Henry Birkett Shimelds was born in 1894. He lived in Hexthorpe with his father, Newbold, mother Betsy and five brothers and sisters. His father had a confectioners shop when Henry was a child, though by the time Henry was 17 his father had become an insurance agent for the Liverpool Victoria friendly Society.
Henry worked as a wagon builders’ apprentice and later as a wagon builder at the Great Northern Railway Works. He enlisted in January of 1916, serving as a Driver in France with the Royal Field Artillery. Before joining the Army, Henry had played for Doncaster Rovers and the Doncaster Gazette reported that just three weeks prior to his death he had played a match for the Plant Works Club whilst home on leave.
Henry died of Spanish Flu on the 10 November 1918 in a French hospital, just one day before the signing of the armistice brought the war to an end. Henry was buried at the Les Baraques Military Cemetery. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Image and story courtesy of Nicola Pollard, Henry’s great great niece.