Sutton's band of heroic brothers who fought in and survived the Second World War

A new booklet charts the exploits of a remarkable set of six Sutton brothers who fought in the Second World War, and survived.

By Richard Silverwood
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 2:00 pm

The brothers belong to the Waring family, well known in the town and revered for military service. Indeed the men’s great grandad, Thomas (1792-1838), fought at the Battle of Waterloo, and their father, Henry (Harry), fought in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.

Of Henry’s sons, four of them, Jack, Arthur, Frank and Harry, were members of the famous ‘Desert Rats’, the nickname for the soldiers who helped defeat Rommel and the Germans in North Africa in the 1940s at places such as Tobruk.

Another of the brothers, Ernest, spent three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp after sustaining bullet wounds, and helped to build the notorious Burma ‘Death’ Railway.

A photo, about 80 years old, of Henry (Harry) and Eliza Waring (front) with six of their sons, who were serving in the Army during the Second World War. They are (from left) Ernest, Harry, Jack, Frank, Arthur and Fred.

Retired civil servant Steve Waring, 69, born and bred in Sutton but now living in Hasland, Chesterfield, is Ernest’s son. And it is he who has set about writing the booklet after hours of extensive research.

"To mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, I wrote a piece about my dad for the Sutton Living Memory Group’s Facebook page,” said Steve.

"It created a lot of interest, so I thought I’d have a bash at something similar for all the brothers.

"It seems miraculous that they all survived the war, despite taking part in some of the fiercest battles and enduring the most horrific circumstances imaginable.”

Retired former Sutton man Steve Waring, who has carried out extensive research to produce the booklet about the brothers, one of whom is his dad, Ernest.

Steve says he is “five-sixths of the way through” the booklet which, when completed, he plans to give to the Living Memory Group to be displayed at its unit in Sutton’s Idlewells Shopping Centre,

However, he is missing crucial information about the oldest of the brothers, Fred, and is hoping Chad readers can help.

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Fred, who didn’t serve on the frontline in the war, lived on Carsic Lane all his life and was married to Gladys, who died only 14 years ago, aged 101.

Their daughter, Betty Marsh, has also died but her husband, Henry, is thought to be in Sutton, as are three of their children, Gail, Jill and Paul. Indeed Gail is believed to still tend Fred’s grave at St Mary’s Church.

If you can help Steve, please call him on 07517 201791.

The idea for the booklet stemmed from a 1941 article in the ‘Notts Free Press’ newspaper, which told of five sons of Henry and Eliza Waring, of Percival Crescent, Sutton, serving in the Army.

Fred was 34, Jack 32, Ernest 27, Arthur 24 and Frank 19. It also mentioned a sixth son, who had been in the Sherwood Foresters regiment for four years, and a youngest son.

That sixth brother was Albert, who was working as a full-time Air-Raid Protection (ARP) warden in Birmingham to help the war effort, while that youngest brother was Harry, who joined the Royal Tank Regiment as a teenager and was soon wounded in North Africa.

Steve’s entertaining booklet, ‘Sutton’s Band Of Brothers: The Warings At War’, reveals how the brothers fared in the war, plus the careers they pursued in subsequent years and the families they produced.

As he says: “Gentlemen, we salute you and thank you for your endeavours. The message seems clear: if you’re getting into a ruck, take a Waring with you!”