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  • Photograph was published on 6th August 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Parents: John and Ada E Downham of 50 Victoria Street, Mansfield. Attended Brunts School
Joiner
30 Jul 1915
21
1610494 - CWGC Website
2739
50 Victoria Street, Mansfield.
Private
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Enlisted 16/10/1914 aged 21. Items Returned Bundle of letters, photographs, 2 Hymn books, English/French dictionary, knife and silver match box.He was killed in action at Hooge on 30th July 1915.
Pte. Reginald Downham, 1/8th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment, wrote of his experiences in a letter to the local press on 24th April 1915 it was published on 30th April 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times :- “MANSFIELD MAN'S LETTER FROM THE FRONT. “ONE OFFICER, ONE SERGEANT AND EIGHT PRIVATES KILLED. “Writing from the front under date of April 24th, R. Downham informs the editor of the “Reporter” that after holding the trenches for three weeks, “We have lost one officer, one sergeant, and eight privates, the first two being potted when out of the trenches. The officer with two men were out after a sniper, but the latter got the first shot home, and the officer was killed. The biggest part of our casualties are done by German snipers, and that makes us so keen in trying to get a shot at them. These snipers are doing the biggest amount of the killing work. We have the German shells over every day, and we also reply at two or three to one. The church here has escaped with only one shell at present, but I shall think it a lucky building if it keeps up its luck, as the biggest half of the village is in ruins. The Belgians here hold a very strange morning service. It's what they call Mass, a kind of Holy Communion, and when the service is about over, the priest sounds a bell and then the congregation get up, turn their chairs right round, and continue the service. They do not bother about dress. Any old things will do for them. We must say that the Belgians know how to train their hedges, and set out their gardens. They tell us they have the finest fruit trees in the world, but I have only seen the trees at present, and am anxious to see the fruit.” Further article published 6th August 1915 in the Mansfield Repoter and Sutton Times :- “LOCAL SHERWOOD FORESTER KILLED. “PRIVATE R. DOWNHAM, MANSFIELD. “Amongst the British soldiers who gave their lives for their country on the 30th of July, we regret to state that Private R. Downharn, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Downham, 50, Victoria-street, Mansfield. In all probability he was one of those who took part in the sanguinary engagement at Hooge, where the Germans won several of our trenches and occupied them. We are told that many deeds of heroism were performed on the occasion of this attack when the Germans delivered with their flame projects. The men belonging to the machine gun section of the regiment defending these trenches suffered severely during the intense bombardment which preceded the flame attack, but they held their ground and inflicted severe losses on the enemy. “Private Downham was in the trenches for the second time only, for being the battalion carpenter he had invariably other work to do. It was early in the morning, 4 o'clock, when the Germans made their dash, and as they were pressing one section very hard there was a call for bomb throwers from the 8th Sherwood Foresters, and young Downham was one of the gallant lads who stepped forward to do his best to stem the onrushing Germans, and whilst firing at them over the parapet he was shot dead through the head. Second-Lieut. Handley, who had charge of the platoon to which the deceased belonged, has written a sympathetic note to Mrs. Downham, giving some details of the circumstances under which her son met his death. “The letter was written at 5 a.m. on the 31st July, and addressed from the trenches in Belgium. It was as follows: — “July 31st, 5.30 a.m. “Dear Madam, — l write this note with the utmost regret to say that your son, Pte. R. Downham, was killed yesterday morning about 4 a.m. The Germans attempted to force a way into our trench to the right of my platoon line. Some of my men were deeded to help to drive them out. I asked for some bomb throwers and others. Your son was one of those who went, and he fell dead, shot through the head, while firing over the parapet at the advancing Germans, and so doing his duty manfully. I am sorry I saw so little of your son, but being a battalion carpenter, he had only been in the trenches once before. Considering that his nerves were not strong, I was very pleased with him, and particularly with his ready response yesterday, which proved fatal to him. “I can only say how very sorry I am to lose him. Please accept my sincere sympathies. — l am, your very truly, “N. L. HINDLEY, 2nd-Lieut., “Commanding Platoon B Coy., “8th Sherwood Foresters.” Above articles are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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  • Photograph was published on 6th August 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Reginald Downham - Photograph was published on 6th August 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918