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  • Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 19th December 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Cotgrave
Samuel was born in 1891 the son of Henry a district council roadman and Emma Lacey née Footitt of Chapel Yard Cotgrave Nottingham. His father was born in 1861 at Shelford, Nottinghamshire and his mother in 1862 at Cotgrave Nottinghamshire. They were married in 1882 in Nottingham and had fourteen children two of whom died in infancy. Samuel's surviving siblings, all born at Cotgrave, were Arthur b.1883, Harry b.1885, George b.1887, Annie b.1889, Elizabeth Emma b.1893, Alice b.1895, Mary b.1897 Sarah Hannah b.1898, William b.1899, Thomas b.1901 and Lenna b.1902. On the 1911 Census the family was living at Gripps Cottages Cotgrave. In 1912, at All Saints Church Cotgrave, Samuel married Rose Blanche Cartledge. She married John Morris at Lincoln in 1918 and they lived at 140 Whitham Road Broomhill Sheffield.
Samuel worked as a labourer on a farm and also was a policeman in the Nottingham City Force.
26 Oct 1914
23
1618009 - CWGC Website
13704
Gripps Cottages, Cotgrave
Private
1st Bn Grenadier Guards
At the age of 18 he decided to try a military career and on 4 Sep 1907 in Nottingham he followed his brother Arthur into the Sherwood Foresters. It is interesting to note that Samuel declared his age as 18 years and 4 months when he was attested. If fact he was just 17, however being 5 feet 8 inches tall with a girth of 36 inches he probably looked a little older. After his initial training he was posted to the 2nd Battalion at the end of December 1907. However after just 7 months with the Sherwood Foresters Samuel transferred to the Grenadier Guards where George, another of his brothers was serving. After 2 years with the Grenadier Guards Samuel decided a military career was probably not for him and having completed 3 years with the colours, he left the service and moved to the Reserve from which he could be called back to the colours, should the situation dictate. He was mobilised into the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, the Battalion he had left 4 years earlier. Samuel’s Battalion trained hard and 2 months later were in Lyndhusrt Camp in the New Forest awaiting orders to move across the channel as part of the 7th Division under general Capper. The 7th was the last remaining reserve of Regular troops and was made up from units drawn from all over the Empire. These units had handed over their duties to members of the growing Territorial Force. Capper’s Division sailed on 4 October and disembarked at Zeebrugge on 3 days later as planned, but by this time things had changed and the 60,000 strong Belgium Army was withdrawing from Antwerp which was shortly to fall to a vastly superior German force. As a consequence Capper set off with his 12000 men, not towards Antwerp, but towards Brugges in order to cover the flank of the withdrawing Belgians. From Brugges the Division moved to Ghent and from Ghent to Ypres arriving on 14 October, 7 days after setting off from Zeebrugge. During that time they had marched over 100 miles. On Sunday 18 October The Gordon Highlanders, The Border Regiment, The 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards and Samuel’s 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, all Battalions of 20 Brigade, were ordered to advance from Ypres and capture Menin on the Belgium/French border 12 miles away. There was a sense of excitement as the infantry soldiers geared up for action and the following morning they advanced through the Menin Gate and up the Menin Road against only light resistance which was easily dealt with. However they never got to Menin as the enemy were in far greater numbers than expected and were fully prepared to counter the offensive. By the end of this, the first day of the First Battle of Ypres, British troops were back where they had started from and had taken a significant number of casualties. On the second day of the battle it became obvious that the 7th Division was fighting against huge odds and the enemy had the advantage. The previous day’s orders to advance were reversed and all battalions were to ‘hold the line which would be strongly entrenched’. For Samuel and his comrades this was an order most difficult to fulfil as they had no heavy spades and many of the lighter implements had been lost in the fighting and there was no wire to be had in Ypres. Nevertheless the day was saved by the arrival of the British First Corps under General Haig which had at last completed its move from the Aisne where it had been replaced by French troops. For the next 20 days the battle raged around the villages, hills and plains surrounding Ypres. Pashendale, Hooge, Poligon Wood and Messines were all taken and retaken with enormous casualties on both sides. However Ypres, which would have provided the Germans with a straight drive to the channel coast and Calais, was never taken. On 26 October Samuel’s Battalion was fighting alongside the Scots Guards and the 1st Battalion of the Staffordshire Regiment close to Kruiseeke in the face of a massive German attack. The Germans called out ‘retire’ in English and caused confusion amongst the British troops. Men of the 1st Staffordshire Regiment retired which enabled the Germans to get in behind the Scots and Grenadiers and to wipe out their forward companies. It may well be that Samuel was killed in this action but we will never know as he has no known grave. His military papers simply say ‘Killed in Action 26 October to 8 November 1914. Samuel was one of the 25,000 British soldiers killed or missing during the First Battle of Ypres. A further 29,000 were wounded bringing the total British casualty count to 55,000. The German Army suffered over twice that number. The Battle is recorded as having all but stopped by 11 November when winter set in and Trench Warfare started in earnest.
Menin Gate Panel 9 and 11 Thanks to John Ludlam for help with this page.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 19th December 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Samuel Lacey - Photo published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 19th December 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918