Those Who Also Served (Surnames S to V):
The following are short biographies of the men of Ruskington who enlisted during the Great War with surnames beginning ‘S’ to ‘V’.
Remembered on this page are:
- Private 4125 Arthur SILSON
- Private CH/18328 William SMITH
- Private 2179 Charles START
- Private 10768 Samuel William START
- Private M/303833 Emanuel Frank START
- Private 14223 Charles THORPE
- Corporal 55161 John Henry THORPE
- Trooper Henry TONG
- Private 241661 John Thomas TONG
- Private M/296073 Frederick Royle TRIMINGHAM
Private 4125 Arthur SILSON – Arthur was born on 29 August 1888, the son of Jane [née Baker] (Pea Picker) Silson at Rectory Road, Ruskington, Lincolnshire (next door to the ‘Black Bull Inn’). (1901 Census RG 13/3048) This Census shows Jane as a widow, after being married to John Silson who died in the September quarter 1884.
He had a half-brother, John William, and two older half-sisters, Sarah and Eliza, from Jane’s marriage to John. He had another brother, Private 12015 Bertie SILSON, 99th Coy, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), who was killed in action 14th November 1916.
Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/19618) Arthur was employed as a “Farm Servant”, lodging with his employer, George Hyton, in the village. At the time of his enlistment in 1915 Arthur stood 5 ft. 4 ins. [1.62 m.] tall.
Arthur’s mother, Jane, died on 16 September 1918 at High Street, Ruskington, suffering from “Chronic Rheumatism and Nephritis with Anaemia. ” and is buried in Grave B 149, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot.)
On 21 May 1915 Arthur enlisted, at Sleaford, in the 2nd/4th (Territorial) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, aged 24 years 9 months, for ‘The Duration‘. He was trained in Lincoln and London and was stationed near London in November 1915. Arthur elected to serve abroad with his Battalion, which had formed at Lincoln on 13 September 1914 as a Second Line Battalion. In July 1915 it was attached to 177th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division.
Arthur was posted to France on 9 March 1916, and remained until 4 July 1916. Many Territorial Force Battalions were re-numbered in 1917, and Arthur’s new badge number was 201382. After remaining in England until February 1917 Arthur returned to France on the 23rd.
On 12 March 1919 Arthur was discharged having suffered gun shot wounds to his left upper arm and chest on 14 April 1918. He was awarded a Silver War Badge, no B.222423. (CLICK Badge to read more) Arthur was assessed as: ” Being surplus to military requirements under para. 392 (xvia) King’s Regulations.” In all he had served 3 years 296 days with the Colours.
In the June quarter 1919, however, Arthur married Ethel Markham. He died in Nottingham, aged 84, in the March quarter 1973.
[N.B. Bertie’s First World War Medals and his Memorial Plaque were returned, by his family in Nottingham, to the Village in 2016. They were eventually mounted and placed in the entrance foyer of Ruskington Methodist Church, where he was a regular attendee.]
Private CH/18328 William SMITH – was born in Anwick, Lincolnshire on 12 April 1896, the son of Francis [Frank] (Farm Worker) and Jane (née Brant) Smith. He had an older sister, Annie Marie, and two older brothers, Benjamin and Francis, and a younger brother Joseph Edward.
[N.B. William’s brother, Private 241558 Benjamin SMITH, served with the 5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, and was killed in action on 29 September 1918. He is buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery, Grave VI, B, 5]
The 1901 Census (RG 13/3050) shows the family living at South Drove, Swaton Fen, Lincolnshire. His parents had moved to live in Ruskington, on Prince’s Lane. (1911 Census RG 14/19618). William’s mother, Jane, died in June 1959, aged 87, and is buried in Grave B. 12, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot. Her Grave is right next to the Village War Memorial that bears her son’s name. [Her husband, Francis, had died in January 1916, aged 56, and lies in adjacent Grave B.26.]
William joined the Royal Marines on 12 January 1914 and was training in Deal, Kent when War was declared. ‘The Lincolnshire Chronicle’ [27 November 1915] reported that: “ Pte. William Smith, son of Mr Frank Smith, Prince’s Lane, joined the Royal Marines in January 1914, and was in training at Deal when war was declared. He is now stationed in Glasgow. “ After training he was posted to the Royal Marine Light Infantry: Chatham Division.
He clearly saw action overseas as he was awarded the 1915 Star, Victory and War Medals. [His Service Record can be obtained from The National Archive – for £3.50 (2017)]
Just after the War ended, William married Gladys Stone, in the Grantham District. He died in Grimsby in the March quarter 1969, aged 72.
Private 10768 Samuel William START, Private 2179 Charles START and Private M/303833 Emanuel Frank START – were the sons of Henry (Rope Maker) and Mary (née Edwards) Start. There were eleven children of the family, Edith Mary, Minnie Rebecca, Frederick Henry, Gertrude Jane, Samuel William, Ethel Mary, Charles, Florence Annie, Emmanuel Frank, Emmeline and Kathleen.
The parents, Henry, who died in August 1912, aged 49, and Mary, died April 1934, aged 73, are buried in Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot, Graves A 243 and 244. Their daughter, Gertrude Jane, died, aged 3, in May 1891. She is buried in Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot, Children’s Section, Grave C. 59. Emmeline, also died in infancy, aged 2 days, in April 1900, and lies nearby in Grave C. 107.
N.B. Private 55537 Frederick Henry START, Lincolnshire Yeomanry, died in Palestine 13th February 1918. [CLICK his name to go to his page on this site.]
In 1891 (Census RG 12/2577) the family were living at Clay Hill, Ruskington, and were at the same address in 1901 (Census RG 13/3048). In 1911 (Census RG 14/19617) parents and younger offspring were still living at Clay Hill, Ruskington.
Private 10768 Samuel William START was born in the March quarter 1890. He served with the 6th Battalion. Lincolnshire Regiment. The Medal Index Card shows that he was posted to The Balkans on 18 July 1915.
Another Ruskington man, Pt. 15930 William Christopher Cunnington, died in Gallipoli, 24 October 1915. Read his page on this site to appreciate the ferocity of the fighting endured by these two men of the village. [CLICK his name.]
Samuel was posted to the Class Z Reserve on 15 March 1919. Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z. They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon.
On his discharge Samuel began working as a “Groom”, living and working at Cranwell, Lincolnshire. However, he died on 17 April 1919, aged just 29, and just a month after his discharge.
Samuel’s Death Certificate shows that at an inquest held on 19 April the Coroner, Edward Cragg, recorded that the cause of death was: “Accidentally thrown from his horse and the horse falling upon him, he died”. He was buried on the 21st April and now lies in Grave A 300, Section A, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot.
Unfortunately, Samuel’s Grave site, see right, has no marker or headstone but its location is easily identifiable from the double grave [Graves 301 & 302 – Edmund and Eliza Kelley] on its left.
It is also one of the nearest graves to the First World War Memorial to the Village’s War dead, bordering on the path between Plot A and the Old West Border.
Footnote: As Samuel died about 1 month after his transfer to the Reserve, it was possible that he could qualify for an ‘official’ CWGC headstone. However, after consultation, it seems that as his death was accidental and not related to his War Service, he does not warrant such recognition.
On his discharge Samuel began working as a “Groom”, living and working at Cranwell, Lincolnshire. He died on 17 April 1919, aged just 29. At an inquest held on 19 April the Coroner, Edward Cragg, recorded that the cause of death was: “Accidentally thrown from his horse and the horse falling upon him, he died.”.
Private 2179 Charles START was born in the December quarter 1893. The 1911 Census shows he was working as an ‘Assistant Rope Maker‘ – presumably to his Father. He served with the Brigade Staff of the 1/1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Yeomanry. He later transferred – Pt. 150146 Machine Gun Corps – and served until 2 April 1919.
Charles’ Service Number is adjacent to his brother Fred’s. His Service would, therefore, have mirrored that described on his brother’s page on this site – see: Private 55537 Frederick Henry Start.
Nothing has yet been found of Charles’ life, marriage, children or ultimate death.
In the December quarter 1923 Frank (as he was known to his family) married Bessie Hollingworth [photo right with his mother, Mary].
They had four children. Oldest son, Herbert Eric Edwin (1926 – 2014) is known to have served in the Royal Navy [left]. The other children were Gordon Henry (1928 – 89), Betty Doreen (1928 – 99) and Frank (1940 – 2006).
They went to live in Hull and the 1939 Return shows the family living at 9 Alfred’s Terrace, and Frank was employed as a ‘Motor Engineer‘.
Frank died in Hull on 31 October 1953. His wife, Bessie, in 1976, also in Hull.
Private 14223 Charles THORPE – was born on 4 January 1891, the son of Charles (Higgler)and Susanna (née Rowston) Thorpe, of North Searle, Ruskington (1891 Census RG 12/2577). Charles had five older siblings, Nellie, Marshall, Mary Ann, John Henry (see below), and Tom, and two younger brothers, Herbert and Joseph Rowston.
By 1901 (Census RG 13/3048) the family had moved to Pinfold Lane, Ruskington, but before the next Census (1911) father, Charles, died in 1908. [He died in December and is buried in Grave A 63, Ruskington Cemetery Old Plot.]
That Census (RG 14/19448) shows Charles had left Ruskington to board with the Williamson family at Aslackby, Folkingham, Lincolnshire, where he was working as a “Horseman On Farm“.
His widowed mother and some of his family were still at Pinfold Lane. (RG 14/19618). Later that year, on 30 October 1911, Charles moved again to work for the Grand Central Railway, at Shirebrook, Derbyshire, as a “Goods Guard”.
Charles enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. The 2nd Battalion was in Bermuda when War was declared and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It returned to England on 3 October 1914 and on arrival came under command of 25th Brigade in 8th Division. Almost immediately the Battalion was posted to join the British Expeditionary Force in France and landed at le Havre on 6 November 1914.
As a new recruit Charles underwent his training and his Medal Index Card shows he was posted to France to join his Regiment on 14 February 1915.
Charles arrived in France and joined his Battalion in preparation for the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915 – a day when they lost 92 Officers and men, killed in action. All but three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
At some point during his period of Service Charles was transferred to the 1st Battalion, but served throughout the War until he was posted to the Class Z Reserve on 10 February 1919. This Class was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918, when there were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Men who had agreed to serve “for the duration“, were at first posted to Class Z.
After the War, on 18 January 1920, Charles married Edith Gould at All Saints Church, Ruskington and they had three children, Doris, Kenneth and Stanley.
In 1939 (mini Census of that year) Charles and his family were living at ‘Goldthorpe’, Blackwell, Derbyshire, where he was employed as a ‘Goods Guard LNER’.
Charles died at Goldthorpe Villa, 29 Recreation Road, Langwith Junction, Derbyshire, on 15 December 1953, aged 62. Probate Records show that he left £1849 3s 11d [£1849.20 – about £43,900 today – 2015] to his widow, Edith. [It seems likely that she died in the September quarter 1895.]
Corporal 55161 John Henry THORPE – was the brother of Charles above. He was born in November 1887, the son of Charles (Higgler)and Susanna (née Rowston) Thorpe, of North Searle, Ruskington (1891 Census RG 12/2577).
John Henry had three older siblings, Nellie, Marshall and Mary Ann, and four younger brothers, Tom, Charles (see above), Herbert and Joseph Rowston.
By 1901 (Census RG 13/3048) the family had moved to Pinfold Lane, Ruskington, but before the next Census (1911), in December 1908, father, Charles, died and is buried in Grave A 63, Ruskington Cemetery Old Plot.].
His widow and some of his family were still at Pinfold Lane. (RG 14/19618) but John had moved to board with the Vickers family at 14 Cheviot Street, Lincoln, and was working as a ‘Fitter‘. (Census RG 14/19755)
In the March quarter 1911 John married Martha Waby at Lincoln. The marriage was short lived, however, as Martha died in the March quarter 1914. They had two sons, Horace, born in the March quarter 1912, died as a baby in the December quarter 1913. His brother Wilfred, was born 29 December 1913 at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. [It is possible that Martha died from complications following this birth.]
By then, like his brother, Charles, John was employed by on the Grand Central Railway, at Shirebrook, Derbyshire, as a “Permanent Way Ganger”. When John enlisted he appointed his mother, Susanna, as guardian to his year-old son.
John attested as a ‘Sapper‘ in the Royal Engineers in London on 12 November 1914. Almost immediately, a week later, he was promoted to Lance Corporal. John trained at Longmoor, Hampshire in the 111th Railway Company (known as “the three ones“).
His Medal Index Card shows that John was posted to join the British Expeditionary Force in France with his Company on 15 February 1915. A year later, on 10 March 1916, he was promoted to Corporal. At some time John’s Service Number was changed to WR/250595, probably when posted to the 111th. (‘WR‘ is the prefix for Royal Engineer’s Waterways & Railways troops.)
John was demobilised on 19 March 1919 and returned to live at 42 Byron Street, Shirebrook, probably to return to his pre-War occupation.
It seems likely, however, that he re-married, Nellie Gould, in the March quarter 1920. She was the sister of Edith Gould who married Samuel’s brother, Charles – see above – at about the same time. If so, in 1939, they were living 39 Longstone Crescent, Chesterfield, and he was employed as a ‘Municipal Omnibuses Garage Foreman’. However, the recorded date of birth is 3 years different to that given above.
John probably died on 6 March 1953 at the City General Hospital, Sheffield.
Trooper Henry TONG – the local press, in 1915, published a photograph of “Trooper H. Tong“. ‘Trooper‘ is the equivalent rank to Private in a Regiment with a cavalry tradition in the British Army. The only Ruskington resident that this could refer to is Henry. If so, he was born on 7 March 1886, the son of William (Sawmill Engine Driver) and Jane (née Baker) Tong.
Henry had six older siblings, William, Emmeline, Nellie, Frederick and Alfred, and a younger brother John Thomas (see below) [1891 Census 12/2577)
Sometime before the next Census (RG 13/3048) the family moved to Millview Terrace, Ruskington. Henry cannot be found on the 1911 Census, nor can his Service Record be definitely identified – i.e. relating to a mounted Battalion. His widowed father, William, was still living in the village, with two children, Emmeline and John Thomas.
[Henry’s mother, Jane, had died in October 1902, aged 58. His father, William, lived until he was 75 and died in April 1919. They are buried together in Graves 150 and 151, Plot A, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Section.]
It is known that Henry married Selina Woulds in the June quarter 1920, and they had a daughter, Sarah, later that year. The 1939 Return shows the family living at 34 Fen Road, Ruskington, and Henry is employed as a ‘Butcher’s Assistant’.
Henry died, aged 77, in May 1963 in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Selina, however, had died much earlier in September 1941, aged 58.
Henry and Selina are also buried in the village, side by side in Graves 94 and 93 of Section ‘D’, New Plot, Ruskington Cemetery.
Their graves have no headstone or memorial, but the location is shown on the photograph on the right. Reference to the Plan of Section ‘D’ on our sister website will show exactly where this plot can be found – New Plot, Ruskington Cemetery.
Private 241661 John Thomas TONG – according to his Service Papers, John was born on 9 August 1887 at The Fen, Ruskington. He was the son of William (Sawmill Engine Driver) and Jane (née Baker) Tong. He had six older siblings, William, Emmeline, Nellie, Frederick, Alfred and Henry (see above), and sometime before the next Census (RG 13/3048) the family moved to Millview Terrace, Ruskington.
The 1911 Census and at the time of his enlistment, John was living at his widowed father’s’ address, and was employed as a “Grocer’s Assistant“. He was 5 ft. 5 ins. [1.65 m] tall. His father had been widowed 1901 and 1911. [John’s mother, Jane, had died in October 1902, aged 58. His father, William, lived until he was 75 and died in April 1919. They are buried together in Graves 150 and 151, Plot A, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Section.]
John attested in the 5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, on 8 December 1915, aged 28 years 121 days and was immediately posted to the 3/5th Reserve Battalion. He was mobilised from the Reserve and served at home from 3 March 1916 until being posted to France on 9 June 1916, joining ‘C’ Company, 1/5th Battalion.
The 1/5th Battalion was formed in August 1914, in Grimsby, part of Lincoln & Leicester Brigade, North Midland Division. In May 1915 the formation was retitled as 138th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division, on 1 March 1915 it landed at Le Havre. On 7 January 1916 the Battalion moved with the Division from Marseilles to Egypt, only to return on 4 February 1916 when they embarked at Alexandria and returned to France.
John was, therefore, sent to join the 1/5th after its return, as a replacement or reinforcement. On the first day of The Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916) the Division were engaged in a diversionary attack at Gommecourt. In 1917 they were again in action at the Occupation of the Gommecourt defences (4 March); the attack on Rettemoy Graben (12 March) and the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14 March – 5 April).
John was wounded on 23 April 1917 receiving a “Gun Shot Wound – Right Thigh“. However, the Battalion had few casualties either side of this date, so John’s wounds may well have been the result of enemy sniping. After he was demobilised on 1 October 1919 John was assessed as having 20% disability and awarded 8s. 0d. [40p] pension, effective from 25 February 1920.
The 1939 Return shows the family living on Westgate, Ruskington, with Mary’s mother, Letitia, and John was employed as a ‘Shop Assistant – Grocer’.
He died on 30 September 1954, at Manor Street, Ruskington, aged 66. Mary outlived him by just 5 months, dying at Mill Drove, Bourne, Lincolnshire, on 4 February 1955, aged 64. John and Mary Letitia are buried side by side in Graves 221 and 222 of Section ‘D’, Ruskington Cemetery, New Section.
Private M/296073 Frederick Royle TRIMINGHAM – Frederick was born on 25 April 1894, in Ruskington, the second son of Frederick Woodliffe and Martha (née Healy) Trimingham. He had an elder brother, Albert James, and the 1901 Census (RG 13/3051) shows the family living in Brauncewell, Lincolnshire, where the father was employed as a ‘Farm Labourer’. At the time of his enlistment in 1915 Frederick stood 5 ft. 4¼ ins. (1.63 m.) tall.
Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/20195) shows that 16 year old Frederick had moved to lodge with the Talbot family at Cottam Treswell, Nottinghamshire, and was employed as a ‘Bricklayer’s Apprentice’. His parents and older brother had returned to live in Ruskington. Frederick’s parents seem to have remained in the village until their deaths – Martha in February 1940, aged 75, and Frederick Snr. in January 1950, aged 84. They are buried in adjoining Graves 15 and 17, Old West Border, Ruskington Cemetery.
Frederick enlisted on 12 December 1915 and was immediately admitted to the Army Reserve. He gave his date of birth as 26 September 1894, though was, of course, 2 years younger. He was mobilized on 26 January 1917 and posted to the Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport), at Grove Park, 4 days later.
After further training. Frederick embarked at Devonport on 28 June 1917, arriving at Basrah (Mesopotamia) on 18 August 1917 to join the British Expeditionary Force. On the 27th he was posted to the Mechanical Transport Depot, in Basrah. In June 1918 Frederick was posted to the 14th Divisional H.Q. in Baghdad and remained in Mesopotamia after the War ended being demobilised and discharged on 3 May 1920.
Frederick returned to Ruskington where he lived on High Street, with his parents and worked as a ‘Dairy Farmer’, before his death on 17 October 1952. There is no record that he married. He is buried in Ruskington Cemetery, New Plot, East Border, Grave 45.
Later his brother, Albert James, and Albert’s wife, Kate, were buried alongside him. Probate Records show he left £1197 8s. 8d. [about £30,000 today -2017] to his brother. Frederick, however, has no headstone, but is buried to the left of his brother.