Nottingham

Fallen Somme soldiers from Nottingham school honoured

Rededication ceremony
Image caption Nine pupils from Nottingham High School suffered fatal injuries on the first day of the Battle of the Somme

A memorial to nine ex-pupils fatally injured on the first day of the Battle of the Somme - including one whose skeleton was found entangled in barbed wire - has been held.

The soldiers, who all attended Nottingham High School, were aged between 18 and 28 when they were killed in 1916.

Teacher Simon Williams said the city "suffered very badly" 100 years ago.

A ceremony to honour all fallen soldiers was held at 12:00 BST.

Image caption History teacher Simon Williams said Nottingham suffered "very badly" during the war
Image caption A total of 31 people, whose names have emerged since the school's memorial was unveiled in the 1920s, were honoured at a rededication ceremony

Seven of the nine soldiers were killed on the first day of World War One's "bloodiest battle", while two others died later from their wounds.

"Nottingham did suffer very badly on 1 July because of the involvement of the Nottingham Battalions at Gommecourt," Mr Williams, a history and politics teacher at the school, said.

"It must have been a very sad time for many teachers who taught these boys at school just a few years before.

"I think the pupils are very aware of the tradition and the history associated with a place like this and obviously are very mindful that we're very fortunate not to have to make similar sacrifices."

Image caption William Walker's skeleton was found on barbed wire in March 1917 - almost a year after he died at Gommecourt on 1 July

The Nottingham High School fallen soldiers

  • William Walker, 23, was a trainee solicitor and a captain in the 1/7th Sherwood Foresters. His skeleton was found on barbed wire in March 1917 - almost a year after he died at Gommecourt on 1 July. Mr Walker, and his younger brother killed in 1915, have two bells dedicated to them at St. Leodegarius Church in Basford
  • Elliott Johnstone, 28, was with the 13th Battalion Irish Rifles and had received a Military Cross a week before his death in Thiepval on 1 July
  • Lawrence Kellett, 18, was with the 1/7th Sherwood Foresters in the Nottingham Battalion. He died on 1 July at Gommecourt
  • Douglas MacKay, 19, was with the 10th Lincolns ("Grimsby Chums"). He died in La Boisselle on 1 July as his battalion stormed the Lochnagar Crater
  • Richard Mellard, 22, went to the school for three years. From Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, he served in the North Staffordshire Regiment and died at Gommecourt on 1 July
  • Robert Thrale, 20, was a medical orderly and died in machine gun fire at Gommecourt on 1 July. He was captain of the battalion football team
  • Eric Whitlock, 26, was with the Sheffield City Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment. He was killed at Serre along with the battalion on 1 July. His body was never found. His brother, Tom, was killed just over a month later on the Somme
  • Sydney Carter, 28, had returned from Argentina, where he worked at a bank, to fight. He died on 3 July from wounds he sustained on 1 July
  • Henry Hooton, 26, belonged to the Young Citizen Battalion in Belfast. He worked in the Belfast shipyards. He died on 5 August from wounds he suffered on 1 July

The school's war memorial - which includes a life-size figure of a young second lieutenant in uniform - lists "Old Boys" and masters who were killed in both World Wars.

Another 31 casualties - including 26 from World War One - whose names have emerged since the memorial was unveiled in the 1920s - have been honoured at the rededication.

Elliott Johnstone, one of the nine killed in the Somme, was among the new names listed on the memorial.

Ex-soldiers, pupils' families and relatives - along with current pupils - gathered around the memorial for the special ceremony.

Image caption Ex-soldiers, pupils' families, relatives and current pupils came together for a special ceremony at the school

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