​​​​​​​​​Men from the Blackburn area commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial 
 

A B C D E F

 Letter A  

 
 

Private George Abbott

Abbott george.jpg 2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 13480
Private George Abbott, son of Ellen Abbott of 7 Stakes Hall Place, Mill Hill, enlisted in August 1914 into the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, with his brother Percy. It is likely that they were to report to the main barracks at Berwick upon Tweed, where they will have received extensive training. This must have been a massive change of pace for the entire family, who had all been cotton weavers previously.
George joined the 2nd Battalion over in France on 27th August 1915, at a relatively quiet time for the Battalion and even Division. It would not be until March 1916 that the Battalion saw significant action, at Vimy Ridge, with trench raids, mining activities and sniping a constant threat.
In July 1916, after the initial attacks on 1st July, the Battalion was once again in action, at the attacks on High Wood near Bazentin-le-Petit. Over a period of 2 months the wood was fought bitterly over, and eventually won by the British.
The Battalion, meanwhile, was moved to fight in the battle of Guillemont, commencing on 3rd September. The Battalion was tasked with two others to take Falfemont Farm (13th Brigade). On this day the farm had not been bombarded as had been planned, owing to some mistake. Machine gun fire from the Germans at the wood broke up the attack, but the farm was finally taken in the early hours of the 5th September by the 1st Cheshire’s and 1st Bedfordshire’s after the 1st Norfolk’s had been held up in the front. No part of the farm was left standing by this time and there were no dugouts or trenches.
It was on the first day that George, aged only twenty-one, was killed in action. His body was never recovered, and so George is honoured on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing Pier and Face, 4 A and 4 D along with over 70,000 other soldiers.

Private Arthur William Addison

Addison, Arthur William.jpg

3rd Coldstream Guards, 12138

Private Arthur William Addison of the 3rd Coldstream Guards, son of John Solomon Addison and Ellen Ann Addison of 207 Beaumont Terrace, Blackburn, was killed on 15th September 1916.
The son of the Insurance Superintendent, Addison worked as an Insurance Clerk in the employ at Wesleyan & General Company, most likely working for/with his father, John before enlisting on the 7th April 1915.
Arthur was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette which consisted of using massed artillery and infantry attacks to cut through the German lines. The 56th Division was to form the right flank of the attack, but its attack soon bogged down. To their left the 6th Division needed to overcome a strong German position known as the Quadrilateral, north of Leuze Wood, before it could attack its first objective for the day. Despite some bitter fighting, little progress was made. Next in line was the Guards Division. They eventually reached their first objective, but in some chaos. Once there they believed themselves to be at their third objective for the day, and halted. By the end of the Battle on 22nd September 1916, the strategic objective had not been achieved. The battle is significant for the first use of the tank in warfare. It also marked the debut of the Canadian and New Zealand Divisions on the Somme battlefield.
Arthur Wil​liam Addison has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 7 D and 8 D.
Arthur’s brother, Roger Addison, was in the East Lancashire Regiment as a temporary 2nd lieutenant in 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross during the First World War (in London Gazette 3rdJune 1918). He was seconded to the Observer Corps as an Observer Officer (in London Gazette 23rd August 1918). He was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross for his bombing on 10th October 1919 at Tsaritzin (in London Gazette 1st April 1920).


Private Thomas Addison

Addison, Thomas.jpg

8th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 18122

​Thomas Add​ison was born in 1895, and would quickly follow in the family tradition of the Cotton Industry. He was employed at Lewis Bros.’ Springfield Mill, Blackburn.  His parents resided at 86, Peter-street, Blackburn.
Thomas Addison was 19 years old when war broke out, and he joined the 8th Battalion of the Kings Own (Royal Lancashire Regiment).  After basic training Thomas embarked from France on 17th July 1915.
The Battalion gained experience in smaller raids and trench-building works before the major offensive in the Somme region in July 1916. After first fighting in the Battle for Albert, the Battalion, and Thomas, would fight in the Battle for Delville Wood.
The battle for Delville wood took place between 15th July and 3rd September 1916.  By 13th July the British advance had taken it to a point where it was now facing the second German defensive complex.  A well planned and novel night attack on 14th July took British troops through that line but they now ran into stiffening enemy defence at Guillemont, Delville Wood and Longueval, High Wood and Pozieres.  Attack and counter attack ground relentlessly on as the British edged forward.
It was during these attacks that Thomas was killed, on 19th July 1916. Thomas has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5 D and 12B.

 

Corporal Albert Ainsworth

7th (City of London) London Regiment, 3937/351464

Albert Ainsworth started off as a private in World War One and joined the London regiment in the 7th (City of London) Battalion at Hammersmith, London under the regiment number:  3937.
He lived in Notting Hill, London, after moving from Blackburn.
The 1/7th battalion was formed in August 1914 in Finsbury Square, a district in central London and was assigned to the 2nd London Infantry Brigade in the 1st London Division.
Later on in his military career, he was promoted to Corporal and his service number changed from 3937 to 351464, this was because before 1917 all men serving with Territorial Force units were given either three digits or four digit service number. So from this information we know that Albert Ainsworth was a territorial forces soldier and was enlisted in the army before 1917.
The 1/7th battalion embarked and landed in France in 1915 and first saw action in Festubert in May 1915. The battalion took part in several major battles in World War One such as the battle of Loo’s in the September of that year, Vimy in May 1916, High wood in September 1916 and many other major battles.
The battalion did suffer major casualties in these heroic battles and Corporal Albert Ainsworth was one of the many casualties, killed in action on the seventh of October in 1916.
The 1/7th battalion were, at the time of Corporal Albert Ainsworth’s death fighting at Butte de Warlencourt in the October of 1916. There was a lot of casualties, as the soldiers were pinned down by machine gun fire. Around 300 officers and men lost their lives. The battalion was awarded the Battle Honour Le Transloy.
Albert Ainsworth is remembered at the Thiepval memorial, Pier & Face 9D 9C 13C & 12C.
 

Corporal George Ainsworth

Ainsworth, George.jpg2nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 16669
George Ainsworth was born in 1888, the son of Aaron and Maria Ainsworth.  As a child, he was of a studious disposition, he was a great reader, and was passionately fond of music.  George attended New Row Chapel, where he was actively involved in the choir.
George married Leah Cross in 1912, but had no children.  George was an overlooker at Livesey’s Cotton Mill, Ewood. His father, Aaron and brother George were also weavers.
He joined the 2nd  Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in October 1914 and was sent to France on the 26th January 1915, after three months training.  
On 28th  July 1915 the 2nd “Ox. and Bucks.” moved to front-line trenches near Waterlot farm and sustained heavy casualties during battle on 30th  July. They fought on the Somme at Delville Wood and Guillemont. Following months of bitter fighting into the autumn, the Battalion moved to fight on the Ancre. Just prior to this, George had been recommended for a Commission and was recommended for a Military Medal for gallantry in the field.
The Battle of the Ancre took place between the 13th and 18th November.  The objective was the “Elimination of the German salient between Albert-Bapaume Road and Serre, with Beaumont-Hamel at its head.”  At 5.45am on Monday the 13th  November an artillery bombardment began.  It was not only dark but there was a very thick fog.   The attack was hindered by mud and heavy enemy fire but Beaumont-Hamel was taken the attackers pushed onto the outskirts of Beaucourt.  It was on this day that George Ainsworth lost his life. He was much esteemed by officers and men alike. The offensive operations all across the Somme were called off on the 19th of November, just a week later.
His younger brother Henry, who was in the 3rd Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was killed at​ Vermelles on the 15th  October 1915.  He was 24 years old and married to Martha Ainsworth.
George’s body, along with 70,000 others, was never found. He is still remembered on the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme, Pier and Face 10 A and 10 D.


Almond, George.jpg

9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 15981

George Almond was born around 1888, at 53 Toxteth St., Liverpool.  He previously worked as a Dock Labourer, probably with his father, George Almond senior, who was a Dock Gateman.
The 1911 census shows George Almond living with his parents, siblings: one brother and one sister; his sister’s husband with their two children.
When George enlisted he was 25, married and had moved out of his parent home.
George Almond joined the war effort on the 17th of September 1914 at Liverpool, and was given the service number 15981.  He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th battalion, which was formed at Preston in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 74th Brigade in 25th Division.
The battalion moved to Christchurch in December 1914 and to Southbourne in January 1915.
In May 1915 they were moved to Romsey and then onto Aldershot the following month. On 26th September 1915 the Battalion landed in France.
His enlistment documents state that he had already served with the 3rd North Lancashire Regiment.
George almond was awarded the Victory Medal, British Medal and the 1914-1915 Star for his efforts in the Great War. He took part in the first battles of the Somme, at Albert. It was here that George was killed.
George Almond died on 7th July 1916 aged 28, in a firefight north of La Boiselle, the fortified village of Ovillers was the centre of fierce and protracted fighting from 7th to 15th July in which the 2nd and 8th South Lancashire’s and 8th and 9th Loyal North Lancashire’s, all in the 25th Division, played a prominent role in capturing the ruins from the Prussian Guards.
His name is recorded at the Thiepval memorial, at the St. Bartholomew’s memorial Pier & Face 11 A.



Almond, Samuel.jpg
2nd East Lancashire Regiment, 22757
Private Almond was a single man, aged 28. He was the son of William and Johanna Almond and lived at 5 Hollin Street, Mill Hill, Blackburn. He was one of nine children. Samuel attended the Emmanuel School.
Samuel followed the family tradition, and was employed as a weaver at Waterloo Mill. 
Not long after war was declared, Samuel joined up; enlisting in September 1914 into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.  He was quickly discharged in November 1914 though, for having flat feet and not having the character of a soldier!
Undeterred, he later joined the East Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Battalion. The 2nd Battalion took part in the Battle of Albert from 1st July 1916 to 13 July1916. The Battle of Albert is the official name for the British efforts during the first two weeks of the first Battle of the Somme. As such it includes the first day of the Somme, the most costly day in British military history.
Private Samuel Almond was reported as being killed in action on 23rd October 1916. At that time, the 8th Division, of which the 2nd East Lancs. were a part, had been battling around the Ancre Heights, although they were not directly engaged in any major offensives. Given this, it is more likely that Samuel was killed by artillery fire whilst the unit kept up its sentry work in the trenches.
Samuel Almond has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, pier and face 6c.
His obituary notice stated that his brother William and a brother-in law had previously been killed.


Lance-Corporal Ernest Altham

Altham, Ernest.jpg
18th Lancashire Fusiliers, 17010
Ernest Altham was born in Blackburn in 1895, the son of George and Elizabeth Altham.  His father and mother were both weavers, and in 1911, they lived at Sabden.  The 1911 census shows that Ernest was 16 years old and a calico print works labourer for a colour mixer; later he became a weaver at Livesey Mill, Ewood. 
He joined the Lancashire Fusiliers, 18th Battalion, January 1915 aged 20.  This was a Bantam Battalion which meant that men who may be rejected due to their being too small were able to join up and fight for their country.  The height of a “Bantam” was between 5ft and 5ft 3in. 
The 18th Lancashire Fusiliers were part of the 35th Division, which landed at Havre in January 1916. They took part in the Battle of Bazentin Ridge between 14th to 17thJuly, 1916 which was a great success for the British when the German 2nd line was captured on a 6,000 yard front. 
Arrow Head Copse and Falfemont Farm were part of the battle of Guillemont 3rd – 6th September 1916 where fierce fighting took place.  Guillemont was at the Southern corner of the Somme Battlefield. Falfemont Farm was to the south east of Guillemont and was not taken until the 5th.  The battle ended on the 6th  of September with the major part of Leuze Wood being captured. Sadly, further advances were not possible.
In March 1917, the German armies on the Somme made a strategic withdrawal known as Operation Alberich. The withdrawing army destroyed everything they could not take: villages, and poisoned wells, blocked roads by blowing them up and cut down trees. They set booby-traps in ruins and dugouts. This withdrawal took the Germans to the Hindenburg Line.
It was on the 15th of April 1917 that Ernest lost his life. Ernest has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.


Private James Arkwright


Arkwright, James.jpg
2nd/5th Lancashire Fuilisers, 7539
 James Arkwright was born at Blackburn in 1880.  In 1901, he married Eliza Greenacre, and by 1911 they had four children.  He was, before joining the army a fire beater at Haston-street mill.  He also attended church at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.
On the 4th of December he joined the East Lancashire Regiment, Number 3441.  At some point he left the East Lancashire Regiment and joined the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers No. 7539. 
Originally, the 2nd/5th Battalion was attached to the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division.  By January 1916, it was part of the 164th Brigade 51st (Highland) Division. 
The attacks on High Wood were part of the battle of the Somme.  Between the 14th July and 15th September 1916 the British and Germans fought for control of the woods.  The weather was atrocious; and the trenches water logged which restricted movement. 
There were heavy casualties on both sides and James Arkwright was officially killed on the 12th of September, although the newspaper reported that he ‘fell in action’ on 9th September.  By the 15th of September the British captured the woods.
James is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.


Private George Ashton 

Ashton, George.jpg1st/5th East Lancashire Regiment, 242752
George Ashton was born in Blackburn in 1887.  His parents were William and Margaret Alice Ashton; he had a younger sister, Elizabeth Ellen.  George was a spinner at John Dugdale & Son’s on Higher Audley Street before the war.  He was also prominently connected to the St. Matthew’s Church Lads Brigade.
His enlistment date is not known but it is likely that his first posting was to Egypt.  In 1915, the 1st/4th Battalion became part of the 126th Brigade, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.  It is possible that George participated in The Battle of Romani.
The village of Epehy was captured at the beginning of April 1917 and it was here that George Ashton lost his life. At this time, small trench raids and sniping parties were part of normal life; it is likely George was on a trench raid when he was killed.
George is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.



Aspin, Richard.jpg10th Cameronians, 13581
Richard Aspin, born in 1893, was the son of William and Eleanor Aspin. They lived at 20 Unity-street.  Richard was an apprentice joiner and by the time he joined the army in 1914 was just finishing his time as an apprentice.  He enlisted into the 10th Battalion of the Cameronions (Scottish Rifles) on the 6th September 1914, just as the Battalion was formed.
As part of Kitchener's Second New Army, the Battalion trained at Borden, and were finally moved to Salisbury Plain in April 1915.  Richard landed in Boulogne in France on the 11th July 1915. 
On 15th August 1915, Richard received a wound to his eye but was back on the front line a week later.  Their first major engagement was at the Battle of Loos (25th September - 19th October 1915). 
The Cameronions were at the Battle of the Somme and on the 15th September 1916 the 45th and 46th Brigade of the 15th Scottish Division attacked Martinpuich. The attack began at 6.20a.m. behind a creeping barrage going forward at fifty yards a minute.  The outskirts of the village were quickly taken in the morning of the 15th, although the taking of the remainder of the village was nevertheless more difficult than this swift progress makes it appear as the village was full of dugouts and manned by troops of the Bavarian Division.
By early afternoon, the 15th Division was in possession of the village and at 3p.m. the troops had taken over the remaining ruins of the village which had been virtually flattened before the battle began.  It was at this battle that Richard Aspin lost his life.
Richard is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 4 D.

 

Private Walter Astley


Astley, Walter.jpg10th Lancashire Fusiliers, 5052
Walter was born in 1897, the son of James and Mary Ann Astley.  He worked as a weaver at E. G. Hindle, Ltd., Bastfield Mill, and lived at 178 Whalley New Road, Blackburn with his parents and his brother William. The whole family worked at the Mill. Walter attended St. Stephen’s Church and Sunday School, in which district, he was well known and respected by all who enjoyed his friendship.
He joined the 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers on the 25th August 1914 when he was just seventeen years old.  He was part of Kitcheners New Army. The 10th Battalion formed part of 52nd Brigade, 17th Northern Division. 
He embarked for France on the 15th of July 1915. The 17th Division spent time in familiarising themselves with the trenches and then they held the front lines in the Southern area of the Ypres Salient.  In 1916, they were involved in fighting at the Bluff (South East of Ypres on the Comines Canal), and a number of engagements known as the “Actions of Spring” in 1916.
The Division was transferred to the Somme area in early June.  Walter was killed on the 27th June 1916 just before the beginning of the battle of the Somme. His Platoon officer wrote:
“For some time past now he has been with the Lewis Gun section and when killed he was near the gun of the team to which he belonged. He was killed by a shell which burst very close to him. He was buried at night behind the trenches. I am sorry your boy is dead. I always took an interest in him since for some time he was my servant. The Lewis gun officer speaks well of him. I can only end by saying he died a soldier’s death in a front-line trench at a time when we hope that we shall win a great victory.”
Walter is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D

 

Letter B

 

Rifleman Ernest Bailey

Bailey, Ernest.jpg13th Rifle Brigade, S/10756
Ernest Bailey was born in 1885.  He was married to Elizabeth Bailey and lived at 118, Infirmary-street, where they had two children.  His job was an earthenware enameller at Messrs. Whittaker and Co. Ltd., Brickworks, Grimshaw Park, where he had worked for 16 years.
Ernest was prominently identified with Haslingden-road Wesleyan Church, where he was a member of the choir, and a teacher for the Sunday school.  He was a well-known cricketer, playing with the Railway Clerks, whom he helped to win the championship of the Chorley and District League. 
He enlisted into the army on the 17th May 1915 at the age of 30.  He was invalided home in March 1916 and returned to the front the following June.
He fought in the Battle of Ancre 13th – 18th November 1916. The general assault at Ancre was launched amidst a tremendous artillery bombardment in darkness and thick fog at 5.45am on Monday 13th November.
The attackers had to contend with deep mud, heavy enemy fire and poor visibility. On the extreme left of V Corps, 3rd Division struggled through the mire at great cost towards Serre; isolated groups forced their way past barely cut wire but were gradually forced to retire.
As the attack resumed on the 14th, Ernest was killed in the ensuing fight. He was listed as missing at the time, and it was 6 months before he was officially listed as Killed in Action in April 1917.
Ernest is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.

 

Private Richard Bamber

1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 19435

Richard Bamber was born in Westhoughton, Lancashire and when world war one broke out in 1914, he enlisted at Bolton, Lancashire in the Loyal North Lancashire regiment and joined the 1st battalion.
He was given the service number 19435.
There was a farewell concert performed by the band of the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston Market Place on 12th August 1914. The 1st Battalion were leaving for Le Havre (France), they landed the next day.
One of the first British formations to move to France, the 1st Division remained on the Western Front throughout the war.
They saw action at Troyon, Ypres, Aubers Ridge, Loos and the Battle of the Somme. In each battle the 1st battalion took heavy casualties, nearly depleting the whole regiment. The Loyal North’s somehow managed to carry on, even after unsuccessful attacks against the Germans, especially at the assault on Aubers Ridge (9th May 1915) which failed bloodily against strong German defences and well-sited machine guns. The British bombardment, though ineffective against the enemy trenches, inflicted heavy losses on the East Lancashire’s, who had 449 casualties that day, while the Loyal’s losses amounted to 243.
Even at Loos, the final British offensive of 1915 which started on 25th September, the 1st Loyal North Lancashire’s made a gallant but unsuccessful assault in the face of uncut German wire, machine guns and gas. When, after a second attempt, the survivors rallied in the trenches, only three officers and 159 other ranks remained on their feet, sixteen officers and 489 men having fallen.
Then fighting of an even more intense character and larger scale opened on 1st July 1916 when, in order to take pressure off the French, the British Army began that immense and costly succession of attacks known collectively as the Battle of The Somme.
Richard Bamber lost his life 15th July 1916, in the Battle of the Somme. He can be remembered at Thiepval memorial. Memoriam: St Thomas, Pier & Face 11 A.


Barnes, Jesse.jpg
5th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 16058
Jesse Barnes was born in Blackburn in 1885.  He was a cotton weaver and was connected with Furthergate Congregational Church, and he was well known in the district. By 1911, he was living with his older sister’s family at 22 Bennington Street.
Jesse joined the 5th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in November 1914. He was part of Kitchener’s new Army and came under orders of 42nd Brigade, in the 14th Light Division. 
He embarked to France on the 22nd of May 1915.  In June 1915, the 14th Light Division took part in the battle at Hooge, Belgium; it was here that the Germans first used the flammenwerfer, or flamethrower.  Later they took part in the failed attack at Bellewaarde. 
In July 1916 the Light Division took part in the battle of Delville Wood.  There was vicious fighting here involving the South Africans who suffered many casualties.  On the 27th July the 2nd Division renewed the assault on the wood, and on the 4t August the 17th Division; managed to push the British line forward.  An attack on 29th of August by the 14th (Light) Division forced out all but a small group of German defenders. It was around this time that Jesse was killed, his body was never found. He was initially reported as missing. He was finally reported as “killed in action” in February 1917, leaving his sister and brother-in-law wondering about his fate.
 Jesse is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 12 A and 12 D.

 

Private John Baron

Baron, John.jpg2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 204080
John was the eldest son of Sidney and Mary Alice Baron. He had six sisters and two younger brothers, Thomas and Sydney, who also served in the Army.  All three brothers served in the East Lancashire Regiment. By trade, John was employed as a weaver at T. and R. Eccles Ltd., Lower Darwen. He was connected to St James’ Church, Lower Darwen and was a member of the Men’s Bible Class.
John Baron enlisted on the 23rd of March 1916; he was 32 years and 8 months.
In 1916 the 2nd/5th Battalion were part of 164th Brigade 51st (Highland) Division.
The 33rd Division attacked High Wood at dusk on the 19th of July.  Two battalions of the 19th Brigade crept forward on 20th of July, during a bombardment and attacked when it lifted at 3:25 a.m. During the afternoon of the 21st July, another battalion went forward and managed to reach the northern fringe of the wood. Due to the number of British casualties, two more battalions were sent forward as reinforcements but as dark fell a German bombardment forced the British from the north end of the wood, which was retaken by German troops and both sides dug in
After the attacks on the 20th July ended the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood, became an even harder for the British.
On the night of the 22nd/23rd of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties. The other battalions also suffered losses.
Units from the 51st Division fought here on the 23rd of July. The attacks On High Wood went on until the 15th of September.
John Baron was killed on the 9th of September during this battle.  He was reported missing in September 1916 and presumed dead the following year.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 3 C 3 D.
It is thought that at least 8,000 British and German soldiers died in the wood in 1916

Baron, Nehmiah.jpg8th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), S/554
Nehemiah Baron was born in May 1878.  He was married to Ann Elizabeth, and they had three children. The family lived at 65, Coddington-street, Blackburn.  Before joining the army, Nehemiah was a weaver at Lewis Brother’s Springfield Mill. 
He enlisted into the 8th Battalion Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) on 7th September 1914, having previously fought in the Boer War.
On the 26th of September, 1915 the Battalion fought its first major action at the Battle of Loos, where the casualties were appalling. Of the twenty-five officers who went over the top, thirteen were killed and eleven wounded and, of the other ranks, over 550 out of about 800 became casualties.
In 1916 the Battalion took part in the battle of Delville Wood. There was vicious fighting here involving the South Africans who suffered many casualties.  Over a period of 3 months, the wood would eventually be taken by brute force. Just as the final battle began, Nehemiah Baron was killed on the 1st September 1916. 
Nehemiah is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 11 C.


Private James Battle

Battles, James.jpg

2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, 17912

James Battle was the son of James and Mary Battle, of 12 Fort-street.  He was born in 1897 and was the second youngest of seven children.  He worked as a cotton Spinner at Imperial Mill, Blackburn, and was also connected to St. Alban’s Catholic Church.
James joined the army at the end on 1914, joining the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers.  He left for France to join the Battalion 23rd August 1915.   It was around this time that his brother, Owen was invalided out of the army. He was an old soldier, having joined in 1906 at the age of 18.
By 1916, the Battalion was part of 30th Division, who were to attack along the Albert-Bapaume road to Gommecourt on July 1st. The attack went ahead, but like most units on the Somme, the Battalion was bogged down by machine-gun fire and artillery. James was killed by a shell on the next day, July 2nd 1916.
James Battle is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C, and has no known grave.
 
1st Royal Scots Fusiliers, 15754
Alfred Batty was the eldest son of Thomas and Sarah Batty.  He had two older sisters and four younger sisters.  By trade, he was a packer at Duxbury’s paper works. 
Alfred enlisted at Blackburn into the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and embarked for France on the 21st of April 1915.
The Fourth Army planning for a major breakthrough attack on the German second position in the southern sector of the battlefield began as early as 8th July, when it was agreed that a dawn assault should be made on the line from Longueval to Bazentin-le-Petit.
Artillery bombardments began on 11th July and, based on XV Corps report on wire cutting requirements, the day of attack was set for 14th July. In massive contrast to operations on 1st July, great emphasis was placed on the element of surprise. To this end, the assaulting troops (Brigades of 9th and 3rd Divisions of XIII Corps, and 7th and 21st Divisions of XV Corps) were to assemble after midnight in the darkness of No Man's Land and form up within 500 yards of the German line. With great skill, the undetected deployment of the attacking force was completed by 3am. An intense bombardment began at 3.20am which, precisely five minutes later, lifted as near 22,000 British infantry advanced through the light mist towards the enemy trenches. The German defenders, surprised by the shortness of the bombardment and proximity of the attacking waves, gave way and leading British Battalions quickly reached the front line and pressed on beyond.
The operation was a stunning success resulting in the capture of the German second position on a front of 6,000 yards. For a time the important position of High Wood remained open to occupation but delays in getting the cavalry forward meant that this opportunity was lost. Fighting for Longueval village continued after 17th July and was intimately connected with the long struggle for Delville Wood.
Alfred Batty was killed on the first day of this battle, the 14th of July and has no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 3 C.

Private Robert Beattie

1st Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, G/8782

Robert Beattie was born at Aldershot in 1885 to Robert and Alice Ann Beattie.  His family were mostly cotton winders, whilst his father, originally from Glasgow, was a Stationary Engineman.
As war breaks out, Robert enlists in Blackburn into the 1st Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment. 
By 1916, the Battalion was assigned to the 33rd Division, and was posted to the Somme as part of preparations for the second large battle to take place, around High Wood.
The 33rd Division attacked High Wood at dusk on the 19th of July.  Two battalions of the 19th Brigade crept forward on 20th of July, during a bombardment and attacked when it lifted at 3:25a.m.
After the attacks on the 20th July ended the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood became an even harder for the British.
On the night of the 22nd-23rd  of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties. The other battalions also suffered heavy losses.
Robert Beattie was killed on the 22nd of July in the attack on the south-eastern Part of the wood.  It is thought that at least 8,000 British and German soldiers died in the wood in 1916.
Robert Beattie is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 11 C, and has no known grave.


Beggs Harry.jpg1st East Lancashire Regiment, 19994
Harry Beggs was the son of Thomas and Margaret Beggs. He had a sister called Annie.  Harry was born in 1898 and lived at 21, Isherwood Street.  
By trade, he was a weaver at H. Smalley’s Elswick Mill, alongside his father, who manned the boilers. Harry also attended Mellor Wesleyan Church and Sunday school.
He enlisted at Southport into the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment, which was part of the 11th Brigade in the 4th Division.  In 1915, Harry was at the battles of Marne, Aisne, Messines and Ypres.
1st of July 1916, on the Somme, the 4th Division attacked between Serre and Beaumont Hamel and managed to reach a strongpoint known as the Quadrilateral but could not exploit the success, because of the repulse by the Germans of the attacks by the flanking divisions.
Cross-fire from Beaumont Hamel and Serre and determined counter-attacks held up the Division. No other gains were made and German counter-attacks recovered the position early on 2nd July, by which time, the Division had suffered 4,700 casualties.
Harry Beggs was one of those casualties.  His friend Private Joseph Brown was also killed on that day.
Harry Beggs is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C, and has no known grave. Harry is also commemorated in Blackburn Old Cemetery, Non-Conformist, Section J, 1553.


17th Lancashire Fusiliers, 32400

Benjamin Bell was a Lancashire man, born in Oswaldtwistle and lived at 54, Bottomgate, Salesbury Lancashire.
Not much is known about his family, as by 1911, at the age of 28, he is living in 28 Newton Street as a boarder, with a widow and two other boarders. At this time, he was an outdoor founder.
Benjamin Bell enlisted as a private in the Lancashire Fusiliers regiment aged thirty three and joined the 17th battalion (1st South-East Lancashire) at Preston, Lancashire. This battalion was known as a bantam unit, created especially for men who were considered too small to be in other units.
However, these men were fit for duty so these units were made so they could help and fight in the war effort.
After a couple of months of rigorous training close to home, the 17th battalion was moved to Cholderton, Salisbury Plain for final training. Then the battalion was taken over by the War office and was ready to join the World War.
The 17th battalion did have order to go to Egypt but these were quickly cancelled as they were needed in France. On the 29th of January 1916, the battalion quickly mobilised for war and landed at Le Havre, France.
The battalion saw action at several points on the Western Front such as The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The fighting for Arrow Head Copse, Maltz Horn Farm, and Falfemont Farm.
Benjamin Bell’s date of death is recorded has 25th August 1916. His battalion at the time of his death was fighting one of the numerous battles of the Somme. Heavy casualties took place in these battles.
Benjamin Bell has no known grave and is remembered at Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D, at the Thiepval memorial, France.

Blackshaw Charles.jpg 8th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/9151
Charles Blackshaw was the Husband of Mary Ann Blackshaw and the son of George and Ellen Blackshaw, and lived at 223 Whalley Old-Road.
Along with the rest of his family, Charles was a weaver.  He was also a regular worshipper at the parish church, until January 1916, when he enlisted in Blackburn.
Charles joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and was shipped to France. He would not have much time in training until he was in the thick of it at the Battle of Deville Wood, in July 1916.
After hard fighting in July by the South African Brigade, it would be Charles’ turn to try and turf out the Germans from the strategically important wood.
27th July saw the 2nd Division renew the assault, followed on 4th August by the 17th Division; bloody encounters in mid-August pushed the line forward and an attack by the 14th (Light) Division on 29th August forced out all but a remnant of defiant German defenders. The wood was only completely cleared of Germans following the fall of Ginchy on 9th September 1916.
It was on the 24th of August that Charles was wounded in the head. He continued to fight, but later died of his wounds.  His name was sent in for recommendation for gallant conduct and bravery.
Charles Blackshaw has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.


Gunner Frank Blanchard

blanchard Frank.jpg24th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, 61265
Frank Blanchard joined the war effort at the young age of eighteen. He enlisted in Blackburn and joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, in the 24th Siege Battery Battalion as a gunner. His service number was 61265.
Frank was a local lad who was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. He lived at number 16, Ice Street, Blackburn. Before he joined the war effort, Frank Blanchard worked as an apprentice printer.
Frank first went overseas with the 24th Siege Battery on 20th August 1915. This was when the Battalion first landed in France.
Frank and his Battalion were responsible for destroying enemy artillery, supply routes, railways and stores. The batteries were equipped with heavy Howitzer guns firing large calibre 4, 6, 8 or 9.2 inch shells in a high trajectory.
Artillery played a huge role in the First World War and helped to shape how it was fought. Guns were used for a range of vital work – during battles and quiet periods; offensively and defensively.
As Frank was a Gunner in his battalion, he would have worked with these big guns in a crew of eight.
However, as Leonard Ounsworth describes, this wasn’t always the case:
“There was a sergeant in charge, he was regarded as No 1 – he was generally called No 1, you see. There was the limber gunner who opened and closed the breech when you were in action, and in normal times he serviced the gun, you know, he was in charge of cleaning it and all that sort of thing.
Then there was the gun layer who of course he aimed the gun every time, and then the rest were ammunition numbers. There’s supposed to be a total of eight in the crew, but of course that was in theory because very often we didn’t have sufficient people on hand.”
Also, there was also the very real threat of when of these big guns shells going off too early and killing the men working behind it.
Almost after a year after the 24th Siege Battalion landed in France, Frank Blanchard was killed in action, on 18th August 1916.
Frank Blanchard is remembered at the Thiepval memorial, Pier and Face 8 A, and at St. John's Church.


1st/4th East Lancashire Regiment, 201818

James Bleasdale was the eldest son of Alban and Annie Bleasdale.  He was born in 1895 and had three younger sisters, Agnes, Anne and Veronica.  His mother Annie died in 1910.  By profession James was a Clerk in a Cotton Mill. 
There is no information as to when he enlisted, but he did enlist in Blackburn.  It is not known if James served at Gallipoli in 1915 but it is likely that he was in Egypt and moved to France in 1917.  James was killed in action
On arrival in France the 1st/4th East Lancashire Regiment was re-equipped for trench warfare.  The Division entered the line at Epehy, as part of III Corps in Fourth Army. They remained in this area, moving to Havrincourt where they remained until 8th July. These positions faced the formidable German Hindenburg Line in front of Cambrai.
It was here, around Havrincourt, that James was killed on the on the 25th April 1917. His name is one of the thousands with no known grave, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.


1st East Lancashire Regiment, 10862​

Richard Bolton was born in 1895, the son of Mark and Jane Alice; he had an older brother, Fred, born 1893. Richard was a weaver before joining the regular army before war broke out.
He was in the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment part of the 11th Brigade in the 4th division.  He first saw action at the battle of Le Cateau on the 26th of August 1914, after the British and French retreat from Mons. Throughout the rest of 1914 and 1915 he was at the battles of Marne, Aisne, Messines and Ypres.
The 4th Division attacked between Serre and Beaumont Hamel and managed to reach a strongpoint known as the Quadrilateral but could not exploit the success, because of the repulse by the Germans of the attacks by the flanking divisions. Cross-fire from Beaumont Hamel and Serre and determined counter-attacks held up the division. No other gains were made and German counter-attacks recovered the position early on 2nd July, by which time the division had suffered 4,700 casualties.  Richard Bolton was killed during this battle.
His commanding officer wrote to the family:
“I am sorry that I cannot give you any information as to how he was killed... I can assure you that he was very much thought of out here, and I always found him a very good soldier. I sympathise very much with you in your great bereavement.”
His brother, Fred survived the war, after serving in the King’s Regiment.
Richard Bolton is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme on Pier and Face 6 C. He has no known grave. Richard is also commemorated in Blackburn Old Cemetery, Church of England, Section L, 14966.


Rifleman Thomas Bolton

10th Kings Royal Rifle Corps, R/3021

Thomas Bolton was one of nine children, born to John Henry and Emily Mary Bolton. Thomas was actually the youngest of the four remaining sons, after the first four children had died young.
His father, John Henry Bolton, was a foundry labourer but like so many Blackburn people Thomas became a weaver working at Grange Mill, Witton. The mill had been built in 1905 by Birtwistle & Fielding Ltd. housing 880 looms and employing 250 people.
In 1911, the Bolton’s lived at 45, Selous-street which was very near to Grange-street They probably attended St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Mill Hill, as Thomas’s name is commemorated there.
On 8th September 1914, at the tender age of 20, Thomas enlisted in Blackburn, joining the 10th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He would spend the next 9 months in training, before being shipped over to France in July 1915, but not before an inspection by the King, whilst training in Stonehenge!
In 1916, at the Battle of Mount Sorrell the Battalion re-captured the height with the Canadians. Thomas’ unit took part in the Battles of the Somme throughout the summer of 1916. Thomas managed to get home on leave for New Year’s 1917, when he got married.
In March 1917, the German armies on the Somme carried out a strategic withdrawal known as Operation Alberich.  On 2nd April an operation to test the German positions north of the Bapaume-Cambrai Road was carried out. The enemy here occupied in considerable strength a series of villages and well wired trenches forming an advanced line of resistance to the Hindenburg Line.
Fighting continued on the 4th and 5th of April in the neighbourhood of Epehy and Havrin Court Wood. Ronssoy, Lempire and Metz-en-Couture were captured together with 100 prisoners, 2 trench mortars and 11 machine guns. It was in this action that Thomas was killed, on 5th April 1917.
Thomas was a popular man and his friend wrote to the family about his death. Thomas had first been wounded when attacking a village and was on his way to the dressing station when the Germans opened up heavy machine gun fire which killed him instantly.
Thomas is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B. He has no known grave.


Private Fred Bond

Bond Fred.jpg1st Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), G/5505
Fred Bond was the youngest son of William and Eliza Bond, of 30 Palatine-road, Blackburn.  There were two other children, an elder son and Daughter.  By trade Fred was a Weaver at Peel Mill Blackburn. He was also connected to Trinity Wesleyan Church and Sunday school.
He enlisted at Darwen in January 1915 into the 1st Battalion of the Royal West Kent’s, and embarked for France on the 1st May 1915.  Before the attacks at High Wood, Fred had been wounded.
Fred’s Division attacked High Wood at dusk on the 19th of July.  Two battalions of the 19th Brigade crept forward on 20th of July, during a bombardment and attacked when it lifted at 3:25a.m.  During the afternoon of the 21st July, another battalion went forward and managed to reach the northern fringe of the wood. Due to the number of British casualties, two more battalions were sent forward as reinforcements but as dark fell a German bombardment forced the British from the north end of the wood, which was retaken by German troops and both sides dug in
After the attacks on the 20th July ended the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood, became an even harder for the British.
On the night of the 22nd-23rd of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties.  
Fred Bond was killed on the 22nd of July in the attack on the south-eastern Part of the wood.  He has no known Grave and is commemorated in the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11 C.
Fred’s elder brother Gilbert served in three different regiments during the war.  He was a Sergeant in the Scottish Rifles and Machine Gun Corps He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant  in the Tank Corps.


11th Border Regiment, 26633

Private Thomas Pomfret Bond of the 11th Border Regiment was killed on 15th April 1917 when the Battalion was North of Fayet, France. Not much is known about Thomas prior to his military service, other than that he lived at 5 Cranbourne Terrace, Blackburn, and was 34 when he was killed.
According to the 11th Border Regiment war diary, the Battalion on this day remained in line, strengthening their objectives until they were relieved. The Battalion then marched to Germaine the next day.
Private Thomas Pomfret Bond is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 A 7 C and has no known grave.

bowers walter.jpg

11th East Lancashire Regiment, 24430​​

​​Walter Bowers was the eldest son of Samuel and Hannah Bowers, he had a younger sister Edith a step brother, Thomas Lawson and two younger step sisters, Nancy and Ada Lawson.
He worked as a Clerk at the Blackburn Philanthropic Offices, and attended St. Philip’s Church.
Walter enlisted into the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment at Blackburn on the 18th of February 1916.  The 11th Battalion was the infamous Accrington Pals, and was shipped to France to fight in the Battle of the Somme.
They were positioned at Serre, and at 7.20a.m. on the 1st of July 1916, the soldiers of the first wave left their trenches, passed through the British wire and lay down in No Man's Land to await the end of the bombardment. This ceased at 7.30 a.m., and in front of Serre men of the 12th York and Lancaster (Sheffield City Battalion) and the 11th East Lancashire’s (Accrington Pals) who were the first wave stood up and tried to cross No Man's Land.
Just to the south, the attackers were of the 15th West York’s (Leeds Pals) and the 16th West York’s (1st Bradford Pals). The Sheffield City battalion men had laid white tapes which led to gaps in the German wire the night before, but when they attacked these were gone. The attackers were mown down by machine gun fire, and there was an almost total lack of success here, although one company of the Accrington Pals did reach Serre, but were lost. Reinforcements, men of the 13th and 14thYork & Lancaster’s (the 1st and 2nd Barnsley Pals) were sent in, but were also stopped with no success, and the attack here was then suspended, with no gains made whatsoever. 
Walter Bowers was killed during this battle, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C. He has no known grave.

 
7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/11347
Richard Bramley was the son of Richard and Ann.  He was born in November 1880.  His father Richard died in 1913.  He married Mary Margaret Kay in 1905 and they had three children.  By profession, Richard was a Spinner at Cardwell Mill, Blackburn.
He enlisted at Blackburn on the 28th March 1915, and after basic training, left for France on the 21st of July 1915. When Richard landed in France the Battle of Hooge was taking place, and on the 30th of July, during this battle the Germans first used the Flame thrower.  He was also involved in the second Battle of Bellewaarde which took place on the 25th of September 1915.
In July 1916, Richard was on the Somme, at Delville Wood. The battle took place between the 15th of July and the 3rd of September.  The first attack on the wood was on the 15th of July, when the South African Brigade, part of the 9th Division, captured all but the North West corner of the woods, and then fought off German counter attacks from the North and East. An attack on 17th July failed to take that last corner. Overnight on 17th - 18th  of July a heavy German bombardment set the woods on fire, and a German counterattack on 18th July recaptured all but the very southern edge of the wood.
For the rest of July no-one had full control of the wood. The most important attack came on 27th July. After a heavy bombardment the 15th Brigade of the 5th Division and the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division advanced into the shattered remains of the wood, and captured the majority of the area. Only the northern and eastern edges remained in German hands.
They were slowly pushed out of those positions during August, and on 30th August the British front line had been pushed North and East of the woods. On 31st August the Germans made yet another counterattack, recapturing a narrow band in the north east corner of the wood. A British counterattack failed to retake this narrow band of the wood on 3rd September.
Rather inexplicably, the official battle of Delville Wood ends on 3rd September. It actually took until 8th September for the last part of Delville Wood to be cleared for the final time, during the preliminary operations before the attack on Ginchy. The wood remained on the front line until the battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd September, 1916), which saw the Germans pushed back 2,000 yards.
It was on the 18th of August, during this battle that Richard Bramley was killed.  He has no Known Grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.


Private Herbert Brogden

149th Machine Gun Corps, 57696
Private Herbert Brogden of the 149th Machine Gun Corps, son of Moses Brogden and Esther Brogden (nee Whittaker) of 142 Alker-street, Blackburn Lancashire, was killed on 13th November 1916, a few days before the end of the Battle of the Somme.
Originally born in Burnley in 1898, Herbert and his family had moved to Blackburn by 1901. He had just finished school and was unemployed when war broke out. Herbert enlisted almost immediately, joining the Army Cyclist Corps, before transferring to the Machine Gun Corps.
On 13th November 1916, the 149th MGC Company received verbal orders for one section consisting of four guns to take part in an assault on enemy positions of the Snag Trench, at the Battle of Transloy Ridge, in which Herbert Brogden was killed in action.
Private Herbert Brogden is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C and has no known grave.

Private Thomas Brooks

Brooks Thomas.jpg2nd East Lancashire Regiment, 28622
Thomas Brooks was the son of William and Mary Ann Brooks and the husband of Isabella.  He was born about 1879 and by trade a joiner for Waring, Joiners and Undertakers, Grimshaw Park. 
He enlisted into the 2nd Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment at Blackburn in August 1916 and embarked for France in November of that year.
In March 1917, a strategic withdrawal by the German armies on the Somme was carried out; it was known as Operation Alberich. The German destroyed everything in their path, flattening villages, poisoning wells, cutting down trees, blowing up roads, booby-trapping ruined houses and dugouts. They were withdrawing to a stronger and shorter line, positioned to take advantage of ground. The building of this line had been spotted by British and French airmen in late 1916. The British began to notice the withdrawal of German infantry from the Somme in mid February 1917 and a careful pursuit began, which was halted close to the Hindenburg Line.   On the 12th of April 1917 Thomas Brooks was killed.
Thomas has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Pier and Face 6 C.

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1st East Lancashire Regiment, 19993

Aged 32, cotton weaver, Joseph Brown lived with his two aunts, his uncle and brother and attended St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Mellor. The family lived at Lane Ends, Osbaldeseton. According to “The Blackburn Times”, 26th August, 1916 Joseph joined the 2nd/4th  Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment at Blackburn upon its formation and undertook his training in Southport. 
In May 1915, he volunteered to go to France with the 1st Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment and left on the 27th of that month.  The “Times” article noted that Joseph had been at the Front for about 17 months and had been slightly wounded once. The report added that Joseph had spent some time at home on leave and was reported to have told his friends that he would never be taken alive by the Germans.
The East Lancashire Regiment was part of the 11th Brigade in the 4th Division.  In 1915, Joseph was at the battles of Marne, Aisne, Messines and Ypres.
On the 1st of July 1916, the 4th Division based on the Somme, attacked between Serre and Beaumont Hamel and managed to reach a strongpoint known as the Quadrilateral but could not exploit the success, because of the repulse by the Germans of the attacks by the flanking divisions. Cross-fire from Beaumont Hamel and Serre and determined counter-attacks held up the division. No other gains were made and German counter-attacks recovered the position early on 2nd July, by which time the division had suffered 4,700 casualties. Joseph Brown was one of those casualties.  His friend, Private Harry Beggs, also from Mellor and with whom he had fought side by side for over twelve months was also killed on that day.
Joseph Brown has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.


Private George Irving Brown

6th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 11967

George Irvin Brown was the son of the late James and Mary Jane Brown.  He was born in Blackburn in 1891 and was one of seven sons.  By profession, he was a Carter Salesman in the mineral department of D. Thwaites & Co. Ltd. Brewers. 
He enlisted in Blackburn during August 1914 into the 6th Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry which became part of the 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. They landed at Boulogne, France on the 24th July 1915, and began training in trench warfare in the Fleurbaix area. 
Between the 2nd and 13th June, the 20th (Light) Division was involved in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, a local operation in which, together with the Canadians, recaptured the height.
Later George took part in the battles at Delville Wood, Guillemont and between the 15th and 22nd September the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. This battle is conspicuous because it was the first time the tank was used in battle.  Launched on 15th September 1916, the battle went on for one week. Flers–Courcelette began with the objective of cutting a hole in the German line by using massed artillery and infantry attacks. This hole would then be exploited with the use of cavalry. It was the third and final general offensive mounted by the British Army during the Battle of the Somme. By its conclusion on 22nd September, the strategic objective of a breakthrough had not been achieved; however tactical gains were made in the capture of the villages of Courcelette, Martinpuich and Flers. In some places, the front lines were advanced by over 2,500 yards by the Allied attacks.  On the 21st September 1916 during this battle George Irvin Brown was killed.
Three of his brothers also lost their lives during the war.  They were:
James Irvin Brown, Border Regiment 6th Battalion, killed Dardanelles 9th August 1915.
Arthur Irvin Brown, 1st/4th East Lancashire Regiment killed Dardanelles 16th August 1915.
Herbert Brown, 1st/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry killed 14th April 1918.
George is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 12 A and 12 B

  

Private Richard Burke

Burke Richard.jpg1st Lancashire Fusiliers, 13666
Richard Burke was the eldest son of Richard and Johanna. He was born in 1892 and had two brothers and a sister.  By trade Richard worked at Paradise Mill as a tapers labourer. 
Richard enlisted into the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers just after the outbreak of the war.  The 1st Battalion was part of 86th Brigade, 29th Division.
Passing through the Mediterranean port of Marseilles, the 29th Division arrived at the rear of the Somme battle front from 15th to 2929th March 1916. From this time, the Division was put into the British Front in the area north of the Ancre River, near to the German-held village of Beaumont Hamel. For the following three months the Battalions in the Division spent their time doing tours of trenches and training behind the lines to prepare for the large British offensive against the German position planned for the end of June.  Following a seven day artillery bombardment of the German Front and Rear areas, the Battalions of the 29th Division were in position in their Assembly Trenches in the early hours of Saturday 1st July. 
At 07.20 hours the huge Hawthorn mine was blown on the left of the Division's position. The leading Battalions in the attack left the British Front Line trench at 07.30 hours.  The British casualties were very heavy, with many men never reaching the German Front Line. The men of the Newfoundland Regiment moved forward at about 09.00 hours to follow on behind the leading battalion in the advance of 88th Brigade.  
Many of them were shot down trying to clamber over-ground to cover the few yards from where they were in the rear of the British Front Line to start their advance down the hill.  It was here that Richard Burke was killed, late on 1st July 1916.
Richard is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme Pier and face 3 C and 3 D.


Sergeant George Burton

​1st/8th King’s Liverpool Regiment, 305572
Sergeant George Burton of the 1/8th Kings Liverpool Regiment, son of John Burton and Sarah Jane Burton of 326 Bolton Road, Blackburn Lancashire, was killed on 20th November 1917. Son of the Insurance Agent, George previously worked on the railways before the war. He married Alice Fletcher on 18th September 1917 in Liverpool.
George enlisted into the 1st/8th King’s Liverpool Regiment in September 1914, and spent the first 9 months in intensive training before landing in France on 3rd May 1915. George would spend two grueling years fighting with the King’s, across the Somme and Flanders battlefields.
The war diary for the day George was killed reports that there were attacks launched undercover of artillery barrage throughout the day. Objectives were gained in parts of the enemy line but eventually troops had to withdraw back to their own line. Along with these attacks, a dummy tank and figures were put out which drew much hostile fire. The Kings Liverpool Regiment were eventually moved to Villers Faucon, a large village in the Department of the Somme, about 17 kilometres north-east of Peronne.
Sergeant George Burton is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 1 D, 8 B and 8 C and has no known grave.

 

 Letter C

Carr William | Catlow RobertCatterall Fred | Chadwick Joseph | Chew William | Clarkson James 
Clarkson Joseph | Clayton George | Clinton Harry | Collum John | James Comaskey
Conyoy John | Cook James | Cooper Joseph | Cornall Ford | Coupe James
  Cowban William | Cross Fredrick | Crossley Joseph | Crowther Ephraim | Crowther William

 

Private William Carr 

Carr William.jpg1st King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 13210
William Carr was the eldest son of Silvester and Catherine Carr.  He had one younger brother and a younger sister.  By trade he was a weaver at Livesey’s Mill Ewood.  He was twice wounded at Gallipoli, and suffered an attack of dysentery at Egypt.
William enlisted into the 1st Battalion of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers at Blackburn. He was quickly trained and sent to Gallipoli, and then finally sent to France, where his Battalion would take part in the Battle of the Somme.
The Battle of Albert (1st–13th July 1916), happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment began on 24th June.  It was hoped that the German front line would be destroyed and the wire between would be cut.  In the seven days bombardments over 1,700,000 shells were fired It was not a success.  Many of the deep dugouts of the Germans were left unscathed and most of the wire was not cut.  There were also 19 mines placed beneath the German trenches the largest being Hawthorn Ridge, near Beaumont-Hamel, which was fired at 7.20am, 10 minutes before the attack it is thought that this explosion alerted the Germans to the imminent attack and gave them time to leave their dugouts and set up their machine Guns.
The attack on the 1st of July it was thought, would be walkover; the men would simply occupy the German trenches.  When the men did go over the top it was to a Barrage of rifle and machine gun fire, they were cut down in their thousands.  On that first day there were 19,240 Officers and men killed.
On that first day the German positions were occupied by the British troops but the German artillery cut off their support and counter-attacks forced the British to withdraw. The only real gains were made at the southernmost end of the battlefield, where in together with the French assault, Montauban and Mametz were captured.  By evening it became apparent that the day had been a disaster for the British Army.
It was on the 1st of July that William Carr was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D.


Private Robert Catlow

2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 7697​​

Robert Catlow was one of the many soldiers whose information has gone missing over the years. From the few records found, it has been possible to determine that he enlisted at Blackburn into the East Lancashire Regiment No. 4760, and then transferred to the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, but no date is given for this. 

In 1916 the 2nd/5th Battalion were part of 164th Brigade 51st (Highland) Division.
The 33rd Division attacked High Wood at dusk on the 19th of July.  Two battalions of the 19th Brigade crept forward on 20th of July, during a bombardment and attacked when it lifted at 3:25 a.m. During the afternoon of the 21st July, another battalion went forward and managed to reach the northern fringe of the wood. Due to the number of British casualties, two more battalions were sent forward as reinforcements but as dark fell a German bombardment forced the British from the north end of the wood, which was retaken by German troops and both sides dug in
After the attacks on the 20th July ended the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood, became an even harder for the British.
On the night of the 22nd/23rd of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties. The other battalions also suffered losses.
Units from the 51st Division fought here on the 23rd of July. The attacks On High Wood went on until the 15th of September.
Robert Catlow was killed on the 9th of September during this battle.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 3 C 3 D.
It is thought that at least 8,000 British and German soldiers died in the wood in 1916.


Private Fred Catterall

Catterall Fred.jpg

1st East Lancashire Regiment, 21824

Fred Catterall was the only son of Thomas and Esther - an older sister Annie had died after only three hours of life. They lived at various addresses in Lower Darwen, St. James Parish but in 1911 were at 8, Sandy Lane. John Thomas was a fire-beater at a paper mill and Frederick was only 14 at this time. He had been a regular attender at St. James Sunday School and also a prominent member of St. Bartholomew’s Boy Scouts. He was a weaver, like so many from Blackburn.
Fred joined up at the beginning of 1916 and had previously been rejected by the army six times. He enlisted into the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, which had been fighting since August 1914. Like many young men, he was to serve as a replacement.
The Battles of the Somme then commenced. The 1st of July saw the start of the Battle of Albert. In this opening phase the British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive complexes of the Somme. Success on the first day in the area between Montauban and Mametz led to a redirection of effort to that area for the initial attack had been defeated with huge losses north of Mametz. There was a stiff fight for Troms Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks eventually took La Boiselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood.
He had been reported missing on the 1st July and later was presumed dead on that date. Frederick had been in the army for just less than six months.
Fred has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.

Private Joseph Chadwick

Chadwick Joseph.jpg
 2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 204016
Joseph Chadwick was the son of Miles and Elenor Chadwick.  He had an elder brother and sister and a younger brother and sister.  By trade he was a weaver.  He married Charlotte Hindle about 1904 and the couple emigrated to America in 1907, they lived at Bristol, Massachusetts.  On the outbreak of war, leaving his wife in America, Joseph returned to Blackburn to enlist into the 2nd/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
In 1916 the 2nd/5th Battalion were part of 164th Brigade 51st (Highland) Division
The 33rd Division attacked High Wood at dusk on the 19th of July.  Two battalions of the 19th Brigade crept forward on 20th of July, during a bombardment and attacked when it lifted at 3:25a.m. During the afternoon of the 21st July, another battalion went forward and managed to reach the northern fringe of the wood. Due to the number of British casualties, two more battalions were sent forward as reinforcements but as dark fell a German bombardment forced the British from the north end of the wood, which was retaken by German troops and both sides dug in
After the attacks on the 20th July ended the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands. They also dug a new defensive position, known as Intermediate trench, ahead of the Switch Line to the west of the wood. This meant that taking the wood, became an even harder for the British.
On the night of the 22nd/23rd of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties. The other battalions also suffered losses.
Units from the 51st Division fought here on the 23rd of July
The attacks On High Wood went on until the 15th of September.
Joseph Chadwick had been in hospital just seven days before he was killed.  Whether he had been wounded or was ill it is not now possible to know.   On the 9th of September during this battle Joseph was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 3 C 3 D.
It is thought that at least 8,000 British and German soldiers died in the wood in 1916.


Private William Chew

Chew William.jpg18th Lancashire Fusiliers, 31604
William was the eldest son of Arthur and Lucy Chew.  He had two older sisters, three younger sisters and two younger brothers.  By trade he was an apprentice pattern maker at Yates and Thoms, the same profession as his father.  William enlisted at Blackburn into the 18th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers which came under orders of 104th Brigade, 35th Division.
In July 1916, the 35th Division was deployed at Bazentin Ridge, Arrowhead Copse, Maltz Horn Farm and Faifmont Farm during the battles on the Somme.  In the Guillemont area, overnight on the 29th/30th July 1916, the 30th Division's soldiers were again moved up to positions in Trones Wood - Maltz Horn Trench area. The plan was that the 30th Division would attack through the 35th (Bantam) Division's men who were still garrisoning the front lines. Whilst the 30th Division was being brought forward in darkness, the German barrage on Trones Wood increased in intensity and a number of the units were badly affected by gas and high explosive shells.   The shelling in this area was ferocious.  It was probably during this fierce shelling that William Chew was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.

 

Private James Clarkson

2nd Coldstream Guards, 17381
James was born in Mellor to Thomas and Annie Jane. Thomas in 1901 was described as a farmer living at Shap Fold, Osbaldeston and had been born in Ilkley, Yorkshire. In 1911 Thomas was employed as a gardener and James worked as a warehouseman at the local mill in Mellor called Elswick Mill. The address was now Brookfield Cottage, Mellor. James had two sisters and three younger brothers. James was not awarded the 14-15 Star so must not have served until 1916. He was killed in action on the second day of the Battle of Morval September 26th. According to the obituary in both the Blackburn Times and the Weekly Telegraph dated the 14th October 1916 he had been a member of Osbaldeston Roman Catholic Church and had been home on leave only two months prior to his death.


Signaller Joseph Clarkson

Clarkson Joseph.jpg6th Connaught Rangers, 2641
Joseph Clarkson was the husband of Eliza Clarkson with 4 children.  By trade he was a labourer at Hodgson and Taylor’s Dye Works, Blackburn.  He enlisted at Accrington into the 6th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers which was part of the 16th (Irish Division.)  He Embarked for France on the 17th of December 1915, and served on the Western Front.
The Battle of Guillemont, was part of the Somme Campaign and was fought between the 3rd and 6th of September 1916.
Throughout late July and August 1916, Guillemont (in the southern corner of the battlefield, a few hundred yards east of Trônes Wood) defied repeated British attacks. These bloody encounters led only to partial and temporary occupations of shattered ruins as determined German counter-attacks and continuous artillery fire forced later withdrawals.
Another major attack was planned for late August, though heavy rain delayed the operations until 3rd September. Preliminary bombardments began on Saturday 2nd September and, at 8.50am on Sunday morning, 5th Division advanced towards the protective strongpoint of Falfemont Farm to the south-east of the village. The main assault on Guillemont itself was made by 20th (Light) Division, two battalions of which crept forward before zero hour and took the Germans by surprise. At noon the main line, including a brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division, advanced and after much difficult fighting (especially near the quarry and station) Guillemont was secured and progress made several hundred yards eastwards. Although 5th Division failed to take the Farm, units did break into the German second line position. Next day saw 5th Division attempt advances towards Leuze Wood including another attack on Falfemont Farm which was not captured until early the following morning allowing contact with French infantry on the right. Later reports of enemy disorganisation prompted renewed attacks on Leuze Wood and eventual occupation of its south-western edge.
The major portion of wood was secured on Wednesday 6th September, but further advances beyond Guillemont were hampered by fierce German fire from Ginchy and a stronghold called the 'Quadrilateral'. It was clear that capture of Ginchy was essential in order to exploit recent hard-won gains.  It was on the 3rd of September, first day of this battle, that Joseph Clarkson was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, Pier and Face 15 A.

 

Private George Clayton

Clayton George.jpg11th East Lancashire Regiment, 15077
George Clayton was the second eldest son of Thomas and Kate Ellen Clayton, there were 6 other children in the family, three boys and three girls.
Enlisted into the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment (Accrington Pals) at Accrington. The 11th Battalion were involved in the battle of the Somme, positioned at Serre. At 7.20a.m. on the 1st of July 1916, after a bombardment that lasted six days, the soldiers of the first wave left their trenches, passed through the British wire and lay down in No Man's Land to await the end of the bombardment. This ceased at 7.30a.m., and in front of Serre men of the 12th York and Lancaster (Sheffield City Battalion) and the 11th East Lancashire’s (Accrington Pals) who were the first wave stood up and tried to cross No Man's Land. Just to the south, the attackers were of the 15th West York’s (Leeds Pals) and the 16th West York’s (1st Bradford Pals). The Sheffield City battalion men had laid white tapes which led to gaps in the German wire the night before, but when they attacked these were gone. The attackers were mown down by machine gun fire, and there was an almost total lack of success here, although one company of the Accrington Pals did reach Serre, but were lost. Reinforcements, men of the 13th and 14thYork and Lancaster’s (the 1st and 2nd Barnsley Pals) were sent in, but were also stopped with no success, and the attack here was then suspended, with no gains made whatsoever. 
George Clayton was killed during this battle.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 6 C.


Clinton Harry.jpg

11th East Lancashire Regiment, 24176​

​Harry Clinton was the second son of three of Samuel and Amelia Clinton.  He was born at Blackburn in 1893.  His job was a Shop man at John Birkett, glass and china merchant, 122 Darwen-street.  He was unmarried when he enlisted with The Accrington Pals in September 1914.
The 11th Battalion was involved in the battle of the Somme.  They were positioned at Serre, and at 7.20a.m. on the 1st of July 1916, the soldiers of the first wave left their trenches, passed through the British wire and lay down in No Man's Land to await the end of the bombardment. This ceased at 7.30a.m., and in front of Serre men of the 12th York and Lancaster (Sheffield City Battalion) and the 11th East Lancashire’s (Accrington Pals) who were the first wave stood up and tried to cross No Man's Land. Just to the south, the attackers were of the 15th West York’s (Leeds Pals) and the 16th West York’s (1st Bradford Pals). The Sheffield City Battalion men had laid white tapes which led to gaps in the German wire the night before, but when they attacked these were gone. The attackers were mown down by machine gun fire, and there was an almost total lack of success here, although one company of the Accrington Pals did reach Serre, but were lost. Reinforcements, men of the 13th and 14th York & Lancaster’s (the 1st and 2nd Barnsley Pals) were sent in, but were also stopped with no success, and the attack here was then suspended, with no gains made whatsoever.
The newspaper obituary gives his date of death as the 1st of July 1916, while the Commonwealth War Grave says the 2nd of July.
He is commemorated on St. Michael’s war memorial, and is also remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.

 

Private John Collum

Collum John.jpg7th/8th King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 13588
John Collum was the fourth son of John and Maria Collum.  He also had three younger sisters.  By trade he was a boiler maker, Yates and Thom's.
John enlisted in Blackburn in September 1914 into the 7th/8th Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers. By mid-1915 he was shipped out to France, and fought with the Borderers all the way to the Somme.
The battle of Pozières Ridge, 23rd July -- 3rd September 1916 was part of the first battle of the Somme. It was the official name given to fighting between the River Ancre and the village of Bazentin le Petit, with the village of Pozières in the centre of the line. The highest ground on the Somme battlefield was just to the north of the line between the two villages. The battle was fought by elements from the Fourth Army (Rawlinson) and from the Reserve Army (Gough). In forty days of fighting the British advanced at most one mile, with most progress being made by the Reserve Army which quickly captured Pozières. This was perhaps the most static period of the entire battle – at the same time as it was fighting on  Pozières ridge the Fourth Army was also struggling to capture Delville Wood (15th July -- 8th August) and was making no progress east towards Guillemont.
Pozières itself was close to the front line on 23rd July, and during that day most of the village was captured by the 1st Australian Division. The north east and North West corners remained in German hands for a little longer, with the north west corner secured on 25th July and the north east in Australian hands by the end of July.
At the start of August Gough’s Reserve Army was ordered to capture the German Second Position as it ran around the north of Pozières. A key target was Mouquet Farm, north west of Pozières. The village of Thiepval, further to the North West, was a longer term target. The 2nd Australian division was able to achieve part of its initial objectives. In an attack on 4th August they captured the German second line trenches north and north east of Pozières, and pushed them back a few hundred years north west of the village. The attack to the north east had actually captured the crest of Pozières Ridge, allowing the Australians to look downhill towards the village of Courcelette.
The remainder of August was spent attempting to expand the salient north of Pozières. The British front was slowly pushed out towards Mouquet Farm, but at the end of August it remained in German hands, while the attacks towards Thiepval failed to make any progress. The village would not be captured until the end of September.
John Collum was killed on the 31st of August 1916, His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D.

 

2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, 12539

James Comaskey, born 1871, was the son of John and Ann Comaskey of 11 William Hopwood-street, Blackburn, Lancashire. Originally born in Ireland, the family moved to Blackburn in 1875, where his father would help out on a local farm. The son of the Farm Labourer, James was a Cotton Weaver before the war and embarked for France on 29th April 1915. He married Elizabeth A. Norton in 1899 and had two sons and two daughters.
James Comaskey, or James Kershaw while serving, was with the 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment at Carnoy, Northern France when he died. The war diary for the days before James died report that a German mine exploded inflicting “very little damage to 50 trench listening post” but cost James his life.
James Comaskey is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme Pier and face 6 A and 6 B.
 

Conroy John Conroy

Conroy John.jpg1st Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment, G/24415
Lance Corporal John Conroy of the 1st Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment, son of James and Roseannah Conroy (nee Holmes) of 56 Ash-street, Blackburn Lancashire, was killed on 5th November 1916 at the village of Les Boeufs, a village 16 kilometres north-east of Albert, France. John was formally with 7th Royal West Kent Regiment before being transferred to Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment.
The son of the Corporation Worker, John was a General Labourer at Livesey’s Green Bank Foundry before shipping out to France on 26th July 1915.
The attack on the village of Les Boeufs started at 11.10am and together with the 9th Highland Light Infantry, The Worcesters and the 16th Kings Royal Rifle Corps, The Queens attacked the village, capturing Ox Trench and Antelope Trench with few casualties, unfortunately John being one of the few. By 4.10pm it was known that the whole brigade would be relieved.
Lance Corporal John Conroy is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and face 5 D 6 D, and has no known grave.


Private James Cook

Cook James East Lancs.jpg7th East Lancashire Regiment, 25130
James Cook was born in 1891 to Frank and Isabella Cook. The family were all cotton weavers, and James was one of six siblings. By 1914 James had become a dobby-tackler at Bright-street Mill.
James was enlisted into the 7th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in February 1916, and following his initial training, was shipped out to France in the September. He was placed into the Machine-Gun Section.
By this time, the Battalion had seen action at Albert, High Wood and Pozieres Ridge, and would now tackle the Ancre Heights, a dominating feature of the landscape of the Somme.
 The battle of the Ancre extended northwards across to the far side of the River Ancre. The British force attacked in fog and snow on 13th November from the very same front lines from which the attack had failed so badly on 1st July. Beaumont-Hamel was finally captured but Serre once again proved an objective too far. Considerable casualties were sustained before the battle was called off. This had been the same place that the Accrington Pals had been decimated in July.
It was here, on 18th November 1916, that James was killed.
James is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.

 

Private Joseph Cooper

Cooper Joseph.jpg7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/7999
Joseph was the husband of Betsy and had two sons.  When he joined the Army and by trade was a Cotton spinner at Albert Mill Clayton le Moors.  He had two brothers and two sisters, by the time he enlisted both his parents were dead.
He enlisted at Blackburn into the 7th Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps on the 7th of December 1914 and, left for France on the 19th of May 1915. Joseph was involved in the Battle of Hooge, and on the 30th of July, during this battle the Germans first used the Flame thrower.  He was also involved in the second battle of Bellewaarde which took place on the 25th of September 1915.
In July 1916, Joseph was on the Somme, at Delville Wood, this battle took place between the 15th of July and the 3rd of September.  The first attack on the wood was on the 15th of July, when the South African Brigade, part of the 9th Division, captured all but the North West corner of the woods, and then fought off German counterattacks from the North and East. An attack on 17th July failed to take that last corner. Overnight on 17th/18th of July a heavy German bombardment set the woods on fire, and a German counterattack on 18th July recaptured all but the very southern edge of the wood.
For the rest of July no one had full control of the wood. The most important attack came on 27th July. After a heavy bombardment the 15th Brigade of the 5th Division and the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division advanced into the shattered remains of the wood, and captured most of it. Only the Northern and Eastern edges remained in German hands.
They were slowly pushed out of those positions during August, and on 30th August the British front line had been pushed north and east of the woods. On 31st August the Germans made yet another counterattack, recapturing a narrow band in the North East corner of the wood. A British counterattack failed to retake this narrow band of the wood on 3rd September.
Rather inexplicably the official battle of Delville Wood ends on 3rd September. It actually took until 8 September for the last part of Delville Wood to be cleared for the final time, during the preliminary operations before the attack on Ginchy. The wood remained on the front line until the battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-22nd September 1916), which saw the Germans pushed back 2,000 yards.
It was on the 18th of August, during this battle that Joseph Cooper was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.


Private Ford Cornall

7th East Lancashire Regiment, 25120

Ford Cornall was born in 1891 and adopted by James and Annas Knowles.  The couple had no children of their own.  In 1911 they were boarding with John and Sarah Parker these were Annas’s sister and brother-in-law.   Ford was a labourer in a cotton mill. 
Ford enlisted in Blackburn but there is no information as to what date, nor is there a date as to when he went to France. The last Battle he was involved in with The East Lancashire‘s was at Ancre.
The Battle of Ancre Heights and Ancre were the two final phases of the battle of the Somme.
The general assault was launched amidst a tremendous artillery bombardment in darkness and thick fog at 5.45am on Monday 13th November.  The attackers had to contend with deep mud, heavy enemy fire and poor visibility.  On the extreme left of V Corps, 3rd Division struggled through the mire at great cost towards Serre; isolated groups forced their way past barely cut wire but were gradually forced to retire. The 2nd Division’s advance on Redan Ridge fared little better.  On the immediate right, 51st Division had more success and after difficult fighting secured Beaumont-Hamel (with many prisoners) by afternoon.  Further south 63rd Division vigorously pushed on to the very outskirts of Beaucourt by evening.  South of the Ancre, 39th Division advanced with excellent artillery support to capture St. Pierre Division by 7.40am.
The first day was only partially successful and Lieutenant General Hubert Gough resumed the attack on the 14th, during which the 63rd Division’s occupied Beaucourt.  The objectives of the battle were not achieved; only near the river were gains made, at great cost.  On the 19th of November, with bad weather on the battlefield, the offensive was called off.
Due to bad weather the battle had been delayed. Ford was killed on the second day of this Battle. His body was never found, but he is still remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C


Private James Coupe

Coupe Arthur.jpg

8th Devonshire Regiment 16446

James Coupe was the eldest Son of Noah and Sarah Coupe.   There were six other children three daughters and three sons.  By trade he was a cotton Spinner at Waterfall Mill Blackburn
James enlisted in Blackburn in April 1915 into the 8th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment which was part of the 20th Brigade, 7th division.  He embarked for France on the 31st December 1915.
The Division took part in the initial assault north of the Vermelles-Hulluch road, (27th – 29th April 1916) facing the Quarries and a series of strongpoints. Suffering badly from British cloud gas - which was not moved sufficiently by the gentle breeze - and badly cut up by German machine gun fire and artillery, the Division nonetheless seized the Quarries and only failed to penetrate the third German line due to the relative weakness of the numbers of men that got through.
The Battle of Bazentin was started with an artillery bombardment which began on 11th of July; the day of the attack was to be the 14th of July. The element of surprise was to play a big part in the attack with the assaulting troops assembling after midnight in No Man's Land and forming up about 500 yards from the German line. The troops went undetected and deployment of the attacking force was completed by 3am. At 3.20am a concentrated bombardment began which, precisely five minutes later, lifted as almost 22,000 British infantry advanced towards the German trenches. The Germans, were taken utterly by surprise by the shortness of the bombardment and closeness of the attacking waves, and retreated the leading British battalions quickly reached the front line and carried on beyond.
The operation was a great success and resulted in the capture of the German second position on a front of 6,000 yards.
James Coupe was killed on the 14th of July first day, this assault.  He has no known grave and is remembered on the Memorial at Thiepval, Pier and Face 1 C.

 

Private William Cowban

9th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/13607

William Cowban was born at Liverpool in 1887.  He married Edith Lily Duxbury in 1907 and they had four children.  By trade he was a weighing machine maker.
He enlisted into the 9th King’s Royal Rifle Corps at Liverpool on the 29th of May 1915, and embarked for France on the 30th September the same year.
The battle in which he lost his life was at Deville wood began on the 15th of July with an attack by the South Africans, they spent 6 days of solid fighting until they were relieved on the night of the 20th of July after suffering many casualties.
Vicious fighting continued and on 21st of August, a battalion of the 41st Brigade attacked the wood, but the German inflicted almost 200 British casualties.
On the 22nd, a battalion of the 42nd Brigade captured Edge Trench.
The casualties of the 14th light Division were 3,615 one of which was William Cowban who was killed on the 24th of August.  He has no known grave and is remembered on Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.
There were five Victoria crosses won during this battle.

 

Private Frederick Harris Cross

Cross F H.jpg1st Border Regiment, 22321
Frederick was the son of Edward and Elizabeth Cross.  Frederick worked at Spencer’s Coal dealers. He enlisted at Blackburn into the 1st Battalion of the Border Regiment. 
On the 1st of July, after a seven day bombardment, the 29th Division attacked towards Beaumont Hamel. Part of the attack was filmed and showed the detonation of a 40,000-pound (18,000kg) mine, beneath Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 7:20a.m., ten minutes before the infantry attack began, which alerted the Germans. British troops failed to occupy all of the mine crater before German troops arrived and took over the far lip. Many troops of both Brigades were shot down in no man's land, which was dominated by Redan Ridge and then caught by German artillery barrages. German white signal rockets were seen and taken for British success flares, which led the Divisional Commander Major-General de Lisle, to order the 88th Brigade from Reserve, to exploit the success.
The 88th Brigade included the 1st Newfoundland Regiment, which advanced on open ground from reserve trenches 200 yards (180m) back from the British front line, to avoid the congestion of dead and wounded in communication trenches. Many of the Newfoundlanders became casualties to German small-arms fire while still behind the front line; some of the Newfoundlanders got across no man's land near Y Ravine but were held up by uncut wire.  Most of the German shelters and Beaumont Hamel were demolished and shell-craters overlapped. Reserve Infantry Regiment 119, who had been sheltering under the village in Stollen survived and with other units at Leiling Schlucht ("Y Ravine") and the Leiling and Bismarck dug-outs, engaged the British troops from the wreckage of the trenches. The Newfoundland Battalion suffered 710 casualties, a 91% loss second only to that of the 10th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment, which lost 733 casualties at Fricourt, south of the Albert–Bapaume road. The 29th Division lost 5,240 casualties.
Frederick Harris Cross was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 6 A and 7 C.
His brother, Richard Alexander Cross served with the East Lancashire Regiment, and was killed on the 18th April 1917.  Richard is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Panel 19.


Rifleman Joseph Crossley

Crossley Joseph.jpg1st Rifle Brigade, S/9171
Joseph Crossley was the son of Jane Crossley.  He had three brothers and three sisters.  By trade he was a Blacksmith at Waring’s, Feniscowles.  He enlisted at Blackburn on the 1st of April 1915 and after training embarked for France on the 1st of June 1915.
The Battle of Albert (1st–13th July 1916), happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment began on 24th June.  It was hoped that the German front line would be destroyed and the wire between would be cut.  In the seven days bombardments over 1,700,000 shells were fired, it was not a success.  Many of the deep dugouts of the Germans were left unscathed and most of the wire was not cut.  There were also 19 mines placed beneath the German trenches the largest being Hawthorn Ridge, near Beaumont-Hamel, which was fired at 7.20am, 10 minutes before the attack it is thought that this explosion alerted the Germans to the imminent attack and gave them time to leave their dugouts and set up their machine Guns.
The attack on the 1st of July it was thought, would be walkover; the men would simply occupy the German trenches.  When the men did go over the top it was to a Barrage of rifle and machine gun fire, they were cut down in their thousands.  On that first day there were 19,240 Officers and men killed.
On that first day the German positions were occupied by the British troops but the German artillery cut off their support and counter-attacks forced the British to withdraw. The only real gains were made at the southernmost end of the battlefield, where in together with the French assault, Montauban and Mametz were captured.  By evening it became apparent that the day had been a disaster for the British Army.
It was on this first day of this battle that Joseph Crossley was killed.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and face 16 B and 16 C.


Private Ephraim Crowther

Crowther Ephraim.jpg

7th East Lancashire Regiment, 11176

Ephraim Crowther was the eldest son of Joseph Barritt and Betty Crowther, born in Blackburn in 1885.  He was married to Mary Ann and had a daughter.  In 1911 Ephraim and Mary were living in the same house as his father and mother together with his younger brother and sister.   Ephraim was a weaver at Crossfield Mill, Blackburn.  He enlisted at Burnley in 1914 and embarked to France on the 4th of October 1915.
The Battle of Ancre Heights and Ancre were the two final phases of the battle of the Somme.
The general assault was launched amidst a tremendous artillery bombardment in darkness and thick fog at 5.45am on Monday 13th November.  The attackers had to contend with deep mud, heavy enemy fire and poor visibility.  On the extreme left of V Corps, the 3rd Division struggled through the mire at great cost towards Serre; isolated groups forced their way past barely cut wire but were gradually forced to retire.  2nd Division’s advance on Redan Ridge fared little better.  On the immediate right, 51st Division had more success and after difficult fighting secured Beaumont-Hamel (with many prisoners) by afternoon.  Further south 63rd Division vigorously pushed on to the very outskirts of Beaucourt by evening.  South of the Ancre, 39th Division advanced with excellent artillery support to capture St. Pierre Division by 7.40am.
The first day was only partially successful and Lieutenant General Hubert Gough resumed the attack on the 14th, during which the 63rd Division’s occupied Beaucourt.  The objectives of the battle were not achieved; only near the river were gains made, at great cost.  On the 19th of November, with bad weather on the battlefield, the offensive was called off.
Due to bad weather the battle had been delayed.  Ephraim was killed on the second day of this offensive. He is He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.  He is also commemorated on the Christ Church, Memorial, Haslingden-road.
Ephraim’s younger brother William who served in the 1st Battalion of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) was killed on the 1st of July 1916 and is also commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval (See below).

Private William Crowther

Crowther William.jpg1st King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, 17001
William Crowther was the son of Joseph Barritt and Betty Crowther. His wife, who resided at 135 Hancock-street, received a letter from a comrade stating that he “was both a good and steady lad and a heartier fellow I have never met.”  His mother also received a letter from his Sergeant, saying he “was a nice, steady, hard-working lad.  He was very well liked by all his comrades, and he was cool and brave along with them in the great push on July 1st.”  Corporal Crowther was 27 years of age.  Prior to enlisting he was employed at Hollin Bank Mill, and was a member of Haslingden-road school.  He had lost one brother in the war, and had a brother-in-law serving with the colours. 
The Battle of Albert (1st–13th July 1916), happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment began on 24th June.  It was hoped that the German front line would be destroyed and the wire between would be cut.  In the 7 days bombardments, over 1,700,000 shells were fired. It was not a success.  Many of the deep dugouts of the Germans were left unscathed and most of the wire was not cut.  There were also 19 mines placed beneath the German trenches, the largest being Hawthorn Ridge, near Beaumont-Hamel, which was fired at 7.20am, 10 minutes before the attack. It is thought that this explosion alerted the Germans to the imminent attack and gave them time to leave their dugouts and set up their machine Guns.
The attack on the 1st of July it was thought, would be walkover; the men would simply occupy the German trenches.  When the men did go over the top it was to a barrage of rifle and machine gun fire and they were cut down in their thousands.  During that first day of engagement, there were 19,240 officers and men killed.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 5 D and 12 B.
William’s older brother Ephraim who served in the 7th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment was killed on the 1st of July 1916 and is also commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval.
 

Letter D

Dawson Arthur | Dickinson George | Dixon John  | Dyer John

 

Private Arthur Dawson

Dawson Arthur1.jpg2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers, 31467
Private Arthur Dawson was reported as being killed in action on 7th November 1916.
Arthur enlisted with the royal welsh fusiliers on 5/6/1915. His age was given as 20 years 4 months and his birth date as 1895. However his actual date of birth was 5th February 1897. The 1901 census lists his age as 4 years which confirms he was only 18 on enlistment.
Private Dawson was a single man, aged 20. He was the son of Ernest James and Elizabeth Dawson and lived at 107 Pendle-street, Blackburn. He had a brother, Herbert and a sister, Sarah.
He was employed at J. Cronshaw and son, contractors of Nab-lane, Blackburn, and he attended St. Thomas’ church.
His death was reported in the Blackburn weekly telegraph of 28th November 1916. The report said Arthur had enlisted shortly after the start of the war and had been at the front for 12 months
His brother was said to be serving in the navy and his father had only been discharged five weeks previously.
Private Dawson has no known grave and is remembered on the thievpal memorial to the missing on the Somme.
It is likely that Arthur died during the battle of ancre heights which took place between 1st October and 11th November 1916.


Private George Dickinson

Dickinson George.jpg 7th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, G/1840
Private George Dickinson (some records list him as Dickenson) of The Queens Own( Royal West Kent’s) was originally reported as missing in action but was eventually confirmed as being killed in action on 13th July 1916.
His obituary notice appeared in the Blackburn times of 14th July 1917. The notice said he was one of the early volunteers who joined Kitchener’s army and had been at the front for 15 months prior to being reported missing in July 1916.
Private Dickinson was a single man aged 24 who lived with his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Dickinson at 14 Byrom-street, Blackburn. He was one of twelve children born to Mr and Mrs Dickinson. George was born on 16th April 1893 and was baptised on 21st May 1893 at St. Peters Church, Blackburn.
Before enlisting he was employed at Robinson’s dye works in Canterbury-street, Blackburn. His obituary notice said he attended Blackburn ragged school in Bent-street. At the time of his death he had two brothers in the army, one in German East Africa, the other in Mesopotamia.
The memorial plaque from Blackburn Ragged School for past members who were killed in the war is now mounted on the wall in the reception area of the carers’ service in Greenhurst-close, Blackburn.  George is listed on the plaque as George Dickenson.
Private Dickinson was in all probability killed in the battle for trones wood. The extract below is an abridged version from C.T. Atkinson’s book: The Queens Own Royal West Kent regiment 1914-1919.
When, on the evening 0f July 12th, the 18th Division took over the right of the British line considerable progress had been made in clearing the immediate area between the first and second German systems. As a preliminary to the great attack planned for 14th July it was highly desirable that Trones Wood should be completely cleared and accordingly orders were issued for the battalion to push through the wood from South to North, the 7th to attack its northern end and the buffs to seize a strong point at the south east corner where Maltzhorn trench joined the Guillemont-road.
It was a difficult task, the lie of the land and the conditions prevailing in that quarter of the battlefield where heavy fighting had been in progress for several days, were all against the attackers. The wood had been badly shot up and was a maze of shallow trenches, strong points and shattered trees.
Orders were received very late and there was scant time to prepare for the advance. The attack was launched at 7pm on July 13th after three hours bombardment. It was delivered in the face of a most effective German barrage which inflicted heavy casualties on the support companies as they crossed the open ground.
However the battalion made good progress and by 7.30pm part of B Company reached the southern branch of the light railway which runs through the wood only to find that the Germans had got between them and their starting point and had retaken a strong point in the interior of the wood. B Company with some detachments of A and C Companies dug in along the railway and maintained themselves throughout the night, unsupported and under constant attack.
Meanwhile little had been heard from C Company which had attacked on B Company’s right. Captain Anstruther made his way to the middle of the wood where he found 150 men of A, B, and C companies all mixed up and scattered about. He re-organised these men, posting about 100 with 6 Lewis guns along the eastern edge of the wood and pushed further north with the rest to make contact  with the very few of the Queens who had managed to reach the wood in face of heavy shelling and machine gun fire.
About midnight the situation was that some 250 of The Royal West Kent’s and a few of the 7th Queens were established in Trones Wood north of the railway. These were cut off from support by the Germans who had reoccupied the portion south of the railway. The situation was precarious but the group in the woods held their ground, captain Anstruther reporting he was beating off all the German attacks. However the attacks increased in force and ammunition began to fail. About 6am just when the Germans were threatening to recover the woods an attack by the 12th Middlesex and 6th Northampton’s made contact with captain anstruther and cleared the Germans from the woods. The casualties totalled nearly 250, 34 dead, 23 missing and 179 wounded.
George Dickinson has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 11C.


John Dixon

Dixon John.jpg
2nd East Lancashire Regiment, 23096
John Dixon, born 1889 in Blackburn, was the son of William Dixon of Back Union-street. William was a tailor by trade, something that John, his eldest son, would soon start to practice in.
John had two brothers, William, an Apprentice Joiner, and William Fielding, a grocer’s assistant. He also had a sister, Florence. The family were wealthy enough to have a servant, Elizabeth Armstrong. As with so many love stories, Elizabeth fell in love with John, and the pair got married in 1913.
After war broke out, John did not instantly go to war, instead waiting to be conscripted in 1916. He joined the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment in March 1916, and was sent to the front line in September 1916.
By this stage, the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment, as part of 8th Division, had gone through the Somme campaign and was in desperate need of replacements. Their losses, like most Battalions, were heavy. By October, the Battalion was sent to Le Transloy, to remove the Germans from the ridge there. The weather had started to turn foul and was causing a lot of problems, with the rain making the area exceptionally muddy.
“On the night of the 18th/19th October the 8th Division relieved the 6th Division, with all three brigades on the line, Les Bceufs-Guedecourt. This relief was preparatory to an attack to be made by the XIV Corps, in conjunction with a French Corps on its right, with the object of establishing a line from which the German position known as the Transloy ridges could be attacked from the south-west.
The first objective of the battalion was "Mild" trench, from the 8th Division left boundary to the junction of "Cloudy" and "Sunray" trenches, where the existence of a "strong point" was suspected. This, thought to be a detached post, was afterwards found to be part of the main trench.
Neither the Division on the left of the battalion, nor the 2nd Northants on the right were to attack, but the latter was ordered to assist the right flank of the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment as much as possible, and with this object the greater number of the machine-guns of the brigade were attached
to the 2nd Northants.
Zero hour was fixed for 11.30 a.m., but four minutes before that time a liaison officer from Brigade Headquarters arrived at Battalion Headquarters with orders to postpone the attack until 2.30 p.m. This was the second occasion within four months that zero had been postponed and postponed so late that the information did not reach those principally concerned—the men in the trenches—until after the original zero hour.
The adjutant of the battalion (Lieutenant W. E. Lowe), who was a noted sprinter, did record time to the trenches, but would have been too late to avert a catastrophe if an artillery observing officer in the front trenches had not got information of the change of time, and passed it on to the company commanders just in time to stop the advance. As it was the heavy artillery began to shell the enemy trenches at 11.30 a.m., and unfortunately included "Rainbow" trench in their targets. The result was several casualties at Battalion Headquarters, and considerable damage to the trench and its only dug-out. The attack commenced at 2.30 p.m. under a moving barrage, with a fixed barrage on the objective. "A" and "D" Companies attacked in two waves with such dash that the first wave carried the first trench in one bound and captured the whole of the first objective, except the strong point already mentioned. The second wave passed through the first and over a low crest, where it came under very hot fire and suffered heavy casualties, which included all the officers, except one, killed or wounded; it was therefore withdrawn to "Mild" trench. During the afternoon a block was built at the junction of "Mild" and "Stormy" trenches, and another close to the German strong point ; these were attacked by the enemy, who were easily repulsed, largely by the use of their own bombs, which had been found in large numbers in the captured trench. "A" and "D" Companies were relieved about 5 p.m., by "B" and "C" Companies, and a company from the brigade reserve was sent up to "Shine" trench.
On the two following days and nights the captured trench was consolidated, and communication trenches were dug from "Mild" to "Shine" trench, and from "Rainbow" trench to the sunken road. All this work was carried out under great difficulties, due to very bad weather, enemy artillery fire, and the shortage of rations.”
 It was in this battle, on 23rd October, that John Dixon was killed. His body was never found. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.
 

Private John Dyer

​1st East Lancashire Regiment, 25127

Private John Dyer was killed on 18th October 1916.
He was a single man aged 28. He was the son of mark and Mary Dyer of 53 Earl-street, Blackburn and was one of 8 children. The 1911 census showed him as being employed as a driver for a coal merchant.
He is also listed on the roll of honour for the parish of st.albans. The plaque is in St. Albans Church, Larkhill, Blackburn.
Private Dyer was a member of the 1st battalion, East Lancashire Regiment and was killed during the battle of Le Transloy.
The following extract is from the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
“The failure to secure original battle objectives led to a renewed major assault on the afternoon of 12th October when infantry on 4th army’s right foundered towards German trench lines in front of Le Transloy while formations on the left slogged towards the Butte de Warlencourt. Despite the slightest of gains the operation was not successful.
Orders for a fresh attack, issued late on 13th October ignored the desperate conditions and physical state of the attacking troops. The subsequent early morning assault on 18th October (well before daylight) witnessed heroic efforts but minimal gains were made against resolute defenders well supported by accurate artillery fire.
The inauspicious beginnings of the 18th October attack were described with grim and brutal reality by the official historian:
In almost every brigade, forming-up positions had been taped out in front and careful compass bearings taken of the direction of the advance. When the moment of the assault arrived the British front positions and the approaches thereto were a maze of water-logged shell-holes and flooded trenches. As the troops struggled forward through the darkness (the moon being obscured by heavy rain clouds) officers and men stumbled and fell in the slippery ooze; rifles and lewis guns became clogged with it so that bomb and bayonet were soon the only weapons." 'Military operations France and Belgium, 1916 (vol. ii), Captain Wilfrid Miles, 1938 (p.444).
The Lancashire Infantry Museum website has the following description:
On the 18th October the 1st East Lancashire’s, who had only recently returned to the Somme, attacked at Le Transloy through “a vast lake of mud, pitted with shell-holes”, losing all the officers, warrant officers and senior NCO’s of the assaulting companies and a total of 362 other ranks
John Dyer has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6C.

 

Letter E

Eastham Fred | Eatough Harry | Eddleston Albert | Eddleston Plant | Entwistle Herbert
Entwistle William | Eskdale Robert | Evens Thomas | Evens William

 
10th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 14382
Fred Eastham was the youngest of 5 brothers. At the time of his death two other brothers were currently serving and another brother was a time-expired soldier who had fought in the Dardanelles campaign.
Prior to enlisting, Fred had been employed in his father’s business of a milk salesman. He was also a member of the Gospel Church in Victoria Street, Blackburn.
The 1911 Census records that Fred was a single man and lived with his father, William Henry Eastham at Wimberley Street, Blackburn. His mother had died some years earlier.
He enlisted on 9th September 1914 with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was posted to France in September 1915. He was already a Corporal when he went to France and received a battlefield promotion to Sergeant in July 1916.
Sergeant Fred Eastham was reported killed on 25th September 1916, at the Battle of Morval.
The Battle of Morval, 25th-28th September 1916, was a continuation of the battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th-23rd September), designed to capture those objectives of the earlier battle that had not been secured during the successful advances on its first two days.
It was carried out by the Fourth Army (Rawlinson), and involved XIV Corps, which attacked east towards Morval and Lesboeufs, and XV Corps, which attacked north towards Gueudecourt. The 10th KOYLI was in XV Corps.
The XV corps attack on Gueudecourt was not so successful.
The 21st Division was meant to take the village, but one brigade got stuck in front of uncut wire and another was hit by machinegun fire from the side and forced to pull back. It was here that Sergeant Eastham was killed.
Sergeant Eastham has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial  on the Somme, Pier and Face 11C and 12 A.


Private Harry Eatough

Eatough Harry.jpg
7th East Lancashire Regiment, 21853
Harry Eatough was born on 23rd August 1896. He was baptised on 17th September 1896 at St. Michael’s and All Angels church, Bastwell, Blackburn. He would later become a boy scout for St Michaels.
By 1911, he was a single man, and still living with his parents, John and Sarah Eatough of 10 Beech-street, Blackburn. He was one of 7 children.
Before enlisting he was employed as a warehouseman at Duckworth and Eddleston’s, Roe Lee Mill, Blackburn.
Harry was anxious to get to the front line when war began. He enlisted initially with 10th East Lancashire Regiment, but was so determined to get to the front that he transferred to the 7th Battalion, who were already in France. He was there within 8 weeks of enlisting.
He took part in the opening battle of the Somme on 1st July.  Within a few hours the East Lancashire Regiment suffered more casualties than on any other day in its long history. Harry was admitted to hospital suffering from shellshock five days later. The newspaper report said he soon recovered and returned to the front line a few days later where he was subsequently killed. He wrote home on 5th July saying “this is not war, it is murder.”
His battalion was part of the 19th (Western) division which took part in the attacks on High Wood between 14th and 25th July and this is probably where he was killed, on 22nd July 1916.
The British 4th and the German 2nd and 1st armies fought for control of the wood from 14th July – 15th September 1916, during the battle of the Somme.
Private Harry Eatough has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6C.


Private Albert Eddleston

Eddleston Albert.jpg
7th King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry, 13294
​Albert Eddleston was the only son of Robert and Jane who lived in the parish of St Luke, Blackburn, and was born a year after they married, in 1897. 
When Albert was 4 their address was 87, Witton Parade and some time before 1911 they had moved to 47, Garden-street. They were weavers and at 14, Albert was also in the mill as a Tenter (apprentice). Albert later worked at Canton Mill on Higher Audley-street which was some distance from his home area.
Albert enlisted at the age of 17 in September 1914 and was in training with his Regiment until embarking for France on the 28th September 1915.
Albert was involved in the Battles of the Somme and died on the 14th July 1916 at the battle of Bazentin Ridge after 9 months in France. According to his obituary in the Blackburn Times he and his father had met the week before and his father also served in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
Albert died at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, which began with a heavy artillery bombardment on the night of 14th July, the day he is killed, most likely during the advance across no man’s land. He was one of 200 from his Battalion to be killed that day.
Private Albert Eddleston has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 12A and 12B.


Private Plant Eddleston

Eddleston Plant.jpg
6th South Wales Borderers, 17237
Plant Eddleston, born 10th July 1891, was the son of Mr William H. Eddleston who, at the time of his son’s death, was a widower, and lived next door to his son at 15 Lomax Street, Great Harwood.
Plant was connected with the Congregational Church & Sunday School, Great Harwood and was a member of the Young Men’s Class. For several years Plant was a Cotton Weaver at Victoria Mill.  
Plant enlisted for service at Accrington in 1914 aged 23, joining the 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers. The 6th Battalion was formed at Brecon on 12th September 1914 as part of 76th Brigade, 25th Division. The Battalion moved to Codford, but was in billets in Bournemouth by November 1914. By February 1915 they converted into a Pioneer Battalion and moved to Hursley Park, Winchester, in April 1915 but went on to Aldershot soon after.
Plant had been home on leave earlier in the summer at Whitsuntide, which would have been the last time his father saw this fine young man, who was informed of the tragic news of his son’s death on Sunday morning, 16th July 1916. He had been killed on 10th July, his 25th birthday.
The Battalion had been fighting in the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme. 7th and 75th Brigades with some supporting units received orders on 2nd July to move to Aveluy Wood and Martinsart respectively, and came under orders of 32nd Division. On 3rd July, 75th Brigade made a virtually unsupported and inevitably costly and unsuccessful attack in one of the awful, piecemeal, efforts to hold on to the minor gains made in the Thiepval area on 1st July. The rest of the Division relieved 32nd Division in the night of 3/4th July. More localised and equally ineffective attacks were made. On 5th July, 74th Brigade was detached for duty with 12th (Eastern) Division at La Boisselle, where it took part in an attack on Ovillers. It was here that Plant would be killed.
Plant is commemorated on the Great Harwood Roll of Honour. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4A.


Private Herbert Entwistle

8th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 15713

Herbert Entwistle was originally born in Disbury, Manchester in 1894. In 1912, Herbert moved to Blackburn and found work, as a gardener.
Herbert enlisted into the 8th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in 1914, beginning intense training until September 1915, when he was finally sent to France. From their arrival to July 1916, the Battalion took part in frontline training and manned positions around Armentieres, followed by a short stint near Ypres.
The 25th Division spent the greater part of June training to the west of St. Pol, but in the last week of that month they moved south to join the Fourth Army; when the Battle of the Somme opened on the 1st July the Division was at Warloy, some four miles behind the front line. On the 1st July the Battalion was at Lealvillers, when orders were received to move to Forcevine, to make room for the 38th Division.
At about 2p.m. on the 7th July orders were received for the Battalion to move from Crucifix Corner up to the front line, "A" and "B" Companies going up first, while "D" company moved into trenches near Campbell Post in the support line in front of Aveluy village,"C" Company was placed at the disposal of the O.C. 3rd Worcestershire Regiment. "A" "B" and "C" Company were later moved into the trenches of the Leipzic Salient, which had that morning been captured by the Wiltshire Regiment. At 8.30p.m. "D" Company was also sent into the Salient, and the defence of this position was taken over from the Worcestershire Regiment. This position was no easy one to hold, particularly as the Battalion had taken it over in the dark; no attack, however, transpired, and the night passed quietly except for some desultory shelling and sniping, and the Battalion was relieved in the early morning of the 8th, having had two officers and five men killed or died of wounds, thirty-four men wounded and two missing. Herbert was one of these men.
Herbert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Picardy, France Pier and Face 11 A, which is a war memorial to missing soldiers who died in the Battles of the Somme of the First World War and who have no known grave. His name is also to be found on the Didsbury War Memorial, Manchester.

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Private William Entwistle

Entwistle William PTE.jpg
8th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 14013
William Entwistle was born in parish of Christ church in December 1884, and married at 20 years of age to Clara. He was a bricklayer employed by Blackburn Gas works which were purchased by Blackburn Corporation in 1877. He resided with his wife Clara, a weaver, and child Gerta at 49 Baines-street. Gerta was their first child to survive, having had two previous babies who died early.
William signed up September 1914 aged 30, joining the 8th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The 8th Battalion was formed at Preston in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under the command of 74th Brigade in 25th Division. It moved to billets in Boscombe in December 1914, Bournemouth in January 1915 and returned to Boscombe in March. The battalion landed at Boulogne 16th September 1915 and transferred to the 7th Brigade in the same division 26th October 1915.
William was wounded in action in the field 21st May 1916 with a gunshot wound to the left forearm. He was sent to Etaples, 27th June 1916. The town of Etaples was a vast Allied military camp and then a giant 'hospital city'. Wounded soldiers were consequently often sent to Etaples to recover and also for retraining before they were sent home, or back to the front. William was not sent home, but was then attached to the 20th Manchester Regiment on 8th July 1916 and sent back to the Somme.
William was reported as missing on 26th August 1916. At this time, the Division was fighting hard at Delville Wood. It would be 15 more arduous months for his wife, Clara, to be told that he was listed as killed in action.
Clara wrote in desperation to the War Office on 28th August 1917. She was asking for news of her husband and advising of her new address, having moved from 21 Dale-street.
William is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 11 A.


Private Robert Eskdale

Eskdale Robert.jpg
1st Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, G/4709
Robert Eskdale was born in 1892 at Town Green, Aughton, Ormskirk to John and Mary Eskdale who already had a son and daughter. The family moved to Blackburn where they went on to have three more children.
At the time of the 1911 Census, Robert lived at home, in June-street, Blackburn with his then widowed father, John, and with his five other siblings, two of whom were boys. Both his brothers enlisted and were serving with the Armed Forces at the time of Robert’s death.
Robert worked as a Cotton Weaver at Malvern Mill, Mill Hill and was an attendee of the Wesleyan Mission.
He was married at St. Philips Church 19th February 1914 to Lucy Jane Holt. By the November of that same year, Robert had enlisted and had left Blackburn. 
He served with the 1st Battalion Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment. It appears that he struggled with army life, twice going absent without leave and being deducted 10 days’ pay. By July 1916, however, he is on the front line with the Battalion, which is part of 5th Division. 
It would be at the Battle of High Wood that Robert is listed as missing, presumed dead, on 22nd July 1916.
After the 20th July British attacks failed, the Germans reoccupied most of High Wood, until only the southern corner remained in British hands.
Efforts however continued, and on the night of the 22nd/23rd of July, the 4th Gordon Highlanders attacked the eastern corner of the wood, whilst the 1st Royal West Kent’s attacked the south-eastern part of the wood and Wood Lane, there with the 14th Royal Warwickshire’s at their side.
There had been a preliminary bombardment, but this had not inflicted sufficient loss on the defenders, and they were able to hold High Wood. No significant gains were made, although the Royal West Kent’s suffered 420 casualties. The other battalions also suffered losses.
Lucy Jane wrote to the Infantry Office in Hounslow, 30th January 1917 asking for information of any soldiers either wounded or taken prisoner on 22nd July 1916. She had been writing, without success, to Switzerland and to the Red Cross and had been asked to supply further information. Much correspondence took place between Lucy and the War Office. Not only did she have to wait for news of her husband Robert – not knowing of his fate, whether he was wounded, a prisoner of war, or missing in action, presumed dead, but she was passed from pillar to post with the authorities.
Lucy Jane, of 72 Shorrock Lane, was eventually awarded a widows pension of 10/- (10 shillings per week/now 50p) from 26th March 1917, just over 3 years after her marriage to Robert.
Robert is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 11 C.


Private Thomas Evans

Evans Thomas.jpg
8th East Lancashire Regiment, 17065
Thomas Evans was the son of David and Sarah Evans and was the second son of nine children, the first three children, two boys and a girl, were born in Southport, and six more children were born in Blackburn, and at the time of the 1901 Census, the family were residing at Bonsall Street, Blackburn. Thomas was born in 1887 in Southport.
David, Thomas’s father, was a Bricklayers labourer.
Thomas married Margaret Ann in 1910, and both were Brushmakers. They had a child, Thomas who was 4 months old at the time of the 1911 Census, and all three were boarders with a family by the name of Dugdale, living at Matthew Street South, Bolton.
Thomas enlisted with the 8th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment at some point in 1914.  The 8th Battalion was formed at Preston in September 1914 as part of K3 and came under command of 74th Brigade in the 25th Division. It moved to Codford and was in billets in Bournemouth in November 1914.
In March 1915 the battalion transferred to 112th Brigade in the 37th Division at Ludgershall, Wiltshire. They landed at Boulogne late July 1915.
In the early hours of 15th July 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay OC 85th East Lancashire received the specific orders that 112th Brigade would attack at 9.20am after an hour’s bombardment of the village of Pozieres, the key to the German 2nd line of defence.  The battalion lead the brigade in the assault on the village - the men's first experience of going 'over the top'.  They were to lose over 350 casualties including almost 100 killed outright.  The battalion would never be the same again.
It was here that Thomas was killed, aged 30. He left behind his wife, and his two new children.
An entry was made in the Blackburn Times 5th August 1916 announcing Thomas’s death, and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.


Private William Evans

Evans William PTE.jpg
7th Seaforth Highlanders, S/17520
William Evans born in 1897 was the son of Elinor Holden of 5 Campbell Place, Witton. By 1911, William lived with his mother, aged 41 and his sister Irene aged 18. They are in the household of James Edward Holden who had married their mother Elinor, and there are also seven other children.
It would appear Elinor moved to Blackburn and re-married in October 1901.   William went to the Church of England Higher Grade School in Blackburn. William had done well at school and was working for Messrs Woolley, Wholesale Chemists at Whalley Banks.
William enlisted into the 7th Seaforth Highlanders in August 1914. The 7th Seaforth Highlanders was formed at Fort George in August 1914 as part of K1 and under command of the 26th Brigade in the 9th (Scottish) Division. They moved to Aldershot and in January 1915 went into billets in Alton. They finally moved to Bordon, Salisbury for training in March 1915 and embarked for Bologne in May 1915.
The Battalion fought at the Battle of Loos in 1915, where William was wounded by gas. He recovered, and was sent back to the front line later that year.
The 9th (Scottish) Division took part in the Battles of the Somme including the Battle of Albert 1-13th July 1916, the Battle of Bazentin 14-17th July and they successfully took Longueval on the 18th July. They participated at Delville Wood 15th July -3rd September and finally at Le Transloy 1st – 18th October. The 9th Division served on the Western front throughout the war and was regarded by many as one of the best fighting formations of the war.
It was in the final battle, at Le Transloy, that William was killed, on 13th October 1916. He was killed by a shell taking part in a charge in the face of machine gun fire.
William Evans has no known grave, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 15 C.

 

Letter F

Farnworth James | Farrelly John | Fawcett Arthur | Fecitt Fred | Fletcher William | Flynn Thomas

 

Private James Farnworth

Farnworth James.jpg7th/8th King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 16404
James Farnworth was born in April 1875 in Blackburn. He spent his earlier life working as a railway inspector along the Blackburn line, but after 1911 he had moved on to Halstead’s bolt works, on Sharples-street.
James was a father of six by the time he joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in October 1914. By July 1915, his unit, the 7th Battalion, is ready for war, and embarked for France, arriving at Boulogne on 10th July.
From here, James would fight in the Battle of Loos, but the rest of 1915 would be considered ‘quiet’. In May 1916, his unit merged with the 8th Battalion to form 7/8th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
It would not be long before James would be fighting again, as his unit, part of the 15th (Scottish) Division, was considered to be one of the best in the army, highly trained, quick and ready for action. In spring 1916, the Division was involved in German gas attacks near Hulluch (27th-29th April 1916) and in the defence of the Kink position (11th May 1916). These were tough actions, but would be child’s-play compared to the Battles of the Somme.
James would fight on at the Battle of Pozieres and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, before his unit reached Le Transloy ridge. The 15th Division was tasked with the capture the Butte de Warlencourt.
The Butte de Warlencourt was the subject of a number of costly and unsuccessful attacks by the British Fourth Army. The Butte de Warlencourt earned an evil reputation because the Butte dominated the British lines and was used by the Germans for artillery observation. The Germans also constructed deep dugouts throughout the Butte, making it a formidable defensive position.
The first attack on the Butte was made on 1st October 1916 by the 141st Brigade of the British 47th (1st/2nd London) Division following their capture of the nearby village of Eaucourt L'Abbaye. Another failed attack was made by the 140th Brigade on 7th October.
It was here that James lost his life, on the 16th October 1916. James as no known grave and  is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D.

Lance Corporal John Farrelly

Farrelly J.jpg
8th Queens Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, G1266
John Farrelly was born in Blackburn in 1878 to a cotton weaving family. His father, mother and brother were all weavers. In 1901, John married Grace Kendall, and by 1914, they had two daughters, Alice and Catherine. John had also moved away from the looms to employment at W.H. Whalley & Sons, as a brush maker.
When war was declared, John was already a bit older than the rest of the men joining up. Nevertheless, he did not hesitate, and signed up 6th September 1914 in Blackburn Town Hall. He was sent to the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, and joined the 8th Battalion.
By October 1915, after a year of training, John was sent to France. Within a week of arriving John was promoted to Lance-Corporal. His age and life experience probably played a part in taking on responsibility. He kept the men calm during the German Gas attack at Wulverghem, when anti-gas procedures were just being implemented for the first time, saving hundreds of lives.
By July 1916, the 8th Battalion, which formed part of the 24th Division, was moved to the Somme area, and would go on to fight at the Battle of Delville Wood. The area around this wood was particularly challenging, with open fields on the flanks and a dense forest in the centre on a hill, dominating the nearby skyline.
After 2 months of bitter fighting, Delville Wood was won by the British, and the decision was made to continue and clear out a small village called Guillemont, north-west of Delville Wood. It would be here that Lance Corporal Farrelly would pay the ultimate sacrifice. An officer recounted the story:
 “The 8th Battalions’ first day inside Delville Wood (31st August) coincided with the Germans’ last and most formidable attempt to recover high ground between Guillemont and High Wood. Hardly a scanty breakfast had been finished than the enemy’s guns opened a terrific shelling, which they maintained for five hours, inflicting terrible casualties on the front line, so that two platoons of "D" Company had to reinforce.
At last the German guns lifted, and then, to the satisfaction of the defenders, infantry were seen coming forward and collecting for the assault in a trench about 500 yards away. So admirable was the fire discipline of the British troops that their fire was withheld for nearly another hour till the enemy’s advance in force began. Then, indeed, their rifles and machine-guns let them have it and with such good effect that on the right, where the field of fire was good and several machine guns from the 72nd MGC had escaped bombardment, "A" Company stopped the Germans in about 50 yards, inflicting very heavy losses.
On the left there was more cover and "B" company was very closely pressed, it’s commander, 2nd Lieutenant Flowers, being among the killed, but it also kept its immediate opponents out. The Germans lost heavily both in the advance and later on when the survivors of the attack tried to get back to cover, but in the evening they made a second attempt. As before they were beaten off both by "A" and "B" Companies, but the latter had to throw back its left flank as the Germans had effected a lodgement in the next battalion’s frontage at Orchard Trench. This was successfully done by 2nd Lieutenant. E. G. Brown, who had succeeded to the command of "B" Company, and he was ably seconded by CSM Rankin; thanks largely to their efforts the enemy was prevented from improving his advantage and next day a counter-attack threw him out of Orchard Trench. The repulse of this attack was a great feather in the Battalion’s cap; its steadiness under a heavy bombardment had been equalled by the excellence of its musketry to which the losses inflicted on the Germans testified. The strength in which the Germans had attacked was some testimony to the value they attached to the position and to the served rendered by the 8th Battalion in repulsing such a determined attack.”
After the war, John’s wife Grace had moved with the children to New South Wales to begin a new life. She began to receive John’s pension, and also received money from the ‘Canteen Fund’, which was like a Co-operative for frontline soldiers. The soldiers paid towards the running of the canteen services, and in exchange, they got some of the profits.
John is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing in France, Pier and Face 11 C.


Private Arthur Fawcett

fawcett A.jpg
2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 21066
Arthur Fawcett was one of eight children born to Richard and Johannah Fawcett; 5 girls and 3 boys. In 1911 he lived at 37, Feilden-street just off Montague-street and Arthur, aged 20, worked in Greaves-street Mill which was quite close by. His father was described as a cabinet maker and his mother helped in the business – ten years earlier his father had worked in a wood yard.  
Arthur was 24 when he enlisted into the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, in August 1914. The 2nd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers was in Dublin August 1914, part of the 13th Brigade of the 5th Division and embarked for France landing at Le Havre on the 15th August.
In 1915, when Arthur joined the Battalion, it was fighting at the second Battle of Ypres and the capture of Hill 60. In late 1915 many units were switched for those of the 32nd Division, a newly arrived volunteer formation. The idea was to strengthen the inexperienced division by mixing in some regular army troops even though by now many of the pre-war regulars had gone and the regular battalions themselves were often largely composed of raw recruits.
In March 1916 the 5th Division took over a section of the front line between St. Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge in front of Arras. This was a lively time with many trench raids, sniping and mining activities on the front lines. When the Franco/British offensive opened on the Somme on the 1st July the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and refit however this was not destined to last for long. They were then drawn into the attacks on High Wood and Delville Wood.
Arthur served in France for about t years and was slightly wounded in June 1916 returning to duty 3 days later. He was reported wounded on the 30th July, during the Battle of Deville Wood, and then listed as missing. He was never found.
Arthur is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4a and 4D.


Sergeant Fred Fecitt

Fecitt Fred.png
A Battery 150th Brigade Royal Field Artillery, L/16248
Fred Fecitt was one of three sons of John Fecitt, newsagent of 83, Havelock-street His mother Mary had died some time ago aged 39 in 1898. Fred was born in 1885.
Fred had married Jenny in 1908 and had a daughter Phyllis and a son also called Fred. They lived at 278, Livesey Branch-road Fred worked as an overlooker at Ewood Mill and had another child born in 1913. He had been a member of All Saints Day and Sunday Schools.
Upon joining the army in August 1914, Fred was assigned to the Royal Field Artillery. At this stage, Lord Derby helped in raising the Palatine 150th Brigade R.F.A. in February 1915. This was made up of local men from St Anne’s, Blackpool, Preston, and surrounding areas.
The 150th Brigade was attached to the 30th Division and fought in all the battles in which the Division took part up to January 1917.
The Manchester and Blackburn Brigades were drafted to Grantham and then to Aldershot. On 4th November the Division was inspected by Lord Derby, and entrainment began two days later. The Division sailed to Le Havre and Boulogne and all units concentrated near Ailly Le Haut Clocher (near Amiens) by 12th November 1915. The 30th Division subsequently remained in France and Flanders.
The Battle of Albert, 1st July 1916, was the opening Battle on the Somme, and included the Division's capture of Montauban and subsequent fighting in Trones Wood. In this opening phase, the British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive complexes on the Somme. Success on the first day in the area between Montauban and Mametz led to a redirection of effort to that area, for the initial attack was defeated with huge losses north of Mametz.  
Fred had died at his post in command of his gun doing his duty on that first day of fierce fighting.
Fred has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 1 A and 8 A.


Rifleman William Fletcher

Fletcher William.jpg
15th Royal Irish Rifles, 41651
William Fletcher was born in 1880 in Ireland, and moved to Blackburn at the turn of the century. Not much is known about William’s early life, other than that he married Rose Ann Kenyon and was a self-employed rag gatherer.
William joined the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 1916. The 15th Battalion (North Belfast) was formed in Belfast in September 1914 from the Belfast Volunteers. It moved to Ballykinlar and came under orders of 107th Brigade in 36th (Ulster) Division. It then moved to Seaford July 1915 and landed in Boulogne, October 1915.
William Fletcher was killed in action on 22nd November 1917 at the Battle of Cambrai which opened on 20th November 1917 and is often identified as the first demonstration of the sophisticated techniques and technologies required to effect such a battle. 
The attack was launched at 6.20am on the 20th November. The British Divisions in the front line were, from right to left, the 12th (Eastern), 20th (Light), 6th, 51st (Highland), 62nd (West Riding) and 36th (Ulster). In immediate support was the 29th, and ready to exploit the anticipated breakthrough and sweep round Cambrai were the 1st, 2nd and 5th Cavalry Divisions.
To the north, the 36th (Ulster) Division, planning to continue their advance beyond Moeuvres, waited for the success signal, signifying that the 62nd had captured Bourlon. It never came, for the 62nd could not penetrate beyond the sunken lane facing the wood. By the evening of the 21st, Haig was satisfied that 'no possibility any longer existed of enveloping Cambrai from the south'. The British were now in an exposed position in the lee of Bourlon Wood, the capture of which would still prove to be useful, in cutting German access to key light railway lines feeding their front. Haig and Byng decided to press on, even though it meant deepening the salient that had been created and throwing in even more troops into this northern sector of the battlefield.
William has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B.


Private Thomas Flynn

10th Lancashire Fusiliers, 31194

Thomas Flynn was the son of Thomas & Mary Flynn, 59 Montrose-street Bank Top, Blackburn. Born in 1890, his family consisted of 6 children (1 previously deceased) and lived at Maple-street, Gt Harwood. All of the children of working age were cotton weavers, whilst their father was a labourer in a stone quarry. Thomas had 3 sisters and 2 younger brothers.
Thomas enlisted into the 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in Newton Heath after the war started. The 10th Battalion was formed at Bury in September 1914 as part of the Second New Army and then moved to Bovington to join the 52nd Brigade of the 17th (Northern) Division, and then moved to Hursley. The battalion landed in Boulogne July 1915. They were involved in various actions on the Western front including the Battles of Albert and Delville Wood.
The 17th (Northern) Division captured Fricourt on 2nd July, as part of the Battle of Albert. This comprised the first two weeks of Anglo-French offensive operations in the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24th June and the Anglo-French infantry attacked on 1st July, on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt, 2 miles (3.2 km) beyond Serre.  
At the age of 26, on 7th July 1916 was killed on the attack on Albert. His body was never found.
Thomas has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.