Pleased to be taking part in the Local Focus exhibition at Bromley House Library, Nottingham. The photographs were taken in and around Nottingham by the Libraries Photography Group. The exhibition is open to the public every Wednesday between 2.30pm and 4pm and runs from November 15th through to January 12th.
Why not combine a visit with a tour of the library.
In the group there is a range of photographic experience from beginner through to those having professional experience. This is a non-competitive group which meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 1.30 pm in the Thoroton Room at Bromley House. New members are welcome. For more information contact Eric Butler: photo@bromleyhouse.
My 3 photographs were taken at Nottingham Cemetery.
ROBERT HUMPSTON VC – Originally buried in a paupers grave. The headstone was erected, at Nottingham Cemetery, in 2007 after a fundraising campaign.
Private 2638 Robert Humpston VC – Rifle Brigade
Born: 1832, Derby
Died: 22 December 1884
Robert was just 23 years old when he was awarded the UK’s highest military award, The Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross was first introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria during the Crimean War and is awarded for gallantry “in the face of the enemy”.
Extract: Derby Mercury 8 July 1857
Robert Humpston, son of Mr. S. Humpston, once a tobacconist in this town. In December, 1851, he enlisted into the 30th Infantry, being then only 17 years of age; afterwards he volunteered into the 1st Rifle Brigade, who were under orders for the Cape, to take part in the Caffre war. Humpston was not then sent out on account of his extreme youth. On the expectation of the Russian war the 2nd Rifles were ordered for Turkey, when Humpston volunteered into that brigade and was sent to Malta, then to Gallipoli, to Varna, and ultimately to the Crimea, where he landed with the expedition a few days before the battle of Alma. Humpston was one of the 200 Rifle-men who preceded the army at the alma on the left attack, and was one of the earliest to crest the hill on that memorable occasion.
The heat and fatigue endured by Humpston was too much for his strength, and he was seized after the battle with serious illness, and the next day he was found upon the field nearly insensible; he was removed to the hospital at Scutari, and was not able to rejoin his regiment until November, a few days after the battle of Inkermann; but he was then able to take his share of duty to the end of the campaign. It will be seen by the following extract from the Gazette that he was awarded the Victoria Cross:-
Supplement to The London Gazette, Tuesday the 24th of February 1857.
No. 2638 Private Robert Humpston, 2nd Bn, Rifle Brigade.
A Russian Rifle Pit, situated among the rocks overhanging the Woronzoff Road, between the 3rd parallel, Right Attack, and the Quarries ( at that period in the possession of the enemy ) was occupied every night by the Russians, and their Riflemen commanded a portion of the Left Attack, and impeded the work in a new battery then being erected on the extreme right front of the 2nd parallel, Left Attack.
It was carried in daylight on the 22nd of April 1855, by two riflemen, one of whom was Private Humpston; He received a gratuity of £5 and was promoted. The Rifle Pit was subsequently destroyed on further support being obtained.
For the success of this dangerous feat of arms Humpston was awarded five pounds, which to his honour he forwarded to his mother; and on Friday last he received the Victoria Cross from the Queen herself, in Hyde Park on 26th June 1857.
When Robert died he was buried 4 days later in a pauper’s grave. However, a local man, Tony Higton, started a campaign to fundraise for a headstone. This culminated in a ceremony in September 2007.
I am a little confused and further research is needed but I found a small newspaper article to say that Roberts Victoria Cross was loaned to the Derby Corporation Art Gallery – this is a report in 1913. In the article, it mentions that ‘he died on 22nd December 1883, at the age of 52 years, being interred at Nottingham Road.’ This would indicate that he was originally buried in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Derby. So why is there a headstone in Nottingham Cemetery?
In 1940 there is also a short story in the Nottingham Evening Post under the heading, The Wendy Hut, For Valour which is about Robert and Joseph and their conversations and actions which earned them the Victoria Cross. I can only believe that this is a work of fiction based around the facts and personally find it quite disrespectful.
I have a personal interest in the Crimean War as my Great Great Grandfather, Henry Keevill, fought and had clasps for Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol.
He survived the war and returned back to the UK. His discharge papers mention that he would be returning home to Wiltshire but he actually started a new life in London as a Porter.
Note: Robert Humpston’s grandson, Arthur Robert Humpston, died on 15 September 1917 at the Battle of Passchendaele.
THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM
Private 28578 Charles Oakley
Notts and Derby Regiment
Born: 1867 Derby
Died: October 1917
Charles Oakley was born in Derby to parents James and Hannah Oakley. However his father James was a lace maker and moved to Nottingham by 1874.
In 1901 Charles is living at 43 Milehill Street, Radford with his wife, Mary Ann and 2 daughters, Florence Ellen aged 5 and Ivy Gladacy* aged 2. Charles is listed as a lacemaker the same profession as his father James.
By 1911 Charles and Mary have 6 daughters with Evelyn Mable*, Beatrice May, Hetty Agness* and Ethel Lottie joining Florence Ellen and Ivy Gladacy.
*The spellings as entered by Charles on the 1911 census.
Charles joined on the 2nd August 1915 aged 39 years and 11 months.
On first reading the headstone it would be natural to assume that Private Charles Oakley died whilst serving. Especially with the epitaph, ‘Peace after Pain’.
However on checking the records Charles Oakley had already been discharged from the Army, with the following reasons being quoted.
Extracts from his medical report (dated 26.4.17)
“Not likely to become efficient. Delusional Insanity.
Origin since puberty.
Not caused but aggravated by xxxxxx mil: service.”
It is clear that serving had made his condition worse and he died just 6 months after being discharged, making the ‘Peace after Pain’ very poignant.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Private 525774 Arthur Storey Labour Corps
Born: 1898, Nottingham
Died 18 July 1920
Parents: Alfred and Fanny Storey
39 Leen Side, Nottingham
Clara born 1893
Alfred Henry Storey born 1896
Frank Storey born 1907
More information to follow…….