“A long forgotten war, wasted young lives” (4)

Edward Archer Thurman was born on October 20th 1885. He was the younger brother of Arthur John Thurman, the Notts County footballer who had died in the Boer War at Boshof on May 30th 1900. The Boer War was fought from 1899-1902 in South Africa, fuelled by the British greed for the diamonds and gold discovered in the Boer states.

Edward’s elder brother, Arthur, though, was not killed in action. Like 23,000 others, he died of “enteric fever”, now known as typhoid.

The Thurman brothers’ father, Edward, though, turned out to be a much more difficult man to pin down. In the 1885 Directory there are two Edward Thurmans. One lived at the “White Lion” public house at 28 Hollow Stone, in the Lacemarket area of the city and the other had a chandler’s shop on Mansfield Road. In another 1885 Directory, Edward Thurman was a victualler at the White Horse in Barkergate. Or, he was a maltster in Sneinton Dale with a home in Barkergate, again in the Lacemarket.

A chandler makes or sells candles and other items such as soap. A victualler sells food, alcohol, and other beverages.

Edward Thurman junior entered the High School as Boy No 1460, on January 21st 1896, at the age of ten, and left at Midsummer 1901, along with DH Lawrence.  According to the School Register, the family was living in 6 Notintone Place in Sneinton, and the father worked as a maltster, an occupation defined as a “person whose occupation is making malt”. In actual fact, he turns grain into malt which is used to brew beer or to make whisky. His business premises were in Sneinton Dale, as the second 1885 directory stated.

Notintone Place, incidentally, was the birthplace of the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth:

According to the 1894-1899 Directories though, Edward Harrington Thurman lived at 26, rather than 6, Notintone Place. And yet another Edward Thurman was the manager at Gladstone Liberal Club at 20 St. Ann’s Well Road.

Like his brother, Arthur, Edward junior was an excellent footballer and played at least 32 times for the High School, scoring a minimum of 12 goals from midfield. He won his First Team Colours and the School Magazine, “The Forester”, said he was a player who “Dribbles well and passes unselfishly”.

His opponents during the 1899-1900 season were:

Lincoln Lindum Reserves (a) 0-3, Mr AG Francis’ XI (h) 3-5, Loughborough Grammar School (a) 1-2, Newark Grammar School (a) 5-2 (one goal), Mansfield Grammar School (a) 4-0, Magdala FC Second Team (a) 4-2, Mr Mayne’s XI (a) 5-2, Leicester Grammar School (a) 14-0, and Ratcliffe College (a) 4-1.

During the 1900-1901 season his opponents were

Mr AG Francis’ XI (h) 3-4, Insurance FC (h) 11-0, St Andrew’s Church Institute (h) 0-7, Mr AC Liddell’s XI (h) 1-2, Leicester Wyggeston School (h) 23-0 (three goals), Derby School (a) 8-0 (one goal), Newark Grammar School (h) 17-0 (two goals), Old Boys (h) 4-3 (one goal), Lincoln Lindum (h) 5-2, St Cuthbert’s College, Worksop (a) 2-1, Sheffield Wesley College (h) 1-4, Mr AC Liddell’s XI (h) 3-3, Mansfield Grammar School (h) 7-1 (one goal), Derby School (h) 8-1 (one goal), Loughborough Grammar School (h) 6-0 (one goal), Magdala FC (h) 0-2, Leicester Wyggeston School (a) 3-2, Magdala FC (a) 2-4, Mansfield Grammar School (a) 13-1 (one goal),University College (a) 2-3, Newark Grammar School (h) 12-0 (one goal), Nottingham Insurance FC (h) 4-2 and St Cuthbert’s College, Worksop (h) 2-0.

Edward was usually a No 7, a right winger, but he sometimes played as a No 8, an inside right. Lincoln Lindum would eventually become the professional club, Lincoln City.

In 1900-1901 Edward appeared in what was arguably the School’s best ever football team. Their record was 16 victories and two draws in 25 games with 145 goals scored and only 45 conceded.

Interestingly, in 1899-1900, Edward was in the Lower Fourth, the same form as DH Lawrence. Of the 39 boys, Lawrence finished fifth and Edward finished 36th of the 36 who sat their exams.

By now, the family had moved to No 2 Belvoir Terrace, which was in the same general area of Sneinton. By 1904 the family had returned to Castle Street. Mr and Mrs Thurman are believed to have spent their last years in Selby Lane in Keyworth.

Edward left Nottingham and went to work in Uttoxeter (always pronounced by the real locals as “Utchetter”, rather like ”Ilkeston” and “Ilson”).

He worked initially in the corn business as a clerk, although he eventually became a commercial traveller.

Despite such a good job, Edward joined up when the Great War broke out in 1914. Like his brother, Edward volunteered to preserve King, country and above all, democracy, the right to vote, enjoyed at the time by a massive 14% of the adult population. Edward was in the South Nottinghamshire Hussars and he was killed on December 3rd 1917 in Palestine. He was buried in Ramleh War Cemetery, not the only Old Nottinghamian lying there among almost six thousand casualties of war. News of Edward’s death was received in a way which is poignantly reminiscent of his brother, Arthur.

“He was for several years a member of the Uttoxeter Town Cricket Club, being popular with all who knew him. His many friends will be sorry to hear of his death.” He was 32 years old.





Filed under Football, History, military, Nottingham, The High School

17 responses to ““A long forgotten war, wasted young lives” (4)

    • Indeed we do.
      The people at the top enjoy the power and find reasons to start wars. Weapons of mass destruction. Bad treatment of British gold miners. That sandbank belongs to us. No, it doesn’t. It ‘s our sandbank.
      And young men who think that they are fireproof throw away the most valuable thing they have.
      And women and children die in increasing numbers.
      And in twenty years’ time, it will all be forgotten.

  1. Well told John.
    Those football scores made me chuckle.
    Football before squad numbers was so much better. The team always playing 1 to 11. I recall my Dad disagreeing with goalkeepers wearing the number 1. He considered it completely unnecessary because it was so obvious who was the keeper.

    • Thank you.
      I agree wholly with your Dad. Shirts should be numbered 2-11, substitutes 12-18 (or whatever number applies) and goalkeepers in green, blue, red, yellow or white like they used to be. I know all about the high visibility qualities of bright pink, but I would be embarrassed to run around dressed up as a bunch of flowers like they do now.
      And I’d also let Celtic put their team numbers on their shorts. We need more eccentricity in life, not less !

      • One season I remember Leicester played with numbers on shorts as well as shirts. I remember a match when Frank Large came out with his on back to front.

  2. What a beautifully told account John. His story is no doubt not dissimilar to many others from around the globe, but to see his life laid out like that makes it all the more poignant.

  3. Thank you. And you are right. His story is just like so many others. A nice life in a loving family. Somebody starts a war to boost their own prestige. And thousands of mothers prepare to shed bitter tears.
    And it’s happening at this very moment as I write these words. I am beginning to think that, for many people, violence is an inevitable result of their existence.

  4. Roger Langley

    I enjoy reading these occasional vignettes. Thanks for publishing them. And I note your comments on the futility of war. I took the opportunity during the recent pandemic of finishing a history of my grandparents, whose lives, like so many of their generation, were defined and scarred by the two World Wars.

    Have you read Gwynne Dyer’s book entitled “War”? Your comments “for many people, violence is an inevitable result of their existence “ made me think of it. He makes the case that this obsession of our species with armed conflict is leading us to our inevitable destruction, and argues that we need to abolish war. I suggest that it should be mandatory reading for all aspiring politicians.

  5. Yes, and still we continue trying to settle our arguments by killing each other.

  6. Recently I read two books by Marie Bostwick, Fields of Gold and On wings of the morning. There is a lot of flying in it. The second book is set during the second world war, about pilots and flying. I remembered you while reading it.

    • Yes, and amazingly, troops from Australia, Canada and New Zealand were involved as well as Indians and Africans.
      The best film about this pointless war is “Breaker Morant” and if you haven’t already seen it, you’ve missed a great Australian film.

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