers (including an officer) who were in the army before the outbreak of war, five reservists who had completed their army service before 1914, three older ex-servicemen (whose status as reservists is unconfirmed) and four territorials. The war time volunteers included six officers and twenty-five others. Of the remainder, five were too young to volunteer before conscription in 1916 and one is confirmed as a conscript. Enlistment dates have not yet been found for the remaining seven men.

Regular soldiers

The regular army men and the reservists were the first to be sent to the front and the most exposed to continual danger.

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Percy Bemrose, 1st Sherwood Foresters, killed Battle of Neuve Chapelle, 1915

The names of the six regular army men on the memorial are as follows:

  1. Lance Corporal Bertie Bemrose, 1st Sherwood Foresters
  2. Private Percy Bemrose, 1st Sherwood Foresters (brother of Bertie)
  3. Gunner George Brewster, Royal Garrison Artillery
  4. Lieutenant Ernest Eastwood, Royal Engineers, Boer War Veteran serving in the U.K. from 1914
  5. Lance Sergeant Bertie Todd, 1st Sherwood Foresters
  6. Private Charles Tytherley, 2nd Sherwood Foresters

Reservists and ex-servicemen

Reservists (servicemen who had recently completed their years of service) were obliged to re-enter the army as soon as war was declared.

Ernest Bemrose
Ernest Bemrose, 2nd Sherwood Foresters, missing in action 1914

There are five confirmed reservists on the memorial, all of whom were working at Notts. County Asylum in 1914. There are a further three ex-servicemen on the memorial,  two of whom had served in the Boer War and one who had served in the Royal Navy. It is not known whether any of these three men were still under an obligation to rejoin the forces in the event of general mobilisation.

The names of the reservists and their WWI military units are as follows:

  1. Horace Beet, Notts. County Asylum attendant, Royal Field Artillery
  2. Ernest Bemrose, Notts. County Asylum attendant, 2nd Sherwood Foresters
  3. Private Gordon Berridge, Notts. County Asylum attendant, 1st Leicesters
  4. Percy Draper, Notts. County Asylum attendant, 1st Lincolnshire
  5. Henry Voce, Notts. County Asylum attendant, 1st Kings Royal Rifles

The names of the ex-servicemen are Sidney Bell, Boer War Veteran, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Frederick Brown: Corn merchant, 2nd South Staffordshires, formerly Royal Navy and William Roberts, Boer War Veteran and solicitor living in Canada, Canadian Field Artillery.

Territorials

Territorial Forces were created in 1908 as a part-time form of soldiering. Most infantry regiments formed territorial units (for instance the 1/7th Sherwood Foresters). Men who had joined the Territorials before the outbreak of war were under the same mobilisation obligations as reservists.

Frank Daniels
Frank Daniels, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds 1916

The names of four men on the memorial who served in territorial battalions are:

  1. Frank Daniels, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters
  2. John Martin, 1/4th Alexandra Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)
  3. John Nowell, 2/7th Sherwood Foresters, then 9th Sherwood Foresters
  4. John (Jack) Stafford, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters

In addition, a further three men on the memorial may have been territorials but there is insufficient evidence to confirm this possibility.

Officers

Six of the men commemorated were officers who entered the war as volunteers and were then commissioned. All were privately educated.

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Sydney Newbury, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds 1917

 The officers’ names are:

  1. Robert Blatherwick, 2nd Lt, 10th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment.
  2. Percy Cox, 2nd Lt, 25th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.
  3. Robert Hallam, 2nd Lt, 15th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters.
  4. Sydney Newbury, 2nd Lt, 1/7th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters.
  5. John Richards, Lt, 1st Royal Marine Light Infantry
  6. William Ritter, Lt, Royal Flying Corps.

A seventh officer on the memorial is regular soldier Ernest Eastwood. He rose through the ranks and was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1917 after 21 years of service. He died of cancer in 1918.

Volunteers

Men who had enlisted before conscription came into force in 1916 were deemed to be volunteers. From March 2nd 1916 single men between the ages of nineteen and forty were obliged to enlist.

On October 16th 1915, the Nottingham Evening Post reported that Radcliffe on Trent had produced a record number of volunteers:

Up to the present Radcliffe has supplied 169 men to His Majesty’s Forces and in addition 27 warders have gone from the County Asylum – a total of 196. Of these three have been killed, two are missing and several are and have been wounded. Four sons have gone out from one home, three out of another and in 22 homes two sons have gone from each. In three cases fathers and sons are serving and from 30 homes the only son has volunteered.

There are thirty-eight men on the memorial who were neither in the regular army nor reservists or territorials. It has not been possibly to establish precisely how many of them were volunteers and how many were conscripts as not all their military service records are available online. Enlistment dates are the best indication of whether a man was a volunteer or a conscript. From the records available at www.ancestry.co.uk and www.findmypast.co.uk, it has been possible to confirm that twenty-five of these thirty-eight men were volunteers, five were too young to volunteer before conscription came in in 1916 and one was a conscript (Alfred Upton).

The names of the confirmed twenty-five volunteers are:

Matthew Baggley, Thomas Birkby, George Blatherwick, William Brice (possibly a territorial) Thomas Buggins (Baggins), Arthur Clark(e), Walter Draper, Samuel Eaton, James Harris (possibly a reservist or territorial), Joseph Hull (possibly a reservist or territorial), Leslie Hyde, William Lodge, Frederick Malsom, Clarence Moody, Alvin Newbury, Edgar Nowell, John Nowell, John Ould, Thomas Packwood, Thomas Peck, Charles Pike, William Roberts, Leonard Rushmore, Lawrence Turner, William Vickerstaff (possibly a reservist or territorial).

Charles Wightman Pike and Frederick Malsom, who lost their lives at Passchendaele

Length of active service and age at death

Almost half of those named on the memorial were killed within a year of entering a theatre of war, thirteen in less than six months. Only two men on the memorial survived more than three years: Bertie Bemrose, regular soldier, and Horace Beet, reservist.

Thirty-one of the Radcliffe men were in their twenties when they lost their lives as a result of the war. Fifteen on the memorial were under twenty-one and fifteen were over thirty. The average age of death was twenty-six.

Robert Hallam

Robert Hallam (died age 17)

Walter Dyson

Walter Dyson (died age 40)

George Carlin copy 2

Benjamin Carlin (died age 18)

Robert Hallam, at seventeen, was the youngest to die, falling at the Somme. Benjamin Carlin and Samuel Parkes were eighteen when they were killed in action. Sidney Bell, age forty-six was the oldest to die, having returned to New Zealand after being wounded at the Somme. Walter Dyson, aged forty, was the oldest to be killed in action – although old for trench and open warfare, he survived right up to November 4th 1918.

Deaths abroad

Forty-eight of those commemorated died abroad. Thirty-eight of them were killed outright in action (including those initially listed as missing) and ten died of wounds or illnesses in casualty clearing stations or military hospitals.

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John Nowell, killed November 4th 1918, Battle of Sebourg
Walter Dyson also lost his life in the same conflict

Some of the hospital deaths happened almost immediately the men were admitted (Sydney Newbury, John Ould, and Charles Pike). Two wounded men suffered for longer: Frank Daniels was wounded on April 23rd and died in hospital from gunshot wounds to the spine three weeks later. William Lodge was hospitalised for four weeks after being gassed in August 1918 and before he died in September. Ernest Howard and Horace Beet died from influenza in base hospitals shortly after the Armistice during the 1918 pandemic.

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 William Vickerstaff, South Notts. Hussars, drowned at sea 1918

William Vickerstaff, South Notts. Hussars, was reported missing at sea after his troopship was torpedoed off the coast of Egypt in 1918.

Half of the forty-eight men who died abroad have individually marked graves in Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemeteries. The bodies of twenty four men were not recovered; they are remembered abroad on CWGC memorials.

Deaths in the U.K.

Thirteen men named on the memorial died at home between 1915 and 1923 as a result of war wounds or illnesses. Eight of them are buried in Radcliffe on Trent cemetery: Matthew Baggley (cause of death, pneumonia), Gordon Berridge (tuberculosis), William Brice (influenza), Ernest Eastwood (cancer), John Martin (meningitis), Daniel Smith (influenza), Leslie Hyde (cancer) and Lawrence Turner (kidney infection following wound injuries). The burial places of the remaining men are as follows: Sidney Bell, New Zealand, (heart disease), Thomas Buggins, Bingham, Notts. (tuberculosis), Arthur Clarke County Durham, (natural causes) and Leonard Rushmore Nottingham, (gas poisoning causing bronchial catarrh). Edward Bell died of tuberculosis, Bingham district, Nottinghamshire. His place of burial is presumed to be Radcliffe on Trent but has not yet been confirmed.

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Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial, west face, listing those who died from illness

The inscription on Radcliffe on Trent War Memorial distinguishes those who ‘died from illness contracted while on active service’ and those who were either killed in action or died of wounds by listing the two groups separately on the plinth. However, there are errors in this separation with five men who died of illnesses not assigned to that category (H. Beet, S. Bell, T. Buggins, G. Berridge, and J. Martin). Seven of the nine men on the west face inscription were buried in Radcliffe on Trent Cemetery.

Click here for a full list of the names on the memorial

Nottinghamshire County Asylum Memorial

Nottinghamshire County Asylum, opened in 1902, was situated at Saxondale in the parish of Radcliffe on Trent. In 1914 the isolated complex located two miles outside the main village housed several hundred patients and a fairly small staff of thirty-one male attendants, a number of farm workers and artisans together with female nurses and domestics. When war was declared, the male staff included those eligible for war service. Despite appeals from the hospital for staff to be exempted from military service, a large number left for the war between 1914–1918 and eleven lost their lives.

Twelve male staff were called up immediately war was declared (a thirteenth man, Ernest Bemrose, who left the hospital’s employment between April and July 1914, was also called up and is named on the hospital memorial). Nine of these thirteen men have been positively identified by us as reservists who served in the British Army before WWI. They were among the first to enter the war, were all awarded the 1914 Star and six lost their lives.

As the war continued other male staff members (including some who were in the territorials) either volunteered or were conscripted. By October 1915 a further fourteen attendants had been called up (Nottingham Evening Post, October 16th, 1915). Of these fourteen, seven have been identified serving in theatres of war in 1915; they were awarded the 1914–1915 Star. The 42nd Annual Report on the state  of the Lunatic Asylum for the county of Nottingham for the year ending December 1916  reported that thirty seven male staff members had left the hospital for active service since 1914. A further seven were called up during 1917-18. By the end of the war forty-four male staff in total had served and ten had been killed in action or died of illness:

 William Barratt (killed 1916); Beet, H. (died 1918), Berridge, G. (died 1915), Thomas Buggins (died 1917); Draper, P. (killed 1915),  E Humphrey (died 1920), Percy Kitchen (killed 1916); Samuel Parkes (killed 1918) Wilfred Taylor (died 1921), Henry Voce (killed 1914).

Saxondale memorial

Memorial Tablet
Former chapel of Notts. County Asylum, now the Wellspring Christian Growth Centre

The minutes of staff meetings at the Asylum were kept meticulously during the war and are available in at the Nottinghamshire Archives, Nottingham. They show concern for staff who left to fight and those who lost their lives are recorded and remembered with sorrow.

The staff are commemorated on a tablet in the hospital’s former chapel, now known as the Wellspring Christian Growth Centre. Nine of them also inscribed on Radcliffe on Trent Memorial.  Two of the names are omitted from the Radcliffe memorial. Ernest Humphrey, who died in Nottingham in 1920, is commemorated on the memorial in Nottingham General Cemetery. Wilfred Jackson Taylor died in 1921 after the unveiling of the Radcliffe memorial. He was buried in Radcliffe cemetery.

Edward Gamble is not on the Asylum memorial tablet despite being awarded the 1914-1915 Star and having several years of employment at the hospital both before and after the war. He died of tuberculosis in 1923.

Notts. County War Hospital patients who died in Radcliffe on Trent

Nottinghamshire County Asylum was converted to Nottinghamshire County War Hospital in the summer of 1918, receiving over a thousand servicemen who had been traumatised by the war. After thirteen months, the patients were discharged or moved on and the hospital reverted to its former status as an asylum. It was later renamed Saxondale Hospital and remained in use treating patients with mental illnesses until the 1980s.

Around thirty servicemen died at the hospital between 1918 and 1919. We are in the process of investigating the reasons; we know some died from influenza and others from war injuries. Most men’s bodies were returned to their families. However, five patients who died were given a full military funeral and are buried in Radcliffe on Trent cemetery: Bernard Fitzgerald, Edward Hoppe, Herbert Maddock, Augustus Sage (known as Clement) and Harry Smith. Their names were not inscribed on the Radcliffe memorial; they are included on the Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour so they would not be forgotten. These men had tenuous connections to the village and were only at the hospital for a few weeks. It seems to have been a common practice to omit names of servicemen who died in U.K. military hospitals from memorials in the places where their lives ended.

We have been unable to find records of these five men being remembered individually elsewhere in the UK. However, a headstone in Radcliffe on Trent cemetery commemorates all who died at the hospital. It is placed near the five graves and is inscribed with the words ‘In memory of the patients who died at Notts. County War Hospital 1918-1919’.

Saxondale memorial
Memorial to the patients who died at Notts. County War Hospital 1918–19,
St Mary’s Cemetery Radcliffe on Trent

Those not remembered on Radcliffe Memorial

The memorial does not record all previous Radcliff residents who lost their lives because of the war; it prioritises those connected to people still living in the village. Fourteen servicemen men and woman have been found who died as a result of the war, had connections with Radcliffe on Trent but are not listed on the war memorial. The group comprises ten men whose families were no longer living in Radcliffe on Trent by 1921; a man and woman working in the village in the war years and two employees at Notts. County War Hospital.

Radcliffe on Trent servicemen listed on memorials elsewhere

Walter Whitworth

Walter Whitworth, died of wounds 1918

Most of the servicemen identified as not being included on Radcliffe on Trent memorial were from families who moved away from the village when they were children. Consequently, their names tend to appear on memorials in towns and villages where their relatives were living at the end of the war. Their names are:

  1. Lieutenant Charles Geoffrey Claye, R.A.F. 1895–1918, killed in action, France, commemorated Lenton War Memorial, Nottingham and St. Michael and All Angels Church War Memorial, Bramcote.
  2. Lance Corporal Harold Falconbridge 1893–1916, killed in action France, commemorated St Andrews Church War Memorial, Nottingham.
  3. Lance Corporal Ernest Hale 1893–1915, killed in action, France, commemorated St George’s Church Memorial, Netherfield, Notts.
  4. Private Samuel Oliver 1891–1915, killed in action, Belgium, commemorated Southwell Minster, Southwell, Notts.
  5. Private Benjamin Sheppard 1899–1918, died of wounds, France. Benjamin Sheppard went to school in Colston Bassett. He and his brother moved to a farm in Radcliffe on Trent after 1911 and before 1915. The family had moved away from the village by 1922. He is remembered on a memorial tablet on the north wall of the nave of the church of St. John the Divine at Colston Bassett, under the name of Benjamin Shepherd.
  6. Lance Corporal John William Young 1887–1916, died of wounds, France, commemorated St George’s Church Memorial, Netherfield, Notts.

The following four people lived and worked in Radcliffe on Trent during the war years:

7. Sapper Ernest Francis Humphrey 1886–1920, died Nottingham, commemorated Notts. County Asylum Memorial and Nottingham General Cemetery.

8.  Member, Ethel Rosetta Smith, Women’s Forage Corps (family lived in West Bridgford), died from influenza in Radcliffe on Trent, commemorated York Minster.

9. Gunner Wilfred Jackson Taylor 1886–1921, employee at Notts. County Asylum and commemorated on the asylum memorial tablet.

10. 2nd Lieutenant Walter Whitworth 1882–1918, died of wounds, France, commemorated with his brother at his late parents’ home town, Bowdon, Cheshire, in the local church porch.

Radcliffe servicemen unnamed on any U.K. memorial

The following three servicemen, all of whom lived in Radcliffe, have not been found on any U.K. memorial. Three of them were missing in action and it was months before their deaths were officially confirmed

  1. Private Cecil Arthur Reginald Bolton 1898–1918, missing in action France. Cecil Bolton was at school in Radcliffe; he was rescued from drowning in the River Trent by John Barry, who later served in WWI. The Bolton family emigrated to Australia shortly before the war. Cecil Bolton returned to enlist in the British army; his death was still not confirmed by the spring of 1919. His mother in Australia had received official notification by the autumn of 1920.
  2. Private Arthur Young 1896–1917, missing in action, Belgium. Arthur Young was born in the village in 1896. His family moved to Netherfield, Nottingham around 1902. His brother John, who was killed in 1916, is commemorated on the Netherfield memorial but Arthur is not. It is possible that his family were waiting for Arthur to return home. Neither brother is on the Radcliffe on Trent Memorial.
  3. Private Charles Paine, missing in action – see below.

Radcliffe servicemen listed on the National Australian Memorial

Private Charles Paine 1895–1916, killed in action August 5th 1916, France

Sergeant John Ould, 1895–1916, died of wounds, August 8th 1916, France

Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia

Charles Paine emigrated to Australia in 1913 with his friend John Ould, who is named on Radcliffe memorial. They were mortally wounded in the same conflict when fighting with the Australian Imperial Force at Poziéres during the Battle of the Somme. It is not known why Charles Paine’s name is omitted from  Radcliffe on Trent memorial but might be linked to where his relatives were living in 1921. At the end of the war John Ould’s mother was still living in Radcliffe but Charles’ mother had moved to Dunstable (both women were widows). Furthermore, John was buried in a hospital cemetery in France and has a known grave. Charles’ body was left on the battlefield; his death was reported by his comrades and confirmed later by the Red Cross. It might be the case that his mother found it hard to accept that her missing son had died. He is not listed on any other U.K. memorial but the names of Charles Paine and John Ould are inscribed on bronze plaque 102 in the Commemorative Area of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Impact of WWI on the health of Radcliffe on Trent servicemen

The majority of the Radcliffe on Trent men who served in the war returned; we have recorded around 320 who came back and were still alive five years after the end of the war and eighty-three who had died between 1914 and 1923, sixty-one of whom are on the memorial. Approximately one in five on our Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour of 400 servicemen was killed in action, died of wounds or died of war related illnesses.

The men’s war experiences were variable, as was their length of service. A great many men were reported sick or wounded while serving; a number were reported as being dangerously ill and narrowly escaped death. The Radcliffe on Trent biographies reveal an overall deleterious effect of the war on men’s health and shorter life spans than generally experienced today. Many Radcliffe on Trent ex-servicemen who survived the war died in their fifties and sixties.

War-related deaths continued long after the Radcliffe on Trent memorial was erected. Seven ex-servicemen from the village died between 1924 and 1929. A further nineteen ex-servicemen died in the 1930s. The Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour includes the names of just over 400 servicemen. By the time of the outbreak of WWII a quarter of them (109 men) were no longer alive. The pattern of poor post-war health found among ex-servicemen in Radcliffe was replicated nationally: tuberculosis was a lethal killer at the time. The long term consequences of war cut short the lives of thousands of men across the U.K. and because of the time lapse since the end of WWI they were not officially commemorated.

Radcliffe on Trent Memorial today

The memorial’s iconography and prominent position is a visible reminder of how the war was perceived at the time and how Radcliffe residents wanted it to be remembered by future generations. Today it remains a place of commemoration. The memorial base is often covered in flowers after a funeral in memory of local people who have died, including occasions when the service or internment takes place outside the village. In November the memorial once again becomes the place where those who died as a result of the Great War are remembered, alongside those who lost their lives in WWII and more recent conflicts.

Go to How Radcliffe on Trent Servicemen died’ to discover more about the conflicts in which the men died.

Go to Radcliffe on Trent Roll of Honour for a list of all Radcliffe servicemen

Author Rosemary Collins, April 2017