Beckingham & Saundby History Group
The Beckingham & Saundby local History Group currently has 22 members and it is 6 years from its conception in 2005. The Group mostly meet on the last Thursday in the month at 7pm in the Willow Works, Old Trent Road.

Since 2005 the History Group have worked on a number of projects including the production of a book, calendar, notelets and have also held a Village Open Day each year on various themes. Click here for more details of what the Group have achieved to date.

The History Group are always interested to hear from anyone who has memorabilia relating to both Beckingham and Saundby and would welcome contact. They also welcome new members and anyone interested can contact the group via the website or come to any of the meetings planned or selective days/evenings, the timetable for 2015 is as follows and is a brief summary (subject to change):-

Date Details Guest Speaker
26 February AGM Public invited
26 March Keels and Sloops Brian Peeps
30 April Victorian Scandals Dr Susan Deal
28 May Meeting To discuss Open Day
30 June Gunby Hall Public invited
30 July Marshall’s Men and Machines Gainsborough Heritage Centre
27 August Meeting Open Day preparation
19 September Open Day - Family and Fun All invited
24 September Meeting Group meeting
29 October To be agreed
26 November Queen Victoria Pat MacCloughlin
31 December No meeting
28 January 2016 Social Christmas past! Group
History Group Snippet
The History Group Snippet is a regular feature in the Beckingham and Walkeringham Newsletter and the current ‘snippets’ will be shown on this page.

THE HISTORY GROUP SNIPPET - FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2015
The Snippet is dedicated to the men from the village of Saundby who went to fight in the First World War and who fell in battle.

Saundby has always been a small village and, indeed, a century ago might more accurately have been described as a hamlet, consisting as it did, of little more than a collection of farms together with cottages for the labourers and in the midst of which stood, as it does today, the lovely church of St Martin of Tours. In spite of its small size and its correspondingly small population it was not spared the ‘call to arms’ and the four men left the comparative comfort of their village to fight, probably alongside some of their near neighbours from Beckingham. Having left for foreign battlefields none of these four ever returned. Their names are recorded on the Saundby War Memorial which takes the form of a plain, rectangular engraved brass plate mounted on an oak backboard which can be found inside the church on the south wall. The inscription reads as follows:-
To the Glory of God and in memory of
William Arthur Chambers
Herbert Vallance
John Wainwright
Walter Herbert Yates
Who fell in the Great War 1914-1918
Faithful unto Death


Walter Herbert Yates Little appears to be on record about Walter’s family background or of his early life in Saundby. He became a Lance Sergeant with the Lincolnshire Regiment and he, together with his Battalion, the 6th, was eventually sent to Turkey to take part in the Gallipoli Campaign. The Battalion was ordered to mount and attack, uphill, against strongly entrenched Turkish positions. Such was the superior strength of the enemy and the advantage they had by occupying higher ground that the British troops were forced to retreat down towards the beaches on which only a few days earlier they had been landed. Out of the five hundred and seventy eight soldiers at the commencement of the battle there were over four hundred casualties among which was Lance Sergeant Walter Herbert Yates. His name is commemorated on the Helles Memorial at the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula among the names of 20771 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died whilst fighting against the Turkish forces.

Herbert Vallance Herbert joined the Lincolnshire Regiment and eventually became a Corporal with the 7th Battalion. It is known that during the early part of 1918 he and his Battalion were involved in much heavy fighting in northern France. On March 8th they were in the front line trenches close to the village of Flesquieres. Herbert was severely hurt during this action and he died of his wounds later that day. He is buried in the Flesquieres cemetery.


John Wainwright 45841 Private with the 5th Battalion the Lincolsnhire Regiment. Before the war John was a member of a north Lincolnshire Territorial Army unit and it is likely that he enlisted at the Drill Hall on Spital Terrace, Gainsborough. In the early months of 1918 the Linolnshire Regiment was heavily involved in the battle of St Quentin, the heaviest fighting of which took place between 21st and 25th March. The Germans mounted a sudden counter attack with numbers far greater than the British were able to muster at that time and the Lincolnshires were forced to retreat towards the village of Pozieres. Such was the intensity of the fighting that one of the Lincolnshire Battalions, which at the start of the assault numbered around 500 men of all ranks, was reduced to six officers and eighty soldiers. Private John Wainwright died on 23rd March at the age of 29 and his name is commemorated on the Poziers Memorial in the Somme area of northern France.


William Arthur Chambers T3/027121 Driver with the 3rd Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps. Died 8th November 1918.
Arthur was born in 1886 and lived with his parents and brothers and sisters at the Gables Farm on the western outskirts of the hamlet. It is possible that it was felt that his services were of more value on the family farm because he did not become a soldier until he was in his late twenties or even very early thirties - he may even have been subject to the 1916 Military Service Act which made it legal that men between the ages of 18 and 45 could be conscripted into the Army or Navy; there was no separate Air Force before 1918. Arhur’s Company was part of the 30th Infantry Division and towards the end of October 1918 it was based behind the fornt lines near the French town of Armentiers. He because ill with bronchitis and died of bronchopneumonia in a monastery being used as an Army Field Hospital just three days before the signing of the Armistice. Private Arthur Chambers is buried in the ‘Y Farm’ Military Cemetery at the village of Bois-Grenier. Many of the 121 soldiers interred there died, not of wounds, but of pneumonia or bronchitis contracted as a result of the appalling weather and living conditions and the absence of fresh, dry and clean clothing and uniforms. Sometime during the 1920s Aurth’s sister travelled from Saundby to visit his grave which at that time was marked by a simple wooden cross - she was able to place flowers on it and take home a photographic record of his final resting place. Some years later she made a second visit by which time the grave was marked by a white headstone placed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which, of course, still stands today.

THE HISTORY GROUP SNIPPETS - SEPTEMBER 2014 to JANUARY 2015
First World War Names on the Beckingham War Memorial

The Snippet for August told something of the history of the First World War Roll of Honour which hangs in All Saints church and which lists the names of the 78 men who went form this paraish to fight for their King and Country. For the next few months the Snippet will endeavour to provide a little detail of those ten fighting men who never returned to their home village of Beckingham and whose names are commemorated on the village War Memorial.


Oliver Edwin Berry 42865 Private with the 4th Battalion The Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire Regiment). Died Wednesday 8th May 1918.
Oliver was born in 1899 in Beckingham. He was the son of William, a farm labourer, and his wife Rosa Ada. The family, which included two other children, lived on High Street. The 1911 census shows that they are still resident on High Street and that Oliver is then aged 12 and is a scholar. On leaving school he became employed as a plater’s labourer, almost certainly at Watson’s shipyard. Service records show that he enlisted into the army on 2nd March 1916 for the duration of the war and was called up to serve on 4th April 1917. Initially he was drafted into the Leicestershire Regiment but on 4th April 1918 he was transferred to B Company 4th Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment; on enlistment he gave his age as 18 years and 7 months and his next of kin was to be his father. Oliver was trained at various camps in England the first one being at Clipstone, Notts. On 27th March 1918 he left Folkestone to sail to Boulogne to join his Battalion. He suffered wounds shortly after going into action and was transferred to no 3 Field Hospital at Rouen where he died on 8th May 1918. Private Oliver Edwin Berry, who died at the age of 19, is interred in the Saint Sever Cemetery Extension close to Rouen and his grave is one of over 8000 other British and Commonwealth soldiers buried there.

William Henry Harrison 58319 Private with 1st Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment. Died Tuesday 8th October 1918.
William was born in 1897 in Beckingham, the second child of six born to Herbert, a farmer and Louisa Harrison of Woods Farm - the present day home of Mary and Fred Tomlinson. A brother of William, Oswald, continued to run the family farm until 1959 and was the last member of the Harrison family to farm on Wood Lane. By the time of the 1911 census William is 13 years old and at school in the village and he has five siblings. Almost certainly he would have worked on the family farm on leaving the village school but in due course he enlisted into the army at a Nottingham recruiting office and served with the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire regiment.
The circumstances of his death are not well recorded but he, with his regiment, was in action against the Germans around the northern French village of Montbrehain. The village was in the front line of much close fighting and changed hands several times. William died on one of these actions on Tuesday 8th October 1918 at the age of 21, just 34 days before the signing of the Armistice. Private William Henry Harrison is buried in the small High Tree Cemetery on the outskirts of Montbrehain alongside 48 of his comrades (three of whom remain unidentified) and all of whom were killed during the fighting of October 1918.

Frederick Richard Matthews 26093 Private with the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s West Riding of Yorkshire Regiment. Died Wednesday 10th October 1917.
Frederick was born in Beckingham in 1883, the son of Thompson and Elizabeth Matthews who lived on Church SStreet. Thompson was a labourer at Watson’s Beckingham shipyard. He eventually left that employment to join the police force and became a police constable in the city of Nottingham. There he met his wife to be, Mabel Walker, and they married at Hyson Green parish church on 6th March 1909. By the 1911 census husband and wife are living at 41 Lotus Street, Hyson Green together with their first daughter Elizabeth Irene. They went on to have a second daughter, Doris Ada who was born on 17th August 1911 and at a later date the family moved to 97 Bridlingotn Street, still in Hyson Green. Frank’s army record began when he enlisted on October 28th 1915. He gave his age as 32 years and 6 months and stated that he was married with 2 daughters and gave as his next of kin his wife who was living at ‘Lilsoe’, Duke William Mount in the Park, Nottingham. He underwent service training at various camps and served in thsi country in the Army Service Corps between 28th October 1915 and 17th March 1917.
On the 18th March he joined a vessel at Portsmouth bound for Boulogne and on 27th September he was transferred to the West Riding Regiment and became an active member of this battalion on 5th October. The Duke of Wellington’s regiment took part in the first Battle of Passchendaele in late September and October of 1917 and Frederick was killed in this action on 10th October at the age of 34. His body was never recovered and tame of Private Frederick Richard Matthews is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial alongside those of almost 35,000 offices and men killed in the battlefields of Passcendaele and Lanjemarck and who have no known grave.


Lewis Leaning 17967 Corporal with the 1st Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Naval Division. Died Saturday 23rd March 1918.
Lewis was born in Coddington near Newark on 30th June 1897. He was one of nine brothers and sisters and in the 1911 census and aged 12 he is living with his family at The Green in Beckingham. His father, also called Lewis, was a labourer at Marshall Sons and Company Ltd in Gainsborough and his mother Annie had, at some time, lived at the Crown Inn on Ramper Road. Two of Lewis’s brothers also saw active service during the Great War, Ernest served with the Sherwood Rangers and Robert with the Army Service Corps. Lewis joined the Royal Marines and was promoted to acting corporal in the 1st Battalion, Royal Light Infantry, Royal Naval Division. On 29th July 1915 he embarked wth the Royal Marines Brigade and joined his battalion at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 28th August. By the end of the year the Gallipoli campaign had failed and was abandoned and the marine battalion of which Lewis was a member was reformed and became a Division of Infantry to fight in the trenches instead of at sea. On 13th November 1916 he received a gunshot wound to his right index finger, he eventually returned to active service but on 23rd March 1918 he was killed while in action close to Arras in the area known as the Pas de Calais in northern France. Corporal Lewis Leaning, who died aged 21 has no known grave and his name is commemorated on Bay 1 of the Arras Memorial.

Sims Clarke 1287 Lance Corporal with 10th Lincolnshire Regiment. Died Saturday 28th April 1917.
Sims was born in 1894 at Kexby, Lincolnshire. He was the son of Joseph Jabez Clarke and his wife, Eleanor Fanny who came from Westwoods, Sturton by Stow and they had two daughters, Emily and Alice. Joseph was a corn millers carter. In 1901 the Clarke family is living on Upton Road, Kexby and by the 1911 census at the age of 17 Sims is in employment as a wagoner on the farm of Joseph Anyan at Kexby. It was common at this time for families working as agricultural labourers to make quite frequent moves from one farm to another and at some time prior to the outbreak of hostilities the Clarke family came to live and work at South Sandy Furze Farm on what is now Mutton Lane.

Sims enlisted into the army on 9th January 1915 at Gainsborough and completed his medical there on 12th of the same month. He gave his age as 21 years and 189 days and stated that he was a groom. His early service life was spent in France and he was promoted to Lance Corporal in the field on 29th September 1916. He was wounded once in action but was later able to return to serve with his regiment. On the 28th April 1917 the 10th Lincolshires were part of the 34th Infantry Division and they were engaged in an attack on the German occupied northern French town of Roux. The Germans counter-attacked and the battalion suffered over four hundred casualties, either killed, wounded or missing. Sims was one of this number and he died having no known grave. The name of Lance Corporal Sims Clarke, who died at the age of 23, is commemorated on the Arras Memorial in northern France together with almost 35,000 servicemen form the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7th August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, all of whom, like Sims, have no known grave.

Frank Thompson 22146 Private with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbs Regiment) Died 4th October 1917.
Frank was born in 1889 in Beckingham and he was baptised in All Saints Church by the Revd David Hooke on July 7th of the same year. His mother was Mrs Lucy Thompson of Beecher Lane. By the time of the 1911 census at the age of 21 he is married to Martha and employed as a joiner’s labourer. The whereabouts of his mother at this time are no recorded but Frank and his wife are living with his widowed grandmotehr, Sarah Ann Thompson, still on Beecher Lane at, according to some records, Beechy House. The 9th Battalion with which Frank was fighting, otogether with others of the Sherwood Foresters, was in action in the Ypres area of Belgium in late 1917. Many thousands of allied soldiers lost their lives on what has become known as the Ypres Salient and among them was Frank Thompson who, like many of his compatriots, has no known grave. The name of Private Frank Thompson, who died aged 27, is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial at Zonnebeke in Belgium. The Memorial bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men who have no known graves.
William Thompson 1174 Private with 1/8th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys Regiment). Died 14th October 1915.
William was born in 1885 in Blyton, Lincolnshire. He was the second of three children born to Edward and Sarah Thompson, an agricultural labouring family. Edward was born in Beckingham in 1842 but will have moved to Blyton probably at the time of his marriage and prior to 1879 when the first of the children was born. By the time of the 1891 census they are, however, back in Beckingham and living on High Stree.t Ten years later the family are living on Beecher Lane, although William appears to have left the family home and it is recorded that for some time he worked as a groom in domestic service and eventually became a platelayer with the Great Central Railway. He married his wife, Alice and they had one child. He enlisted at Worksop on 1st November, 1911 into the Territorial Army for a period of four years at which time he was living at 84 Sandy Lane, Worksop.

He was eventually called up for service with the regular army on 5th August, 1914, the day following the outbreak of war. He underwent training at various camps until 2nd March 1915 when he embarked for France. With his Battalion he was involved in heavy fighting on 13th/14th October to take the German stronghold known as the Hohenzollern Redoubt towards the end of the battle of Loos. British casualties during this time amounted to 62,000 men and William was reported missing in action. It was not until 5th January the following year that a court of enquiry was held at Medingham, France to take evidence from some of William’s comrades. It was established and recorded that William had been killed in action during the attack on the German Redoubt on 14th October, 1915. Private William Thompson is one of over 20,000 soldiers who were killed in this area of France and who have no known grave and wholse names are commemorated on a panel of the loos Memorial in the Pas de Calais. His widow, Alice and their only child moved to 1 Hallcroft Avenue in Retford following his de3ath although she may have moved back to Beecher Lane at a later date. On 19th September, 1916 she was informed that she would receive a pension of 15 shillings (75 pence) per week for her and her child with effect from 18th September 1916.

Henry Thomas Clarke 40460 Private with the 4th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment. Died 23rd April 1917.
Henry was born in Beckingham in 1891 and was the son of Thomas, an agricultural worker and his wife Mary. He was baptised in All Saints Church in the village by Revd David Hooke on 21st June 1891.


The 1901 census tells us that he and his family, including five brothers and sisters, are living on High Street and that he attends the village school. Ten years later the census again tells us that he is aged 19 and single and working as a cowman for farmer William Ranby at Croft House where he now lives with Mr Ranby and his family. Henry enlisted at Epworth and originally served with the army no 26593 in the South Staffordshire Regiment. He was eventually transferred to Z company of the 4th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment. In the spring of 1917 units of the British Army were attacking the fortified system of German casualties, one of who was Henry Clarke whose body was never recovered. The name of Private Henry Thomas Clarke is commemorated on the Arras War Memorial in northern France alongside almost thirty five thousand others who have no known grave.

Christopher Greenside 15318 Private with 1st Battalion, Lincolshire Regiment. Died Thursday 3rd June 1915.
Christopher was born in 1869 in Beverley but in the 1911 census he is shown as living at Watson’s shipyard. By this time he had been married to his wife, Mary, for fourteen years, who was 7 years his junior. They had four children, James born in 1899 in Hull, Walter born 1900 in Grimsby, Chrales born in 1904 and Mary born 1905 both in Beckingham. Christoper enlisted into the army at Gainsborough with the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. On 3rd June his Battalion was in action in support of the 6th Cavalry Brigade in the areas of Hooge Wood and Zouave Wood, near to Ypres, Belgium. At the time of his death the regiment would have taken part in the second Battle of Ypres which begtan in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines. Christopher Greenside has no known grave and his name is commemorated on Panel 21 at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.

Percy Ballance 9910 Sergeant with the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. Died Monday 6th August, 1915 aged 27.
Percy was born in Gainsborough in 1888. He was the son of John and Chriatiana who ran a coal merchants business and who had four other children. From the 1911 census we know that the family lived at 41 Tower Street in Gainsborough. At this time Pewrcy is 22 years old and working for his father as a coal carter. Towards the end of 1911 he married Edith Annie, nee Taylor, also of Gainsborough - following the death of her husband she remarries and becomes Edith Annie Parkinson and ocmes to live in Beckingham.


Percy enlisted in Gainsborough into the 6th Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment and he is eventually promoted to the rank of Sergeant. The Regiment sailed form Liverpool on 1st July 1915 and landed in the Dardanelles, Turkey on 18th using barges to get ashore while under heavy Turkish shellfire. After three weeks of fighting, heat, flies and dysentry the Battalion was ordered to attack at 2am on 6th August. The attack was uphill against Turkish rifle and machine gunfire. Such heavy casualities were suffered by the Battalion and to the Battalions on either side of them that the order to retreat was given. Out of 578 soldiers of the 6th Battalion over four hundred became casualties including Percy Ballance. Sergeant Ballance has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.

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