Two Rolleston War Heroes


Bells will ring out in Rolleston on Sunday 13 November 2016 in memory of two men from the village that fought and died in the First World War, including one who played in the famous Christmas football match in No Man's Land. All that battled so bravely in the war that waged 100 years ago will be remembered by the traditional muffled bells and service at St Mary's Church.

However, special tributes will be paid to Corporal Wilfred Arnold and Able Seaman Eric Dunicliffe two brave men who were both killed in action on November 13, 1916 exactly 100 years ago. Three generations of the Arnold family will be at the church for the service.

Letters Corporal Arnold sent back to his mother in Rolleston reveal he played football in No Man's Land during the Christmas Day truce (At Christmas in 1914 a truce broke out between British and German troops, with soldiers leaving their trenches on the Western Front to exchange gifts and play football in No Man's Land), two years before he was killed in action. The family still has those letters today and they tell of his experience of the Christmas Day truce football game. He and his wife lived in Station Road, Rolleston. Before the war he had been a clerk with Ind Coope & Co. She was not granted a widow's pension after his death, and so took it upon herself to set up a very successful music school in Burton.

The other war hero to be remembered will be Able Seaman Eric Dunicliffe of the Royal Naval Division. Dunicliffe was trained to fight at sea and was sent to Gallipoli in May and served throughout the campaign. He was invalided out but rejoined and in July 1916 was sent to France as a member of the infantry as this is what the war effort required - where he was also killed on November 13.

More details can be read in the Burton Mail article.


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Last updated: 12 November 2016