James (Jim) Wright of Hickling Pastures was born in 1896, the son of a farm labourer. He saw service in the Great War, joining the Leicesters in February 1915. He had a period in hospital with diphtheria later that year and then was wounded at the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October. In June of the following year his elder brother Frank, a Gun Layer with the Heavy Trench Mortar Section, whom Jim had apparently not seen for three years, heard that Jim’s battalion was nearby and, walking to his billet in less than an hour, the two spent a day together. Jim was again injured, receiving shrapnel wounds in September 1916, which resulted in a stay in hospital at Gravesend and a short return home on leave in the November. In October 1917 he was yet again in hospital, this time in Ramsgate, suffering from “arm trouble”. In all he spent some considerable time in hospitals in Ramsgate, Minster and Croydon. In April 1918, then of Lincoln Lodge, he was discharged from the army, unable to lift his right arm.
Jim married Doris Peters, born in Nottingham but then living with her parents and sister in Hickling Pastures, on 24 December 1919. He had been a farm servant but was at this time a painter, very likely his war wounds meant that he was no longer able to continue with his pre-war work.
Jim and Doris had four children. The oldest, James (Jim), was born on 10 January 1921 in Nottingham but the family returned to Hickling to have him baptised. The family was then living in New Basford, where Jim was working as a grocer. When their second child, Jean, was born on 6 December 1922 they were living in Mapperley, Jim still working as a grocer. Their third child was Charles Peters (known as Peter), who was born in Hickling, the family having returned to live there. Jim was now working as a builder’s labourer, so perhaps his arm had much improved. The final child was Wallace, again born in Hickling, Jim by then being described as a bricklayer’s labourer.
The older Jim was elected to the Parish Council and then in 1930 became joint secretary of the newly-established British Legion Horticultural Society’s Annual Show. In this show, in each of the first three years, he won the prize for the person being awarded the most points in the open classes, as well as the cup for the highest number of points for garden produce in the first year. Doris was active in the early days of Hickling WI, being a member of the committee and taking part in the regular competitions. Of these, she won the one for best-dressed doll in December 1937, the dolls then being given to the Nottingham Children’s Hospital for use as Christmas presents.
The May Pageant, organised by the school, gave the children the chance to perform, five-year old Jim getting the part of a soldier attendant of the Queen in 1926, seven-year old Wallace taking the same role in 1934 and twelve-year old Peter being the crown bearer in 1937. When only ten Jim was one of two boys who conducted the collection on behalf of St Dunstan’s charity for blind veterans on Hickling Pastures (the other being the much younger brother of Stephen Crump who had died in the Great War). This, along with their father’s active role in the British Legion, suggests that the family was sensitive to the needs of those hurt by war.
Doris’ mother died in 1936 and in 1939 her widowed father, previously a druggist but now a farmer working on his own account, was living in Chestnut House on Main Street. Living with him were the older Jim, now a herdsman, and Doris, along with their children Jim (a dairy farm labourer), Jean (a machinist) and Wallace (at school), along with five other people. Peter has not been found although there is an entry in this household which has been concealed because of the possibility that the person is still alive but which is between Jean and Wallace and shows the year of birth as 1924. The first word of the occupation of this person is farm. Certainly Peter should be in the register because he was too young to be a member of the military at the time and it seems very likely that this is him but he has remained concealed because there has been no registration of his death in this country (a death certificate is required for anyone who would be under 100 to have their record opened).
Almost nothing is known about Peter’s war experience. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment and was involved in the North African theatre of war. A lance corporal, he died aged 18 in Tunisia on 22 February 1943 and is buried at the Enfidaville War Cemetery there.
The war graves records describe Peter’s parents as being of Old Basford, so it would seem that the family had by this time moved away from Hickling. Certainly they make no more appearances in the parish registers nor have they been found in any more newspaper reports on the village.
Peter’s older brother Jim was a Jehovah’s Witness and worked as a plasterer in Nottingham. Nothing else is known about him.
All that we know about Wallace is that he died in 2000 in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Jean married John Albert Strutt in Nottingham in 1949 and they had one daughter, Kathleen, there.
Doris may well be the person who died in Nottingham in 1955, aged 55. Her husband James died in the city in 1975, aged 79.
Doris had just one sibling, a sister Elsie. She married Ernest Hollingworth from Hickling Pastures and their son, Cyril, was one of the other two Hickling men to die in World War Two.