They Also Served: S – V

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:

scroll down button     SCROLL DOWN – to read more about these Ruskington men.


Private 30098 Fred SCUFFHAM – Fred was born on 7 November 1887 in Stainton, Lincolnshire, the son on Charles (Grocer) and Fanny (née Green) Scuffham. He had six older siblings, Alice Phebe, Charles Walter, Henry, Ada and John Bertie, and a ounger sister, Annie. Fanny died in the December quarter 1899 and Fred’s father, Charles, in the December quarter 1917.

In the June quarter 1913 Fred had married Alice Ward in East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Their son, Frederick Stanley, was born on 26 April 1914 (possibly in the village). Vera Winifred followed on 27 January 1916, also in the Sleaford area, and finally Edward, on 20 January 1920. Fred had become a Grocer like has father, and maybe for a time after his marriage he had a shop in Ruskington!

It has not been established what the familial link was to Ruskington, only that in the local section of “The Sleaford Gazette” of 13 April 1918 reported that: “Since the last great offensive commenced on the Western front several Ruskington men have been wounded or gassed.” This no doubt referred to The German Spring Offensive, which began on 21 March 1918.

Those named specifically were: “Lieut. Wm. Morley, of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regt., and son of Mr. R. N. Morley, of the Elms, has been wounded. Pte. J. W. Dickinson, of the North Staffs., writing to his mother says he has been slightly wounded in the head and wrist and is et present in a convalescent camp in France. Corpl. J. W. Wilcox, of the Lincs. Yeomanry, has been gassed and is at present in England. Pte. E. Scuffham, of the Lincs. Regt., has also been wounded, but very few particulars are yet available of any of the cases.

Fred enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment on 8 December 1915. Fred’s (not “E” as above) Medal Index Card shows he was discharged on 8 November 1918, probably as a result of his wounds.

In 1939 (Register) Fred and Alice were Grocers at ‘The Post Office’, High Street, East Retford, Nottinghamshire. Two years later Alice died on 3 November 1941, aged 47. Probate Records show she died at Lound Cross Roads, Sutton-cum-Lound, Nottinghamshire (possibly an accident?). Fred died at 245 Cromwell Road, Grimsby, on 4 November 1956, just before his 69th birthday.


Private 4125 (201382) 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.

‘The Sleaford Gazette’ (15 July 1916) reported that: “WOUNDED – Pte. Arthur Silson, Lincs. Regt., has been wounded in the back during the recent severe fighting, and is now at Bellohouston Hospital, Glasgow”.

Arthur was posted back 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 11 May 1918 came news that Arthur had been wounded in action (“The Sleaford Gazette”:

WOUNDED. Having received news that her son Pte Arthur Silson (Lincolns) was wounded in the recent fighting, Mrs. Jane Silson had now had it confirmed by an official communication from the Records Office, Lichfield, which expresses ‘the sympathy and regret of the Army Council.’ It also states that the unfortunate boy was admitted to the 54 London General Hospital, Aubengue, France, on the 17th April, suffering from gun shot wound of the left arm and side (severe). As Mrs. Silson has lost one son, it is hoped that the one now wounded may make a good recovery and be spared to his mother.

On 12 March 1919 Arthur was discharged having suffered gun shot wounds to his left upper arm and chest on 14 April 1918. He received a Pension from the following day. At the time he was living at Jubilee Street, Ruskington.

war_badgeHe was awarded the 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 Arthur married Ethel Markham. He died at 143 Grindon Crescent, Bulwell, Nottingham, aged 84, on 26 February 1973. He was cremated on 5 March. Ethel had pre-deceased him by 6 years, dying in the September quarter 1967, probably at the same address.

[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 E. A. SMITH – At Christmas 1916 ‘Pte. E.A. Smith’ was in receipt of one of the 87 ‘Tuck Boxes’ sent out to serving men from Ruskington. “The Sleaford Gazette” (13 January 1917) reported that he was one of those who had sent his thanks, adding: “Parcel received quite safe and alright. Thank everybody for it. We are having some very wet weather and hard times, but we shall pull through alright.”

Other than that no reference has been found in BMD, Military or Census Returns to identify this man. In fact, rather surprisingly in view of the surname, there does not appear to any ‘Smith‘ families in Ruskington at the time. 


2/Lieutenant Leslie John Powell SMITH – was born on 17 December 1893 at All Saints’ Vicarage, Ruskington. His father, Rev. Herbert Powell Smith, had been the incumbent since 1893. Cyril’s mother was Eveleen (née Iliffe) and he had a younger brother, Cyril Powell Smith (born 16 July 1896). Two other children were born and died in Ruskington – Douglas, died 14 August 1895, aged 3 days, and Arthur, 31 March 1899, aged 3 hours.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/3048) shows the family living living at The Rectory, Chapel Street, but by 1911 (Census RG 14/16726) 18 years old Leslie was a boarder at Denstone College, Staffordshire. His father remained vicar at All Saints’, Ruskington, until 1913, when he moved to All Saints’ Church, Wellingore, Lincolnshire.

Leslie was Gazetted 2/Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and his Medal Index Card shows he was posted to France in July 1916.

On 10 August 1918 ‘The Sleaford Gazette’ reported that on the 1 August Leslie married Margaret Grieves, of “The Poplars,” Harton, South Shields. The ceremony took place at St. Peter’s, Harton, and was performed ” … by the Vicar of Wellingore formerly rector of this parish“, i.e. Leslie’s father.

They had two daughters: Monica was born in the September quarter 1923, and Evelyn Ann, born April 1926, but died, aged 25, in January 1952, at Convent of St Mary at the Cross, Edgware, London. She was buried on the 9th.

Leslie’s mother, Eveleen, died on 16 July 1936. The 1939 Register shows his widowed father, Herbert, living in retirement at Andrew’s Farm, Wellingore. He died on 7 November 1947.

Larger memorial image loading...By 1939 (Register) Leslie was a “Clerk in Holy Orders, Friar of St Peter” in Eastgate, Lincoln, living at 11 Lindum Terrace, Lincoln.

Leslie was Vicar of Margaret’s, Lincoln, when he died at the Royal Free Hospital, St Pancras, London, on 30 October 1955. He was buried in B.0025, Eastgate Cemetery, Lincoln.


Leslie’s brother, Captain Cyril Powell Smith, served in the D.L.I. and died of wounds on 17 June 1922


Private CH/18328 William Brant 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 (born 27 February 1891), two older brothers, Benjamin (b. 10 April 1892) and Francis Sutton (b. August 1895), and a younger brother Joseph Edward (b. March 1901).

The 1901 Census (RG 13/3050) shows the family living at South Drove, Swaton Fen, Lincolnshire. His parents moved to live in Ruskington, on Prince’s Lane. (1911 Census RG 14/19618).

At that 15 year old William was working as “Boy on Farm” for the Flatters family at Walnut Farm, Anwick (1911 Census RG 14/19619).

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 (2023)]

On 25 September 1930 William married Olivia Gladys Laband (born 2 September 1897), at St. Peter’s Church, Leicester. They had 3 children, Pearl June (b. September quarter 1933), Kenneth Brant (b. 26 February 1936) and Lilian (b. June quarter 1937). In 1939, when William was away on War Service, Olivia and the children were living at Alma House, Priory Road, Ruskington, with William’s widowed mother, Jane.

William died in the Grimsby area in the March quarter 1969, aged 72. His widow, Olivia, was 79 when she died in Leicester in the June quarter 1977.

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, Benjamin’s name. [Her husband, Francis, had died in January 1916, aged 56, and lies in adjacent Grave B.26.]

[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]


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 (born 1883), Minnie Rebecca (b. 1884), Frederick Henry (b. 1886),  Gertrude Jane (b. 1888, d. 1891), Samuel William (b. 1890), Ethel Mary (b. 1893), Charles (b. 1894), Florence Annie (b. 1897), Emanuel Frank (b. 1899),  Emmeline (died as a baby in 1900) and Kathleen (b. 1902).

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”.

The Sleaford Gazette” reported on Samuel’s funeral in its edition of 26 April 1919 as follows:

On Easter Monday [22 April] the funeral of the deceased. who was the second son of Mrs. Start, Chapel- street, took place at Ruskington with full military honours. The funeral arrangements were in the bands of the Aerodrome officers. The coffin was borne on a motor trailer from Cranwell to the Cemetery, being covered with the Union Jack, and a firing party under Lieut. Chesterfield preceded it from the Church with arms reversed.

The service in the Church was conducted by the Rev. H. Mellor, rector, and the Committal prayers were delivered by the Rev. Guy Pierce, Chaplain at Cranwell Aerodrome. At the conclusion of the service the usual volleys were fired, and the Bounding of the Last Post concluded a touching ceremony.

Brigadier General Scarlett, Lieut.-Col. Talbot and Major Chambers, of the Royal Air Force were among these present. The chief mourners were Mrs. S. Start (widow), Mrs. H. Start (mother), Mr. and Mrs. R. Elkington (sister and brother-in-law), Miss and Misses E. and O. Start (sisters) and Mr. O. Start (brother). There were several floral tributes.

Deceased, who had only recently been demobilised, had seen service in Egypt, Mesopotamia and France and had gone through the war without a scratch. He leaves a widow and two young children to mourn his loss.

Samuel was buried in Grave A 300, Section A, Ruskington Cemetery, Old Plot.

As was customary “A muffled peal in honour of the deceased was rung on Tuesday evening.” [i.e. 23 April].

Pt Samuel Start's Grave Site

Pt Samuel Start Grave Site

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.

Trooper 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.

At Christmas 1916 Charles was in receipt of one of the 87 ‘Tuck Boxes’ sent out to serving men from Ruskington. “The Sleaford Gazette” (13 January 1917) reported that he was one of those who had sent his thanks, adding: “Trooper Charles Stark writes from Egypt:Parcel received quite safely and in excellent condition. It came as a surprise to me. It delights one to know that we are not forgotten by friends at home. We have been having a good time but are getting it rougher now.

The Sleaford Gazette” of 17 August 1918 reported that: “After an absence of three years in Egypt, Lce-Corpl Charles Start, Lincs. Yeomanry, is now on a three weeks leave from the Western front. It is hardly necessary to add that he was on board the torpedoed Mercian.

A family history website states that in 1920 Charles married Edith Dorothy Webster, at St Mark’s Church, Lincoln. [The Marriage Certificate shows his name as Harry Charles, born in 1896.]

N.B. Edith Dorothy Webster served from 16 May 1918 to 8 January 1919 as a “Worker” in the Queen Mary´s Army Auxiliary Corps. Her Service Number was 30924.

The 1939 Register shows him as ‘Charles H.’, working as a “Plant Labourer” and living with Edith at The Fox and Hounds Inn, Reepham, Lincolnshire.Larger memorial image loading...

This Charles’ date of birth is recorded as 27 September 1894. This Charles Henry Start died on 8 May 1941, aged 45, and is buried in St. Peter and St. Paul Churchyard, Hawthorn Road Cemetery, Reepham, Lincolnshire.

Charles headstone (right) calls him “Dear Husband of Dorothy and Daddy of Babs“. “Babs” my have been a nickname as the only child matching the respective names is Angel F. Start, born in the June quarter 1922.

The headstone also names Henryk Gorczynski, who Edith married in the September quarter 1961. He died on 4 December 1969. Edith died on 14 May 1983 and was cremated 5 days later.


Private M/303833 Emanuel Frank START was born on 9 January 1899. He enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, presumably, in view of his age, late on in the War.

In the December quarter 1923 Frank married Bessie Hollingworth.

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.

 … about the whole Start family on our sister site “Ruskington Burials” [CLICK button to go page]


Lance Corporal A. THOMPSON – At Christmas 1916 L/Cpl. Thompson was in receipt of one of the 87 ‘Tuck Boxes’ sent out to serving men from Ruskington. “The Sleaford Gazette” (23 December 1916) reported that he was one of those who had sent his thanks, saying: “The parcel was very suitable and acceptable, for which I thank you all, and also for the good wishes which were sent along with it, which stimulates us to greater efforts, knowing that the people at home are so interested in the welfare of the boys out here.

Other than that no reference has been found in BMD, Military or Census Returns to identify this man.


Thorpe CPrivate 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 [see below] 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 December 1908  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.

Lincolnshire Volunteers - Grantham Racecourse, September 1914

Lincolnshire Volunteers – Grantham Racecourse, September 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.

button_read-more-blue …. about the actions of the 2nd Battalion

At Christmas 1916 Charles was in receipt of one of the 87 ‘Tuck Boxes’ sent out to serving men from Ruskington. “The Sleaford Gazette” (13 January 1917) reported that he was one of those who had sent his thanks, adding: “I think that the parcel was a good one, and I enjoyed it very much”.

At some point during his period of Service Charles was transferred to the 1st Battalion and 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.

button_read-more-blue …. about the actions of the 1st Battalion

After the War, on 18 January 1920, Charles married Edith Gould at All Saints Church, Ruskington, and they had three children, Doris (born 17 November 1920), Kenneth (b. 28 May 1922) and Stanley (b. 28 July 1923, but died 2 months later on 29 September).

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 £66,100 today – 2023] to his widow, Edith. She died on 6 June 1965 at 51 Burlington Avenue, Langwith Junction, and left £1544 [about £38,250 today] to her daughter, Doris (now Mrs. Cooper).


Trooper 235439 Herbert THORPE – was born on 1 June 1893, the son of Charles (Higgler) and Susanna (née Rowston) Thorpe, of North Searle, Ruskington (1891 Census RG 12/2577). Herbert had six older siblings, Nellie, Marshall, Mary Ann, John Henry [see below], Tom and Charles [see above], and a younger brother, 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 December 1908  and is buried in Grave A 63, Ruskington Cemetery Old Plot. Herbert was living with his widowed mother, Susannah, his sister, Mary Anne, and brother, Joseph, at the Pinfold Lane house.

On 17th January 1915 Herbert married Annie Elizabeth Pointez at Hallam Fields, Ilkeston, Derbyshire. They had three children, Cyril Rouston (born 31 October 1916), Harold (b. 29 October 1920) and Gordon (b. 2 October 1936)

Herbert enlisted in the 2/5 Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (Private 233439) on 29 June 1916. He transferred to the York and Lancs Regiment on 14 March 1918 and was posted to the 9th Battalion.  He was transferred again to the 8th Battalion on 24 February 1919 and discharged to the Reserve on 9 December 1919.

He had served in Italy as “The Sleaford Gazette” reported that he had been home on leave from Italy and he brought with him a Hungarian owl which he has reared from a young chick. It was stated that it: “.. is a very large bird, and has beautiful brown plumage with large eyes. Whilst abroad Thorpe had the bird tethered, but it is now in a cage. It is quite tame with him, but to strangers it shows great resentment.

The 1939 Register shows the family living at 7 West Avenue, Stapleford, Nottingham, where Herbert was employed as a “Pork Butcher”. He died on 14 November 1962, aged 70, and was buried 3 days later. His widow Annie, died in June 1973, and was cremated on the 26th.


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,  Herbert [see above] 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, but 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 Great 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 at Marylebone Station, 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 John’s brother, Charles [see above], at about the same time. They had a daughter, Muriel, born 3 September 1924.

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.


Tong HTrooper 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.

Site of Henry & Selina Tong’s Graves

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.

He had recovered by the time he arrived home on leave on 23 October 1917. “The Sleaford Gazette” reported: “Pte. T. Tong, of the Lincolns, arrived home on Tuesday last from France on a 10 days’ furlough. It is some 16 months since he went out to France, and this is his first leave. He was looking exceptionally fit and well and no doubt will enjoy his well-earned rest.

After he was demobilised on 1 October 1919 John was assessed as having 20% disability and awarded 8s. 0d. [40p – worth about £25 per week today – 2023] pension, effective from 25 February 1920.

After the War John married Mary Letitia Lucas in the June quarter 1920, in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

The 1939 Return shows the family living on Westgate, Ruskington, with Mary’s mother, Letitia, and John was employed as a ‘Shop Assistant – Grocer.

John 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 1914, under The Derby Scheme, 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.

The Sleaford Journal” (29 January 1916), named “RECRUITS –  Of the single men attested under Lord Derby’s scheme, Messrs. C. Cutler, A. Wainer, F. Kirton and R. Trimingham have this gone into training.” Frederick 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.

The Trimingham Grave, Ruskington Cemetery

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. to his brother [£1197.43 is equivalent to about £44,000 today -2023]. Frederick, however, has no headstone, but is buried to the left of his brother.

Private 108565 George Frederick Charles TURNER was born on 20 November 1899 at Signalman’s Cottage, Station Road, Ruskington. He was the son of George Henry Richardson (Railway Signalman) and Mary Elizabeth (née Dickinson) Turner and had two older sisters, Nellie Frow and Florence Emily, and five younger siblings, Charlotte Annie, Reginald Alfred, Clifford James, Ernest Henry and Amy (1911 Census RG 14/10618).

On 22 June 1918 “The Sleaford Gazette” reported that: “FURLOUGH.  Pte. Fred Turner, of the Sherwood Foresters, and eldest son of Mr. G. Turner, Station Cottages, has been home on six days leave. He was 18 years of age on Nov. 20th [1917], and joined the Notts. and Derbys. December 27th last. After training at Louth, he was transferred to his present regiment and sent to Canterbury.

In 1939 (Register) Fred was living with his retired parents and sister, Florence, at Wolseley Villa, Jubilee Street, Ruskington. There is no record of George marrying. He died at The County Hospital, Lincoln, on 7 April 1958, aged 58. He was buried in Grave E.12, Ruskington Cemetery, alongside other family members.



We will remember them | South Derbyshire District Council