Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Elouges Communal Cemetery
This cemetery contains 55 Commonwealth burials (41 from the UK and 14 from Canada) + 3 German.
Many of the UK burials are from the Norfolk Regiment who stood alongside the Cheshires and we may presume, therefore, were killed on the 24th August 1914 and originally buried on the battlefields.
The Cemetery contains 5 named soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment who died defending the village of Elouges and Audregnies during the BEF’s ‘Retreat from Mons‘ on 24th August 1914. The 1914 burials, in rows A and C, are in trench graves, and the actual position of each body in the row is not known. Hence the CWGC headstones are “Special Memorials” and bear the inscription “Buried Near This Spot“.
All five of the men buried here were from ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies of the 1st Battalion which were the companies in action to the right of the line and closer to the village of Elouges, which may account for why they are buried here.
N.B. Pictures above © Werner Van Caneghem
Use the links below to read a little more about each man and see where he is buried.
Grave: Sp. Mem. A.6 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 31
Personal: Edward Edwards is a very common Welsh name, but the SDGW database gives his place of birth as Rhostyllen, (actually “Esclusham Below“) which makes him the ninth child of Ambrose (Railway Platelayer) and Mary (née Evans) Edwards of Church Street, Rhostyllen, Denbigh, Wales (confirmed by Pension Records). He was born in the March quarter 1883.
His older siblings were Thomas, Mary, Eliza, Peter, Jane, Edwin, John and Ambrose. (1891 Wales Census RG 12/4617). In 1901 Edward was still living at home and employed as Coal Miner. (1901 Wales Census RG 13/5221). In the June quarter 1903 their mother, Mary, died in Rhostyllen.
The 1911 Census shows him as a serving 28 year old Lance Corporal with the 2nd Battalion stationed at The Ridge, Jubbulpore, India. (RG 14/34980).
Edward’s total effects amounting to £3 9s 10d (£3.49) were returned to his father, Ambrose, in March 1918. Later, in August 1919, he also received a War Gratuity of £5. [This total of £8.49 is equivalent to about £560 today – 2023.]
When Ambrose received Edward’s Pension the family were living at 38 Ruabon Road, Rhostyllen, Denbigh. A pension of 10s. (50p) per week was awarded from 19th March 1920, rising to 12s. (60p) a year later [equivalent to £30 → £40 today]. Ambrose, died on Christmas Day 1926 in Wrexham, Denbighshire, aged 83.
Military Service: Currently Edward’s Army records are unavailable, and do not appear to have survived the Second World War bombing; all that is known is that Edward enlisted at Chester.
His regimental number suggests he enlisted about 1904, which ought to have meant he was a Reservist in 1914.
Edward’s Medal Card indicates ‘Private‘ under his ‘Lance Corporal‘ rank, so he might well have been recalled from the Reserves – as a Private, rather than his former rank. The Card also shows that at the outbreak of War he entered France on 16th August 1914 with the 1st Battalion.
He was killed in action during the “Rearguard Action at Elouges” and buried in the nearest place.
Edward’s CWGC headstone bears the inscription “Buried Near This Spot” as his actual burial plot could not be accurately determined.
Grave: Sp. Mem. C.31 Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 29
Personal: Henry was born in Feb/March 1885, the fifth child of Joseph (Labourer) and Margaret Hough, probably born in Hill Street, Winsford, Cheshire.
His older siblings were Edwin, John, Enoch and Mary, and he had four younger siblings, Albert, Ellen, Simeon and Joseph. (1891 Census RG 12/2841 & 1901 Census RG 13/3343)
Henry married Lydia Lees at Wharton, Cheshire on 9th July 1909. The 1911 Census (RG 14/21695) shows them living at 20 Hill Street, Winsford, Cheshire.
In view of Henry’s unsure status – p.o.w. or k.i.a. (see below) – Lydia received a separation allowance of £52 up to 1916 (equivalent in value to about £5,800 today – 2023). “The Register of Soldiers’ Effects” states that Henry was “On a since 24/8/1914 Presumed Dead“. Lydia remarried, to Gunner 85232 Leonard Dickensen, RGA, on 16th July 1916 and continued to live at 20 Hill Street.
Henry’s widow (now Mrs Lydia Dickenson) received his total effects, amounting to £21 6s 7d (£21.33 – or about £2400 today) in December 1916. She received a further War Gratuity of £5 three years later (about £330 today). Lydia died in the June quarter 1956, aged 70.
Military Service: Henry enlisted at Chester on 17th February 1904, aged 18 years 11 months. He was 5 ft. 3 ins. (1.63 m.) and weighed 122 lbs. (8 stone 10 pounds). He had a ‘fresh’ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.
His terms of service were 3 + 9 (i.e. 3 years active service + 9 years reserve), and was transferred to the Army Reserve list on 16th February 1907 and took up employment as a labourer.
During his active service he was employed as “Company Cook” for about two months, but his Service Record reports his conduct as “indifferent” with “frequent acts of absence.”
However, close perusal of his Service record makes these comments look a little optimistic! Having been posted to his Battalion on 20th September 1904, he was arrested by the civil authorities on the 27th and fined 2/6d (12½p) plus 5/6d (27½p) or 7 days hard labour for being drunk and disorderly.
On 9th December 1905 he repeated the offence, and on the 12th received the same fine and costs, only this time with 14 days hard labour. This offence was compounded by two charges of assaulting a police officer. For these charges he was sentenced to a total of 28 days in jail. In between times he was absent without leave for 6 days (1 – 6 November 1905). On 25th February 1906 he was charged with being improperly dressed in town. On 28th June 1906 he was absent from the tattoo.
In between his drunk and disorderliness he was treated twice at Lichfield Hospital for gonorrhoea (June and August 1906) and in December 1906 for syphilis.
As a reservist Henry was recalled to the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France on 16th August. He was reported missing on 24th August, list 27278, and that he had been taken prisoner. Initial reports from the Belgian Red Cross were that he was in hospital at Mons and taken away by the Germans and moved to a prisoner of war camp in Germany.
His Service Papers record that on 25th March 1914 Henry was a “Prisoner of War – Place Not Stated“. Correspondence from the War Office (12th July 1916) stated that there was evidence to show he was in a p.o.w. camp, but soldiers with him had indicated he was unlikely to recover. Also his wife had not heard from him since August 1914. Despite the ongoing opinion that Henry was a p.o.w. Lydia re-married on 16th July 1916!
As a result it was concluded that he must have died in a German hospital and that “for official purposes” his death was accepted as having occurred on or since 24th August 1914 and that his Army records be amended accordingly.
Had this been the case it might be expected that he would have been buried in Germany. The very fact that he lies within a few hundred metres of the battlefield would seem to suggest this is where he fell on 24th August 1914. No doubt the villagers of Elouges had buried Henry in their local cemetery, along with those of his comrades who lie with him.
Henry was killed in action during the “Rearguard Action at Elouges” and buried in the nearest place. Edward’s CWGC headstone bears the inscription “Buried Near This Spot” as his actual burial plot could not be accurately determined. In total Henry had served 10 years 179 days with the colours.
Grave: Sp. Mem. A.7. Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 32
Personal: The SDGW database shows that Thomas was born in the June quarter 1882 in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, in which case he is most likely the fourth child of Richard (Labourer) and Jane Mason. His older siblings were Richard, Ellen and James, and his younger ones William, Mark and Elizabeth. (1891 Census RG 12/3060 – living at Foggs Lane, Ince in Makerfield, Lancashire)
The 1911 Census (RG 14/23043), however, reveals that in total Richard and Jane had 13 children, but only 5 survived into adulthood. At that time they were living at 27 Cecil Street, Lower Ince, Wigan, with their grown-up children, Richard, William and Mark.
Thomas has also been listed on the reconstructed “Millbrook Roll of Honour“. In the Great War Millbrook (left) was an isolated village, with neighbours Carrbrook and Heyheads, about 2 miles from Stalybridge, Cheshire. The list is headed: “There is no memorial for the majority of soldiers from World Wars I and II who left the villages, but did not return alive.”
In 1911, there were 1,400 males in these areas, and, of those, at least 108 soldiers were killed or died as a result of the War. The inference is that, as he wasn’t born there, he may have lived there after his military service and before being recalled as a Reservist in August 1914.
Thomas’ total effects were assessed in April 1916 as £11 14s 10d (£11.74, or about £1300 today – 2023), One-third was paid to his widow, Bridget, and the other two-thirds paid into the “O.S. Bank” for Thomas’ son, James Thomas. A similar apportionment was made for the £5 (£330 today) War Gratuity, paid in August 1919.
Their personal arrangements were complicated. Bridget was formerly Bridget Connor and, from Thomas’ Pension Record, had three children by her previous marriage – John (born 10th September 1903), Nora (24 January 1906) and Daniel Cornelius (8 November 1908). James Thomas (born 26th December 1912) is listed as Bridget’s ‘stepson‘, i.e. from Thomas’ former marriage.
Her Pension was assessed as £1 5s (£1.25 – about £140 today) from 8th May 1916. At that time she was living at 6 Glovers Lane, Limerick, Ireland.
If the “James Thomas Mason” is the child registered in Chester in the 1st quarter 1913, then his mother’s maiden name was “O’Connell“, but no record can be found of Thomas’ marriage to her or to “Bridget Connor“, presumably in Ireland whilst the 1st Battalion was stationed there prior to embarkation in August 1914.
Military Service: Currently his Army records are unavailable, all that is known is that Thomas enlisted at Chester.
He appears on Boer War records in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion which was embodied for active duty in South Africa, with 450 men reported as returning home after the end of the war in September 1902.
Thomas was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (D.C.M.) but this was not for action during the Audregnies action.
He was mentioned in Earl Roberts Despatch of September 4th 1901 during the Boer War, and listed in The London Gazette, September 10th 1901. p. 5956. His DCM was confirmed in the Gazette of 27th September 1901.
Thomas’ Medal Index Card shows that at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914.
Thomas was killed in action during the “Rearguard Action at Elouges” and buried in the nearest place. Edward’s CWGC headstone bears the inscription “Buried Near This Spot” as his actual burial plot could not be accurately determined.
Grave: Sp. Mem. A.8. Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 23
Personal: Francis Quinn was born in St Alban’s, Warrington, Lancashire, in the 4th quarter 1891, the third child of John (Forge Labourer) and Mary Quinn. He had two older siblings, John and Catherine, and a younger sister Margaret.
In 1901 the family were living at 25 Ingram Street, Wigan. (1901 Census, RG 13/3557) In 1920 Frank’s parents were living at 1 Summers Yard, Robinson Street, Stalybridge, Cheshire.
His mother, Mary, applied for a Pension on 10th January 1916, but the record card is endorsed “Gratuity“. This amounted to 3 shillings (£0.15) per week, rising to 3s 6d (£0.175) from 4th April 1917. [These amounts equate in value to £17 ‘rising‘ to £15! The drop in real terms was caused by inflation.]
Military Service: Currently his Army records are unavailable and were no doubt destroyed by WW2 bombing.
All that is known is that Frank enlisted at Stalybridge, Cheshire and from his Service number this would have been in about 1911/12, into the 1st Battalion.
His Medal Index Card shows that as a serving soldier at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914.
Frank was killed in action during the “Rearguard Action at Elouges” and buried in the nearest place. Edward’s CWGC headstone bears the inscription “Buried Near This Spot” as his actual burial plot could not be accurately determined.
Grave: Sp. Mem. A.4. Killed in Action: 24 August 1914 Age: 22
Personal: Thomas was born in the March quarter 1892 at New Ferry, Cheshire, the son of John (Labourer) and Theresa (née Keegan ?) Tighe, of Birkenhead. The 1891 Census (RG 12/2874) – just before Thomas was born – shows the family living at 4 Back Olinda Street, New Ferry, and he had at that time five older siblings, Edward, Mary, John, Richard and Kate. It seems he had another older brother, called “Thomas”, who died in 1891, aged about 15 months.
In 1901 he was an 8 year old boarder at Bishop Browns Memorial Schools, Stockport, Cheshire. (1901 Census RG 13/3296) This was an ‘Industrial School‘ – Industrial Schools were intended to help those children who were destitute but who had not as yet committed any serious crime. The idea was to remove the child from bad influences, give them an education and teach them a trade.
It is not known why he chose to serve under the name of Tye, rather than Tighe. However, given the assumed background of his childhood it is not surprising he sort some relief in joining the Army.
Nevertheless, in December 1915, his father, John, received £2 6s (£2.30), being his total effects. He and wife, Therese, were then living at 28 White Street, Bikenhead, Cheshire. Three years later he also received £5 War Gratuity. (£7.30 is equivalent in value to about £530 today – 2023)
With effect from 4th November 1917 Thomas’ Pension Record shows his mother was awarded a pension of 5s. [£0.25] per week. (About £22 per week today). The Record also names an “unmarried wife“, namely Sophia Robinson, 28 Sussex Street, Birkenhead, who had also lodged a claim for his pension. Another document refers to Sophia (Mrs.) as “Guardian“.
Military Service: Currently Thomas’ Army records are unavailable and were no doubt destroyed by WW2 bombing. All that is known is that Thomas enlisted at Chester.
His Service Number would suggest he enlisted in February/ March 1914 and so was serving with the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of the War.
Thomas’ Medal Index Card shows that at the outbreak of War and entered France 16 August 1914. He was killed in action on 24 August during the Battalion’s action at Audregnies , where he fought on the right of the line under Captain Ernest Rae-Jones. (Map below)
Frank was killed in action during the “Rearguard Action at Elouges” and buried in the nearest place. Thomas’ CWGC headstone bears the inscription “Buried Near This Spot” as his actual burial plot could not be accurately determined.