What a remarkable and sobering front page awaits the readers of the August 21, 1917, edition of the Market Harborough Advertiser.
The normal cover is full of advertisements. This week nearly half of the page is taken up with a roll of honour for the ‘men from the Market Harborough District who have been killed in action, died of wounds, died in hospital or are missing’. These are the men who have given ‘to the uttermost’.
They are listed by town and country, they are listed alphabetically, they are listed with the names of their regiments, they are listed with pride.
First come the men from Market Harborough – ONE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN in total. Then come the men from FORTY EIGHT villages – and the sacrifice in numbers is even greater than the town as the names of those listed totals ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY EIGHT.
This incredible homage is not an official list, it is compiled by Harborough dignitary and shop owner Mr F G Shindler, who began the task of recording the names of those serving right at the beginning of the war.
He relies on families and the Advertiser to provide the information and, where he can, the names of the regiments are also added to the record. The Leicesters are well represented of course – the 1st, the 2nd, the 6th, the 7th, the 10th and more – and so are the Northants with the 7th, the 3rd and the 10th. But there are local men who served with the regiments from all over the country – the Berks, the Devons, the Canadians, the Grenadiers, and the Black Watch, to name but a few.
Sadly there is also news of two more Market Harborough men who will be added to the list – Lieutenant Corporal Charles Bosworth and Private J Bicknell.
Bosworth, whose parents live in Wartnaby Street, had a home in Eastbourne where he was married to the daughter of Mr and Mrs W Whiting of Great Bowden. Bosworth also leaves behind a daughter.
The Lieutenant Corporal is ‘one of six brothers in the Army and is the first to fall’. He suffered a direct hit at the Front and, although treated at a dressing station, he died of his wounds.
Bicknell, who used to work at The Hermitage, had suffered with ‘trench fever’ and been treated in hospital but had returned to the Front. He was killed ‘by a gunshot through the lung’. Bicknell was 37 years of age and leaves a wife and four children.
There is also news of other men who have been injured – Private W Jelley of Arthingworth, Private E Yakes of Market Harborough, and Private J G Jones, who had emigrated to Canada from Harborough,.
Remarkably though, the Advertiser provides an ‘And finally…’ lighter note with news of two Harborough men winning prizes at ‘sports’ events held behind the lines.
Trooper Harry Leeson won the 150 yards race and Private C Woodford of Adam and Eve Street took first prize in ‘the pillow fight and second prize in the cigarette race’. He wrote to his parents saying: “It was a day I shall not forget when I return to trenches.”
- This column is published every Monday by John Dilley on the Newspapers and the Great War website and will continue until the 100th anniversary of the final armistice in November 2018.
- My fellow researcher and De Montfort University lecturer David Penman is conducting a similar real-time project with the Ashbourne Telegraph. Check out his Great War Reports.
- Check out this week’s Harborough Mail for current news from the Market Harborough area.