THE GREAT AND LITTLE CRANSLEY
Shortly after the Great War armistice at 11am on the 11th Day of the 11th Month in 1918 consideration was given as to how the supreme sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of people could be commemorated throughout the Country and further afield. Most casualties had been interred in mass graves on or near the Battlefields and became “those corners of a foreign field that would be forever England “.
It was decided that the national memorial would be constructed in Whitehall, London and the leading Architect of the day Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design the Cenotaph which is used every year for the focus of the national and international service of remembrance.
Following the unveiling of the Cenotaph in 1920 there was a strong movement in almost every Parish in the Country for a more local memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Sons, husbands and brothers who had lost their lives in what was then known as “The Great War.”(It did not become known as the the first world war until after the Second World War). It had been thought that it had been “The Great War” which would “end all wars” but only 21 years later the Continent would be in uproar again for a further 6 years of bloody conflict.
It must be remembered that at this time the Cransley Estate went as far south as Cox’s Lane Broughton down to Kettering road then to the east as far as the Cransley Furnaces. This small area was known as Little Cransley and comprised the houses on “The Bank “as you go out of Broughton on the left. Following the construction of the Broughton bypass in the 1980’s this became part of Broughton and Little Cransley was lost as part of the Parish although some residents still call the area “Little Cransley” This in turn has led to the misleading naming of the Redrow development off Cox’s Lane as Cransley Green ! …..it is not in Cransley Parish.
At the outbreak of War in 1914 there was a need to recruit large numbers of men to join the Armed services and this led to the Famous “Your Country Needs You” campaign by General Kitchener, who had been one of Queen Victoria’s most famous Commanders of many years standing and much respected in all levels of early 20th c society. It is recorded that over 750,000 men volunteered in the first 4 Weeks many of them thinking that “it would all be over by Christmas”.
(One has to remember that at this time Great Britain had an Empire “On which the Sun never set”, the map of the World was largely pink and we had the largest and strongest Navy power in the World, who could possibly challenge it?!)
The need for thousands of men led to the formation of the so called “Pals Battalions” where men from the same communities were encouraged to join with their friends, brothers and other relations. For obvious reasons, the Military and Political hierarchy wanted to make it difficult for men to say no. This in turn led to famous music hall songs such as “we don’t want to loose you, but we think you ought to go, for your King and your Country, both need you so” etc. At this time children and boys in particular, were brought up with stories of great Navy and Army Heroes and the great Campaigns of the 19th Century, from the battle of Trafalgar to the Boer War……..the majority of the population thought the country was an unchallengeable Military power.
THE CRANSLEY MEMORIAL HISTORY
In all Counties, of the Country, retired officers were given the job of promoting the recruitment cause and in Northamptonshire it was Captain A.H.Thurburn, a retired army officer, who lived at Cransley Hall who became the County Commandant. Captain Thurburn was appointed Major to give him the seniority and ran the scheme for the duration of the War.
Major Thurburn had owned the Cransley Estate from 1904, which included most of the Cottages, all the Farmhouses and 1860 Acres of land. One can only imagine what happened, but it is fair to say that as County Commandant, it seems reasonable to think that he would have wanted his own estate to set a good example.
The memorial shows the names of seventeen men from 1914-1918 War and one from the 1939-1945 War. The land on which the memorial is built was donated by Major Thurburn and a village committee, chaired by him, was responsible for raising the funds and commissioning the project. This Committee started meeting in 1919 and they commissioned the Kettering Architects, Blackwell and Riddey to design the memorial .It is recorded that they were paid £17 9s.1d by the Committee on 7th October 1922. The design is described as a 2.5 meter high Limestone Latin Cross with a small wreath carved on the face of the Cross head. On the front of the plinth in raised lettering is
“IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THE MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY 1914-1918 “
The other three faces carry the names of the 17 men who died during the conflict.
It is thought that the Stonemasons were W.T.Cox and Co of Kettering and they produced and erected the Memorial. It is recorded that they were paid £110 on 24th January 1922. The enclosing wall and pavement were put in by A .Claypole, Builder of Broughton and he was paid £55 on 1st March 1922 ……………so it seems reasonable to deduce from this that the memorial would have been ready for the Armistice commemorations on 11th November, 1922
Any further details, or indeed corrections will be gratefully received by the Parish council. The information on this web page has been researched and collated by Richard Barnwell in an attempt to inform anyone with an interest in local history and to try to ensure that the sacrifice made by these men and their Families, is not forgotten. The parish council is also interested to receive any details of those from the Parish who fought in either conflict but who survived as we would like to respect their service on our website also.
FRANK EDWARD THOMPSON
Frank Thompson is listed on the 1911 census as a single man, living with his brother Oliver and his wife Lizzie. Both Frank and Oliver are recorded as having been born in Broughton. Frank was 29 in 1911 and Oliver 31. They are both listed as “Plate layers at the Cransley Ironstone Works” By 1914 Frank may have been married, we do not know. He was the first Man to be killed from Cransley and this was on 18th March 1915 “from his Wounds”. On his record it recites that he resided at Northampton and it may be that by 1914 this was the case. Franks army number was 13749 and he was a private in the 2nd, battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. He died on 18th March 1915 aged 32 and is remembered on the Wimereux Communal Cemetery Memorial having served in France and Flanders.
Frank would have been entitled to the three Great War Medals and his Family would have also received the Bronze Memorial Plaque.
(It is interesting that families were given the option of where their loved ones should be commemorated so the inclusion of a name on a memorial, could mean that this is where their nearest and dearest lived and that this is where they wanted to remember them rather than in some far off place where the family would never go.
It should also be remembered that all the Campaign medals of the First World War were stamped with the recipients name, rank, number and Regiment around the edge. Few of these Medals have been destroyed and it is likely that many of them are still in existence either in “the family” or in a collector’s collection. The Second World War Medals were unnamed and are therefore not as personal as those from 1914-1918. It would be good to find some of the Cransley Men’s Medals and put them on display.)
HORACE WILLIAM SHARMAN
Horace Sharman is listed on the 1911 census as a single man, living with his mother Emily Jane and father Walter Sharman (a boot riveter).* Horace was recorded as having been born in Cransley in 1891 and his occupation was given as “builder, Laborer”. (He had a younger brother named Lewis Albert Sharman who it is recorded was a Gardner in peacetime and then in the Army service Corps during the war as a Chauffer. As he is not on our memorial I assume he survived)
From Horace’s Army record it recites that he resided in Kettering. Horace’s army number was 16707 and he was a Private in the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He died on 9th May 1915 aged 25 it is recited that he was ”killed in Action” and is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial having served in France and Flanders.
Horace would have been entitled to the three Great War Medals and his family would have received the bronze Memorial Plaque.
Walter died in 1919 aged 63 and was buried on 19th August 1919 in the Churchyard.
Emily Jane died in 1944 aged 84 and was buried on 19th July 1944 in the Church yard.
Henry Holland is listed on the 1911 census as a married man aged 29, living with his wife Marion who was 32. The household also includes Susan Anear aged 69 and Charles Anear 26 (I assume this is the widowed mother and younger brother of Marion) Their Address is given as 61 Elm Grove Brighton, Sussex. Henrys occupation is recorded as “Domestic Butler”. Henrys birthplace is given as Cransley in 1892 his parents were Henry and Mary Elizabeth Holland and he was brother of Alice, Mary, Frederick and David. (It is recorded that David also served in Belgium during the conflict and presumably survived.)
From Henrys record it states he was a private in the 7th battalion Royal Sussex Regiment his army number was G/753. He was “Killed in Action by a sniper during the Battalion’s first tour of duty in the Trenches between Le touquet and Lys Farm on Wednesday 30th June 1915 aged 34” and is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium (Panel 60
Henry would have been entitled to the three Great War medals and his family would have received the bronze memorial plaque.
Oliver Thompson is listed on the 1911 census as a married man living with his wife Lizzie and his brother Frank Edward Thompson (who was the first Cransley Man to be killed at the Top of this list). Oliver and Frank were born in Broughton and Lizzie was born in Wilmington Bedfordshire. In 1911 Frank was 31years old and Lizzie was also 31 years old, they had been married for 5 years and they had no children. Oliver’s job was a plate layer at Cransley Furnaces.
Oliver’s army record recites that he was born in 1880. He was a private in the 9th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment; his army number was G/7839 . Oliver was “killed in action on 28th September 1915 aged 35 “ I believe at the battle of Loos, as the 9th battalion were there and Oliver is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. Oliver would have been entitled to the three Great War Medals and his family would have received the Bronze Memorial plaque.
(It is sad to realise that Oliver was killed just 6 months after his brother Frank leaving poor Lizzie alone, if there had been no children between 1911 and 1915. I have found a record in the Cransley Burials that she died in 1928 and was buried on 30th of November in the “new” Cemetery at the end of Church Lane, at just 48 years old.)
ALFRED WILLIAM FOREMAN WARNER
Alfred Warner was not found on the 1911 census for Cransley his Army records show that he was born in Alton, Hampshire.
Alfred’s Army number was 12611 he was a Private and joined the 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Alfred was”Killed in action on 29th September 1915 age unknown”, just one day after Oliver above. I believe at the battle of Loos, as the Ist Battalion were there and Alfred is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.
George Holland is listed on the 1911 census as a single man living with his parents Alfred (a roadman) and Mary Ann Holland. George was 22 years old in 1911 and was listed as an Ironstone Labourer. George was born in Cransley and had a younger brother Arthur aged 19.
(Alfred Holland Died in 1925 and was buried on 29th April aged 73. Mary Ann died in 1938 and was buried in the Churchyard on November 6th aged 83).
Georges Army record recites that he lived in Kettering. His Army number was 12794 and that he was a Private in the Ist Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. George was listed as “Killed in Action” on 3rd April 1916 aged 27 and is commemorated on the Memorial at St Patrick’s Cemetery Loos.
Frank Smith is listed on the 1911 census as the eldest son of Charles Lee Smith (Aged 51 a General Labourer) and Harriet Smith (Aged 53). Frank was aged 21, Single and a Farm Labourer his birth place was Cransley (as it was for both of his Parents). Frank had 3 brothers living but on the Census it is recorded that there had been 7 Children born alive but 3 had already died. Franks younger Brother Fred would also be killed 20months later on 10th April 1918
Frank’s Army record recites that he was “the son of Charles L.Smith of Cransley, Kettering, Northants. His Army number was G/10239, 10th Battalion, The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment). Frank is recorded as a Private who “Died on 30th June 1916 Age 26”. Frank is commemorated at the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery.
Walter Moore is listed on the 1911 census as a single man living with his mother Maria Moore aged 67 who was recorded as a Laundress and was presumably a Widow. Maria died in 1917 and was buried on17th September aged 73. Walter was 34 years old in 1911 and his occupation is given as Gardner.
Walters Army record recites that he was born at Cransley and lived at Kettering. His army Number was 17282 and that he was a Private in the2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Walter was “Killed in Action on 8th July 1916 aged 39” possibly at Vimy Ridge and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. It is interesting that he is listed as “brother of Mrs. M Phillips of School Hill, Broughton; perhaps his Mother who died a year later was unwell.
Herbert Ludlow is listed on the 1911 census as the third son of Edward Ludlow (A furnace Labourer) and his Wife Annie Ludlow. It was a large household with 7 sons and 1 daughter ranging from 20years old to 1year old (the Daughter) Herbert is aged 15 in 1911 and he is listed as a Farm labourer together with his two older brothers. The street address is given as Little Cransley and Herbert’s place of birth is given as Haddenham, Buckinghamshire.
Herbert’s Army record shows his Army number was 15228 and he was a Lance Corporal
In the 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. He died on Friday 14th July 1916 having been “Killed in Action at Trones Wood aged 20. Herbert is commemorated on the Thriepval Memorial.
Samuel Robinson was not found on the 1911 census for Cransley .His Army record shows that he was born at Denton, Northants in 1880.
Samuels Army records show that he was married and lived in Cransley. His Army number was 41624 and he was a Private in the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. Samuel was “Killed in Action on 17th February 1917 “. Aged 37, he is commemorated at the Regina Trench Cemetery ,Grandcourt.
Samuels Army records also show that he was the son of Richard and Mary A Robinson of Denton, Northants and the Husband of Elizabeth Barber Robinson of the School House Cransley, so presumably one of them had been the Schoolmaster or Mistress and had arrived in Cransley between 1911 and 1917.
(In the records this name is spelt in 3 ways Alick, Aleck and on the Memorial at Cransley Alec, so I have presumed that this is the correct spelling)
Alec Stevens is listed on the 1911 Census as a single man living with his parents William (A boot laster) and Mary Elizabeth. In 1911 Alec was 18 years old and is recorded as having been born in Cransley in 1893. In 1911 their street address is given as “Silver Street Broughton” and Alec is recorded as a Fitter and Turner.
Alecs Army number was 148519 and he was a Staff Sergeant in the 332nd Siege Battery., Royal Garrison Artillery. Alec was “Killed in Action on 28th September 1917 aged 24 and is commemorated at La Brique Military Cemetery No.2.
Arthur Busby is recorded on the 1911 census as a single Domestic Gardner living with William Eden also a Domestic Gardner. I think they probably worked in the Cransley Hall Gardens for Captain Thurburn.
Arthur’s Army records show that he was born in Finstock Oxfordshire and that his parents were Robert and Harriet Busby, and that he was husband of Edith Ellen Busby of126 High street north, Dunstable Bedfordshire although his place of residence is listed as Cransley.( I assume that Robert and Harriet lived in Cransley)
Arthur’s Army record shows that his Army number was 33192 and that he was a Private in the 1st Infantry Battalion, Labour Company, Northamptonshire Regiment. Arthur died on 16th February 1918 of his wounds aged 36. He is commemorated in Dozinghem Military Cemetery.
Leonard Carrington is listed on the 1911 census as living with his parents and two other children at Cransley Lodge. His Father John is listed as a Farm Labourer, one brother is also a Farm Labourer the other is a Blacksmiths Striker. Leonard is aged 14 and is also listed as a Farm Labourer. It is interesting that they also had a “Boarder” Walter Hopes aged 24 who is recorded as “Gamekeeper”. His place of birth is given as Wenham, Suffolk. At this time the Farm was “In hand” to the Estate so in effect they all probably worked for Captain Thurburn.
Leonard’s Army records show that he was born in Glendon Northamptonshire and that his parents were John and Martha Carrington and that they lived at Cransley Lodge (Which is the Old Cottage at my Farm buildings, now near the Mawsley boundary, but then 1 mile from the Village)
Leonard’s Army number was 40343 and he was a Corporal in the 2nd/6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. Leonard died “from his Wounds on 21st March 1918 aged 21” and is commemorated at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.
FRED WILLIAM SMITH
Fred smith is listed on the 1911 census as the third son of Charles Lee Smith (A General Labourer aged 51) and Harriet Smith (aged 52). Fred was born in Cransley in 1896 and was recorded as a Domestic Gardner presumably for Captain Thurburn on the Estate. There were two older brothers listed as Farm Labourers and one younger brother listed as a scholar.
Fred’s Army record shows his Army number was 42333 and that he was a Private in the 12th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Fred was “Killed in action on 10th April 1918 aged 18. Fred is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial having served in “The Western European Theatre”
Bertram Carter is not listed in Cransley on the 1911 Census.
Bertram’s Army Record shows that he was the son of George Henry and Kate Carter of Broughton. It also shows he was the Husband of Elsie Carter (No place of residence is given but I assume it was Cransley)
The records show that he was born in 1892. His Army number is for some reason not recorded but he was in The 1st Battalion Cambridgeshire Regiment. Bertram was a Lieutenant and died on the 18th September 1918 aged 26. (For some reason the cause of death is not recorded). Bertram is commemorated at the Epehy Wood Cemetery, Epehy.
Frank Butler does not appear in Cransley in the 1911 census.
Franks Army records show that he was the son of Mrs S.Butler and the late Mr Butler of Cransley and he was born at Blakesley, Northamptonshire. (Cransley Burial records show that a Harry Butler Died in 1918 and was buried on January 3rd aged 45 years old. Some 40 years later the burial records show the death of Sarah Rebecca Butler from “The Estate Cottages” Cransley who was buried in the Cemetery, Cransley, on March 28th 1958 aged 81)
Franks Army Number was 325148 and he was a Private in the 10th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own). Frank was recorded as “Killed in action on 20th October 1918 aged 21 and is commemorated at Caudry British Cemetery.
Frank was killed 22 days before the Armistice on 11th November. His poor mother had lost her husband aged 45, 10 months before then her only son aged 21.She lived on for 40 years on her own.
There is one Man from the 14-18 war I have not yet found.
Herbert Pymm (no Census record or Army record)
Roll Of Honour
Name / Status / Regiment / Death / Age
F. Thompson / single / 2nd Bt Northants Reg / 18th March 1915 / 32
H. Sharman / single / 2nd Bt Northants Reg / 4th May 1915 / 25
H. Holland / Married/ 7th Bt Royal Sussex Reg / 30th June 1915 / 34
O. Thompson / Married / 9th Bt Royal Sussex Reg / 28th Sept. 1915 / 35
A. Warner / Unknown / 1st Bt Northants Reg / 29th Sept. 1915 / Unknown
G. Holland / Single / 1st Bt Northants Reg / 3rd April 1916 / 27
F. Smith / Single / 10th Bt W. Surrey Reg / 30th June 1916 / 26
W. Moore / Single / 2nd Bt Northants Reg / 8th July 1916 / 39
H. Ludlow / Single / 6th Bt Northants Reg / 14th July 1916 / 20
S. Robinson / Married / 11th Bt Royal Fusiliers / 17th Feb 1917 / 37
A. Stevens / Single / 1st Bt Northants Reg / 28th Sept.1917 / 24
A. Busby / Single / 1st Bt Northants Reg / 16th Feb 1918 / 36
L. Carrington / Single / 26th Bt N.Staffs. Reg / 21st March 1918 / 21
F. Smith / Single / 12th Bt Suffolk Reg / 10th April 1918 / 18
B. Carter / Married / 1st Bt Cambs Reg / 18th April 1918 / 26
F. Butler / Single / 10th Bt W.York Reg / 20th Oct. 1918 /21
H. Pymm / No information yet found
“THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD, AS WE THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD:
AGE SHALL NOT WEARYTHEM, NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN.
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM”
It must be remembered that in addition to the above there would have been other Cransley men who fought in the actions and who survived. Many of these would have had mental and physical wounds. I remember 50 years ago talking to men who had survived. Most of them did not want to talk about it and said they had spent their lives trying to forget it.
I know that many of them felt “Guilty “that they had survived and their comrades had died and it “haunted “them for the rest of their lives. Then as now, it was difficult for them to return to a civilian population who could not imagine the horrors they had witnessed and endured.
My own Grandfather Edwin John Barnwell fought in the Great War. At this time my Great Grandfather was Farming in Pytchley with my Great-Great Grandfather and when Edwin was 18 in 1909 he decided to go to Canada to take on the breaking in of a Farm on the Parries of Saskatchewan.
At the outbreak of war in 1914 he rallied to the Empires call and joined Lord Strathconna’s Expeditionary Force and was a Sergeant in the 16th Light Horse Brigade.
They were known as “Mounted Infantry” . They embarked for England and Trained at Shorncliffe Camp. Edwin fought at Ypres and Vimy Ridge , he was wounded at the Battle of Festeubert when he lost part of his left foot and was invalided back to England .
Following his recuperation he was declared “Unfit for Service “and he decided his days of breaking up Prairie land in Canada were over and he never returned. He would never speak about his experiences and he died in 1976. At this time I was at Bedford School, 17 years old and a Sergeant in the School Army Cadet Corps. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Cadets and at that time I could not understand why my Grandfather did no seem to like me “Playing “Soldiers………….some 40 years later I now understand why.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
The Second World War from 1939 to 1945 must have sent shivers down the spines of the Country who would still have had vivid memories of The Great War some 21 years earlier. Seventeen men with Cransley connections had been killed during the conflict and all families must have been only too aware that once again their loved ones would be at risk of being “Called up “to defend their Country.
The war memorial records one casualty during this period:
VINCENT GEORGE NEWMAN
Vincent Newman’s Army record recites that his Army number was PO/X 110016 and that he was a Corporal in No. 45 Royal Marines Commando. Vincent was recorded as the son of George Newman and Alice Newman (Nee Mobbs) and Husband of Elsie May Newman (Nee Chapman) of Cransley Northamptonshire.
Vincent died on 12th June 1944 aged 33 he is commemorated at Ranville War Cemetery.
45 Commando took part in the “D-Day” Landings as part of operation “Overlord”. On 5th June 1944 they moved to Warsash where they embarked in 5 Landing Craft Infantry. At 17.00 hours they proceeded up the Solent to to form part of the vast armada of craft which would shortly cross the short English channel. This was to be Vincent’s last ever view of England.
As they crossed the men were told that at 9.10 hours the next morning 6th June, they would be landing on Queen Red Beach some two miles west of Ouistreham in Normandy.
This was coded as Sword beach which was two narrow beaches at La Breche (Codenamed Queen Red and Queen White). The 45 commenced their assault just after 9 am .
Following this I have no more information. I know is that Vincent “died on 12th June “ some 6 days later, possibly from his wounds or in action at the time. His name appears on the 45 Commando Roll of Honour I have seen (mistakenly) as B. G. Newman. 109 men from 45 Commando were killed in the Second World War.
“WE WILL REMEMBER THEM”
Richard Barnwell January 2016