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For Club and Country: Southwell City FC, 1914-18

Sam, Tom, George, William - some familiar names now as then, the boys that made up Southwell City Football Club in 1911.

The team photo below was to mark their win in the final of the Newark and District League Challenge Cup.

None of them could have foreseen the events to follow, four years of what became to be known as the Great War that would leave 16 million dead across the globe.

A postmaster’s son, a baker, a lace maker, a solicitor’s clerk, a professional soldier and a silk worker from Maythorne - a century on it is known that, of those who served in the First World War, almost half would be dead before the end of the conflict.

Some families would lose more than one son. Sam and Arthur Humberstone both played for the team and worked at Carey & Sons lace factory. Sam lived on Westgate with his wife and two young sons.

Like most of the team the brother enlisted with the 1/8th Sherwood Foresters and would leave Southwell with the Battalion in August 1914. Both were promoted to Corporal whist in France.

Sam was killed in action in June 1915, his younger brother Arthur two years later.

Several other members of the team worked at Carey & Sons and are remembered on the Memorial at the bottom of the Burgage, the former site of this factory.

These included Herbert Kirk, the team’s striker of Burgage Lane, and Edwin Gilbert, both killed in action in France in the third year of the war.

The Gilbert family would also suffer the loss of Edwin’s younger brother Jack who, having survived 4 years on the battlefields of France, died of his wounds just a week before the end of the war in November 1918.

The team’s goalkeeper John Watson, formally of Sheppards Row and employee of the Southwell Co-op store, would also be killed in action and is buried in France along with many of his comrades.

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Whilst we tend to remember those who died, we should not forget those of the team who returned home many wounded and suffering from the effects of war.

Oscar Longmore, who lived at the Post Office on Queen Street, Southwell was shot and wounded in September 1916 and after recovering at home was posted back to France in early 1917. He survived the war having spent several months as a prisoner of war in Germany.

Richard Revill also survived the war returning to his home on Chatham Street in Southwell after being wounded in August 1915.

All who returned had to deal with tragedy and loss perhaps none more so than Alfred Townsend. He survived but returned home to what must have been a very different world.

He and his siblings had lost both their parents by 1910 and, at the time of the Census in 1911, Alfred was living with the Hazelwood family on Private Road Southwell whilst his siblings were boarding with other families across the town.

Whilst Alfred survived the war it claimed the lives of both of his younger brothers, Walter and Robert and also Arthur the only son of the Hazelwood family.

In this, the centenary year of World War One, we remember them all.

Andrew Adam

#southwellremembers  #lestweforget

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