History of the object

The month of January almost comes as a shock after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas period. It can often be a month of reflection and change- with less of the fun of the previous month. We have decided to have a January blog dedicated to a fun object in our Regimental Collection- a Chess set game!

The Chess Set

The Chess set is pocket sized, being leather bound and cased. It consists of pieces, similar in manufacture to collar studs, which press into the leather base. This was once owned by Company Sergeant Major (CSM) Mann during the Great War (1914-18). He used the Chess set during this time of service, no doubt bringing some much-needed fun during a difficult time.

Company Sergeant Major Arthur Mann

CSM Arthur Mann lived in Nottingham. He served with both the 1/7th Robin Hoods Battalion and the 1st Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters during the Great War. He had early regimental number 156 and later 265006.

It is unknown when Arthur joined the Sherwood Foresters, but it must have been in 1911 if not before. This is because he is shown as a Sergeant with the Robin Hoods Battalion when listed as a Steward in the 1911 Nottingham Dinner Book. Arthur was presented with the Stewards Silver Medal on this occasion

Arthur entered into France and the Great War on the 28th of February 1915, around the same time as the rest of the Robin Hoods Battalion. They would serve with the 139th Brigade of the 46th Division. Arthur and the Battalion saw much action including: Hohenzollern Redoubt (October 1915), Gommecourt (1st of July 1916) and the German retreat to the Hindenburg line in 1917.

On the 10th of August 1918, Arthur transferred to the 1st Battalion, where he served with HQ company. He was soon awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for gallantry displayed. The London Gazette reported this on the 3rd of June 1919:

‘From July to 11th November 1918, he has shown splendid devotion to duty, and has given entire satisfaction in all work he has undertaken. During the operations at Oppy in the second and third weeks of October he performed the duties of acting Regimental Sergeant Major excellently, and could always be relied upon. Under heavy shell and machine gun fire he showed a very fine example of courage and coolness to all ranks, which contributed materially to the success of any operation.’

He would remain with the 1st Battalion until the end of the war. Arthur disembarked on the 16th of June 1919.

For his service, Arthur was awarded: the 1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and DCM.

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