William Thurman was born in Sandiacre Notts in 1895.  He was the eldest child of Mary, who was born in Lidgate in Suffolk, and William James who originally came from Woodside in Worcestershire.

He was baptised at Sandiacre Church on February 9th 1896.



By the time of the 1901 census the family were still living in Sandiacre at 46 Starch Lane. There were now four children in the family, three sons and one daughter.

1901 census

William seniors occupation has changed from a labourer to an Iron Pipe worker, this could be significant as one of the reasons the family eventually moved to Chesterfield.

William Junior attended Victoria Road (later called Ladycross) Infant School at Sandiacre.

ist school register

According to the School admission record William was actually born on 5th December 1894, his birth was registered January 1895. He was transferred from this school 1st April 1901 possibly to a local Junior School.

By 1911 the family had grown and there were now 9 siblings listed on the census. As you can see from the census information, there were actually eleven children born to the marriage but by 1911 two had died.

1911 census

The family have now moved to Buller Street at Ilkeston. William junior has left school and is now doing the same job as his father, Iron Pipe labourer, The pair could possibly have worked at Stanton Ironworks, Stanton-by-Dale Ilkeston (this is only assumption I have not found any documentary evidence to prove this). This excerpt below gives a brief history of Stanton Ironworks and can be read in full  at

 The Stanton Ironworks was once Ilkeston’s largest manufacturing concern and consequently the town’s biggest employer of local labour in the area.

Evidence has been found that iron production has taken place in the area since Roman times and the remains of medieval bloom furnaces have been uncovered at Stanley Grange near to West Hallam.

1788, a small blast furnace had been built and operated in the area between Stanton by Dale and Dale Abbey which, although in operation for little more than 15 years, laid the foundations for one of the largest industries in the area.

1846 Stanton Ironworks was started by a Chesterfield man, Benjamin Smith and his son Josiah Timmis Smith, who brought three blast-furnaces into production alongside the banks of the Nutbrook Canal.

Between 1865 and 1867, Benjamin Smith’s original three furnaces were replaced with five new furnaces. This site becoming known as the Old Works. Smith’s furnaces produced about 20 tons of pig iron per day but the company soon experienced financial difficulties and there followed a series of take-overs during the middle of the 19th century.

During this period the business was taken over by the Crompton family. This family owned the company for over eighty years, re-naming the works as the Stanton Iron Works Co


A Brief History of The Firm (Taken from here)

1917 Abstract from ‘Basic Blast Furnaces’ The Engineer 1917/11/02 p 392.

“It was established in 1855 with an office staff of four, and three small furnaces, a small foundry, iron fields at Stanton and in the neighbourhood parish of Dale Abbey, and the Ironstone Bell pits at Babbington. The partners were Messrs George and John Crompton – brothers and partners in the firm of bankers of Crompton and Evans – Mr Newton and Mr. Barber. At first the pig iron was made entirely from local ore, but in 1865 Northamptonshire ores were introduced into the company’s mixtures, and a little later iron mines in Leceistershire and Northamptonshire were acquired and developed.

In 1878 the pipe foundry, now probably the largest in Great Britain, if not in the world, was started under the management of Mr James Chambers, whose son Mr Frederick, is the present manager. Ten years prior to this date the company sunk its first colliery at Teversal, the Pleaseley Colliery followed in 1873, and The Silverhill in 1878. As indicating the progress of the firm it may be mentioned that in the twenty years immediately prior to 1914, the output of coal had increased by 94 per cent, the ironstone output by 38 per cent, the pig iron output by 29 per cent and the cast iron pipe output by 184 per cent. The company has now some 7000 people on its pay roll – 3000 at Stanton, the same number at the collieries and 1000 at the ironstone mines.” November 2nd 1917.

The family were still living at Buller Street in January 1914 but moved to 49 Johnson Street Sheepbridge sometime before February 1916.  I have been unable to find any family connections with Whittington and must assume that William Senior moved to Whittington for work at the nearby Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co.

William Junior enlisted in the 10th Battalion Notts and Derbys Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) Service No. 15184. Unfortunately, as many records were destroyed in 1940 I have no information on the date William enlisted.

The 10th (service) Battalion was formed at Derby in September 1914 as part of Kitcheners Second New Army.  They came under orders of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. They moved to Wool and on to West Lulworth in October 1914.  They landed at Boulogne on 14th July 1915.

William arrived in France on 14th July 1915.  The 17th (Northern) Division spent much of 1915 in a period of trench familiarisation and then holding the front lines in the southern area of the Ypres salient.

However, things were to change early in 1916.  The War Diaries of the 10th Sherwoods for 13th-14th February 1916 describe how on the 13th the Battalion marched up to the trenches north of the Canal South East of Ypres to relieve the 7th Lincolnshire regiment. On 14th there was heavy shelling from the enemy and the battalion suffered heavy casualties. (As can be seen below).


The report states that 23 Other Ranks were killed, 163 were Missing and 148 were Wounded, including 31 remaining at duty.

William was killed on 14th February 1916, he was 21 years old and I assume he is one of the men listed above.

Sadly, like many of his fellow soldiers, Williams body was never found and he is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.   His Grave report shows that by this time in 1916 his parents and siblings had moved to Sheepbridge.

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1277 (1).jpgcharlesPhoto courtesy of Keith Thurman

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Images of Menin Gate Memorial Ypres. courtesy of A J Taylor 2019

The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, often referred to simply as the Menin Gate, bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who died before 16 August 1917 and have no known grave.

Between October 1914 and September 1918 hundreds of thousands of servicemen of the British Empire marched through the town of Ypres’s Menin Gate on their way to the battlefields. The memorial now stands as a reminder of those who died who have no known grave and is perhaps one of the most well-known war memorials in the world.

William was awarded the The Victory and British War Medals and the 14/15 Star.


William Thurman is remembered on the Old Whittington and The Brushes War Memorials and the Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour found here

The Thurman’s lost another son later in World War 1 when Joseph died 28th June 1918 aged 19.


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