Private David Cresswell
22099, 17th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys Regiment) who was killed in action on 31st July 1917, aged 30
Remembered with Honour
New Whittington Memorial
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 39 and 41)
Elijah Cresswell and Emma Brough both lived on the “Long Row” at Barrow Hill; coal miner Elijah at 17, Railway Terrace East and Emma at 1, Railway Terrace West. They married at Staveley Parish Church on 10th April 1871 when they were both 19 years of age and made their home on the same row at 14, Railway Terrace West.
By 1881, the couple had 5 children; 7 year old Ferdinand, 5 year old Sarah, 3 year old Ernest, 1 year old James and baby Mary. James sadly died in 1884, aged 5, and tragedy again struck when Ernest died in 1889, aged 13.
The family were living in a larger house, in 1891, at 170 (227) on the “Blocks,” a three bedroomed stone cottage belonging to the Staveley Coal and Iron Company below the Long Row. The family had grown to include Martha, Stephen, DAVID who had been born in 1887, Charles and baby Arthur. Another daughter, Hildegarde, was born in 1893. The eldest son, coal miner Ferdinand, emigrated to America in 1897 and Sarah married Alfred Jackson Moore in 1898 before moving to live in Yorkshire. Arthur died in 1900 at the age of 9.
Both 16 year old Stephen and 14 year old David were working as pony drivers in the coal mines in 1901.
21 year old David married 17 year old Florence Gertrude Hutchinson in 1908 and the couple left the village to live at 82, Handley Road, New Whittington. Their daughter Ivy was born in 1909 and, in 1911, David was working as a coal miner.
David enlisted at Chesterfield. His service records have not survived but an analysis of army service numbers reveals that he joined between the 9th and 11th of January 1915. His Medal Index Card records that he embarked for France on 18th August 1915; a date which places him with a draft of Sherwood Forester 1st Reserve reinforcements who were sent via the 46 (NM) Base Depot on arrival in France.
The Sherwood Forester medal rolls are mostly in numerical order. However, David Cresswell is one of a few men whose entry was missed out and attached in a later series. This clearly shows that he was originally posted to the 2nd Battalion, probably on 20th August 1915.
The 2nd Battalion war diary for 20th Aug 1915 records:
Poperinghe – ‘Coys did some hard training this morning 7-15 to 7-45 running drill for all. 9 – 10-30 Drill to musketry. 10-30 to 12-20 Route March. Bombers, Machine gunners and signallers at instruction in their own work. Draft of 250 other ranks joined for duty. We are now 64 over strength but we are still many short of officers. 2 men sick’
During his two years’ service in France, David was transferred to the 1st battalion and then to the 17th Battalion. This may have been as a result of sickness, wounding or to re-inforce the 17th Bn. which had suffered high casualties on the Somme.
The 17th Battalion (Welbeck Rangers) moved up to the place of assembly in the Hill Top Sector on the evening of 30th July 1917 to take part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, which has become better known as Passchaendale.
The war diary for the following day reads: Assembly complete at 1.15 a.m. “Z” day. No Casualties occurred whilst the Battalion was assembling. This is the 3rd Battle of Ypres. Zero hour at 3.50 a.m. The V1th Army Corps which our Division 39th are going to attack the enemy on a very wide Front, and to a depth of from 1½ to 2 miles. The following Appendices are marked and attached which give an accurate account of the plan and attack on the Enemy position.
2 Officers and 42 other ranks were killed in action on 31st July 1917. Amongst them was 30 year old Private David Cresswell.
© Ann Lucas