Having come across a Southwell team photo taken in 1911 I have spent some time researching the lives behind each of the names and the impact of World War One on the team. As the Centenary years of WW1 drawn to a close the outcome on the War devastated our team.
Of the players from the Southwell squad who won the Newark and District Challenge Cup in the 1910/11 season almost half would lose their lives in the conflict 1914-18, others came home wounded and traumatised.
I hope that the brief summary below will at least bring some of the names to life. As we see those named on posts around our town and gather at the Burgage next Sunday please pause to remember them all.
Two brothers 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. The brothers 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.
Herbert Kirk, also an employee of Careys, the team’s striker of Burgage Lane enlisted in June 1915 and went to France in July 1916. In one season he scored 51 goals for Southwell City and went on to play professionally for Mansfield Mechanics. Herbert was killed in action in October 1916.
Edwin Gilbert of Dover Street was killed in action in March 1916 (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 France in 1916 and is buried there along with many of his comrades.
Others from the team survived the war but would return home to a very different town. These included Alfred Townsend. Having lost both his parents prior to 1910 the war claimed the lives of both his younger brothers, Walter and Robert.
In this the final Centenary year of World War One we remember them all.