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  • Photograph of the screen wall in the Nottingham General Cemetery where the name of William Oswin is commemorated, he was buried on 4th December 1915 in the cemetery, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
William was born in 1890, the son of James and Mary Ellen Oswin (nee Glover) His father James (birth registered J/F/M Nottingham), the son of James and Therese Oswin, and mother Mary (b. Woodhouse Eaves, Derbyshire 1859, registered Ashbourne O/N/D), the daughter of James and Sarah Glover, were married in Nottingham in 1880 (registered Apr/May/Jun). It was recorded on the 1911 Census that James and Mary had had 14 children born alive of whom only 11 were still living. Eleven children were named on the census between 1881 and 1911: James 1880 (O/N/D Nottingham), Mary Ellen Oswin b. 1882 (J/F/M Nottingham), Joseph Oswin 1883 (A/M/J Basford), Thomas Edward Oswin 1884 (J/A/S Basford), John Oswin 1885 (O/N/D Nottingham), Eliza Annie 1888 (A/M/J Nottingham), William Oswin 1890 (J/F/M Nottingham), Bertie Oswin 1892 (J/A/S Nottingham), Lily Oswin 1894 (J/F/M Nottingham), Samuel Oswin 1897 (J/F/M Nottingham) and Elizabeth Oswin 1898 (A/M/J Nottingham). Although all the births were registered in Nottingham census records give some of the children's place of birth as Ilkeston. In 1881 the year after their marriage James and Mary were living at 31 Royal Oak Hill, Sneinton, with their 5 month old son, James. James (21) was a framework knitter and Mary (21) a cotton winder. By 1891 James and Mary were living at 12 Victoria Place, off Pennyfoot Street, Nottingham, in the ecclesiastical parish of St Paul, Nottingham. They now had seven children James (10), Mary E (9), Joseph (8), Thomas E (7), John (5), Eliza (3) and William (1). By the time of the next census in 1901 James (42) and Mary (41) were still living at 12 Victoria Place which was now in the parish of St Phillip; ten of their eleven children were in the household on the night of the census: James (21) an army pensioner, Joseph (18) a general labourer, Thomas (17) who was in work, John (15) a general labourer, Eliza (13), William (11), Bertie (9), Lily (8), Samuel (5) and Elizabeth (3). When William enlisted in the Army Reserve (Special Reserve) in 1908 he named his parents and two of his brothers, John and Thomas, as his next of kin; their address was given as 12 Victoria Place. James (junior) married Annie Chesworth in 1901 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 7 Queen's Place, Barker Gate, Nottingham. James (33) was an army pensioner. He and Annie (34, b. Macclesfield) had had seven children of whom only three survived; May (8 b. 1903), Annie (3, b. 1908) and James (1, b. 15 May 1910, d. 1980). Another son, Joseph, was born in 1913 (birth registered J/A/S Nottingham) but died aged one year (death registered J/F/M 1915). Correspondence from the army after the war about his brother William's plaque and scroll was sent to James at 11 Bentinck Street, Manor Street, Sneinton, Nottingham. James died on 25 March 1943 at the age of 62 (death registered March Nottingham, burial 29 March). Mary Ellen Oswin, who was not at home on the night of the 1901 Census, married William Hall in 1902 (marriage registered J/A/S Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 5 Lytton Street, Nottingham. William (38) and Mary (29) had had three children of whom only one, Constance H (9m) survived. However, they probably had two more children, Elsie (b. 1912, O/N/D) and William (b. 1914, J/A/S) who survived childhood. Mary Ellen Hall died in 1941 aged 59 (death registered June Nottingham). Joseph Oswin married Mary Denman in 1905 (marriage registered A/M/J Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 3 Albion Place, Newington Street, Sneinton. Joseph (29) was a general labourer while Mary (27) was a lace dresser. They had three children, Lily (5, b. 14 October 1905), Frederick (3, b. 31 August 1907) and Joseph William (9m, b. 15 June 1910). Also in the household was a visitor, Kate Callaghan, and also Mary Ann Denman (54 b. Armagh) Joseph's widowed mother-in-law. Joseph and Mary had a fourth child, Annie, who was born on 30 October 1910 but died age 10 in 1922 (death registered December Nottingham). Thomas Edward Oswin married Florence Beresford in 1907 (marriage registered J/F/M Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 7 Victoria Place, Sneinton. Thomas (27) was a general labourer. He and Florence (22) had three children; Florence (4), John (3) and Amy (1m.) Amy's birth was registered in 1911 A/M/J; she died the following year before her first birthday and was buried on 21 March. However, Thomas and Mary had another daughter in 1914 (O/N/D) and also called her Amy. Thomas died aged 46 in 1930 (death registered December Nottingham). John Oswin married Lily Louisa Rawson (b. 1889) in 1907 and in 1911 they were living at 23 Victoria Place, off Pennyfoot Street. John (25) was a general labourer for Nottingham Corporation. He and Lily (22) had two children, Elizabeth Ellen (2, b. 1908, A/M/J) and Eliza Anna (1, b. 13 September 1909). They had a son, John, later that year (b. 18 June 1911, d. 1982) a second son, James, in 1913 and another son, Reuben, born 19 January 1915 (d. 2004). A report of John's death in the local paper in 1914 gave his address as Kingston Street, Sneinton. Eliza Annie Oswin married John Paul Bostock in 1909 (marriage registered O/N/D Nottingham) and in 1911 they were living at 15 Victoria Place, off Pennyfoot Street, Sneinton. John (22) was a stoker in the Merchant Navy and Eliza (22) was working from home as a lace mender. They had one child, John (u/1month). Also in the household was Eliza's younger sister, Lily Oswin (17), a lace dresser. Eliza and John probably had two more children, George (b. 1913, A/M/J) and Mary E. (b. 1914, J/A/S). William was still living with his parents at 12 Victoria Place in 1911 along with three of his siblings, Bertie (19), a general labourer for a removal contractor, Samuel (15) an errand boy for a greengrocer, and Elizabeth (13) who was still at school. His father, James, died in 1912 (registered Jan/Feb/Mar Nottingham) aged 54. Lily Oswin married Samuel Wood in 1912 (marriage registered J/F/M Nottingham). They probably had at least two children, Gertie who was born in 1912 but died the same year, and Ada born in 1913. Lily died on 9 December 1957 aged 64 (death registered December Nottingham, burial 14 December). At the time of William's death in 1915 his mother's address was given in the local paper as 11 Bentinck Street, Sneinton. Mary Ellen died aged 60 in 1917 (death registered June Nottingham, burial 27 April), five years after her husband's death. William's older brothers, Joseph and John, also died in the war. John served with the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment (7197 Private) and was killed in action on 25 October 1914 (Ploegsteert Memorial) leaving a wife and two children. Joseph served with the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (20813 Private) and was killed on 14 February 1916 (Ypres Menin Gate Memorial) leaving a wife, Mary, and four children. His widow married Joseph Stones in 1918 and they had a son, Leonard James born the same year. Another brother, Thomas Edward, also served in the war and survived; he served in the 12th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (265039 Private) having previously served in the 1/7th Battalion (1146 Private). The eldest surviving child, James, who was described in the 1901 and 1911 Census as an 'army pensioner' (1901 census: 'lost leg in action') may have been wounded in the Boer War as there is a record of a Corporal Oswin (6339) of the 4th Battalion Sherwood Foresters serving in the South Africa Field Force, who was wounded at Roodeval on 7 June 1900.
In 1901 he was a general labourer. At the time he enlisted in the Special Reserve in 1908 he was a general labourer with the Nottingham Corporation. In 1911 he was still a general labourer but was employed by a coal merchant.
30 Nov 1915
2750533 - CWGC Website
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
His army service records survives. He attested in the Army Reserve (Special Reserve) on 17 July 1908 aged 18y. 7m. He served in the 4th Bn Notts and Derby Regiment but was discharged on 14 June 1908 (free under para 59 SAO dated 23 December 1907). However, he re-engaged and his service reckoned from 17 July 1908 and he then went on to complete his 14 days annual training every year from 1909 until 1914: 7-20 June 1909, 6-25 June 1910, 8 May-3 June 1911, 1-27 July 1912, 2-28 June 1913, 11 May 1914 (for 14 days). He was appointed to the Sherwood Foresters on 9 September 1914 and posted to the 2nd Battalion on 11 November 1914. He was confirmed in the rank of corporal on 7 June 1915. He received a shrapnel wound to the head on 5 August 1915 and was admitted to hospital in Le Treport on 8 August 1915, being evacuated to England (disembarking Newhaven) on 16 August 1914. He was admitted to Bagthorpe Military Hospital, Nottingham, on 7 October 1915 and died the following month on 30 November and was buried in Nottingham General Cemetery (Screen Wall. 03367). Altogether he completed 7 years 137 days service: Home July 1908-10 November 1914, BEF France 11 November 1914-14 August 1915, Home 16 August 1915-30 November 1915. He qualified for the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Bagthorpe Military Hospital, medical officer’s report: ‘Admitted with a septic incised wound of the head, caused by shrapnel. Treated by (-). A cerebral abscess formed. He was hospitalised and the above opened. This caused him to regain consciousness and he (-) much better. Later he developed Pyaernia (?) abscesses forming in different parts of the body. These were opened and cleaned but he died on Nov. 30th 1915.'
Nottingham Evening Post notice (abridged), 2 December 1915: 'Oswin. Died of wounds at the Military Hospital, Bagthorpe, Corporal William Oswin, 2nd Sherwood Foresters, age 27, son of Mary Ellen Oswin of 11 Bentinck Street, Sneinton.' Article published 4th December 1915 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “NOTTINGHAM SOLDIER’S FUNERAL. “With military honours, the funeral took place, at the Nottingham General Cemetery, this afternoon, of Corporal W. Oswin, of the 2nd Sherwood Foresters. whose home was in Bentinck-street, Nottingham, and who died at Bagthorpe Military Hospital as the result of wounds received during the British attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. In addition to the immediate relatives of the deceased hero, there were in attendance a number of wounded soldiers from the institution in which he breathed his last. Lieut. H. F. Clayson was in charge of the firing party from the Welbeck Rangers, which included Sergt. W. Chester, who was a comrade of Oswin the trenches.” His mother, Mary Ellen Oswin, was his sole legatee. Her address was given as 42 Trent Lane, Nottingham. In January 1916 the Infantry Records Office at Litchfield recorded that there were no personal effects to be returned to William’s next of kin, named as his mother, Mrs Mary Ellen Oswin, of 42 Trent Lane, Nottingham. Correspondence survives in William's army records showing that the Infantry Records Office, Litchfield, had written to William's mother at 11 Bentinck Street, Manor Street, Sneinton, in April 1919, and in November 1921 to an address at 42 Trent Lane, Nottingham, regarding the disposal of the plaque and scroll. The letters were returned by the Post Office marked as undeliverable ('gone away'); Mary had died in 1917. On 27 August 1928 the Record Office wrote to William's eldest brother, James, at 1 Queen's Place, Barker Gate, Nottingham, about the disposal of the plaque and scroll. James reply is also on file: ‘Sir, Will you kindly inform me how many papers I have to fill up and if it has took (sic) you 8 years to think about it. This is the 6th or 7th paper I have filled in. I am the next of kin, his eldest blood brother. I drew his money and also his medals [20 April 1922]. There are two more brothers and four sisters, but I don’t [know] there (sic) addresses and another thing I have not the time to enquire or the time to go looking for a minister and if that does not satisfy you well you know [what] to do. It is time there was a clearing out of a good lot of you at the Record Office. But the next time I shall write [to] his Majesty the King. (signed) ex-Cpl J Oswin of the above address.’ The four sisters he refers to are presumably Mary, Eliza, Lily and Elizabeth. There were originally seven brothers but this letter confirms that only four were still living in 1928 - James, Thomas, Bertie and Samuel - three brothers having died in the war, Joseph, Thomas, John and William. Following is an article published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 24th March 1916 and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 and includes his comments on the men mentioned in the article. “THE WIDOW'S ALL. “SEVEN SONS GIVEN TO THE ARMY. “A Nottingham widow, Mrs. [Mary] Oswin, of 62, Trent-lane, has given all her seven sons to the army. Three have fallen in action. In addition, she has two sons-in-law with the colours, and about 20 more distant relatives. Three cousins — brothers — have all made the great sacrifice. “The eldest son — ex-Corporal James [1], 36, formerly the 4th Sherwoods — would have been with the forces to-day but for the loss of a leg in the South African campaign. Private Joseph [2], 34, 10th Sherwoods, was blown up by an enemy mine on February 14th last. A married man living at Regent-hill, Carlton-road, he leaves a widow and four children, Private John [3], 33, 1st Leicesters, had put in 12 years with the colours. He was called up as a reservist, and was killed in action five weeks after going out. He leaves a widow and five children, living in Pipe-street, Southwell-road. “Private Thomas Edward [4], 32, 1/7th Sherwoods, was also called up as a reservist, and has been in action for months. His home is in Walker-street. Corporal William [5], 27, 2nd Sherwoods, had also put in 12 years' service with the colours, and was called up on the reserve. He was 11 months in action, and received the King's stripe on the field, before he received the wounds from which he died in the Bagthorpe Military Hospital. Private Bert [6], 24, enlisted into the Robin Hoods since war broke out, and being discharged as unfit, subsequently managed enter the 17th Sherwoods. Private Samuel [7], 18, 11th Sherwoods, enlisted at the age of 16½ years, had 11 months' training, and has been at the front some ten months. “In addition to these seven sons, one son-in-law, First-Class Stoker John P. Bostock [8], 1st Naval Brigade, was taken prisoner in the defence of Antwerp. A second son-in-law, Private Samuel Wood [9], 1/7th Sherwoods, lies sick in the Bagthorne Military Hospital. He, too, has seen service at the front.” [10] [1] Cpl. James Oswin, 4th Battalion Derbyshire Regiment, was wounded in action at Roodeval on 7th June 1900. [2] Pte. Joseph Oswin, 10th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, was killed in action at 'The Bluff' on 14th February 1916. He was married to Mary Oswin and is commemorated on the Menin Gate. [3] Pte. John Oswin, 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in action on 25th October 1914. He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial. [4] Pte. Thomas Edward Oswin landed in France with the Robin Hood Rifles on 28th February 1916. He was disembodied on 9th February 1919. [5] Cpl. William Oswin, 2nd Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, died of wounds on 30th November 1915. He is buried in Nottingham General Cemetery, commemorated on the Screen Wall. [6] Pte. Bert Oswin, 17th (Welbeck Rangers) Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, later transferred to the Labour Corps. [7] Pte. Samuel Oswin, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. [8] Sto. 1 John Paul Bostock, Collingwood Battalion, Royal Naval Division, was taken prisoner on 17th September 1914. Repatriated due to his ill-health on 12th September 1917, he was discharged as no longer physically fit for service on 14th November 1917. [9] Pte. Samuel Wood, 11th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, landed in France on 27th August 1915. He transferred to the Labour Corps and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 27th March 1919. [10] 'Nottingham Evening Post', 24th March 1916.
Remembered on


  • Photograph of the screen wall in the Nottingham General Cemetery where the name of William Oswin is commemorated, he was buried on 4th December 1915 in the cemetery, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    William Oswin - Photograph of the screen wall in the Nottingham General Cemetery where the name of William Oswin is commemorated, he was buried on 4th December 1915 in the cemetery, courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918