John Vivian Nancarrow was born on the 6th June 1885 in Middlesbrough. He was eldest son of George and Charlotte Nancarrow of ‘Ravenscroft’ at Grove Hill in Middlesbrough. John was educated at Leys School and Kings College in Cambridge attaining an MA and a Law degree. He was admitted a Solicitor in 1909 and became Secretary to Middlesbrough Chamber of Commerce.
He had joined the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry in 1907 and later was attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers at Newcastle. At some point he moved to Cornwall and was attached to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. In 1911 he is recorded as being a Solicitor in Camborne Cornwall. Shortly after John was back in Middlesbrough joining the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment as a Lieutenant. He was promoted Captain in late 1913. Prior to his mobilisation to France he had become engaged to Miss Elsie Harkness of Stokesley North Yorkshire.
The 4th Battalion arrived in France in April 1915 and were at Ypres by the 23rd. The Battalion were straight away into Ypres offensive being involved in the Battle of St Julien. During the attack at Fortuin on the 24th John was leading his men forward when he was shot and died instantly. Subsequently his body was never recovered. He was 29 years of age.
John is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.
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Photographic research by Stuart Hodgson. Charles Organ had a long career in the army before arriving at Richmond Depot and acting as Recruiting Officer during the First World War, as his record from our museum catalogue recounts: Born at Woolwich 13th October 1853. Charles Organ joined as a Private 13th January 1873, Corporal 11th October 1873, Sergeant 15th August 1874, Colour Sergeant 27th August 1875, promoted to RSM on the 20th April 1882 and QM 1883, Hon. Captain 8th August 1893, Hon. Major 29th November 1900. He served in Bermuda, Halifax, Malta, Egypt, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was employed as the Regimental Transport Officer 12th Dec 1900 – Sept 1902. Retired on 1st September 1902 but was then appointed QM the Royal Hospital Chelsea October 1903 – 1st September 1912, Created a MVO by King Edward July 1905. He served in the Nile Expedition 1885, Sudan Frontier Force, 1885-6, Boer War 1899-1902 including operations around Colesberg, actions at Paardeberg, Kitchener’s Kop, Proplar Grove and Drifontein and the occupation of Bloemfontein, was with the advance on Dewetsdorp, and action at Leuukop, in the march to Pretoria, actions at Brandfort, Kroonstadt, Vet and Zand rivers, and Johannesburg: took part in the advance eastwards, including the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast – mentioned in despatches. He served with the Depot between August and November 1914 and then appointed as Staff Recruiting Officer in December 1915 becoming the Sub Area Commander for Gosport on the 19th February 1916. Died at…
Percy Raworth was Judith Farrar’s grandfather’s cousin, she visited the museum to tell us his story. Percy Raworth was born in 1890 and attended Elmfield College in York. His father William ran a local building firm, and later became a local Councillor in Harrogate. By 1911 Percy was a Joiners’ apprentice and well on the way to joining the family firm. His career seems to have taken a side track as he was working as a ‘Stock Keeper’ at his brother-in-laws leather warehouse at Rushden, Northamptonshire when he enlisted. Originally a member of the Machine Gun Corps, Percy went on to serve with the Tank Corps, specifically, ‘D’ Brigade and win the Military Medal. The Rushden Echo of 10th November 1916 notes that he: Has been in action several times with the ‘Tanks’, once he was four hours under fire digging the ‘Tank’ out of a German dug-out into which it has sunk. On another occasion the ‘Tank’ caught fire, and Private Raworth and his driver got the military medal.’ Percy died on 23rd September 1917 of wounds he received during a German air raid. It seems that his tank again became grounded and whilst Percy was digging it out German aircraft attacked. Capt. F. A. Robinson wrote to Percy’s father: ‘…he was struck by an enemy bomb. He was made as comfortable as humanly possible under the circumstances, and you will doubtless find some consolation in the knowledge that he did not appear to feel very much pain……our experiences…
Alyson Swift contacted us through our website to tell us about her great grandfather, John Mattison. John was from Richmond and was called up on 10th May 1917, joining the Royal Flying Corps. While he may look very smart in what is known as his ‘Maternity’ pattern tunic and side cap, Alyson wanted to draw a different aspect of his role in the First World War to our attention: “He was an entertainer in the the camp concert party. He and his party won a talent contest at the Croydon Empire Theatre. He sang ‘the Laddies who fought and won’ and ‘keep right on to the End of the Road’ for which they won 20 pound!!”