Corporal Nelson George Thacker, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment (1915-1994)

From the Evesham Journal 21 March 1942

I recently saw on Facebook an image taken from the Evesham Journal of British prisoners of war in Stalag VIII-B (Stalag 344) Lamsdorf, Germany, in the 1942 (see image). Amongst the prisoners in the photo was Corporal Nelson George Thacker from Evesham (back row 3rd from left). The post piqued my interest as I have researched some of the men from the area that have served in either the First or Second World War so I decided to see what I could discover about Corporal Thacker.

Nelson George Thacker (1915-1994)

Known as George, he was born in Evesham on 28th September 1915. His parents, Percy John Thacker and mother, Sarah Jane (née Hampton), had married in Evesham late in 1914. His mother was from Bengeworth in Evesham and worked at the local jam factory. His father was a journeyman baker and the family lived at 4 Mill Street, Evesham. George had a younger brother, Frederick born in 1917 who died, aged 7, in 1924. His mother gave birth to a third son, Douglas, in 1927 but he also did not survive infancy.

George was named after his father’s brother Nelson Thacker (1892-1915). Just before George was born his Uncle Nelson had embarked for France having enlisted as a Private with the 1st Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). Less than two months’ later, whilst fighting on the Western Front Private Nelson Thacker was killed in action on 13th October 1915, and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial and the Evesham War Memorial.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, George enlisted with the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and in 1942, whilst in France, was captured by the German Army. The Evesham Journal reported on 21st March 1942 that George was a Prisoner of War in Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf.

Around 210 men from the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment are known to have been imprisoned in Stalag VIII-B at some point during the war. The stalag was the largest German Army prisoner of war camp in the Third Reich with thousands of prisoners, mostly Russian but with a smaller camp of some 16,000 prisoners from Britain, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa. The camp was located in the north east near Oppeln on the River Oder in Silesia near what was then the German Polish border. At the end of 1943 Lamsdorf was designated Stalag 344 and a sub-camp at Teschen, some 125 km to the south east, became the new Stalag VIII-B.

Stalag 383, Hohenfels, Germany

According to the Worcestershire Regiment’s records Lt/Cpl 1873046 Thacker was imprisoned in Stalag 383 as PoW 15320. Fellow serving soldiers from his battalion; Corporals H.H. Taylor, D.E. Williams, R.P. Evans and Sergeants C. Sargerson and R.W. Seager are recorded as being PoWs in the camp at the same time as George.

It was not unusual for prisoners to be transferred between camps. Private Les Foskett who served with The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, had been a prisoner at Stalag VIII-B in 1941 and was transferred to Stalag 383 a few months later so it is likely that George and a number of others were transferred between the two camps at some stage and that he may not have been in Stalag VIII-B for long. Click here for Les Foskett’s story.

Stalag 383 was located in Bavaria between Nuremburg and Regensberg in Germany. Until late 1942, the prisoners in the camp endured conditions what have been described by another PoW as bad but once the Swiss Red Cross became involved, and Red Cross clothing and food parcels supplemented PoW camp rations, the lives the PoWs improved and the camp was described as “far less depressing than Lamsdorf”. A Swedish delegate who visited the camp on the occasion of the centenary of the YMCA in July 1944 stated that he had seen “no better camp in Germany” (see extracts from the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, 1939-1945 for prisoners’ descriptions of the camp). The PoWs were released from Stalag 383 in early May 1945 by the American Army.

After his release, George returned home to Evesham. Following his discharge from the army in he started working as a Postman with Evesham Post Office in 1946 and he later joined the Evesham Town Silver Band. He married Gertrude Cynthia Padfield, known as Cynthia (of Burford Road, Evesham), at St Lawrence Church, in 1947. George died in 1994 and his wife, Cynthia, died aged 87, on 26th January 2012 and is buried in Waterside Cemetery, Evesham. Before her death Cynthia lived on Isbourne Crescent, Evesham.

If anyone has any information about George Thacker that could be added to this article then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

Sources:
http://www.ancestry.co.uk
Evesham Journal
The Diary of Alan Forster, POW 3921, Stalag VIIIB (October 1944 — May 1945) by Bill Forster
http://www.worcestershireregiment.com

 

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Remembrance Day Service Sunday 11th November 2018

Remembrance Day Service Sunday 11th November 2018

Broadway Remembers: Broadway Falls Silent to Remember the War Dead and Mark 100 Years since the Armistice

Broadway Remembers War Memorial Armistice Day 2018100 years after the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, when the guns fell silent on the Western Front bringing an end to the First World War, a Service of Remembrance and 2 minutes’ silence was held at the War Memorial on the village green in Broadway, Worcestershire. This was followed by a service in St Michael and All Angels’ Church to remember all the lives sacrificed in the service of our country and those traumatised and injured in conflict.

Broadway Remembers today, in this centenary year, the following 48 men who died in the First World War and are commemorated on Broadway’s war memorial:

BARNETT, Private  9562 George, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
BAYLISS,  Private 25249 James Josiah, Worcestershire Regiment transferred to 287004 Labour Corps
BILLEY, Private 34604 William Robert, 2nd Battalion Worcestershire  Regiment
BISHOP, Private  203259 William, 10th Battalion Worcestershire  Regiment
BOX,  Private M/320163 William Arthur, Royal Army Service Corps
CLARKE, Private 15372 Albert Henry, 11th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
CLARKE, Private 30483 Bertram, 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
COLLINS, Private 16263 Archibald William (Archie), 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
CRUMP, Yeoman of Signals 220097 William George, Royal Navy
CULL,  Private 47558 John Sydney (Jack),  15th Squadron Royal Machine Gun Corps
DAFFURN,  Driver 17552 Thomas, “B”  Battery 98th Brigade (XVI Corps HQ) Royal Field  Artillery
EARP, Sergeant 88389 John William, “C” Battery 84th Brigade Royal Field Artillery
EDWARDS, Pioneer 37053 Henry Harold (Harry), 3rd  Divisional Signal Company Royal  Engineers
EMMS, Private 32962 Ebenezer Evelyn, Royal  Berkshire  Regiment & 424th Agricultural Company Labour Corps
FIGGITT, Private 10503 Wilford Charles,  2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire  Regiment
FLOWER, Lt. Col. Oswald Swift,  13th  Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers
FOLKES, Guardsman 23203 Alfred, King’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
FOLKES, Private 2414 Francis Alfred (Frank), Queen’s  Own Worcestershire Hussars  (Worcester Yeomanry)
GAME, Lt. Hubert John, Royal Field Artillery and Royal Flying Corps
GARDNER, Private M2/153742 William, Royal Army Service Corps
GODDARD, Private 37889 Arthur Harold, 1st/5th  Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry
GREEN, Corporal 240841 Leonard Frank,  1st/8th Battalion  Worcestershire Regiment
HAINES, Rifleman 4632 Cecil  Frank, 1st/12th Battalion London Regiment (The Rangers)
HAINES, Private 15024 Gerald, 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
HENSLEY, Private M2/148096 George, 284th  Company Army Service Corps
HILL, Private 9574 Reginald Bertram, 1st  Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
HILSON, Private 12240 Joseph, 1st  Battalion  Gloucestershire Regiment
INGLES, Private TF/241275 Francis Henry,  7th Battalion Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent  Regiment)
JACKSON, Private 241170 Charles, 7th  Battalion Worcestershire  Regiment
JORDAN, Private 202406 Walter, 1st  Battalion  Worcestershire Regiment
KEYTE, Private 27819 Charles Hubert, 3rd  Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
LAYTON, Private 22994 Alfred, 9th  Battalion Worcestershire  Regiment
PAINTER, Private M2/033139 Sidney John, 5th  Divisional Supply Column Army Service Corps
PARKER, Private 17070 Ernest Harold, 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
PARKER, Private 2444 William John,  Warwickshire  Yeomanry
PERRY, Sergeant SE/17110 John, Royal Army Veterinary Corps
RASTALL, Private 241810 Frank, 1st/8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
RUSSELL, Private 9570 Joe Edgar, 9th  Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
SANDEL, Lance Corporal 3674 George, 1/8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
SCRIVENS, Private 21387 Wilfred George, 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
STANLEY, Private 42530 Alec Silvester, 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
STANLEY, Gunner 59030 Charles Robert, ‘B’ Battery 86th Royal Field Artillery
TALBOT, 2nd Lt. Stanley Alfred, North Staffordshire Regiment
TANDY, Private 10754 Wilfred George, 9th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
TEBBY, Private 29004 Walter John, 14th Battalion Welsh Regiment
TUSTIN, Lance Corporal 36116 Jack, 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
VINCENT, Guardsman 27767 Ernest Edward, 1st  Battalion Grenadier Guards
WALE, Lance Corporal 30871 Edmund  Joseph, 8th Battalion Royal  Berkshire Regiment

Today we also remember the following 24 men of Broadway who died in the First World War who are not commemorated on the war memorial:

ANNESLEY CMG, DSO, Lieutenant James Howard Aldolphus, 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)
BATCHELOR, Private 9569 George Walter Raymond, 15th Entrenching Battalion, late 11th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
COOK MM, Second Corporal 86297, 254th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers
CUNNINGTON, Corporal 7931 Charles Camberlain, 2nd Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment
DALE, Ernest Stocks, Corporal 17842, 1/7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
DALE, John S, Company Sergeant Major 13784, 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment
GABB, William Harold, Private 5767, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards
GANDERTON, Thomas Henry. Private 17267, 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
GRIMMITT, John William, Gunner 246724, ‘C’ Battery, 275th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
HANDY, George Thomas, Private 29206, 9th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
HANDY, Reginald
HANDY, Richard Keyte, Private 19218, 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
HARTWELL, Arthur James, Private 240100, 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment
HINTON, Gerald Charles, Private 307582, 2/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment formerly 3645 Warwickshire Yeomanry
HUXLEY, Albert, Lance Corporal 241169, 2/8th Worcestershire Regiment
JONES, William
MATTHEWS, William Henry, Private 8859, 3rd Garrison Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
PERKINS, George Thomas, Private 14453, 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment
SADLER, Ernest Charles, Guardsman, 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
SMITH, William Thomas, Private 290802, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment
SPIERS, Walter Edward, Private 19365, 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
TOMES, James
TURNER, Lamber, Private 41726, 2/4th Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment, formerly 145506 Labour Corps
WALKER, Henry Austin, Private 20806, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

The names of 21 men were added at to the memorial at the end of the Second World War:

CLARKE, Robert Warner, Able Seaman PJX321879, Royal Navy(H.M. Submarine P311)
CLARKE, Sydney Clarke, Lance Corporal 11416496, 7th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment
COOK, Robert Leonard, Lance Corporal 2618869, 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards
CROSS, Brian, Leading Aircraftman 1440292, Royal Volunteer Reserve
CROSS, Frederick, Private 5249458, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
COTTERELL, Maurice Charles, Sergeant Pilot 562657, 90 Squadron Royal Air Force
COTTERELL, Peter Samuel, Sergeant/Air Gunner, 158 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
HANDY, Frederick, Driver T70973, Royal Army Service Corps
HARRISON, Kenneth John, Ordinary Seaman CJX319054, Royal Navy (HMS Arethusa)
INGLES, Horace George, Private 5253093, 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment
INGLES, Thomas Raymond, Able Seaman DJX368713, Royal Navy (HMS Kite)
INVINE, Cyril John, Aircraftman 1st Class 1206953, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
JAMES, Sydney James, Flight Sergeant/Wireless Operator/AirGunner 1583124, 61 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
JESSOP (JESSUP), Alexander Anthony, Sergeant/Observer 911895, 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force
NEWBURY, James Victor, Ordinary Seaman DJX392157, Royal Navy (HMS Escapade)
OWEN, Edward Milman, Ordinary Seaman PJX226068, Royal Navy (HMS Kashmir)
PEMBERTON, David Alwyne, Squadron Leader/Pilot 33036, 1 Squadron, Royal Air Force
POOLE, James Henry, Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force
PROCTOR, Edgar William, Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner 1313237 44 Squadron, Royal Air Force
TARRANT, Frederick George, Private 14773225, 1st Battalion East Lancashire
WOODGER, Clifford John, Sergeant 421411, 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Royal Amoured Corps

In the late 1950s a bronze plaque was added to the foot of the memorial commemorating:

HENSLEY, Kenneth Andrew, Second Lieutenant, Royal Warwickshire attached North Rhodesia Regiment.

We will remember them.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

 

 

 

Remembered Today: Private 29004 Walter J. Tebby, 14th Battalion The Welsh Regiment

Private Walter John Tebby, son of Thomas and Mary Tebby of Broadway Wood Cottage, West End, Broadway, died aged 20 on 23rd July 1916 of wounds received in France.

Walter was born in Syresham, Northamptonshire, where he spent most of his childhood. By 1911, the family had moved to Broadway and Walter was emplyed as a cowman at Kite’s Nest Dairy. Walter served with the 14th Battalion The Welsh Regiment (originally the ‘Swansea Pals’) during the First World War and he was wounded in the head in the Battle of Mametz Wood on the Western Front in July 1916, and transferred home for treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, near Southampton, where he succumbed to his wounds. Walter is buried in St Eadburgha’s Churchyard, Snowshill Road, Broadway, and is commemorated  on the Broadway War Memorial and on a new Memorial Stone in Syresham which marks the centenary of the start of the First World War.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

Further information about the men from Broadway commemorated on the war memorial on the village green can be found in Broadway Remembers (ISBN: 9780992989101) a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal.

Walter Tebby is also included in the publication The Lost Men of Syresham an account of the service lives and deaths of the soldiers from the village who fought and died in the Great War 1914-1918 by Bruce Smith and Ian Draper. To obtain a copy contact Syresham and District History Society (www.syresham1914.co.uk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembered Today: Lance Corporal 17261 Dennis William Diston, 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

Dennis William Diston, born in Stanton, Gloucestershire, in 1887 was the only son of Charles Diston from Cutsdean, Worcestershire, and Julia Ann Diston. The family moved to nearby Snowshill where Dennis found work as a jobbing gardener after leaving school. Dennis’s mother died in 1891, a year after his younger sister, Mabel, was born and his father remarried Phebe Hannah Bateman in October the following year. Dennis had three older sisters; Mary Ann (1878-1953), Elizabeth (1880-1883) and Dora Lavinia (1885-1915).

On 6th July 1912, Dennis married Mabel Elizabeth Grove in Broadway and they moved to Broadway where their two children (a son and a daughter) were born. Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Dennis enlisted with the 10th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment and he was posted to the Western Front on 9th August 1915.

The following year Dennis was initially posted as missing in action and was later confirmed as killed in action, aged 29, on 22nd July 1916. Dennis is buried in Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers La-Boiselle, and is commemorated on the Snowshill War Memorial, Prestbury War Memorial and inside St Mary’s Church, Prestbury. His epitaph on his headstone reads: IN THAT SWEET BYE AND BYE WE SHALL MEET ON THAT BEAUTIFUL SHORE.

Pozieres British Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Pozieres British Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

As a resident of Broadway at the time of his death, Dennis was considered by the Broadway War Memorial Committee for inclusion on the war memorial built on the village green in 1919. The Committee, however, decided against including his name and Dennis was later commemorated on the Snowshill War Memorial, a stone cross, designed by Frederick Landseer Griggs, located in St Barnabas churchyard in the centre of the village.

Further information about the men from Broadway who died in the First World War can be found in Broadway Remembers (ISBN 978-0-1-9929891-0-1) a not-for-profit publication raising money for the Poppy Appeal published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

 

Pte Wilford Figgitt writes home from the Western Front, July 1915

Wilford Figgitt of Broadway, who served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the Western Front from May 1915, regularly wrote letters home with news from the trenches. In July 1915 he wrote:

We have had a pretty rough time during the last week and that a few men; sixty out of one company were killed or wounded. Last Wednesday I had a job carrying rations up to the Royal Scots in the middle of an attack, and shall not forget it in a hurry. The shells fell like hail and the bullets whistled like hell. The sights I shall never forget, for there were piles of dead and wounded to walk over, some with their heads blown off. We had a bit of amusement on Saturday. Our artillery and French started shelling the German trenches and you could see nothing but smoke and sandbags flying up in the air. It just pleased the Canadians, and they started throwing ladders over the top of their trenches to make believe they were going to attack, and as soon as the Germans showed their heads over theirs they opened on them with machine guns and yelled themselves hoarse. The time before when we got in their trenches we found a German boy, not more than thirteen years old, red-haired and wearing big jack-boots. He had probably been sent to throw bombs at us and got shot. I could tell you heaps more, but haven’t any paper to write on.

Pte Wilford Figgitt, son of Wilford John and Tryphena Figgitt, of Church Street, Broadway, was killed in action, aged 23, on 25th September 1915. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, and the Broadway War Memorial on the green in the village where he grew up.   Debbie Williamson Broadway Remembers

Remembered Today: Private 37889 Arthur H. Goddard, 1/5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

Arthur Harold Goddard, known as Harold, was born in Cow Honeybourne, Worcestershire, in 1899. Harold’s father, George, worked as a farm labourer and the family moved from village to village as George moved from farm to farm in search of work. By 1911, the family had settled in Broadway and Harold found work as a labourer in the employ of Mr H. Roberts at nearby Buckland.

Aged 18, Harold enlisted in Worcester in August 1917 and he joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Harold was posted to the Western Front on 3rd April 1918 joining his battalion just before they took part in the Battle of Estaires. From the 12th April 1918 the battalion was involved in the Battle of Hazebrouck which lasted four days and it was on the first day of the battle that Harold was reported as missing in action. It was later reported by letter to his parents that Harold had been killed in action on either 12th or 14th April and that he had been buried between Estaires and Le Grand Pacault. It was later confirmed that Harold had been killed in action on the 14th and Harold is commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium, which is about 15 miles away from where he was originally reported to have been buried.

Harold’s older brother, Frederick, served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Frederick served with the 1st Battalion and was posted to the Western Front from where he wrote frequent letters home from ‘somewhere in France’ recounting his experiences of being in the trenches including surviving a gas attack on 24th May 1915. Frederick was wounded in the shin by an explosive bullet whilst on listening patrol on the Western Front on 31st October 1915. After months of hospital treatment, Frederick eventually lost his leg and he was honourably discharged with the Silver War Badge on 16th December 1916. Frederick re-enlisted with the Army Pay Corps in September 1918 and served in Nottingham until he was transferred to the Army Reserve on 9th March 1919.

Harold is one of 48 commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial. Further information about Harold, Frederick and their fellow men from Broadway commemorated on the memorial can be found in ‘Broadway Remembers’ (a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal).

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

 

 

Remembered Today: Lance Corporal 30871 Edmund J. Wale, 8th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

Edmund Joseph Wale was born in Carrickfergus, Ireland, in 1885, the middle son of Joseph and Mary Wale from Margate, Kent. Edmund’s father worked for HM Coastguard and Edmund and his two brothers were brought up on the Kent coast.

After leaving school Edmund worked as a gardener and moved to London where he worked was employed by the landscape painter and garden designer Alfred Parsons RA1 in Kensington. Alfred Parsons was a member of the Broadway Colony2 of artists who lived and worked in London and Broadway in the late 1890s. Many of the colony were expatriate Americans and after Edmund’s marriage to Millicent Smedley in London in 1910, the couple moved to Russell House Cottage, Broadway, Worcestershire, where Edmund was employed by the American artist Francis Davis ‘Frank’ Millet and his wife Lily to tend the 14 acre gardens at Russell House.

page115aEdmund was supposed to accompany Frank Millet on RMS Titanic to New York on 10th April 1912 but did not travel due to the birth of his son, Brian, who had been born in Broadway in 1912. Frank Millet died in the sinking of the Titanic on 15th April 1912, and Edmund remained in the employ of Frank’s widow, Lily, until his conscription in August 1916.

After receiving his conscription papers in early 1916, Lily Millet twice appealed against conscription at meetings of the Evesham Military Service Tribunal but after being granted exemption until 31st July 1916, Edmund enlisted in Evesham with the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Edmund served on the Western Front and during the 4th April 1918, during the Defence of Amiens, Edmund was killed in action. His body was never recovered from the battle site and he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial. Edmund is also recorded in the Roll of Honour 2914-1918 in St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Broadway. His name was added to the west panel of the Cheltenham War Memorial in 1921 (his wife, Millicent and son had moved to Cheltenham from Broadway following his conscription).

Edmund is one of 48 commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial. Further information about Edmund and his fellow men from Broadway commemorated on the memorial can be found in ‘Broadway Remembers’ (a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal).

 

1. Alfred Parsons RA was a Broadway Parish Councillor and Chairman of the Broadway War Memorial Committee from May 1919 until his death in January 1920.
2. The Broadway Colony of artists was a group of predominately American artists, writers, actors and musicians who made Broadway their home in the late 1880s and included Francis Davis Millet, Edmund Gosse, Mary Anderson de Navarro, John Singer Sargent, Alma de Tadema and Edwin Austin Abbey.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers