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Herbert Vickers

Date of birth: 1875
Date of death: 2.11.1915
Area: Kirkhamgate
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Emma Vickers
Rank: Private
Service number: 4971

War Service

Herbert enlisted as Private 4971 in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and died on 2nd November 1915 aged 41.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states that he was “Husband of Emma Vickers, of Chapel Fold, Kirkhamgate, Wakefield.” He was buried in Wombwell Cemetery.
Two years after his death his wife put a memorial in the Wakefield Express which mentions that Herbert died in Clipstone Camp. This was in Nottinghamshire near Mansfield and was one of the largest WW1 training camps, where about 30,000 soldiers were billeted.
Sadly, because Herbert died before he had attained 6 months service his wife Emma was not entitled to the War Gratuity which was a lump sum worked out on the length of service.

Family Life

Herbert was born on 21st July 1875 and baptised on 22nd August at St Peter’s, Birstall. His parents were Francis, an iron moulder and Ada. There were two further children – Arthur (born in 1878 but died before his first birthday) and Selina (born in 1879). In the 1881 census the family were living at Partington Square, Gomersal, however, the following year Francis died aged 31 and was buried on 3rd December in Birstall. Ada was expecting a baby at the time and in April 1883 she had a son whom she named Francis Edward after his late father. Tragically Francis Edward Junior died in 1886 aged just 3 years.
By 1891 the family were living in Church Street, Wombwell, Barnsley but Ada was living as wife of Joseph Thorpe and Selina and Herbert were also recorded as having the surname Thorpe. Herbert was now aged 15 and was a colliery pony driver. I believe Ada died in 1897 although it was registered under the surname of Vickers which suggests she and Joseph didn’t actually get married.
In 1898 Herbert married Emma Handley at St Mary’s, Wombwell and in 1901 they were living at 61, Milton Street, Wombwell with their 3 children Lily aged 3, Thomas aged 1 and Elizabeth aged 1 month. Also living with them was 6-year-old Ada who was said to be Herbert’s sister, however it must have been his half-sister for whom they had taken responsibility after his mother’s death.
Herbert was a coal hewer and perhaps it was work that brought them to Ings Cottages, Walton by 1911. This census states that in their 12-year marriage Emma had given birth to 8 children of which 3 had died, however the numbers don’t add up as there are 6 children living with them ranging from 13 down to one month. Eldest child Lily is recorded as Lily Handley so it seems that she was born to Emma before her marriage to Herbert so therefore would not be included in the 8 children of that marriage. The other children living with them are Thomas aged 12, Sissy (although the name is very unclear) aged 8, Elizabeth aged 7, Leonard aged 1 and Eveline at 1 month.

Photograph of Herbert Vickers in his army uniform Herbert Vickers

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