The PERRY family – Sergeant Leonard George Walter PERRY 1890-1916 and Sapper PERRY, Cecil Herbert Francis (1897-1936)

George Henry Perry (1864-1928) and Mary Ann Hind (c1861-1928) married at St Martin’s on 28th October 1889.  George was a travelling salesman and both lived in Southgate Street.  They had children Leonard George Walter (1890-1916), Evelyn Violet (1891-1980), Cecil Herbert Francis (1897-1936) and Grace Lilian (1900-1958).  Soon George Henry began work as a shoe clicker.

Leonard George Walter was baptised at St Martin’s on 25th May 1890.  The family gave their address as South Wigston.  By April 1891 the family had moved to four rooms at 4 Bakehouse Lane and by 9th April 1892 when Evelyn was baptised at St Martin’s, they lived at 37 Redcross Street.  By the time of Cecil’s baptism on 18th April 1897 they had moved to 5 White Street – George was an “agent” – moving in 1900 to 42 Little Holme Street.  They lived in the parish of St Martin’s at 6 Chancery Street, occupying five rooms, between c1907 and 1912.  Between 1914 and 1918 they lived at 17 Celt Street but had moved away before 1919, to 85 Clipstone Street.  George Henry and Mary Ann both died in 1928 at the home of their son Cecil.

Leonard George Walter Perry worked as a printer’s machine minder in 1911, still living at home with his family.  He married Annie Tilley (1892-1918) at St Andrew’s Jarrom Street on 26th June 1915.  Leonard was a soldier and Annie worked as a stationery hand.  Leonard gave his address as 17 Celt Street.  Leonard had perhaps met Annie through work before the war – in 1911 she was a printer’s folder and book sewer, living with her parents at 21 New Bridge Street.  Leonard and Annie seem to have had no children.

Leonard joined the 8th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (no 40386) as a private and rose to the rank of acting Sergeant.  He was presumed killed in action on 25 September 1916 at the opening of the Battle of Morval during the Battle of the Somme.  Leonard’s last few days were described in the Battalion war diary.  Before the 25th September the Battalion was in reserve.  Working parties and carrying parties were found for the troops who were holding the line and consolidating the positions they had won.  While the Battalion were in bivouacs they had 7 casualties “owing to the accidental exploding of a bomb.”  At about 7pm on the night of the 24th the Battalion marched up to take a position prior to making an attack the next day.  Before they reached the position “the enemy heavily shelled [the] men, several casualties resulting.”  The attack on the German line – about 1000 yards from the trench where from which the attack was launched – was made in ‘waves’ each platoon forming a wave and 2 waves going over at a time.  Before they reached the village of Guedecourt, the Germans responded with a tremendous artillery barrage, and the whole of the night of the 24th was spent in hand to hand combat in the village itself.  In the morning the 8th Battalion returned to the second line of trenches but by this time Leonard was already dead.

Leonard is commemorated at Thiepval and at the Church of the Martyrs, Leicester.  Leonard’s effects of £3 17s were sent to his widow Annie on 22nd August 1917.  She had returned to live with her family at 19 ½ New Bridge Street.  Annie died at The Sanatorium Isolation Hospital, Gilroes, on 5th November 1918, of pneumonia caused by influenza – another Spanish Flu victim.  She was 26.  In December 1919 Leonard’s war gratuity of £9 was awarded to his father in law Alfred Tilley, a furniture shop assistant.

Cecil Herbert Francis Perry was baptised at St Martin’s on 18th April 1897.  Aged 14 in 1911, he worked as a baker’s van boy.  During the war Cecil served as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, service number 152390.  His service record does not survive.  Cecil was still on active service at the end of the war and still living with his parents at 17 Celt Street and returned to live with them at 85 Clipstone Street in 1919.  He found work as a printer.

After the war Cecil married Grace Ida Gwendoline Reynolds (1899-1983) at Broughton Astley parish church on 14th October 1922. Cecil and Grace had a daughter, Violet Kathleen (1923-2004), who was born in Leicester.  Cecil worked as a journeyman printer and a printer’s machine minder.  After their marriage Grace and Cecil lived at 11 Morledge Street.  Between 1924 and 1928 they were joined by Cecil’s parents and a lodger.  His parents both died in 1928.

Cecil died on 6th January 1936 of heart failure following acute influenzal pneumonia, probably falling dead in the street at Humberstone Road.  This may have been due to damage caused by exposure to poison gas during the war.  He was 38 years old.  A post mortem was held but no inquest.  Cecil was buried with his parents at Gilroes Cemetery on 11th January. He left £239 to Grace, who lived on at 11 Morledge Street until at least 1960, but moved house before 1963.  Grace’s remains were buried with Cecil in 1983.

The PHILLIPS family – Corporal PHILLIPS, Frank (c1879-1915)

According to himself, Corporal Frank Phillips was born in St Margaret’s parish Leicester in about 1879.  His mother was Helen or “Ellen” Smith (c1843-1927) and his father was named by his mother as having been farmer called Frank Phillips, to whom she was married.  However, there is no evidence for this and it looks as though Helen was unmarried when she gave birth to Frank, who was probably registered at birth as Frank Smith.  Ellen Smith was unmarried in 1881 when she lived with her mother at 7 Larch Street, St Margaret’s.  However she did not marry between 1881 and 1891, by which time she styled herself as Mrs Phillips, a widow.   It’s likely that Frank never knew the real story surrounding his parentage.

As a young adult Frank spent time working as a packing case maker before joining the Coldstream Guards on the 18th November 1897, aged 19.  He and his mother lived at 7 Harrington Street.  At 6 feet 2 and three quarter inches and weighing 180lbs, Frank was rather striking with fair hair and blue eyes.  He had lost the tip of the third finger on his left hand.  He was appointed Lance Corporal on 16th October 1900 but deprived of this rank – presumably for some misdemeanour – on 7th January 1901.  He served in South Africa from October 1899 to 3rd December 1901 and was awarded the South African War Medal, having fought at the battle of Driefontein.  He was discharged – still a private soldier – on 28th August 1902, with a gratuity of 30 shillings.  During Frank’s absence Helen had moved in with her widowed sister Emma and their mother Mary at 59 Chestnut Street.

All Saints Church
All Saints Church

Frank married Harriet Blockley (1875-1931) at All Saints Bow Street on 28th January 1905, not long before the birth of their daughter Ivy (1905-1935) on the 5th April.  Harriet was almost certainly aware that she was pregnant at the time.  Frank gave his occupation as cabinet maker (which was slightly self-aggrandising: ‘Carpenter’ would have been more accurate) and both gave their address as 5 Old Milton Street, probably in a room rented from Ernest Swann.

Frank and Harriet lived at 13 Melton Street from 1910.  Frank worked as a wood packing case maker and Harriet worked at home as a hosiery handlinker.   Frank’s mother Helen Phillips lived there too.  Frank struggled with literacy, misspelling Harriet’s name as “Harriat” in the 1911 census, with rather wobbly and uncertain handwriting.

Frank rejoined military service at Leicester on 21st September 1914, this time as a soldier in the 3rd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.  Shortly after arriving at Aldershot on 30th September, he transferred to the 7th Battalion, which was attached as army troops to the 15th (Scottish) Division.  This new division was rather chaotic in the early days, without equipment, uniform or trained troops.  No wonder Frank, an experienced soldier, reverted to Corporal.  By January the division was in sufficient order (and properly dressed) for inspection by Lord Kitchener.  They landed in France between 7th and 13th July 1915.  However, Frank was not in their number.  He was admitted to Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, on 7th February 1915 in “a very bad state,” suffering from oedema, bed sores, retention of urine, jaundice, bleeding from the bowels and nose.  This was a readmission following previous treatment.  Frank died of pneumonia on 23rd April 1915.  His funeral and burial took place at Welford Road Cemetery on Thursday, 29th April 1915.  A notice was placed in the Leicester Mercury on 28th April 1915 which read: ”PHILLIPS – On April 24th, at Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot, Corporal F Phillips, late Coldstream Guards.  Funeral, Welford Road, at 2 o’clock, Thursday.”

Frank’s effects of £5 2s 5d were sent to Harriet at 13 Melton Street on 14th July 1915 and a war gratuity of £4 in 1919.  Harriet remained at 13 Melton Street with Ivy until 1930, when she moved to 22 Dunster Street.  His mother Helen lived with Harriet and Ivy until she died in 1927.  Harriet died in 1931, never having remarried.  Ivy lived on at 22 Dunster Street but died on 27th June 1935 at the City Mental Hospital.

The PILKINGTON family – Captain Pilkington, Sam 1878-1917

Sam Pilkington
Sam Pilkington in uniform

James Pilkington (c1838-1907) married Margaret Isherwood (c1848-1878) on 2nd September 1875 at Christ Church, Walmsley, near Bolton.  Together they had two children, Ada (1876-) and Sam (1878-1917).  Sam Pilkington was born at Bank House, Chorley New Road, Little Bolton on 5th June 1878 and baptised on 24th June 1878 at Little Bolton.  Margaret died very shortly afterwards, in 1878, possibly from complications of childbirth, so Ada and Sam were brought up by their father in the house where they were born.

In 1892 the will was proven of Sam’s maternal grandfather, Samuel Isherwood who died in 1890, leaving an estate of over £100,000.  £8,000 was left in Trust to Sam.  Nothing was left to Ada.  Between 1892 and 1896 Sam was educated at the Free Grammar School of King Edward VI at Sedburgh, Cumbria where he was “a fine rugby player and athlete” and a prefect.  He played football for the school first XV.

Sedburgh School
Sedburgh School

After leaving school Sam was apprenticed as a pupil with Messrs Edison, Swan and Co Ltd of Broadheath in Manchester where he worked for three years.  He also gained a commission in the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Manchester Regiment, and was promoted Lieutenant in February 1898.  In order to gain as much professional experience as possible he served for a time as Clerk of Works under Messrs Lacey, Clirehugh and Sillar of Westminster who were consulting engineers.  Amongst other things he supervised contract work in connection with the maintenance of the track and overhead system of The Southern Electric Tramway Company Ltd of Douglas, Isle of Man.  He was promoted to Assistant and then as Resident Engineer at Leicester, where he was in charge of the generating plant installed for Undertakings Ltd.  Sam resigned his Commission in 1901 due to pressure of work.  In 1904 he began working for the Great Central Railway and was employed as Engineer in Charge of the electrical plant in the Goods Department.  In 1908 he transferred to London and was responsible for premises at Marylebone until his resignation in 1912.  In January 1913 he established his own business as a Factor at Oxford Street in Leicester.

From at least 1906 Sam and his father James had lived together at a respectable boarding house run by Eliza Catherine Leary at 1 Upper Tichborne Street (later renumbered as 27 Upper Tichborne Street).  The other boarders included an articled clerk and two bank clerks.  James died whilst living there, in March 1907.  Sam remained, probably until around 1915 when he moved to 9a Tichborne Street.  Not long after his father’s death Sam became a Freemason, being initiated at St Albans Lodge no 2786 in London on 19th May 1907.  In his spare time Sam was “a fine Rugby player, having taken a prominent part in the game at Leicester.

Sam joined 1st Volunteer Battalion of The Leicestershire Regiment in about 1910 and by the outbreak of war had risen to the rank of Lieutenant. Just before the war, in January 1914, he became member of the Golden Fleece Lodge No 2081, Province of Leicestershire.  Sam Joined the 4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment as Lieutenant in September 1914, was stationed in Leicester and began training.  He transferred to the newly raised 2/4th Leicestershires and was promoted Captain, before being ordered to rejoin the 1/4th Leicestershires.  He sailed for the Front at the end of October 1915 and joined his battalion at Béthune.

On 27th February 1917 he led D Company of the 1/4th Leicestershires at the Battle of Gommecourt.  Fellow St Martin’s man Francis John Nugee led C Company.  The war diary describes how they “advanced from our front line by platoons and occupied a line of trenches in Gommecourt…without a casualty…at 8am  C & D Co[mpanie]s again advanced 500 yards and occupied bombing posts…All ranks behaved very well during these operations and the Commanding Officer received the congratulations of the Divisional Commander for the work of the battalion.”

The battalion relieved the 5th Lincolnshire Regiment in a newly won position west of Lens at 10pm on 1st July 1917 – the most difficult relief that the battalion had yet taken part in.  A quiet day followed but communications between the line and headquarters were completely cut off.  Just before his battalion was drawn out of the line, at 8pm on the 2nd July 1917 Sam was killed instantaneously by a German sniper.  He was 39.  He was buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais.  Sam’s estate of over ten thousand pounds went to his sister Ada Pilkington, in the absence of a will.

The PITCHER family – Gunner PITCHER, Leonard Amos (1891-1954) and Gunner PITCHER, Harold Vincent (1897-1933)

Leonard Amos Pitcher
Leonard Amos Pitcher, in uniform

Amos Pitcher (1866-1936) and Clara Lucas (1859-1934) had children Leonard Amos (1891-1954), Edith Mary (1888- 1970), Elsie Dorothy (1893-1970), Harold (1897-1933) and John Gordon “Gordon” (1899-1953).  Elsie, Harold and John were all born in the house and shop premises at 54 Highcross Street, known as “Highcross Bakery,” where Amos was a baker, confectioner and pork pie maker, and they all took some role in the family business.  Amos was sidesman at All Saints in 1892 and at St Martin’s from 1904-1931.  Amos and Clara were both members of the PCC at St Martin’s during the 1920s.  Their connection with St Martin’s seems to have begun around 1897, when Harold Vincent was baptised – previous children having been baptised at All Saint’s.  John Gordon was also baptised at St Martin’s.


Pitcher 54 Highcross St 1

54 Highcross Street

Leonard Amos Pitcher was baptised “Amos Leonard” at All Saints on 2nd August 1891.  After working with his father as a confectioner, Leonard was also a gunner in the Leicestershire Regiment between September 1909 and July 1912, training at Oakhampton and on Salisbury Plain, but was discharged due to a large abdominal hernia.  In 1912 he developed appendicitis which caused acute general peritonitis, and was given an operation.  He re-joined in 1914 and served as a private in the Leicestershire Yeomanry and the Corps of Hussars.  Leonard disembarked in France on 14th March 1915 and served in the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge in May of that year, which was part of the Battle of Ypres.  The front line trenches were totally obliterated and there was extensive use of gas by the Germans.  Leonard was discharged medically unfit on 31st January 1918, though whether from sickness or wounds is not clear.


Leonard married Mabel Frances Collin (1890-1975), who was then working as a clerk for a boot manufacturer, at St Martin’s on 1st June 1916 whilst on leave.  A special license had to be applied for as there was no time to read the banns.  Leonard’s father Amos was a witness to the marriage.

After the war Leonard and Mabel had a daughter, Peggy Olwyn (1919-), who was baptised at St Martin’s on 26th October 1919.  They went on to also have Betty (1924-) and Hazel (1928-). Leonard entered into a short-lived partnership with Jack Southin, establishing a motor engineers and van repairers business at 107 Victoria Road East called “The Gopsall Motor Engineering Company”.  This partnership was dissolved in 1921.  He then went into business with Richard Fewins at 364 Humberstone Road, registering a patent in 1924 which he called the “Apex”, for manufacturing and constructing hollow concrete blocks and slabs.  This partnership was dissolved in November 1925.  Leonard remained at 107a Victoria Road East and was presumably responsible for the new “automatic bakery” which was now there under the Amos Pitcher umbrella along with another at 10 Sparkenhoe Street (and which sold dog biscuits in 1939, as well as pork pies and sausages).  This business remained until the early 1950s, shortly before Leonard died in 1954.  Mabel lived on until 1975, dying in Leicester.

Harold Vincent Pitcher was born on 23rd May 1897 and baptised at St Martin’s on 25th July.  Like his older brother he served as a Gunner, in Harold’s case in the Royal Field Artillery.  He joined up at the very start of the war on 7th September 1914, entering France on 17th Aug 1915.  He was discharged as permanently unfit due to sickness on 19th September 1918, aged 23.  Harold received the Silver War Badge, which was awarded to soldiers who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness.

Harold married Flora Grace Seaman (c1892- 1973) in Leicester in 1922.  They had two sons, Peter James Vincent Pitcher (1923-1944) who died on active service during the second world war, and Terence Amos (1926-1951).

Harold died of influenzal pneumonia on 6th February 1933 aged 36.  This may have been due to effects of poison gas exposure during the war.  His address at the time was 1 Cyril Street Braunstone and he was a confectioner (journeyman).  Flora remained a widow and died in Leicester in 1973.

After the war the family business expanded from just one baker’s shop in 1922 to three between 1925 and 1937, and yet another automatic bakery at 8 St Nicholas Street in 1938.  But perhaps the second world war affected business, perhaps the deaths of Clara (1934) and Amos (1936) made it difficult to carry on, or perhaps they had over expanded, because by 1941 there was only the original baker’s shop in Highcross Street and the first automatic bakery at 107 Victoria Road East.  The family business was continued by younger brother John Gordon until the early 1950s.

The PRENTICE family – Gunner PRENTICE, Frank Douglas (1898-1962)

Frank Douglas Prentice

Thomas Haddon Prentice (1857-1932) and Catherine Elliott (1859-1929) married at Shearsby Church in 1882.  Both lived in the village.  By 1891 Thomas Haddon was manager of a fancy hosiery warehouse, then went into partnership with a Mary Ann Jones, styled as “J S Rice & Co.” hosiery manufacturers at Newarke Street.  This partnership dissolved in December 1898 and by 1901 Thomas was working for himself as a fancy hosiery & wool manufacturer.  Thomas and Catherine spent their whole married life living at 53 Princess Road, where they had six children:  Harold William Warden (1886-1957); Tom Noel Richard (1888-1966); Dorothy Margaret (1889-1971); Kate Mary (1893-1971), Frank Douglas (1898-1962) and Thomas Haddon (1906-2001).  Thomas Haddon Prentice senior was a Freemason belonging to Provincial Grand Lodge 279 (St John’s) before 1927.

Frank Douglas Prentice was born in Leicester on 21st September and baptised at St Martin’s on 14th December 1898.  The family had very close links with the church and parish.  Thomas Haddon Prentice’s father had been churchwarden during the 1880s.  Thomas himself was sidesman 1882-1887 and then churchwarden 1887-1890 and finally deputy churchwarden.  Catherine contributed to fundraising activities.  Dorothy Margaret and brother Harold William Warden Prentice were both married at St Martin’s in 1910 and 1911 respectively.

Chesterfield Grammar School

Frank attended Wyggeston School and then Chesterfield Grammar School in Derbyshire for a short time, after sitting an entrance exam on 1st April 1913.  After leaving school Frank worked as a hosiery warehouseman, probably for his father.  He enlisted on 15th October 1915, giving his age as 19 years and 24 days, although in reality he was only aged 17 – during his war service Frank grew from 5’9” to six feet. He joined the 147th (Leicester) Heavy Battalion Royal Garrison Artillery as Gunner 295008, serving at home until 29th June 1916 and then overseas as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

On 23rd Oct 1917 Frank was admitted to Southern General Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, suffering from a shell wound which penetrated the abdomen and perforated his intestines.  The injury had occurred on 16th October was deemed to have caused 35% disablement.  He was discharged on 28th February 1918, declared “Permanently Unfit for any kind of service” and awarded a pension during his recovery.  Frank was left with a 10 inch long scar and ongoing tenderness in his abdomen.  Frank was described as “a sober and hard working man.  Discharged on account of wounds.”  He was issued a Silver War Badge and returned to live with his parents at 53 Princess Road,

Frank lived with his parents until his marriage to Doris Hunter Goodacre (1891-1972) at Leicester Registry Office in 1925.  Frank was Doris’s second husband – she had first married William Lawrence Keites in November 1914 but they divorced.  Frank and Doris had twins who were born before their marriage, early in 1923 – Robert Adair Goodacre (1923-1995) and Thomas A E Goodacre (1923-).  By 1928 the family lived at 5 Turner Street.

Meanwhile – and astonishingly, given the injuries he received during the war – Frank played rugby for Leicester Tigers, won 3 caps for England, was captain of the Lions in their tour of new Zealand and Australia in 1930 and manager of the 1936 lions tour to Argentina. Prentice2

He also worked for J S Rice & Co (Manufacturer of infants’ fancy woollen goods) at Newarke Street with the factory situated around the corner from St Martin’s at 13 Marble St, where he was a director alongside brother Harold.  Frank and Harold had had inherited the business from their father in 1932.  However, Frank’s rugby duties took him away from Leicester much more frequently by the late 1930s, so by 1938 the family were living at Langland Mansions, 3 Finchley Road, Camden.

In 1937 Frank’s abdominal injuries caused him to be seriously ill.  He was operated on in a private hospital in Leicester and made a full recovery, though he never played rugby again.  In 1947 Frank was appointed secretary of the Rugby Football Union.  He was the England Selector.

Frank died at Paddington General Hospital on 3rd October 1962 whilst – appropriately – living in Twickenham.

The RILEY family – Private RILEY, John Horace “Horace” (1896-1917) and Private RILEY, Ernest Royal “Roy” (1894-1960)

William Riley (1862-1925) and Mary Ann Walker (1868-1933) married at St Mary de Castro on 12th September 1886.  Before marriage Mary Ann had lived in the parish of St Martin, working as a domestic servant and at the time of their marriage they lived together at The Newarke.  After their marriage William worked as a groom and Mary Ann a corset maker.  They had at least ten children, who were William (1889-1898), Edith Rosanna “Rose” (1891-1991), George Arthur (1892-1893) Ernest Royal “Roy” (1894-); John Horace (1896-1917), Lilian “Lily” (1888-), Elsie (1899-1927), Arthur (1902-), Frederick Richard (1905-1971) and Sidney James (1908-1970).  The first six children were baptised at Holy Trinity church but none of the later children were baptised at any local parish church.  Between 1890 and 1898 the family lived at 93 Welford Road.  In December 1895 William Riley was involved in a serious accident whilst working as a groom – he collided with another trap and the occupants were severely injured.  In 1898 eldest son William died, aged nine.  Early in 1901 they moved to 24 Caroline Street.  William worked as a groom for a tram company.  But by 1911 he was out of work and the whole family were squeezed into just five rooms at 11 Little Lane.  They would remain there until the 1930s.  The house was always crowded, with spouses moving in after marriage and yet more children being born.

The Riley family retained a connection with St Martin’s after the First World War.  In January 1920 ten shillings worth of coal was delivered to the Riley household at 11 Little Lane courtesy of St Martin’s Elkington’s Charity.  Lily’s illegitimate children Patricia Irene “Irene” (1921-)  and Elsie May (1928-) were baptised there – on New Year’s Day 1922 and 2nd December 1928, though when mother Mary Ann married Frederick Stevenson in 1927 and Ernest Royal married Marjorie in 1928 it was not at St Martin’s.

Father William Riley died in 1925 and was buried at Welford Road Cemetery.  His unmarried daughter Elsie died in 1927 aged 28 and was buried nearby. Mother Mary Ann remarried, to Frederick Stevenson, in 1927.  She fell ill and spent a while at the Royal Infirmary before dying in December 1933.  Her body was laid to rest near to that of her first husband William.

horace-riley.jpgAfter leaving school the Riley children worked in humble jobs.  At age 14 John Horace Riley – who by then was known as “Horace” – was a street cleaner for the Borough Cleansing Department.  By 15th November 1916, when Horace joined up, he was working in the shoe trade.  He was 5’6” tall.  Horace expressed a preference for joining the Seaforth Highlanders, where he would have been with his older brother Roy, but instead was enlisted in the 2/5th Leicestershire Regiment as a private soldier.  After training he sailed with his battalion from Southampton to Havre, landing on 28th February 1917, before travelling by train and finally marching to Petit St Jean to billets.  He reached trenches at Morcourt on 8th March, after which members of his battalion began to be wounded and killed by enemy bombardment and in raids.  July and August were mostly spent in training and attack practise. On 26th July he was deprived of three days’ pay for being dirty and inattentive on parade.

On 24th September the battalion took over front line trenches near St Jean.  At 3.50am on the 26th September the bombardment started and two hours later the battalion went over “to capture all enemy positions.”  Platoons kept within a hundred yards of the barrage, in some cases closer.  The Germans responded with bombardment all day, and a counter attack at 4pm, which was held at bay.  Horace was seriously wounded before the battalion were relieved the next day.

Presumably Horace was collected on a stretcher and treated at a field hospital, perhaps at a hospital further back from the front lines.  We do know that Horace returned to England and was admitted to Exeter War Hospital on 1st November with gunshot wounds to his head and right hand.  His right eye was impaired and his tibia fractured.  He had suffered two haemorrhages and an abscess and his wounds had become severely infected.  An operation was performed on 19th November 1917 to drain the abscess but Horace’s physical condition was by now very poor and he died while under general anaesthetic.  He was buried at Welford Road Cemetery on 26th November 1916.

Horace’s effects of £4 11s were given to his mother in April 1918 and a war gratuity of £3 10 in September 1919.  Mary Ann received his medals in 1920.

Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity Church

Roy was born Ernest Royal Riley on 6th May 1894, but for his whole life was known as “Roy”.  He was baptised at Holy Trinity on 8th August 1894.  After leaving school Roy worked as a scourer in the boot trade.

During the First World War Roy served as a private soldier in the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders.  Unfortunately Roy’s service record does not survive so it’s not possible to know how long he served or which battles he fought, but it’s very likely that he at least saw action at the final advance at Picardy, and ended the war at Iwuy, which is north east of Cambrai. Roy obviously enjoyed military service because he opted to re-enlist once his initial service was at an end.  He joined the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 3rd June 1919 and served in India, Sudan, Germany and Palestine.

Roy married Marjorie Elsie Pole (1911-1980) in Leicester in 1928.  They had children William Raymond (1929-1989), Eileen Beatrice M (1930-2006), Alan Walter (1934-1986) and John Royal A (1937-1990).  Roy remained in the Leicestershire Regiment until June 1931.  In 1939 Roy and Marjorie lived at 13 Queen Street and once more, Roy entered military service, this time with the 5th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 16th May 1939.  It isn’t clear how long he served this time, but no doubt he remained for the duration of the Second World War.

Roy died in Leicester in 1960, just before the marriage of his youngest son. Elsie died twenty years later.

The SARSON family – Lance Corporal SARSON, Harold James (1896-1975)

Born in Belgrave on 5th August 1896, Harold James Sarson was the only child of parents James Esau Sarson (1870-1928) and Clara Page (1871-1948) who married at St Peter’s Belgrave in 1895.  James was a yarn warehouseman and was sidesman at St Martin’s from 1882 until his death in 1928.  In 1901 the Sarsons lived at 16 St Michael Avenue but by 1911 had moved just around the corner to 9 Lancashire Street, where James and Clara would remain until 1928.

After Harold left school he began work as a railway clerk.  By 1915 he was a shipping clerk, probably for the railway.  In April of that year he suffered appendicitis and underwent an operation two days after starting to feel unwell.  During the operation it was found that Harold’s abdomen contained pus.  He developed severe pneumonia and was in hospital for over three weeks. His wound would not heal properly and kept breaking open, causing a ‘weak scar’ and ongoing pain.  Harold also had very poor teeth which troubled him.

As a result of all of this, when Harold was assessed by the military medical team in December 1915 aged just 19, he was found to be in poor physical condition – graded C3 – and only fit for sedentary duties. As Harold had previously worked as a clerk he was posted to a clerking role within the Leicestershire Regiment, remaining in England for the duration of the war.  He was appointed lance corporal on 28th June 1916, initially unpaid.  On the 17th April 1918 Harold transferred to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 17th April 1918 and again to the 3rd Yorkshire Regiment on 16th June 1919.  He was discharged with a small pension for a limited period, due to 20% disablement not caused by military service but by his previous appendicitis, on 25th July 1919.  Harold also had an enlarged thyroid and trembling hands.  He returned to his parents address at 9 Lancashire Street and to civilian clerking.

St MichaelsHarold married Florrie Victoria “Victoria” Lowe (1897-1979) at St Michael’s, Belgrave on 10th February 1925 and they moved in together at 42 Wellington where their daughters Sheila (1926-1933) and Betsy (1928-) were born.  Sheila died in 1933 aged 6 and is buried in the churchyard at St James the Greater, Birstall.  In 1930 Harold, Victoria and Betsy moved to Carisbrooke, 48 Wanlip Lane Birstall.  Perhaps Harold’s health improved with age because in 1939 he worked as a heating and plumbing engineer.  Harold and Victoria remained at Carisbrooke until they died, Harold on 4th August 1975 and Victoria in 1979.

The SATCHELL family – Private SATCHELL, Frederick Marsh (1883-1963) and William Harold Satchell (1886-1953)

Robert William Satchell (1849-1923) and Florence Elizabeth King (1858-) married in Shropshire where Florence grew up, in 1881.  By 1884 Robert and Florence lived at Kington in Herefordshire, where their children were born:  Frederick Marsh (1993-1963);

Satchell 19 Glenfield Road
19 Glenfield Road

Nellie (1884-1949); William Harold (1886-1953); Philip Warner (1887-1915); Dora Mildred (1888-1921); Margaret “Hattie” (1899-1982).  They moved to Leicester in 1897.  The family lived at 17 Fosse Road briefly around 1898 before moving to 19 Glenfield Road.  In 1910 they moved to Newtown Linford.

Robert William was a bookseller.  He began in Leicester working at Clarke & Hodgson, stationers, at 5 Gallowtree Gate.  Shortly afterwards he went into partnership and the business became Clarke & Satchell – booksellers, stationers, printers and news agents – in June 1898.  This is how things would remain until 1922.  Increasingly the business concentrated on book selling. Robert described his business in 1903 as “fair….expenses are heavy and profits small” and himself as “a relatively poor man.”  Robert William was sidesman at St Martin’s in 1909 and the family continued its link with St Martin’s throughout the war, despite having moved house.

Frederick Marsh Satchell was born in Kington, Herefordshire, on 18th August 1883.  He was given a second name in honour of his paternal grandmother, whose maiden name had been Marsh.  He attended Wyggeston Boys’ School and was awarded second class honours in theoretical chemistry in 1899.

In 1901 Frederick was boarding at a house in London and working as a bookseller’s assistant.  By 1911 he was back with his parents who were by now living at Newton Linford.  He worked in his father’s bookshop.  When Frederick joined up the Highlanders in Leicester on 8th December 1915 he was 5’6” tall, unmarried and had previously served in the 1st Leicestershire Volunteers.  He was 32 years old. On 12th May 1916 he transferred to the 1/9th Royal Scots. He married Beatrice Mary “Mary” Swift (1895-1962) at St Philip’s on 2nd September 1916, whilst stationed at Terling in Essex.  Mary was the daughter of a lithographic artist and it is possible that the two families were friendly through the Clarke & Satchell business.  She was thirteen years his junior.

Frederick passed signalling tests and qualified as a 1st class signaller on 1st May 1917.  In November he transferred to the 264 Signals Squadron, part of the Royal Corps of Signals, who provided dedicated communications support to 22 Special Air Service.  In order to achieve this Frederick needed to pass the Special Forces Communicator selector course.  He was wounded on 4th December 1917 and was treated at 2nd C Central Hospital, Bristol but was back in France on active service a month later.  In May 1918 he suffered a mild infection of the right knee joint – possibly connected to his previous injury – and admitted to number 11 stationary hospital at Rouen.  After recovering again Frederick returned to fight and again he was wounded, this time by a gun shot on 8th August 1918.  This was enough to return Frederick to England, where he was cared for at Cheltenham Voluntary Aid Hospital.  He was discharged no longer physically fit for service on 18th November 1918 to address 20 Normanton Road Leicester – his wife’s parents’ home – and was awarded a pension of 13 shillings and ninepence for at least a year, as well as a Silver War Badge.

After the war Frederick returned to his father’s business, living with his wife and her parents until 1921.Their first two children, Philip Ronald (1919-1980) and Geoffrey Harold (1921-2000) were born here.  John Eric (1923-2003), Monica Margaret (1926-2003) and Alison Mary (1927-2000) were born elsewhere.

Satchell shop Granby street
Granby Street shop – possibly with Frederick Satchell outside

In April 1922 Frederick and his father were fined for printing “certain books” without including their name and business address.  Robert died at the end of 1923 and Frederick became the sole owner of Clarke & Satchell.  He moved premises to 78 Granby Street by 1925 and the business continued there for over ten years before moving even closer to St Martin’s, at 8 Hotel Street.  Frederick and Mary’s home address in 1924 was Fosse Road, Syston where they seem to have lived with a Mrs Olive Satchell.

In 1939 the Satchells lived at 75 Leicester Road, Blaby.  During the second world war Frederick was an Air Raid Warden for the Glen Parva district.  Frederick was chairman of the East Midlands branch of the Associated Booksellers but resigned in 1949 on doctor’s advice.  Perhaps his old wounds were troubling.  Frederick and Mary moved to 7 Old Wells Road, Shepton Mallet in Somerset, where Mary died on 19th October 1962.  William died on 25th September 1963 at a nursing home.

William Harold Satchell was born in Kington, Herefordshire on 2nd February 1886 and baptised at the parish church of St Mary’s Kington. He attended Wyggeston Boys School and was confirmed at St Paul’s Church on 23rd March 1899. After school his father trained him as a printer, but William was never employed in the trade.  Instead, he entered St Augustine’s Missionary College in Canterbury, between 1903 and 1908, first spending nine months teaching at a Sunday school.  As William’s father was not able to pay his tuition fees, he successfully applied for The Leicestershire Missionary Studentship.  He was described by the Vicar of St Michael’s, who supported his application, as “not brilliant but plodding.”

St Augustines
St Augustine’s College, Canterbury

In 1904 William suffered an illness requiring an operation, but recovered sufficiently to obtain his License in Theology from Durham University on 23rd June 1908 – though he does not seem to have come into residence at Durham at all, as his time at St Augustine’s was allowed to count for the residency requirement of his LTh.  He was ordained Deacon in 1908 and priest in 1909, after which he worked at the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) Logsdail educational mission at Chaibasa, India between 1909 and 1914.  In 1910 he passed a Hindi language exam and was able to preach in the local language.

When war came, William served as a Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps (no 60254), beginning in 1915 and continuing until 1919.  Sadly his service record does not survive.  In 1919 he served a two year curacy at St Wulstan’s, Bournbrook, in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham, living at 78 Bournbrook Road.  On 7th July 1921 he sailed from Southampton to South Africa on “The Star of Japan,” travelling third class with a group of emigrating farmers, engineers and engineers.  On arriving at Cape Town he made his way to St Saviour’s Cathedral in Maritzburg, remaining until 1924.  Whilst at Maritzburg William was chaplain to the Mountain Rise Gaol and launched many “whirlwind enterprises.”  During this time he visited the homes of tuberculosis sufferers with Lily Peters, who together established the Friends of the Sick.  Lily’s son later recalled “He spent ten years in India before coming to South Africa and was fluent in Hindi.  You can imagine the effect that had on the locals.

William left Maritzburg to take up the position of Vicar of Holy Trinity, Newcastle, South Africa for six years.  In 1930 he became Priest in Charge of St Aidan’s Indian Mission in Durban, South Africa, helping to establish a new hospital.  Here he also co-founded the Friends of the Sick Association. He also published an influential booklet of three poems, Starving Like Hell in 1940, which detailed the suffering of Indians.  Along with fellow clergyman Michael Scott he played a vital part in the 1946 Passive Resistance against apartheid.  Both were arrested at Bagwandeen and imprisoned.

In 1947 William gave up home and salary to “supervise the building of a mud & thatch hut…the first beginning of an Ashram” in India.  He founded the Friends of South Africa.  William Harold was killed by a falling tree which broke his skull, on 11th November 1953 in the grounds of the Ashram at Pune, Maharashta, India.

Mother Florence Elizabeth and sister Hattie Margaret both died in Cape Town, South Africa.

The SCULTHORPE family – 2nd Lieutenant Sculthorpe, William Vaughan (1891-1917)

William Sculthorpe (1839-1927), a bank inspector. married his second wife Annie Marston Boulter (c1862-1926) in 1884 in Philadelphia, USA.  Annie was a native of Philadelphia.  Together they had just one child, William Vaughan Sculthorpe who was born at Westleigh House, 3 Ashleigh Road, Leicester on 9th May 1891.  He was baptised at the Church of the Martyrs on 20th September 1891.  Although William Vaughan had no siblings there were often maternal aunts living in the family home.  The family began their connection with St Martin’s sometime after William’s baptism and in 1899 Annie was in charge of a stall at St Martin’s “Yellow Bazaar.”

By 1911 William’s father had retired and William Vaughan Sculthorpe was a student at Lincoln College, Oxford University.  He graduated in July 1914 with third class honours.  Soon after he enlisted as a Lance Corporal and was later commissioned second lieutenant in the 1/22nd Battalion London Regiment “The Queens” on 2nd November 1915.  On 29th January 1916 William reached his battalion at the front, at Les Brebis, arriving straight from Training School.  He was posted to ‘C’ company.  The Battalion war diary does not mention William again, but he was killed in action on 8th June 1917 during the attack on Messines Ridge early in the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele.

The battalion war diary records that the men had a bath and clean clothes on 1st June 1917.  On the 3rd preparations were made for battle, including storage of great coats and packs, issuing necessary stores and putting together fighting order.  On the 4th June the battalion proceeded to relieve the 19th London Regiment.  British artillery were “exceedingly active” throughout the night and into the morning of the 5th June.  At around 3pm the enemy responded with its own heavy firing.  The 6th June was a similar day and overnight the 1st/22nd Battalion cut holes in the barbed wire defences to enable its men to go “over the top” and attack the German line.  At 1pm on 7th June the battalion got into position to attack.  At 3am there was a terrific shake of the earth caused by the explosion of mines.  The whole battalion at once moved forward.  The attack was generally successful in meeting its first objectives.  Many Germans were taken prisoner.  Others who refused to come out and surrender were “dealt with”.  However the third and fourth ‘waves’ found their task more difficult due to the condition of the ground, which was now a mass of large shell holes with no landmarks remaining. On the 8th the enemy heavily shelled the British lines with shrapnel and 4.2 shells, both in the morning and after a brief pause again in the afternoon.  The night passed relatively quietly but William Vaughan Sculthorpe was already dead.  He was buried at Woods Cemetery, Belgium, which is just outside Ypres.

The Leicester Mercury reported William’s death on 14th June 1917:


Mr and Mrs Sculthorpe, of 3 Ashleigh-road, have been informed that their only son, 2nd Lieut W Vaughan Sculthorpe, was killed in action in Flanders on June 7th.  The deceased took his BA at Oxford some time ago, and at the time of his death was 26 years of age.  His father was for some time manager of the Leicestershire Bank and formerly took part in local affairs, and great sympathy will be extended to the family in their sad bereavement.

Sculthorpe St Martins
The memorial to William Vaughan Sculthorpe at St Martin’s

William left no will but his father was granted administration in respect of his estate of £376 14s 4d.  William is remembered at St Martins and also on the war memorial to members of the parish and congregation of St Bartholomew’s, Sydenham.  It is unclear what William’s connection with St Bartholomew’s was, but the crypt was used as an air raid shelter during both world wars.

Sydenham memorial
The memorial at Sydenham Church

Annie died in 1926 and William in 1927, both still living at 3 Ashleigh Road.  They were buried at Welford Road Cemetery and their grave stone also commemorates William:

In loving memory of Annie Marston Sculthorpe/Died Feb 13th 1926/Also William Sculthorpe/Died Dec 11th 1927/Also Lieut Wm Vaughan Sculthorpe/Killed in action in Flanders June 7th 1917/Aged 26 years/”At rest.”

Sculthorpe 2

The SMALLEY family – 2nd Lieutenant Smalley, Walter Herbert (1893-1918) and Corporal SMALLEY, John Clarence (1898-1968)

Josiah Smalley (1851-1913) and Hannah Ludlam (1854-1933) married in Leicester in 1878, when Josiah was manager for John Gibbs, hay and corn dealer in Humberstone Gate.  He was also a hay and corn dealer in his own right between 1881 and 1890, first at Junction Road, then 62 Mansfield Street and then at Erskine Street.  This was a failing business due to the establishment of a weekly auction sale at the Haymarket which took most of his trade.  Eventually the Official Receiver was called in.  During this turbulent time Josiah and Hannah had eight children:  Daisy (1882-1882), Rose (1882-1882), Ida Lilian (1880-1961), George Irwin (1883-1960), Hilda (1887-1968), Elsie Rosetta (1891-1983), Walter Hebert (1893-1918) and John “Jack” Clarence (1898-1968).  All were baptised at St Margaret’s, with the exception of Elsie who was baptised at St Luke’s.

The family lived 4 Erskine Street, moving between January and April 1891 to 61 Victoria Road then briefly to a yard behind the Admiral Nelson Inn at 14 Humberstone Gate and then to 27 Clarence Street.  In 1901 Hanna’s brother William, who was deaf, lived with the family.  The census return describes him as a pauper.  Josiah began trading in hay and corn again, first from Admiral Nelson Yard and then from 154 Wharf Street.  Hannah brought in money by running a boarding house of “apartments” at Clarence Street from before 1901 to 1932.  This became even more necessary after 1913, as Josiah died in November of that year.  Usually there were just one or two boarders.

Walter Herbert Smalley  was born in Leicester in 1893 and baptised at St Margaret’s on 5th March 1900 with brother John.  He attended Alderman Newton’s school.  After leaving school he worked as a warehouseman at the textile firm T H Downing and Company (makers of “Alpha – new wool underwear”) and lived with his parents.  He joined the 9th Leicestershire Regiment as a private soldier and was later promoted to Corporal.  He landed in France on 24th September 1915. In July 1916 the 9th Leicestershires took part in the attack on the Bazentin-Le Petit wood and village in the Battle of the Somme.  Walter was commissioned temporary Second Lieutenant in the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment in March 1918.  He transferred to the 2nd Battalion, reaching the line at Mericourt, Vimy Sector, on 23rd July 1918 with fellow second lieutenant Donald Charles Meredith.

On 22nd October Walter marched for an hour in fine weather with his battalion between Bouvignies and St Amand.  The following day they pressed on towards Buridon, capturing a German machine gun en route.  On this day, the 23rd October 1918, Walter was wounded.  He is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having died of his wounds on 28th October 1918.  It is known that he died of wounds at 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station sometime between 23rd and 28th October 1918.  The Clearing Station war diary records records the admission of several British officers during this time and almost as many deaths, though none on 28th October. Walter’s sister Ida Lilian lived at Northampton with her husband and family and informed this notice which appeared in the Northampton Mercury (and which contains several mistakes):


SMALLEY, Lieut Walter W., Northants, brother of Mrs H Arnold, 26 Alexandra-road, Northampton, died of wounds at the 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on Oct 21.  He enlisted in 1915, and obtained his commission in 1918.

Walter is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun. He had amassed about £80 in army pay, which with his war gratuity of £17 10s was divided between his parents and siblings Ida, George, Elsie and Jack in 1919 and early 1920.

John Clarence Smalley, known as “Jack”, was born on New Year’s Day, 1898 and baptised at St Margaret’s on 5th March 1900 with brother Walter.  He served as a Corporal in the 2/4th Leicestershire Regiment.  No service record survives.  After the war John returned to live with his mother at 27 Clarence Street.

John married Ivy Abbott (1899-1982) at St Margaret’s on 12th September 1921, by which time he was working as a civil servant.  John and Ivy both gave their address as 27 Clarence Street and Ivy was probably already pregnant with their first child.  She gave birth to Eric Stanley (1922-1995) the following April.  Son Anthony Jack (1924-2000) was born two years later.  John and Ivy still lived with John’s mother at Clarence Street in 1931, until her death in 1933.

By 1939 they lived at 138 Braunstone Close and wrote a letter to the Leicester Daily Mercury (6th January 1939): “Your editorial on Wednesday, ‘Fitting Youth for the Future’ is welcomed for its support of Lord Bessborough’s youth campaign.  Its success, however, is doubtful whilst indifference continues to the perpetual number of approximately 250,000 youths of the Great War.  The Government would be wise at this juncture to preserve the splendid heritage of these gallant men by securing suitable employment for them to live a normal life in the country they fought for.”  Shortly after the writing of this letter John and Ivy moved to 106 Fullhurst Avenue, Braunstone.  John worked as a transport manager and his sons worked as a lorry driver, and a lorry driver’s mate, probably with their father.  During the second world war John was a member of the newly established Leicester City Police War Reserve.

John Clarence died in Leicester in 1968, Ivy in 1982.