TWTD update

Your photograph of the Retford Grammar School Football Team in Those Were The Days (19th August), shows young men being honoured for their sporting abilities.

Within a few years three members of the team were to be honoured having made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the First World War.

The first to die was Private Horace Davison formerly of Albert Road, Retford who had qualified as a teacher on leaving the grammar school.

He enlisted at the outbreak of the war into a unit of the East Lancashire Field Ambulance in Manchester where he had obviously obtained a teaching post.

Horace’s unit was outwards bound to Gallipoli in August 1915 in the RMT Royal Edward originally built for the Canadian Northern Steamship Co in 1906 when it was torpedoed full on the stern by the German U boat U-15 under the command of Lt. Heino von Heimburg six miles West of Kandeliusa Island.

The ship sank within six minutes with only 500 survivors out of 1,366 troops and 220 crew. Horace’s is remembered on the Helles Memorial erected on the point of the Gallipoli Peninsula.

2nd Lieut John Harwood Cash Fletcher was posted to the Territorial Army Battalion the 7th Sherwood Foresters (The Robin Hood Rifles) on the Western Front in the lead up to the Battle of the Somme in the first half of 1916.

The Sherwood Foresters’ Brigade took part in the attack on Gommecourt on the 1st July 1916, the first day of that battle.

Even the Official Historian admits that this was a impossible attack. 2nd Lieut Fletcher was seen to reach the German Second line and then was seen no more - his body was not discovered for burial but he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

The Robin Hoods went into action with 27 officers and 600 other ranks. Only 90 returned.

2nd Lieut Louis Gould was the son of Arthur Gould who came to Worksop to work at Shireoaks Colliery.

He left the pit to set up as a general dealer eventually moving to Overend Road. Louis was bright lad who won a scholarship to Retford Grammar School and then went on to study at Westminster College in London from where he volunteered to join the Royal Field Artillery as a Bombardier when he quickly obtained a commission.

When the Russians left the war in late 1917 extra German troops were freed up to attack on the Western Front in the Spring of 1918.

Louis’ unit was defending the railway centre of Hazebrook when he received wounds from which he died on the 11th May being then buried at Neuville-St Vaas.

His parents renamed their home ‘Louisville’ in his memory.

Robert Ilett

Badgers’ Chase, Retford