Our fantastic local Genealogist, Nicola Hallam https://www.familyhistorydiggers.com has undertaken research to give a sense of the person behind the name on the War Memorial.
Gave their lives
G E ROWSON
Private George Edward Rowson, son of Thomas Frederick and Elizabeth who lived at the Nurseries. George initially joined the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. This meant that he served at Gallipoli and took part in the landings at Suvla Bay. At some point George was transferred to 10thBattalion, Lincolnshire Regiment – known as the Grimsby Chums. His service number was 13625. George was 32 when he was killed in action on 28 April 1917. One of 328 men from 10th Battalion killed in action on that day. He has no known grave and his name appears on the Arras Memorial. His brothers Sidney Taylor and William both appear on the war memorial.
There appears to be an error on the memorial here as there is no H Flear who died during the First World War. However, research has shown that a Frederick Flear was killed in action and was the nephew of Charles Flear who was living at Collow in 1911. Frederick Flear was killed in action on 27 September 1918 while serving with 15th battalion Sherwood Foresters. His service number was 50297. He enlisted at Brigg. He is buried in Perth Cemetery (China Wall) in Ypres, Belgium. He was 22 years old. 225 men of 15th Sherwood Foresters were killed in action that day. They were fighting south of Ypres. Fred was a wheelwright by trade, having been apprenticed to his grandfather Ephraim Flear of Bishop Norton.
Joseph Bett was the son of David Bett of West Torrington. In 1911 Joseph appears on the census living at Clump Hill Farm, East Torrington with his parents and siblings. He was working as a life assurance agent. He was born in 1888 in Torrington. Joseph was living in Balham in London when he enlisted on 3 May 1915. He joined 14thBn, London Regiment (London Scottish). He was 26 years and 7 months old. He weighed 9st 7. He had a 35 inch chest. He gave his next of kin as David Bett of West Torrington. His service number was 4746, later this changed to 511269. On 4 December 1915 he left Southampton for the Western Front. He arrived with his battalion on 21 December. On 17 June 1916 he received multiple gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs, arms and hands. 10 days later he was admitted to hospital in Exeter. He left hospital on 1 September 1916. It is not clear how Joseph was wounded; his battalion was not in the front and the war diary reports only that “In Reserve Billets in THE KEEP. Digging.” He returned to the Western Front on 22 May 1917. He became ill with trench fever and on 27 November 1917 was sent back to hospital in England where he was treated until 22 December 1917 at the 3rd Scottish General hospital in Glasgow before being transferred to 1st Scottish General hospital in Aberdeen where he stayed until 11 February 1918. He did not serve overseas again. On 11 April 1918 he was married to Margaret McManus at Balham parish church. He was discharged from the army on 31 March 1919. He appears not to have suffered any ill effects from his wounds as he declared he is not suffering from any disability due to his service. Joseph and Margaret divorced in 1932. In 1939 Joseph was working as a butler at Longhills, Branston. Joseph died on 11 August 1958 and is buried in Appleby, North Lincolnshire.
Frank Broxholme was baptised in Wragby as Joseph Francis Broxholme. In 1914 he married Amy Parkin in West Torrington church. He initially served in the Sherwood Foresters (service no 51671), then in the Labour Corps (service no 116625) perhaps during a period when he was recovering from wounds and then with the Lancashire Fusiliers (service number 61029). There is no service record for this man so more detail about what happened to him during the war. He died in 1935. Amy was living in West Torrington in 1939. They had three daughters: Norah, Edna and Maisie. Edna went on to serve in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during the Second World War, She was a Leading Aircraft Woman who worked in the canteen at Scampton and in 1943 served bacon and eggs to the Dambusters before the raid that gave them their name.
E H HODGSON
Ernest was one of 3 brothers who appear on this memorial. He was born in 1898 in Manby near Louth. His parents, Joseph and Lucy, settled in East Torrington during the war. Ernest H Hodgson was a rifleman in the 12thBattalion, Royal Irish Rifles. He enlisted on 2 January 1917. He was discharged on 14 July 1919 on the grounds of mental instability aggravated by Active Service wounds. He was wounded in October 1918, gunshot wounds to the leg and eye. He was 19 years old.
Herbert Hodgson was born in 1888 to parents Joseph and Lucy. While there are lots of Herbert Hodgsons who fought in the war, I have not been able to confirm which one he is.
Samuel Proctor enlisted in the 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment on 11 December 1915. His service number was 201986. He gave his address as West Torrington and his occupation as blacksmith. He was the son of Walter Proctor who was the blacksmith in the village. Walter was 22 years old, 5ft 3. He arrived in France on 17 February 1917. He was back in England on 11 November 1917 following an injury. He had sprained his ankle and it failed to heal. This eventually led to the plan to amputate his foot in April 1918. Once the operation was underway, they realised the bone infection was worse than they had thought and they had to amputate much higher up. Samuel was discharged on 12 July 1919. He was awarded a pension of 13s 9d a week for life. He was 25 years old. His father Walter made Samuel a prosthetic leg much superior to those provided to amputees. This leg can be viewed in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln. In 1939 Samuel was living in West Torrington with his wife Betsy and working as a road labourer. Samuel died on 20 July 1951 and was buried in West Torrington churchyard beside his parents.
C L ROWSON
Charles Leonard Rowson lived at the Gardens in West Torrington in 1901, he was the brother of Lucy Rowson. In 1911 he was living at 26 Silver Street, Lincoln with his parents. Charles enlisted into the Tank Corps and his service number was 91946. There is no service record for Charles so further details of his service are unknown.
The only thing confirmed for C Waller is that his first name is most likely Charles. Waller was not living in West Torrington in 1911. There is no service record for a Charles Waller with a link to West Torrington or the surrounding area.
There was no C Ward resident in West Torrington in 1911. There is no service record for a C Ward with a link to West Torrington or the surrounding area.
Returned home safely
Arthur Baker was living at The Ings in 1911. He was born in 1895. Unable to find definite info on service
R Barker was not living in West Torrington in 1911. I have not been able to find a service record.
John Chantry was from Lissington in 1911 he was living at Bishop Bridge. He married Ada Smith at Lissington on 18 May 1910. He served with the South Staffordshire Regiment, service number 203719. He was captured as a prisoner of war on 24 March 1918.
In 1911 John Gray was living at Poplar Hall, Wragby Road, West Torrington. On 19 April 1915 he enlisted as a driver in 74 Field Company, Royal Engineers, he was living in East Torrington when he joined up. His service number was 36447. He married Maude Parkin at West Torrington on 20 May 1909. He arrived on the Western Front on 31 August 1915. He was discharged on 16 December 1919.
C T HODGSON
Charles Thomas Hodgson was born in 1896 to Joseph and Lucy. He was a baker by trade, living in Louth when he enlisted, his father Joseph was living at East Torrington. He enlisted in the Labour Corps, service number 593002. It is most likely that he was employed by the army as a baker. He arrived in France landing at Boulogne on 17 August 1918. After the war, Charles married and settled in the Manchester area.
Born in North Willingham in 1892, George Lammiman was living in a semi-detached house in West Torrington and working as a farm labourer on the 1911 census. There was a George Lammiman in the Royal Engineers, 152559 – this man was mentioned in despatches in 1917. Another was in the Army Service Corps, M/285030 – service record shows this man was living in Boston when he enlisted married at Fishtoft. Neither have obvious links to West Torrington.
Jack MacHugh was from Ireland, born in 1891. In 1911 he was lodging in Hainton and working as a farm labourer. Nothing much changed for his war service as he was part of 477 Agricultural Company of the Labour Corps. His service number was 643337. This meant that he did not serve overseas but instead worked the land. He worked for Harrisons of Torrington – no indication of East or West.
Possibly Harold Proctor, brother of Samuel, born in 1900. No details of service.
This was most likely Herbert or Henry Rowson. No details of service.
Lucy Anne Rowson of the Gardens, West Torrington, applied to the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. She had trained to be a nurse at St Marylebone Infirmary between 16 January 1913 and 16 January 1916 where she held the position of Staff Nurse. She served from 30 January 1916 to 25 March 1919 in hospitals at home and in Salonica. On 2 September 1916 she left London, arriving in Salonika on 15 September. She was reported “a steady worker of average ability but without much ability to exercise satisfactory control over the patients.” Lucy left Salonika at the end of January 1918 following her resignation from the service. In 1925 Lucy married Alfred Aston. She died on 1 November 1973 in Lincoln and was buried in West Torrington churchyard.
S T ROWSON
Sydney Taylor Rowson was the younger brother of George who was killed on 28 April 1917. He was born around 1900 so was only 18 years old when he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 11 July 1918. He was living at 26 Sibthorpe St, Lincoln and working as a chemist’s assistant but gave his permanent address as the Nurseries, West Torrington. He was placed in the 20th Company of the RAMC, his service number was 155787. He did not serve overseas. He was stationed in Blackpool and worked as a dispenser. In 1925 he married Gertrude Grantham. In 1939 they were living in Birmingham and Sydney was a pharmaceutical manager. He died in 1965 in Birmingham.
William Rowson was another brother of George and Sydney. He was 27 years old when he enlisted on 24 May 1916 into the Royal Garrison Artillery. He arrived in France on 17 July 1917 and served there until 7 September 1918. His service number was 88989. He enlisted into the 376 Siege Battery but was transferred to 203 Siege Battery on his arrival in France. He was discharged from the army on 6 March 1919. Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines.
Missing from the war memorial
LUTHER PARKIN (Wounded)
Luther Parkin appears on the 1911 census in West Torrington as a stoker in the Royal Navy. His service record shows that he served in the Navy until 21 December 1914 when he was discharged as medically unfit. He was on HMS Hermes when it was torpedoed and sunk on 31st October 1914. 22 of her crew were lost. It is likely that he was wounded in this action and for him the war was over. It appears that he moved away from West Torrington and with his mother having died in 1917 perhaps no one was around to put his name forward for inclusion on the memorial.
Remembrance Sunday 2020