WW1

Somme, 1 July 1916: Private Horace Alfred Hensman

Horace Alfred Hensman was born on 26 July 1896 in lower Thrift Street, Northampton. He was the eldest son of Alfred Hensman and his wife Angelina Jane Jenkins. Alfred had been born in Ecton, Northants. and he and Angelina probably met when both working as attendants at the Northampton Lunatic Asylum. Horace had a younger brother, Percy, who also enlisted (underage) in the army in October 1915. He stated that his next of kin was Lena Hensman, then keeping the Old Crown Inn, Shearsby. Both Horace’s sister Lena, and father, Alfred are buried in the Shearsby churchyard.

Horace served in the 7th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment as a private. His service number was 13015. He died on the first day of the first battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, a few days short of his 20th birthday. He is buried in the Dantzig British Cemetery at Mametz, Grave III, D.5.

References

“England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2FQS-N2J : 1 October 2014), Horace Alfred H Hensman, 1896; from “England & Wales Births, 1837-2006,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.

SCHULTKA, H., & JENKINS, R. P. (2007). Lost lives: the war dead of Countesthorpe, Kilby, Peatling Magna, Peatling Parva and Shearsby, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. [Countesthorpe], Henritetta Schultka.

Private H.A. Hensman. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Featured Image: Mametz [Somme] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol] [public domain]

 

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13 April 1918: Private Robert Simons, Service Number 21373

The Grave Registration Report for the Ploegsteert Memorial in Hainault, Belgium has only brief details about Robert Simons. He is just one of the 11,401 casualties buried and commemorated there. It states that he was the son of Reuben Simons, of Fleckney, Leicester; husband of Grace Lilian Simons, of 103, St. Leonards Rd., Clarendon Park, Leicester.

He was a member of the Third Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, service number 21373. Around the date of his death there was action in the Ypres/Armentiers area in the Battle of the Lys.

In the 1901 census, Robert, aged 14, was registered with his sisters; Mary E. (14), Frances Helen (11) and Florence Rebecca (9). He had been born in 1887, but was already working as a hosiery hand. At the next census in 1911 he was found visiting the Briggs family of Sutton In Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and working as a hosiery maker.

His first appearance in the census returns though was in 1891 as Bob Simons living on Mill Lane, Shearsby with his parents Reuben (born in 1850) and Eliza, and older brothers Charley and Harry. Reuben had married Eliza Weston in 1872. She was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Weston of Shearsby and had been christened there in April 1848.

References

“England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XS45-WHC : 8 April 2016), Robert Simons in household of Mary E Simons, Shearsby, Leicestershire, England; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing Lutterworth subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XWS9-RY4 : 2 August 2017), Robert Simons in household of Mabel Briggs, Hucknall Under Huthwater, Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, England; from “1911 England and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 14, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2DLL-6GK : 13 December 2014), Reuben Simons, 1872; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing 1872, quarter 3, vol. 7A, p. 17, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.

“England and Wales Census, 1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W63G-GZM : 1 April 2016), Bob Simons in household of Ruben Simons, Shearsby, Leicestershire, England; from “1891 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, Leicestershire county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NPC8-YXX : 6 December 2014, Eliza Weston, 02 Apr 1848); citing SHEARSBY,LEICESTER,ENGLAND, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 595,767.

Croisilles, France, 25 July 1917: William Clowes killed in action

Croisilles is a village about 13 kilometres south-east of Arras. The British Cemetery lies off a track, approximately 300 metres long, to the south-east of the village on the road to Ecoust-St-Mein/St Leger. It is there that Shearsby-born William Clowes was buried after falling caualty during the fight to defend the trenches around the village on 25th July 1917.

William was serving as a 40 year old private in the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. The regimental war diary for that date records night-time patrols aiming to catch the enemy out mending gaps in their wire. On the night William was killed there were two others wounded.

William was the son of William Clowes the fellmonger and his wife Millicent. Back in 1901 he had been working with his father, brother Bertie and sister Annie in the fellmongering trade. In the 1891 Census the family are recorded as living on the Bank, perhaps next door to the Old Crown.

Further research

How can the centenary of the death of William Clowes be best marked in the village in July 2017?

How does the action at Croisilles fit into the wider context of the Flanders campaign in 1917?


Image: By John Warwick Brooke – This is photograph Q 5238 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-13), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2439185