Remembrance – Ernest Codling

Today we remember Ernest Codling on the 101st anniversary of his death, when he made the ultimate sacrifice for his country serving with the 6th Lincolnshire’s on the 8th June 1917. Ernest is commemorated on the Bourne War Memorial and buried at the Messines Ridge British Cemetery

Ernest Codling was born on the 28th August 1896 at 51 King Street Lincoln to John Codling, a railway porter from Lincoln and his wife Mary Elizabeth Cobb. John and Mary were married in Lincoln in 1892.

John and Mary had 8 children in total, unfortunately they had lost 3 of them before 1911.
Albert Codling, 1893, Lincoln
Gertrude Mary Codling, 1894, Lincoln
Ernest Codling, 1896, Lincoln
John William Codling, 1906, Lincoln
Doris May Codling, 1910, Lincoln
The three children they lost were between census returns and so their names are not currently known.

In 1901 John, Mary and their three children were living at 37 Queen Street Lincoln. The next year Ernest started St Peter at Gowts infants school on the 11th June 1902 where he remained until 22nd August 1905. The National Schools admission register indicates that when leaving St Peter at Gowts Ernest went on to attend the newly re-organised St Andrews school in St Andrews Street Lincoln.

By 1911 Ernest had moved from home and was living with his uncle, William Marshall Codling, at Watering Dyke Farm, Grange-de-Lings near Nettleham, Lincoln. Here he worked as a farm servant and the census lists his job as “odd duties”.
Ernest later moved back to live with his parents at 1 Naan Cottages, Grey Street, Lincoln and started working as a warehouseman.

During the war years the family moved to Bourne and settled there. Whilst in Bourne the family received the sad new that Ernest’s oldest brother, Albert, who had joined the Lincolnshire Regiment before the war, had been killed in May 1915 in the area around Ypres.

Ernest enlisted into the army at Lincoln on the 8th December 1914.
The medal rolls also show that Ernest has three separate regimental numbers tied into different Battalions of the Lincolnshire regiment. It is likely that on enlistment he was assigned to the 4th Battalion (3442) to start training. It is most likely that he was then posted to the 5th Battalion (20047) or the 6th Battalion (40635) upon completion of training. The only other reason men were transferred from one active Battalion to another one would be if they were injured and then reassigned when they became fit to serve again.

As with a lot of records from the Great War, Ernest’s army records are believed to have been destroyed in a warehouse fire in London in the blitz and so we can only look at his movements by piecing together any surviving information.

The medals card index shows that Ernest did not serve abroad before the start of 1916. Whether this posting was with the 4th, 5th or 6th Battalion is unknown.

The 4th and 5th battalions had both been posted to the Western front in March 1915. The 2nd / 4th and 2nd / 5th Battalions had seen service in Ireland in 1916 before being posted to France in February 1917.
The 6th Battalion had spent 1915 in Galipoli before being shipped to Egypt between February and July of 1916. In July they sailed back to Europe and were posted to the Western front just south west of Arras by the 18th July. Because it is not known exactly when Ernest was posted to the 6th Battalion it is impossible to trace his movements at this time.

We do know that when he was killed, Ernest was with the 6th Battalion and so we can only look at his movements during his last month. Unfortunately, the diaries for the 6th Battalion from this period are largely unreadable and so transcription may take a long while.

The following extract is from “The History of the 6th Service Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment” by Colonel F.G. Spring, and is the best source of information for this period.

“The maintenance of pressure on the Arras front, which kept the enemy constantly on the alert, enabled final preparations to be made for the opening of the Flanders offensive, which was to begin with the Battle of Messines.

The actual front selected for this operation extended between nine and ten miles from a point opposite St. Yves to Mount Sorrel. The objective of the attack was a group of hills known as the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, which lies about midway between Armentières and Ypres. Messines itself is situated on
the southern spur of the ridge which commands a wide view of the valley of the Lys and enfiladed the British lines to the south. North-west of Messines, Wytschaete, situated at the point of the salient and on the highest part of the ridge, commanded a view of almost the entire town of Ypres and all the old British positions in the Ypres Salient.

A special feature in the operations due to take place on the 7th of June was one original in warfare – the explosion of nineteen deep mines at the moment of assault. No such mining feat had ever before been attempted. In the construction of these mines, eight thousand yards of gallery had been driven and
over one million pounds of explosives used.
Nine divisions were to take part in the actual assault, and three were in support, among which was the 11th Division who latter lay opposite Wytschaete, and in rear of the 16th Division at the centre of the attack.

Having left at Albert on the night of 17th/18th of May, the 6th Lincolns detrained at Caëstre and marched to Le Thieushouck where they were billeted. The first three days at Le Thieushouck were spent in interior economy and company training, although the training was greatly restricted by the highly cultivated state of the surrounding ground. On May 22nd the Division was informed that it was to take part in the coming operations, and two days later the Battalion marched to a training area situated on the frontier between France and Belgium, about six miles in rear of the Wytschaete sector. The following two weeks where were spent in training for the attack.

The 11th Division received orders to pass through the 16th Division when the latter had captured its objective. The role of the 33rd Brigade was to pass through and capture a trench system three miles east of Wytschaete.

At midday on the 6th of June orders were received to attack the following morning. Preparations were quickly made and at 11.30 p.m. the Lincolnshire marched to Butterfly Farm, two miles from the front line, to await final orders.

As dawn was breaking on the 7th, there was a sudden rumbling of the earth, huge flames shot up, clouds of smoke, dust and debris, a rocking of the ground – as the nineteen mines “went up.” Before one was able to regain one’s normal faculties, there was another deafening crash as the barrage roared out from a thousand guns. The 6th Lincolns had taken up a position among the “Heavies” and were almost stunned by the ear-splitting din of the monsters as they roared and poured a hail of big shells upon the wretched Germans.
The 6th Lincolns waited in suspense for the first results of the attack. The barrage still continued but at about 9 a.m., word was received that the 16th Division had taken their first two objectives and were pushing on to the third.

At about 11 a.m., orders were received to advance to the Vierstraat Switch, a trench running parallel to, and about a thousand yards behind, the British line.

At about midday the battalion reached its destination and the men had dinner, while Lieut.-Colonel Gater went to Brigade Headquarters for further orders.

Just after 2 p.m., he returned with the information that at 3 p.m., another barrage would fall under cover of which the battalion was to attack the third objective.

The forming-up place was to be two miles away on the further slope of the Wytschaete Ridge but the intervening ground was badly cut up by shell-holes, broken trenches and communication trenches full of troops and wounded men. The battalion, being scattered over a thousand yards of trench, had to be got together, and so as not to be late, Battalion Headquarters and ‘D’ Company started off and arrived at the forming-up line just as the barrage opened. The other companies had not yet come up, so Lieut.-Colonel Gater decided to push on with ‘D’ Company for fear of losing the barrage. ‘D’ Company shook out into artillery formation and advanced. Australian troops were on the right and portions of the 6th Border Regiment on the left, with the 7th South Staffords and 9th Sherwood Foresters in support and reserve respectively.

The enemy’s artillery opened fire as soon as our barrage fell but his barrage was weak and ill-directed, and many of his guns were effectively smothered by our fire. ‘D’ Company extended into line in two waves after passing through the first line of posts held by the 16th Division. Very little opposition was encountered: the enemy either ran or surrendered until the objective was nearly reached. Here the Germans attempted a counter-attack but with the assistance of tanks it was broken up, and by 5 p.m. the objective had been gained. Casualties during the attack had been extraordinarily light, ‘D’ Company losing only two or three men. The heaviest losses were in Battalion Headquarters: Lieutenant F.C. Thorn and Regimental-Sergeant-Major Smith and twenty Other Ranks being wounded.

The senior Company Commander, Captain Howis, brought up the remaining three companies with very few casualties. The appearance of these companies, comparatively fresh and intact, was of enormous value in consolidating the position. As dusk was falling the German guns began to shell the position heavily. Captain Sutherland was wounded in the face, and a platoon of ‘C’ Company, holding a strong point, was entirely wiped out (with the exception of and Lieutenant Read, who was badly wounded).

Early next morning on the 8th, another counter-attack developed which at one time looked serious until A Company, with Lewis gun and rifle-fire, succeeded in breaking it up. Second Lieutenant Rowlands was wounded and ‘A’ Company had altogether about a dozen casualties. One N.C.O. – Sergeant Biggadike – was conspicuous for his bravery; he died very gallantly, successfully maintaining his post which the enemy attempted to rush.

Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Gater was wounded in the face when leading ‘D’ Company to the attack but with great self-sacrifice remained at duty until his battalion went out of the line.

There was another counter-attack on the evening of the 9th, accompanied by heavy shell-fire, during which, to everyone’s regret, the Battalion Medical Officer, Captain Frere, was killed, and many other casualties were suffered.

On the night of the 10th/11th of June, the 6th Lincolns were relieved by the 34th Brigade and moved back to camp near Kemmel. The total casualties of the Battalion during the Battle of Messines 1917 were six officers and one hundred and sixty Other Ranks.

The Battalion remained in camp until the 18th of June, engaged in salvage work, and then began to march back in easy stages to Ganspette”.

Ernest Codling was killed in action on the 8th June whilst taking part in the planned offensive described above.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private E Codling, 40635, 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 8 June 1917
Remembered with honour, Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Smith and graveside photo Joyce Stevenson.

Remembrance – John Anthony Nowers

Today we remember the 101st Anniversary of the death of John Anthony Nowers, of the 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, who died this day June 7th 1917. He is commemorated on the Billingborough War Memorial.

John Nowers was born on 6th May 1889 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire to Ernest Henry Trevor Nowers, an assistant bank manager born in Teyham, Kent and his wife Minnie Elizabeth Terry, born in Lydd, Kent, who were married in 1888 in Romney Marsh.

The couple first moved to Market Harborough, Leicestershire and then by 1891 into Northampton before settling in Empringham Road Stamford by 1901 expanding their family to 4 children.
John Anthony Nowers, 1889, Market Harborough
William Arthur Nowers, 1890, Northampton
Dorothy Mary Nowers, 1893, Northampton
Geoffrey Pickering Nowers, 1904, Northampton

John was educated at Stamford Grammar School.

By 1911 the family had moved again and now were living in Tinwell House, Tinwell, near Stamford. John Anthony Nowers is now working as a bank clerk for Messrs Barclays Bank and his father is working as an assistant bank manager.

John enlisted in Lincoln on 6th September 1915 and joined the 26th battalion Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment)

John was posted with his battalion to France on 6th May 1916 to serve with the Expeditionary Force. The following shows John Movements through a potted history of the his time with the battalion and excerpts from the Battalion diary show the first month abroad leading up to their first action; The battle at Fleurs in which John witnessed the first use of tanks in a battle and he received a recommendation; and movements in the month leading up to his death.

4th may 1916 – Aldershot
3am – Battalion entrained (Three separate parties) from Farnborough for Southampton. Embarked on SS Mona-Queen and arrived at Harvre 5/5/16. Transports came over on S.S. Bellerophon.

5th May 1916 – Harvre
7.30am – Battalion marched to No1 Rest Camp, Harvre and rested.

6th May 1916 – Harvre
7.30am – Battalion entrained in two parties at the Gare des Marchandises, Harvre at Point 1 & 3

7th May 1917 – Steenbecque
9am – Detrained at Steenbecque and marched to Staple and were billeted in the vicinity.

8th may 1917 – Staple
Battalion rested at Staple

9th may 1917 – Staple
Battalion marches from Staple to new billets in the vicinity of Outtersteene

10th may 1917 – Outtersteene
7am – 1st Party of Officers and men proceeded to trenches for instruction and were attached to 5th Camerons

23rd May 1916 – Outtersteene
7am – Party of Officers and 1 section of NCOs and men per platoon of A & B Companies proceeded to trenches for instruction and were attached to the 5th Cameron Highlanders.

25th May 1916 – Outtersteene
7am – Party of Officers and 1 section of NCOs and men per platoon of C & D Companies proceeded to trenches for instruction and were attached to 5th Cameron Highlanders.

30th May 1916 – Outtersteene
5.30pm – Battalion marched from Outtersteene to new billets at The Piggerieswhere they arrived on the morning of the 31st instant, after spending the night at La Creche.

1st June 1916 – The Piggeries
In Brigade reserve at the Piggeries Ploegsteert. The day was quiet and there is nothing to record. We suffered our first casualties on active service having 2 men killed and 10 wounded on working parties.

2nd June to 4th June 1916 – The Piggeries
Remained in reserve at the Piggeries. Things were generally quiet and there is nothing to report. One of the wounded men reported above died in hospital at Bailleul.

5th June 1916 – In The Line
6am – The Battalion for the first time occupied the trenches relieving the 18th King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the line and taking over Tp 124 125 126 127. The day was very quiet. There was a little artillery on enemy’s part and enemy snipers were troublesome. There was a good deal of movement in rear and men were putting up wires along Messines Gappard Road.

June – September 1916
This was the first action seen by the new Battalion and they remained in e Ploegsteert area until the 23rd of August 1916 when they entrained at Bailleul for Pont Remys on the Somme, a journey that took 10 hours. Once there they were marched to their billets at Vauchelles de Quesnoy near Abbeville. They remained here in training until the 7th September when they entrained for Mericourt. The next few days saw the Battalion move to Becordel, close to the trenches at Fricourt.

14th September 1916 – Near Fricourt (Battle of Flers)
5.15pm – At this hour the Battalion left the camp at Becordel and marched up to the line. The journey was very tiring owing to continual stoppages on the road on account of heavy traffic. At about 9pm we arrived at the brigade dump, east of Montauban where after having received stores, ammunition etc we proceeded via Flare Lane up to our part of the assembly in front of Delville Wood, the Companies taking up their positions for the attack which was timed to commence at 6.20am. The Battalion arrived and took up their positions about 10 minutes only before the attack commenced. They had been on the march from 5.15pm the previous evening and went into attack on the morning of the 15th without a rest or sleep.

15th September 1916
6.20am – The order of battle of our own Brigade (The 124th Infantry Brigade) was as follows, Front line 21st Kings Royal Rifle Corps and 10th Queens West Surrey Regiment. The 26th battalion Royal Fusiliers were in support of the 21st KRRC and the 32nd Royal Fusiliers in support of the 10th Queens. Map Reference, French Map. France. Sheet 57c S.W. Edition 3A.

6.20am – The 21st K.R.R.C were in position for attack on Switch Trench supported by 26th R.F. (Two Companies in Edge Trench and two Companies in Green Trench). Attack commenced at 6.20am.

6.30am – The Battalion were within 80 yards of the 1st objective (Switch Trench) and found that 1st waves were advancing through our own barrage in a half right direction, the left flank being about 300 yards East of Flers village. The position of our left flank should have been on Flers Road. A halt was ordered and the mistake was as far as possible rectified.

6.50am – The left sector of 1st Objective was taken with very little opposition. Our barrage advanced and infantry followed and took up position in front of 2nd objective – Flers Trench. At this point men from various Battalions struggled bck through our barrage on the right – 2nd Lieut Gauthern (26th R.F) did excellent work in bringing men out of the barrage at great personal risk.

7.45am – Our barrage lifted from 2nd objective and the infantry moved forward and took the trench. Casualties were suffered here from hostile rifle and machine gun fire. A number of prisoners were taken. Our D Company took something like 150 prisoners. The 2nd objective Flers Trench had been severly damaged by our artillery fire.
The infantry remained in this trench until the 122nd Infantry Brigade on our left commenced to clear the village of Flers. In the attack on the first objectives the infantry was assisted by Tanks of the Heavy Machine Gun Company but by the time the 2nd Objective was taken there was only 1 tank in our sector which had not been put out of action. This tank was sent forward along the right of the Flers village to assist the 122nd Brigade and to cover their right flank. A small party under 2nd Lieut ???wood followed the tank to keep in touch with the troops clearing the village. The battalion was reorganised as our barrage moved forward and advanced in two waves.

10.15am – The tank moved forward in front of our waves to the 3rd objective – Hogs Head and Flea Trench. Our first wave was advancing, but when about 200 yards from the Hogshead Lt Col Oakley, of the 10th Queens ordered a withdrawal to Flers Trench, the reason being that the troops that had taken the village of Flers had lost all their officers and had retired. We proceeded to consolidate Flers trench.

3pm – An advance was ordered and under heavy machine gun and rifle fire they occupied the line of the 3rd objective. Shortly afterwards the line again moved forward on the signal of Lieut Colonel, the Earl of Faversham, commanding the 21st K.R.R.C. We advanced toward Gird Trench under heavy and increasing fire, but at a point about 150 yards away from our objective, when our left flank was held up by a part of the enemy who had advanced in front of their trench and lay concealed in a corn field.

5pm – An order was passed down to retire. We could not find out where this order originated and movement backwards was as far as possible prevented but men on our right flank commenced to double back and the right flank was quickly broken. The enemy immediately opened heavy artillery fire along the whole front and we were forced to withdraw to an old trench, situated about N32.a.1.5 which we found occupied by 20 or 30 men and 2 Vickers guns. We could not find anybody on either flank with whom to get into touch and therefore the men were ordered to “Stand to” until dusk. At dusk we retired to a new line which was being consolidated between the 2nd and 3rd objectives. We remained here and proceeded with consolidation.

11pm – The Brigade was relieved by the 123rd Brigade and proceeded into the support line, with the exception of a section under captain Etchells, which was in front of the line and was unable to reach the remainder of the Battalion.

16th September 1916
The Battalion remained in the support line and were subject to heavy artillery fire throughout the whole day. We were not called upon during the day by the Brigade in front. Captain Etchells and his Company were relieved on Saturday evening and in view of the heavy fighting they had done they were ordered to remain at the Brigade Dump during Saturday night and on Sunday Morning they were ordered to proceed back to the transport lines. The rest of the Battalion remained in support during Sunday and although subject to heavy artillery fire suffered no casualties.

18th September 1916
During the early hours of the morning we were relieved by the North Lancashire Regiment and the Battalion proceeded back to the transport lines and after a march and rest returned to camp at E9.

Our casualties during the action were as follows:- Officers, Lieutentants M.J. Shaw, A.S. Wright (Killed): Lieutenants G.M. Starelock, G.K.S.???wood (Died of wounds): Lieutenants Sir W.A. Blount, Bart and Y.K. Patterson, R.LW Francis and C.T. Wells (Wounded). Other ranks 33 (Killed), 58 (Missing) and 140 Wounded.
Prisoners taken by the Battalion – 2 Officers, 158 Other ranks.

As part of the above described Battle of Flers, John Nowers in the afternoon and evening, remained alone with two badly wounded officers and for which he received a Gallantry card and was recommended for the D.C.M.

The battalion stayed in the Somme area and on the 16th October they were moved behind the lines to Airaines receiving reinforcements and continuing training. Two days later they were moved to Belgium to camps on the south west of Ypres.
The battalion spent the rest of the year in and out of trenches around the Ypres and Kemmel areas.

The cycle of front line and training continued into 1917 and by April the Battalion can be found in trenches around St Eloi, south of Ypres before moving back to the training area in May.

1st June 1917 – Arnecke
After spending the night in billets at Arnecke the Battalion entrained at Arnecke station at 9:05am and detrained at Poperinghe station about 11:25am and proceeded to the camp at Micmac North taking over from 20th battalion Durham Light Infantry.

2nd – 5th June 1917 – Micmac Camp North
There is nothing of importance to record during this period. The Battalion furnished a large number of working parties for the front line system of trenches preparing for the offensive operations. Casualties 1 other rank killed.

5th June 1917 – Micmac Camp (east)
6am – At this hour in accordance with March Table, Battalion Headquarters B and D Companies moved from Micmac Camp East up into the trenches. B Company occupied front line trenchs O.2.5 O.2.6 and O.2.7 with two platoons and had two platoons in the support line within the same limits. D Company occupied the reserve line, crater Lane to Bus House Road (Exclusive) and Vormezelle sector from junction with Middlesex Lane to Vormezelle St Eloi Road.
Battalion headquarters were in dug outs in Convent Lane. The remaining two Companies moved from Micmac Camp East to Micmac Camp South.
The day passed uneventfully in the line. There was heavy artillery fire on both sides, but there is nothing of importance to record. Patrols were sent out by B company at night. They found the enemy were thoroughly cut and no obstacle. Owing to a bright moon one of the patrols which got almost up to the enemy parapet was bombed and the officer was slightly wounded.

11pm – At this hour A & C companies left Micmac Camp East and proceeded to occupy GHQ 2nd line which they did at 1:30am on the 6th June in accordance with March table.

6th June 1917 – in the line
The whole battalion was disposed in the line in accordance with March Table. The artillery duel continued throughout the day otherwise there is nothing of importance to record.
Orders for moving into assembly positions were issued and no indication as to zero hour was received.

7th June 1917 – in the line
The day of the attack on the 2nd Army front from Observatory Wood to St Yves.
According to orders issued the Battalion was supposed to be in its assembly positions 2 hours before zero (i.e. 1:10am) but owing to considerable traffic in the communications trenches and on account of the traffic it was not until 2:35am that the Battalion was finally ready and the Companies all out in their? Of waves between our own trench and the support line. Although a bit tired the men were in splendid spirits. They had been trained up to the minute. Every officer and man knew exactly what was the objective was and were ready to gain it. After 6 long weary winter months of waiting in the St Eloi Sector, overlooked by the enemy, every movement and turn observed, all ranks were assembled with one thought – To get the Bosche out of it –
All had complete confidence in our supporting artillery.

2:50am – At this hour the enemy having spotted the Battalions assembling in No Man’s Land began to send up the “stand to” signal (A rocket, bursting into golden red stars) and his artillery opened a barrage. Luckily however his artillery barrage was weak and it did not disorganise or worry the assembled men.

3:10am – Promptly to the second our artillery opened and our line of waves was went forward. About 5 seconds after zero the St Eloi mine went up with a huge blaze and a rocking of the ground. This seemed to startle the men for they seemed to turn left handed. Fortunately, this check was only momentary and the men soon settled down and were over the top and following the 32nd Royal Fusiliers who were in front in good order. The enemy defence barrage came down on No Man’s Land about 4 minutes after zero but it only caught our rear wave and caused little damage. The attack went off exactly as per schedule. The 32nd Royal Fusiliers took the enemy front trenches and at zero plus 35 minutes this Battalion were ready to advance on their objective Dammstrasse. This consisted of a sunken road which was strongly fortified and which was supposed to be a bit of a stumbling block. The ground had been thoroughly prepared by our artillery who maintained a heavy pounding barrage on the objective. The cooperation between the infantry and the artillery was excellent. The advance behind the creeping barrage was orderly and the men kept their distance and direction admirably.

4.11am – Prompt to time the barrage lifted off the Dammstrasse and our men rushed in and captured it with very little resistance and before large numbers of the enemy who had been sheltering in strong concrete dug outs were able to come out and fight. A large number of prisoners estimated between 300 and 400 were taken by the Battalion. Those of the enemy who did not choose to evacuate their strongholds were bombed out of it. The enemy, with the exception of one machine gun crew who was soon knocked out, showed no inclination to fight. He was beaten and demoralised by the intensity of our artillery fire and the suddenness of the attack.
According to orderts a line was immediately dug about 50 to 100 yards in front of the Dammstrasse (Blue Line) as close up to our protection barrage as possible and the work of consolidation was carried on with all possible speed. Enemy artillery fire was ineffective.
According to plan the 3 remaining Battalions of the Brigade came up behind us and formed up ready to advance on to the Black Line which they did. All objectives mto this Brigade were taken to the scheduled time and were held.

3pm – Exactly 12 hours after zero at 3.10pm the 24th Durhams who had come up across the ground in a magnificent waay and went through and carried on the advance and by about 5pm news was received that all objectives had been taken. Meanwhile large numbers of prisoners kept streaming back.

Officers, Killed nil, Wounded 5, Missing nil
Other Ranks, Killed 25, Wounded 161, missing 7.

During this attack of the 7th June, Acting Corporal John Anthony Nowers was wounded in the feet and whilst awaiting his turn for help was killed by a shell burst.

8th June 1917 – In the Line
2am – At about this hour orders were received for the relief of the Battalion by the 23rd Middlesex Regiment and
the 20th Durham Light Infantry. This was carried out and completed by 3:30am and the Battalion was withdrawn to G.H.Q 2nd Line near Ridge Wood.
During the day the Divisional Commander inspected the men and heartily congratulated them on their splendid achievement.
7:30pm – The Battalion moved from GHQ 2nd Line to bivouacs in Elzenhalle where they spent the night. There is nothing important to record.

Grantham Journal Saturday 30 June 1916
KILLED IN ACTION – Mrs Nowers of the Old Hall, received an official notification of Sunday that her son, Corporal J. A. Nowers (Royal Fusiliers) was killed in action on June 7th. The deepest sympathy is extended to the family.

UK De Ruvigny”s Roll of Honour 1914 – 1919
NOWERS, JOHN ANTHONY, Corpl, No. 19415, 26th (Service) Battn. The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regt). eldest s. of the late Ernest Henry Trevor Nowers of Stamford, co. Lincoln, by his wife Minnie Elizabeth, daughter. of Matthew Terry of Lydd, co. Kent; b Market Harborough , co. Leicester, 6 May 1889; educ. Stamford Grammar School; was employed by Messrs. Barclay & co., Bankers; enlisted 6 Sept 1915; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 6 May 1916; took park in the Battle of Flers 15 Sept., on which afternoon and evening he remained alone with two badly wounded officers and for which he received a Gallantry card and was recommended for the D.C.M.; took park in the operations of Messines, where he was killed in action 7 June 1917; was wounded in the feet and awaiting his turn for help when he was killed by a shell. Buried at St Eloi; unm.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Corporal John Anthony Nowers, 19425, 26th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers who died on 7 June 1917 Age 28
Son of the late Mr E. H. R. Nowers and of Mrs M. E. Nowers of The Gables, Stamford
Remembered with honour, Voormezeele Enclosure No 3

Remembrance – Horace Little

Today, we remember the 101st anniversary of the death of local Folkingham and Lincolnshire Regiment man Horace Little.

Horace is commemorated on the war memorial in Sempringham and buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery at Le Treport.

Horace Little was born early in 1898 in Long Sutton to William Little, an assistant teacher born Wisbech, and his wife Ada Willows of Long Sutton. They married in Long Sutton in 1897 and Horace was the first of 12 children;

Horace William Little, 1898, Long Sutton
Sydney Belmont Little, 1899, Long Sutton
Nellie Elizabeth Little, 1901, Long Sutton
Harold George Little, 1903, Long Sutton
Reginald Gregory Little, 1905, Alford
Gilbert Frank Little, 1907, Pointon
Winifred Ethel Little. 1908. Pointon
Cuthbert Little, 1909, Pointon
Dorothy Little, 1911, Pointon
Clement A Little, 1912, Pointon
Hilda N Little, 1914, Pointon
Geoffrey F Little, 1917, Pointon

The family started out life in Long Sutton where in 1901 William was working as a teacher, by 1907 they had moved to the School House in Pointon, William now being the head teacher.

In November 1915 Horace enlisted into the Lincolnshire regiment at Lincoln (No 4662). Some records indicate that at the time of his death we was posted to the 51st labour Company of the labour Corps 30292, although other records commemorate him as a private in the 1st/4th Lincolnshire Regiment under the number 201673.

His military records have not been found and were most likely destroyed in the London warehouse fire in the blitz.

The information we have discovered has been pieced together from various surviving records and so the dates and his movements during the war are largely unknown.
When he was posted from the Lincolnshire Regiment to the Labour Corps is unknown but it must have been between January 1917 and June 1917.
The Labour Corps was manned by officers and other ranks who had been medically rated below the “A1” condition needed for front line service. Many of the men of the Corps were previously wounded and were posted from their original battalions to the Labour Corps. Labour Corps units were often deployed for work within range of the enemy guns, sometimes for lengthy periods.

As we do not know the circumstances of Horace’s transfer to the Corps or any details of previous wounds then it is not possible say where on the western front he was serving prior to his transfer to the No 16 Hospital at Le Treport.
We do know that the 4th Lincolns had spent most of 1917 in the Loos area but when Horace left them for the Labour Corps is unknown.

The Grantham Journal of 9th June 1917 has the following-
LITTLE – At a Military Hospital abroad, on 1st June Pte. Horace William Little, Lincolnshire Regiment, the dearly loved and eldest son of William and Ada Little, Pointon School House, Folkingham, aged 19years.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private Horace William Little, 30292, 1st/4th Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 1 June 1917.
Remembered with honour, Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport.