War Memorial

The memorials to those villagers, both military and civilian, who died in the First and Second World Wars, are situated in the porch of All Saints Church. Regrettably they were not created with great care as they contained four errors. On the First World War memorial the name of Herbert Towlson has been spelt 'Toulson' and the middle initial of Joseph Valentine Wade has been engraved as 'W.'  On the Second World War memorial the name of Vivien Castle is misspelt 'Vivian'. The First World War memorial was altered in 1992 to add 'M.M.' after the name of Frederick Hickson to recognise the award of the Military Medal which had been overlooked.  Efforts are being made by the parish council to have the three remaining errors corrected. 

Sergeant Arthur SPOWAGE D.C.M. (1889-1918)
Name: Arthur SPOWAGE
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Sergeant
Name Suffix: D.C.M.
Father: Thomas SPOWAGE (1850-1934)
Mother: Ann GRANTHAM (1848-1927)
Birth 1889 Sibthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Christening 12 May 1889 (age 0) Sibthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 30 Mar 1918 (age 28-29) Arras, France.
Burial Arras Memorial - Bay 1
Occupation Policeman

On Monday the parents of Sergt. A. Spowage, Grenadier Guards, received the sad news that he had been killed. The information was contained in a letter from an officer, who stated that he was in a dug-out when a shell fell and burst upon it, killing him instantaneously. He was a native of Elston, and attended the village school, the Wesleyan Sunday School, and the Band of Hope. Later in life he entered the police force, and was stationed at Bingham. He had been in the Army some considerable time, and was home as recently as last January, when he was in the best of spirits, and has since written to his father and mother in an equally cheerful strain, expressing the hope that he would again see them before long. That he was one of the bravest is borne out by the fact that he had won the D.C.M. for saving a critical situation and also carrying out excellent work in the Allied cause. The following is the official record:- "13211 Sergt. A. Spowage, Grenadier Guards (Newark). For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When his platoon commander was wounded early in an attack, he took charge and led the platoon forward with great determination under heavy fire, capturing several machine guns and killing the teams. Seeing that the flank of the battalion was in the air, he led his platoon on his own initiative to fill the gap. He consolidated his position under heavy fire, and saved a critical situation by his courage and good leadership." Mr. and Mrs. Spowage have had a War Office communication corroborating the fact that their son had laid down his life, and much sympathy is felt for them in the heavy and irreparable blow they have sustained.


Corporal Frederick HICKMAN M.M. (1882-1918)
Name: Frederick HICKMAN (The M.M. was added in 1996 to recognise the award of the Military Medal.) 
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Corporal
Name Suffix: M.M.
Father: John HICKMAN (1849-1886)
Mother: Jane SAUNDERSON (1851-1903)
Birth 26 May 1882 Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 27 Aug 1918 (age 36) Action Near Arras ,France
Burial Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France.
Spouse Lucy HICKMAN ( - )

The sad news has been received of the death of Corpl. F. Hickman, who was killed in action in France, on August 27th, 1918. Deceased joined the forces in Canada about three years age, and was a Corporal in the Canadian Mounted Police until the spring of this year, when he was transferred to the Canadian Cavalry. Corporal Hickman went out to Canada ten years ago, and was a most successful farmer, but patriotically left all to fight for King and country. He leaves a wife and one child out in Canada, for whom much sympathy is felt. He is a native of Elston, the son of the late Mr. John Hickman, and step-son of Mr. J. Wilkinson, with whom he worked at his trade as joiner previously to leaving this country for Canada. A memorial service was held in All Saint's Church, Elston, on the 14th inst., and was conducted by the Rev. C. H. Whitfield. On the previous day, special prayers were offered for the bereaved family at the Wesleyan Church, Elston, deceased's father having been a member of the church up to the time of his death.

Private Leslie MARTIN (1898-1917)
Name: Leslie Henry MARTIN
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Private
Father: Thomas MARTIN (1862-1930)
Mother: Elizabeth MARTIN (1861-1939)
Birth 1898 Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Christening 19 Jun 1898 (age 0) Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 14 Oct 1917 (age 18-19) Military Hospital, Whalley, Cheshire.
Burial 19 Oct 1917 (age 18-19) All Saints Church, Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire

It is with much regret that we chronicle the fact that Pte. Leslie Martin, second son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Martin of Elston, has laid down his life for King and Country. He was wounded in France on September 21st, being struck in the head by shrapnel, which chipped the bone and entered into the base of his brain. He was carefully treated at a base hospital, and was afterwards conveyed to England, arriving about a fortnight ago, when he entered a hospital at Whalley, near Blackburn. Mr. and Mrs. Martin visited him there, and the latter remained until he passed away on Tuesday. Much sympathy is felt with his parents and the family in their sad loss. Mr. Martin is at the present time the Prov. Grand Master of the Newark District of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, and votes of condolence have or will be passed to him by the various Lodges. Pte. Martin, who was 19 years of age on the day he landed in France, May 6th, was a native of Elston, and was afterwards with Messrs. Herston and Son, Stodman Street, learning the organ building trade, being with that firm until he enlisted on December 17th, last year, when he joined the Motor Transport Corps., and, on arriving in France, he was attached to the South Wales Borderers. The mortal remains were brought home on Thursday, and the funeral took place in Elston Churchyard yesterday, when the Rev. C.H. Whitfield officiated, and the chief mourners consisted of his parents, other members of the family, friends, and many of the parishioners. There were numerous floral tributes.

Private Joseph V WADE (1893?-1916)
Name: Joseph Valentine WADE (His middle initial is wrongly shown as W on the memorial.)
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Private
Father: John WADE (1858?- )
Mother: Mary TOPHAM (1856?- )
Burial Thiepval Memorial, France
Birth 1893 (app) Balderton, Nottinghamshire.
Death 1 Jul 1916 (age 22-23)
Occupation Under Gardener at the Hall
No copy of newspaper obituary contained in the EHP archive.


Private Edward GODSON (1885-1917)
Name: Edward GODSON
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Private
Father: Walter GODSON (1857?- )
Mother: Sarah GODSON (1862?- )
Individual Events and Attributes
Birth 1885 Caunton, Nottinghamshire.
Death 15 Sep 1917 (age 31-32) Ieper, Belgium
Burial Valmertinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium
Occupation Head Gardener at Elston Hall
Spouse Florence Sarah CREE ( - )

The news has reached Mrs. E. Godson, of Farndon Fields (late of Elston), that her husband, Pte. Edward Godson, 26th Labour Company Labour Corps, died from shell wounds on the 15th September, and confirmation of the sad event has since been received from the War Office. Pte. Godson enlisted in the 12th Labour Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, on the 6th July, 1916, proceeding to France on the 27th of the same month, where he has been up to the time of his death. Prior to enlistment he was for nearly three years head gardener to Colonel Darwin, C.B., of Elston Hall. Pte. Godson was the eldest son of Mrs. Godson and the late Mr. W. Godson, of Ossington, and married a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cree, Farndon Fields, for whom much sympathy is felt.


Private Herbert TOWLSON (1891?-1918)
Name: Herbert TOWLSON (Wrongly spelt TOULSON on the memorial.)
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Private
Father: John Thomas TOWLSON (1870?-1909?)
Mother: Hester TOWLSON (1869?- )
Birth 1891 (app) Bulwell, Nottinghamshire.
Occupation Basket Maker
Death 21 Mar 1918 (age 26-27) France
Burial Arras Memorial, Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France. 1
No copy of newspaper obituary contained in the EHP archive.


Rifleman Arthur PACEY (1877-1916)
Name: Arthur PACEY
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Rifleman
Father: William PACEY (1833-1907)
Mother: Sarah HOE (1841-1913)
Birth 1877 Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Christening 2 Sep 1877 (age 0) Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 12 Sep 1916 (age 38-39) Somme, France.
Burial Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, France.
Occupation Carter
Spouse Ethel May PACEY (1881?- )
Children Arthur John PACEY (1906?- )
William Frederick PACEY (1908- )
Ellen May PACEY (1910?- )
??? PACEY ( - )
Marriage 1905 (app) (age 27-28)

The death has occurred at the front of Rifleman A. Pacey, of the King's Royal Rifles. Deceased was a native of Elston, where he was employed by Mr. T. Martin, but latterly he lived at Sandiacre. As a boy he was a chorister at All Saints' Church, Elston. When 23 years old Rifleman Pacey enlisted and served in the Boar war, and for that campaign he received a medal with five bars. He enlisted at the outbreak of war, and two weeks after was ill with fever. After being sent to the front he was wounded in the thigh at Hill 60. This caused three operations, after which he again joined up as shoeing smith, after passing the test at Sheerness. A smashed hand soon caused him to be invalided. Returning to the front, he became ill from an infectious disease, and after recovery was wounded in the right hand. This final and fatal wound was caused by the explosion of a shrapnel shell. Rifleman Pacey was 39 years old, and leaves a widow and four children.


Private Hubert BLATHERWICK (1923-1944)
Name: Hubert Norman BLATHERWICK
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Private
Father: Robert Merrin BLATHERWICK (1873-1949)
Mother: Edith BLATHERWICK (1848-1943)
Birth 1923 Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Christening 3 Jun 1923 (age 0) Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 11 Sep 1944 (age 20-21) Italy
Burial Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.
Killed in action during the Second World War, served in the Lincolnshire Regiment.
No copy of newspaper obituary contained in the EHP archive.

Squadron Leader Charles DARWIN D.S.O., R.A.F. (1894-1941)
Name: Charles John Wharton DARWIN
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Squadron Leader
Name Suffix: D.S.O., R.A.F.
Nickname: Johnny
Father: Charles Waring DARWIN (1855-1928)
Mother: Mary Dorothea WHARTON (1870-1947)
Birth 12 Dec 1894 Dryburn Hall, Co. Durham
Death 26 Dec 1941 (age 47)
Burial Golders Green Crematorium, London.
Spouse Sibyl Renee ROSE ( - )
Children Christopher William Wharton DARWIN (1918-1942)
Vivien Mary DARWIN (1919- )
Susan Anne DARWIN (1923-1998)
Marriage 18 Apr 1918 (age 23)
No copy of local newspaper obituary contained in the EHP archive.

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Capt. (A./Major) Charles John Wharton Darwin. (FRANCE)
This officer has proved himself, an exceptionally skilful and gallant patrol leader, conspicuous for utter fearlessness and disregard of danger. On a recent occasion, in company with one other machine, he attacked a formation of fourteen Fokker biplanes, one of which was shot down and crashed. He has accounted for three hostile aircraft.
(Source : Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 February 1919 (31170/2031))
Charles John Wharton Darwin D.S.O. was born at Dryburn Hall near Durham on 12th December 1894, the son of Charles Waring Darwin. Educated in Germany, Switzerland, Broadstairs, and Winchester, he joined the army in 1912 and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, which in 1918 became the Royal Air Force. He accompanied Churchill at the Paris peace talks and in 1920 became one of the first flying instructors at RAF Cranwell. He resigned his commission in 1928 but was retained by the Secret Intelligence Service. He joined the Bristol Aircraft Company and later Saunders Roe, travelling all over the world, probably in part for the SIS. In 1939 he helped set up Bletchley Park and then travelled in Europe briefing agents and setting up a chain of radio transmitters. John, as he was known in the family, kept a diary from 1939. In 1940 he left the SIS and rejoined the RAF, being posted to RAF Kinloss near Inverness. In April 1941 he became ill and died on Boxing Day of the same year


Flight Lieutenant R.A.F. Christopher DARWIN (1918-1942)
Name: Christopher William Wharton DARWIN
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Flight Lieutenant R.A.F.
Father: Charles John Wharton DARWIN (1894-1941)
Mother: Sibyl Renee ROSE ( - )
Birth 30 Jul 1918
Death 7 Aug 1942 (age 24)
Burial El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt.
No copy of newspaper obituary contained in the EHP archive.
Christopher William Wharton Darwin narrowly escaped death in a flying accident in July 1940 but died on active service in August 1942 at El Alamein. He is buried at El Alamein Cemetery


Flight Sergeant William TANSLEY (1913-1942)
Name: William Middleton TANSLEY
Sex: Male
Name Prefix: Flight Sergeant
Father: Arthur TANSLEY ( - )
Mother: Minnie Esther TANSLEY ( - )
Birth 1913
Death 7 Nov 1942 (age 28-29)
Lancaster Bomber over Germany
Burial Abson (St. James the Great) Churchyard, Gloucestershire.
Spouse Ruby Lily TANSLEY ( - )

William Tansley was killed an active service over Germany. His Lancaster Bomber was attacked by German fighter aircraft although badly damaged it limped back to England, but William was dead on arrival the 7th November 1942. It was his second tour of duty. The 83rd Squadron operated from R.A.F. Scampton in Lincolnshire. Owned and farmed the Devon Farm - inherited from his grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth formerly of Middleton Towers. Elizabeth was the sister of Ellen Middleton, wife of Robert Middleton of Middleton Towers.

Vivien CASTLE (1922-1941)
Name: Vivien Maud CASTLE  (Her name is wrongly spelt Vivian on the memorial.)
Sex: Female
Father: George CASTLE (1884-1961)
Mother: Ethel CASTLE ( - )
Individual Events and Attributes
Birth 1922 Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Christening 19 Nov 1922 (age 0) Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Death 7 Mar 1941 (age 18-19) Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Killed by enemy action during an air raid on Ransome & Marles factory on Beacon Hill, Newark.
Burial 11 Mar 1941 (age 18-19) Elston, Newark, Nottinghamshire.

On the 7th March 1941 two Luftwaffe Heinkel type 111 bombers made separate attacks within an hour of each other. The first bomber followed the railway line from Grantham and dropped four high explosive bombs. Two landed on the factory, one on the air raid shelter and another in the road nearby. The plane circled the site and dropped a fifth bomb that buried into the factory floor and failed to explode. A second aircraft dropped five more bombs of which only one exploded, causing casualties among rescue workers dealing with the devastation of the first attack. These raids caused the loss of forty-one lives, thirty men and eleven women employees. A convoy of ambulances carried sixty-five people to hospital. The experience remains vivid in the minds of retired employees like Catherine Bailey who lost a friend Esta Varney in the blast ; her body never being found. Her ghost is said to still roam the factory. Many people say they have seen her or felt her presence and there are some areas people will not go in to this day. Bill Midwinter remembers guarding the 1000lb unexploded bomb in the factory until the Bomb Disposal Unit arrived. Ada Mabel Hatcliffe watched with her brother, the bombs being dropped. Hugh Coppin recalls the story of his brother, George, who worked in the tool room. Four of George's mates hid under a large steel marking off table but George thought otherwise and went to an indoor shelter. The marking off table was destroyed by one of the bombs and the four mates died, but George was saved. The damage, in material terms, was assessed at £91,789. The work's notice boards carried a message from Sir Albert Bennett:
"The Board of Directors wish to express their sympathy with all the Relatives and Dependants of those employees who lost their lives in the recent incident at these works. They also sincerely hope that those who unfortunately sustained injuries will make good progress and speedily return to health. The Directors wish to place on record their appreciation of the excellent work carried out by all the ARP services, Home Guard, Borough Police and those employees who gave their valuable help on the day of the incident"