GREAT COATES WAR MEMORIAL HISTORY
The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead, therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.
One such memorial was raised in Great Coates in 1920 to commemorate the six local men who died, together with the 51 men and one woman who served and returned. The memorial, which took the form of a marble tablet designed and sculpted by Christopher Allison Memorials in Grimsby, was placed on the external wall of the village Reading Room (built in 1907) on Station Road. In the early century much of the village and surrounding farmland was owned by Sir Richard Sutton’s Settled Estates who built the Reading Room and also, along with public subscription, contributed towards the cost of the war memorial.
When the Reading Room, later used as a village hall, was sold for residential development in 2013, the memorials were removed and placed in storage. In 2017 they were re-sited on the principal elevation of the Nursery School.
The memorial is in the form of an inscription tablet with scrolled brackets, apron, recessed panelled pilasters and a broken triangular pediment. It frames a marble tablet inscribed with the names of 57 men and 1 woman. Within the design is the relief of a Latin cross flanked by the dates 1914 and 1919. Immediately underneath is the inscription ‘FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH’, beneath which are the names of the six men who died. Underneath again is the inscription ‘FOR KING AND COUNTRY’, followed by the names of 51 men and 1 woman who served and returned.
In 1991 a second tablet was added to commemorate the two local men who died during the Second World War, Kenneth Boocock and Collan Michael Anthony Bawden Brett
The Great Coates War Memorial was assessed in March 2018 for listing as part of Historic England’s First World War Commemoration Project, this determines whether a building or structure is of special interest and merits listing. In the assessment the First World War memorial was described ‘as a physical representation of the sacrifice of this community in a major conflict, giving it both a local historical significance and a wider national significance, the list of the names of the dead illustrates the poignant cost of such involvement and continues to resonate with the community.’ The assessment recommended that the memorial be included in the listing at Grade II
The memorial tablet below the First World War Memorial which was added in 1991 and was also assessed, unfortunately the assessment said ‘Although it represents a testament to the two local men who died during that conflict, it is architecturally modest for its late date and although it possesses strong local resonance it regrettably does not meet the strict criteria necessary for listing a memorial of such a late date and as such it is not recommended for inclusion in the listing’
The memorial is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
It is interesting to see what was considered by the community in terms of a commemoration in 1919
The Great Coates Parish magazine recorded in June 1919
‘Ideas for a suitable War Memorial, a memorial Cross in the Churchyard with a plate giving the names of those who have fallen, a stained glass window in the South Aisle near the Roll of Honour, a Lynch Gate at the entrance to the Churchyard with seats and an inscription, a flag-staff in the Reading Room grounds to fly the flag on grand occasions.’
Then on the 2nd July 1919 the Parish magazine records
’After a long and friendly discussion it was almost unanimously resolved to place a marble tablet on the north wall of the Reading Room’
It is also of interest that it was recorded in the magazine in February 1920 that
‘The subscribers to the Memorial have decided to purchase a Brass Lectern which will be a very suitable memento of those who fell for their Country’ and also recorded in July 1920 that ‘the cost of the lectern and engraving was £88-10s-0d plus £2-2s-7d carriage. This will all be covered by subscription with £1-1s-3d in hand’
£88 is worth about £4,500 today
There were 29 subscribers, from 3 shillings up to £25 and the average annual salary in 1920 was about £200.
The six men who sadly died during the First World War
Thomas Hinch (1895 – 1918)
Albert Henry Manship (1886 – 1916)
Reginald George Gruby (1895 – 1914)
Alexander Smith Mackenzie (1879 – 1918)
Clifford Robinson (1896 – 1916)
Thomas William Collingwood (1899 – 1918)
Thomas (Tom) Hinch was born in Nettleton in 1895, in 1901 when Thomas was 6 he was living with his parents John (a farm labourer) aged 50 and Elizabeth aged 45 and his four sisters, Jane (14), Mary (11), Henrietta (3) and Bertha (1) in the Civic Parish of Claxby.
The 1911 Census records that the Hinch family were now living at Scrub Hill in Irby, John Hinch was working as a ‘Garthman’ which is a cattleman in charge of stock.
Jane, Mary and Thomas have left home and John’s mother Jane Hinch aged 89 was living with the family. Thomas was now 16 in 1911 and was living in Irby with William Blythe Pennel and Janet Pennel and their seven children, working on Manor Farm with his occupation described as a ‘Waggoner on farm’.
We can only assume that Tom must have come to work on a farm in Great Coates in or after 1911 before joining the army after 1914.
Thomas served with the 9th Battalion of the Sussex Regiment and died on the 21st March 1918 aged 23 and his military record states that he was ‘Killed in Action’ and is on the Poziers Memorial which commemorates those from the Allied Fifth Army killed when driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields in March and April 1918. Poziers Memorial Cemetery is in a village 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert, in France.
The Great Coates Parish Magazine for 1918 records
‘We are sorry to have to announce that Thomas Hinch was killed in April in France, that Robert Adams has been wounded (but not severely), that Christopher Neale and George Mew are prisoners of war, and Jack Allard is missing, and Ellis Allard is wounded, but not badley’
It is unknown why Christopher Neale, George Mew, Jack and Ellis Allard are not listed on the memorial as having served, when Robert Adams is listed.
Albert Henry Manship
Albert Henry Manship was born in Leicester in 1886. In 1891 when Albert was 5 he lived with his parents Robert (45) and Mary Jane Manship (41) and his three brothers (Robert 21. Joseph 7, and David 3) and one sister Alice aged 1. His father and his older brother Robert worked in the ‘Shoe Trade’
In 1901 when Albert was 15 the family were living at 10 Bradgate Street, St Leonards, Leicestershire. Albert’s father was working as a ‘shoe riveter’ and Albert as a ‘shoe finisher’
It is recorded in the 1911 census that Albert aged 25 had married Ellen Kirby aged 24 in October 1910 and they had a son James Frederick who was born 24th October 1911 in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Alberts occupation is recorded as a Railway Porter and his postal address as Moor House, Harefield, Uxbridge
Lance/Sergeant Albert Manship served in the 1st Leicestershire Battalion and was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme on the 26th September 1916, aged 30 and is buried in the A.I.F (Australian Imperial Force) Burial Ground , Flers in France
We can only assume that sometime after 1911 he came to work in Great Coates, perhaps at the station.
Reginald George Gruby
Reginald George Gruby was born in Hull in 1895. In 1901 when Reginald was 6 he lived with his parents Herbert, a Collector of Fishery Statistics (34) and Eleanor (Nelly) (34) and his two brothers, Sidney 15, a Fish Merchants Clerk and Robert 13 and his two sisters Eleanor (12) and Mary just 1 month old.
In 1911 when Reginald was 16 he was living at 21 Woad Lane, Great Coates with his parents Herbert and Eleanor Gruby and his two brothers Sidney, 25 now a ‘Trawler Croness Clerk’ (sic) and Robert (23) now an Architects Assistant and his two sisters, Eleanor 22 and Mary Ellen 10, Reginald was working as a Dentists Apprentice
Reginald enlisted in the 10th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment (The Grimsby Chums) on the 21st September 1914 when he was 20.
Private Reginald George Gruby sailed from Southampton on the 9th January 1916 and was killed in action less than seven weeks later on the 22nd February 1916 in Flanders, France and is buried in the Brewery Orchard Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France
The Great Coates Parish Magazine for April 1916 records
’We regret very much to have to record the death of Private Reginald Gruby, 10th Lincolns ‘the Chums’ February 22..When volunteering to take the place of a soldier late at night who had not turned up, he was shot’ he was a very keen soldier and was an excellent shot, but his early decease (sic) has prevented him making a name for himself in that line. Many letters of sympathy from officers and men have been received by his parents testifying to the respect and affection in which he was held. He was much devoted to the old Church at home in which he loved to worship. At his special request several of his favourite hymns have been sung in the Church since he went to France. He lies in the Bois de Grenery Cemetery with many who like him have given their lives for King and Country. We respect and honour such.’
In St Nicholas churchyard on the grave of his sister-in-law Eleanor who died in 1923 it records the death of both her husband, his brother Herbert (who had died in 1912) and of Reginald himself recording that he was killed in action.
Alexander Smith Mackenzie
Alexander Smith Mackenzie was born in Grimsby on the 19th October 1879. In 1891, aged 11 he was living at 160 Tasburgh Street in Grimsby with his parents Robert (37) a Fish Salesman and Mary Mackenzie (32) and his brother Robert aged 8.
In 1901 the Mackenzie family were living at 144 Hainton Avenue, Grimsby, Robert and his sons Alexander and Robert in the fish trade
Sadly Alexander’s father Robert Mackenzie died in 1905 and in 1911 his widow Mary and her two children Alexander now 32 and Robert 28 were now living at 82 Fairbrother Street in Grimsby, both sons working as Shipping Clerks.
On the 8th August 1915 when Alexander was 36 he married Letitia Mabel Edmundson.
Alexander Smith Mackenzie enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on the 26th April 1917 and died on the 19th December 1918 and is buried at the Russian Orthodox Cemetery, Sebastopol, Crimea, South Russia.
We can only assume that he came to live in Great Coates after 1911, before joining the army in 1914.
Clifford Robinson was born in 1896 in Manchester. In 1901 Clifford aged 5 was living at 81 Forbes Street in Manchester with his parents William (45) a Railway Guard and Fanny Robinson (27) and his five siblings. In 1911 Clifford was 15 and still living with his parents who had moved to 12 Elmham Road, Darnell in Sheffield. His father had died in 1910 and four of his brothers and sisters had left home and he had a new sister Anny who was 8. Clifford was working as a ‘Page Boy in Railway Refreshment’ (sic)
British Army records show that Clifford joined the Lincolnshire Regiment on the 5th September 1914, sadly he died on 9th January 1916, the place of death is recorded as ‘Home‘ and his death registered in St Albans.
Although there are no records that directly link Clifford Robinson to Great Coates, clearly there was a link, perhaps through employment because the Great Coates Parish Magazine in February 1916 records
‘One of our noble defenders has been taken away. Sergeant Clifford Robinson. He was the first from the village to enlist and is the first to go. He rose to the rank of sergeant in the 2nd 5th Lincoln’s. He died of rheumatic fever at Harpenden, Herefordshire, at the early age of 19 and was buried at his home in Sheffield. His father is an Inspector on the Great Central and the family is much respected. He was of a nice disposition and had many friends in Great Coates’
Clifford is buried in the Tinsley Park Cemetery in Sheffield
Thomas William Collingwood
Thomas William Collingwood was born in 1899, his parents were Thomas Drury Collingwood (born in Riby) and Hannah Collingwood (born in Caistor) The 1901 Census records that the family was living in Great Coates, Thomas Senior was 43 and working as a Blacksmith. Hannah was also 43, they had three children Emily aged 17 who was a Dressmaker, Clara who was 10 and Thomas William who was 2. The family also had a boarder, George Taylor aged 45 who was an Agricultural Worker.
The 1911 Census sees the family living in Great Coates, but Emily has left, Clara is 20 and Thomas William is 12 and at school, Thomas Senior is still a Blacksmith and George Taylor who is now described as ‘the wife’s brother’ is still boarding with the family along with George Wilfred Taylor aged 3, a nephew.
Thomas William enlisted in Scunthorpe in the 1st Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment and sadly died, aged 19 on the 28th March 1918, recorded that he ‘died of wounds’. He is buried at the Le Cateau Military Cemetery in France
There is only one female mentioned on the memorial, ‘Sister Appleyard’
Rose Appleyard was born in Great Coates in 1888, her parents were Charles Appleyard, (31) a Railway Platelayer and Mary J. Appleyard (31). In 1891 the family was living at 73 Macaulay Street in Grimsby. In 1901 when Rose was 13 the family was living at 18 Ash Grove in Great Coates. The family had a boarder Herbert Jarvis aged 15 living with them
The 1911 when Rose would be 23, Census records show that Charles and Mary were living alone
Charles died in 1929 and Mary Jane in 1934
Extracts from Great Coates Parish Magazines (1917 – 1920)
‘We are now sending one of our ‘old girls’ to be a nurse amongst the troops in Egypt. Miss Rose Appleyard. She has been doing good and hard work in the London hospital for some time with civilians and soldiers. We wish her every success in her new post, and pray for her safe return’.
‘Miss Rose Appleyard has arrived safely at Alexandria and is doing work as a nurse amongst soldiers there. We wish her health and strength to carry on her self-denying duties’.
‘We are very glad to see Sister Appleyard back among us once more. She has had a strenuous three years of work as a Nurse in Constantinople and all parts of the East and has had a wonderful experience. She should have returned home several weeks ago, but has been ‘held up’ at Alexandria for want of a steamer to bring her back. She has been awarded Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service Decoration. She is the last of the Great Coates’ War Contingent to be demobilized. She well deserves rest’.
The Second World War Tablet contains 2 names.
Kenneth Boocock (1917 – 1943)
Collan Michael Anthony Bawden Brett (1922 – 1941)
Kenneth Boocock was born on the 27th October 1917. The 1911 Census shows that his parents Bartram Joe Boocock (30) was a Fish Merchant and his wife Eleanor (24) lived at Wharncliffe, Tetney. Bartram Boocock was Canadian, his birthplace recorded as Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario, Canada.
The family must have moved to Great Coates after 1911 because they are known to have lived in Woad Lane
Sub Lieutenant Fleet Air Arm Kenneth Boocock served with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, H.M.S. Saker II (the ship name used for those serving on land), Jacksonville Naval Air Station.
He died on September 4, 1943 aged 25 years in an air crash involving an SB2A Bermuda aircraft during anti submarine bombing practice into cloud, the aircraft spun into high ground five miles west of US Naval Air Station Vero Beach.
He is commemorated on his parent’s grave in St Nicholas cemetery Great Coates, but is actually interred at Grave 61, Vero Beach, Crest Lawn Cemetery, Florida, USA.
Collan Michael Anthony Bawden Brett
Collan Michael Anthony Bawden Brett was born in 1922 to Collan Bawden Brett and Margaret Mary Brett, of Woad Lane, Great Coates. He was a Scout with 9th Healing Group and later joined 142 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and became Sergeant Pilot Brett.
Collan was more known by his second name Michael
Michael volunteered for flying training at the beginning of WW2 at the age of 17, he learned to fly in Scotland and was then posted to Bomber Command training. He learned to fly Wellington bombers before being posted to 142 Squadron at Binbrook. From here he flew bombing operations to Germany and enemy occupied countries, to Hamburg and Brest to attack the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.
The Squadron transferred to Waltham where on November 25, 1941 Sgt Brett was the pilot of a Wellington IV bomber that took on a training exercise, but climbed too slowly, stalled and crashed just to the south west of the airfield. Sadly the crash killed the 19 year-old pilot and three of his crew; Sgt C. Jakins, Sgt N. Borrows and Sgt H.M. Exley. Whilst Sgt K.W. Light was severely injured.
He is buried in St Nicholas cemetery in Great Coates and his war grave includes the inscribed words: ‘Greater love than this no man hath. That a man lay down his life for his friend’