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Lest we forget - Charlton player H 'Nobby' Nightingale 13/1/16

Let those that come after see, that this name is not forgotten…

The Story of Herbert ‘Nobby’ Nightingale

Since 2007 I have been trying to ascertain the names of Charlton players and officials who fell in the Great War.

Previous very detailed histories have tended to include only the following entry,
We have a war record of which we are justly proud. Some thirty of our members served in HM Forces on the various battlefields of Europe. We regret that of this number, three have paid the supreme sacrifice, while six others have been wounded’.

The Charlton Athletic war memorial, now on display on the West Stand behind Sam Bartram, I was able to provide a couple years ago only strengthened this commitment to name our fallen and with the creation of the Charlton Athletic museum I have been able to intensify my efforts, with the help of Ben Hayes who has been as equally keen to find our missing heroes.

Though programmes, team sheets and match reports are scarce from those early years of our history, we always felt that must be possible to locate the three men by name, to bring them back in from the cold, to complete the story first told when our club reformed at the Mission Hall, Troughton Road on Wednesday 9 January 1918 before the guns had even fell silent on what was to become known as the war to end all wars.

Richard Redden & Colin Cameron both identify early club secretary Jim Mackenzie who lost his life at sea in September 1917 when the SS Heron was sunk as one of the three.

Whilst writing ‘The Greater Game’ (Harris: Publisher) in 2007 I was able to add a second name Fred Chick, part of the backroom staff who was killed on the Somme in August 1916 serving with the 13 Middlesex Regiment to the list. When we unveiled the war memorial at the Valley in November 2014 however we were still ‘one man down’ and the search continued, until today.

Ben Hayes and I spent hours searching through the Kentish Independent held on microfiche at the Greenwich Heritage Centre to no avail, we spent even longer searching the archives held in the museum, the largest collection of club history ever held together, including the club board minutes dating back to the early 20’s but still no luck.

It’s at this stage that fellow Addick and collector of early club memorabilia Paul Baker should take a bow, he provided us with an early handbook (1920/21) that we had never seen before and which contained the following:

At Christmas 1914 the club was forced to close down, the majority of the “Boys” having left to take their part in the great game overseas. The club are proud of their history during the war. Two of the members answered the last call, J. Mackenzie, the first honorary secretary and A. Nightingale, a clever half back, in addition, five other members of our pre-war team are privileged to wear the gold stripe that donates wounds of honour’.

Being a military historian I was soon able to ascertain that there were no suitable A Nightingales among our war dead so was there an error?

Ben suggested it may be an ‘H’ not and ‘A’ and too cut a very long story short we have now positively identified our man as,
Hebert Barlow Nightingale, known as ‘Nobby’ who played for both us and Woolwich Polytechnic Athletic Club in late 1914 early 1915

He enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery serving in the 35th Trench Mortar Battery and was attached to the 1st Canadian Division when he lost his life just outside the Belgian village of Messines on the 13 January 1916, exactly 100 years ago today!

He is buried in RE Farm Cemetery and the inscription on his grave poignantly reads,

“Let those that come after see, that this name is not forgotten”
So exactly a century after he died and a decade of us looking Ben and I would like to say welcome back ‘Nobby’ along with colleagues
Jim Mackenzie (Merchant Navy) and Fred Chick (Middlesex Regiment) we the Charlton family, the custodians of ‘our club’ will never forget your sacrifices….

Lest we forget,
Clive Harris & Ben Hayes

Thanks to fans Nick Tondeur and Paul Baker and to Pauline Watson from Greenwich Heritage Centre who all played their part in being able to identify ‘Nobby’
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Comments

  • SE7toSG3 said:

    Whilst I fully appreciate there is far more going on at 'our club' Ben and I felt this was a story worth telling this morning of all mornings so please take the time to read if you can

    I disagree.

    It is just because of what is going on last night and today that we should take the time to reflect on this and remember the history and heroes of OUR club

    Agreed.
  • Well done
  • Thank you. It is vital we do not forget the sacrifices of the past. It also helps keep modern problems very much in context.
  • Would a "customer" have gone to all this trouble to research these facts?
    YOUR a TRUE FAN
  • Well done to all of you for finding out about this brave young man and posting it on this day. Thank you Nobby.
  • Great work.
  • Sponsored links:


  • Thanks for posting that
    SE7toSG3 said:


    while six others have been wounded’.

    Have these 6 been identified?
  • rina said:

    Thanks for posting that

    SE7toSG3 said:


    while six others have been wounded’.

    Have these 6 been identified?
    @rina

    Albert Mosky Mills was one.

  • rina said:

    Thanks for posting that

    SE7toSG3 said:


    while six others have been wounded’.

    Have these 6 been identified?
    we think we have 4 of the 6 on this as well,
    Albert 'Mosky' Mills and Scott Kingsley were 2 off the top of my head.
  • Thanks, good to see this
  • Great work well done. It's a bit ironic but were it not for these brave heroes there may not have been a bloody Belgium around today.
  • Great work.

    Makes me feel like a sulky child getting all work up about such trivial people as KM, KF and RD.

  • Thanks very much to all concerned in the painstaking research into this. 'Nobby' Nightingale RIP
  • Great work well done. It's a bit ironic but were it not for these brave heroes there may not have been a bloody Belgium around today.

    That he died and is buried in Belgium did not go unnoticed


  • A noble story spanning 100 years - gentlemen, once again you've done us proud. In the light of current events, to be an Addick was never sweeter or meant more than reading this today.
  • Personally, I think what you two have done here is absolutely brilliant. I was particularly taken by Happy Valley's comment and am wondering if something could be done on the big screen at our next home match.
    What I am personally disappointed about is that I have just this week finished reading a book 'The Final Season' which is about footballers who were killed in WW1 and our were not mentioned.
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  • Well that moved me to tears. Perfect timing. Makes me proud to support Charlton no matter what happens.
  • Thanks for all your efforts.
  • waldo said:

    Personally, I think what you two have done here is absolutely brilliant. I was particularly taken by Happy Valley's comment and am wondering if something could be done on the big screen at our next home match.
    What I am personally disappointed about is that I have just this week finished reading a book 'The Final Season' which is about footballers who were killed in WW1 and our were not mentioned.

    You should try "The Greater Game" by Clive Harris and Julian Whippy http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Greater-Game-Sporting-Icons/dp/1844157628
    We get a mention in there but that might be because Clive is SE7toSG3

    As for the big screen the big thing missing from our research so far is that there is no known photograph of Nobby.

    We have pictures of McKenzie and Chick but not Nightingale.

    So do you know anyone called Nightingale with Charlton connections? If you do we'd love to hear from you.
  • Daily Telegraph`s `In Memoriam`section today ,there is a tribute to Gunner Herbert Barlow Nightingale. Royal Horse Artillery ,killed in action on 13th January 1916 at Messines,Belgium. Remembered with Pride.
    Perhaps whoever put the tribute in the telegraph may have a photo . online ref.A197135.
    Hope this may help.
  • A relative of Herbert has produced a very detailed family tree on ancestry - I have dropped them a line to see if they came across any photos of him during their research.
  • telboy said:

    Daily Telegraph`s `In Memoriam`section today ,there is a tribute to Gunner Herbert Barlow Nightingale. Royal Horse Artillery ,killed in action on 13th January 1916 at Messines,Belgium. Remembered with Pride.
    Perhaps whoever put the tribute in the telegraph may have a photo . online ref.A197135.
    Hope this may help.

    @telboy

    Do the telegraph list a lot of WW1 did or is this a rarity? I don't think it is any of the museum people.

    Could you do us a big favour and enquire for us and ask about a photo or other information.

    @1905 Thanks, anything they can provide would be great and we're happy to share what we have.

    cafchistorian@gmail.com for any contacts
  • Great work Clive and Ben. Real "lump in the throat" stuff.
  • Fantastic piece of work very well done
  • Excellent work lads. Was beginning to think this would be another dead end.

    More Nobbys less Nabbys

    :wink:

    I shall ensure RE Farm Cemetery is on the agenda for my next trip over.
  • SE7toSG3 said:

    Let those that come after see, that this name is not forgotten…

    The Story of Herbert ‘Nobby’ Nightingale

    Since 2007 I have been trying to ascertain the names of Charlton players and officials who fell in the Great War.

    Previous very detailed histories have tended to include only the following entry,
    We have a war record of which we are justly proud. Some thirty of our members served in HM Forces on the various battlefields of Europe. We regret that of this number, three have paid the supreme sacrifice, while six others have been wounded’.

    The Charlton Athletic war memorial, now on display on the West Stand behind Sam Bartram, I was able to provide a couple years ago only strengthened this commitment to name our fallen and with the creation of the Charlton Athletic museum I have been able to intensify my efforts, with the help of Ben Hayes who has been as equally keen to find our missing heroes.

    Though programmes, team sheets and match reports are scarce from those early years of our history, we always felt that must be possible to locate the three men by name, to bring them back in from the cold, to complete the story first told when our club reformed at the Mission Hall, Troughton Road on Wednesday 9 January 1918 before the guns had even fell silent on what was to become known as the war to end all wars.

    Richard Redden & Colin Cameron both identify early club secretary Jim Mackenzie who lost his life at sea in September 1917 when the SS Heron was sunk as one of the three.

    Whilst writing ‘The Greater Game’ (Harris: Publisher) in 2007 I was able to add a second name Fred Chick, part of the backroom staff who was killed on the Somme in August 1916 serving with the 13 Middlesex Regiment to the list. When we unveiled the war memorial at the Valley in November 2014 however we were still ‘one man down’ and the search continued, until today.

    Ben Hayes and I spent hours searching through the Kentish Independent held on microfiche at the Greenwich Heritage Centre to no avail, we spent even longer searching the archives held in the museum, the largest collection of club history ever held together, including the club board minutes dating back to the early 20’s but still no luck.

    It’s at this stage that fellow Addick and collector of early club memorabilia Paul Baker should take a bow, he provided us with an early handbook (1920/21) that we had never seen before and which contained the following:

    At Christmas 1914 the club was forced to close down, the majority of the “Boys” having left to take their part in the great game overseas. The club are proud of their history during the war. Two of the members answered the last call, J. Mackenzie, the first honorary secretary and A. Nightingale, a clever half back, in addition, five other members of our pre-war team are privileged to wear the gold stripe that donates wounds of honour’.

    Being a military historian I was soon able to ascertain that there were no suitable A Nightingales among our war dead so was there an error?

    Ben suggested it may be an ‘H’ not and ‘A’ and too cut a very long story short we have now positively identified our man as,
    Hebert Barlow Nightingale, known as ‘Nobby’ who played for both us and Woolwich Polytechnic Athletic Club in late 1914 early 1915

    He enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery serving in the 35th Trench Mortar Battery and was attached to the 1st Canadian Division when he lost his life just outside the Belgian village of Messines on the 13 January 1916, exactly 100 years ago today!

    He is buried in RE Farm Cemetery and the inscription on his grave poignantly reads,

    “Let those that come after see, that this name is not forgotten”
    So exactly a century after he died and a decade of us looking Ben and I would like to say welcome back ‘Nobby’ along with colleagues
    Jim Mackenzie (Merchant Navy) and Fred Chick (Middlesex Regiment) we the Charlton family, the custodians of ‘our club’ will never forget your sacrifices….

    Lest we forget,
    Clive Harris & Ben Hayes

    Thanks to fans Nick Tondeur and Paul Baker and to Pauline Watson from Greenwich Heritage Centre who all played their part in being able to identify ‘Nobby’

    End of mission Nobby.

    Rest easy fellow Gunner.

    Ubique
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