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  • Inscription on headstone in Sutton in Ashfield cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
Person Details
Sutton in Ashfield Nottinghamshire
Born about 1887, Frank was the son of John and Rosamond Goodacre. There is a record of three siblings as in 1891 when John and Rosmond were living at 11 Swan Street, Sutton in Ashfield, four children were named on the census: Mary (11), Elizabeth A. (5), Frank (4) and Jonathan (2). John, who was a miner, died age 46 in 1897 and his widow married Christopher White, a coal miner, in 1898. She and Christopher had three children, Gershom, Annie and Rosamund. In 1901 Rosumand and Christopher were living at Pingle Fields, Sutton in Ashfield, with their first child, Annie (1), three children of his previous marriage, Thomas White (15), Christopher White (13) and Nellie White (9) and four of her children, Elizabeth, Frank, Jonathan and William. Mary, who would have been 21, was not in the household at the time of the census and may have already been married. Frank married Hannah Emily Wilkinson in 1907 and in 1911 they were living at 24 Stoney Street, Sutton in Ashfield, in the home of their brother-in-law, Gersham Hall, who was also a coal miner. Gersham and his wife Mary had two children, John William (10) and Melly (6). Frank and Hannah (24, b. Balbriggan, Ireland) had one daughter, Gladys Ethel (2, b. 18 June 1908, Hodsthorpe, Derbyshire); a second daughter, Letitia May, who was born in the first months of 1914, died two months before her father on 6 May 1915, aged 15 months. Hannah and Gladys moved after Frank's death to 2 St Michael's Street, Sutton in Ashfield, although it is not known whether they had still been living at Stoney Street prior to that. Declaration of Frank's living relatives signed 7 May 1919 (document damaged and parts illegible): Wife, Hannah Emily Godson, and daughter, Gladys Ethel, of 2 St Michael Street, Sutton in Ashfield. Mother: Rosamund White (address obliterated apart from ‘Mansfield’ but probably Rainworth, Mansfield). Brother: Jonathan Godson (29). Half-brother: Gershom White (18). Sisters: Mary Hall (38), 24 Morley Street, Sutton in Ashfield, Elizabeth Edson (35), Hodthorpe, Nr Whitewell, Notts. Half-sisters: Annie White (19), 24 (-) Street, Sutton in Ashfield, Rosamund White (14), Rainworth, Mansfield
In 1901 he was a colliery pony driver underground and in 1911 a coal miner fitter with Babbington Coal Co. He joined the Territorial Force, 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, in 1910.
16 Jul 1915
28
477711 - CWGC Website
983
When he attested in 1910 he was living at 24 Stoney Street, Sutton in Ashfield
Corporal
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He attested in the Territorial Force (1/8 Bn Sherwood Foresters) on 22 August 1910 (enlistement for four years TF service). He began preliminary training in October 1910 then attended Scarborough Camp in 1911, a second summer camp in August 1912 and finally Thoresby Camp in July 1913. He was promoted corporal on 26 September 1914. He served in France from 2 March 1915 until his death in July the same year when he died after being shot accidentally. He was buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery (grave ref II.F.22A). He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Court of Enquiry 'assembled in the Field on 29 July 1915 by order of the OC 1/8 Sherwood Foresters for the purpose of investigating the circumstances attending the death of No 983 Cpl Godson, ‘C’ Coy 1/8 Sherwood Foresters on July 16th 1915.' President: Captain GL Heathcote 1/8 SF. Members Lt Houfton and 2/Lt ES Strachan, 1/8 SF. Evidence of Major H Stackland SF: ‘I saw this man on July 16th 1915. He had been shot at close quarters by a bullet through the left knee, (-) shattering the joint and the vessels. He died shortly afterward.' Evidence of Cpl Dewsnap ‘since deceased: The witness evidence of Cpl E Dewsnap (since killed in action) is attached. The Court have investigated this and find it to be in order. Witness statement by Cpl Dewsnap: 'I had just passed the ammunitions store Reserve Trench, and passed in to my dugout, the entrance of which is about 2 paces from the store and Pte Watkins was at the other cleaning his rifle. Just as I knelt at the entrance of my dugout I heard Pte Watkins close the bolts of his rifle which was immediately followed by the report of his rifle (-) off. I then ran to see what had happened … Pte Watkin putting his rifle down and (-) away. I then saw Cpl Godson had fallen having been shot through the leg. Pte Watkins … this is all I know of the case.' Statement by 1869 Pte Watkin ‘D’ Coy: ‘(-) on guard at the ammunition store (Reserve Trench) and just been relieved. (-) rifle being wet with rain I sat down and commenced wiping it. I had withdrawn the bolt opened the (-) to wipe away the rain (-) have (-) to close the (-) off. I closed the ball and was cleaning the exterior of the magazine trigger guard when the cleaning rag caught the trigger and released it. I of course had no knowledge the chamber contained a cartridge. Cpl Godson was sitting opposite to me and the bullet struck him just above the knee. I then got up and reported it to the Duty Major. This is all I have to say.’ The documents include a copy of a sketch of the layout of the incident drawn by the witness, Cpl E Dewsnap, made by Capt Gilbert Heathcote, Captain, OC Reserve Trench, ‘C’ Coy. The conclusion of the Court of Enquiry was that, 'The Court having thoroughly investigated the case find that there is no further evidence bearing on the subject.' CR No 7639. The case of No 983 Cpl F Godson (accidentally killed). ‘I consider that the Court has checked all the information available – the accident is much regretted – Cpl Godson was a promising young NCO. Pte Watkins’ action showed great carelessness, he has since been admitted to hospital and evacuated on July 21/15.’ GM Fowler, Lt Col 1/8 Sherwood Foresters. (By Brigade HQ?) Pte Watkins should be tried by Court Martial, dated 1 September 1915, (signed) CT Shiplin (-), (-) 139th Bde. Members of the Court of Enquiry. See CWGC 586108 and T2T ROH: Lieutenant Charles Morley Houfton, 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, killed in action 12 November 1915. Also CWGC 1770041: Second Lieutenant Edward Stanley Strachan, 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, killed in action 14 October 1915. Loos Memorial. See CWGC 513428 and T2T ROH: Lt Col GH Fowler, commanding 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, killed in action on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, 15 October 1915.
His widow was awarded a pension of 15/6d for herself and her child with effect from 14 February 1916. Inscription on gravestone in Sutton in Ashfield cemetery: 'In loving memory of Corpl. Frank Godson, 8th Sherwood Foresters, the beloved husband of Hannah Emily Godson, who was accidentally killed in Belgium July 6th 1915, aged 28 years. Also their beloved daughter, Letitia May, who died May 6th 1915, aged 15 months. We cannot Lord thy purpose see but all is well that’s done by thee.’ Research Rachel Farrand
Remembered on

Photos

  • Inscription on headstone in Sutton in Ashfield cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
    Frank Godson - Inscription on headstone in Sutton in Ashfield cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Photograph Rachel Farrand (August 2015).
  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Frank Godson - Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle