John G Faulks (d.1st July 1916)

WWI & II Commemorative Calendar (2018)
WWI & II Commemorative Calendar (2018) – correction; text should read 1916 not 1926.

George Arthur Faulks was born in East Bridgford.  On 9 April 1891 he married Emily Ellis, who had been born in Claypole, Lincolnshire, at the parish church of her then parish, Stubton, also in Lincolnshire.  At that time George was living in Hickling with his parents and working as a coal merchant although he had previously been an agricultural labourer on his father’s farm.  For a short period after George and Emily were married they lived in Nether Broughton, where their eldest child was born, and then they moved to Hickling.    Here George earned his living as a grazier.  John George was born on 27 August 1895, the eldest son and one of eight children of George Arthur and Emily. 

The children were:

  • Lily Mary born 19 January 1892
  • Emily Margaret (Margaret) born 14 July 1893
  • John George born 27 August 1895
  • William Arthur born 23 June 1898
  • Ellis born 23 December 1899
  • Edward and Albert, twins, born 25 March 1903
  • George Samuel Richmore, born 23 November 1911

It is not known where the family lived when they first moved to Hickling but by 1914 they occupied Canal Farm on the road to Long Clawson.  John and William worked on the family farm and Margaret did dairy work there.  On 17th October 1914 they had some excitement when Margaret rose a little before six and smelled fire and saw smoke in the stackyard, one stack being well alight with flames along the side of two others.  The family and other people who heard of the fire used water from tanks and the canal and managed to reduce the possible level of damage, though the centre stack was lost and the fire burned all day and during the night, only finally being extinguished the following day.  Fortunately the loss was covered by insurance.

John enlisted with the Royal Field Auxiliary on 20th January 1915, first going to Glasgow, along with fellow villagers Thomas Albert Rose and John Arthur Cox.  To give them a send off the Institute, of which they were members, held an evening social and whist drive (at which John’s brother William won the first prize for the men and his sister Margaret the second for the women!).  John was later transferred to the London Regiment of the Royal Fusiliers where he served in Egypt, the Dardanelles and France.  At the last place he took part in the “Big Push” and died on the first day, 1st July 1916.  He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in the Somme.  John was the first man from Hickling to die in the war.

The Grantham Journal of 5 August carried a report of John’s death:

On Thursday week, Mr and Mrs GA Faulks, of the Canal Farm, Hickling, received from the Record Office for Infantry at Hounslow the official notification that their eldest son, John George Faulks, had fallen in the great offensive movement in France, on July 1st.  Pte JG Faulks, who was well known in the neighbourhood, was of a quiet and unassuming disposition.  He readily and voluntarily responded to his country’s call on January 20th, 1915, joining the Royal Field Artillery, and was sent to Glasgow.  Later, he was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, and was with the forces at the Dardanelles, and subsequently drafted with his regiment to France.  The flag at the Council School was flown at half-mast, and a general feeling of regret is felt that his life has been so abruptly ended.  The deepest sympathy is expressed for his parents, sisters, and brothers.  Had he lived until the 27th of August, he would have been 21 years of age.  On Sunday evening last, a memorial service was held at the Parish Church, where Pte Faulks was at one time a member of the choir and a scholar in the Sabbath School.  The Rector (the Rev FJ Ashmall) delivered an impressive discourse, a message of comfort and hope.  During the service, the organist (Miss Corner) played the “Dead March”.  A good company gathered to pay a last tribute to the memory of the first Hickling lad who has given his life in defence of his  country.

The Deanery Magazine of September also recorded John’s death and similarly described his character:

In Memoriam – John George Faulks.  The first of our Village Heroes has fallen.  Some 40 young men from this village have joined the colours since August 1914, several have been wounded, but until July 1st, in the Big Push, not one had been killed.  John Faulks was born in Hickling, August 27th, 1895, and spent his whole life in the village, until January, 1915, when he enlisted in the RFA.  After his training he went to Egypt, and the Dardanelles, and had his first experience of real warfare at Suvla Bay.  Later he was transferred to France, where he was in the 2nd Batt. Royal Fusiliers, and fell in action on the first day of the advance.  He was a quiet, unassuming, steady, straight boy, always to be relied upon.  Brought up in a good, comfortable home, soldiering must have had many hardships and trials for him, but his friends know well he was not likely to murmur or complain.  His nature was to make the best of things and take them patiently.  We grieve for the loss of him, for his own sake, and for the sake of his parents and his brothers and sisters, but we shall always remember he did his duty faithfully to God, to King and Country, and this even unto death.  We honour his memory and shall cherish ever his noble sacrifice in this great cause.  As we think of him we seem to see strong angels of comfort flying to minister to those to whom he was so precious.  He died on the field of the battle, untended by his own dearest ones, but not unknown nor unaided by God, Who marks the sparrow’s fall, and to whom the death of His children is precious.

The strife is o’er, the battle done;

Now is the victor’s triumph won:

O let the song of praise be sung.  Alleluia.

Yes!  We can thank and praise God for John George Faulks.  He heard and answered the call of his King and Country, and he did his duty.  No one can do more.  The future is with the faithful.  Meanwhile, rest a little while in peace.

In June 1917 second son William was home on sick leave and then in February 1918 George and Emily received a telegram to tell them that he was dangerously ill in hospital in France.  A few days later, however, a letter arrived to say that he had undergone an operation for appendicitis and the following morning had been a little better.  Two months later the Grantham Journal reported that their son HA Faulks [presumably a misprint for WA] was in Tottenham Hospital with abscesses in the side.  In July 1918 he was discharged on medical grounds. 

In May 1918 the third son Ellis joined the forces.

At some stage George and Emily moved to Sycamore Farm in Faulks’ Lane in the village.  In her book “Maggie’s Memories”, written in 1976 by Margaret Wadkin (nee Simpson) who was born in 1908, she recalls Emily – “a hard working woman also was a good Stilton Cheese maker.” 

On 16 October 1920 George and Emily’s eldest child, 28 year old Lily Mary, married 40 year old Hickling farmer Leonard Maltby Woolley, afterwards going by motor car to Nottingham and thence by train to Scarborough for their honeymoon.  Their daughter Dorothy Margaret was born in 1922 and Gladys Emily in 1924.  In 1937 Gladys was the village May Queen.  In 1939 they were all living at The Yews, Leonard working as a grazier.  Leonard was on the Parish Council and also one of the two Overseers of the Poor.  Leonard died suddenly at home on 4 November 1955, aged 75, and was cremated at Wilford Hill.  He left a net estate of over £8,600.  Lily died in 1982.