7 May 2010



Private G/101553, 43rd (Garrison) Battalion Royal Fusiliers
Died Thursday 31st October 1918
Buried: Pont-de-Nieppe Communal Cemetery, Grave II.H.6

Valentine Glasspool was born on St. Valentine's Day, 14th February 1895, in Hunston, West Sussex, the son of Thomas and Mary Glasspool. At that time Hunston was a rather remote village a few miles south of Chichester, but by the time of the 1901 census they had moved to 35 Whyke Lane, Chichester, where Thomas worked as a builder's labourer. By the outbreak of war the family were at 12 Salt Lake, Lancing, now part of Freshbrook Road. It was a row of cottages full of young families - at least five of those families would lose a son to the Great War, and later the cottages would become the most concentrated area of despair in the village.

Salt Lake Cottages, now Freshbrook Road, Lancing

Valentine Glasspool enlisted in March 1917. He worked as a market garden labourer and the evidence suggests that health problems excluded him from being conscripted into military service prior to this. He initially joined the Royal Fusiliers, then transferred to the Labour Corps, but finally he returned to the Royal Fusiliers and a non-combatant battalion, part of general headquarters' troops. The battalion war diary shows that in the autumn of 1918 there was a daily procession of men admitted to hospital, Val Glasspool among them, and it seems likely that many were suffering from the outbreak of influenza prevalent at the time. A newspaper item dated 20th November 1918 reports his death, and although we lack information about his war service it is fortunate that the report carries a tribute from his colleagues:

FOUR LANCING BROTHERS - Four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Glasspool of 12 Salt Lake, Lancing, enrolled in the Service during the war, and news has recently come that one has succumbed to pneumonia. This is Private V. Glasspool, Royal Fusiliers, aged twenty-three years, who enlisted in March 1917, being engaged in agriculture at the time. His medical category did not permit him to go into the firing line, but he was engaged in work right up at the front and, as the Major commanding the Company said, writing home to the bereaved parents - 'Private Glasspool has given his life for his country in the hour of its greatest need and should be equally honoured as his fellow soldiers who fell in action.' The gallant Major also said that Private Glasspool had been a member of his Company since its formation and his conduct had always been excellent. A Corporal in his Company writing of him said 'He had such a cheerful smiling disposition in the face of every little and big difficulty which he had to encounter.' Of the other sons, Ernest joined the Royal Navy and was invalided out for Rheumatic fever contracted in the Dardanelles. The other sons of Mr. and Mrs. Glasspool, namely Alfred and Cecil, were in New York when war broke out and they proceeded to Canada and enlisted in the Forces of the Dominion, being still on Service.

Valentine Glasspool died on the 31st October 1918, and is buried at Pont-de-Nieppe Communal Cemetery, three miles north of Armentières. Ernest Glasspool emigrated to the USA in November 1919 to be with his brothers, and was soon joined by his parents Thomas and Mary. There must be many Glasspool descendants in the USA today.

Pont-de-Nieppe Cemetery, Nord, France


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