Henry Cropper & Harry Bonshor
Roger Cropper’s Grandads
I have photographs of both of my grandads in uniform that were taken during the First World War but I don’t know anything about their time in the army.
Henry Cropper, my father Eric’s father, was born in 1887 and in 1900 was apprenticed as a plumber to John Harris of 2 Thorpe End Melton Mowbray. I still have his apprenticeship indentures, written on vellum and signed and sealed before a solicitor.The photograph of Henry in his uniform shows a Royal Engineers cap badge on his cap. During the war, amongst other things, the Royal Engineers maintained water supplies to the troops and it seems logical that as a Master Plumber Henry would have been put into the Royal Engineers. Grandad put the heating into Hoby Village Hall when it was built in 1926 and used to take his lunch across the road to eat it at The Forge with Mr Worrell; he also did work at the Rectory. My father told me that Henry died in 1939, a few weeks after my parents got married, he was stung repeatedly by bees.
Harry Bonshor, my mother Florence’s father, was also born in 1887. He married my grandmother Mabel Emma Smith on 26th December 1911. My cousin said that she didn’t think he was in the army during the First World War as he worked on a farm but the photograph of him in his uniform must have been taken in the early autumn of 1918 as my Auntie Glad, the baby on my grandmother’s knee, was born in March 1918 and she looks about six months old. There are no badges on grandad’s uniform to help identify his regiment. Although Bonshor is quite an unusual surname, there are three medal records for “Harry Bonshors” and it is impossible to tell which is his.
After the war grandad worked for Mr Whait on his farm at Ashby Folville; he lived at Barsby and when I was a lad I went to stay with him and grandma for two weeks during the summer holidays. He was very keen on cricket and in about 1956 I remember going to watch a match at Grace Road with him when Leicestershire were playing South Africa. He loved it as the South African team whacked the ball around the stadium, I was bored stiff!
|The original exhibition display: Henry Cropper & Harry Bonshor|