Arthur Lowther was the son of Charles Henry and Sarah Hannah Lowther. Born in 1888, Arthur would grow up with 9 other siblings – George, William, Fred, Robert, Charles, Ellen, James, Nancy and Henry.
By 1911, Arthur was a Collier, like his father, and married Bridget Bulger. But being a Collier wasn’t for him. In 1912, Arthur joined the Army, enlisting into the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, no. 7334.
As war broke out, Arthur was on the reserve list, having just finished 2 years’ service. He was immediately recalled, and would join the Battalion in the first wave of replacements after their devastation at Mons, arriving in France on 18th December 1914. In less than a week, he was wounded.
The war would become a family affair. His father Charles rejoined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, having formerly been a reservist. George had also been a reservist, and joined the 8th Border Regiment. William had joined the Accrington Pals. Robert was also a reservist, and joined the 6th East Lancashire’s at Gallipoli. Charles also joined the East Lancashire Regiment.
In late June 1916, word was passed that the major offensive was coming, on the Somme. The 1st East Lancashire’s were to support the main attack on Beaumont Hamel.
On the morning of July 1st the bombardment of the enemy trenches became intense, but German machine-guns continued to fire from Beaumont-Hamel throughout the bombardment.
At 7.26a.m., the leading platoons of the assaulting companies moved out to a line taped-out in "no-man's-land," so as to be in line with the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers, of the 29th Division, who were to attack Beaumont-Hamel.
At 7.32a.m. "D" Company and Battalion Headquarters followed the attacking companies and established themselves in shell-holes.
A signaller accompanied the leading platoon of "A" Company, carrying a telephone and wire with orders to open communication from German front line, where Battalion Headquarters were to be established.
The personnel of the Headquarters followed up the wire and found the signaller in a large shell-hole just outside the German wire. Of course the wire was cut before it could be used, but the Headquarters remained in the shell-hole until 6p.m.
Immediately the guns lifted from the German front-line trenches, heavy machine-gun fire was opened from the German front line. Simultaneously the German artillery barrage came down some 200-230 yards in front of the front line and on all assembly trenches.
In spite of this terrific fire, the battalion advanced as steadily as if on manoeuvres until practically the whole battalion became casualties. Actually a few of the leading troops entered and passed the German front-line, but on the front of the right and centre companies the wire was found intact and no way through it could be found. Many men were killed on the wire while attempting to force a way through; among them was Sergeant Redmayne who was shot through the head just as he got out of the trench in front of Colonel Green. Many sought cover in the shell-holes close to the wire which they had vainly attempted to pass.
The survivors of the battalion occupied shell-holes in "no-man's-land" until they were able to retire to our trenches at dusk. All wounded capable of crawling were sent back first, followed by a rear-guard of unwounded men.
About 7 p.m. the battalion was relieved by the 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment of the 10th Brigade which, with the 12th Brigade, was relieving the 11th Brigade. On relief the Brigade went into billet at Mailly-Maillet.
The strength of the battalion on July 1st was twenty-two officers and seven hundred other ranks.
In this onslaught, Arthur Lowther was killed. With bitter irony, his brother William was also killed, not 500 yards away, at Serre with the Accrington Pals. Along with his brother William, he has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme Pier and Face 6 C. Their brother Robert was also killed, at Gallipoli in 1915. He too has no known grave, but is remembered on the Helles Memorial.
11th East Lancashire Regiment, 22125
William Lowther was the son of Charles Henry and Sarah Hannah Lowther. Born in 1882, William would grow up with 9 other siblings – George, Arthur, Fred, Robert, Charles, Ellen, James, Nancy and Henry.
By 1911, William was a Coal Miner at Lower Darwen Colliery, and had married Clara Smith in 1906. But being a Collier wasn’t for him.
As war broke out, William was on the reserve list, having just finished 2 years’ service. He was recalled, and would join the 11th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, the Accrington Pals.
The war would become a family affair. His father Charles rejoined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, having formerly been a reservist. George had also been a reservist, and joined the 8th Border Regiment. Arthur had joined the 1st East Lancashire Regiment. Robert was also a reservist, and joined the 6th East Lancashire’s at Gallipoli. Charles also joined the East Lancashire Regiment.
In June 1916 the 11th Battalion—to which were attached details of the 94th Machine-gun Company and digging parties from the Pioneer Battalion (12th K.O.Y.L.I.)— left Warnimont Wood for the assembly trenches on the evening of June 30th, the last time it was seen as the original battalion, as almost every officer and man had enrolled during the formation of the unit.
The day was hot and dusty, but although the march was not like those which exist in the imaginations of war correspondents it was a march of well trained men, and of resolute minds and bodies, and, as at no other time, of one unit, welded together by one commanding officer over a period of eighteen months.
The assembly in trenches was considerably delayed by the congestion of other units, and it was further delayed by the fact that the trenches had been badly damaged by the German retaliation to the preliminary bombardment. However, about 2a.m., July 1st, the battalion was disposed as follows: the first wave, two platoons of "W" Company and two of "X" Company under Captain H. Livesey, occupied some of the bays of the front trench and the traffic trench between Matthew and Mark Copses ; the second wave, the two remaining platoons of "W" and "X" Companies under Captain A. Tough, in Copse trench ; the third wave, two platoons of "Y" Company and two of "Z" Company under Lieutenant G. G. Williams, occupied Campion trench ; and the fourth wave, the two remaining platoons of "Y" and "Z" Companies under Captain H. Riley, occupied Mark trench.
At 5a.m. the artillery opened a heavy bombardment of the enemy trenches, which lasted until 7.30a.m. and drew considerable retaliation. At 7.20a.m. trench mortars in forward saps opened intense fire on the German front line, under cover of which the first wave advanced in extended order as far as the British barrage permitted. Five minutes later the second wave advanced and lay down 50 yards behind the first.
At this time the German front line was seen to be heavily manned, about a man a yard. In spite of the barrage these men opened heavy machine-gun and rifle fire on the first two waves, causing many casualties.
At the same time the German artillery fire was also intense. No-man's land, the British front trench and 50 yards behind it, were deluged with H.E. shells and a shrapnel barrage swept the ground up to 500 yards behind the front line, causing many casualties in the advancing third and fourth waves, which, however, moved steadily forward.
At 7.30a.m. the artillery barrage lifted from the German front line, and the remnants of the first two waves, followed at some distance by the third and fourth waves—already much reduced—advanced to the attack. Soon after 8a.m. two companies of the 13th York and Lancaster were ordered to reinforce the battalion, but they suffered very heavy casualties in moving forward and were unable to get further than the British front-line trench.
Observation of the attacking troops was much hampered by mist and by a smoke barrage on the German third line. However, small parties of men on both flanks of the battalion front were seen to enter the German front line, and later they were seen between the first and second lines, and about
8a.m. they were seen to enter the third line.
About 8.20a.m. the Artillery observing officer attached to the 94th Brigade reported that British troops were passing through Serre. The Intelligence Officer of the 92nd Brigade also reported that he had seen about a hundred men of the nth East Lancashire just west of Serre.
At 8.30a.m. fighting was still going on in the German first line and continued for some time until the enemy shelled both their first and second lines. About 10.15a.m., when the shelling stopped, German bombing parties were seen fighting their way up to their second and first lines where they remained for the rest of the day. Some of the men were seen standing on the fire-step shooting at any of the wounded lying in No-man's-land who showed signs of life.
From 10.15a.m. onwards there was little change in the situation, and about noon Lieut.-Colonel Rickman set to work to put his front line into a state of defence with what men he had with him, i.e. 1 officer, 55 other ranks, most of them wounded, and two Lewis guns.
During the afternoon the enemy shelled the British position intermittently until the evening, when the shelling died away. Orders were then received for the 93rd and 94th Brigades—respectively 800 and 600 strong—to man the front line. The 92nd Brigade, which had not been employed, remained in reserve.
At 1 a.m., July 2nd, the remnant of the battalion was relieved and withdrawn to Rolland trench, where it was reinforced by 4 officers and 60 other ranks.
In this onslaught, William Lowther was killed. With bitter irony, his brother Arthur was also killed, not 500 yards away, at Beaumont Hamel with the 1st Battalion. Along with his brother Arthur, he has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Addenda Panel. Their brother Robert was also killed, at Gallipoli in 1915, and he too has no known grave, being remembered on the Helles Memorial
8th EastLancashire Regiment, 5971Thomas Edward Lund was born in 1877, in Stanley-street, Blackburn. Thomas was part of 3rd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, spending 7 years in the Regiment from 1898 before leaving to become a labourer and re-join his family at 154 Bottomgate.
He re-enlisted at the outbreak of war in the 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment and a diary of his adventures during the first 10 months of the war was eagerly read when published in two successive issues of ‘’The Blackburn Times’’. He had been in France for about 9 months when he was wounded.
After his return to England, he recovered from his wounds and was sent back to France, but this time to join the 8th Battalion. Given his age and experience, it is likely he was transferred to bolster the ranks with experienced men.
In the early hours of 15th July 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay OC 8th 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.
"A" and "B" companies in the front line "C" and "D" companies in support. Owing to artillery barrage and machine gun fire the battalion was unable to achieve its objective but was gained by other units of the brigade and consolidated existing trenches to east and south east of Pozieres.
At 5:30pm a further bombardment of Pozieres was carried out and the battalion with remainder of brigade attempt another assault on Pozieres at 6-8pm, this assault was again held up by machine guns and the wire not being cut in the villages surrounding the village.
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
The battalion handed over the trenches to 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at 2:30am and proceeded to trenches in close support. 56 other ranks were killed 276, wounded and 33 missing.
Private Thomas Edward Lund was killed in this action. He never married. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.
7th King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 13598
John Lyons was born in 1891 to John, an overlooker, and Mary Jane Lyons, grocer’s shop owner, and lived at 9 Lark Hill along with his brothers Austin and James, and his sister Ellen.
John married Mary Wilson in 1912, and worked with his father as a weaver in the local mill. In his free time he was a keen playing member of the St. Chad’s football team.
John was a private when he enlisted into the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, but was promoted to Corporal sometime during his service. He was gassed at the Battle of Loos in the autumn of 1915.
John was killed in action on the 18th August 1916 at the Battle for Pozieres. The Battle of Pozières 23rd July – 3rd September 1916 was a two-week struggle for the village of Pozieres and the ridge on which it stands, during the middle stages of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. Though British Divisions were involved in most phases of the fighting, Pozières is primarily remembered as an Australian battle. The fighting ended with the Allied forces in possession of the plateau north and east of the village, in a position to menace the German bastion of Thiepval from the rear. The cost had been enormous for both sides and in the words of Australian official historian Charles Bean, the Pozières ridge "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."
John is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D.