Officers, N.C.O.s & Men of the 1st Battalion, Commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial
Surnames: N to U:
La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial commemorates 1 Officer and 45 NCOs and men from the Original 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, all of whom were killed in August and September 1914 and originally buried on the battlefields.
As the War progress over the same ground the identities of those buried were lost and their graves are now “Known Unto God“.
The La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial commemorates 3838 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and the early part of October 1914 and who have no known grave, including 40 men of the original 1st Battalion.
As the photo shows, unfortunately the Cheshire Regiment names were badly weathered at the time of the last visit.
40 of the 1st Battalion commemorated here fell at Audregnies on 24th August 1914. This includes Lieutenant Kingdon Tregosse FROST (right) whose body was subsequently identified as being buried at Wiheries Communal Cemetery.
Of the remaining 5, one fell at Le Cateau and four on the Aisne.
All of the men commemorated on La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, were with the original 1st Battalion who sailed for France on 14th August 1914.
about those with surnames N to U by CLICKING the names below.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 25
Personal: Henry was born on 2nd October 1887, probably at 44 Birchfield Street, Liverpool (1891 Census RG 12/2922). He was the son of Henry Oscar (Tinsmith) and Mary Ann (née Carter) Nolan and had an older sister, Anne Jane, a younger sister, Margaret, and a younger brother, Edward. Henry’s father died in the June quarter 1895, aged 36.
It has not been possible to find the family on the 1901 Census, but in 1911 (Census RG 14/22547) Henry was living with his widowed mother and 3 siblings at 4 Ruth Street, Everton, Liverpool, and working as a “Dock Labourer“.
The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in May 1916 £4 11s 1d [£4.55 – equivalent in value to about £500 today – 2023] was returned to Henry’s mother, Mrs. Mary Ann, of 2 Roderick Street, Islington, Liverpool. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £330 today].
With effect from 13th December 1918 Mary was awarded a Pension of 12s 6d p.w. [£0.62 is equivalent to about £70 today]. Mary was living at 21 Patterdale Road, Liverpool, when she died, aged 85, in January 1944. She was buried in Grave 22/1700, Anfield Cemetery, on the 14th.
Military Service: Henry enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Birkenhead, Cheshire, probably on a 7 + 5 term (i.e. 7 years Active Service + 5 years on the Reserve list.
His Service Records are not available but in comparison to others’ his Service Number (10083) would suggest an enlistment date in March 1913. Henry was listed as a Reservist to be recalled at the outbreak of War.
However, his suggested enlistment date would indicate he was a Serving Soldier, with the Battalion in Londonderry.
In either event he sailed from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore.
After just 9 days in France, Henry was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action during the Battle at Audregnies and now has no known grave.
Edward was born on 20th December 1891 at 44 Birchfield Street, Liverpool. It is not known when he enlisted in the Royal Navy but in 1912, aged 21, he was stationed at HMS Caledonia, a training establishment at Liverpool and living at 43 Denwood Street, with other sailors.
Edward was one of 28 killed when his ship, HMS Montagua, an armed merchant cruiser, was in collision with US destroyer Manley off the Irish coast. The British ship was damaged by the destroyer’s exploding depth charges.
He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 31. A full list of those who lost their lives with Edward can be found by scrolling down “Casualty Lists of the Royal Navy – March 1918” to the 19th.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 25
Personal: According to the SDGW database, Thomas was born in St Joseph’s Parish, Salford, Lancashire. This probably means he was the son of Thomas (Cotton Mill Labourer) and Martha Maria (née Wood) Pearson, born in the March quarter 1887. If so, he had two older sisters, Harriett Ann and Helen (Ellen), and 6 younger brothers and sisters, Martha, Elizabeth, William, George, Joseph and Ethel.
In 1891 (Census RG 12/3217) the family was living at 16 Willow Street, Salford. As the family grew they moved to 5 Star Street, Stockport, by 1901 (Census RG 13/3297) and Thomas, like his father, had gone to work in a Cotton Mill. Thomas did, however, enlist in the Cheshire Regiment at Stockport about 18 months later.
By 1911 (Census RG 14/21389) Thomas, Snr., had died, in the March quarter 1910. His widow, Martha, was living with her youngest four children at 22 Heald Street, Portwood, Stockport. Martha died in the June quarter 1913.
Thomas’ history is, however, rather sketchy and the above may not be correct. He is yet to be identified on the 1911 Census. This is further exemplified by the “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” which shows that in April 1916 £4 5s 0d [£4.25 – equivalent in value to about £475 today – 2023] went unclaimed by any member of his family. Nor was any claim made for a Pension.
Military Service: Thomas enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Stockport, Cheshire, probably on a 3 + 9 term (i.e. 3 years Active Service + 9 years on the Reserve list.
Thomas’ Service Records are not available but his Service Number (6986) would suggest an enlistment date in November 1902 (e.g. Pt. 6989 W. Bowers, enlisted on 6th November 1902. Not to be confused with Pt. 8604 William Bowers who was killed in action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914.).
As a Reservist Thomas was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the 1st Battalion in Londonderry. He sailed from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore.
After just 9 days in France, Thomas was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action during the Battle at Audregnies and has no known grave.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 26 August 1914 Age: 20
Personal: James was born in St Joseph’s Parish, Northwich, Cheshire, in the 7th August 1894. This probably means he was the son of James William (Labourer at Gas Works) and Rose Hannah (née Dawson) Roberts. If so, he had three older brothers, John Thomas, George and Elijah, an older sister, Elizabeth, and a younger brother, Harry.
In 1901 (Census RG 13/3795) the family was living at 58 Robinson Street, Stalybridge, but James seems to be living with his grandparents, James (Labourer) and Susannah Roberts at 14 Boundary Street, Miles Platting, Lancashire (Census RG 13/3760). James died in the September quarter 1904.
He was still living with them 10 years later at 1 Bedford Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire. (1911 Census RG 14/24420). If this is James he has been joined by brothers, Harry and John. He was employed as a “Washer-up – Calico Printers“. At the time of his enlistment in 1912 James’ stated occupation was “Printwork’s Labourer“, which ties in somewhat with the 1911 assumption.
The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in April 1915, in accordance with James’ will, his mother (now Mrs Rose Hannah Williams, 30 Grasscroft Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire.) had his effects of £2 15s 10d [£2.79 – equivalent in value to about £370 today – 2023] returned to her.
In August 1919 a War Gratuity of £6 [about £400 today] was divided between James’ mother and brother, John Thomas. Rose received £2 4s 2d [£2.21 – £145 today] and John £3 15s 10d [£3.79 – £255 today].
Military Service: James enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Chester, on 5th November 1912, probably on a 7 + 5 term (i.e. 7 years Active Service + 5 years on the Reserve list).
After initial training he would have been posted to join the Battalion in Ireland, from where, he sailed with the Battalion on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914, entering France on 16th August.
As a member of ‘D’ Company, James saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right flank under Captain E.R. Jones or Captain W.S. Rich. He was one of the 199 men who answered Roll Call at the end of the Battle.
The 1st Battalion was far too decimated to take part in Smith-Dorrien’s stand at Le Cateau, and the 200 or so men were put in reserve near Troisvilles. Along with the 1st Norfolks it occupied a position a quarter of a mile east of the village of Troisville and south of La Sotière – approximately in the area shown in the photograph on the right and the Map below.
The War Diary states: “6.00 a.m. Action commenced – Battalion used in reserve and covered the retirement of the remainder of the Brigade and the K.O.S.B.s (Kings Own Scottish Borderers) – Heavily shelled in the withdrawal in the direction of Marets – shooting of the German Artillery magnificent though few casualties.”
At 5.00 p.m. the order came to retire. Only one man had been lost, Corporal 9993 James William Roberts. In the haste to withdraw, James’ body was not recovered, hence he has no known grave.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 15 September 1914 Age: 23
Personal: According to the SDGW database William was born in Brearley, Warwickshire, in 1890/1. With such a common name it is impossible to be sure which of the many option is the right one. All that is certain is that William had a sister, Annie Elizabeth – see below.
The most likely of this combination of siblings is the children of William (Coal Miner) and Elizabeth Smith. In 1901 the family was living at 86 Vernon Street, Coventry (Census RG 13/2912). If so, the 1911 Census (RG 14/18562) shows that will had 6 younger siblings, Albert Charles, Annie Elizabeth, Lilian, Samuel, Joseph Henry and Thomas James. They had moved to 38 Gilbert Street, Coventry, and William was also working as a ‘Miner‘.
The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in February 1915 £4 6s 6d [£4.32 – equivalent in value to about £570 today – 2023] was returned to William’s sister, Annie Elizabeth. In June 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £330 today].
Military Service: William enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Hyde, Cheshire, on 31st October 1912, probably on a 7 + 5 term (i.e. 7 years Active Service + 5 years on the Reserve list.
After initial training he would have been posted to join the Battalion in Ireland, from where, he sailed with the Battalion on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914, entering France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card.
As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore. He was one of the 199 men who answered Roll Call at the end of the Battle.
The “Retreat from Mons” continued for almost 200 miles (c. 320 kms.) until finally on Saturday evening, 5th September came the order: “Pile arms and fall out, we remain here for a few hours.”
With these simple words, delivered in a small orchard on the outskirts of Tournant, a mere 18 kms (11.2 miles) from the centre of Paris, the ‘Retreat from Mons‘ was ended. The northward push commenced across the River Marne involved three strongly disputed river crossings, at the Grand Morin, the Petit Morin and the Marne itself.
The 1st Battalion was not involved in any of the battles to cross these valleys and the Battalion actually crossed the Marne at Saâcy before marching on to Bézu-le-Guéry. The following day the march north continued at great pace with some early starts, but from Bézu to the River Aisne was another 50 miles (80 kms.) covered in just 4 days, from 10th – 13th September. (On the 10th, for example, they set off at 3.45 a.m. and did not arrive at camp at Louvry near St Quentin until 7.00 p.m. The the “Officers bivouacked in the deserted and burnt out kennels“. One wonders where the ‘men‘ slept!
At 1.00 a.m. on the morning of the 14th September William’s Battalion crossed the River Aisne at Min des Roche in rafts made from wagons wrapped in tarpaulin sheets.
At 6.00 a.m. the following morning the Norfolks and Bedfords reinforced the Battalion in Missy and an attack was ordered on Chivres Hill after the guns had shelled the lower slopes.
Before this could take place Missy was shelled by the very heavy artillery brought up for the siege of Paris.
The Battalion held on to all the defences of Missy till 6.00 p.m. when the Norfolks took over the Western half. There was a continuous fire coming into the village from the woods on Chevres Hill all day and three men were killed.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 26
Personal: According to his Attestation Papers Walter was born in Stalybridge, Cheshire, in March 1888. He was the son of Walter (Iron Planer in Machine Shop) and Mary Jane (née Crowder) Taylor. He had a younger brother, John Butterworth (died aged 9 in 1903), a younger brother, Joshua, and two younger sisters, May and Gladys Hannah.
In 1891 (Census RG 12/3296) Walter and his parents were living at 26 Gledhall Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire. Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3795) the family had moved to 17 Leech Street, Stalybridge, and 12 year old Walter was employed as a “Scavenger in Cotton Mill” (e.g. picture left).
Walter’s father died in August 1906, aged 47, and was buried on the 13th in St Mary The Virgin Churchyard, Long Preston, Yorkshire.
When he enlisted in January 1908, aged 19 years 10 months, Walter gave his occupation as “Cotton Spinner“. He stood 5 ft. 3¾ ins [1.67 m.] tall, weighed 9 st. 5 lbs. [59.4 kgs.], had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, blue eyes and brown. His stated religion was ‘Church of England’. His home address was 10 Shepley Street, Stalybridge.
By 1911 Walter was a Serving Soldier and enumerated with the 1st Battalion in Ireland. His widowed mother was living on her own in Long Preston. She died there in October 1919 and was buried, probably with her late husband, in St Mary The Virgin Churchyard, on the 15th.
The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in March 1916 £9 16s 1d [£9.80 – equivalent in value to about £1100 today – 2023] was returned to Walter’s sister, Gladys Hannah. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £8 [about £530 today].
Military Service: Walter attested in the Cheshire Regiment, at Hyde, Cheshire, on 28th January 1908, on a 7 + 5 term (i.e. 7 years Active Service + 5 years on the Reserve list.
His Service Papers show Walter was posted to the 1st Battalion in Belfast on 28th April 1908.
Walter was promoted to Lance Corporal on 27th November 1911 and to Corporal on 17th December that year. On 31st December 1911 Walter was again promoted to Lance Sergeant and as War was declared he became a Sergeant on 7th August 1914. He had been hospitalised for 13 days between 20th May and 1st June 1914 after he fracture his left clavicle (collar bone) playing football, but recovered in time to rejoin his Battalion before War was declared.
As a regular soldier Walter left Londonderry with his Battalion (left), and sailed from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August.
Walter’s Service Papers state that he was “Missing from Bn. since 24.8.14 in the Field“, before “Evidence of Death Received by W.O. from Unofficial Source (Identity Disc)“.
Walter was one of 20 men from his Company killed in action and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery, “Known Unto God“.]
Including the 9 days in France, in total Walter served 6 years 219 days with the Colours.
Panel: 13 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: n/k
Personal: According to the SDGW database James was born in St. Mary’s Parish, Bolton, Lancashire. Assuming an age of about 18 when he enlisted, and from his Service Number, an enlistment date in 1907, he was probably born in 1888/9.
However, there are at least 3 ‘James Unsworth‘s born around this period and without further information there has been no way to determine any more details of his family life. From a family history source, the most likely would be the son of James and Sarah Elizabeth (née Ainsworth) Unsworth. If so, James had 4 older siblings, Phoebe, Thomas, William and Elsie, and 3 younger, Betty, Ada and Hannah.
This is further exacerbated by the “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” which shows that in December 1915 James’ total effects were valued as £6 18s 7d [£6.93 – equivalent in value to about £900 today – 2023], and in June 1919 he also was granted a War Gratuity of £5 [about £330 today]. However, the Register gives no details of to whom, if anyone, these amounts were paid.
Military Service: James attested in the Cheshire Regiment, at Stockport, Cheshire, on a 7 + 5 term (i.e. 7 years Active Service + 5 years on the Reserve list). His Service Papers are not available but James’ Service Number would suggest an Attestation Date in mid-1907.
After initial training James would have been posted to join the Battalion in Ireland, from where, he sailed with the Battalion on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914.
After just 9 days in France, James was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action during the Battle at Audregnies and has no known grave.