[Skip to content]

  • Buried Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery,
Person Details
20 Jan 1889
Kirkby in Ashfield Nottinghamshire
John Topley was the son of Alfred Edward William and Mary Ann Topley (née Smith). His father Alfred Edward William was born in Scarrington in 1864 (A/M/J Ashby de la Zouch Leicestershire), the son of George Topley. His mother Mary Ann Smith was born in Woodville, Leicestershire, in about 1863. Alfred (21), a collier, living at New Annesley, Nottinghamshire, married Mary at Woodville St Stephen on 21 April 1886 (A/M/J Ashby de la Zouch). They had at least four children: George b. Kirkby in Ashfield 1 August 1887 (J/A/S Basford), John b. Kirkby 20 January 1889 (J/F/M Basford), Maria b. Kirkby 1 July 1890 (J/A/S Basford) and Austin b. Annesley Woodhouse 1895 (O/N/D Basford). In 1901 Alfred (26) and Mary (27) were living at Mount Pleasant, Kirkby in Ashfield, with their three children George (3), John (2) and Maria (under one year). By 1911 they had moved to East Street, Kirkby in Ashfield, and had four children, George, a coal miner/pony driver, John, Maria and Austin (under one year). John was working as a collier when he joined the Royal Navy in 1907. In 1911 he was a stoker serving in HMS Adventure (Cdr JRP Hawksley MVO RN), 2nd Destroyer Squadron, Home Fleet, at Portland Harbour. Mary Ann Topley died in January 1911 (J/F/M Worksop) and was buried in the churchyard of Creswell parish church on 24 January. Maria married John George Brown, a coal miner, in 1909 (A/M/J Mansfield) and had a son, George, the following year. In 1911 Maria's widowed father Alfred and her youngest brother Austin (15), both of whom were coal miners, were living with them at 16 Skerry Hill, Mansfield. Alfred was living at the same address when his son John died in 1921 (CWGC). Alfred died in 1934 (J/F/M Southwell).. John married Elsie May Green at St John, Mansfield, on 13 September 1913 (J/A/S Mansfield), the year after he transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve. They had five children of whom only two survived infancy: John birth registered 1914 (J/F/M Mansfield) d. 1914 (J/F/M Mansfield); Violet b. 1915 (A/M/J Mansfield) d. 1916 (J/A/S Mansfield); Elsie b. 21 March 1918 (J/F/M Mansfield); Raymond birth registered 1920 (J/F/M Mansfield) d. 1920 (J/A/S Mansfield) and Alfred b. 10 May 1921 (A/M/J Mansfield). The CWGC record gives Elsie May's address as 14 Mount Pleasant, Mansfield. She married Horace Riley (b. 2 July 1888) in 1923 (A/M/J Mansfield). In 1939 they were living at 79 Abbott Road, Mansfield; Horace was a coal hewer. Also in the household was Elsie's son Alfred, a coal haulier below ground, and her children by her second marriage, Constance (b. 10 March 1929) and Ronald (b. 14 March 1931). There was another member of the household whose record remains closed. Horace died in 1966 (J/F/M Mansfield) and Elsie May probably died in 1971 (J/F/M Southwell). Of John and Elsie's two surviving children: Elsie Topley married Arthur Wilson in 1937 (J/A/S Mansfield). In 1939 they were living on Gordon Avenue, Mansfield; Arthur (b. January 1918) was a coal hewer. She married secondly George Williams in 1972 (A/M/J Southwell). Elsie Williams died in 2002 (Dec. Mansfield). Alfred married Florence E Revill in 1945 (A/M/J Mansfield). He died in 2000 (Feb. Mansfield). Of John's siblings: George married Elizabeth Stewart (b. 24 January 1887) at Basford Register Office in 1907 (J/A/S Basford); they were then living at 20 Sherwood Street, Annesley Woodhouse nr. Kirkby in Ashfield. They had at least one child, Arthur Raymond (b. Annesley Woodhouse 12 November 1915), although they may have had another son, Jack, b. 1909 (A/M/J Basford, Stewart) d. 1909 (J/A/S Basford). George and Elizabeth were still livng at 20 Sherwood Street when he attested on 24 March 1915. He was posted to the King's Royal Rifle Corps (11195 Rfn) but was discharged 'physically unfit for war service' (rheumatic fever) on 18 January 1916 having served 321 days. In 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled he and Elizabeth were still at 20 Sherwood Street; he was still working as a coal hewer. George probably died on 12 November 1959 (O/N/D Basford). Maria, who had married John George Brown (b. 30 May 1887) in 1909, was living at 137 Church Road, Southwell, in 1939 with John who was still working as a coal miner/hewer. She died in 1981 (A/M/J Mansfield). Austin married Hannah Lucy Boam, daughter of Herbert Boam, at Heanor parish church on 7 August 1915; both were 19 years old. They had at least one child, Frank (b. 19 November 1916, O/N/D Basford). In 1939 Austin, a colliery hewer, and Lucy (b. 3 June 1897) were living at 68 Kingsway, Heanor, with their son Frank, a lorry driver, and his wife Olive (b. 10 September 1919) whom he had married at Heanor St Luke in 1937. There were also two other members of the household whose records remain closed. Austin died in 1961 (A/M/J Ilkeston Derbyshire).
He was a collier when he joined the Royal Navy on 28 August 1907. He transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve on 25 August 1912 and was mobilized on 2 August 1914; demoblized 14 February 1919.
17 Aug 1921
2750073 - CWGC Website
S.S. 105610
Stoker 1st Class
Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR Dev/B/4591). Last ship Ambrose II, submarine depot ship (see 'Extra information'). John joined the Royal Navy as a stoker on 28 August 1907 on a 12 year short service engagement (5 years RN, 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve). He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Vivid II, 28 August 1897-9 October 1907 (Stoker); Donegal 10 October 1907-20 January 1908 (Cells 7 days) 28 January 1908-24 August 1908 (Stoker 1st Class 19 July 1908); HMS Bulwark, 25 August 1908-13 April 1909; HMS Skirmisher, 13 April 1909-14 August 1910; HMS Adventure, 15 August 1910-24 April 1911 [1911 Census]; Vivid II, 25 April 1911-9 June 1911; HMS Tyne, 10 June 1911-24 July 1911; HMS Leander, 25 July 1911-29 April 1912; Vivid II, 30 April 1912-24 August 1912. He was Discharged Shore on 24 August 1912 on completion of 5 years service and transferred to to the Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR B4591) on 25 August 1912. John was mobilized shortly before the outbreak of war and served from 2 August 1914: Vivid II, 2 August 1914-22 October 1914 (Stoker 1st Class), HMS Tiger, 29 October 1914-5 March 1917; Vivid III, 6 March 1917-30 September 1917; Ambrose II [submarine depot ship], 1 December 1917-14 February 1919. He was demobilized on 20 February 1919. He died on 17 August 1921 and was buried in Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery (grave ref. B. 16833).
John Topley is commemorated in a Book of Remembrance held by Mansfield District Council. CWGC extra information: 'Son of Alfred Topley [mother Mary Ann d. 1911]; husband of Elsie May Topley of 14, Mount Pleasant, Mansfield. Born at Kirkby.' HMS Ambrose (1903) was a cargo and passenger liner purchased by the RN in October 1915 and commissioned as an armed merchant cruiser. She was converted into a submarine depot ship in 1917 and stationed at Nerehaven, Ireland, in January 1918. She was transferred to Falmouth, Cornwall, in November 1918. The ship was based in Devonport in 1919 and then commissioned to support the 4th Submarine Flotillla in Hong Kong. Mansfield Reporter, ‘Marriages’, 19 September 1913: ‘On the 13th inst., at St John’s Church, Mansfield by the Rev. W Bunting, John Topley to Elise May Green, both of Mansfield.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on


  • Buried Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery,
    John Topley - Buried Mansfield (Nottingham Road) Cemetery,