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  • photo originally published in the Worksop Guardian and now in the Borough of Worksop Roll of Honour of the Great War 1914-1918 in Worksop Library.
Person Details
Worksop, Notts
William Emson and Mary Hoggard married in Worksop in 1865. The first 2 children, George and Charles, were born in Worksop and whilst working in the Todwick and Beighton area had 2 more, William and Mary. By 1881 the family was back in Worksop living at 87 Kilton Road where their last and youngest child was born in 1883, named Fred. In 1889 Mary was left a widow as William died in Worksop at the age of 49. 1891 found the family living in Thorpe Salvin, with the older boys working as farm labourers. Ten years later they were back in Worksop, resident at 52 Abbey Street, which was also the final move for Mary Emson who was now age 60. Over the next decade, the children gradually moved from the family home, getting married etc, leaving only Fred with his mother in 1911. Fred, of course, enlisted at Worksop, his mother living just long enough to hear of his death and died in Worksop in 1919 age 76.
01 Jul 1916
32
185030 - CWGC Website
17000
Private
11th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He was killed on the first day of the Somme. Battalions attacking Ovillers on 1st July 1916 had to cross 'Mash Valley' one of the widest expanses of No Man's Land (750 yards) along the entire Somme front. Today, looking from Ovillers Cemetery (German front line) towards distant houses (British front line) across open fields offering little cover, the magnitude of their task is still evident. 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters' War Diary recorded: 'Casualties along the whole line were very heavy and a general attempt was made to crawl forward under intense machine gun and shrapnel fire, any available cover being made use of.... Lt Colonel Watson, walking diagonally across the front collecting men as he went gave fresh impetus to the advance by his personal example... A third attempt, led by Captain C E Hudson*, to reach the German trenches by the sunken road on the right flank was made but... was brought to a standstill by heavy frontal and flank fire as they came over the brow of the hill in the last 80 yards. The casualties sustained by the battalion during the day amounted to 21 officers and 508 men. The strength of the battalion on entering the trenches on 26th June was 27 officers and 710 men.' 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters War Diary TNA WO95/21871(3). 125 men from 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were killed during the attack on Ovillers (CWGC Debt of Honour Register). *John Cotterill adds 'The man who brought the 11th Foresters out of action on 1 July and, one of the 6 unwounded officers, was Capt Edward Hudson who would go on to get a VC as CO of 11th Foresters on Asiago Plateau in Italy in 1918'. 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment suffered 264 fatalities during the same advance. Concerns of their CO Lieutenant Colonel Edward Thomas Falkiner Sandys DSO, a brave and well respected officer, that his battalion would be badly mauled crossing such an expanse of open ground with uncut wire an added hazard, did not impress his superiors. Sandys was wounded during the attack and evacuated to the UK. Depressed at the fate of so many men who had trusted him, Sandys shot himself in a London hotel room and died a few days later. 8th Division's Official History records a total of 5,121 casualties on 1st July 1916. Military Research by David Nunn
Pte Fred Emson Worksop Guardian 18 August 1916 A great sorrow has overtaken Mrs Emson of 52 Abbey Street, Worksop, a widow now in her 76th year, by an announcement from the War Office that her youngest son, Pte Fred Emson, 11th Sherwood Foresters, is missing and believed to have been killed. The official intimation is supplemented by a letter from the Chaplain, the Rev. A E Hitchcock who writes:- Dear Mrs Emson, I am sorry to tell you that your son, Pte Fred Emson is reported missing, but believed to have bee killed. The Battalion lost heavily on July 1st and the fact that after entering the German trenches, we had to return to our own trenches makes it impossible to obtain exact information of those who have not come back. But it is better to have the worst than to remain in suspense, and it may add to your peace of mind to be told the truth so far as we know it, with sincere sympathy, believe me, yours truly, A E Hitchcock, C.F.” Pte Emson was 32 years of age, single, and lived at home with his aged mother, whose late husband was in the service of the late Captain Walker, Blyth Hall. He enlisted on September 2nd 1914. “I did not ask him to go,” said his mother to a “Worksop Guardian” representative, “I let him please himself for I knew they wanted men and the poor thing in Belgium and France had been badly treated. But he was a good lad to me and he had always been with me.” Poor old lady, she was in great grief and her heart was heavy within her. It is so sad to see the old mourn the loss of their children. Before enlisting, Pte Emson had been employed in the traffic department of the Worksop and Retford Brewery Co. His last letter home was dated June 23rd, when he said they were preparing to take the offensive. Mrs Emson will have the sympathy of the townspeople at large in her sorrow. Pte. Fred Emson Worksop Guardian 1 September 1916 Official intimation has been received by Mrs. Emson, 52, Abbey Street, Worksop, that her son, Pte. Fred Emson, 11th Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action on July 1st. He was her youngest son, and she is 76 years of age. Pte Emson was first reported missing, “believed to have been killed”, and this belief has now become a certainty. It is a hard blow for his poor old mother, with whom much sympathy is felt. Pte Emson was 32 years of age and unmarried He is buried in Blight valley Cemetery, Authuille Wood, Somme, France. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on

Photos

  • photo originally published in the Worksop Guardian and now in the Borough of Worksop Roll of Honour of the Great War 1914-1918 in Worksop Library.
    Fred Emson - photo originally published in the Worksop Guardian and now in the Borough of Worksop Roll of Honour of the Great War 1914-1918 in Worksop Library.
  • Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery
    Fred Emson - Buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery
  • Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.
    Photo David Nunn - Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.