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War Memorials



In Memory of
REGINALD ERNEST TREASE DSO MC
Lieutenant
Royal Field Artillery
Who died on Thursday, 5th December 1918
Aged 29

Buried - Grave 7080 Church 8GNS Section
Church Cemetery, Nottingham

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
&
Remembered with Honour
Church Cemetery, Nottingham

Church Cemetery, Nottingham1

Reginald Ernest Trease Reginald Ernest Trease (known as "Reggie") was born in Loughborough, Leicestershire on 9th May 18892, the seventh child of George Albert and Annie (née Upton) Trease. George, who was born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire in c1841, had worked as the manager of The Midland Brewery in Loughborough before acquiring a public house and wine and spirits business in Castle Gate, Nottingham, in 1897, from the estate of Edward Costall Weaver3. By 1901, the family was living at 85 Waterloo Crescent, near to the Arboretum in Nottingham4. George's wife Annie was then involved in managing the business, alongside her husband. Their eldest son, George Albert Trease (1871-1932) was then a stockbroker and their second son, William Upton Trease (1874-1932), an accountant, a profession that was later also followed by John Henry, his younger brother. Their eldest daughter, Ann Esther Trease (1878-1958) was the only one of George and Annie's family not present, as she was working as a governess with the family of the Vicar of Horsley, Derbyshire5, a profession that was later also favoured by at least two of her sisters. Reginald Ernest, then aged 11, was a pupil at Nottingham High School, where he had been admitted on 26 April 1898. While at the school he was Captain of the Football Eights and played football for the First Team in 1905. He joined the High School Officers Training Corps and rose to the rank of Colour Sergeant6. After leaving school in July 1905 he became an Army Reservist and was very active in sporting circles, particularly as a member of Nottingham Rowing Club.

On 4 June 1907, their family life was to change when George Trease died, aged 66. His eldest son, George Albert Trease, who had married Florence Dale in 1901, changed the direction of his career to take over control of the Castle Gate business.7. By 1911, the 21-year-old Reginald was working as an accounts clerk, possible with one of his brothers' firms while living at the family home on Waterloo Crescent8 with his mother, three sisters and Sidney, his 12-year-old younger brother, who was then attending Nottingham High School.

When war came in August 1915, as a Special Reservist, Reginald would have been called-up almost immediately. Initially he joined the Royal Horse Artillery with the highly respected Q Battery as a Bombardier9 but it wasn't long before he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant with the Royal Field Artillery10. On 14 November 1915 he embarked for France and became attached to 123 Battery11. This Battery was one of three that comprised 28th Artillery Brigade which, in turn, came under the command of 5th Division. All together, the Brigade was equipped with 54 18-pounder guns - 18 in each Battery. Each gun was operated by a team of six men12 A key component of the overall direction of these guns during a bombardment was the Forward Observation Officer (FOO) and his support team. These went forward to check on the accuracy of the firing against the agreed targets and suggested - usually by field telephone - any corrections that were thought to be needed. It appears that 2nd Lieutenant Trease became something of a specialist in this dangerous role.

So it was that, on 28th Jul 1916, he was slightly injured, but returned to duty almost immediately. In August, while carrying out the role of FOO during an action against Delville Wood as part of the Somme battles he was injured more seriously. On that day, his bravery earned him a recommendation for the Military Cross and his actions were described in the citation published in the London Gazette on 22 September 1916 :

"2nd Lt Reginald Ernest Trease, R.F.A., Spec. Res. For conspicuous gallantry during operations. When acting as F.O.O. without a linesman, he went out under very heavy fire to mend his wire. When telephonic communication became impossible, he went through the barrage and established visual communication. He has showed great gallantry throughout the operations."
By November 1916, he had rejoined the Brigade after treatment and, in January 1917, 28 Brigade left 5th Division to became an Army Field Artillery Brigade. During the following summer it took part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres (known as 'Passchendaele') with 2nd Lt Trease and continuing in essentially the same role. This time, his actions were to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for his actions, described in the London Gazette on 26 July as :
"2nd Lt Reginald Ernest Trease, M.C., R.F.A., Spec. Res. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He acted as artillery liaison officer during the attack. He was continuously in the front line, sending back most valuable information. When communications were cut he repeatedly brought back the information himself, having to go through a very heavy barrage on each occasion."
At some point, between July and November 1917, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant13 and it may well have been at that time that he was transferred to 124 Battery which was also part of 28th Artillery Brigade.

In November 1917, Reginald was able to get leave so that he could return to Nottingham to marry Gladys Amy Brutnell, on 6 November at All Saints Church on Raleigh Street, Nottingham. Gladys Amy was born in 1888, the daughter of Arthur William Brutnell and his wife Kate Mary (née Bertie). Both her mother's father, Joseph Bertie, and her husband were lace manufacturers and her father-in-law, William Brutnell, was a successful joiner and house builder. Sadly, her mother had died during her birth or shortly afterwards14 and she was raised, at first by her maternal grandparents, and then by her unmarried maternal aunt, Amy Bertie. By 1911, they were living at 54 Forest Road, Nottingham with Amy described as having private means15. Arthur William Brutnell, who remained a widower, lived at 127 Forest Road West16 and was a long-time member of the Nottingham Rowing Club17. It seems likely that Reginald and Gladys had met in that circle before the war.

But their time together was only too short and he was once again required to return to his duty in France where the war continued relentlessly, with the near disaster of the German Spring Offensive and the eventual Hundred Days Offensive which began in August and was to end, in November 1918, with the Allied victory. Although we have no detail of the circumstances, it appears that it was in these final months that Lieutenant Trease was wounded for the third time, apparently with serious shrapnel injuries to his head and face. After repatriation, he was admitted to The Queens Hospital in Sidcup, Kent, where the New Zealand-born surgeon, Harold Gillies, was using pioneering surgical techniques - now called plastic surgery - to reconstruct faces that had been injured in the war18. In all, he had had a total of fourteen operations when he fell victim to the Spanish 'Flu pandemic that was sweeping the world by the end of 1918. Sadly, after over four years of heroic service and enduring a long series of operations to repair his injuries, he died of 'flu, at Sidcup Hospital, on 5 December 1918. He was buried in Church (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham, where his memorial survives19.

So it was that the normal family life he had looked forward in the home at 1 Lily Grove, Beeston that they had acquired in anticipation of happier times, was never to be. And, it was perhaps even more of a tragedy that his son Richard, who had been born at Beeston on 1 August 1918, would never know his father.

6Lieutenant Trease was posthumously awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star20. His estate, valued at 1,087 2s was proved at Nottingham by his brother John Henry, on 7 August 1919. In addition to his entry of the memorial in Beeston Parish Church, Lieutenant Trease is remembered on the memorial in All Saints Church, Nottingham, on a memorial to members of Nottingham Rowing Club and on a memorial to the members of the then four rowing clubs in Nottingham as well as the memorial at Nottingham High School.

Reginald's younger brother, 2nd Lieutenant Sidney Charles Trease, was killed on 19 September 1918 while serving with 11th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in Salonika.

Reginald's widow, Gladys Amy, did not remarry. She and their son Richard continue to live at their Beeston home at Lily Grove, at least up until 1920, but had moved to 1 Addison Street, Nottingham by 1925, presumably to be near to the wider family, including her aunt Amy Bertie who died in 1938, having appointed Gladys Amy as an executor of her will. By 1939 Gladys Amy had moved to 36 Warwick Road in Mapperley Park with 21-year-old Richard who was then working as a trainee clerk in the textile trade. He was later to go on to a successful career as a factory manager and died in 1989. Before her death in April 1960. she appears to have moved to live at 105 Waterloo Crescent close to what had been the long-time Trease family home. George Trease's widow, Annie, lived on at 85 Waterloo Crescent, with three unmarried daughters. up to her death in 1943, aged 93.

Five generations of the Trease family have, in turn, continued to operate what continues to be the thriving Weavers wines and spirits business, still at 1 Castle Gate, Nottingham20.


Footnotes
1The photograph of Reginald's inscription on the family memorial in Church (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham is from the Findagrave website.
2His birth was registered in Loughborough Registration District in Q2/1889 (Ref 7a 160). His full birth date is quoted from the Nottingham High School Admissions Register.
3Edward Costall Weaver (b. 1806, Caythorpe, Notts) was a well known and well-respected wines and spirits merchant in Nottingham, founded in about 1844 and based at the Talbot Inn on Long Row as well as the premises on Castle Gate and possibly others. He died on 27 February 1888 (Account of his funeral, Nottingham Evening Post, 2 March 1888) and, as his two sons had pre-deceased him, the business was sold. The Castle Gate premises were sold at public auction in March 1896 (Nottinghamshire Guardian, 22 February 1896) and acquired by George Trease.
41901 Census - Nottingham: Piece 3185 Folio 130. They employed a domestic servant.
Reginald's siblings were George Albert (1871-1932), William Upton (1874-1932), John Henry (1875-1956), Ann(ie) Esther (sometimes Ethel) (1878-1958), Mary Isabel - sometimes known as 'Minnie' (1879-1951), Edith Gertrude - sometimes known as 'Daisy' (1882-1956) and Sidney Charles (1898-1918).
51901 Census - Horsley, Derbyshire: Piece 3227 Folio 8
6Details from the Nottingham High School Archives website (http://connect.nottinghamhigh.co.uk/items/show/233).
7George Trease was buried in Church (Rock) Cemetery, Nottingham where a memorial survives. Probate of his estate, valued at 9,230 13s, was granted to his widow and his sons, George Albert, William and John Henry.
81911 Census - Nottingham: Piece 20612 RD430 SD4 E20 Sched 217.
9This early attachment to the Royal Horse Artillery, as 'Bombardier 335', is recorded on his Medal Card (on ancestry.com). His earlier attachment with Q Battery RHA was noted when he later joined 123 Battery RFA in France. Q Battery had acquitted itself with such gallantry in the Boer War that Field Marshal Lord Roberts VC, directed that 4 Victoria Crosses should be awarded to the Battery, one to an officer, one to an NCO, one to a Gunner and one to a Driver as representatives of all those involved. It is said the recipients from the ranks were chosen by drawing names out of a hat.
10Confirmation of his commission, after a period of probation in the role, was published in the London Gazette in July 1915.
11His embarkation date is recorded on his Medal Card. The date of his attachment to 123 Battery (26 November 1915) is recorded in 28th Brigade's war diary. His status with the Battery is recorded there as having changed from 'attached' to 'posted' on 18 March 1916.
12This description of the composition of a typical Artillery Brigade uses detail from the 'Artillery in the First World War' blog by 'IrishGunner', part of the Gentleman's Military Interest Club website (http://gmic.co.uk/blogs/entry/256-artillery-in-the-first-world-war-special-issue-%E2%80%93-the-royal-artillery-at-mons-23-august-1914/) where more detail may be found.
13A record of his Mentioned in Despatches in the 14 December 1917 edition of the London Gazette, for a further act of gallantry or meritorious action in the face of the enemy, records his rank as 'Lieutenant'.
14Both Gladys Amy's birth and her mother's death were registered in Nottingham Registration District in Q2/1888 (Birth ref 7b 276, Death ref 7b 148)
151911 Census - Nottingham: Piece 20612 RD430 SD4 ED20 Schedule 286.
161911 Census - Nottingham: Piece 20613 RD430 SD4 ED21 Schedule 292. Arthur lived with his parents after his wife's death. His father died in 1906 leaving a substantial estate valued at 10,681 with Arthur as his executor. This estate appears to have included a considerable number of properties in the Radford area which Arthur then managed. It seems likely that William had built their home on Forest Road and perhaps others there. Arthur died in June 1915 leaving an estate valued at 9,991.
17There are several accounts in the Nottingham Evening Post in the pre-war era, which names 'Mr A W Brutnell' in various roles - committee member, judge, starter, etc - as part of Nottingham Rowing Club events, often with Trease family members present. An account of races at Beeston in the 27 August 1904 edition and an account of a regatta in the 18 July 1908 edition are typical.
18Dr. Andrew Bamji's website at www.gilliesarchives.org.uk has much more about Sir Harold Gillies, Queen Mary's Hospital and the treatment of WW1 facial injuries there.
19His death was registered in Bromley Registration District in Q4/1918 (Ref 2a 1336). He was buried in Grave Number 7080 Church 8GNS Section. In addition to Reginald, the memorial includes inscriptions for his sister and both his parents.
20These family details are derived from standard genealogical sources including Electoral Rolls, the 1939 Registration and Probate Calendars.

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