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  • Grave in Brie British Cemetery, France.
Person Details
Newark on Trent Nottinghamshire
John Francis Rawding, known as Frank, was the son of Allen and Lucy Rawding (née Smith). His father Allen was born in about 1847 at Besthorpe and his mother Lucy Smith was born in about 1853 at Coddington. They were married in 1871 (O/N/D Newark, George Allen Rawding-Lucy Smith) and had at least five children, the eldest of whom, Maria Elizabeth, was born in Besthorpe. No registration of Maria's birth has yet been traced (Rawding or Smith) but there is a record of the baptism in Durham on 1 December 1872 of a Maria Elizabeth Rawding, the daughter of Allen and Lucy Rawding and the 1939 Register of England & Wales gave her date of birth as 10 September 1871. The other four children were born in Newark and baptised at the parish church of St Leonard: Sarah Jane birth registered 1877 (J/F/M) bap. 28 March 1877, Eliza b. 1880 bap. 4 April 1884;, Annie b. 1886 bap. 1 September 1886 and John Francis b. 1888 bap. 21 November 1888. According to the baptismal records, the family lived at various properties on George Street, Newark, but in 1881 were living at 15 George Street. Allen, a general labourer, and Lucy had three children, Maria (9), Sarah Jane (4) and Eliza (under 1 year). They were still living at the same address in 1891 but only Sarah, Eliza, Annie (4) and John (1) were in the home with their parents on the night of the census and by 1901 only Eliza, a tailor's machinist, and John were still living at home. Lucy died in March 1908. At the time of the 1911 census Allen was living at 6 Union Row, King Street, Newark, with two of their children, Annie, 'at home' and John, a general labourer. Allen died in January 1936. John Francis married Mary Anne Joynes (b. 23 July 1891) in 1913 (A/M/J Newark) and they had two children, Leonard b. 1914, who died the same year, and Lawford born 8 February 1915. They were living on Tolney Lane, Newark, when John was killed in 1918. In 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled, his widow was living at 15 Tolney Lane with her son Lawford, an engineers' progress clerk. Mary died in 1975. Lawford married Violet Cliff in 1940 and died in January 1996. Of John Francis' siblings: Maria Elizabeth married Joseph Buttery Biggs in 1889 and in 1911 they were living on Lindum Street, Newark with their nine surviving children. They moved to Peterborough before the end of the war. In 1939 the widowed Maria Elizabeth was living in Peterborough with one of her children, Thomas (b. 1889) who was incapacitated (blind). Another son, Christopher (b. 1893), served as Christopher Buttery Archer in the 9th Bn Norfolk Regiment (9067 Private) and was killed in France on 15 April 1918. Marie died in 1951. Sarah Jane married Harry Rollitt in 1901. In 1911 they were living at 2 Union Row, Newark, with their five children. Sarah and Harry (b. 21 April 1875) were still living in Newark in 1939; also in the home were two of their children, John (b. 1911) and Margaret (b. 1914). Sarah died in 1956. Eliza died in 1901 (A/M/J Newark) aged 21 Annie married John R Young in 1911. She died in March 1919.
He was a general labourer and maltster at Messrs. Bishops
30 Sep 1918
265268 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Newark
Company Serjeant Major
  • DCM DCM Distinguished Conduct Medal
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment). Company Sergeant Major John Francis Rawding enlisted at Newark. He was wounded on 4 July 1916 but was treated in France. He died on 30 September 1918 of wounds received in action the previous day and is buried in Brie British Cemetery, Somme, France (grave ref. IV. C. 9). Posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for action at Bellenglise on 29th September 1918 and the Meritorious Service Medal. According to a history of the Battalion, it spent 30 September in dug-outs and trenches 'in the region of our objective the previous day, between Bellenglise and Lehaucourt.' The list of casualties shows only three on 30 September, Company Sergeant Major JF Rawlings, who had been wounded the previous day, and 15892 Private Thomas Johnson and 23041 Private Ernest Walker. (See records on this Roll of Honour). CWGC - Brie British Cemetery (extract): Commonwealth troops took the village of Brie during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line 18-20 March 1917. although it fell in the German offensive on 23 March 1918. 'Brie was regained on 5 September ... The cemetery was begun by Commonwealth units after the second occupation of the village and taken over by the 5th, 47th and 48th Casualty Clearing Stations, which were posted at Brie in September and October before being moved on along the St. Quentin road to Bihecourt, near Vermand. It was enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields east and south of Brie and the following cemeteries [listed].'
'The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914-1919, 1/8th Battalion',Captain WCC Weetman MC CdeG, p.268 (Bellenglise 1918) - Attack on the Hindenberg Line. 'Though the resistance on this [left] flank was not so great it was not altogether easy going, and there was considerable shelling and machine gun fire. Bloor, in command, got badly wounded, and Rawding, his very gallant Comp. Sergt.-Major also fell, dying the next day. Mobilised with the Battalion he went out with it as a Private and won promotion by sheer merit. All ranks of the Battalion had the greatest regard for him and his loss was very keenly felt.' Report published in the Newark Advertiser 19th March 1919:- 'Only son of Mr A. Rawding, Union Row, King Street, Newark. Resided with wife and child in Tolney Lane. Would have been 31 next month. He was a maltster at Messrs. Bishops and was in camp as a private with the 1/8th Territorials when war broke out. He was slightly wounded on the 4th July, 1916, but not sufficient to permit of him being sent to England. Home on his last leave in February. On 29th September at Bellenglise: “Displayed greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. Re-organised company after a difficult advance through thick fog, before the final assault. He fearlessly exposed himself to heavy machine-gun fire and was severely wounded”. Admitted to hospital with a severe wound in the abdomen and died at 10.40 pm the same day, he was unconscious throughout. Postumously awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal & Meritorious Service Medal.' His nephew, Christopher Buttery Biggs, the son of his eldest sister, Maria Elizabeth, served in the Norfolk Regiment (9067 Private, served as Archer) and was killed in France on 15 April 1918. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Remembered on


  • Grave in Brie British Cemetery, France.
    John Francis Rawding - Grave in Brie British Cemetery, France.