Private Benjamin “Ben” Chamberlain
119726  Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) 


Photo: Benjamin during his Codnor Park cricketing days, circa 1930.

Ben was born in 1895 at Pye Hill, the youngest child of William Charles and Mary Elizabeth Chamberlain (nee Wadsworth).  His parents came to Westwood in 1876 from Great Paxton, Huntingdonshire to work on the newly opened railway, where his father worked as a railway guard/engine driver.  Benjamin had four brothers: Ernest b.1877, William b. 1886, John b.1889 and Thomas b.1894 and two sisters Edith b. 1879 and Clara b. 1881. The family lived at Palmerston Street (Old Westwood). Benjamin’s father, William died in October 1900, aged 48,  and is buried at St. Mary’s.  By 1911 the family was living at The Common, Jacksdale, now known as Main Road. We believe they lived at number 80. Benjamin, then aged 16, is listed as a coal miner, pony driver. His elder brother John was a coal miner contractor. Benjamin’s mother Mary. died in 1928, aged 74, and is buried at St. Mary’s.


Photo: The marriage of Benjamin’s brother John Chamberlain to Cissy Gee. Ben is back left in uniform. We believe they are standing outside no 21, Franklin Road, Jacksdale

Benjamin joined the Sherwood Foresters and for a time served in France. His service records do not seem to have survived. His Medal Rolls Index Card indicates he was recipient of the British War and Victory Medals.

Ben started his working life at James Oakes Colliery and was a deputy and also a member of the mines rescue team at Selston Colliery.  He later became the landlord of the Gate Inn at Westwood.  Benjamin married Harriett Haslam in 1922 in Doncaster but there were no children.  Benjamin was a renowned local sportsman, being a cricketer of some ability.  He played for both Jacksdale and Codnor Park and was the recipient of many trophies.  He was a particularly good bowler and was a ‘terror’ to most batsmen.

Sadly, Benjamin died suddenly aged only 49 in 1945. He is buried at St. Mary’s, Westwood. His residence at time of death was given as Brinsley Hill.

ChamberlainMaryEPhoto: Ben’s mother Mary Elizabeth.

The Nottinghamshire Evening Post of 9th August 1940 carries the story of the funeral of Thomas Chamberlain aged 57, resident of Pye Hill and under-manager of James Oakes New Selston Colliery. He had been secretary of Jacksdale Bowls Club and on the Jacksdale Sports Club and Jacksdale Institute Committee, as well as having given mining lectures at Jacksdale Evening School.  In 1925 the same Thomas Chamberlain, resident of Fanfields, had plunged into the canal at Pye Bridge to rescue a drowning woman. However, he also fell victim himself by contracting double pneumonia, which took him several weeks to recover from. The article also reveals that he had also previously rescued a drowning bather whilst at Skegness.  It is more than possible that this is Ben’s elder brother, Thomas.