Remembering the Fallen: On this day in 1918, Major Francis George Cursham, 8th Battalion, the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment), died while on military duty at Aldershot. He had been travelling in one of several lorries heading out for instructional purposes, and was grievously injured due to a collision. He was taken to the Waverley Military Hospital but could not be saved.
Major Cursham's father was Henry Alfred Cursham, an insurance broker and holder of the record for scoring the most goals in the F.A. Cup when playing for Notts County from 1877 to 1887, and who had accrued eight caps for the English national football team. Major Cursham was educated at Repton School, after which he was employed in his father’s insurance firm. By 1909 he was serving in the Territorials and was promoted to the rank of captain on the day that war was declared.
In April 1916, Major Cursham’s battalion was sent to Dublin, where he wounded during the Easter rising – he was shot while fighting the rebels near Mount Street Bridge, and also injured by British grenade fragments. His unit remained in Ireland on garrison duty at the Curragh in Kildare, and the following February embarked for France where he served on the Western Front. His health being severely impaired by the conditions in the trenches caused him to be sent home to England twice for recuperation. He saw action in the battles of the Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood, the capture of Bourlon Wood, and the German Spring Offensive. In April of 1918 he returned to England to take up a post at the School of Instruction.
Major Cursham was buried with full military honours in the Holme Pierrepont churchyard in Nottinghamshire. His coffin was placed on a gun carriage, draped with the flag, and attended by a detachment of soldiers. There was a military band, and buglers to sound the Last Post. On his gravestone are the words: “I thank my God on every remembrance of you”.
Francis, from Wilford in Nottingham, was 29 years old.