Tuesday 15 November 2016

Somme Casualty - Leicestershire lad who didn't want to go

Lance Corporal 24396 Whattoff Adcock
2nd Btn South Staffs Regt
Killed in Action 15 November 1916
Age - 27


Whattoff Adcock was born in Syston, Leicestershire in 1889. His mother was Mary and his Father, David. David Adcock died tragically in 1895 leaving Mary and her four children without a father. Mary was a 'charwoman' and provided for her family, Adelaide, Ernest, Whattoff and David. Hosiery and Footwear industries were major employers in Leicestershire and Adelaide became a Griswold Hand whilst her three brothers went into the shoe trade. The family lived on Paddock Row in Syston and moved to School Street where they were living in 1911.

In July 1914 Whattoff married Katherine MacDonald, who was 'in service' in the village. His brother and sister were witnesses. When war was declared he didn't want to leave his wife of one month and remained in the shoe trade, unlike his brother, David, who was a volunteer and served with the Leicestershire Regiment - The Tigers.

After the cataclysmic battle that raged for four-and-a-half months in Picardy, Whattoff was compelled to enlist, which he did at Syston, but unlike his younger brother he served with the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment.

After mobilising to France the Regiment were involved in an assault at the end of the battle we now know as The Battle of the Somme and Whattoff was missing in action. A report in the parish magazine in August 1917 read:

LANCE CORPORAL WHATTOFF ADCOCK (2nd South Staffords) Missing, 13th November 1916, now reported killed in action.

His final resting place is at Serre Road Cemetery No. 1. where his headstone reads that he died on the 15th November 1916. 

He is remembered on the war memorial in Syston village and on the Roll of Honour in the church.

Up the line

Standing in rows

A whistle blows. 
Loved ones weeping.

In the fields
Poppies grow,
Where friends and foe
Are sleeping.

In our hearts
We hold them dear
Who knew no fear.
Memoria keeping.

We will remember them.

©  Dr Karen Ette
15 November 2016

Thursday 8 September 2016

Sportsman of Loughborough Remembered

Serjeant T2/14153, Arthur Frederick Palmer
475th H.T. Coy, 10th Div. Train, Army Service Corps.
Died of Malaria 8th Sept. 1916, Aged 36.

Arthur Frederick Palmer was born on the 9th December 1879 at 15 High Street, Loughborough. He was the seventh son of Dr William Grimes Palmer and Mrs Elizabeth Anne Palmer, who had twelve children: Lucy Jane, William Grimes, Henry John, Ethel Alice, John, Edith Elizabeth, Arthur Frederick, Gertrude, Edwin,Sybil, Kathleen Mary and Margaret Elsie. The family moved to Thorpe Cottage, Derby Road, Knightthorpe, Loughborough where Dr Grimes died on the 15th November 1889 aged 45, leaving Elizabeth a widow. His personal estate was £1,757 16s 6d.

Fred Palmer was educated at the Loughborough Grammar School and was well known and liked in the town. He was a member of local sports clubs and enjoyed taking part, especially in football where he was a member of the Loughborough Corinthians Football Club. He was also a good oarsman and a member of the Loughborough Boat Club. Fred acted as goalkeeper for the Loughborough Hockey Club and was regarded as a ‘sound and useful player’.  In 1901 he was working as a mechanical engineer.

Arthur volunteered for active service at the outbreak of the war and enlisted in the Army Service Corps in August 1914. He went all through the Gallipoli campaign and served with the Salonika Army.  He was offered a commission, which he declined. He contracted malaria whilst on active service in Salonika and died at the Base Hospital on the 8th September 1916. His death was reported in the Loughborough Echo on the 15th September 1916.

Photograph: Kev Mitchell

Loughborough Corinthians FC, winners of the Leicestershire Junior Cup, 1900/01.
Arthur Palmer middle front row.

Serjeant* Arthur Frederick Palmer is buried at Triq Id-Duluri Military Cemetery, Pieta, Malta.  Grave reference: C. XI. 6.

  Photograph: Kev Mitchell

National Archives
UK, De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, 1914-1919
Loughborough Roll of Honour

* Serjeant is the traditional spelling with Sergeant becoming popular after 1918.

© Dr Karen Ette

Friday 2 September 2016

Captain Proudfoot, RAMC - KIA 2nd September 1916

Captain Harold Heafford Proudfoot

Royal Army Medical Corps.

Attd 26th Bde Royal Field Artillary

Killed in Action on 2nd September 1916

Age: 27

Harold Proudfoot was born on the 21st August 1889 in Claremont, St Anne, Jamaica, the son of the Rev. James Proudfoot and his wife, Harriet Heafford Proudfoot. Harriet was born in Mountsorrel in 1859 and in 1901, when Harold was eleven, he lived with his mother and nine-year-old sister, Winifred, at 302 Main Street Mounstorrel.

Harold attended Quorn Grammar School and then in 1903 became a boarder at the Loughborough Grammar School.

In April 1911 the family had moved to 24 Frederick Street in Loughborough and Harold was, a Medical Student. He graduated from Edinburgh University in 1911.

Harold served as a Lietenant in 1915 and gazetted in April 1916. He served as Captain with the R.A.M.C. attached to the R.F.A.

In September 1916 Captain Proudfoot was in the Mametz area of France when he was killed, along with two other officers, by a bursting shell on Saturday, 2nd September, aged just 27.

On the 12th January 1917 probate in London gave his effects as £817 11s 4d, which was paid to his father who was then living at 279 Derby Road, Nottingham.

Captain Harold Heafford Proudfoot is buried at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz VIII. I. 7  

He is remembered on the Loughborough War Memorial, St Peter’s Church Mountsorrel Roll of Honour, Edinburgh University’s Roll of Honour, Rawlins Old Quornians Association Roll of Honour, Loughborough Grammar School’s Roll of Honour and the Lenton War Memorial.


Sources: The National Archives
               Loughborough Roll of Honour

© Dr Karen Ette

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Derbyshire lad killed during the Somme offensive

Second Lieutenant Norman Archibald Chambers

 3rd Battalion (Att 1st Btn) Northamptonshire Regiment

 Killed in Action 17th August 1916 – Age: 21

Grateful thanks to Helen Chambers for this photograph

Norman Archibald Chambers was born in 1895 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, the son of Frederick and Margaret Chambers and was christened on the 9th June 1896 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Hallam Fields, Derbyshire. He had two brothers, James who was a year older and John, three years younger.

In 1901 the family were living in Stanton by Dale and Norman's father, Frederick, was an iron foundry manager. The family were still there in 1911, but later moved to Hart Lea Town Street in Sandiacre - which was demolished in the 1960s. 


Norman served with the Northamptonshire Regiment in World War 1 where he was wounded during the Battle of the Somme and died from his wounds on the 17th August 1916. He was awarded the service medal and victory medal.


Second Lieutenant Chambers is buried at Puchevillers British Cemetery north-east of Amiens in France. This was a casualty clearing station during the Somme offensive.  

The words on his headstone read: The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God


When he was based in Etaples, Norman wrote to his mother and signed himself off as 'your loving son, Norman.' His letters can be seen on the Lives of the Great War website.

1895 • Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England

Dr Karen Ette