NOEL MUSCHAMP VICKERS was born on the 22 December 1880 in Croydon, Surrey, the third son and fourth child of James Muschamp and Annie Elizabeth Vickers (née Bainbridge).
His parents were married on the 9 December 1874 at Castle Ward, Northumberland. Noel’s father was a student of the Inner Temple in May 1881 and called to the Bar on the 7 May 1884. He was the Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong for several years. Annie was the daughter of Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge, a mining consulting engineer, philanthropist and Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1895 to 1900. Emerson lived at Eshott Hall, Nr Felton, Northumberland and was the founder of the world’s first Department Store, Bainbridges, in Newcastle, which later became part of the John Lewis Partnership.
Noel was the fourth of five children, his two elder brothers were Emerson Muschamp, born 5 Feb 1876 in Shanghai, China, where his parents were living at the time, who died 26 July 1889, aged 13 years, in Eastbourne and Hubert James Muschamp, b. 31 Aug 1878 at Dissington Hall, Newcastle who died 25 Dec 1879, aged 3 years, at Mitcham, Surrey. Noel’s eldest and only sister was Maud Muschamp, b.21 Apr 1877 at Penge, Surrey. His younger brother, Hugh Gordon Muschamp was born six years later on the 18 May 1886 at Mitcham in Surrey.
At the time of the Census in 1881, Noel aged four months was living with his parents at The Grove, Mitcham, Croydon and in the early 1890’s, the family moved to Waltham House, Howe Street, Great Waltham and were recorded on the 1901 Census as having four servants.
Initially, Noel attended St Paul’s Prep School in London, and then went to Uppingham School in Rutland as a Boarder in September 1894. He boarded in Mr J G Thring’s House at the corner of School Lane – a small boarding house for the first two years. (This house was demolished around 90 years ago). He then moved on to Farleigh in 1896 and left Uppingham in August 1899.
He was admitted to Oxford University on the 14 October 1899 and went to Trinity College. He had the degree of BA conferred on him on the 11 July 1903 and the degree of MA, for which no further study or residence at Oxford was required, on the 17 May 1906. He undertook the following examination: Responsions (a kind of entrance examination) in Hilary Term 1899, first Public Examinations in Holy Scripture (In Sacra Scripture) in Michaelmas Term and Greek and Latin (In Graecis et Latinis) in Trinity term 1900 and finally, his Second Public examinations in the final honour school of Jurisprudence for which he attained third class in Trinity term 1903.
In the early 1900s Noel, now in his twenties, was living in Ryder Street, St James, The Strand, in London and following in his father’s footsteps training as a Barrister at the Lincoln’s Inn. He became a member of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons in 1906 and was on the Register until his death in 1916. He was also a Director of the New Hucknall Colliery Company Ltd.
Noel’s father James died on the 4 June 1909 after a serious illness at home in Great Waltham and the funeral and burial took place in the Great Waltham Church on the following Tuesday, the 8 June. The service was well attended by family, friends and the public, including the Parish Council. The flowers alone filled two carriages.
On the Census night in 1911 Noel was at Waltham House, Great Waltham.
On the 25 May 1911, Noel married Linda Lindemann, (b.19 Jul 1887 in Sidmouth, Devon) at Christchurch, Mayfair, London. Linda was the daughter of Olga, a wealthy heiress and Adolph Friedich Lindeman, a British engineer, businessman and an amateur astronomer of German origin.
Their only son, James Oswald Noel Vickers was born on the 6 April 1916 in London, less than four months before his father’s death in August. The family were living at 11 Queen Street, Mayfair, London.
Noel enlisted on the 3 June 1915 (4/3/3991) into the Inns of Court Regiment, the Court Officer Training Corps, a Territorial unit, based in Chancery Lane, London. The officers learned practical skills: how to navigate at night by prismatic compass, how to uncock a Lee Enfield rifle without blowing someone’s foot off and how to dig. By the end of the war the officers-to-be had dug 13,000 yards of trenches. It was considered essential training for officers and gentlemen. ‘It is good for every man to have some experience of what a heavy job of digging feels like, and the carrying of tools on the march.'
On the 10 September 1915 Noel, now a Lieutenant was commissioned to the 18th (Service) Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). The Regiment was raised at Derby on the 27th of July 1915, as a Bantam Battalion. After initial training close to home they joined 121st Brigade, 40th Division at Aldershot in October and on the 2nd of April 1916 the Battalion was absorbed by the 13th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment) at Woking.
Noel was promoted to a 2nd Lieutenant with the 13th (Service) Battalion (Green Howards) East Yorkshire Regiment, which was formed at Richmond in July 1915 as a Bantam battalion accepting men who did not meet the minimum height and chest measurements required for service in the army at that time and went to Aldershot in 121st Brigade, 40th Division. The Division had been formed at Aldershot in September 1915 and included units recruited in England, Wales and Scotland. On the 27th May 1916 the Battalion was at Woking when orders were received to mobilise for active service.
On the 4th June the Battalion, strength 34 officers and 995 other ranks entrained at Woking for Southampton but stormy weather delayed the crossing until the evening of the following day and Le Havre was reached about 3 am on the 6th June 1916.
Noel seated front row (6th from right)
By the 9th June concentration of the Division was completed some 10 miles west of Bethune in the Lillers area in Northern France in the sector of I Corps of the First Army and at once units of the Division were attached to formations of the I Corps for training.
Billeted first at Ham-en-Artois (North of Lillers) and then at Maisnil-les-Ruitz (south of Bethune) the Battalion was in training going on the 28th June to Calonne for instruction in trench duties, returning to Maisnil on the 2nd July. In this period of trench training the Battalion had 8 men killed and 2 wounded.
On the 3rd July 1916, the 121st Brigade took over the Maroc sector west of Loos, the Battalion being in reserve and billeted in North Maroc and this was the commencement of a series of tours in the front, support and reserve lines. The Battalion remained in this area until the end of October 1916.
Death and Memorial
On the 1 August 1916, the 18th (Service) Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment were on the Front line Trenches at Maroc. On the evening of the 3 August Lieut. N M Vickers was in charge of a patrol reconnoitring the crater. He reached the enemy’s wire, when bombs were thrown at the patrol, one of which unfortunately killed this officer. The patrol was not far from the crater when this happened and did not miss the officer until arriving there. They reported his absence to Lieutenant T K Pickard, who volunteered at once to search and he recovered the body from the wire. This he did alone, a difficult and dangerous operation on account of the bombs which were being thrown by the enemy.
On the 15 August 1916, Lieu. T K Pickard was awarded the Military Cross, the first one to be awarded in this Division, an honour of which the Battalion was proud to obtain.
ESSEX NEWSMAN SATURDAY 12th AUGUST 1916
Noel is buried in Maroc British Cemetery in the village of Grenay, Pas de Calais, France.
Grave Reference - Headstone No. 264.Plot I. Row J. Grave14.
The Cemetery is situated 15 kilometres south east of Bethune. The cemetery was begun by French troops in August 1915, but it was first used as a Commonwealth cemetery by the 47th (London) Division in January 1916. During the greater part of the war it was a front-line cemetery used by fighting units and field ambulances, and protected from German observation by a slight rise in the ground. Plot II was begun in April 1917 by the 46th (North Midland) Division and by the middle of October 1918, Plot III, Row A and part of Row B, had been filled. The remainder of Plot III, and the ends of certain rows in Plot I, contain graves brought in after the Armistice from the battlefields and small cemeteries (including Maroc Churchyard), north and east of Grenay.
Maroc British Cemetery now contains 1,379 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 264 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 89 casualties known to be buried among them. In particular, 87 officers and men of the 6th London Regiment, who died on 25 September 1915 in the capture of Loos, are now buried (but without individual identification) in Plot III, Rows H, J, K and L. The cemetery also contains 45 French and German burials.
The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
Noel is remembered at several locations in the UK -
Uppingham School, Rutland. WW1Memorial Chapel. Panel 20.
450 Old Boys from Uppingham lost their lives in WW1 and are remembered in the Memorial Chapel.
2. Lincoln’s Inn War Memorial, New Square, London WC2
3. Mitcham Church Road Burial Ground, Surrey.
4. The War Memorial in Great Waltham
5. St Mary & St Lawrence Church, Great Waltham
Noel was awarded the British Medal and the Victory Medal and an application for his medals was made by his mother for these on the 3 October 1921. These were sent out on 7 December 1921.
Noel’s widow, Linda married Ian Thomas Drummond Kirkpatrick in September 1919, in London. She died in 1976.