12th (Service) Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, 10 October 1918
Synopsis of Life and Military Service
Robert (Bob) Chaworth-Musters was born on 24 July 1896 in Annesley, Nottinghamshire and was baptised on 31 October 1898 at All Saints Church, also in Annesley. He was educated at Rugby School from 1910 to 1913. After he left school, he went to work in Manchester for the company Wilson, Laltham and Co.
With the outbreak of war, Robert joined a local regiment, the South Nottinghamshire Hussars as a motor despatch rider. However, on 11 November 1914 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and joined the 12th (Service) Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corp – the same regiment as his eldest brother Patricius (Pat) who was in the first Battalion. Sadly Pat died of wounds on 11 January 1915.
On 3 February 1915 Bob was promoted to Lieutenant.
According to his Medal Index Roll, Bob arrived in France on 22 July 1915. This suggests he was part of the advance party of 3 officers, 123 other ranks, 3 machine guns, 72 horses and mules, and 26 carts that arrived in Le Havre on that day and subsequently travelled to Quelmes, arriving on 24 July, while they waited for the rest of the Battalion to arrive (which they did the next day). Almost immediately the Battalion suffered it’s first casualty when Colour Serjeant Major (6711) A Batkin was found dead in his billet at 5 pm on 25 July. Records suggest he was killed by accident and he was buried in Quelmes Churchyard at 7pm on 26 July.
In November 1916, Bob was awarded the Military Cross following the battle of Loos:
“For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He moved constantly up and down his trench under heavy shell fire, in order to encourage his men, and several times crossed over to an isolated company though sniped at every time. He also brought in a wounded man.”
On 10 February 1917, while at No 4 Camp, Carnoy, he was admitted to the 51st Field Ambulance and transferred to No 34 Casualty Clearing Station with Bronchitis, and was transferred to the ‘Sick Convoy’ the following day and placed on Ambulance Train Number 1. He soon returned to his battalion though, and was promoted to temporary Captain with effect from 24 February.
On 10 April he was sent on a sniping course and at some point became the Battalion Machine Gun Officer. Further family tragedy occurred on 18 July 1917 when another brother, Philip Mundy Chaworth-Musters was killed in action.
By March 1918, his health had deteriorated as a result of gas poisoning. He had suffered from a number of illnesses while in the trenches including trench foot, laryngitis, diphtheria and pleurisy. He returned to the UK and became an instructor at the School of Musketry at Hayling island.
By May 1918 he was staying in a convalescent home, Langstone House in South Hayling. There, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which it was said he had had for five years. In August he was moved to Cosham Military Hospital. His health appeared to be improving, but in October he caught influenza, and then pneumonia. He died on 10 October 1918, aged 22.
His coffin was provided by Alfred G Stapleford, a Military Funeral Contractor of 133 Crasswell Street, Landport, Portsmouth. The bill (for £12 0s 0d) was sent to Griffin and Spalding, a department store in Nottingham (subsequently taken over by Debenhams) which suggests they were handling the funeral arrangements. The funeral took place at 2.30pm on Tuesday 15 October 1918 at Annersley Church, Nottinghamshire.
Probate records show that his effects of £1,116 4s 7d went to his nephew John Patricus Chaworth-Musters.
The following family members have been identified:
- Father – John Patrcius Chaworth-Musters, born 1860 died 1921.
- Mother – Mary Ann Sharpe or Chaworth-Musters, died 1930.
- Sister – Margarita Chaworth-Musters, born 1884, died 1954.
- Sister – Elsie Chaworth-Musters, born 1885, died 1954.
- Sister – Ruth Frances Chaworth-Musters, born 1887, died 1967.
- Brother – Patricius George Chaworth-Musters, born 14 June 1888, died 11 January 1915.
- Sister – Catherine Lina Chaworth-Musters, born 1889, died 1963.
- Brother – John (Jack) Neville Chaworth-Musters, born 1890, died 1970.
- Brother – Anthony (Tony) Chaworth-Musters, born 1892, died 1987.
- Brother – Philip Mundy Chaworth-Musters, born 9 April 1895, died 18 July 1917.
- Brother – Douglas Chaworth-Musters, MC, born 1898, died 1957.
- Brother – James Lawrence Chaworth-Musters, born 1901, died 1948.
Philip had two cousins (through his uncle Lancelot George Eden Michael Chaworth-Musters) who fought in the war:
- Richard Hammond Chaworth-Musters, MC, born 28 March 1895, died 31 December 1941 – 1st Norfolk Regiment.
- Roger Michael Chaworth-Musters, born 23 March 1898, died 7 May 1917 – Royal Flying Corps.
His sister, Catherine, married Captain Hugh Lee Pattinson in 1914 but he sadly was killed in action in 1915.
- The 1911 Census records identify Robert as living at The Park, Annersley, Nottinghamshire.
Robert Chaworth-Munsters is honoured and remembered on the following memorials:-
- All Saints Church, Annesley, Nottinghamshire.
- Cropwell Butler Cemetery, Cropwell Bishop Road, Cropwell Butler, Notts.
- Holy Trinity Church, Tithby Road, Tithby.
- The Rugby School Memorial.
- Manchester Employers Roll of honour (Wilson, Latham & Co).
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- Lives of the First World War – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- A Street Near You – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- Find a Grave – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- Find a Grave – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- Nottingham Council Roll of Honour – Robert Chaworth-Musters
- University of Nottingham: Biography of John Chaworth-Musters (1838-1887).
- Nottinghamshire County Council Roll of Honour.
- 1911 Census of England and Wales.
- National Archives: WO 95/2120/1.
- Find My Past: British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers’ Medical Records/National Archives MH 106/120 & MH 106/751
- “Stand To” – Western Front Association – Winter 1993.
- England and Wales Probate Death Index.
- Officers Died in the Great War.
- London Gazette dated 10 November 1914, issue 28969, page 9139
- London Gazette dated 7 June 1915, supplement 29185, page 5496
- London Gazette dated 20 October 1916, supplement 29793, page 10177
- London Gazette dated 25 July 1917, supplement 30201, page 7579
- London Gazette dated 3 December 1917, issue 30411, page 12654
- Trevor Torkington