Thomas Holman, great-grandfather of Carl Watts, the Green Howard Museum’s Learning Officer, worked as a boiler maker at the Wellington Foundry in Lincoln. At the outbreak of war the company which owned the foundry, Fosters, converted production from agricultural vehicles to war machinery. It was here that the first tanks were developed under the management of William Tritton.
Secrecy was of the utmost importance, and the original code name for the revolutionary new vehicle was ‘The water-carrier for Mesopotamia and Russia’. Bill Rigby, chief draughtsman and designer recounted in the mid-1980s that eventually a group of the boiler makers came to is office, fed up with the long winded code name. Their suggestion that it should just be referred to as ‘the bl**dy tank!’ has stuck with the vehicle and its successors ever since.
Thomas Holman is pictured with colleagues back row, third from the left in front of ‘Lurcher’ a Mark IV male tank in November 1917.
His brother George Edward Holman served with the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Gallipoli, Egypt and France. The efforts of the brothers were combined on 15 September 1916, as 6th Lincs were at the Battle of Flers Courcelette – the first battle to see the use of the tank.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Clement Rose was the son of John and Mary Rose of Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. His father was a mast-maker. He enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment in October 1914 at the age of 17. His elder brother was serving with the Yorkshire Regiment and claimed Clement for them. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and on October 11th they relieved the 11th Sherwood Foresters Regiment in trenches at Rue Marles. 15734 Private Clement Rose was killed in action on the 13th, one of the 8th Battalions first casualties. He was buried at Desplanque Farm Cemetery, La Chapelle-D’Armentieres and left his effects to his mother, £2-10s and a gratuity of £3.
Paul Goad, a resident of Frenchgate and local history enthusiast submitted his research on one of the families from Frenchgate at the time of the Great War. The Fawcett family lived at 55 Frenchgate, Richmond throughout the First World Ward. John Fawcett, who worked in agriculture and construction, lived here with his wife Elizabeth Grace, daughter Elizabeth Alice and two sons, Christopher and Cyril Edgar. John was born in Castle Bolton in Wensleydale, Elizabeth Grace in Thornton Buckinghamshire and all three children hailed from the small parish of Walburn, Downholme a little way up Swaledale from Richmond. At the outbreak of hostilities Christopher was 20 and Cyril 14. As the eldest, Christopher was the first to enlist on 27th November 2015, three months shy of his 22nd birthday. Prior to enlistment he worked as a butcher, a profession he continued after the war. In January 1916 he joined the 4th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. The 4th DLI were a reserve Battalion and were station at Seaham Harbour from 1915 through to the end of the War. Records confirm that Christopher was based at Seaham from 1916 to June 1918 serving in D Company. A copy of a charge sheet shows that Christopher was late returning from leave on June 12th 1916 for which he was forfeited 1 days pay. In October 1917 Cyril enlisted at the age of 18 years and 1 month, giving his trade as a Motor Driver. Despite his Attestation papers suggesting that he was…
John Malcolm Osborne, submitter Jackie Wilson’s father, was born on 14th October 1888 to Frederick Osborne and Lydia Lindridge in Goudhurst Kent, having 7 siblings. In 1911 he was living at home in Goudhurst, Kent working as a motor mechanic. During the First World War he joined the Royal Naval Air Service on the 22nd October 1915 with the service numbers of 208815 and F 8815, before the creation of the Royal Air Force by the merger of the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps on 1 April 1918. His papers record that he was five feet seven and a half inches tall, had brown hair and grey eyes, with a fresh complexion. He was stationed at President II, a shore based depot at White City, London. When called to a Zeppelin crash site, John removed the propeller as a souvenir. At a later date the propeller was fashioned into a walking stick. A clock was also made from the remains of the propeller, owned by Jackie’s Godfather. John Osborne was transferred to the reserve in April 1919 and discharged April 1920. John married Florence Huddlestone in Shepherd’s Bush, London, 3rd March 1918. In the 1930s he lived in Hammersmith with his wife before they moved to Cambridge. He died on the 4th February 1953 at Chesterton Hospital, Cambridge, leaving effects of £224 14s 6d to his widow Florence Maud Osborne.