Samuel Waine was born in Millthorpe, Holmesfield in 1883. He was the second child for Samuel and Jane (Bradbury) Waine. The couple had a son Arthur, born in 1881 but who sadly died in June 1885 aged 3years and 11 months. It must have been a bewildering time for Sam’s parents, as he was born very shortly after Arthur died!
Samuel was baptised on September 9th 1883 and Samuel senior is recorded as a farmer on the baptism register. (Samuels’ is the last entry).
By 1891 Samuel had a brother George and two sisters Edith and Ada and the family were still living at Millthorpe.
There are no school records on-line for Holmesfield and the next information is the 1901 census.
By 1901 Sam is 17 years old and his address is Holmesfield Hall working on the farm of Anthony Morgan, he is working (according to the census) as a ‘horseman on farms’.
The census of 1911 shows that Sam is again living with his parents, who have moved to 141 Church Street Old Whittington. His occupation is given as Carter.
A carter was someone who carried goods by horse drawn vehicle, usually it would be a light two wheeled carriage. Sam is listed as a worker, which would indicate that he was employed by someone else, rather than he worked for himself.
Sam was attested on 25th May 1915, at the age of 30 years 10 months, unusually he joined the 17th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Llandudno. Service number 26153. Luckily, Sam’s Service record survives and his Attestation form is below.
At the time of joining the Army his height is given as 5ft 6ins and weight 144lbs. His occupation is recorded as Timber Hauler. According to the obituary for Sam in the Derbyshire Times he worked for J H and F W Green Timber merchants at Old Whittington.
J H and F W Green was established in 1830 and by 1914 were employing between 150-200 people, probably many from Old Whittington. Their premises were at the bottom of Whittington Hill.
Samuel’s WW1 journey started on 4th December 1915 when the Battalion, as part of 38th Division left Winchester and marched the 131/2 miles to Southampton , it is recorded as very wet. They arrived at Le Havre on 5th December and had to march again to the rest camp. For most of December Sam would have been involved in training and inspections.
By the beginning of January 1916 however, the situation changed and Sam would have got his first taste of trench warfare, the Battalion receiving instruction from the Grenadier Guards. During this time Sam was based near Robecq in Northern France.
Sam at some point must have been involved with the care of horse and mules (perhaps his experience as a Carter made him a suitable candidate) because on the 6th February 1916 he was put on a charge for ‘Improper conduct ( Trotting mules contrary to Division instruction)’. His punishment – 7 days confirmed to barracks. Considering where he was that might have been a welcome relief!
The 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers played a major part in the Battle of the Somme, between the 10-12th July 1916 they were tasked with attacking and clearing Mametz Wood. This resulted in heavy casualties.
More information on the Battle for Mametz Wood can be read here needless to say it was a bitter fight and in the end the Germans, after suffering heavy casualties, had to withdraw.
Aerial picture of Mametz Wood taken in June 1916 (www.bbc.co.uk)
Mametz Wood pictured August 1916, not a tree left untouched
At the end of the Battle a total of 190 officers and 3,803 NCOs and men of the 38th Division were killed, wounded or missing. Sam survived this Battle seemingly unscathed. There is no report of him being injured on his casualty report card.
28th July 1917 Sam was awarded leave to return to the UK, not returning to his Battalion until 11th August 1917. Sam’s time between 1917 and early 1918 was spent in training, drills and time in front line trenches. On 7th June 1918 Sam was wounded, he returned to his unit straightaway. On 9th June he was wounded again, the war diary for the 9th reports:
‘In the evening transport bringing supplies shelled near Battalion Headquarters. One horse killed and one horse wounded ‘ If Sam was still working with the horses then this could be where he was injured, but there is no confirmation of this. He re-joined his unit on 15th June.
On 24th June Sam was wounded again, this time he received an abdominal wound and other injuries, he was taken to 3rd Casualty Clearing station that was based at Gezaincourt. He died on 2nd July 1918 from these injuries. Sam was 34 years old.
Casualty Clearing Stations were generally located on or near railway lines, to make it easier to move casualties from the battlefield and to the hospitals. Although they were quite large, CCS’s moved quite frequently, especially in the wake of the great German attacks in the spring of 1918. The locations of wartime CCSs can normally be identified from the group of military cemeteries that surround them.
By the time he died Sam had spent over two years in front line trenches and had taken part in some of the most difficult actions of the War, he is buried at Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt. Information on Bagneux cemetery at
Bagneux British Cemetery (WW1 Cemeteries.com)
A very grainy picture of Sam taken from Derbyshire Times 3 August 1918.
A copy of the telegram that was sent to Sam’s parents advising of his death.
Sam’s father had to sign to take charge of the property found on his son’s body. (See the document below)
As you can see from the above document Sam’s parents had moved but were still living at Church Street, now number 233.
Sam was awarded the British War, Victory and 14/15 Star medals.
Sam’s parents remained in Old Whittington.
Sam’s obituary from the Derbyshire Times 3rd August 1918.