Loveden area of Lincolnshire – Local History & Information

Kirton Famliy

Arthur Kirton, born in 1892, was the youngest son of 10 children, all born in Long Bennington; as were his parents – Charles and Jane (nee Fletcher ).  Charles’ father Richard was a lime burner, but Charles owned a quarry (at the end of Valley Road) and became a stone merchant. The family lived in Wheatsheaf Lane and Back Street.

Arthur worked as an assistant in the quarry until volunteering for the Army in Sep 1914.  He joined 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment which started training at Belton (House) Park before moving to Farnham.  

On 1 Jul 1915 the battalion sailed from Liverpool about ‘Empress of Britain’, arriving in Alexandria on 12th July.  After 4 days in Alexandria they reached Mudros on the Island of Mudros on 18th.  Here the troops were transferred to small steamers and taken to the southern end of Cape Helles where they moved into trawlers to be landed on ‘V’ Beach on the Gallipoli peninsula

Their (33rd) brigade relieved the Royal Naval Division.  On the afternoon of 20th the 6th Lincolnshires went into reserve trenches, moving up to the front line following day.  The trenches were in a very bad state, many only half completed, so the battalion set to work to deepen and strengthen the defences, under almost continuous sniper fire from the Turkish defenders, particularly at night.

Four men were wounded on 21st (their first casualties of the war).  After six days in the front line the battalion was withdrawn to the reserve trenches, about 500 yards behind the front, but still under shellfire

By 31st July the battalion had lost one officer and 6 other ranks killed, plus 32 others wounded.  These included Arthur Kirton, who died of wounds on 28th July and was buried at Lancashire Landing Cemetery.

Other local men in 6th Battalion included Charles Saxelby and Laurence Mears from Belton and James Gibson from Foston (all killed at Suvla Bay in August after the battalion moved up the Gallipoli coast) and George Whyley from Foston (killed 1917).

Joyce May Kirton was born in Long Bennington in 1922.  Her father was Edward Kirton of Valley Lane, Long Bennington.  Her mother (Caroline, nee Ansty, then Gulliver) had married Edward in 1920 but died 10 years later.  Edward’s brother in law was William Kirton, whose younger brother Arthur Kirton had died at Gallipoli in 1915.

In March 1941 Joyce was living in Guildhall St, Newark and working at the Ransome & Marles factory on Beacon Hill.

On Friday 7th March the factory was bombed and machine gunned by a single German bomber.  The Heinkel 111 attacked from 1000ft, dropping 4 bombs. Two bombs hit the works, 1 hit the edge of the works and a fourth hit the works shelter at the rear of Stanley Street.  Rescue work began and the Home Guard cleared roads to allow ambulances to get through, whilst the WVS set up canteens for the rescuers and contacted relatives.

But less than an hour later another enemy plane attacked the works while rescuers were assisting the casualties. It dropped 5 bombs but only 1 exploded, causing more casualties and damage.  

The raid was the worst of the war for Newark, killing 41 people and injuring another 165. 100 were treated at the works own underground hospital. Joyce Kirton was amongst 10 women killed.  She was a member of a first aid post, but one report said she’d been killed when the works shelter was hit on the first attack.  She was 18 and had been due to leave work to get married (to Private M. Mawman) the day after the raid.  She was buried at Long Bennington.

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