Nelson Bollington (Martin) (1899–1967)


Seaforth Highlanders S/25227; 22354; 13935 7th Battalion & Tr Reserve

Photo courtesy Crich Heritage Partnership

Nelson Bollington in 1914


Nelson Bollington's parents were Sarah Bollington and William Martin who married in 1913 after having at least nine children. The children were also known as Martin, their father’s name. Nelson Martin was born at Heage and later lived at Crich. He attended the first meeting of Crich volunteers in Oct 1914 though, with John Berresford, both aged fifteen, failed to enlist with the Foresters. They did enlist in the Seaforth Highlanders, aged only sixteen. In late 1918, Nelson was wounded in the knee, in France. After demob, he relocated to Langwith Junction and worked on the railways. He married Annie C Kettle in 1926 December qtr (Mansfield reg district).
Nelson would have been just fifteen when posing for the photograph below.

Photographs of volunteers to the Sherwood Foresters in Crich 1914

1914 Crich volunteers; Nelson was 5th on the left.
The Foresters did not accept him (too young)

School Record
The Alderwasley School Records show Nelson Bollington Martin, father William, living at Longway Bank. Nelson was born 21/9/1899 and entered school 1910 left 1913.

Medal Index Roll
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

Newspaper report

Derbyshire Courier
12 October 1918
From a base hospital in France, Private Nelson Martin has written to his father Mr William Martin, Sun Lane, Crich, informing him that he had been wounded in the knee. His brother Cpl Alfred Martin, has just recovered from illness after a spell in hospital.

Nelson Bollington is also remembered on the Alderwasley Roll of Honour in the Church.

Nelson's brothers Alfred Bollington and William Bollington are also on the Roll of Honour.

Crich Front Lines Memorial Event
The following dialogue by Martyn Offord is of an imaginary conversation between Nelson Bollington and his friend John Berresford was enacted at the November 2014 Crich Front Lines memorial event in the Glebe Field Centre in honour of the two under-age friends.

Two lively lads of Crich
(a dialogue)

JB/NB             Two lively lads of Crich are we.  We go together like:
NB                  Bowns
JB                   and Hill
NB                  Crich
JB                   and Carr
NB                  Bull
JB                   and Bridge
NB                  Ross
JB                   and Keen
NB                  Cost
JB                   and Cutter
NB                  (Looks enquringly at JB)  What!?
JB                   and Standwell

JB/NB             Two lively lads of fifteen.  Great fun we had around Crich in those sunny days before the War.
JB                   Fishing in the Derwent in the early dawn
NB                  Trapping rabbits in Crich Chase
JB                   Watching the girls come to market (both nudge and snigger)
NB                  Watching lovers in the hay stacks  (both nudge and snigger)
JB                   Singing along with Daddy Haywood from Top School
NB                  Sandow’s Circus
JB                   Football in the winter
NB                  Cricket in the summer
JB                   Shooting crows in the Autumn
JB/NB             Yea – shooting  (both go off into pretend shooting games)

JB/NB             But there was work too – hard work – thirsty work – dusty work -  a life time of work –
JB                   In the quarry – hard and dusty
NB                  In the pit – hard and dark
JB                   In the factory – hard and noisy
NB                  On the railway – hard and boring
JB                   On the land – hard and muddy

JB/NB             BORING!!

JB/NB             Then that summer of 1914 someone in the village said there was a war on and they were recruiting lads like us.  Hurray – shooting Huns not crows – travel, new uniform, lots of fun and home by Christmas.  (Chant)  no more boring, no more noisy, no more digging in the mud  (Pause – look at each other – their gazes drop and they sigh)
NB                  Trouble was you had to be 18 – but I squared up, tried to shave, sounded all husky and gave it a go – there I am in a photograph with the Crich lads in The Sherwood Foresters December 1914.  But of course all the other lads knew I was just 15 and someone must have said.  So I was told to go home.  It was dead embarrassing.
JB                   Nelson was really upset.  I remember.  We were leaning over the bridge at Whatstandwell dropping stones in the water.  Some of the lads had just come off shift and were in the pub – not so many as there used to be though.  That’s when we decided to have another go – this time where no one would know us.
JB/NB             Yes we went together like
JB                   Jovial
NB                  and Dutchman
JB                   Kings
NB                  and Arms
JB                   Black
NB                  and Swan
JB                   Rising
NB                  and Sun
JB/NB             Pals we were, and chums, and mates and Comrades in Arms.  Yes we joined the Seaforth Highlanders.  We became Scotties – do bagpipe imitations and highland flings etc.
                        9th Scottish Division, 7th Battalion.
And they didn’t know our ages
Always together we were – lively lads of Crich in a Scottish regiment!
NB                  (mock Scottish accent saluting) Bollington, Nelson, Private  S/25227 reporting Sir
JB                   (as above) Berresford, John Stanley Harrison, Private S/25228 reporting Sir
NB                  We didn’t really know what we were here for.  We’d never heard of Wipers though they said that’s where we were.  We hadn’t really heard of Belgium or ‘Plug Street’ but we were two lively Crich lads together.  Even when we got transferred and got new regimental numbers:
NB                  Bollington, Nelson Private S/22354 reporting Sir
JB                   Berresford, John Stanley Harrison, Private S/22355 reporting Sir

JB/NB             We don’t really know what battles we were in – just routine shells falling and shrapnel and flares and snipers and mud and mud and mud.  But we stayed two lively Crich lads together like
JB                   Trench
NB                  and Foot
JB                   Barbed
NB                  and wire
JB                   Whizz
NB                  and Bang
JB                   Machine
NB                  and gun
JB/NB             and Fritz and Hun and cold and wet and fear and sweat and rats and mice and mould and lice and saps and mud and screams and blood.
NB                  But we were always together – then – we weren’t.  I don’t know what happened – there wasn’t a real battle, just one of those routine, everyday things.  It might have been a shell, or a sniper in no-man’s land, an accident with a gun, sucked down into a crater, trampled in the mud, blown to bits – no known grave – not a cap or a buckle a boot or a knapsack.  Just his name.
JB                   On the Ploegsteert Memorial with 11,000 others.  Panel 9.  Just my name – spelt wrong.


1901: Heage

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William H Martin Head 38 Coal miner hewer Crich
Sarah Martin wife 43   Crich
Hannah Martin daughter 15   Crich
Emma Martin daughter 8   Crich
Reynold Martin son 6   Chesterfield
Alfred Martin son 5   Crich
Nelson Martin son 1   Heage

RG13 piece 3230 folio 99 page 19

1911: Longway Bank, Whatstandwell

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Henry Martin Head 49 Delver limestone quarry Crich
Sarah Bollington wife/ servant 52 Housekeeper domestic Crich
Emma Elizabeth Martin daughter 18 Bitter hosiery manufacturer Crich
Alfred Martin son 15 Delver limestone quarry Crich
Nelson Martin son 11 School Heage
Lucy Martin daughter 9   Heage
Robert Martin son 6   Heage

RG14PN21005 RG78PN1253 RD436 SD6 ED3 SN173

1918 Voters List
Nelson Martin Bollington, Sandy Lane absent on military service.

1939 Register: Recreation Road, Blackwell
Nelson Bollington b.21 September 1899; LMS locomotion fireman
Annie C Bollington b.16 February 1902