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

S T U V W X Y Z

 

Letter S

Salt William
| Sanderson Joseph | Sanderson Robert | Savage Peter Edward
Schofield William | Scholes James Edward | Scott Fred | Scott William
Sharples Edward | Sharples James | Shaples James | Shaw Harold
Simpson Harry | Singleton Earl | Singleton Edgar | Singleton John Robert 
Singleton Thomas | Slinger Ernest | Smith Alfred | Smith John
Smith Thomas | Smith Thomas | Spooner John |Stephenson Harry
Stevenson Arthur | Stonehouse Charles | Stott John | Sutton Arthur

 
 

Lance Corporal William Salt

Salt William.jpg2nd East Lancashire Regiment, 26419
William Salt, born 1893, was a painter by trade, living with his wife Winifred F. Spencer at 23 Selborne-street, Witton. They had married on 24th June 1916, whilst William was on leave from the Regiment, and had a week’s honeymoon before he was sent to France in the July.
William had attested into 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment under Lord Derby’s scheme, and was called up with his group in March 1916.
After being shipped out to France in July 1916, William saw action across the Somme, fighting at Albert and La Boiselle, culminating in an attack at Guadacourt on 23rd October 1916, where the German front line trench was captured.
The conditions under which the attack on the 23rd October 1916 was carried out were most trying; a difficult approach march to the attack positions, the worst of weather; deep poisonous mud everywhere, a postponement of the attack at the last minute—than which nothing is more trying to the nerves —and last, but not least, there was no attack by the troops on either flank.
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.
On the night of the 25th/26th October 1916 the battalion was relieved by the 1st Worcestershire; two nights later it relieved the 2nd Northants on the right sector, where it was relieved by a battalion of the 17th Division on the night of the 30th/31st October 1916. This was a particularly difficult relief, carried out in pitch darkness and in pouring rain which turned trenches into torrents of water and the open country into a swamp. Relief was not completed until 3 a.m., and the rest camp at Montauban was not reached until 8 a.m. on the 31st 1October 1916.
It was during the night relief of the 2nd Northants, on 28th October 1916, that Lance Corporal William Salt was wounded, and died, aged 23. It is likely in those awful conditions that he was hit with shrapnel.
William has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.
Sanderson Joseph Edward.jpg
8thEast Lancashire Regiment, 17659
Joseph Sanderson was born in 1884 in Blackburn. Along with his wife Susannah, he worked in Cumpstey Cotton Mill as an over-looker. By 22 he had married Susannah and had two sons, and was teaching at the local Sunday school at Christ Church.
When war broke out, Joseph enlisted in December 1914, joining 8th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. Following intensive training at Ludgershall in March 1915, Joseph finally reached France on 1st August 1915. The next year would be spent gaining experience in trench warfare.
On 1st July 1916, the 34th Division lost 6,380 men during the first day of the battle of the Somme, the highest of any division.  As a result, 102 (Tyneside Scottish) and 103 (Tyneside Irish) Brigades were shattered.  They were exchanged with 111 and 112 Brigades from 37th Division for rest and recuperation.  The 8th East Lancashire Regiment was going into the heart of the battle.
In the early hours of 15th July 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay OC 8th East Lancashire received the specific orders that 112 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.
At 8.30am on 15th November 1916, after the preliminary bombardment of their objective Frankfurt Trench, the men advanced between Crater Lane and Lager Alley in two waves.  In the fog they got to within 50 yards of Munich Trench, ‘A’ and  ‘D’  Companies leading the way, followed by ‘B’ and ‘C’. Suddenly they were fired upon by machine guns and rifles at very short range.  The men went to ground, before being forced to pull back.  Ten of their officers were killed in this attack on the Redan Ridge between Serre and Beaumont Hamel.  Allegations were made that many of the 150 casualties were caused by 'friendly-fire’. The battalion's second assault in the Somme battle had ended in failure.
Sergeant Joseph Edward Sanderson, of the East Lancashire’s was killed in action on the 15th ult.  He leaves a wife and two sons, who live at 40, Addington-street.  He was 32 years of age, and in civil life was an overlooker at Cumpstey Street Mill, and he was connected with Christ Church, being a teacher in the Sunday school.  He answered his country’s call on December 5th 1914, and was drafted to the front in July 1915.  In February of this year he was home on leave.  He was only a Private when he went to the front, and he received all his promotions on the field of battle.  His officer writing to Mrs Sanderson, expressing the deepest sympathy of the whole regiment with her in her loss says: “He was a true soldier and a noble comrade…… He was killed in action on November 15th by a bullet.  Please accept this letter as our only means of sympathising with you and yours.”
Reported by: Blackburn Times, 9th December 1916
Verified by: His sister, Christ Church 15th June 1929
Sergeant Joseph Sanderson is remembered on the Theipval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.

1st/10th King’s Liverpool Regiment, 5171

Robert Sanderson was born at Withnell in 1898, and was the fourth child of Richard & Elizabeth Sanderson. His father Richard worked as “Under Conducts, Cotton Mill” and Robert was working as a junior clerk at a brick manufacturer, at 13 years of age. His mother, Elizabeth, was born in Dorset.
Robert enlisted into the 1st/10th Battalion King’s Liverpool Regiment as war broke out in August 1914. Following extensive training in Edinburgh and Tunbridge Wells, the Battalion was transferred to 9th Brigade, 3rd Division and sent to France, arriving 2nd November 1915.
The Battalion received orders to move, at short notice, at 8.00pm on the evening of 8th August 1916, to proceed to the trenches in front of Guillemont where they would attack. They arrived at 4.00am on the morning of Wednesday, 9th August and orders were received en route, that they were to attack at 4.20am. The Battalion attacked, as ordered, and four separate attacks were made and the Battalion ultimately occupied the original front line trench. The casualties were heavy due to much hostile machine gun fire. It was here, on 9th August 1916, that Robert, aged just 18, was killed. He has no known grave.
Robert is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 1 D, 8 B and 8 C.
Savage, Peter.jpg
10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 27005
Peter Savage was born in 1894, the youngest child of a family of five brothers and one sister. His father Joseph Francis, and his mother Mary, were both born in Ireland. Joseph worked as a gardener, according to the 1911 census, and at that time, he was on his own, without Mary. Peter had gained employment from his brother Frank, who employed him as a tea merchant in Fleming Square, Blackburn.                                                  
With his Irish heritage, Peter enlisted into the 10th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers in May 1916 in Preston. This was a newly formed unit, with more and more Irishmen joining the ranks to fight.
Peter would arrive on the Somme in August 1916, and would fight on until 13th November 1916, the beginning of the Battle of the Ancre. The Battle of the Ancre was the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division’s first major operation on the Western Front (it had previously served in Gallipoli). A prominent part in the Division’s success on 13th and 14th November was the inspirational leadership provided by Lieutenant-Colonel Freyberg of Hood Battalion who, by skill, courage and improvisation, kept the momentum of the advance going.
On the same day as Peter was killed, his brother, Patsy, (Patrick) was shot through the thigh and severely wounded. Both brothers served in the same company. Patsy recovered from his wound and was able to return to the depot of his regiment. Peter was not so fortunate.
Peter Savage is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 16 C.
Schofield, William.jpg10th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 14374
William Schofield was the youngest son of William and Mary Schofield, born in 1896. He was born and bred in Blackburn around the Shorrock-lane/Livesey area. He was the youngest son, and at the time of the 1911 census, he had a brother, Harry, seven years his senior and Edward, two years his senior. His mother had given birth to ten children in total but seven of these children had died by 1911. By the age of 14, William was a weaver in a cotton mill and, prior to his enlistment, he became a driver for a firm of Dyers. His father William’s occupation was said to be that of a Rag Gatherer at the time of the 1911 census, but he had been listed as a cotton spinner in the 1901 census. William’s brother, Harry, was described as an out-of-work journeyman and his other brother, Edward, a weaver.
William enlisted into the 10th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. The 10th was formed at Pontefract Barracks, West Yorkshire, in September 1914 and came under the command of 64th Brigade in 21st Division. They moved to Berkhamsted for training, and then to Halton Park (Tring) in October 1914, before going on to billets in Maidenhead during November. They returned to Halton Park in April 1915 and went on to Witley in August of that year. The Battalion, and William, finally landed on French soil  in September 1915.
On 1st July 1916, the Division was tasked with capturing the small town of Fricourt. Following nine days of intense bombardment of the area, little was left to capture other than the ground itself. The Division managed to capture over 1000 yards of ground, and isolated Fricourt, which forced the German to abandon the following night. It was during this battle that William was killed.
William was posted as being “missing” from 1st July 1916 and his mother Mary, made an appeal in “The Blackburn Times”, for any news of her son (2nd September 1916). His mother had received a field postcard from William, 25th June 1916. Tragically, his brother, Private Edward Schofield, Lancashire Fusiliers, had been an earlier victim of a German gas attack, and although he was brought home to England, he did not survive; he died in hospital aged just 21 years old.
Mary was left on her own, having lost seven children plus two of her remaining sons as a result of War in very close proximity to each other aged 20 years and 21years.
William is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, pier and Face 11 C and 12 A, also, in Blackburn Old Cemetery: NC C 1591.

8th East Lancashire Regiment, 17139

Not much is known about James Edward Scholes, who is listed on the Roll of Honour and referenced in the Blackburn times. There is no census data about him. All that is known is that he was serving with 8th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in 1916, when he was killed.
On 1st July 1916, the 34th Division lost 6,380 casualties during the first day of the battle of the Somme, the highest of any division.  As a result, 102 (Tyneside Scottish) and 103 (Tyneside Irish) Brigades were shattered.  They were exchanged with 111 and 112 Brigades from 37th Division for rest and recuperation.  The 8th East Lancashire’s were going into the heart of the battle.
In the early hours of 15th July 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay Officer in Command 8th East Lancashire received the specific orders that 112 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. Lance-Corporal James Edward Scholes was one of them.  The battalion would never be the same again.
Lance Corporal James Edward Scholes is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.
Scott, Fred.jpg1st East Lancashire Regiment, 18299
Fred Scott, born in 1896 to Joseph and Sarah Scott, was a typical Blackburn lad, who would go on to work in the Cotton Mills as a reacher. He lived at 12 Wensley-street.
Fred joined the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment as soon as war broke out, along with his brother Joseph. His other two brothers would join the army as well. Following intense trainingFred was sent to the front line, just in time for the Battle of the Somme, beginning with the assault on Albert.
At the Battle of Albert on 1st July 1916, the French and British assault broke into and gradually moved beyond the first of the German defensive systems. For the British, the attack on 1st July 1916 proved to be the worst day in the nation's military history in terms of casualties sustained. It is the aspect of the battle that is most remembered and most written about, and for good reason - but to concentrate on the failures is to entirely miss the point of the Somme and why the battle developed into an epic period of the Great War. On the first day, British forces at the southern end of the British line made an impressive advance alongside the French Sixth Army, capturing the villages of Montauban and Mametz and breaking through the enemy's defensive system. North of Mametz the attack was an almost unmitigated failure. The situation led to a redirection of effort, with the offensive north of the River Ancre effectively being closed down and all future focus being on the line south of Thiepval. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood during the rest of the period up to 13th July 1916.
On the far left of the British attack the 11th East Lancashire’s (the famous ‘Accrington Pals’) assaulted the village of Serre, while a mile to their south the 1st Battalion (the old 30th Foot) attacked to the north of Beaumont Hamel. Despite rapidly mounting casualties, the East Lancashire Regiment moved steadily forward, as if on parade, until they melted away under the fire. Small parties of both battalions entered the German trenches, but they were never seen again.
Within a few hours The East Lancashire Regiment suffered more casualties than on any other day in its long history. Out of 700 officers and men of the 1st Battalion who went into action, only 237 were present to answer their names when the roll was called, whilst the 11th Battalion lost 594 killed, wounded and missing out of the 720 in the attack. This memorable devotion to duty is commemorated in the Regiment annually to this day, most notably by a Service in Blackburn Cathedral.
Fred’s Obituary reads:
Private Fred Scott, whose parents live at 12 Wensley-street, has died of wounds received in action in France; and his brother, Private Joseph Scott, is in hospital suffering from wounds to both legs, received the same day.  Both brothers were in the East Lancashire’s.  Two other brothers are also in the firing line. It was only at the latter end of May that Fred, writing on behalf of himself and his brother Joe, told his parents not to upset themselves but to “wave your colour because you have something to wave it for, having four sons in the firing line.  Dad, I wish you were twenty years younger. I know you would enlist.  You are ‘gam’ enough and we take after you.  Are we downhearted? No. Never let it be said my father had a jibber.  Keep your hearts up as we are doing.”  News of the young soldier’s death first came from a comrade who wrote:  “I was with him when he died.  He had a very quiet end.  He went with a smile on his face.  He was unconscious for two hours.  Tell his mother that everything that could be done for him was done.  He died more from shock that anything else. He was a brave young soldier”.
Private Fred Scott is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.
Scott William.jpg
8th Black Watch, S/12184
William Scott was the son of Edward and Sarah Scott, born in 1895. He had two older sisters, Gertrude & Eva and a younger brother, Walter. There had been two other children born alive, but had died by the time of the 1911 census, and at that time, the family resided at Garnett-street, Blackburn. William was an apprentice house painter working for Messrs Clifton of King-street, following in the footsteps of his father, who was also in the same profession. In his spare time, William attended Chapel Street Congregational Sunday School.
When war broke out, William enlisted into the 8th Battalion The Black Watch. 8th (Service) Battalion was formed at Perth 21st August 1914 and came under command of the 26th Brigade in 9th (Scottish) Division. In January 1915 the Battalion went on to Alton and in March to Bordon. William finally landed at Boulogne on 10th March 1915.
On the Western Front, 1916 was dominated by the Battle of the Somme. Five battalions of the Regiment were involved with particularly fierce actions at Contalmaison, High Wood, Delville Wood and Longueval - the last named changing frequently as the Germans counter-attacked and further assaults were made to regain it. Eventually it was held but by then the 8th Battalion was reduced to just 171 men.
War Diaries on the day of 18th July 1916 reported that the enemy, at 8.00am, opened a bombardment of the greatest possible violence with every calibre of gun on Longueval Village, Delville Wood, which continued unabated until 7.00pm. The Black Watch sustained 24 Fatal casualties on that day, one of whom unfortunately, was William.
William was just 21 when he died on 18th July 1916. Such a bombardment also meant that William has no known grave. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 10 A.
Sharples Edward.jpg
1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 23128
Private Edward Sharples (twenty-five), of the Loyal North Regiment, who was posted as missing on July 15th, 1916, is now presumed dead by the War Office. Before enlisting he was a driver in the employment of Mr. Henry Shutt, corn miller. The deceased soldiers name is on the Roll of Honour at St Thomas’s. He leaves a widow and one child, who reside at 5, Kenyon-street. Private Sharples only brother, who has seen three years hard fighting, was killed in action in October.
Private Sharples was killed in the first stage of the battle of the Somme which lasted from 1st July to 17th July.
5th July the 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment moved back to Divion, and from here on the afternoon of the following day it marched to Lillers and proceeded by train to Flesseles, where the 1st Division now found itself attached to the III corps of the Fourth army. III Corp covered the front at Ovillers-la-Boisselle-Becourt.
By 7am on the 14th the battalion was occupying a position in trenches between the point O.B.I. and Becourt wood and at 11.30 orders were received for 'A' and 'B' companies to move up at once and take part in an attack which was to be made by the 1st Brigade on the German second line system immediately north west of Bazentin Le Petit Wood. This attack started at 14.30 at which time, 'C' company was sent forward to form a guard for 1st Brigade headquarters. The Battalion took 52 casulties all ranks on this day.
At 07.15 on the morning of the 15th, the Battalion received orders to attack again at 09.00 and bomb up to 1,200 yards of trench to a point just east of Pozieres. After earlier successes in which 150 yards of support trench and 400 front line trenches were captured, the attack was stopped by heavy enemy machine gun fire, 'D' Company was sent to support. At noon a strong German counter attack was launched against the Battalion in the support line and it was forced to fall back for a hundred and fifty yards but almost immediately recovered the ground lost. The Battalion was then mistakenly shelled by British Artillery which forced a retreat from the captured trench. Casualties were caused due to this shelling. At the end of day the Battalion was relieved and moved back to Brecourt wood.
Casualties on the 15th were 77 all ranks.
Private Sharples is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11 A.
Sharples James 2.jpg
9th Cameronians, 17692
James Sharples, born 1892, was the son of Edward and Martha Sharples. A family of cotton weavers, James had two sisters, Polly and Edith, and was the first of the family to change careers, becoming a store-keeper in Greenbank foundry.
Prior to his enlistment in January 1915, he married Jane Griffin, and moved to 41 Brownhill-road. As a devout member of St. Albans Church, it is likely that they married there.
James enlisted into the 9th Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), and quickly got sent for training.
James arrived in France in 1916, just in time for the Battle of the Somme. On 3rd July, the 9th Battalion was ordered to capture Bernafay Wood as part of 9th Scottish Division.  The following is taken from their diary:
Patrols continued to report Bernafay Wood quite empty of enemy troops. Haig was now coming under pressure from the French, not to exploit the success and go on through Trines Wood toward the second line at Guillemont, but to push on towards Thiepval.
At 3.15pm, Walter Congreve (9th Division) could wait no more. It was evident to him that the enemy was in trouble on this front and an opportunity was slipping away. He gave orders to occupy Bernafay Wood and Caterpillar Wood. At 9pm, after a 20 minute bombardment, two battalions of 27th Brigade moved into Bernafay with the loss of only six men. 18th (Eastern) Division occupied Caterpillar without fuss at 4am next day.
4th July 1916:
By now, Haig was pressing Rawlinson to take Trones Wood, key to an attack on the enemy second line. Congreve and Horne (XV Corps, at Mametz) were also keen to move on, believing the enemy beaten.
5th July 1916:
GHQ reported ammunition state to Fourth Army: it was not good. There was only enough 18-pounder gun shells to maintain fire of 56,000 rounds per day; and only 5,000 6-inch shells per day. This had to be spread across the entire Fourth Army front, and represented a severe reduction in volume of fire in comparison with the opening bombardments.
On 5th July, as the positions around Bernafay were being consolidated, James Sharples was shot by a sniper, and killed instantly. His comrades informed his wife, who had been informed that he was missing.
James has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4 D.
Sharples James.jpg
12th Durham Light Infantry, 19967
James Sharples joined the 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in 1915, and left for France on 25th August 1915.
The 12th Battalion DLI was formed at Newcastle in September 1914, joining the 68th Brigade in 23rd Division, alongside the 13th Battalion. The moved to Aldershot, Hampshire in November and then to Willesborough, Kent in February 1915, then to Bramshott in May.
They left from Folkstone for France (Boulogne) on the 25th August 1915. Along with 13th Battalion they “detrained at Watten and then moved by route march to the village of Moule where they went into billets” and they spent one week training. On the 5th of September 23rd Division became attached to III Corps, moving to the Merris-Vieux Berquin area.
During the Battle of Loos CIII and CV Brigades were in action attached to 8th Division.
In Mid-April they returned to Bruay for rest until 20th May when they took over the front line in the Souchez sector just before the Vimy Ridge attack from the Germans on the 21st. A successful reconnaissance patrol on the 28th gathered information that resulted in the successful bombing of an enemy sentry post and trench. During the first week of June the Artillery supported 2nd Division in regaining lost ground but on 11th June the 23rd Division moved on to train for the Somme Offensive.
During the beginning of July 12th Division was involved in the Battle of Albert including the capture of Contalmaison. They suffered heavy casualties at the Battles of Bazentin Ridge where men were forced to hide in shell holes during bombardment from the enemy. During the Battles of Pozieres the 13th division were to hold Munster Alley but the British shells fell short and they had to evacuate the post. Meanwhile 12th Division marched to Shelter Wood on 1st August and received heavy barrage and casualties on the 3rd and the “same pattern continued on 4th August with the line again coming under enemy artillery fire which caused the death of 19967 Private James Sharples, a Lancashire lad from Blackburn.”
James has no known grave, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 14 A and 15 C.
Shaw Harold.jpg
86th Company Machine Gun Corps, 20979
Harold Shaw, born 1895, was the son of Eli and Margaret Shaw, of 5a Court Fold, Blackburn. Harold was the youngest of the family, having a brother Robert, and three sisters, Mary, Margaret and Ada. By 1911, he was living with Margaret and Ada in 48 Artillery-street, and Harold was working as a Reed Maker for Messrs Chew and Sons, Brookhouse.
Upon enlisting in 1914, Harold joined the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers as they began training for fighting in Gallipoli. Harold was sent to join them on 15th November 1915, just a few months prior to their evacuation to Egypt.
It was here, in February 1916, that Harold displayed his proficiency with heavy weapons, and was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and earning a promotion to Corporal. He had joined 86th Company, which was attached to 29th Division. The Division was shipped over to France to bolster numbers for the Battles of the Somme. Following the initial Battle of Albert, the Division was rested until October, where it was sent to fight in the Battle of Transloy Ridge.
It was here, on 22nd October 1916, that Harold was killed. According to the war diary, it was:
‘Another fine day. Switch Trench again shelled. Further work during the night in front line’. It is likely that he was killed during the shelling.
Harold has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C.

Private Harry (Henry) Simpson

​2nd Lancashire Fuilisers, 6456

​Harry (Henry) Simpson, born 1894, was the son of Sina and Angelo William Robert Simpson. Harry was a middle child, with two sisters, Muriel and Elsie, and one brother, Kenneth Roy. By 1911, Harry was a Clerk with the Inland Revenue in Blackburn.
Harry enlisted in late 1914 into 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers. Following training, he joined the Battalion in France on 11th June 1915, in time to fight at the Second Battle of Ypres.
By 1916, Harry would have been considered a seasoned veteran. The Battalion would fight some of the initial battles around Albert in July 1916, but were then called upon in October 1916 at the Battle of Le Transloy.
The Lancashire Fusiliers assembled for the attack on Spectrum Trench. Four companies were in the front line, A, B, C, and D. The Battalion was to attack in 8 waves. The first 4 waves with a distance of 50 feet between each wave to take the objective; push patrols forward and dig in. The last 4 waves following at a distance of 200 feet behind the first four, each with a distance of 50 feet between them, were to dig a support trench 200 x in rear of objective.
10 minutes before zero hour 20 Germans approached from zenith trench with their hands up. 10 succeeded in reaching the line, 10 were killed. This was considered to be some sort of secret signal or ruse.
Two German Aircraft flew over their lines at that point, heading to the rear of the line. They must have seen how full the front trenches were. The 2 right-hand companies filed out of the trench at zero hour, suffering very few casualties. The 2 left companies left 20 minutes after, by which time German machine guns were set up. The whole Battalion was caught in the fire, causing many casualties.
Immediately in front it was noticed at the tail end of Zenith trench, 20 Germans had set up 2 machine guns, and were pouring fire into the Battalion. Small pockets managed to bypass this, and dig in, but were either captured or killed. 1 hour after zero, the attack was halted. The attack failed with heavy casualties. Killed 4 Officers, 62 Other Rank’s, Wounded 6 Officers, 162 Other Rank’s, Missing 1 Officer, 100 Other Rank’s.
Harry Simpson was killed 12th October 1916. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.
Singleton Earl.jpg
9th Black Watch, S/11252
Earl Singleton, born 1895, was the son of George William and Elizabeth Alice Singleton, of Victoria Villas, Shear Brow. His father was a Cotton Mill Manager and he had a brother, Gerald.
Earl was born at Holcombe Brook, near Bury, and attended Bury Grammar School. A bright and clever boy, he won two valuable scholarships.  He passed the Junior Oxford with first class honours and distinction.  He was particularly proud of the fact that he was chosen Prefect of the School.  When seventeen year of age he joined a Liverpool firm of cotton brokers and business career promised to be as successful as his educational training had been.
It was from no love of war, but a sense of the country’s need for the services of young men that he enlisted in the famous Scottish Regiment, the 9th Black Watch, on August 16th 1915.  He took his training seriously, and earned the good opinion and confidence of his officers, so that before he was drafted to France, about a fortnight previous to last Christmas, he was a lance-corporal.  He was promoted to full corporal on the field of battle for good work. 
Having moved to the Somme area, the Battalion was sent to attack Pozieres, which it achieved with great success. It was after this battle that Earl Singleton was killed, on 8th September 1916.
“The burden of writing to you lies very heavy upon me, for I have the very sorrowful duty of conveying to you news of the death of poor Earl.  Immediately the battalion came out of the trenches I made inquiries, and learnt from reliable authorities that he had been killed.  His company had to make an attack on the German trenches, which they captured all right, and it was whilst Earl was in one of the captured trenches that he along with his platoon sergeant was killed by two German shells.  You may rest assured of this, that Earl died as he had lived, trying to do his duty.  I count myself happy to have known him, for he has left behind an influence that makes for great good.  His life was an example of the Master’s, and while I feel very, very sorry indeed, yet I cannot help but rejoice in the fact that he has left all that is best behind.  My sympathy goes out to you, his mother, and the other members of the family.”  Confirmation of the news came in another letter, written a few days later, from a Lance-Corporal, who wrote: “He was killed along with the sergeant whilst holding it (the captured trench) against a counter attack by the enemy. It will ease your mind to know that his death was instantaneous, and that he suffered no pain. He was properly buried behind the lines. He was most popular in the platoon, and his loss is felt very much. The platoon join with me in extending to you heartfelt sympathy with your sad bereavement.”
Corporal Singleton was on the Roll of Honour for both Montague-street and Leamington-road Baptist Churches. The Rev. Joseph Farquhar, minister of the first named church, in the Church Magazine for November, says “Earl Singleton was the first member of the church to fall, and he was in every respect a fine Christian man as any home could rear or church desire to have on its roll. He was barely 21 when he fell, and it is the loss of noble young lives like this that brings home to every heart the pity and the sorrow of war.” The Rev. Henry Cook, minister of Leamington-road Church, refers in the following terms in his Church Magazine to the young soldier: “He is the first of our ‘boys’ to fall in the actual fighting, Warren Kirkham and John Whyte having died in the course of training. He was a member of Montague-street Church, but was a regular attender of our men’s classes until he joined the colours. For such as he there is no “sting” in death, and it is good to realise that he died as nobly as he lived.”
Corporal Singleton’s name was also on the Roll of Honour for Bury Grammar School. Mr and Mrs. Singleton attended a special memorial service at Bury Parish Church for the “old boys” of the Grammar School who have fallen in the war in November 1916.
Corporal Singleton was a grandson of Mrs Butterworth, who for over forty years conducted a confectionary business in Church-street, in premises next to the White Bull, which was pulled down when the site was wanted for the new London, City and Midland Bank. His four cousins, sons of Mr and Mrs R. T. Singleton, of London-road, also served in the army.
Despite being buried by his comrades, Earl has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 10 A.
Singleton Edgar.jpg
1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/7711
Edgar was born 18th August 1898 and baptized 6th November 1898 at St. James Church, Blackburn. He was killed in action, aged 17, at the Battle of Delville Wood (Sometimes known as Devil’s Wood). His father, William, received the news of his death on what would have been his 18th birthday, 18th August 1916.
Edgar was the son of William & Selina, who had ten children in all, and at the time of the 1911 census, three of the siblings had died. His father William Robinson Singleton was a self-employed cabinet maker and the family, comprising of mother, father, Edgar and an older sister, Ethel, and a younger sister, Selina, resided at 25 Millham-street, Blackburn in 1911. Edgar worked part-time, whilst still a schoolboy, as a warehouse clerk in a cotton mill. His mother, Selina, died in the spring of 1913 at 45 years of age and did not live to see war declared or Edgar go off to fight. Edgar enlisted in Blackburn, at the age of 16, but declared his age as 19 on the Attestation form. He was sent to Winchester the following day where he joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Whilst serving on the Western Front, he met his brother, Corporal Harry Singleton, also to be killed in action at a similar place in time. He also had two other brothers serving with the colours, one being a Petty Office in the Navy.
Edgar’s father, William, received his three medals 11th June 1921, 5 years after the death of his son.
Edgar Singleton is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B which bears the names of over 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South
African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.
Singleton John Robert.jpg
1st East Lancashire Regiment, 18630
John Robert Singleton, born 1894, was the son of John and Mary Jane Singleton of 170 Audley Range (later 58 Mary-street), Blackburn. His father was a tallow refiner at the local mill, where John also worked for a time, before finding work at Shaw’s Brick Works in Darwen before the war came.
John enlisted into the 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment in January 1915, and spent six months training to prepare himself for the onslaught of trench warfare. He joined the Battalion as a replacement in June 1915, in time to fight in the Second Battle of Ypres. By 1916, John would have been considered a veteran.
John survived the first day of the Battle of the Somme, one of only 150 unscathed (of 1000 in a battalion). It would be October 18th when John was finally killed, at the Battle of Le Transloy.
The battalion history reads:
The ground was in the most appalling condition ; heavy rain had fallen for weeks and continued throughout the attack, with the result that the terrain was a vast lake of mud, pitted with shell-holes. The night was pitch black and the enemy's line was extremely vague ; German trench maps had been issued, but they were of little use for the German line really consisted of detached machine-guns in shell-holes. At zero hour a barrage was put down on Dewdrop trench which lasted for 41 minutes. At the same time the battalion and the 1st Rifle Brigade floundered into the mud of "No-Man's land."
The men, wearing full equipment and carrying extra bombs, made slow progress; some were utterly exhausted and scarcely mobile, only to be shot down, drowned in shell-holes or rounded up at daybreak.
The advance was by the left. "C" Company on the left had the Les Boeufs—Le Transloy road to guide it.  “A" Company on the right, in the darkness went too far to the right and got somewhat mixed up with the Rifle Brigade. Directly the first wave advanced it was met with heavy machinegun fire and casualties were numerous. Moreover, it was difficult to find Dewdrop and Rainy trenches, which had been heavily shelled by our artillery.
However, from the distance traversed by the two leading waves, the two trenches must have been passed.
No organized German line was found, but heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was directed on our waves from front and flanks, and owing to the darkness it was impossible for any officer, or non-commissioned officer, to organize the digging of advanced posts at the limit of the advance. The few remaining men who had reached Dewdrop, and beyond, withdrew to Rainy trench where "D" Company had arrived, having had many casualties. The Company Commander, then seeing that his two leading waves were practically wiped out, and that German machine-guns were trained on the trench, withdrew to the original front-line trenches.
The situation now, in the front trenches was very obscure. No officers or senior N.C.O.'s of "A" and "C" Companies had come back and the few men who did come back were clothed in mud from head to foot and completely exhausted.
There was no counter-attack by the enemy, though the front trenches were heavily shelled and swept with machine-gun fire until dawn.
The day (18th) was quiet, and after dark "B" Company relieved "D" Company. "A," "C" and "D" Companies then went into support in Shamrock. Patrols were sent out who were met by hot rifle-fire as they approached Rainy and Dewdrop. Wounded men were sought for and a few brought in, also wounded men in the trenches, unable to walk, were evacuated by special stretcher parties after dark.
The casualties of the action were heavy and included all the officers in the two leading companies. In "A" Company Lieutenants R. A. C. Matthews, W. F. Curran, T. A. Ritchie were killed, and the O.C. Company Captain A. N. Scott made prisoner of war. In "C" Company 2nd Lieutenant E. W. Graham was killed and Captain C. Waddington (O.C. Company), 2nd Lieutenants M. Quayle and J. M. Wilks were captured. Company Sergeant Major’s W. Ashcroft and J. Cunliffe were killed, Company Sergeant Major W. Vaughan made prisoner, and the total casualties in the other ranks were killed 12, wounded 58, missing 292.
John Robert Singleton has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C.
Singleton Thomas.jpg
B Battery, 150th (Blackburn) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, L/8715
Thomas Singleton, born 1894, was the son of Eliza Riches. Information on his father is vague and cannot be verified, however his mother had Thomas and Edward, Minnie and Emily. All of the family were cotton weaver, living at 58 Walter-street.
As war broke out, Thomas enlisted into the local Royal Field Artillery Unit that was established by Lord Derby – the Blackburn 150th Brigade. The 150th (Blackburn) Brigade was attached to the 30th Division and fought in all the battles in which the Division took part.
For the Division, in most cases commencing training near home, the units were moved to concentrate near Grantham in April 1915. There were severe shortages of arms, ammunition and much equipment - for example there was only one gun carriage available even by mid July and even that was for funerals! It was not until October that the artillery was in a position to commence firing practice, a few weeks after the Division had moved to the area of Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.
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 and took part in the Battle of Albert, including the capture of Montauban and the subsequent fighting around Trones Wood.
In October, the Division was moved to fight in the Battle of Transloy Ridges. It was here that Thomas Singleton was killed, on 20th October. It was reported that he was killed instantly by shellfire whilst repairing a section of telephone line to the Forward Observation Officer. In fixing this cable, Thomas was ensuring that British artillery landed where it was supposed to.
Thomas has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 1 A and 8 A.
Slinger Ernest.jpg
2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 22008
Ernest Slinger, born 1897, was the son of William and Lucy Slinger of 84 Hancock-street, Blackburn. William was a Labourer whilst Lucy was a Weaver. Ernest, at 13, joined his mother at the mill, working as reacher, but by the time he was called for service he was working as a labourer at Messrs Ashton and Frost’s Bank Top Foundry.
Ernest enlisted into 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, although no information is available to ascertain when this was. The 2nd Battalion had been fighting in France from 1914, so Ernest must have been a replacement after heavy fighting.
Ernest moved to the Somme in July 1916, in time for the summer offensive. The Battalion was moved around 20th July to an area called High Wood.High Wood is a wood near Bazentin le Petit in the Somme département of northern France. After the big British attack on 14th July (Battle of Bazentin Ridge), High Wood lay undefended for most of the day but delays in communication and orders and counter-orders from different British corps headquarters, led to the occupation of High Wood being forestalled by German reserves, which had moved forward to counter-attack the British in the villages of Bazentin-le-Grand and Bazentin-le-Petit. Troops from the 7th Division managed to occupy the southern half of the wood and two cavalry squadrons advanced on the east side to Wood Lane, which connected the wood to Longueval. On 15th July, the wood was evacuated by the survivors and the cavalry retired. The British Fourth 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.
It was here, on 31st July 1916, that Ernest Slinger was killed. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4 A and 4 D.

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Private Alfred Smith

Smith Alfred.jpg
20th Manchester Regiment, 40249
Alfred Smith was a young soldier. Born in 1899, Alfred was technically too young to join the army, but managed at age 15 ½ to enlist initially into the East Lancashire Regiment, before transferring to 20th Manchesters.
He lived in Rockcliffe-street, Blackburn, with his father, James Henry Smith, and mother Isabella, and 8 other siblings. His father was a Boiler fireman, whilst his brothers were labourers. Alfred was still young enough to avoid work when the war broke out.
Alfred enlisted in June 1915, and immediately began training, before being sent to the Somme in 1916. He joined with the Battalion in 7th Division, and saw action at the following battles:
The Battle of Albert in which the Division captured Mametz
The Battle of Bazentin and the attacks on High Wood
The Battle of Delville Wood
The Battle of Guillemont
Operations on the Ancre:
In December 1916, the Manchester’s and 7th Division were holding the front line during the winter. In this period, action was sporadic and rare, but trench raids were common. Alfred was killed on such a raid, and his body was never found. He was killed on 22nd December 1916, aged just seventeen.
He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 13 A and 14 C, and is also remembered at St Matthews Church, which he regularly attended.


Rifleman John Smith

Smith John.jpg
Rifle Brigade, R/203040
Rifleman John Smith of the 7th Rifle Bridge (No. B/203040) was killed on 15th September 1916 at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme.
John was born in Blackburn around 1882, the son of John Smith. It is unclear as to how he spent his early years but in 1907 he married Mary Jane Curran at Blackburn Register Office. They had two children – Ada, born in 1908 and Albert Edward, born 1911 (both were born in Blackburn Workhouse). When John married he was working as a carter for a coal merchant but after 1911 he commenced working at Darwen Paper Mill. He enlisted at Blackburn and joined the 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (No. Y/539) and he later moved to the 12th Battalion. John arrived in France on 25th August 1915 and he later moved to the 7th Rifle Bridge (No. B/203040) but it is unclear as to when the transfer took place.
The 7th Rifle Brigade was part of the 14th (Light) Division and was involved at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. This battle involved both French and British troops and was launched on 15th September 1916. The initial objective was to cut a hole in the German lines by using massed artillery and infantry attacks.  This hole would then be exploited with the use of cavalry. The battle is significant for the first use of the tank in warfare. It was on the opening day of this battle that John lost his life.
John’s widow was informed of his death in December 1916 and the following year she remarried at Blackburn Register Office to John Edward Hodgson. She later received john’s war medals - Victory & British War Medals; 1914-1915 Star.
John Smith has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 16 B and 16
 

Private Thomas Smith

1st/4th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 4946

Thomas Smith, originally born in Southport in January 1898, was the son of John Benjamin and Annie Smith, of 8 Montague-street, Blackburn.
John was a General Cater, whilst Thomas, who had been educated at St. Paul’s in Southport, was employed at Blackburn Palace Theatre. He had moved, with the family, in 1912, along with his brothers John William, Joseph, Alfred and Robert.
Thomas enlisted late, in April 1916, into the 1st/4th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. Following only a short amount of training, Thomas was shipped off to join the Battalion as a replacement. The Battalion was part of 55th Division.
In this relatively "quiet" period before the Division moved into the Battle of the Somme, it nonetheless suffered casualties of 63 officers and 1047 men killed, wounded or missing. Relieved by 11th (Northern) Division on 25th July 1916, the 55th now moved south and took up a place in the front line opposite the village of Guillemont.
It was here, whilst holding the line, on 18th August 1916 that Thomas was killed. His body was never found. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5 D and 12 B.


King's Royal Rifle Corps, R/1528

Lance-Corporal Thomas Smith of the 7th Battalion the Rifle Brigade (Regimental Number R/1528) was killed on the 15th September 1916.
Thomas Smith was baptised on 28th January 1897 at St Michael and All Angels, Blackburn, the son of Robert and Permelia Smith. In 1911, the family lived at 119 Cobden Street, Blackburn, and Thomas is shown as a Weaver.
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15th– 22nd September 1916
A renewal of the offensive finally broke through the area that had proved to be so difficult since 14th July.  Using a small number of tanks for the first time in history, the British Army finally captured High Wood and pressed on through Flers and up the Bapaume road to Courcelette.
“Tanks which were used for the first time came up on the battalion’s right flank.  After a short time the tanks continued to advance and the 42nd Infantry Brigade passed through us but were unable to take their objective owing to heavy M.G. (machine gun) fire from both flanks.” 
The total numbers of casualties for the two days were 13 Officers and 231 Other Ranks listed as killed, wounded or missing.
 “Great gallantry was shown by all ranks”.
Thomas Smith has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B. After the war his parents would receive his 1914-1915 Star and British War and Victory Medals
 

Rifleman John Spooner

9th Rifle Brigade, S/5327

Rifleman John Spooner of the 9th Rifle Brigade (No. S/5327) was killed on 15th September 1916 at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the Somme.
John was born on 24th April 1891 at 10 Greenfield Terrace, Lower Darwen to John Spooner and Jane (nee Wall). His birth was registered under the name of Spooney. By the mid-1890s the family came to Blackburn, living first at 603 Bolton Road and, by the time the 1911 census was taken, they were at 558 Bolton Road and John was working as a cotton weaver. His mother had died in 1910 and was buried in Darwen Cemetery.
It is known that John enlisted in Blackburn and joined the 9th Rifle Brigade which was part of the 14th (Light) Division. John arrived in France on 21st May 1915 and he took part in the Action of Hooge, in which the Division had the misfortune to be the first to be attacked by the German flamethrower. He also saw action at the Second Attack on Bellewaarde. By 1916, the Battalion was on the fighting on the Somme at the Battle of Delville Wood.
John was then involved at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. This battle involved both French and British troops and was launched on 15th September 1916. The initial objective was to cut a hole in the German lines by using massed artillery and infantry attacks.  This hole would then be exploited with the use of cavalry. The battle is significant for the first use of the tank in warfare. It was on the opening day of this battle that John lost his life.
John Spooner has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 16 B and 16 C.
At the end of the war his father received his war medals - Victory & British War Medals; 1914-1915 Star.
 



Private Harry Stephenson

8thKing’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 18659

Harry Stephenson was born in 1891 in Blackburn to Alfred and Matilda Stephenson of 54 Plane-street, Blackburn. His father Alfred was an Insurance Agent, and his mother was a Cotton Weaver. He would follow in his mother’s footsteps, working as a Cotton Weaver at E.&G. Hindle Ltd.
As war began, Harry enlisted into 8th Battalion King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He trained with the Battalion, and was shipped to France with them on 27th September 1915.
The Battalion would see little action before the Battle of the Somme, with only minor operations at St. Eloi and Bluff craters.
As part of the 3rd Division, the Battalion took part in the Battle for Delville Wood.
The 3rd Division attacked Delville Wood and the north end of Longueval, from the west with the 9th Brigade from Pont Street, as the 95th Brigade of the 5th Division attacked German strong-points in the orchards to the north. The two battalions of the 3rd Division had only recently arrived and had received their orders at the last minute. The bombardment was considered poor but the attack began at 3:40 a.m. and the troops were quickly engaged by German machine-guns from the front and left flank. The advance covered a considerable distance but was forced back to Piccadilly and then Pont Street, where the survivors were bombarded by German artillery. The two 95th Brigade battalions also had early success and threatened the German right flank. The Flers road was crossed and a strong point captured and consolidated but then a German counter-attack pushed both battalions back to Pont Street; a second attack was planned and then cancelled. Relief of the 3rd Division began on the night of 25th July by the 2nd Division, ready for another attack on most of Delville Wood, when the west end of Longueval and the rest of the wood were attacked by the 5th Division, in a larger operation by XIII Corps and XV Corps due on 27th July. 
There were no further actions for the division until September, but Harry died on 16th August 1916. It is likely that he was missing before that date, and was found later on. Harry is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5 B and 12 D.
8thEast Surrey Regiment, 5096
Arthur Stevenson was born in 1892 to Elizabeth Martha Stevenson, a single woman aged 18. In 1901 he was living with his grandmother Mary, a widow aged 53 and his aunt Clara aged 21. In 1911 he was living at 143 Queens Park-road with his aunt Clara. This part of Blackburn was quite pleasant; the house had a small front garden and was situated almost opposite the park gates.
Arthur worked at Kent-street Mill, Lower Audley as a winding master, before the war broke out. He enlisted in August 1914 into the 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment. Following extensive training on Salisbury plain in early 1915, the Battalion, and Arthur, were shipped to France, on 27th July 1915.
For the next year, the Battalion would gain experience in trench warfare, but generally had a quieter war than most. They were being saved for the major offensive on the Somme in 1916.
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. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood.
It was here that Private Arthur Stevenson lost his life. He is commemorated at St. Thomas’s, (Church of England,) Lambeth-street although he attended the Gospel Hall, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 B and 6 C.
Stonehouse Charles.jpg
11th East Lancashire Regiment
Charles Stonehouse, born 1883, the son of Francis and Mary Ann Stonehouse, was one of three boys and a girl. They lived in a large house off Irving-place, Blackburn.
Charles gained an apprenticeship with Messrs. Briggs, Wolstenholme, and Thornely, in Manchester. He was training to become an Architect. In his spare time, he enjoyed playing for Crosshill Football Club, as well as Blackburn Hockey Club, and enjoyed the occasional round of Golf at Wilpshire Golf Club. He was also a regular attender Chapel-street Congregational Church.
When war broke out, Charles enlisted as a Private into the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment at Blackburn. The 11th Battalion were the Accrington Pals, and they were initially shipped to Egypt.  During his time here, Charles was quickly promoted through the ranks, and, seeing his potential, he was awarded a battlefield commission. He became a full Lieutenant just as the Battalion was sent to France to fight in the Battle of the Somme.
They were positioned at Serre, and at 7.20 a.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 comprised 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. 
Charles Stonehouse was killed in this battle, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 C, and also, in Blackburn Old Cemetery: NC C 2457.

2nd South Lancashire Regiment, 29666

John Stott, born 1894, was the son of Timothy and Jane Stott, of 3 Minden-street, Blackburn. Like most Blackburn families, John, his parents and his three sisters worked at the local Cotton Mill.
John enlisted into the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment in late 1915, and following intense training, was sent to join the Battalion in France.
John was with the Battalion as it took part in the first major battles of the Somme offensive, including the Battles of Albert, Bazentin and Flers-Courcelette.  After this, he fought at the Battle of Morval. Having broken through the prepared lines of German defence, the British force now faced a new set of challenges as it was now fighting in much flatter, open ground and approached the distant gentle slopes of the Transloy ridges. Fighting was, as before, severe but gradually the British chipped away and pushed forward. The weather began to turn autumnal, bringing rain, making the battlefield increasingly difficult and stretching men to limits of their physical endurance.
John would survive until 21st October 1916, when the battalion faced heavy fighting at Stuff and Regina Trenches. The following is taken from the war diary.
‘’Very fine day-cold wind, position of battalion unchanged. In connections with operations to take place today our artillery opened a barrage 12.06pm to which the Germans replied about 6 minutes later. The battalion moved forward at once under our barrage.
All companies moved forward in waves of half companies. The frontage of A and B companies was from Stump on right to Cable Trench. The frontage of D and C companies from Cable Trench exclusive to communications Trench running N.W. from point 35. The whole frontage covered a distance of about 400 yards. The actual advance was also about 400yards. Then the line moved forward the spirits of all ranks was wonderful and the men went over the parapet in very fine style. Arriving in enemy’s trench at about 12.15- the objective was easily gained although some trouble was given by enemy bombing parties. Casualties during the actual advance were slight and those sustained were mainly due to men getting under our own artillery barrage.
On arrival in the enemy trench a few Germans were found in occupation, many others emerging from dug outs after our entry – some of those put up a fight but were all accounted for- about 50 being killed-some were driven to communication trenches on the flanks when they surrendered, while about 400 surrendered to the battalion a number of officers being included in this number.
The trenches generally were found to be in a bad state in consequence of heavy artillery fire. The work of consolidating was at once commenced and continued during the reminder of the day and all night. After capture of the trench a considerable number of casualties were sustained by the battalion in consequence of enemy shell fire and sniping. During the forward movement and after arrival in enemy’s trench some excellent work was carried out by Lewis gunners and bombers who moved forward along cable trench in centre of Stump road on (unreadable) and communication trench on left – a German machine gun was captured and several others destroyed.’’
‘’Killed 1 officer and 27 other ranks: Wounded 2 Officers and 131 other ranks: Missing 1 Officer and 24 other ranks’’
Private John Stott is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Panels 7 A and 7 B and St. Luke's and Montague Street Baptist Church.
 

Rifleman Arthur Sutton

1st Rifle Brigade, 11459 / RAMC 41882

Arthur Sutton, son of John and Eleanor Sutton of 75 Livesey-Branch-road, Livesey, was born in September 1893 into a weaving family. Indeed, in the 1911 census, Arthur, his brother and his sisters were all working at Messer John Baynes and Company’s Cicely Bridge Mill. Arthur had been a scholar of the Gospel Hall on New Wellington-street, Blackburn.
Arthur enlisted on 13th October 1914, leaving behind the Mill and joining the Royal Army Medical Corps, most likely as a stretcher bearer and field medic to bring wounded back to the doctors and surgeons operating behind the front line. From his record, this doesn’t appear to be what Arthur wanted, as twice he was confined to barracks for disobeying orders and leaving the various campsites he was stationed at. By June 1915 the Royal Army Medical Corps had had enough of his antics, and Arthur was transferred to the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade. He shipped out to France on the 13th July with his new Battalion.
The Battalion was part of the 4th Division. Following a tour of duty on the Canal Bank Sector at Boesinghe, 4th Division was one of the first British formations to move down to the Somme, where it took over the line in front of Beaumont Hamel from French troops in July 1915.
On 1st July 1916, as part of VIII Corps, it assaulted the German lines from the Serre road at the Heidenkopf to just north of the Sunken Lane on Redan Ridge. This attack was a costly failure, with heavy casualties: some 5,752 officers and men. Arthur was part of this assault, fighting alongside the men of the 11th East Lancashires, the Accrington Pals.
After such heavy losses, the Battalion was withdrawn, but was soon needed again to fight at the Battle of Le Transloy Ridge in the October. The fighting took place during worsening weather and dreadful battlefield conditions. The fighting would continue in the area until 5th November, when British forces would eventually push the Germans far enough away to control the area, and begin the push towards the Ancre Heights.
It was in these dreadful conditions that Arthur lost his life. On 23rd October, as his Battalion was again ordered to hold the front line, the enemy pressed an attack and in the ensuing fight, Arthur was killed. It is unknown what killed him.
Arthur died aged just twenty-three, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 16 B 16 C. He has no known grave.  


Letter T

Tatlow Fred | Tattersall Chritopher | Taylor John Bullough
Taylor Sylvester Thomas | Taylor WilliamThompson ReginaldTilford Charles | Titley Edward
Townend Norman | Turner John


 Private Fred Tatlow

Tatlow Fred.jpg9th Lancashire Fusiliers, 13669
Fred Tatlow, born 1889, was one of eleven children born to Mary Alice and Thomas Tatlow.
In 1911 the family lived at 122, Redlam, and like most Blackburn families, they were all cotton weavers.
Fred enlisted in January 1915 into the 9th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, and would begin his service in the dreaded Gallipoli campaign, attached to 11th Division.
Embarkation took place at Liverpool from 30th June, with much of the Division sailing on the Aquitania and Empress of Britain. Mudros was reached by Divisional HQ and 32nd Brigade on 10th July. On 6th-7th August 1915 the Division landed near Lala Baba at Suvla Bay. On19th/20th December 1915 the Division withdrew from Gallipoli and moved to Imbros.
1916:
On 26th January the Division began to move to Egypt, landing at Alexandria on 2nd February and concentrating at Sidi Bishr six days later. 19th February saw the Division take over a section of the Suez Canal defences.
The Division received orders on 17th June 1916 for a move to France. Embarkation at Alexandria was completed on 3rd July and by 7th of that month Divisional HQ had been set up at Flesselles. By 27th July, the Division had taken over part of the front in Third Army sector.
Fred was reported missing in September 1916 during the Battle for Thiepval. His younger brother George also in France was wounded and in hospital. Their mother received letters giving details of both the death of Fred aged 27 and the injury of George aged 23 at the same time. Mrs. Tatlow lived then at 75, Portland-street. owning a provisions shop where George was the manager. Both brothers were connected to St. Marks Church and Sunday School and were members of St. Marks Conservative Club. The flag was put at half mast when news of Fred’s death was received.
Fred Tatlow is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.
Tattersall Christopher.jpg
1st/10thKing’s (Liverpool) Regiment, 6059
Christopher Tattersall was the youngest son of Jane and Christopher Tattersall, who had had six children - one of whom had died. They were all born in Haslingden apart from Chris who was born in Crawshaw Booth and the father had been a publican when they lived in Rawtenstall in 1901. In 1911 the family was living in Blackpool at 22, Cross-street Christopher was well known in Blackburn through his employment at Messrs Nichols Costumiers and went to France aged 22 in June 1916.
As part of the 55th Division, In 1916 the Battalion began to concentrate in the Hallencourt area on 3rd January and was completed by 27th January. The Division relieved the French 88th Division south of Arras - in the area Wailly - Bretencourt - by 16th February. Trench warfare commenced, with many raids and minor operations. On 17th April 1916, a large scale raid was undertaken by the 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, the King's (Liverpool), in which 2nd Lieutenantt E. F. Baxter became the Division's first winner of the Victoria Cross. In this relatively "quiet" period before the Division moved into the Battle of the Somme, it nonetheless suffered casualties of 63 officers and 1047 men killed, wounded or missing. Relieved by 11th (Northern) Division on 25th July 1916, the 55th now moved south and took up a place in the front line opposite the village of Guillemont.
It was around this time, on 16th August 1916, that Christopher was killed. He was killed by a bursting shell.
Christopher has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 1 D and  8 C.
Taylor, John Bullough.jpg
9th King’s Royal Rifle Corps, R/456
John Bullough Taylor, born 11th March 1897, was the son of John William and Mary Ellen Taylor. He lived with them and his brother Harry, and sister Selina at 79 Whalley Range, Blackburn. His mother and father ran and Fish and Chip Shop in Blackburn. In 1911, John was an apprentice Plumber.
On 1st September 1914, John enlisted into the 9th Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps, which formed part of 14th Light Division. He was immediately sent to Aldershot for training, until 20th May 1915 when the entire Battalion was sent to France. John would gain experience of trench combat in 1915, fighting in the Action of Hooge and the Second Attack on Bellewaarde
By 1916, John had seen his fair share of action on the Somme, fighting at the bitter Battle of Delville Wood, and at Flers-Courcelette. Following a lull in the fighting, around Longueval, the Division was sent to relieve 17th Division. During the relief, there were several heavy bombardments by German artillery. John Bullough Taylor was killed during one of these bombardments.
John has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B.


Private Silvester Thomas Taylor 

Taylor Sylvester Thomas.jpg
7th Border Regiment, 16975
Sylvester Thomas Taylor was born in 1888 in Great Harwood. He moved to 22 Oxford-street with his Aunt and his sister at a young age, and became a Cotton Weaver at Alexandra Mill.
Sylvester enlisted into the 7th Border Regiment in November 1914.
Lord Kitchener's call to arms went out on the 8th August 1914 for 100,000 men to form the New Armies who were to fight in the Great War as he foresaw it. Thousand of recruits flocked to Regimental Depots, such as the Border Regiment Depot at Carlisle Castle, where thousands did congregate, and were formed into the 'Service Battalions', so named because they agreed to serve for the duration of the war.
In this way, the 7th (Service) Battalion, Border Regiment was formed on 7th September 1914 and 1,000 strong, was posted to Wool in Dorsetshire on 13th September 1914, for training.
At Wool, the Battalion became part of the 51st Brigade in the 17th (Northern) Division, along with fellow brigade battalions, the 7th Lincolnshire’s, the 8th South Staffordshire’s and the 10th Sherwood Forrester’s (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).
After training, the 7th Borders sailed for France in two batches, on the 12th and 14th July 1915, with 31 Officers and 932 Other Ranks on the 'Battalion strength'.
The Battalion marched to Rest Camp at Boulogne on the night of the 15th July and next day travelled to Reninghelst via St Omer, Wallon Kappel and Eecke, to join II Corps Reserve for instruction in Trench Warfare, which was done by Companies, under the guidance of more experienced battalions. They were in the dreaded Ypres Salient, of deadly repute and even deadlier reality.
In January 1916, the depleted 7th Border moved to rest at St Omer for a month, where rest and reinforcements were the order of the day. On 7th February 1916 they moved to Divisional reserve in Poperinghe, being involved in an attempt to dislodge the enemy on its section of front. They appear to have garnered at bit of a reputation for success in such ventures, on this occasion as before, at a price of 21 N.C.O.'s and men's lives.
They then moved to Dickebusch, on to Bailleul and Houplines and to a training camp at Eperlecques, where. As part of II Corps once more, they moved into billets at Merlancourt. It was June 1916 and the 'Big Push' loomed heavy on the horizon for the British Army.
On 24th June 1916, just prior to the massive bombardment of enemy lines by British Artillery, the front line was bombarded by German artillery, where 7th Borders were posted. They were badly hit, destroying dug outs and lines of communication, and killing several, with a few posted as missing, probably lost in the mud or killed outright.
It was here that Sylvester was killed. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 6 A and 7 C. He is also remembered on the St Joseph’s Roll of Honour.


Private William Taylor

Taylor William.jpg
2nd South Wales Borderers, 24617
William Taylor, born 1896, was the son of William and Mary Taylor. William’s parents were living at 261, Audley Range. There were six children, three girls and three boys all born in Blackburn.
William worked at Audley Range Mill, known as the “Glory Hoyle” and eventually was used for weaving by the Castle Manufacturing Company of Clitheroe circa 1914-28. He would be a weaver there with his entire family.
William enlisted as a driver in the Royal Field Artillery on the 2nd January 1915 but was later transferred to the South Wales Borderers. He took his place in the trenches at the Dardanelles in August 1915, was evacuated to Egypt and then went on to France where he was killed on the first day of the Battle of Albert 1st July 1916.
The Battalion was attacking the south of the small village of Beaumont Hamel. In a few minutes it lost 11 officers and 235 men killed and missing, 4 officers and 149 wounded, all from machine-gun fire. Some gallant men reached the German wire 300 yards away, but the attack was unsuccessful.
William has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4 A. William was also commemorated at Audley Range Congregational Church.


Lieutenant Reginald Thompson

Reg Thompson.jpg
Reginald Thompson was born on the 2nd March 1886, the youngest son of John (born 1841) and Alice Thompson (born 1844). He had four brothers; Charles, Harold, Frank and John, and five sisters; Florence Helen, Mabel, Alice W. and Effie.  The 1901 census records that the family lived at the very notable residence, "Beardwood Cliff" and John's profession was listed as a Cotton Spinner Manufacturer and a J.P.  The family was very well known in Blackburn; Reginald's uncles, James and William had both attained the distinction of serving the town as Mayor. At the age of 14, he entered Rugby School and left two years later,  aged sixteen, in 1902. Reginald then continued his studies at Heidelberg, Germany for eighteen months; returning to England, he studied for the Bar at Owen's College, Manchester, where he took and passed his LL. B. degree.
He practised as a Solicitor in London until September 1914 when he joined the Inns of Court Training Corps. Six weeks later, he received his Commission in the 7th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. Reginald proceeded to France in July or September 1915 and he was gazetted first Lieutenant in January 1916 and exchanged into the 2nd Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment in October of that year.
On the 23rd of October 1916, Reginald Thompson was killed by shell fire during a successful attack against the German trenches in the Somme Valley, he was 30 years old.
Reginald Thompson has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.
Tilford Charles.jpg
Machine Gun Corps, 8474
Charles Tilford can be found on the 1911 census living with his parents Frederick and Clara. Frederick Tilford was a railway foreman and he and Clara had four children. Charles was third child and he was born in 1894. He is identified on the census as a weaver and the family lived at 41, John Thomas-street, Blackburn (now renamed as Kirby-road).
Marriage records show that he married Mary Wignall in 1915, and, they had a daughter, Doris, born later in 1915.
Charles was 19 years old at the outbreak of the war and he initially enlisted with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry before being transferred to the Machine Gun Corp. This was a specialist Corps.introduced in 1915 in order to concentrate the firepower and expertise of the Vickers Machine Gun teams. He was killed serving on the Somme battle front whilst serving in the Machine Gun Corps, on 22nd July 1916,
Charles Tilford has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial Pier and Face 5 C and 12 C.
Titley Edward.jpg
3rd Grenadier Guards, 23084
Edward Titley was the eldest son of Edward and Sarah Ellen Titley, born in 1893. He had a sister, Ellen and two step-brothers, Charles and John. Before enlisting he was working as a boy clerk for HM customs, having passed his civil service examination.
Edward enlisted into the 3rd Grenadier Guards on 3rd February 1915. Following a short time in training, he travelled with the Battalion in July 1915, landing at Le Harve on 27th July. The Battalion would spend the next year in and out of trenches, gaining experience before the Battles of the Somme the following year.
Edward was killed in the battle of FlersCourcelette in September 1916. This battle saw the use of tanks for the first time. It also saw the use of Canadian and New Zealand Divisions on the Somme for the first time.
The Grenadier Guards’ war diary for 3rd Battalion shows them in the area of Carnoy on 14th September and began its assault at 6.20am 15th September. It was immediately met with heavy machine gun fire. Fighting continued all day. The extract below is from the war diary:
On the evening of the 15th therefore this battalion held a small frontage on the right of the first objective. This flank was subjected to repeated bombing attacks and the Germans also attempted to work riflemen round it. Fire steps had to be dug in both sides of the trench and bombing parties organised to resist the enemy bombing down. Fighting on a small scale therefore continued throughout the night 15th/16th and resulted in all counter attacks being repulsed. The enemy drove us back at one time about 70 yards but his success was momentary only and the ground was immediately re-taken and 1 machine gun captured.
The battalion suffered severe shelling on the 16th September and was then relieved on the evening of 16th/17th September.
Private Titley has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 8 D.
Townend Norman.jpg
10th Lancashire Fusiliers, 34841
Norman Townend, born 1893, was the son of Robert Walter and Ellen Townend of 20 Granville-road, Blackburn. He was one of four children. He had been working as a dentist in Granville-road. Before the war began.
Norman was born in Yorkshire on 4th January 1893 and was baptised on 14th March 1894 at All Saints Church, Clayton-le-Moors. His brother, Gordon, was baptised the same day.
Norman enlisted into the 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in June 1915. Following training, he joined the Battalion in France and served with them during the early Battles of the Somme, including Delville Wood.
Norman was probably killed during the actions on the Ancre Heights. The official Lancashire Fusiliers’ war diary shows the 10th battalion at Carnoy on 1st November 1916 and at Geudecourt on the 2nd, where they relieved the 9th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and occupied Mild, Shine and Needle trenches.
The entry states that:
“...an unsuccessful attempt was made by 2 squads of  the battalion bombing platoon, supported by D Company and one platoon of C Company to carry an enemy strongpoint to the right of mild trench. Failure was due largely to the impossible state of the ground over which the advance had to be made. The enemy replied by attacking our bombing store on the left front of mild which was easily driven off.”
Private Townend was killed on 3rd November 1916. He 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. His name is also recorded on the Roll of Honour in St. Silas’ church, Blackburn.
Turner John James.jpg
7th East Lancashire Regiment, 21267
Private John James Turner of the 7th East Lancashire Regiment, son of Edwin and Catherine Turner of 44 Wither-street, Blackburn, was killed on 5th July 1916 during the Battle of Albert on the Somme.
The son of the Carter for mineral water, Turner worked as a driver for a Brewer before the war began. He was formerly part of the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers but was transferred to the 7th Battalion.
John Turner was part of the infantry attack at the Battle of Albert (1st – 13th July), unfortunately killed in action on the 5th July when the division was attacking La Boisselle between 4th and 6th July. At 8:30 a.m. the 56th Brigade of the 19th Division attacked at La Boisselle with the 7th King's Own, which bombed up trenches with covering fire from machine-guns and Stokes mortars. Determined resistance by the German defenders held back the British until 2:30 p.m. when all but some ruins at the north end had been captured.The area between the 23rd Division on the right and the 19th Division around La Boisselle was attacked at 7:30 p.m. by bombing parties of the 7th East Lanc's, was repulsed but a second attack over the open succeeded, after which three German counter-attacks were defeated.
John James Turner is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 6 C.

 
 
 

 Private Horace Walker

6th York and Lancaster Regiment, 20706

Horace Walker, born in 1895, was one of seven children born to William and Mary E. Walker. In 1901 there was John 23, William 16, Jane 14, Charles 11, Elizabeth 9, George 7 and Horace 5. They lived at that time at 22, Portsmouth-street.
Horace worked as a warehouseman in a local cotton mill before war broke out in 1914. Horace enlisted into the 6th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment, and would spend many months in training before departing for Gallipoli with 11th Division.
Embarkation took place at Liverpool from 30th June, with much of the Division sailing on the Aquitania and Empress of Britain. Mudros was reached by Divisional HQ and 32nd Brigade on 10th July. On 6th-7th August 1915 the Division landed near Lala Baba at Suvla Bay.                                                                                                                              
On 19th/20th December 1915 the Division withdrew from Gallipoli and moved to Imbros.
On 26th January 1916 the Division began to move to Egypt, landing at Alexandria on 2nd February and concentrating at SidiBishr six days later.
19th February saw the Division take over a section of the Suez canal defences. The Division received orders on 17th June 1916 for a move to France.
Embarkation at Alexandria was completed on 3rd July and by 7th of that month Divisional HQ had been set up at Flesselles. By 27th July, the Division had taken over part of the front in Third Army sector. The Division then took part in the following operations:                    
The capture of the Wundt-Werk (Wonder Work):
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15th-22nd September 1916:                                                         
This was a large-scale general renewal of the offensive after the weeks of attritional fighting for the third German system at Pozieres, High Wood, Delville Wood, Guillemont and Ginchy. It is historically noteworthy for being the first time that tanks were used in battle. Few in number, mechanically unreliable and as yet without proven tactics for their best use, the small numbers of tanks that actually went into action had an important positive effect. High Wood and Delville Wood were finally cleared and a deep advance was made to Flers and towards Combles. The Canadian Corps entered the Somme fighting for the first time.
The Battle of Thiepval 26th – 28th September:                                                                                                         Thiepval had been one of the strong points in the German first line that had proved so impossible for the British attack on 1st July. Now outflanked to the east, Thiepval and the heights on which it sat fell to an efficiently executed attack.
Horace was killed close to the end of the Battle of Thiepval. Horace is commemorated at Furthergate Congregational Church. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 14 A and 14 B.

18th Lancashire Fusiliers, 16559

John Walmsley, born in 1880, was the second youngest son of John and Martha Walmsley. He had four brothers who in 1891 were Seth aged 18, a grocer’s assistant, George 17, Charles 15 and Walter 7 (John being 10).
John and Walter had been born in Blackburn but the others were born in Leyland, their father’s birthplace. John would grow up to become a carter at a local mill, before war broke out.
John enlisted into the 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. This had been formed in Bury on 13th January 1915 by Lieutenant-Colonel G. E. Wike and a Committee as a Bantam Battalion. It moved on 8th April 1915 to Garswood Park (Ashton in Makerfield) and in June 1915 to Masham.
On 21st June 1915 it came under orders of 104th Brigade, 35th Division. The Battalion finally landed at Le Havre 29th January 1916. By early on 6th February all units were concentrated east of St Omer.
In March 1917, the German armies on the Somme carried out a strategic withdrawal known as Operation Alberich. They destroyed everything on the ground that they left: flattening villages, poisoning wells, cutting down trees, blowing craters on roads and crossroads, booby-trapping ruins and dugouts. The withdrawal was to an immensely powerful and shorter line, positioned to take every tactical advantage of ground. The construction of this line - or rather, series of lines - had been spotted by British and French aviators in late 1916. British patrols began to detect the withdrawal of German infantry from the Somme in mid February 1917 and a cautious pursuit began, halted only as the Hindenburg Line itself was approached.
John was killed on the 15th of April after Operation Alberich – the 35th. Division was not directly involved with the Arras offensive which followed but was at the front line.
John was commemorated at St. Thomas’s Church, Lambeth-street, and on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D
Walsh Robert.jpg
10th Lancashire Fusiliers, 5057
Robert Walsh was the son of Henry and Catherine Walsh. His father had died soon after his birth in 1888 and in 1901 his mother Catherine aged 33 looked after the family of Annie 14, Henry 7, George 6 and Robert 3. They lived at 21, Warwick-street but by 1911 had moved to 104 Whalley Old-road.
Robert worked as a porter on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and was a member of St. Albans Church.
Robert enlisted early into the army, joining on 25th August 1914, into the 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, which formed part of 17th Division.
After receiving an order that the Division would be retained for home defence (subsequently cancelled), advance parties left for France on 6 July 1915. Main embarkation began on 12th July and units moved to concentrate near St Omer.
The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions:
In 1915 the Division spent its initial period of trench familiarisation and then holding the front lines in the southern area of the Ypres salient.
The Division was involved in fighting at the Bluff (South East of Ypres on the Comines Canal), part of a number of engagements officially known as the Actions of Spring 1916.
The Battle of Albert 1st–13th July   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. There was a stiff fight for Trones Wood and costly, hastily planned and piecemeal attacks that eventually took La Boisselle, Contalmaison and Mametz Wood.
It was during the assaults on Trones wood that Robert was killed. The family would suffer as Robert had no known grave. His brother George also served in France and Henry was in the Navy, but both survived. Robert is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.
Walton Joseph.jpg
2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 7580
Joseph Walton, born 1895, was the son of Joseph and Alice Ann of 27, William-street, Blackburn.
In 1901, the family lived at 8, Vale-street Blackburn. The family comprised of Joseph (24), Alice Ann (26), Joseph (5) and Nancy, aged 2 years. By 1911, they are recorded as living at 72, Abraham-street and another child, called Albert, had been born.
They were all born in Blackburn and worked as Cotton Weavers.
By 1914, Joseph had joined the Territorial Army, enlisting into the 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers. The Battalion had formed at Bury on 9th September, 1914 as a home service unit. They moved to Mossborough and then into billets in Southport.
After weeks of training, they finally landed at Boulogne on 4th May 1915, and were attached to the 51st Highland Division.
In early May 1915, the Highland Division was hurried to the defence of Ypres. The enemy had attacked on 22nd April 1915, using poison gas for the first time. All available reserves were deployed to stop the Germans taking advantage of the initial surprise. The Division remained in action until moved to the area of Estaires on the River Lys, on 19th May.
The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:
The Battle of Festubert 15th- 25th May 1915.
The Highlanders were still "practically untrained and very green in all field duties" before Festubert, according to First Army commander, Sir Douglas Haig.
The Second Action of Givenchy 15th-16th June 1915.
Shortly after this unsuccessful action, the Division moved South to the area North of the River Somme. They relieved a French Division near Hamel. At this time, the Highland Division, having gained considerable experience, found that various New Army units were attached to it for instruction. Indeed, it had begun to build a reputation as a hard, fighting formation.
The Battalion was then transferred to the 55th Division, to serve with other men from Lancashire.
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; with the trenches water logged which restricted movement. 
There were heavy casualties on both sides and Joseph was officially killed on the 9th of September, at the beginning of the Battle of Ginchy.
German-held Ginchy was attacked by the 16th (Irish) Division on 9th September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. Although the preliminary bombardment made little impact on the defences, the attacking battalions succeeded in capturing the village despite sustaining heavy losses to machine-gun fire.
Joseph was killed in action on the 9th September 1916 and his mother collected his effects of £2-1s-4d at Preston in January 1917.
He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D.
Ward Richard.jpg 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, 18117
Private Richard Ward of the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers was killed in action on 30th July 1916.
His obituary notice did not appear in the Blackburn times until 24th March1917. The notice said it had now been accepted that he had been killed on the 30th July. The notice also described him as a machine gunner.
Private Ward was a married man aged 24. His parents were Thomas and Alice Ward and he had ten brothers and sisters.
He was born in 1893. On 13th September 1913 he married Cordelia Ellen Carr at St. Matthews’ Church, Blackburn. They had one child. They were living at 6 Alker-street, Blackburn at the time of their marriage.
Before enlisting he was employed as a Weaver at Kent-street Mill.
The official war diary for the 2nd battalion shows it was at Carnoy on 28th July but on 29th July moved up to Silesia trench. The entry for 30th July is very long. The following is an extract:
“12.15am to 4.45am: the batt moved out from Silesia trench to the assembly trenches.
4.45am: zero hour: A heavy mist at the time of advance. The enemy put up a barrage along Trones Wood but little rifle fire.
10.00am: mist had cleared. By this time the enemy had put up a very heavy barrage along the east face of Trones Wood. The road and intervening ground were swept by machine gun fire making communications practically impossible.”
Noon: battalion completely isolated. It was impossible to withdraw owing to the exposed nature of the ground."
It was later reported that 300 men of the brigade had surrendered on the left.
The diary notes the battalion went into action with 20 officers and 750 other ranks. At the end of the day 17 officers had been killed, wounded or were missing. The other ranks had 15 dead, 40 wounded and 578 missing although it was reported that about 100 of the other ranks re-joined later having made their way back through 89th brigade.
Private Ward has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C.

2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 7699

Private Herbert Waring of the 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire fusiliers was killed in action on 9th September 1916.
Herbert was a married man and left a widow, Ellen.
He was the son of William and Margaret Waring and was one of eight children born to the couple.
Before enlisting his profession in the 1911 census was a general carter working on his own account.
The Battle of Ginchy took place on the 9th September 1916. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website described Ginchy village as a mass of shattered masonry and shell holes and which had repeatedly defied British assaults. A further assault was planned for 9th September and the village was eventually taken in what was described as an attack characterised by dash, turmoil and heavy casualties.
The war diary for the 2nd/5th Battalion shows that the battalion were ordered on the 7t to relieve 20th brigade. This was completed by 3.30am on 8th September.
The entry for 9th September shows there was an intense bombardment from 4.45pm to 5.30pm when an attack was launched. The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was slow in leaving Pilsen trench forcing the first two companies of the Fusiliers to deploy behind Pilsen trench after leaving Stout trench during which time they were heavily shelled.
The leading lines mistook Haymarket for Hop Alley and halted there. This trench was just a series of shell holes where the remnants of the Battalion collected having been unable to advance due to heavy machine gun fire and shell fire.
By sunset troops had withdrawn to Pilsen trench. The diary shows 334 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.
Private Waring 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.

11th Lancashire Fusiliers, 12280

Private Douglas Watson of the 11th Battalion, Lancashire fusiliers, was killed in action 9th July 1916, aged 18.
He was a single man and was living at 63 Inkerman-street, Blackburn, with his widowed mother, Isabella. His father John W. Watson had died some years previously. He was the youngest of four children born to Mr and Mrs Watson.
The period 1st July to 13th July 1916 is known as the Battle of Albert.
Ray Westlake (tracing British battalions) notes that the 11th Battalion between 7th and 10th July were involved in attacks and counterattacks at Ovilliers. He notes the number of casualties as 171 during this period.
The war diaries for the 11th Battalion shows that on 6th July, the Battalion moved to Usna Hill Redoubt via Albert and proceeded to the trenches at La Boiselle. The entry for 9th July shows enemy artillery was active. About 3pm the enemy launched a strong counter attack and the Battalion was forced to withdraw through being attacked on both flanks, neither flank being supported. Relief from the 8th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment started at about 11pm and was completed by 2am on the 10th following which the Battalion proceeded to Bouzincourt and then Senlis to reorganise.
At the end of the war diary for July 1916 there is a list of casualties. Douglas is listed among the missing for 9th July. He is listed as a member of "C" Company.
Private Watson 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.

7th King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, 18089

Harold Widdop, born in 1897, was the son of Thomas and Ada Widdop and brother of Hilda and Leslie. His parents worked in the textile industry but at thirteen Harold is an assistant in the tea trade. The family lived at 10, Randolph-street together with Ada’s mother Mary Ann Barwise.
Harold enlisted in September 1914 to the 7th Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, which was part of 19th (Western) Division. After 9 months of training, Harold and the Battalion sailed for France, arriving in mid-July 1915.
The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions:
The Action of Pietre:
A supporting/diversionary action during the Battle of Loos. Compared with the small-scale British efforts of spring 1915, this attack of six Divisions was a mighty offensive indeed - so much so that it was referred to at the time as 'The Big Push'. Taking place on ground not of their choosing and before stocks of ammunition and heavy artillery were sufficient, the opening of the battle was noteworthy for the first use of poison gas by the British Army. Despite heavy casualties, there was considerable success on the first day in breaking into the deep enemy positions near Loos and Hulluch. But the reserves had been held too far from the battle front to be able to exploit the successes and succeeding days bogged down into attritional warfare for minor gains.
The Battle of Albert:
 in which the Division captured La Boisselle.
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge:
From 23rd July to 10th August 1916, the Division held a sector of the line north of the River Ancre. After the first attempt to capture the ridge was unsuccessful, the Division went back in on 29th July 1916.
The right of the line, consisting of 7th Royal Lancaster’s and 10th Royal Warwickshire’s, kept well under the barrage, and, taking the Germans by surprise, captured a length of the front line and a strong point. The left flank failed to advance however.
The 7th and 10th  were stuck, making easy targets for continuous German shelling, but held their ground, and beat off counter-attacks during the night, holding the ground with great gallantry and tenacity. The Battalion was relieved on 31st July, but it was during the gallant defence in the night that Harold Widdop was killed.
Thomas collected the personal effects of Harold from Preston an amount of £8. Harold has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 5d and 12 B.
Wilding Joshua.jpg
15th Cheshire Regiment, 19524
Josiah Wilding, born 1891, was the son of David and Alice Wilding, and was one of eight of their surviving children. Like many Blackburn families, his mother was a weaver, whilst his father was a farm labourer. By 1911, Josiah himself was working in Cherry Tree Foundry as a machine painter.
Josiah married Deborah and had a son, James, before war split them apart. They lived at 3 Turned-street, Blackburn.
Josiah enlisted into the 15th Battalion Cheshire Regiment in November 1914. It had been formed at the request of Alfred Bigland MP to be a Bantam Battalion, so smaller men were enlisted. The Battalion was part of 35th Division.
The Division was largely comprised of locally raised units known as "Bantams", manned by troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height of 5 feet 3 inches. On 28th January 1916 the Division began to cross the English Channel and by early on 6th February all units were concentrated east of St. Omer.
Following the first Battle of the Somme, around Albert, the Battalion fought at Arrow Head Copse. The 35th Division was to attack at 5:00 a.m. on 20th July, to take trenches between Maltz Horn Farm and Arrow Head Copse, preliminary to the general attack on Guillemont and on the rest of the German second position, after a thirty-minute bombardment to cover a French attack on the right, which was then cancelled.
The Battalion attacked against massed machine-gun and artillery-fire and were shelled out of the few parts of the German front line they reached.
The Battalion remained in the front line, holding these positions, for 10 days. It was in this period of intense shell fire that Josiah was killed.
Josiah Wilding has no known grave, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 4 A. Josiah is also commemorated at St. Peters and the Ragged School.
 

Wilkinson Nelson.jpg  2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, 203920
​Private Nelson Wilkinson, aged 36 years, of the 2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, son of James H Wilkinson and Ellen Wilkinson (nee Fish) of 38 Moorgate Street, Mill Hill, was killed on 12th September 1916 at the Battle of Ginchy on the Somme. Two of his brothers-in-law had also been killed during 1916.
Nelson’s father was a cotton weaver, and Nelson worked as a labourer for Mr. R. F. Hindle’s timber merchants on Weir-street. He had been in the job for many years, but, as the war started, Nelson signed up on 20th October, 1914. He had initially joined with friends into the 1/4th East Lancashire Regiment, departing to France with them on 27th July 1916, and seeing action on the Somme.
Possibly due to depleted numbers, Nelson was transferred on 9th September 1916 to 2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers, just as the Battle of Ginchy was about to start.
Zero hour for the attack was set at 4.45pm on 9th September. At the last minute orders were dispatched delaying the attack for two minutes to allow for a final intense bombardment of the German lines, but only one Brigade received the order in time. The 48th Brigade launched its attack on time, and was hit by German counter battery fire.
Ginchy was part of the line held by the 19th Bavarian Infantry. The attack of the 48th Brigade rolled up one company in the middle of the Bavarian line, and allowed the Brigade to occupy Ginchy within an hour of zero-hour. On either side of the village the German lines held, and the British salient in Ginchy was subjected to an unsuccessful counterattack by 19th Bavarians.
Nelson Wilkinson was initially listed as wounded on 9th September, although was he later listed as missing. It would be a full year before the War Office deemed that Nelson was killed. It is likely that Nelson was killed in the counter-battery fire of the German artillery, as this quite often would bury men alive to never be found again. 
Nelson Wilkinson is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D and has no known grave.
 

Willock Fred.jpg 1st East Lancashire Regiment, 7289
Lance Corporal Fred Willock, of the East Lancashire Regiment, missing since July 1st 1916, is now officially presumed to be dead, an intimation to this effect having been received by his wife, Mrs Willock, 23, Kendal-street, this week. The deceased, who was well known locally, for many years being employed by Mr. Rakestraw, Lord-street. He volunteered for service on the outbreak of the present war. After he been at the front for six months he was wounded, and for some time was in hospital in England, after which he returned to the fighting line. A widow and three children are left to mourn their loss.
1st July 1st Battalion East Lancashire Diary:
Battalion in the line at Mailly-maillent
The plan of attack on the German lines detailed for the above date was as follows;
3 coys were placed in the front line, each coy on a front of 2 platoons taking up their positions thus; C coy under Captain Thomas on the right stretching from the junction of 10-11 to the junction of 13-14. A coy joined C on the right, holding the line to the junction 16/17. B coy thence to the junction 19/20. The 2nd line took their position in Minden trench- Green trench and Ludgate street. D coy were in battalion reserve in Chatham trench. During the previous night the wire In front of our trenches was systematically out in order to allow of the progress of the attacking force. Throughout the night the bombardment was carried out in salvoes, and at 6am increased in intensity culminating in a bombardment which according to prisoners exceeded even that at Verdun. At 07.26 in accordance with the plan, the 6 leading platoons left the trenches and took up their position in ‘no man’s land’; this was accomplished almost without loss. At 07.30 all the guns lengthened and laid down a barrage on the enemies support lines and communication. At the same time our front line pushed forward and the supporting platoons left our original front line trenches. They were met with very heavy artillery and machine gun fire, some of A and B coys did reach the German front line at 07.35 but were captured by the Germans who came out of their dugouts and surrounded them. Many officers were killed on the way across. At 07.32 D coy and battalion headquarters left Chatham trench, but were hung up by reason of the intense machine gun fire. The battalion’s Lieutenant Colonel and Medical Officer were both wounded around 10.30. The battalion continued to hold the line of shell hole in front of the German barbed wire, but it was seen that the strongholds of the enemy lines were too strongly fortified to be taken. At 21.30 orders were given for the battalion to retire to Mailly-Maillent.
Fred Willock was born in Chorley, Lancashire 1876. He is listed as promoted to Lance Corporal 29th December 1915 and wounded 4th January 1916.
He is remembered on the Thiepval memorial Pier and Face 6 C.


Private George Wilson

16th Royal Welch Fusiliers, 18908

Not much is known about George Wilson or his connection to Blackburn, although he is referenced in the Roll of Honour and his death was verified in the Blackburn Times.
George had enlisted into the 16th Battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers. They were formed at Llandudno in November 1914 by the Welsh National Executive Committee from recruits surplus to 13th Battalion, and came under orders of 128th Brigade, 43rd Division at Llandudno, before changing to the 113th Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division.  
The Battalion underwent training, and moved to Winchester in August 1915 before shipping out to France in December 1915. For the next six months, the Battalion would undergo trench warfare and specialist training for the big assault in July on the Somme.
The Battalion’s job, in the first phase of the Battle, was to assault and clear Mametz Wood. Nearly a mile wide and over a mile deep, Mametz was made up of thick trees and dense undergrowth. The wood was heavily fortified with machine guns, trenches and mortars and was defended by the well-trained and elite Lehr Regiment of Prussian Guards.
The Battle of Mametz Wood began on 7th July 1916. The wood was intended to be taken in a matter of hours. In the event the battle lasted for five days as the Germans fiercely resisted the assaults of the Welsh Division.
On the first day alone over 400 casualties were sustained. Over the five days that the battle raged, Mametz Wood was devastated as artillery shells fell continuously on the area. Fighting was furious, with hand to hand combat in many instances, as men battled for every inch and yard of ground. The poet Robert Graves fought in the battle and, having gone back into the wood once the battle was finally over, wrote:
"It was full of dead Prussian Guards, big men, and dead Royal Welch Fusiliers and South Wales Borderers, little men. Not a single tree in the wood remained unbroken."
Casualty figures for the Welsh Division amounted to 46 officers and 556 other ranks killed. When the wounded and those listed as "missing" - men blown to pieces or buried alive by shell blasts - were counted the total number of casualties was 3,993.
George Wilson was one of the missing casualties, being officially listed as killed on 11th July 1916. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 4 A.

20th Lancashire Fusiliers, 31548

Thomas Wright was one of Thomas and Martha Wright’s five children. At the time of the 1911 census, Thomas was 25 years old and living with the family at 171 Whalley Range, Blackburn. On the census he is identified as being employed as a “Cloth Bimbler”(?) in a cotton warehouse.
Records are limited directly relating to Thomas but in March 1915 when he was 28 years old he enlisted with the 20th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. This was a Bantam unit made up of men of under regulation height (5ft 3in).  Following enlistment with the Battalion, Thomas would have undertaken training before embarking for France. Once in France he would have gone through a rotation of training, manning the line and other duties in preparation for the Somme offensive. The 35th Division were designated as a “Reserve” on 1st July but will quickly have been called into action. They went on to be involved in the Battle of Bazertin Ridge, the Battle of Arrow Head copse, Maltz House Farm and the Battle of Falfemont Farm.
Thomas Wright was killed on 21st August. He is described as being “killed in action”. Records show that he left his personal effects to his younger sister Minnie.  He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 3 C and 3 D, also, in Blackburn Old Cemetery: CE 0 17051.
Wynne Arthur.jpg
7th King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry, 17916
Arthur Wynne was born and lived in Blackburn. He was one of 5 Children who in 1911 were all identified as working in the cotton industry. Arthur himself was a weaver at Britannia Mill.
It is possible that that he enlisted in 1916 and was allocated to the King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry arriving with them prior to the Battle of the Somme.
The Battalion diaries do not place them in the front line on 1st July but they were they were involved in actions known as the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. These actions ran from 14th to 17th July and were the second phase of the Somme offensive.
Private Arthur Wynne was killed on 14th July, on the first day of the Battle. He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme, Pier and Face 12 A and 12 D.

 ​

Y


Private Thomas Yates

2nd Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales (Royal Berkshire) Regiment 37485

Thomas Yates was born in 1892. He was the son of John and Ellen Ann Yates and he had four younger brothers and two elder sisters. In 1911, the family were living at 22 School-lane, Guide. Like his Father, John was a collier, but there is no information about the colliery where he worked.
When Thomas enlisted he was originally deployed in the Northants Regiment No. 15060, but he was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion Princess Charlotte of Wales (Royal Berkshire) Regiment, No. 37458.
The date of his enlistment is not recorded, but we know that his embarkation date was the 26th of July 1915.
The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was part of the 25th Brigade in the 8th Division and first landed in le Harve on the 5th of November 1914.
In 1915 they were involved in the battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers and the action of Bois Grenier, which was a diversionary attack coinciding with the Battle of Loos.
In 1916 the Battalion fought on the Somme at Albert, Thomas managed to survive this carnage.
In March 1917 the Germans withdrew to a new position called the Hindenburg Line. This strategic withdrawal was known as Operation Alderich.  As the enemy forces withdrew they destroyed everything on the ground: flattening villages, poisoning wells, cutting down trees, blowing craters on roads and crossroads, booby-trapping ruins and dugouts. The German withdrawal was to an immensely powerful and shorter line, positioned to take every tactical advantage on the ground. The construction of this line, or rather, a series of lines, had been spotted by British and French aviators in late 1916. British patrols began to detect the withdrawal of German infantry from the Somme in mid February 1917 and a cautious pursuit began, halted only as the Hindenburg Line itself was approached.
The war Diary says:
1st April: 1917 The 2nd Battalion was in the Main Line of Defence at Nurlu Equancort
3rd April: the Battalion relieved the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in the left of the outpost line, “B” and “D” company in the outpost line and “A” and “C” Company in Fins and Battalion H.Q. in the Quarry Fins.
4th April: The Battalion co-operated with the 20th Division in an attack on Metz-en-Couture, the Battalion’s objectives being Goozeaucourt Wood and line Q. 29. A. 3.0 to Q. 21. D. 8.1.
It was probably during this Operation that Thomas Yates was killed. The Casualties the Royal Berkshire Regiment took on the 4th were 6 killed and 30 wounded.
Thomas Yates has no known grave and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 11 D.