For King and Country

Humber Museums Partnership - For King and Country

About For King and Country


Welcome to ‘For King and Country’, an exhibition looking at First World War North Lincolnshire.
The war was felt by everyone in the area. North Lincolnshire was home to both farming and industry, providing food and weapons to the forces. Some locals enlisted to fight on the Western Front, either by choice or through conscription. Others, like those who worked at the iron and steel works, had jobs that were important to the war effort and were not required to enlist.
Women also played an important role. Many went to work in the ironworks to replace the men who had gone to war. Women also volunteered as Red Cross nurses and carried out charity work.

    Click here to see images in full size

  • Children's Red Cross demonstration at the old showground in Scunthorpe

  • Souvenir postcard of a tank's visit to Scunthorpe, July 1918. It was part of a publicity drive to raise money in War Bonds

  • Private John 'Jack' Cunningham VC is Scunthorpe's only recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was awarded it for conspicuous bravery and resource

  • Lieutenant-Corporal Les Panton of Barnetby on a motorcycle

  • Ditched Avro 504 biplane of 33 Nightfighter Squadron at Manton Warren, Kirton in Lindsey, 1918

Eminson Brothers

John, Basil, Ralph, Robert and Clarence Eminson were five brothers from Scotter, four of whom served in the war. The fifth brother, John, was a farmer. As this was a reserved occupation, he stayed at home in Lincolnshire.
Basil was a lieutenant in the Indian Medical Service and was promoted to captain in 1915. He served in Burma, Persia, Mesopotamia and Afghanistan.
Robert joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps as a 2nd lieutenant. He was killed in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme while trying to save the life of another Scotter man.
The youngest brother, Clarence, became a petty officer mechanic in the Royal Naval Air Service. He had begun studying medicine before the outbreak of war and in 1916 was discharged to complete his education. This was because medics were in short supply.
Ralph joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a lieutenant and was later promoted to captain. He served in France and Salonica. On the 20th May 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order medal. Two companies had come under fire and Ralph ran across no man’s land in full view of the enemy to rescue the wounded.

    Click here to see images in full size

  • Basil Eminson in uniform

  • The Eminson family, consisting of Thomas and Clara with their sons Ralph, John, Robert, Basil and Clarence

  • Ralph Eminson in uniform

  • Members of the Royal Army Medical Corps, including Ralph Eminson

Ellen Andrews

Ellen Andrews of Wrawby was born in 1886. She became a nurse in 1911 and joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service on 26th August 1914, three weeks after the outbreak of war.
Ellen initially served in England at the 5th Northern General Hospital in Leicester. During this time she was promoted to Sister. In 1917 Ellen volunteered to serve overseas and later the same year was sent to France. She worked in a hospital in St Omer for a time before being transferred to a casualty clearing station in Lillers.
On the 21st March 1918, Ellen was killed when she and three other nurses were caught in an enemy bombing raid. The three survivors were awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty.

    Click here to see images in full size

  • Ellen Andrews in her nursing uniform

  • Inscription on Ellen Andrews' headstone

  • The cemetery in Lillers, France, where Ellen Andrews is buried

  • The list of Ellen Andrews' belongings in France at the time of her death

Arnold Machin

Arnold Machin was born in Frodingham on the 3rd October 1895. Before the war he worked at Winn’s ironstone mines. Arnold volunteered to join the army on the 4th January 1915, shortly after the German fleet shelled Scarborough.
He served in the Royal Horse and the Royal Field Artillery at Arras, the Somme, Passchendaele, Ypres and the German offensives of 1918. He came under German shell fire on Christmas Eve 1916, but fortunately survived.
After the war, Arnold worked as a locomotive driver for Winn’s. He married Josephine Elliott in August 1920 and went on to become a director of the Vickers-Eccles Slag Company. In 1958, a diesel locomotive was named after him, which still runs at Scunthorpe steelworks. He died on the 15th March 1983.

Markham Brothers

Sydney and Arthur Markham were tenant farmers in Roxby. The family that owned their farm refused to sign the papers that would keep their tenants in reserved occupations and out of the war. This left Sydney and Arthur with no choice but to enlist.
Both brothers joined the Lincolnshire Regiment, although Arthur was transferred to the North Staffordshire Regiment in August 1917. He was killed on the 30th November 1917 and was buried where he fell. Sydney was killed on the 15th April 1918, less than five months after his brother’s death. His body was never recovered.
The Markham family were so devastated by their loss that they moved to another farm in North Kelsey. Their mother, Olive, wore black in their memory for the rest of her life.


Dugouts were underground shelters built close to the trench line. Troops used them during rest periods as they provided protection from the weather and enemy bombs.
There were several different types of dugout. The best could contain several rooms and were equipped with electric light. These were generally used by officers.
The entrance to the dugout was often covered with a gas curtain to protect against gas attacks. They could, however, have the opposite effect. If soldiers entered the shelter after an attack they could carry traces of the gas on their boots. The curtain would then seal the gas inside the shelter.

Voices of the First World War

Life in the trenches could be quite boring, especially in areas where there was less fighting, and many men would write to keep their morale up. They would often write letters to their loved ones at home or poems about their experiences. One man from Scunthorpe wrote a poem about his transport ship being attacked by a German U-boat.
The British Government understood how important it was for the soldiers to communicate with their families. This required a huge operation by the Army Postal Service. Mail was sorted at the specially built Home Depot, which covered several acres of Regent’s Park. The Post Office released over 75,000 of their staff to serve in the Army Postal Service. In return, thousands of women took on jobs delivering and sorting mail.

Women of the First World War

Women played an important role during the war. With so many men away fighting, women had to take on the jobs usually reserved for men. They were also needed to nurse wounded men on the battlefield and at hospitals in England. Some women encouraged men to enlist by handing out white feathers, a sign of cowardice, to men not in uniform.
Jean Graham of Scunthorpe volunteered for the Women’s Legion, which later became the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. The WAAC was formed to free up more men for the front by giving women support roles behind the lines. While serving in France, Jean also performed in pantomimes and concerts organized to entertain the troops.

Reserved Occupations

The Military Service Act was passed on the 27th January 1916, making military service compulsory for the first time. It initially applied to single men aged between 18 and 41 and was later amended to include married men. By 1918, the age range had been extended to 51.
The exception to this was men in reserved occupations, which were jobs that were considered essential. Examples of this included farmers, doctors and clergymen. In Scunthorpe, many local iron and steel workers stayed behind to deal with the increased demand for local ore.
Men in reserved occupations were issued with metal badges to show that they were on war service. This helped protect them from accusations of cowardice and shirking.

The Home Front

North Lincolnshire was home to a number of airbases, including Royal Naval Air Service Killingholme. It was a large seaplane base tasked with repelling zeppelin raids and protecting the oil depot at Immingham. At its biggest, the base was home to almost 1000 servicemen. Planes from Killingholme were also used on anti-submarine patrols.
In the summer of 1918, RNAS Killingholme was handed over to the United States Navy. The Americans stayed until January 1919, when the station was returned to the RAF.
On the 31st January 1916, Scunthorpe experienced its only zeppelin raid. Twenty high-explosive bombs and over fifty incendiary bombs were dropped on the town and its surroundings. Three people were killed in the raid, including the former Scunthorpe United goalkeeper Thomas Dawson.

The Battle of the Hohenzollern Redoubt

The attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt was part of the Battle of Loos and took place on the 13th October 1915. The Redoubt was a defensive position held by German forces that the British aimed to capture.
Many men from North Lincolnshire were serving in the 1/4 and 1/5 Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. These Battalions were part of the 138th Brigade that consisted of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire Regiments. They formed part of the larger 46th North Midland Division, who were involved in capturing the Redoubt.
With the 1/5 Battalion at the front and the 1/4 in support, the Lincolnshire Battalions initially managed to cut through the barbed wire on the west and east faces of the Redoubt with few casualties.
The first objective was the Fosse Trench located behind the Redoubt. When soldiers began to advance into the open ground in front of the Fosse Trench, they were mowed down by rifle and machine gun fire from different directions. Retiring to the Redoubt they came under German shell fire and counterattacks and suffered heavy casualties.
Of the 23 officers in the 1/5 Lincolnshire battalion, 11 were killed and a further 11 wounded, one of whom later died of his wounds.

Humber Museums Partnership