1st Battle of Ypres

Officers, N.C.O.s & Men of the 1st Battalion, Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres

FIRST BATTLE OF YPRES:

The Menin Gate Memorial commemorates 54,326 British and Commonwealth soldiers (except New Zealand) who fell in the fighting in the Ypres salient from November 1914  and who have no known grave. 

The Menin Gate Memorial lists the names of 4 Officers and 66 NCOs and men of the 1st Battalion who were “Old Contemptibles“, plus 5 men of the 1/6th Bn.

Of the 74 Cheshires’ men (i.e. 69 from 1st Battalion and 5 from 1st/6th) that are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, FIFTEEN were of the original 1st Battalion who sailed for France in August. TEN of these were killed in action during the First Battle of Ypres in November 1915.

The remaining FIVE from the original 1st Battalion who were killed in action in February – May 1915

CLICK the names below to read more about these 10 men from the original 1st Battalion Old Contemptibles who were killed in action during the First Battle of Ypres:

 

Private 7307 Benjamin ARNOLD (A.R.) – ‘C’ Company          

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 13 November 1914      Age: 33

Personal: Benjamin (Ben) was born in the September quarter 1881, probably at 38 Brunswick Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire (1881 Census 11/3491). He was the son of Thomas (Pavier) and Jane (née Handcock) Arnold. He had an older brother, Peter, and two younger siblings, Thomas and Jane. [See Footnotes below]

In 1891 (Census RG 12/2813) the family had moved to 14 Princess Street, Macclesfield, and 10 years later (1901 Census RG 13/3314) to 8 Pool Street, Macclesfield, when Ben was working as a “Builder’s Labourer“. In 1911 (Census RG 14/21481) Ben was living with his widowed father at 9 Turnock Street, Macclesfield.

A few months later, in the June quarter 1911 Ben married Elizabeth Billington, in Macclesfield. According to the Pension Records they had no children.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in April 1915, Ben’s total effects were returned to his widow, Elizabeth. The total amounted to £5 16s 3d (£5.81 – equivalent to about £470 today – 2020). In June 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today).

With effect from 21st June 1915 Elizabeth also received a Pension of 12/6d per week (£0.62 = about £50 per week today).CWGC Records show that after the War Elizabeth lived at 25 Allen Sreet, Macclesfield, Cheshire.

Pt. Arnold’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: Ben’s Army Service Papers are no longer available, but the SDGW database shows that he enlisted in Hyde, Cheshire.

A comparison of his Service Number (7307) with other known dates suggests he enlisted about 3rd November 1903, on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve. (e.g. Pt. 7308 Harry Houghton, killed in action 24th August 1903)

Like Harry, Ben was no doubt posted to the 2nd Battalion in Madras, India, on 19th December 1906 and was returned to Section ‘B’ Reserve on his return about 27th January 1911.

As a Reservist Ben rejoined the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, entering France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘C’ Company, Ben saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right of the line under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore. He was one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night.

Ben also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

Ben was killed in action 2 days later, the 13th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches. Heavy shell fire on our trenches and also on supports in dugouts. Small infantry attack easily repulsed.” No casualties were recorded but Ben was one of 4 members of the Battalion killed that day, probably killed in the shell fire.

Ben’s younger brother, Pt. 357 Thomas Arnold, served with the 5th and 7th Battalions, Cheshire Regiment, serving in France from 14th Feb. to 22nd April 1915. He left the Army after 8 years, on 31st March 1916.

Ben’s older brother, Pt. 15113 Peter Arnold, also served with the Cheshire Regiment.

Ben’s younger sister, Jane, married John Allen Turner, on 14th April 1911 and they had one daughter Sarah Ellen, born 11th April 1915.

Pt. 26293 John Allen Turner enlisted in the Manchester Regiment in May 1915 but was discharged a month later, as not fit for Military Service.

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Private 7548 John CHARLESWORTH (A.R.) – ‘D’ Company   

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 15 November 1914      Age: 28

Personal: John was born on 28th October 1886 at Shavington, Cheshire, the son of James (Green Grocer) and Elizabeth (née Wright) Charlesworth. He had 6 older brothers and sisters, James, Elizabeth, William, George A., Mary Jane and Emily, and 6 younger siblings, Annie, Albert, Harriett, Alice, Ernest and Edwin. (Two more children died in childhood.)

In 1891 (Census 12/2849) the family was living at Newcastle Road, Hough, Wydenbury, Cheshire, and were at the same address 10 years later (1901 Census RG 13/3354). John was working in his father’s “Market Garden” business. The family were showing the same business address in 1911 (Census RG 14/) and John, plus siblings Edwin and Harriett were living at home. John, however, was designated “Pt. Soldier, Home from India” (see below).

When he enlisted in May 1906 John stood 5 ft. 3½ ins. [1.61 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 4 lbs. [52.6 kgs.], had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, blue eyes and light-brown. His stated Religion was ‘C. of E.‘. (“After 6 months and gymnastics course” he had gained 1″ [2.5 cms.] in height and 16 lbs. [7.25 kgs.] in weight.)

Ten days after returning from his Army Service in India John married Rose Maley, on 14th November 1911, at The Register Office, Warrington. John’s Service Papers show one child, Cyril (Maley) born 8th June 1908 in Earlestown, Lancashire. The 1911 Census (RG 14/23112) shows him living with his mother and other members of her family, at 2 Foundry Street, Earlestown, Lancashire.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in March 1915, Ben’s total effects were returned to his widow, Rose. The total amounted to £1 6s 1d (£1.30 – equivalent to about £105 today – 2020). In June 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today).

With effect from 24th June 1915 Rose received a Pension of 10/- per week, for herself only (i.e. 50p equates to about £40 per week today). On 1st July 1915 the War Office wrote to Earlestown Police Office enquiring if John was Cyril’s father. The reply, from Inspector Duncan Clarke, named “Robert Laird” as the father and that he was “… alive but in considerable arrears with his payments“. The Inspector also enclosed the relevant “Bastardy Order“, showing what payments had been ordered by the Courts.

Pt. Charlesworth’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When John attested into the Cheshire Regiment in Chester, Cheshire, on 26th May 1904 he was already serving in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion. He stated his age as 18 years 8 months, and he was on a 3+9 period of service (i.e. 3 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 9 years Reserve).

John extended this Service to 7 years ‘Active’ plus 5 years on Reserve. He qualified as a ‘Drummer‘. After initial training John was posted to the 2nd Battalion in Madras, India, on 24th December 1905.

From there John was posted to Secunderabad, arriving 4th November 108.

On 4th November 1911 John was transferred to “Section A Reserve“, relegated to “Section B” on 26th November 1912. 

As a Reservist John rejoined the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, entering France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘D’ Company, John saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right of the line under Captain E.R  Jones. He was one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night.

John also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

John was killed in action 4 days later, on the 15th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches. A quiet day. Some shelling & sniping. Enemy digging into new position.” i.e. No casualties recorded.

The previous day, however: “2/Lieut H R Stables, 5/Royal Fusiliers, killed. 2/Lieut E G Carr wounded & 30 N.C.O.s and men killed, wounded & missing. Two German patrols of 15 & 7 men were shot down just outside our trenches.” (N.B. Lt. Harold Rolleston Stables was attached to the 1st Battalion from 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was 28 years old, the son of Henry and Mary Stables.)

Two other men were killed in action on the same day as John, and like him have no known grave, and are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. These are Pt. 8948 William Houghton and Pt. 9910 George Wright. In total John had served 10 years 175 days with the Colours.

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Drummer 9268 William HAMMOND – ‘B’ Company   Awards: Mentioned in Despatches

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 17 November 1914      Age: 23

Personal: William was born in the June quarter 1891 probably at 4 Marl Street, Middlesborough, Yorkshire, the son of William (Boiler Maker) and Fanny Ada (née Chapman) Hammond. He had an older sister, Ada Alice, six younger brothers, Albert, Arthur George Frederick, Henry, Rodney, Charles and John, and four younger sisters, Rhoda May, Louisa Mary, Gertrude and Racheal. 

In 1901 (Census RG 13/3690) the family was living at 7 Middlewood Street, Gorton, Manchester. The 1911 Census (RG 14/23809) shows 10 of the 11 children of the family still living in the parental home at 14 Alexandra Road, Gorton, Manchester (see postcard left). William had left in 1909 and in 1911 was enumerated with the 1st Battalion in Belfast.

When he enlisted in 1909 William stood 5 ft. 7¼ ins. [1.70 m.] tall, weighed 9 st. 4 lbs. [58.9 kgs.], had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He gave his occupation as “Turner“.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in March 1915, William’s total effects were returned to his father, William Snr. The total amounted to £12 18s 5d (£12.92 – equivalent to about £1100 today – 2020). In June 1919 he also received a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today).

Dr. Hammond’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When William attested into the Cheshire Regiment in Stockport, Cheshire, on 14th July 1909 he was already serving in the 3rd Battalion, The Border Regiment. He stated his age as 19 years 5 months, and he was on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

On 22nd October 1909 he was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland. William was appointed a “Drummer” on 6th August 1914.

The photo left shows the 1st Battalion ‘Drummers‘ on a visit to Chester from Londonderry during the visit of King George V in March 1914. Drummer Hammond is 3rd from right. On his right (4th from right) is Dr. 9696 Edward Hogan, killed in action 24th August 1914.

Source:The 1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment at Mons‘ – Frank Simpson

[N.B. Buglers‘ in the Cheshire Regiment were designated ‘Drummers‘.]

William sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, entering France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore. He was one of only 199 Officers and men to answer roll call at the end of that day.

For this action William was Mentioned in Field Marshall French’s Despatch of 15th January 1915. His Service Papers state that he was “Brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for Gallant and Distinguished Service in the Field.” He was Gazetted again 15th February 1915, confirming the earlier entry.

William’s Service Papers were endorsed: “Brought to Notice of Secretary of State for War for Gallant and Distinguished Service in the Field. vide London Gazette, 2nd Supplement“.

William also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 19th October 1914, the second day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

William was killed in action 6 days later, on the 17th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches, started with exceptionally heavy shell fire followed by an infantry attack which however was easily repulsed.” No casualties were mentioned in the Diary, but CWGC Records show 8 other men of the 1st Battalion died alongside William.

In total William served a total of 5 years 127 days with the Colours, the last 94 days with the 1st Battalion in France.

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Corporal 8778 (John) Harold HOOD – ‘A’ Company   

Memorial: Panel 22    Killed in Action: 13 November 1914      Age: 24

Personal: According to his Service Papers Harold was born on 16th March 1890 (i.e. 17 years 9 months in December 1907) probably at 8 Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport, Cheshire – the home of his grandmother, Grace Cope, with whom the family were living. (1891 Census RG 12/2794)

He was the son of John (Strap Maker) and Ann Eliza (née Cope) and had an older sister, Miriam Grace (who died age 10 in 1897), and three younger siblings, James Goldie [see Footnote below], William Ernest and Annie Doris. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3287) the family had moved to 66 Oxford Street, Stockport. After his mother died in the March quarter 1905, Harold’s father remarried, Grace Emma Hodkinson (September quarter 1905), and the following year he had a half-sister, Alice Grace.

When he enlisted in 1907 Harold stood 5 ft. 3 ins. [1.60 m.] tall, weighed 7 st. 10 lbs. [49.0 kgs.], had a ‘sallow‘ complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He gave his occupation as “Turner“. In 1911 (Census RG 14/21409) Harold’s family were living at 22 Christ Church Terrace, Heaton Norris, Stockport, but he enumerated with the 1st Battalion in Belfast.

On 25th January 1913 Harold married Sarah (Sally) Creighton at St Anne’s Church, Belfast. They had no children.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in January 1915, Harold’s total effects were returned to his widow, Sarah. The total amounted to £8 1s 3d (£8.06 – equivalent to about £650 today – 2020). In September 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £6 (worth about £275 today).

With effect from 10th March 1916 Sarah also received a Pension of 10/- per week (i.e. 50p – about £35 today). On 24th December 1916 she remarried Arnold James Lewis, 1544, Royal Naval Reserve, at St Anne’s Church, Belfast. She received the Remarriage Gratuity of £51 15s 9d (£51.78 – equivalent to about £3500 in 2020). In 1917 Sarah was living at 20 Spencer Street, Belfast.

[N.B. War widows in receipt of a pension would receive a gratuity of one year’s pension if they remarried – the remarriage gratuity. At the same time their widow’s pension ceased.]

Pt Hood’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When Harold attested into the Cheshire Regiment in Chester, Cheshire, on 17th December 1907 he was already serving in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment.

He stated his age as 17 years 9 months, and he was on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

He was posted to the 1st Battalion (as a ‘Boy‘) on 4th February 1908. On 31st January 1910 Harold passed the “Mounted Infantry” course.

Harold was promoted to Lance Corporal on 21st April 1911 (paid from 9th June 1911). However, he lost his “stripe” for ‘misconduct‘ on 15th April 1912. He sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘A’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the left flank under Captain A.J.L. Dyer. He was one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night.

Harold also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.  On 5th September 1914 he was “Appt. acting Lance Corporal in the Field”, followed the same day by “Promoted acting Corporal in the Field”

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

Harold was killed in action 2 days later, the 13th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches. Heavy shell fire on our trenches and also on supports in dugouts. Small infantry attack easily repulsed.” No casualties were recorded but Harold was one of 4 members of the Battalion killed that day, probably killed in the shell fire. In total he served 6 years 333 days with the Colours, the last 90 days with the 1st Battalion in France.

Strangely, Harold’s Service Record states he was admitted to “Adv. 3rd Field Ambulance, Ypres” on 13th November 1914, suffering from “synovitis” – this is the day he was killed. (Maybe the Field Ambulance was hit!) Sadly his Service Papers initially recorded that Harold had “Deserted Act. Cpl. – 13-11-14“. On 13th September 1916 it was later amended to read “Died on or since 13/11/14“.

Harold’s younger brother, Gnr. 157580 James Goldie Hood, enlisted 20th August 1916 and served with the Royal Field Artillery.

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Corporal 8753 Herbert William HOWELLS – ‘C’ Company   

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 13 November 1914      Age: 23

Personal: According to the SDGW database Herbert was born at Angle, Pembrokeshire. Birth records show this was in the September quarter 1890, probably July. Herbert was enumerated, aged 9 months, on the 1891 Census (RG 12/664) under the name “Bert” with his father, William (Leading Stoker, Royal Navy) and mother, Beatrice (née Bamkin), lodging with the Wanstall family (Beer Retailers) at 6 Luton Road, Chatham Kent, no doubt related to William’s employment. 

Beatrice died in 1895 and in the December quarter 1901 Bert’s father, William, re-married Flora Alfrida Edwards in Haverfordwest, Wales. They subsequently had 5 children.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/984) shows that Herbert was living at 7 Shakespeare Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, with his uncle and aunt, John (Mechanical Fitter) and Alice Mary (née Stripe) Bamkin. [see Footnote below]

When Herbert enlisted in 1907 he stood 5 ft. 3½ ins. [1.61 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 3 lbs. [52.2 kgs.], his stated occupation was ‘Joiner‘ and was recorded as having a ‘very good‘ physical development. In 1911 he was enumerated with his Battalion at Ebrington Barracks, Londonderry.

His Service Papers simply say that both parents were “Deceased” and Herbert named as his next-of-kin his grandmother, “Mrs Bamkin“, of 67 Belle View Terrace, Haverfordwest, Wales.

On 12th December 1913 Herbert married Mary Eliza Nugent whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, in Belfast, Ireland. They had one child, Herbert William Jnr., born 9th September 1914, meaning, of course, Herbert would never have seen his son as he was killed in action 2 months later.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in March 1916, Herbert’s total effects amounted to £11 4s 2d (£11.21 – equivalent to about £765 today – 2020). This sum was divided ⅓ to his widow, Mary, and ⅔, held in trust for his infant son. In September 1919 the same apportionment was put in place for a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today).

With effect from 2nd August 1915 Mary received a Pension of 15/- per week for herself and her son (i.e £0.75 = about £60 per week today). At that time they were living at 18 Ohio Street, Belfast. In the September quarter 1920 Mary re-married David Beattie, in Belfast.

Cpl. Howell’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When Herbert attested into the Cheshire Regiment, on 28th November 1907, at Portsmouth, Hampshire, he gave his age as 18 years 2 months though probably a year younger. He was on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

He was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland and his Service Papers (in preparation for his posting to the Reserve in November 1914) recorded Herbert had been “An Officer’s Servant for one year” and also a “Postman in Belfast“.

He sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘A’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the left flank under Captain A.J.L. Dyer. He was one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night.

Herbert also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

Herbert was killed in action 2 days later, the 13th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches. Heavy shell fire on our trenches and also on supports in dugouts. Small infantry attack easily repulsed.” No casualties were recorded but Herbert was one of 4 members of the Battalion killed that day, probably in the shell fire. In total he had served 6 year 341 days with the Colours.

Herbert’s uncle, John Bamkin, died from a fractured skull on 7th December 1916 at His Majesty’s Dockyard, Portsmouth, when “an air vessel fell on him“.

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Private 9799 William JONES – ‘C’ Company            Formerly: Private 4307 Royal Welch Fusiliers

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 14 November 1914      Age: 22

Personal: According to the SDGW database William was born in St Werburgh’s Parish, Chester, and the CWGC site gives his age as 22, meaning he would have been born (probably) in 1892. He was the son of William Jones, after the War of 21 Hunter Street, Bryom Street, Liverpool. With such common names, however, it has not been possible to trace William, neither father nor son, beyond this basic information.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in November 1919, William’s total effects were returned to his father, William, Snr. The total amounted to £15 19s 6d (£15.98 – equivalent to about £750 today – 2020). This included a War Gratuity of £5.

Pt. Jones’ name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When William attested into the Cheshire Regiment at Birkenhead, Cheshire, he had previously served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

His Service Papers are not available, but a comparison of his Service Number (9799) would suggest an enlistment date around late 1913/early 1914. He was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland, on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

William sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘C’ Company, William saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right of the line under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore.  He was one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night.

William also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

William was killed in action 3 days later, the 14th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches. To conform with the Division on our right, an order was given to retire from the advance line of trenches & take up another line about 150 yds. [137 m.] in rear, this was commenced at midday and completed by 4 p.m. when the final line was held. The enemy were pressing on all the time & consequently our casualties were rather heavy.

2/Lieut H R Stables, 5/Royal Fusiliers, killed. 2/Lieut E G Carr wounded & 30 N.C.O.s and men killed, wounded & missing. Two German patrols of 15 & 7 men were shot down just outside our trenches.” (N.B. Lt. Harold Rolleston Stables was attached to the 1st Battalion from 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He was 28 years old, the son of Henry and Mary Stables.)

In addition to Lt. Stables, ten other men were killed in action on the same day as William, and like him have no known grave. They are also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

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Private 8806 John LEARY – ‘A’ Company  

Memorial: Panel 22    Killed in Action: 17 November 1914      Age: 24

Personal: John was born (probably) at 19 Willow Street, Bermondsey, London, in November 1890 (i.e. 5 months old when 1891 Census – RG 12/372 – was taken on 3rd April 1891). He was the son of William (Railway Carman) and Emily (née Mancell) Leary and had an older brother, William. 

By 1901 (Census RG 13/380) the family had moved to 39 Reckway Street, Bermondsey, and by 1911 John had joined the Cheshire Regiment and was enumerated with the 1st Battalion at Victoria Barracks, Belfast.

When he enlisted in December 1907 John gave his age as 18 years 2 months (‘exaggerated‘ by one year). He stood 5 ft. 6 ins. [1.67 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 11 lbs [55.8 kgs.]. had a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

On 28th July 1912 John married Catherine (Cassie) Bowman of 26 Hopewell Street, Belfast, at St. Anne’s Church, Shankill, Belfast. They had one child, Sarah, born in Belfast on 12th June 1913.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in April 1915, Harold’s total effects were returned to his widow, Catherine, for herself and Sarah. The total amounted to £7 14s 0d (£7.70 – equivalent to about £625 today – 2020). In June 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today).

With effect from 15th June 1915 Catherine received a Pension of 15/- per week for herself and her daughter (i.e £0.75 = about £60 per week today).

Cassie was only 34 years old when she died on 11th January 1926 at 13 Duffy Street, Belfast. She is buried in Grave 1:153, Belfast City Cemetery.

Pt. Leary’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When John attested into the Cheshire Regiment at Stratford, Essex, on 31st December 1907, he was already serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.

John’s Service Papers show that he enlisted on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

John was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland and sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card.

He fought under Captain A.J.L. Dyer on the left flank of the Battalion’s action at Audregnies on 24th August and also survived the actions at La Bassée and Nonne Boschon (First Ypres). John also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 19th October 1914, the second day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

John was killed in action 6 days later, on the 17th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches, started with exceptionally heavy shell fire followed by an infantry attack which however was easily repulsed.” No casualties were mentioned in the Diary, but CWGC Records show 8 other men of the 1st Battalion died alongside John.

In total John served 6 years 322 days with the Colours, the final 94 days with the BEF in France.

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Private 8444 Arthur MABEY – ‘B’ Company  

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 17 November 1914      Age: 23

Personal: Arthur was born (probably) at Elm Lodge, Burleigh Road, Camberwell, London, probably in March 1891 (i.e. 1 month old in April 1891 – Census RG 12/417).

He was the son of Henry (Harry) (Builder’s Labourer) and Harriett Elizabeth (née Sherwin) Mabey. He had 5 older brothers and sisters, Ethel Grace, Albert Edward, Harry, Fanny Georgina and Ernest John.

By 1901 (Census RG 13/437) the family had moved to Glen Lodge, Buccleuch Road, Lambeth, London. By 1911, however, Arthur was serving with the Cheshire Regiment and was enumerated with his Battalion in Ireland.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that Arthur left a Will in favour of his mother and father and in April 1915 his total effects were returned to them. The total amounted to £9 3s 3d (£9.16 – equivalent to about £740 today – 2020). Arthur’s mother died in 1918 so in June 1919 a War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today) was paid to his father only.

Pt. Mabey’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: Arthur attested into the Cheshire Regiment in London. His Service Papers are not available, but a comparison of his Service Number (8444) would suggest an enlistment date around March 1907. (e.g. Pt. 8455 W. Jones enlisted at Liverpool on 4th April 1907.)

Arthur was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland, on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

When War was declared he sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. He fought under Captain A.J.L. Dyer on the left flank of the Battalion’s action at Audregnies on 24th August and also survived the actions at La Bassée and Nonne Boschon (First Ypres).

Arthur also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 19th October 1914, the second day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

Arthur was killed in action 6 days later, on the 17th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches, started with exceptionally heavy shell fire followed by an infantry attack which however was easily repulsed.” No casualties were mentioned in the Diary, but CWGC Records show 8 other men of the 1st Battalion died alongside Arthur.

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Private 9672 Patrick MURRAY – ‘A’ Company  

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 17 November 1914      Age: 21

Personal: Patrick was born on 17th March 1893 at St Mary’s, Liverpool. probably in March 1891 (i.e. 1 month old in April 1891 – Census RG 12/417). He was the son of Patrick (Dock Labourer) and Rose (née Lynch) Murray and had an older brother and sister, James and Mary, and a younger brother, Benedict.

In 1901 (Census RG 13/3425) the family was living at 46 Banastre Court, Liverpool. The 1911 Census (RG 14/24178) shows that 18 year old Patrick and his 15 year old brother, Ben(edict), had moved to live together at 24 Carter Street, Manchester. Patrick was working as a “Coal Mine Pony Driver“, probably at Hyde Lane Colliery.

The ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show that in June 1915 Patrick’s total effects amounted to £6 2s 3d (£6.11 – equivalent to about £495 today – 2020). This sum was divided ¼ to his mother, Rose, and ¼ each to his siblings, Benedict, James and Mary. In October 1919 the War Gratuity of £5 (worth about £225 today) was divided ⅓ to his sister, Mary, and ⅔ to his mother, Rose.

Pt. Murray’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: Patrick attested into the Cheshire Regiment in Chester. His Service Papers are not available, but a comparison of his Service Number (9672) would suggest an enlistment date around September 1913 (e.g. Pt. 9680 H. Davies enlisted at Birkenhead on 20th September 1913).

Patrick was posted to the 1st Battalion in Ireland, on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve).

He sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. Patrick fought under Captain A.J.L. Dyer on the left flank of the Battalion’s action at Audregnies on 24th August and also survived the actions at La Bassée and Nonne Boschon (First Ypres).

Patrick also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 19th October 1914, the second day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. During November the 1st Battalion was involved in what became officially known as the First Battle of Ypres, which by the start of November was in its third stage, The Battle of Nonne Bosschen which began on 11th November 1914.

Patrick was killed in action 6 days later, on the 17th. The War Diary for that day reads: “Battalion in trenches, started with exceptionally heavy shell fire followed by an infantry attack which however was easily repulsed.” No casualties were mentioned in the Diary, but CWGC Records show 8 other men of the 1st Battalion died alongside Arthur.

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L/Corporal 8814 John THOMPSON – ‘C’ Company  

Memorial: Panel 19    Killed in Action: 7 November 1914      Age: 25

Personal: According to his Service Papers John was born at Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, about September 1888 (i.e. 18 year 3 months in January 1907). He was the on of John (General Labourer) and Bridget (née Hessian) Thompson, and had a younger brother, Thomas.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/2800) the family was living at 26 West Street, Cheadle, Cheshire. Ten years later (1901 Census 13/3298) they had moved to 14 Pool Lane, Portwood, Stockport, and John, Snr. was employed as a “Coal Miner“. By 1911 John was enumerated with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at their barracks in Belfast.

When he enlisted in January 1907 John gave his age as 18 years 3 months. He stood 5 ft. 3½ ins. [1.67 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 0 lbs [55.8 kgs.]. had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. At the time he was employed as a “Factory Labourer“.

John’s father died in the March quarter 1909 and his mother, Bridget, died in the March quarter 1912. Following the death of their parents, John’s next of kin became his brother, Thomas, living at 2 Scholes Square, Northgate, Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

John’s ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show a very confusing apportionment of his assets, which amounted to £19 16s 5d, including a £5 War Gratuity (£19.82 – equivalent to about £1350 today – 2020). This sum was divided in a formula that is very difficult to comprehend at this distance in time. £4 18s 10s (£4.94) to his mother, Bridget, even though John’s Service Papers stated she was deceased; a similar amount, £4 19s 1s (£4.95) was paid to his “Sis-in-law, Mrs. Nora Thompson“; £3 7s 0d (£3.35) to his brother, Thomas; but not until July 1933 was the balance of £6 11s 6d (£6.57) paid to his “Half-sister, Bertha“. The genealogy of the two women named has not been determined.

L/Cpl. Thompson’s name on the Menin Gate Memorial

Military Service: When John attested into the Cheshire Regiment in Hyde, Cheshire, on 2nd January 1908 on a 7+5 period of service (i.e. 7 years on ‘Active’ Service followed by 5 years Reserve), he was already serving with the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, having enlisted on 11th September 1907 (Pte. 6198).

On 9th March 1908 John was posted to the 1st Battalion, serving in Belfast, Ireland. Between the 9th January and 10th October 1913 he moved with the Battalion to Londondery.

After being posted back to the 3rd Battalion, in Chester, on 11th October 1913, John was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1st May 1914. Probably in preparation for the War John was posted back to the 1st Battalion in Ireland in 8th August 1914.

John sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, arriving at Le Havre on 16th August 1914, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘C’ Company, John saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right of the line under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore.

He might have been one of the 6 Officers, a Warrant Officer and 199 men to answer roll call in Bivouac at Les Bavay that night – although from his Service Papers it seems it took some time and no doubt some difficulty for him to get back.

John also survived the Battalion’s action at Violaines on 22nd October 1914, the last day of the Battalion’s action to take La Bassée, and the action 6 days later at Neuve Chapelle on 28th October 1914.

Having come out of the line at the end of October, the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, spent the first 4 days of November in reserve 1½ miles South of Dranoutre. Three days later, the day John was killed in action, the War Diary reads: “Battalion in trenches. Very heavy shell fire in the morning, enemy’s infantry attacked at 2.30 p.m.  ‘C’ Company went to reinforce regiment on our left. Enemy repulsed, 25 captured. Captain Pollock-Hodsoll & 2/Lieut. G R L Anderson killed. N.CO.s & men 4 killed, 22 wounded, 8 missing.”

[N.B. Capt. George Bertram POLLOCK-HODSOLL was attached to the 1st Battalion on 4th November 1914, from the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. He and 2/Lt. Gerard Rupert Laurie ANDERSON, were both Killed in Action on the 9th November. Lt. Anderson was one of the contingent of 5 Officers and 248 other ranks who joined the 1st Battalion on 16th October, the day before the action at Festubert.]

However, the CWGC Records show that John was the only member of the Regiment to die on the 7th November. This section of the War Diary appears 2 days out of sequence, as the entry for the 9th November reads: “Battalion in trenches – shelling light. Night attack expected so a good deal of rifle fire at night.” As well as the 2 Officer named above there were 9 other deaths, including Captain William Suttor Rich.

a more detailed account of the actions of 5 – 7 November, transcribed from “The Doings of the 15th Infantry Brigade” – Lord Gleichens

John was reported “Missing from Bn. 24-8-14“, after the Battle at Audregnies, then “Killed in Action 24/8/14“. This part of his Record was crossed through, endorsed: “Error“, before: “Missing from Battalion 7/11/14” and finally: “Died on or since 7/11/14“. In total John served a total 6 years 310 days, the final 84 with the BEF in France.

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Soldiers “Known Unto God”

Opening of the Menin Gate in 1928 (Source: Daily Mail)

In addition to the soldiers named above, during 1914 and early 1915 many reinforcements of Officers and men joined the Battalion to replace those lost (killed, wounded or captured) during the major engagements at Audregnies, La Bassée and The Battle of Nonne Bosschen

Fifty-seven of those replacements were killed in action or died of wounds and are now also commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.

They are named below and by clicking the name link you can view their details of when they died.

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

CLICK on the Soldier's name to learn more
Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial  
Lt. Gerard Rupert Laurie ANDERSONCapt. George Bertram POLLOCK-HODSOLLLt. Harold Rolleston STABLES
L/Cpl. 8568 George ALLMANPt. 9578 Joseph Johnson Talbot ARMSTRONGPt. 10022 Fred BETTLEY
Pt. 9181 James BIRCHPt. 10120 Moses BOONPt. 10238 John BURKHILL
Pt. 10452 William CARRSgt. 9484 Thomas CARTERPt. 10304 Michael COMBOY
Pt. 6117 Joseph CORRIGANPt. 10423 Harry DAVIESPt. 6027 John DOYLE
Pt. 9479 William FALLONPt. 5840 John FOSTERPt. 6953 Ernest FROST
Pt. 10511 James Edwin GASHPt. 6451 John William GAUKROGERPt. 6833 Thomas GILBERT
Pt. 9371 Albert HARDYPt. 10538 Thomas HARTLEYPt. 9862 James Robert HAUGHTON
Pt. 6861 John HAWKINSPt. 6377 James HINESPt. 9119 Richard Edward HOUGHTON
Pt. 8948 William HOUGHTONL/Cpl. 10969 Thomas JONESPt. 10632 John KILGALLEN
Pt. 10260 Walter LALLYPt. 10059 Herbert MANLEYPt. 9881 Edward MARSHALL
L/Cpl. 5772 Joseph McGARRYPt. 9480 William Henry OGDENPt. 8264 Joseph OWEN
Pt. 10267 Alfred PARKERPt. 7233 Thomas PARSONSPt. 10079 William PATTIN
Pt. 10065 Joseph PEACHPte. 10302 William Edward PERKINSPt. 5968 John ROBERTS
Pt. 9213 William Stanley ROBERTSPt. 9889 Alexander ROSSPt. 10399 Leonard Victor SMITH
Pt. 6637 James SPENCERPt. 9995 Herbert TEDCASTLEPt. 10152 William THOMSON
Pt. 6135 Joseph WARBURTONPt. 6458 David WEBBPt. 8820 James WILLIAMS
Pt. 10516 Frederick WOODCOCKPt. 9910 George WRIGHT
Men of the 1st/6th Battalion
Pt. 8251 Cornelius BAMFORDPt. 1436 John CARRUTHERSPt. 2150 Henry ROBERTS
Pt. 1626 Benjamin TURNERPt. 1524 Walter WILLIAMSON

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Their name liveth for evermore

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