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Sgt W H NelemsBill Nelems was my step father’s brother. He was the eldest son of William and Mary Ellen Nelems and was baptised 19th March 1894 at Featherstone in Yorkshire.

His Yorkshire siblings were: Annie Maria b 1895, Mary b 1898, Gertrude Pretoria b 27.8.1900. The family then moved over the border into Lancashire and in particular to Farnworth nr Bolton. The family increased with: Richard b 1903 ( L/cpl 3850620 L.N.L. WWII ) Samson b. 5.2.1906, Pte 767974 Border Regt, who saw service in pre war India on the North West Frontier, Palestine and engaged in Burma with the 14th Army WWII ) and Thomas b 5.2.1909.

They lived at No 42 Northumberland Street, Farnworth and Bill followed his father into the coal mining industry becoming a pony-driver before eventually becoming a collier too. He worked locally at the Earl of Ellesmere’s Ellenbrook Pit in Worsley.

He enlisted on the 11th December 1911 as Pte 1440 of the 5th Bn Loyal North Lancashire Territorial Force at Farnworth aged 18 yrs 11 months and was just over 5’4” in height and served with them attending the yearly camps until the third day into the yearly  camp on 4th August 1914.  At the outbreak of hostilities he was embodied into the LNL Regt on 5th August 1914 and became Pte 18463 of the 6th battalion and after training served in Salonika and later joined the Persian Expeditionary Force into Mesopotamia.

His Medal Index Card shows his surname as Nelams (sic) and his first entry into the Balkan Theatre of operations on 14th November 1915. He was engaged on 5th April of 1916 in the first Battle of Kut in the attempt to relieve the siege of General Charles Townshend and last wrote home on the 7th April 1916.  The Farnworth Journal  carried the story that the Farnworth Sergeant was missing and reproduced contents of a letter sent home in the  9th June 1916 edition as follows:Nelems 9-6-1916

The British Forces lost over 1,200 men on the 5th and lost more on the 6th and the 9th April in the Battle for Sannaiyat.  He was reported missing in action on 9th April 1916 and his family were officially informed in late December 1917 that he was presumed killed. His body was never found and he is remembered on the Basra Memorial.

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 18463
Date of Death: 09/04/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.

Garry Farmer
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One Response to 18463 ASJT. W. H. NELEMS. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Ian Bradshaw says:

    William Henry Nelems was my fathers Arnold Bradshaw’s uncle, my Grandmother being Gertrude Pretoria who married James Abbott Bradshaw, I remember visiting I think my fathers uncle’s Samson and Richard (Dick) and certainly remember my father speaking about them

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