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  • Buried in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Mansfield. Non CWGC headstone
Person Details
25 Jan 1892
Mansfield Nottinghamshire
Francis was the eldest son of William and Hannah Midgley (née Ball). His father William was born in Mansfield in 1868, the son of Francis Hornby, a wine merchant, and his wife Rebecca. His mother was born in 1870, also in Mansfield. William and Hannah were married at Mansfield SS Peter & Paul in April 1891 and had three children who were all born in Mansfield: Francis b. 25 January 1892, William Midgley b. 1893 and Dorothy Ellen b. 1898. All three were baptised at SS Peter & Paul, Francis on 2 March 1892. In 1901 William, a wine merchant who had previously been an assistant to his father, who was also a wine and spirit merchant, was living at 12 West Gate with his wife and their three children. He employed one general domestic servant. By 1911 William snr. was innkeeper at The Masons' Arms, Leeming Street, Mansfield, and his wife was assisting in the business. Their son William was in the home on the night of the census, but Francis, a bank clerk, was living in a boarding house in Harrogate, Yorkshire, while Dorothy was recorded visiting Thomas Newton, a farmer, and his family at Warren Farm, Mansfield. Francis's parents were still at The Masons' Arms when he was killed in 1915 but had moved to Annesley House, Alexander Avenue, Mansfield, by 1919 and were still living at the same address at the time of their deaths, Hannah in February 1947 and William in July the same year. They were survived by their son William and daughter Hannah Smith (m. 1932 Hubert Basil Smith).
Attended Brunts School. Bank clerk with National Provincial Bank. Member of Mansfield Swimming Club.
12 Nov 1915
2750050 - CWGC Website
Mason's Arms, Leeming Street, Mansfield. Enlisted Leicester.
1/4th Bn Leicestershire Regiment
1/4th Bn Leicestershire Regiment Francis Hornby attested on 7 August 1914 aged 22 years and 6 months, and joined on a Territorial Force engagement (4 years service in the UK). He was promoted acting lance corporal on on 2 July 1915 and to acting sergeant on 7 September 1915. He suffered multiple shrapnel wounds to both legs on 14 October 1915 after 'going over the top' (see 'Extra information') and was treated at a Field Ambulance followed by admission the following day to No. 25 General Hospital, Dammes-Carniers, Hardelot, Pas de Calais. Francis was medically evacuated to England (HS Newhaven) on 22 October 1915 and died in the 1st London General Hospital, Camberwell, London, on 12 November 1915. Francis was buried with full military honours in Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery (grave ref. A 1252) on Tuesday 16 November following a service at Mansfield St Peter. A memorial service was held later that month at St Peter's for Francis and Lieutenant CM Houfton who was also a member of the congregation. Service record: Home 7 August 1914-1 March 1915 (207 days). France 2 March 1915-22 October 1915 (235 days). Home 23 October 1915 (sic)-12 November 1915 (21 days). He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Buried Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery, headstone inscription: ‘In loving memory of Sergt Francis Hornby 4th Leicestershire Regiment who died of wounds received in action in France November 12th 1915 in his 24th year. ‘Jesu Mercy ever blest grant him thine eternal rest.’ Mansfield Chronicle Advertiser, 18 November 1915: Photograph of Sgt Francis Hornby of 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment of the Mason's Arms Leeming Street, Mansfield, has been badly wounded. Attended Brunts School and was working has a bank clerk. A member of Mansfield Swimming Club. Writing on 12th May 1915, Sgt. Francis (Frank) Hornby, Machine Gun Section, 1/4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, described some of his recent experiences: witnessing a German aircraft brought down; and his gun jambing during a German trench raid, in which some men ran away following their officer and non-commissioned officers becoming casualties. “WHAT THEY THINK OF THE STRIKERS AND SHIRKERS AT THE FRONT. “The following interesting letter is from Sergeant Frank Hornby, of the Leicesters, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hornby, of the Mason's Arms Inn, Leeming-street:— “British Expeditionary Force, 12/5/15. “I am sorry you have not had any letters for three weeks, but I have written once if not more every time out of the trenches. As I told you I cannot get letters taken from the trenches. Now I will relate our four days adventures. You know we went in last Thursday night. Friday night, three of us took out a gun to be repaired, and on Saturday night two of us went to headquarters to fetch it hack. Just as we started back a shell dropped 40 to 50 yards in front of us, and another in a field near. Fortunately no more came, but still it made the journey exciting. Sunday morning [9th May 1915] we were told big moves were being made both sides of us and we were to keep as many Germans in front of us as possible. Sunday afternoon we were just having tea (we had two friends in) when our sentry told us there was a German aeroplane overhead. I don't think any of us had seen a German before, so we all rushed out. We saw our shells bursting all round for a minute or two, and then we went back to tea. We had hardly got down when we were called out with the cry that one of our aeroplanes was in pursuit. He seemed to come from nowhere. He very rapidly got near the German and opened fire with a small gun with which he is armed. Soon the German began to vol-plane down with our man just above him and still firing. When he got to about 1,000 feet, the German machine began to tip and fall more rapidly, and by the time he disappeared from our sight he was simply dropping. We could not see the finish because there was a small hill between us. He fell in his own lines. Our machine hovered over him some time and then came over us. He did get a cheer from us all. We had just finished tea and had started our cigarettes when the ground seemed to shake as by an earthquake, and we heard such an explosion. It was a mine, we knew we were blowing one of their trenches up, but expected it being at night. When we got out we saw about 500 yards away a cloud of dirt, dust, smoke (and we hope Germans), in the, air. Rifle fire started then very heavily. It was now six o'clock. Our artillery commenced now shelling their first line trenches just opposite to us, and we hear did very good work. As soon as they stopped our bomb-throwers began and sent them a few souvenirs in the shape of rifle grenades. The German artillery started as well at this time, and began shelling our support trenches. At first we enjoyed it because their range was too long, but soon they dropped their range and got on to a trench 30 yards behind us with their big lydite shrapnell [sic] shells. These burst with a very loud noise and give off greenish yellow fumes which are highly poisonous. One shell burst exactly over the trench and killed one officer and one man, and wounded nine men. After that they shortened their range still further and got three, which burst level with out dug-out, a few yards away. Fortunately for this history they were the opposite side of the sand bags to us. Every time I could feel the parapet shake. Our gunners, in a trench opposite us, came down as soon as it was over. They said, that it appeared to them as though the shells burst just in our dug-out, and they didn't expect to find us all. That finished the day's adventures. The men who really are responsible for the damage are the strikers and shirkers in England. They are stopping our supply of shells and ammunition. If our artillery could have had an unlimited supply of shells they could have silenced the Germans before they got the range. An unlimited supply of ammunition is vital to our success. If we cannot get ammunition it means a useless sacrifice of our men's lives. I wish this was realised in England or else that the Government would use means to compel the men. “On Monday night we were to be relieved, and everything was quiet until midnight. At that hour a lot of separate explosions took place, and on climbing on our parapet I saw a lot of grenades bursting about our fire trench. It soon stopped, and as nothing more was heard, I started to walk to S. M.'s dug-out next door, to see if be knew what it was. I met him rushing down shouting, “Stand to.” I had just got the rest of the team out side, and the gun ready, when orders came down, "Open fire on E1 left. The Germans have captured it.” First shot from the gun, and she jambed. Oh, the language. I could not get it going, and Mr. Tan, our officer, who came round soon, also failed. All our other guns were firing gloriously, about 500 a minute. Our artillery soon began, and must have given the Germans something to think about, because all their shells seemed to be bursting exactly over the German trenches. A counter attack was launched from behind us, but when they got to the trench, it had been evacuated by the Germans. They left one officer behind as a souvenir. If they had stayed in they would have had something to do, because help was ready from both flanks, and our reserves and the battalion, who were relieving us, came up at the double. Anyway, things soon settled down, and we were relieved just after dawn. We got the gun going before we left. Well, how is that for a start? “I am going to have a fortnight's holiday, at least I am going for a fortnight's course of Machine Gun instruction. Will let you know when I get there. Oh, I forgot. We also blew up a sap of theirs on Monday afternoon. I think, on the whole, we must have given them a fright. It has started raining in earliest to-day hope you have; it better.” Above report published on 21st May 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Mansfield Reporter, 5 November 1915, contained a report on the ‘Condition of Sergt. F Hornby’ who was being treated at Camberwell Hospital and concluded that ‘although the patient is still in a precarious position he is a little better.’ It also mentioned that his parents were ‘called to London on Saturday night to see him, and they have not yet returned.’ (www. britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, Roll of Honour, 16 November 1915: ‘Hornby. On the 12th inst., at Camberwell Hospital, London, from wounds received in action, Sergt. Francis Hornby, 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment, of Leeming-street, Mansfield, in his 24th year. He died for his country.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 19 November 1915, report with photograph: ‘Military Funeral At Mansfield. Sergeant Frank Hornby: The tragedy of war was brought much nearer home to Mansfield people on Tuesday [16th] on account of a military funeral being accorded Sergt. Frank Hornby, son of Mr and Mrs W Hornby, Masons’ Arms Hotel, Leeming-street. In the presence of such a scene as was witnessed in the streets, in the church, and at the cemetery, the terrible toll this country is paying for defending the rights of the small states and fighting for justice and freedom is more easily realised. The deceased soldier was an old scholar of Brunts School, and was in his 24th year. He gave up a position in a bank, a profession in which he had made marked progress, and enlisted soon after the outbreak of hostilities when the country was calling loudly to her sons for help. He was drafted to the Leicesters, joining the 1st/4th Battalion, and after the probationary period of training he crossed to France, where he was wounded some weeks ago in both legs … on arrival at Camberwell Hospital [London] he was found to be in a somewhat serious condition, and later it was found necessary to operate upon him. Everything possible was done for him, but he died on Saturday, his mother and father having been in London a fortnight hoping against hope. On October 22nd we published a letter from the Sergeant to his sister. In that he speaks of a narrow escape he had … In regard to Tuesday’s funeral, the 3/7th West Riding Regiment provided a firing party and band, in all about 80 men. They assembled near the deceased man’s home and preceded the cortege by way of Leeming-street and Church-street, the band playing ‘The Dead March’, and the men carrying their arms reversed. The streets were lined by thousands of people, the crowd near the entrance to the church being very dense, and requiring a number of police to keep the road clear. At the church gate the vicar (the Rev FJ Adams) accompanied by the assistant clergy [named] met the bearers, six gallant Sergeants in khaki, with the coffin, which was covered with the Union Jack and a wealth of floral tributes [names listed at the end of the report]. The hearse and a number of the carriages contained wreaths also. There was a large congregation … The coffin was born back to the hearse, and the journey to the cemetery resumed. At the graveside the committal sentences were read by the Vicar … The firing party then fired three volleys, and the buglers sounded the ‘Last Post.’ On the coffin, the inscription read: ‘Francis Hornby, 4th Leicestershire Regimet. Died November 12th, 1915, aged 23 years. The principal and other mourners were [names listed].’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times, 26 November 1915: report of a memorial service at the Parish Church of St Peter, Mansfield, for Lieutenant CM Houfton and Sergeant F Hornby. The memorial service was also the subject of an item in the paper’s ‘Notes and Comments.’ The same edition published a letter from FW Burton, the son of Mr JK Burton, of The Laurels, who was serving in the same regiment as Sgt Hornby, under the headline ‘How Sergt Frank Hornby received his wounds.’ The letter read: ‘Dear Mrs Hornby, The sad news of Frank’s death reached me yesterday from home and also a request for me to write to you … As regards the eventful day on which Frank was wounded, I can tell you a little and I think you will like to know as much as possible. H was to go in the charge with my team, so we were together almost to the last. About ten minutes before the word came to go I went over everything with him, and we made final arrangements. Then we had a cigarette, and a little chat whilst the minutes went racing along. Frank was just as he always has been, and in fact, none of the team showed anything but the finest courage. At two o’clock we had the word to go, and Frank handed up the gun stuff to me on the parapet, and off we went. I was first, and Frank brought up the rear, so I never saw any more of him. How I escaped injury I don’t know, but my luck was evidently in, and never a scratch came my way. From what I hear, the stretcher bearers got Frank into the trench, as he was not far from the parapet. He was dressed an hour or two after he received the wounds, and one of two of the boys carried him down and out of the trench. This is all I can tell you of the charge as it affected Frank. The whole remaining members of the section send their deepest sympathy with you, and I can assure you it was a great shock to us all to hear that he had succumbed. My own sympathy with you I cannot adequately express, the whole business is too appalling, and the loss of so many true pals is almost too much to bear. I must close now, and will, if I am spared, come and see you when I get home on leave.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Probate: Hornby Francis of The Masons Arms Mansfield Nottinghamshire sergeant in HM Army died 12 November 1915 at Camberwell Hospital London Administration Nottingham 1 February to William Hornby wine and spirit merchant. Effects £505 0s. 7d.
Remembered on


  • Buried in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Mansfield. Non CWGC headstone
    Francis Hornby - Buried in Nottingham Road Cemetery, Mansfield. Non CWGC headstone
  • Photograph published on 19th November 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Francis Hornby - Photograph published on 19th November 1915 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times. Courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918