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UPDATES & NEWS
During our latest visit to Belgium we called at Poelcapelle again and were saddened to see that the 'Cafe De Zwann' ( see Fred Greaves page) had been demolished.
Photos below -
The Cafe De Zwann 2016 Demolished 2018
100th Anniversary of the End of the First World War
With the centenary of the ending of the Great War on the 11th November this year - we are planning to organise TWO special events to commemorate & remember Brimingtons sacrifices during those terrible four years.
Still in the planning stage and with volunteers from many of our village groups and organization's we are hoping to raise enough funds to hold events on:
14th July and 11th November
Further details will follow.
Private George W Bradshaw – Pondwell Corner, Brimington
During the summer of 2017 whilst compiling the list of our village men who died at the battle of Passchendaele ( in readiness for the centennial commemorations) we found that Private George Walter Bradshaw had -for some reason - never been included in the official Passchendaele database to the fallen - even though he clearly died in the battle and is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery.
We consulted the ‘Memorial Museum Passchendaele’the official custodians of the records, to ensure that Georges story was acknowledged -and we can now confirm that we have received the following email advising that Private G W Bradshaw is now officially recognised and the personal information we supplied about him has been added to their database.Email from Simon of the ''Memorial Museum Passchendaele'' ------
We recently uncovered this interesting story about two more Brimington soldiers who were captured by the Germans – right at the beginning of the war, and held as POW’s throughout the conflict
(Transcribed from ‘Belper News and Derbyshire Telegraph Nov 6th, 1914)NEW BRIMINGTONSOLDIERS’ EXPERIENCE
Two New Brimington young soldiers – Reginald Neale and Montague Albert Cole, who parents reside in King Street New Brimington have written home from the German camp at " Gefangenen-Lager, Doberitz."
Eight weeks ago, these two friends readily responded to Lord Kitchener’s appeal and enlisted in the KOYLI from which regiment they were transferred a week later to the Royal Marines.
The two took part in the defence of Antwerp during the siege and it was only while retreating from there to Ostend that they were captured on Sat Oct 10th.
They witnessed the bombardment of Antwerp and were very fortunate in not sustaining the slightest injury before falling into the enemy’s hands
Neale and Cole with a number of other marines passed Sun Oct 11th sheltered in a church and on the following day they were sent by train to the German camp and travelled two days and three nights.
The prisoners get plenty of food and good beds to lie on although Neale states that they are not very safe there. They both complain of the cold weather and ask for a ‘ganzy’ to be sent. The prisoners conclude that they are only allowed to write home about once in 6 weeks.
Prior to enlisting Neale was a clerk at Messrs Bryan Donkin’s Works, Chesterfield, while Cole was employed at the Devonshire Works.
(They were repatriated back to "Blighty" in early 1919)
Montague Albert Cole - married Daisy Dickins in 1928, moved to Barrow Hill, had two daughters and became an ‘electric tram driver’. He died in 1976.
Reginald Neale - married Gladys Hall in 1927 and lived at 30 King Street, Brimington. He had at least one son and died in 1953.
July - august 2017
Following our “brush with fame” after interviews with the BBC news team and with broadcaster Adrian Chiles on his Radio 5 live show, we returned home from the Passchendaele commemorations to find we’d received over two hundred new visitors to our website and we’ve received over a hundred emails from people across the country thanking us for our efforts in searching and finding our Brimington lads and for our website.
See 'Feedback ' page just a few of the lovely comments people have been making about Brimington- Memorial
Interviewed by the BBC
Copy of the interview can be viewed on 'Media Interest’ page..... click here
On Tuesday 18th July we were interviewed by a BBC journalist about our research and dedication to Brimingtons soldiers in the Great War. We met in the Community Centre in Brimington and he proved to be a very nice man who made the experience quite enjoyable and relaxed. After a lengthy interview about the whys and hows of what we have achieved so far, we showed him around the village where he photographed the places that have featured in our research - the streets of New Brimington were of particular interest to him, as well as the memorial gates and St Michael's church. It was a great experience for us.
The interview etc will be featured on the BBC website at the end of July as part of their centenary tributes. >>>
Below - copy of email from BBC confirming when our story will go live ( personal details removed for privacy)
Passchendaele Display - Brimington Community Centre
In readiness for the start of the official Passchendaele Centenary Commemorations on 31st July in Ypres, Belgium we have put together a display in Brimington Community Centre in remembrance of our Brimington soldiers' sacrifices in that terrible battle.
New ‘14-18 Battles of the Somme ' Museum at Thiepval Visitors Centre
We visited the new permanent exhibition at Thiepval Memorial during our visit to the Somme in April this year.
We’ve watched the new building being constructed during our visits to the area over the previous year. The museum is an extension of the Thiepval Memorial Visitor Centre and most of it is underground -we’ve been eager to visit it and it didnt disappoint.
It uses the latest state-of-the-art interactive technology to help tell the story of the tragedy of the Battle of the Somme to a new generation.
A 60 metre long mural of the Somme battle - by a local French artist - dominates the exhibition. There are letters and personal effects on display as well as artefacts found in the area - many of the items were found during the construction of the museum. Our photos below.........
FEEDBACK & FURTHER INFORMATION
The granddaughter of Brimington soldier Private John T Souter who was killed in action 21st March 1918 – contacted us via email- to say she was “very impressed by your memorial website” and to let us know that her grandfather did in fact have THREE sons, not just one – Joseph Arthur - as we had stated.
We have now amended our information and added sons 'Clifford & Leslie' to Private Souter's biography. Many thanks Brenda.
Every year we endeavour to tidy up the 8 official Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves of our WW1 soldiers in Brimington Cemetery. We report back to the commission, any issues with the headstones etc.
This year we found Lance Corp Joseph Baumber’s headstone was still weathered and in urgent need of replacing and
Private G H Godfrey’s headstone and grave were almost totally obscured by huge overgrown bushes. We reported both issues.
And received an immediate email in return ....
Dear Mrs Mullins
We have a replacement headstone in stock for J BAUMBER I have instructed the team that when they are on site fixing the headstone to turnaround the headstone to G.H. GODFREY, as you say this would be the best option in this case.
XXXXXXX (name deliberately deleted)
Regional Supervisor North Central, UKNA Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX, United Kingdom | Website: www.cwgc.org
Boy Soldier: Private John Bernard Allen - Aged 16
Born in Brimington in 1899 John Bernard Allen was the eldest child of Ben & Catherine Rose Allen of Heywood Street. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914 - and despite having 6 young children to support his father Ben joined the colours- with the 2nd/6th Bn Sherwood Foresters - and was sent to France within weeks.
Just months later in May 1915 – even though he was only 16 years old,- son John lied about his age and with apparent ease managed to enlist in the 8th Bn Leicester Regiment . By the 17th August 1915 18311 Private J B Allen was on his way to fight on the western front.
His desperate mother - who was already very ill with a throat tumour - tried frantically through various means to get her boy back home to safety and eventually wrote directly to the war office in March 1916 begging for her under age son to be returned home right away.....
Copy of Mrs Allens original letter courtesy of The National Archives
My dear Lordship
I am writing to ask you if you will please be so kind as to let my boy come home out of the trenches he has been out in France since August 18th and he is only 16 years old. I am enclosing his birth certificate so as you can see his age. I cannot bear thinking of him out there. Hoping your Lordship will oblige a Mother.
I remain yours truly........
Yet despite the evidence of his age Private John Bernard Allen remained in France for almost eight months - (even receiving a gunshot wound to his leg !) - before the authorities finally answered her plea and her son was allowed to return to Brimington. John went back to his job as a miner and the family prayed for the safe return of husband and father Ben Allen .
As his mother’s health deteriorated rapidly, the young Brimington lad apparently begged the authorities to be allowed to take his father’s place at the front so that Ben Allen could return to nurse his sick wife, who by then had lost her speech – but his case was refused and John was told he would have to wait until he was eighteen to re-join the colours.
John Bernard Allen did eventually rejoin the war on 7th May 1917 with the West Yorkshire Regiment ..not knowing at that time that tragically his father was already dead - killed in action just 10 days before.
John Bernard Allen survived the war and returned to Brimington, got married and lived in the district until his death.
(Private Ben Allen was killed in the Somme area on 27th April 1917 - he has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial )
Remembering the second Christmas of the Great War - below is a copy of the plaque we placed just prior to Christmas, in St Michaels Church, Brimington, reminding us of those men lost from our village- in just over a year of war.
20th November 2015
We’ve been thrilled to receive these very special photographs from Paul Wilson in Dorset – of his great uncle
L/Corp Leonard Wilson. (Reproduced with his kind permission). The soldier was a manager at Hunters Grocers in Brimington prior to his enlistment. He was killed by gas poisoning in May 1918.
In and out of uniform
At his wedding in 1913.
November 2015 Armistice
THE THIEPVAL MEMORIAL - THE NEXT 100 YEARS
Vital repair and improvement work began in June 1915 - Phase 1 is to tackle the memorial roofs and make it watertight. Phase 2 will replace the existing drainage system. All to be finished in time for the July 2016 Somme centennial anniversary.our annual Armistice pilgrimage we visited Thiepval Memorial as usual and checked on its current 'work in progress'.
Thiepval Memorial Repairs - November 2015
Nothing much to see at the moment except concrete and ground works !!
JULY 2015Mrs Grace Stott - (21st November 1918 – 26th June 2015)
Sad news of the death of Mrs Grace Stott in Nottingham aged 96 years and 7 months. Grace was the sister-in-law of Brimington’s youngest soldier to die – Private Horace Stott.
We had the privilege for many years of knowing Grace - an independent and feisty lady despite her advancing years. Her incredible memory and stories kept us enthralled.
Grace married Ron Stott ( Horace's brother) in Brimington Parish church in 1940 and eventually they moved to Nottingham. Ron died there in 1987 and Grace continued to live in the same house until her death.
Graces funeral service in Nottingham in July was a small and intimate affair which celebrated her long life with a mixture of memories and music.
11&12 th JULY 2015 "Staveley Armed Forces Week-end"
We were invited to contribute to the First World War exhibition at this years Staveley Armed Forces weekend staged at Poolsbrook Country Park. The annual event is held in honour of all those who served and are still serving in our armed forces.
Our Brimington Memorial display stand included photographs, personal stories, books, maps & military records of our soldiers. A compilation of our 'Letters from the Front ' web page generated a lot of interest and questions about Brimington and the Great War.
We can also boast of a visit by Vice Admiral Peter Hudson and The High Sheriff of Derbyshire- Oliver Stephenson who showed great interest in our display and our research.
(Our thanks to Staveley Armed Forces & Veterans Association for allowing us to be part of the great two days)
25th April 2015
‘Brimington Family of footballers - Escape the Germans’ ( May 1915)
Born 1869 Charles Bunyan moved to Cow Lane, Brimington as a young man around 1880. He married local girl Eliza Taylor and their three sons were born in Brimington.
Already a talented footballer Charlie began playing for local village sides before playing his first game for Chesterfield in 1886. He went on to play professionally for Hyde Football Club then Sheffield United, Derby County and Walsall and a stint with Newcastle.
In 1909 he became the first Englishman to coach an overseas team with his appointment as coach of the Racing Club of Brussels. By now two of Charles’ sons Charlie junior and Maurice were notable footballers in their own right and joined their father in the Belgium team - and then followed him when he moved on to coach the Standard Liege team. The other Bunyan brother –Ernest moved to Belgium at the same time but did not seem to play football at the same level.
When the Germans invaded Belgium in 1914 Charles and his sons were forced to flee and return to England. Ernest Bunyan wrote of the horrors of that escape ------
Together with a number of Belgium’s it took them 3 days and nights , dressed as beggars – ‘....travelling mostly at night to try and evade the marauding Germans’ before they reached the Dutch border. The horror did not stop there, for Ernest reported that a number of Belgium refugees were 'shot and killed by the Hun...' as they tried to cross the border' and '..who thought nothing of shooting at unarmed women and children..'
On their safe return to England - Charles and his three sons – all enlisted in the army: - Charles joined the Footballers Regiment, Maurice - Royal Marine Light Infantry, Charles Junior and Ernest joined the Royal Field Artillery.
All survived the war. Although Charles senior suffered severe shell-shock and was ill for some time but eventually he did return to football - in 1922 - as manager of Anderlecht but died a few months after taking up the role.
Two of his sons also returned to football. Charles Junior (known in Belgium as Cyrille Bunyan) went on to play for Racing Club of Bruxelles and Chelsea and managed the Anderlecht side after his father died. He died in 1975
Maurice also played for Racing Club de Bruxelles & for Stade France and competed for Great Britain in the 1920 Olympics. After the 2nd world war he managed the French side Bordeaux and worked with Jules Rimet of World Cup fame to write the French language book ‘ Le football simplifié’. He died in 1967.
18th March 2015
The Incredible Story of Charles Kent
Charles Kent was born in John Street Brimington in 1876, one of six children of an iron works labourer Caleb and mother Maria . By the age of 12 Charles was working down a local pit as a colliery labourer.Yet from such humble beginnings Charles Kent rose through the ranks, became a highly decorated soldier, honoured by the Russian Czar and shook the hand of the King of England.
His remarkable story begins, when in common with a number of other Brimington lads, Charles joined the local Derbyshire Yeomanry volunteers. Before long he had decided on a full time army career and he attested in 1895 joining the Durham Light Infantry . It was whilst stationed in Newcastle that he met his future wife – Mary Neville whom he married in 1900. And after that his army career began to flourish. In 1901 leaving behind his wife and new born son – Thomas, the newly promoted ‘Sergeant’ Kent sailed for a tour of duty in India where his battalion was put in charge of guarding prisoners from the Boer War, who were imprisoned there.
After his return to England back with his wife and child they moved frequently to where ever his battalion was posted. He spent time in Colchester & Wellington barracks as drill sergeant and spend over four years in Ireland by which time his offspring expanded to eight children.
At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the Brimington soldier was now Company Sergeant Major of ‘D’ company 2nd Bn DLI and in September his company engaged the Germans at the battle of Troyon where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for rescuing a wounded officer under fire. Citation reads:
“For gallant conduct on 20th September 1914, at Troyon, valley of Aisne, when he voluntarily assisted in the rescue of a wounded officer under a heavy fire."
Charles suffered a serious gun shot wound to his hand and a injury to his eye during that battle
He received a bar to his DCM in September 1915 - Citation reads :
"For conspicuous gallantry on the 9th August 1915, at Hooge, during the attack. Later, about 3pm, some men started to withdraw from the vicinity of the "Stables" CSM Kent, with three others, succeeded in rallying them and leading them back to the vacated trench under persistent shell fire. In rallying these men considerable open space had been crossed. He remained in his position until about 9.30am on the 10th August, no orders to withdraw having been received."
Charles Kent became Lieutenant and Quartermaster of the 20th (Wearsiders) Battalion DLI, ending the war as a Captain he was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Russian Cross of the Order of St. George.
He was discharged from the army in 1917 having served for 22 years, his Commanding officers report stated his '... character was exemplary ' he was ‘an.... excellent soldier in every respect - smart, sober and absolutely reliable...’
DCM & Bar / Russian Cross / Meritorious Service
In the 1920’s he became involved in the newly formed British Legion and became treasurer of his local Durham branch, and he met King George. It was reported in the local press that the King shook the soldiers hand warmly and was heard to remark ‘ I see you are wearing the Russian Cross of St George? I am very pleased to see you”
Charles died in 1956. Not bad for a Brimington lad !
26th Feb 2015
Along with more information becoming available - we've found more of our soldiers photographs - blurred and grainy they may be, but they are the first likeness' we have seen of some of them. Others are clearer versions of what we already have.More Photographs
Prv Alfred Smith Prv Alfred W Herbert Prv Albert Wilson 2nd Lieu H Jephson Prv Luke Knott Priv Percy Hickey
Prv Thomas Bradshaw Prv Thomas Hall Prv Tom Inns Prv James Nicholson Prv Edwin Simms Prv Ernest Hoole
Serg George Mace MM Prv Frank Bastock Prv Frank Cooper Private Fred Mann Prv Alfred Malam Prv Herbert Taylor
L/Corp Robert W Burr Prv Sid Farrow Serg Walter Malam Prv Horace Stott Prv Frank Fuller Serg George Morley
Prv Oswald Garland Prv George Godfrey Prv G Symonds Prv Ernest Crozier Prv W Wallace Prv Percy Crozier
4th Feb 2015
"Military Medal" (M.M)
With more new information about the Great War becoming available to researchers we have discovered a remarkable amount of Military Medal and other gallantry award recipients amongst our Brimington soldiers - so far we have uncovered :
22550 Private George Bradshaw MM* - 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters( Notts & Derby). Pondwell
Awarded – Military Medal for bravery in the field 14th August 1917.
11557 Sergeant Samuel Parnham MM - 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters( Notts & Derby). Heywood Street, Brimington. Awarded – Military Medal for bravery in the field 21st October 1918
12985 Private John Jakins MM Leicester Regiment. Brimington Common
Awarded – Military medal for bravery January 1918
203293 Corporal Arthur Allen MM 5th Bn Sherwood Foresters( Notts & Derby) Station Road, Brimington Awarded – Military medal for bravery April 1919
240439 L/Corp William Wheatley MM Sherwood Foresters ( Notts & Derby), Station Road, Brimington
Awarded – Military medal for bravery May 1919
27545 Serg Jack Eaton MM Machine Gun Corps Victoria Street, Brimington
Awarded - Military Medal for bravery - Feb 1919
(*Note Private G Bradshaws head stone in Tyne Cot Cemetery is not inscribed with his 'MM' we have therefore requesting the CWGC amend this as soon as possible)
Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.)
18708 Corporal Samuel L Barker DCM - Grenadier Guards/R.E. Heywood Street, Brimington
A stretcher bearer attached to the Grenadier Guards the soldier was awarded TWO Orders of Merits and a DCM for
rescuing officers and men under heavy fire at the Battle of Loos
Sergeant William Wood Machine Gun Corps. DCM and French Medaille Militaire, Station Road, Brimington
The Sergeants DCM was won on 25th March 1918 - and finally awarded to the brave soldier in a ceremony in Chesterfield Town Hall
in February 1922 by the Lord Mayor ( Ald W Rhodes). Sergeant Wood was also presented with the French Medaille Militaire from the French Government for ' bravery in action against an enemy force'
"Meritorious Service Medal"
199528 Private R Evans Labour Corps, Drakes Terrace Brimington
Awarded the Meritorious Serivce Medal in 1919 in recognition of the valuable services he rendered to King and Country, throughout his service.
16th Dec 2014 - George Mace 'MM' engraved on his headstone at last !
Sergeant George Mace - won the Military Medal in April 1917, but it was never acknowledged on his headstone in Lijssenthoek Cemetery, Belgium. We wrote to the Commonwealth War Graves commission sometime ago about this and have prompted them many times since then.
We have just received confirmation that at long last this Brimington soldiers brave endeavours can been seen and acknowledged.
CWGC have sent us this photo as proof that the work has been carried out
Our Ref: 108473 Date: 16 December 2014Dear Mrs MullinsThank you for your reminder e mail of 23 November. Please accept our apologies for the delay in reply, this is due to the very high volume of enquiries we are receiving now that the 14-18 Centenary is upon us.With regard to your query, please find attached photographs of the headstone of Sgt Mace, now showing the addition of the Military Medal. Thank you again for your patience in this matter.Yours sincerelyEnquiries Administrator, Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 7DX, United Kingdom
6th Sept 2014 "Brimington Lads 1914"
This remarkable photograph was sent to us by Anne Goss. It is not known where it was taken or the names of any of the soldiers - but the photograph is clearly signed 'Brimington Lads 1914" We will try and find out more but if anyone has information about any of the young soldiers in the photograph - please get in touch through the 'contact us' page
24th August 2014 - L/Corp Henry Rodgers
This is quite possibly a photograph of L/Corp Henry Rodgers.
It was found amongst family photos by the soldiers
great grandson - Peter Rodgers. And although the image isnt labelled
all the evidence points to it being Henry.
The lady in the photograph could therefore be Henrys wife- Amelia.
It is a wonderful find for us and we are so grateful to Peter for allowing us to
see it and use it. We've visited Henry's grave at Essex Farm cemetery -
more times than we have any of our other soldiers, because of its location so close to Ypres. We've visited in the depth of winter, in early spring and in the heat of summer.
So when we visit again we'll finally know what L/Corp Henry Rodgers looked like.
Photograph by kind permission of Peter Rodgers
10th August 2014
On Sunday the 10th August, it was our pleasure to attend the joint commemoration service at Hall Road Methodist Church Brimington which involved most of the churches and chapels in the village.
The service was planned and shared by Rev Daniel Cooke from St Michaels Parish church and Rev Richard Harris, who managed to keep the mood upbeat and hopeful, despite the reverence of the occasion.
We had managed to locate a number of relatives of the Brimington soldiers, and they were invited to attend too. It made for a poignant and personal occasion, despite the distance of 100 years.
Amongst the guests - we were fortunate and honoured to welcome Mrs Grace Stott. At 96 years old she is the sister-in-law of Brimington’s youngest soldier to die – Private Horace Stott. Grace is a remarkable lady - fiercely independent with an incredible memory of the past and present and a lovely sense of humour and it’s our privilege to know her.
We were sorry that Hazel Greaves – daughter of Brimingtons VC winner Fred Greaves - could not attend the service. We understand that she was taken ill at the end of July. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hazel for a speedy recovery.
(Added 18th May 2014)
Albert Fredrick Cutts
Private Albert Cutts is on the far right of the group photograph
Helens sister Ruth has kindly sent us these photographers of a silk handkerchief which Albert sent
home to his mother as a ‘Souvenir from France’ He wrote on the hankie -
‘To my dear mother from Albert May 20th 1917 Sunday (somewhere in France) x x x x
It is an incredibly touching reminder that 10 months later his mother lost her son
Corporal 24137 Elijah Garrett - An incredible find !
Judy who lives in Australia collects trench art and has aquired a handmade photo frame inscribed
‘E.GARRETT 241437’ She found Elijah’s photograph and information on this website and contacted us.
She wrote ‘I was thrilled to find his photo and your obituary on the Brimington memorial site and would like to reproduce both in my book ‘ she describes the piece '... the bevelled frame may have originally come from a buckle but there are no joins or protrusions. It may have been beaten into shape over a buckle
The item was almost certainly made by our Brimington soldier and according to Judy ‘….he may have made it in training but I think it was made in France. It’s similar in tools and materials to other pieces from there although it’s the only photo frame I have. It looks as if armourer’s stamps have been used for the inscription and that’s common’
Our thanks to Judy for allowing us to use these photographs
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