Charles Hall – A Mystery Solved

As many will know Kenneth Unwin and I researched a book called all the Kingsley Men – you can download a copy here for free to beat the isolation blues.
Anyway, one man we researched was Charles Hall. He was an absent military voter in 1918 meaning he was in the army but registered to vote.
We found him referenced in a Cheadle and Tean Times article dated May 1918 which said he was in hospital in Edinburgh having been wounded by exploding shrapnel whilst bringing a man in from no man’s land. He was apparently recommended for a medal.
Try as we might I could not find any trace of a man bearing that name being awarded a medal nor unsurprisingly could we trace any record of him there being so many men of the same name.
Well, today I spent a short while looking at pension records that were not available when we did the research prior to the book being published.
I was looking for a Charles Hall who did not die and was born in 1895.
And I found him – he served with the London Regiment (2nd Batallion Royal Fusiliers) having initially joined the 5th North Staffs in mid-1917 and going to France in 1918.
He lived at 2 The Green Kingsley, another address that still exists and is a family home to this day.
He received a gunshot wound to the arm which fractured his upper arm and led to his discharge from the army some 12 months later. He was assessed as 20% disabled and received a pension until 1923 when his disability was removed. This was not necessarily due to recovery but due to the government of the day reviewing all pensions and removing many of them as finances were tight.
The battalion war diary makes no reference to the events that led to him being wounded (believed 13th May) and he certainly never got any award for his efforts.
He died locally in 1958 aged 63 years.

Peace Celebration 1919

Victory celebrations

Although hostilities ceased with the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the First World War did not end officially until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919. In Britain, peace was celebrated on 19 July that year, with a Victory Parade in London as the main event.

A camp for the troops taking part was set up in Kensington Gardens and thousands of civilians flocked to the capital for the festivities. Nearly 15,000 British Empire servicemen took part in the parade, led by Allied commanders including Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

Kingsley Peace Celebration 1919

It’s unclear what if any celebrations took place in Kingsley Parish. As stated above the date officially was 19th July. However commemorative mugs produced to mark the celebration locally seem to have been misprinted as they state the date of the celebration was 19th June.

We would be grateful if anyone has any stories, eapecially Kingsley related as regards the Peace Celebrations of a century ago.

Kingsley Peace Celebration Mug


The architect Sir Edwin Lutyens designed a cenotaph – an ’empty tomb’ to honour the dead – for the marching troops to salute as they passed along Whitehall. 

His simple and non-denominational monument was represented on the day of the Victory Parade by a temporary structure of wood and plaster. The permanent stone memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day 1920. It is now the scene of the annual National Service of Remembrance.


Celebrations and memorial services took place all over the country. But there was some criticism that this was too extravagant when so many ex-servicemen were now unemployed. 

In Manchester, demobilised soldiers marched with slogans like ‘Honour the dead – remember the living’, and to demand ‘work not charity’.

Some argued that the money would be better spent supporting returning servicemen who had suffered physical and mental injuries.


At a time when revolutionary ideas were sweeping across Europe, Lord Derby’s scheme was very unpopular. On 9 December 1918, men of the Royal Artillery stationed at Le Havre burnt down several depots in a riot.

On 3 January 1919, frustrated soldiers mutinied at Folkestone when they heard they were being sent back to France. Later that month, a mutiny at Calais involving around 20,000 men witnessed the temporary formation of soldiers’ councils.

Crisis averted

In response, the new Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill, introduced a new scheme in January 1919.

Based on age, length of service and the number of wounds a man had received, it ensured that the longest-serving soldiers were generally demobilised first.

The new system defused a dangerous political situation, although problems still occurred.

Empire troops

Demobilised Commonwealth soldiers were often left waiting for long periods until transport could be found to ship them home. In March 1919, a mutiny at a Canadian camp in Rhyl was only suppressed after several men were killed.

The men had been living in overcrowded conditions and several had died of flu during the winter. Over 40 rioters were later court-martialled. Twenty-four were tried and convicted of mutiny, but many sentences were later commuted.

On the whole, however, demobilisation was a success.

Courtesy of National Army Museum

All The Kingsley Men – FREE download now available

The second edition is published today, the 11th November 2018. There are only 50 copies if you want one do get in touch via this page. We can post out.

There was always an intention to publish an online version of the book. A proper eBook was both costly and technically a challenge but via the link below you can download it in a PDF format which should be readable on most eBook readers, tablets, and computers.

All the Kingsley Men 2018


William Brindley died 100 Years Ago Today

War is always cruel and fate had it that William Brindley was to lose his life just 9 days before the end of the war. he was the twenty-third man with links to the parish to lose his life. His service record does not survive but he joined the army its believed in late 1917 and was posted to the Lancashire Fusiliers.

His father is not known and he was to some degree brought up by his grandmother. We have not traced any descendants and we have no picture of him.

Two members of the project team visited Williams grave which is situated on the roadside as you enter a French village in 2016. We wondered at the time if we were the first to specifically visit him and it’s likely we were. He lies with a number of his comrades who also lost their lives on that day. Two days later his battalion was withdrawn from what was their last engagement of the war.

Not far from where Williams battalion was positioned was the Manchester Regiment in which Wilfred Owen the war poet was a Lieutenant. He died on 4th November.

William’s story is to be found HERE

All the Kingsley Men Second Edition at the printers

In April 2017 when the book was first published we were under no illusion that our work was a definitive list of those men who came from the parish and who served in WW1.

Indeed on the launch day, we had one further man confirmed and in the coming weeks and months, another 21 men were identified mainly by our research following up further lines of enquiry.

Photos of existing men were unearthed and more became know of them.

In total the number now identified stands at 182 men and a woman who served with 29 dying during the war or after as a result of their service.

An online book was always the intention but in the last few weeks, we have decided to self-fund a small run of 50 second edition books. These are now at the printers and will we hope be ready to sell on 11th November at St Werburgh’s Church after the morning service.

The cost is £5 which will cover our costs.

Additionally, the online version will be available free of charge from this website on the same day.

Right up until the last minute more information was coming in. We are delighted to say we have been provided with a photo of Rowland Burston in uniform (he died in 1917) and also now know far more about Thomas Gibson who survived. Following a family death, his medals and photo’s were discovered and we are pleased to say his entry in the book is now fully updated.


Rowlands sister Frances married Thomas and we are hopeful we can shed more light on her two brothers who also served Ernest and Herbert but that work is ongoing.

Centenary of the end of World War One

The 11th of November 2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War One and is an opportune moment to pause and reflect on the events of a century ago.

Many Kingsley men would begin to return from the war, indeed a few had already returned due to injuries and illness. Ernest Capewell, Arthur Carr, and  Harry Carr were among those invalided out of the service.

Those who came back brought with them both physical and mental scars and of course 25 men did not return having been killed during the war. The last two men to die in 1918, John Salt and Kenneth Lovatt did so after the Armistice.

In the years after the war, four more men were to die as a result of their service.

In recent years the sacrifice and suffering of our servicemen and women have come to the fore and now as we near this auspicious centenary it is only right we pay our collective respects to those who served all those years ago and still do to this day.

The Kingsley Remembers Project has joined forces with the Parish Council, St Werburgh’s Church and The British Legion to host a series of events in the run-up to the 11th November and on the day itself.

We are grateful that the Parish and District Councils have donated over £400 to ensure we can do justice to the events we are holding.

The images below are from   a flyer that has been delivered in the Kingsley Holt News and will be delivered in Kingsley in the next few days. Do take time to see what’s on and where and do make an effort to attend.

The British Legion in the run up to the 11th will have a display of Poppies at the Methodist Chapel in Kingsley Holt and outside the old Wesleyan Chapel on High Street Kingsley. At the War Memorial there will be another display of Poppies, 29, one for each man who died as a result as well as 9 blue or violet Poppies, one for each type of animal that was used in the war effort.

On 11th November there will be a series of events from dawn until dusk involving the Battles Over national tribute to those who served.

6 am – a Scottish Piper will play at the War Memorial. There will be free refreshments to ward off the autumnal cold.

10.55 am – traditional Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial (be in place for 10.50am) followed by a service at St Werburgh’s Church.

After the service there will be a display of the research undertaken by the project team, free refreshments and the launch of a limited edition of the All the Kingsley Men (50 copies) which includes 22 more men who served, extra pictures and more on those from the first edition.

An online version of the book will also be launched as a free download.

6.55pm – at the War Memorial there will be the playing  of the Last Post (we are after a trumpet or cornet player to play live – get in touch if you know of someone) At 7pm a Beacon designed and made by local man Dan Lucas will be lit (again as part of a national series of beacons).

Following the reading  of the names of the 29 men who lost their lives at 7.05pm the bells of St Werburgh’s will ring out for peace as they did in 1918.

All are then invited to return to St Werburgh’s for hot soup and refreshments free  of charge. The displays will still be there and the book on sale.





Moses Holland – Died 100 Hundred Years Ago Today

Vis-en-Artois CWWG Cemetary

The 5th October 1918 saw the death of Private Moses Holland who had links to Kingsley Holt, Consall and Whiston.

At the time of his death, he was just 18 years old. Tragically he has no known grave but is commemorated at the beautiful Vis-en-Artois Commonwealth War Graves Cemetary in France. He is one of around 10,000 men remembered their who have no known grave.

To read about Moses Holland click HERE


The Kingsley Remembers Project is nearing its conclusion after over 4 years which has seen some notable achievements. As well as works around the War Memorial and the book All The Kingsley Men the project team have visited the graves and memorials to 23 of the 29 men lost in WW1 and placed a Poppy Cross on each.

The last three to be visited this last summer were Robert Miles Heywood, Jim Beech, and James Meakin.In respect of James Meakin an extra cross was placed on behalf of a relative Cathy Thompson. Pictured are their graves from the visits.

Finally, the project in conjunction with the local Britsh Legion branch, the Parish Council and St Werburgh’s Church are planning a series of events from dawn until dusk on 11th November with funds provided by the Parish and District Council. More to follow.

Robert Myles Heywood grave

The grave of Jim Beech

The last resting place of James Meakin




George Ramsell died 100 years ago today


George Ramsell was serving with the Tank Corps and had been in the army and serving in France for almost three years when he was killed.

His story is HERE

He still has family living locally who keep his memory alive.

George is buried at the Hangard Community Cemetery Extension in France which is pictured above. The project visited his grave in August 2016.


Centenary of the death of Colin Capewell

The 26th May this year marked the centenary of the death of Colin Capwell who died as the result of gas poisoning whilst serving with the North Staffordshire Regiment in France.

His two brothers also served, Frederick was taken a prisoner and Ernest was wounded. The family came from Kingsley Moor and Colin joined up within weeks of the outbreak of the war and was trained as a Lewis Mchine Gunner.

Colin’s nephew Peter Capewell, son of Ernest, has been a great source of information to the project providing a wealth of information in relation to the men and families from Kingsley Moor.

Colin’s story can be read here with more information about him and his two brothers here

James Henry Wildgoose – died 100 years ago 8th / 9th May

James Henry Wildgoose has been one of the projects most fascinating characters. A man whose surname does not appear to be local, who has no relatives in the area but appears on both St Werburgh’s memorial and also on the wayside cross memorial on Dovedale Road.

Our initial enquiries four and a half years ago led to a man from Matlock who was a plumber, we then found references to him and his wife in Kingsley from late 1916 and early 1917.

James who seems to have come to the village in 1916 /17 quickly became active in village life, taking part in farewell parties to men off to the forces, hosting whist drives at the Reading Room (now village hall) and other activities.

At our project launch event, we were told of a local residents mother who as a young girl recalled that her mother as saying how sorry she was for the families two young boys as their father was called up and never came back. We discovered that they lived at Hallcroft on Hazles Cross Road but after James was killed the family moved back to Matlock but clearly some three years after the war he was still remembered and recorded on our war memorials.

Determined to find out more about him, the regimental history of his Tank Regiment was purchased and searches done to track down his family. Finally in 2016 his grandson Stephen was traced to Sheffield and through him another grandson Michael who lives in California.

As a result, we learned how he may have died, why he was in Kingsley and what he looked like.

James died it seems early in the morning when he exited his tank to have a smoke and was shot by a sniper. Why he was in Kingsley is still not 100% clear but what is known is he was not really a plumber. The Wildgoose family owned and ran a large-scale building and plumbing business and its highly likely James was in the village overseeing work as Bolton’s where there was an expansion at the factory to deal with the war work coming their way. Its only a presumption but may well be correct.

The date of James’ death is unclear, both 8th and 9th May are given from various sources. To read more about James click this link HERE