[Skip to content]



  • Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian , courtesy of Robert Illett
Person Details
Worksop, Notts
William Jepson and Selina Booth married in 1877 in Worksop. They had 7 children over their married life, William 1879, Lizzie 1881, Joseph 1882, George 1888, Harry 1891, Walter 1893 and Arthur in 1896 all born in Worksop. Over this period they had lived in 54 Abbey Street, 8 Chapel Walk and 181 Norfolk Street. In 1908, William Jepson senior died age 52 leaving Selina a widow. In 1911, the main subject of this text, Walter, was working as a coal miner prior to his joining the Sherwood Foresters.
01 Jul 1916
23
609054 - CWGC Website
15257
Private
C Coy 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, custodian of the Sherwood Foresters archives, 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 Walter Jepson Worksop Guardian 8 June 1917 Another Worksop soldier to make the great sacrifice is Pte. Walter Jepson, aged 24, son of Mrs Selena Jepson, of 81, Norfolk Street. Mrs Jepson is an old resident of Worksop and she has the sympathy of her many friends and neighbours in her sorrow. In his younger days Walter Jepson was employed by Mrs H Tomkins, newsagent, Market Place, and in this capacity the poor brave lad will be well remembered by many readers. He enlisted in the Notts. And Derby. Regiment on September 8th, 1914, soon after the war broke out, and consequently he had taken part in much of the fighting. All that is known is that he died on May 17th, from wounds received in action somewhere in France. A younger brother, Pte. Arthur Jepson is in the Yorks and Lancs, and he is in hospital in France suffering from a wound in the jaw. As a boy, Arthur was employed in the printing offices of Sissons and Son. Two others of Mrs Jepson’s son’s are serving their Country. Pte. Wm. Jepson, the eldest, in the Northumberland Fusiliers, and Pte. George Jepson is employed in the cobblers shop attached to the Nott’s and Derby, Regiment. Pte. Walter Jepson was a well behaved lad, and to his mother his death is a very heavy blow. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian , courtesy of Robert Illett
    Walter Jepson - Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian , courtesy of Robert Illett
  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Serre Road Cemetery No 2 
Courtesy of Murray Biddle.
    Walter Jepson - Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Serre Road Cemetery No 2 Courtesy of Murray Biddle.
  • 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.