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The Northamptonshire Regiment was originally formed from the 48th and 58th Regiments of Foot. It fought mainly on the Western Front in France and Flanders. At least one battalion was at Gallipoli and evacuated to serve in Egypt and Palestine.
As many as 6000 soldiers from Northamptonshire, in its own regiment and elsewhere, died during Word War I. While the memory of all is to be honoured, a few are especially well remembered.
"Mick" MannockMajor Edward Corringham "Mick" Mannock VC DSO MC of the Royal Air Force, lived in Wellingborough for a while before the war. He was responsible for destroying more than 60 enemy aircraft. Although one of the greatest fighter aces of the First World War, it was only after extensive lobbying by those who served with him that he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
Walter Daniel John Tull was of Afro-Caribbean descent and one of the first black players in the top division of the English Football League. He was the first Northampton Town player to enlist and joined what became known as "The Football Battalions". When commissioned in 1917 he was one of the first officers to break through the restriction of Military Law that officers must be "natural born or naturalised British subjects of pure European descent". He was killed in action in March 1918.
The Rev'd Bernard Vann, originally from Rushden, was chaplain at Wellingborough School. Rather than face the delays involved in becoming an army chaplain, he decided to enlist as a Regular soldier. Serving in the 1/8 Sherwood Foresters, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received the Military Cross and also the Croix de Guerre. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in leading his men to the firing line and knocking out a field gun emplacement. Four days later he was killed by a German sniper while preparing to lead another attack.
There are so many others who gave their service, and also in many cases their lives, for their country. A few are mentioned in the articles listed here:Northamptonshire's Heritage - The First World War »
Borough Council of Wellingborough LINK, 1914–2014 First World War Centenary Souvenir Issue »
The Lost Boys of Wellingborough by Stephen Swailes »
Image above: Troops of the 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment marching past Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, at his inspection of the 2nd Brigade, near Bruay, 1 July 1918. - David McLellan
Northamptonshire Regiment Cap Badge