Cecil Rogers died 12th October 1914

Lance Corporal 7447   Dorsetshire Regiment

cecil-rogers-picCecil Rogers was born around 1889 to John and Elizabeth Rogers. In the census of 1901 they were living in Leicester with John Rogers recorded as a bailiff. The family clearly travelled no doubt due to John Rogers occupation with the parents born in Staffordshire but the children born in Worcestershire and Leicestershire. (Find out re the 1891 census)

In 1904 Cecil enlisted in the Dorset Regiment. At the time he would 15 or 16 years old and gave his occupation as a painter and decorator. In 1911 he was based in Ceylon which is modern day Sri Lanka. He would have been coming to the end of his time in the army.

At some point he left the army and according to John Crosby’s book A Path of Duty he left the army in late 1912 or even 1913 and moved to Foxt. His place of enlistment was Southampton . Research has unearthed a letter written by Cecil in 1912 whilst stationed at Poona in India where he refers to coming home the next year. He mentioned a friend George W who was with him and sent his best wishes.

His family appeared to stay in Leicestershire, with his then widowed mother living in Leicester itself in 1911. His father had passed away the previous year in Leicester, this was as a result of head injuries after he had shot himself whilst of unsound mine.  His mother died in Leicester in 1944.

Upon moving to Foxt / Froghall he gained employment as the local Postman for Froghall and his home was known as the Cupola between Froghall and Foxt.

In 1914 he married Annie Leese who came from Burslem. Their marriage was in Burslem and their home address at the time was given as Lower Hadderidge in Burslem, the home of his wife’s parents. Upon their marriage, it would appear they moved back to the area and lived at the Cupolo. After the war Annie remarried and moved to Buxton. (The picture above is believed to be from his wedding photo)

cecil-rogers-2-editUpon the start of the First World War, as a reservist, Cecil Rogers was called back  up into the Dorsetshire Regiment. On 16th August 1914 the regiment entered into France.

The regiment were almost immediately involved in action taking part in the Battle of Mons and then the retreat from Le Cateau towards the end of August.  In the early part of September, they were at the Battle of the Marne and then the Battle of the Aisne later in the month. Both these latter two battles were also fought by Arthur Carr a survivor from Kingsley who was with the Seaforth Highlanders.

On the date of his death, the Dorset’s were involved in the Battle of La Bassee. The war diary of the Dorset Regiment is quite detailed and especially so for its entry on the day Cecil died.

The battalion marched with the 15th brigade towards Festhubert, but were halted due to shellfire. They then moved south to a canal and along the towpath to Pont Fixe.  Two companies occupied positions and a machine gun was placed on the first floor of an unfurnished factory.

Whilst there was no immediate German advance, the machine gun did open fire on some Germans in a nearby field. Further movement was detected by the same machine gun team and the German attack fell back.

By now it was 4pm and there was a general advance of the battalion with the French on their right and the 1st Bedford Regiment on their left. Two companies of the battalion were on either side of the canal and two further were in reserve. The machine gun in the factory was moved to support the attack.

‘A’ company were covered by a high bank and therefore the Germans did not detect them. In the following action they inflicted severe losses upon the Germans.

D company headed from the factory towards a small farm but came under heavy cross fire from German snipers on the high canal bank and Major Roper was killed.

However, the attack was described to have made excellent progress and a line had been established.

B and C companies moved forward and entrenched themselves on a rise upon the line that had been established. A and C companies which had done all the fighting that day then withdrew to Pont Fixe where along with Battalion Headquarters they billeted for the night.

As a result of the day’s fighting 11 men were killed, 50 wounded and 2 were missing.

As we know, one of the killed was Cecil Rogers, we do not know which company he was in and therefore unable to specify which part of the attack he was involved in. Research, however, has unearthed a letter written by a friend of Cecil’s called George who refers to Cecil as ‘Simmy’ and states the he was told by stretcher bearers that Cecil had been shot in the stomach and had died 30 minutes after. George himself was a prisoner of war upon writing the letter and asks that his parents break the news to Cecil’s mother suggesting they lived nearby.

George may have been the George W referred to in a letter written  from India(in 1912 by Cecil) and sent to Cecils mother that has been unearthed. In the 1911 Census next on the list to Cecil was a George Wilson born in Leicester. Checking Prisoner of War records and Sgt 7448 G Wilson was taken prisoner the day after Cecil’s death which matches the letter.His service number is the next one after Cecils and its likely they were good friends. He survived his time in captivity and upon release served with the Military Police.

Cecil Rogers has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial. The likelihood is that like thousands killed around that time he would have been buried in a communal grave by the his comrades or  Germans.

By the time the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had developed the memorial his wife was described as Annie Vaisey (formerly Rogers) of 50 Bennett Street Derbyshire, suggesting that she had remarried. They had no children.

His death was reported in the Cheadle Herald where it described him as residing at the Cupola near Froghall. It described him as the Postman at Froghall and was exceedingly well known in that locality. A similar report is to be found in the Weekly Sentinel. A further report was made in a local paper in Leicestershire and his picture was included in that publication albeit his name was spelt Rodgers.

He is also remembered on the Whiston War Memorial but despite living extremely close to the Parish of Kingsley and working in Froghall he is not remembered on any memorials in the Parish of St Werburgh’s.

A relative of Cecil Rogers is Tony Rogers, Cecil is his great, great Uncle. Tony lives in Kent.


Joseph Tideswell Died 2nd January 1924

JosephTideswell - Grave

Joseph Tideswell’s Gave Stone St Werburgh’s Kingsley

Royal Navy – Petty Officer Stoker K17369

We have previously published an article about who was J Tideswell (link HERE) and it has been a somewhat difficult process of concluding who he was. Its somewhat fitting that he is the last of our 28 men that we feature on this site.

At one point it was any one of four men who might have been J Tideswell – we haven’t got ready access to local papers for the period but in fairness his death would have been from 1919 onwards so a bit of a needle in a haystack.

What clinched it as to which one was based on a gravestone in the church yard of St Werburgh’s, a search of Navy records that showed us a man who served and came from Kingsley plus his death certificate that gave his service number which linked in with the service record.

Joseph Tideswell was born on 16th March 1891 the son of Thomas (an Ironstone Miner / Engine Driver) and Sarah Tideswell being the seventh of their eight children.  The family comprised of:  (Rosa b. 1875, John b. 1876, Isaac b. 1879, Annie b. 1881, Mary b. 1884, Henry b. 1886, Joseph b. 1891 and Lottie b 1901).  In 1891 the family were living at Park Nook, Foxt, (1881 & 1891 Census).  By 1901 the family had moved to Hazles Cross, Kingsley. (1901 Census).   

Joseph enlisted in the Royal Navy on 31st August 1909, aged 18 yrs, for an initial period of 3 years.  He was allocated Service No. K17369 and assigned duties as a trainee Stoker.  During his initial medical examination Joseph was described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, with blue eyes and fair hair.  In 1912 he extended his naval service by signing on for a further 9 years.  

Joseph Tideswell served on a variety of ships during his naval service attaining the rank of SPO (Stoker Petty Officer). The following is a summary of ships or establishments in which he served during his naval career:

Dec 1912 – May 1913 HMS Cornwall Cruiser

May 1913 – Oct 1913 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

Oct 1913 – Feb 1914 HMS Indus Davenport – Training

Feb 1914 – Apr 1914 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

Apr 1914 – Aug 1916 HMS Nottingham Light Cruiser

Aug 1916 – Oct 1916 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

Oct 1916 – Feb 1919 HMS Glorious Battlecruiser

Feb 1919 – Jun 1919 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

Jun 1919 – Oct 1919 (Illegible)

Nov 1919 – Jan 1920 HMS Columbine Dublin – Training

Feb 1920 – May 1921 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

May 1921 – Jun 1921 HMS Colossus Dreadnought Battleship

Jun 1921 – Jul 1921 HMS Glorious Battlecruiser

Jul 1921 – Apr 1922 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

Apr 1922 – Jul 1922 HMS Capetown Light Cruiser

Jul 1922 – Sep 1922 HMS Malabar Bermuda – Shore Base

Sep 1922 – Dec 1922 HMS Vivid 2 Davenport – Training

As will be seen Joseph spent most of the war serving on HMS Glorious a Battle Cruiser patrolling the North Sea.  (Wikipedia).  He was subsequently awarded the Victory Medal, Star and British War Medal.  (Royal Navy records).  

Joseph Tideswell was retired from the Royal Navy on 6th December 1922, after 13 years service. His Naval record is finalised as, ‘Invalided – Tuberculosis.’   

Joseph died on 2nd January 1924, aged 31yrs, some 13 months after his discharge from the Royal Navy.  The Death Certificate confirms his cause of death as ‘Pulmonary Tuberculosis’.  At the time of his death Joseph was living with his brother Harry (Henry) at No. 1 New Hall Street, Kingsley.  The death certificate confirms he was ex Petty Officer Stoker K 17369 formerly of HMS Collingwood (shore establishment in Hampshire)

Joseph Tideswell is buried in Kingsley Churchyard.  The inscription on his grave reads, “In the prime of years I was cut down.  No longer could I stay; because it was my saviours will to call me hence away.”   His grave is not recorded by CWGC as a ‘War Grave’ as his death was outside of the dates set for inclusion which were 4th August 1914 to 31st August 1921 .  

Footnote 1:  HMS Glorious was the second of the Courageous-Class Battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, they were very lightly armoured and armed with only a few heavy guns. Glorious was completed in late 1916 and spent the war patrolling the North Sea. She participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and was present when the German High Seas Fleet surrendered a year later.  (Wikipedia)


HMS Glorious

HMS Glorious

HMS Colossus

HMS Colossus

Footnote 2:  The Second Battle of Heligoland Bight, also called the Action in the Helgoland Bight was an inconclusive naval engagement fought between British and German squadrons on 17 November 1917 during the First World War.  Following the German Navy’s successful raid on the Scandinavian convoy on 17 October 1917, Admiral Sir David Beatty, Commander-in-Chief of the British Grand Fleet, determined to retaliate.


On 17 November 1917 a strong force of cruisers under Vice Admiral Trevylyan Napier was sent to attack German minesweepers, which were clearing a channel through British minefields in the Heligoland Bight. The intentions of the German force had been revealed by British Naval Intelligence, allowing the British to mount an ambush.  The German sweepers were escorted by a group of cruisers and torpedo-boats under Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter.  

The action began at 7.30 a.m., roughly 65 nautical miles west of Sylt, when HMS Courageous sighted the enemy. She opened fire at 7:37 a.m. Admiral Reuter, the German commander, with four light cruisers and eight destroyers, advanced to engage his more powerful enemy in order to cover the withdrawal of his minesweepers, all of which escaped except for the trawler Kehdingen, which was sunk. The battle thereafter developed into a stern chase as the German forces, skilfully using smoke-screens, withdrew south-east at their best speed, under fire from the pursuing British ships of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, the 1st and 6th Light Cruiser Squadrons, and, later, HMS Repulse (which had been detached from the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron and came up at high speed to join the battle).

Both sides were hampered in their maneuvers by the presence of naval minefields.  The British ships gave up the chase some two hours later, as they reached the edge of known minefields. At about the same time, the light cruisers came under fire of two German battleships, SMS Kaiser and SMS Kaiserin which had come up in support of von Reuter’s ships; HMS Caledon was struck by one 30.5 cm (12.0 in) shell which did minimal damage; shortly thereafter, the British forces withdrew.  All personnel on the bridge of the light cruiser HMS Calypso, including her captain, Herbert Edwards, were killed by a 15 cm (5.9 in) shell. The Battlecruiser HMS Repulse, briefly engaged the German ships at about 10:00, scoring a single hit on the light cruiser SMS Königsberg that ignited a major fire on board.

It was during this battle that Able Seaman John Henry Carless of HMS Caledon won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in manning a gun despite mortal wounds.  (Wikipedia)

Footnote 3:  Elsa Bloxham who lives in Barnfiels Lane, Kingsley, is a relative of Joseph Tideswell.  Elsa’s Grandfather, Isaac Tideswell, was Joseph’s older brother.  Her father Joseph Henry Tideswell was named in memory of his Uncle Joe.

Rowland John Burston Died 12th December 1917

Roland J BurstonPrivate 65135 – Royal Army Medical Corps

Rowland John Burston was born at Ipstones in August 1887, the son of Rowland John and Elizabeth Burston, the second of their seven children.  During his early life the family lived at various locations with sibling children being born at Consall, Kingsley, Holsley (Worcs) and Bockleton (Worcs).  In 1901 the family were living at Swimley Cottage, Bockleton, Nr Bewdley, Worcestershire.  (1901 Census).  Later in 1915 his parents were living at Foxtwood, Foxt, Staffs.  (Army Records).

In April 1912 Rowland, (then aged 24yrs), married Fanny Everall.  The couple initially lived at The Vineyard, Rowley Lane, Bodenham, Herefordshire.  By this stage Rowland was employed as a Gamekeeper and this may have resulted in him travelling extensively.  In June 1912 the couple were living at Mildenhall, Suffolk. (1911 Census).  Later the couple returned to Herefordshire, living at Pea Green, Bodenham.  There were no children from the marriage. (Army Records).

On 29th July 1915 Rowland Burston (aged 28yrs) enlisted joining the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), Service No. 65135,  at which stage he was 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed a little under 9 stone.  Following his initial examination the Medical Officer described him as ‘Bow Legged, Flat Footed, with the tip of his right index finger missing.  Fit for action’.  (Army Medical Records).

In September 1915 following initial training Rowland was posted to Northern France.  In November 1915 he was redeployed to Salonika, (now called Thessalonika), Northern Greece, and allocated to the 68th Field Ambulance, dealing with casualties in that area of conflict.

In December 1917 Rowland Burston contracted Pneumonia.  On 9th December he was admitted to the 31st Casualty Clearing Station at Sarigol, Greece.  He failed to respond to treatment and sadly died on 12th December.  Capt E Davies (RAMC) Medical Officer commented, “His illness was contracted subsequently to enlistment and entirely due, in my opinion, to exposure whilst on active service.”
(Army Medical Records).

The memorial to Rowland Burston is at the Sarigol Military Cemetery, Kriston, Northern Greece.

As well as Kingsley Rowland Burston is also commemorated on a memorial in Eriswell Suffolk which is some 10 miles from Mildenhall. Whilst living there before the war he gave his address as in Hertfordshire on enlistment which was in Newmarket Suffolk.


Footnote 1:  In 1914 the Ottoman empire joined the Austro – German alliance against the Allied powers in return for a promise that Macedonia would be returned to Turkish rule. Early Turkish offensives were unsuccessful; an attack against Russia was repelled and ended with Russia seizing Armenia.  Turkish efforts against other western allies fared better.  The landing by British empire forces at Gallipoli in April 1915 was repelled after 9 months while a combined Anglo French force stationed at Salonica in October 1915 was bottled up there until 1918.  (The Times – History of the World).  

Footnote 2:  Rowland John Burston was the uncle of Christine Fowler, (nee Burston), now living in Church Street, Kingsley.


Kenneth Roy Lovatt Died 5th December 1918

Lovatt grave (2)

Kenneth Lovatt’s Grave in a Berlin CWWG Cemetary

Fusilier 65586. Northumberland Fusiliers (14th Battalion)

Kenneth Roy Lovatt was born in the period April – June 1899 the son of Fredrick (a Copper Wire Drawer) and Hannah Lovatt, the older of their two children.  In 1901 the family were living at 106 Harewood Road, Cheadle, Staffs.  (1901 Census).  By 1911 the family had moved to 52 Ashbourne Road, Cheadle, Staffs.  (1911 Census).

Prior to enlistment Kenneth Lovatt was employed as a Coal Miner at Parkhall Colliery, Cheadle / Dilhorne. (Andrew Bull)

Kenneth Lovatt enlisted as a teenager during WW1, (date as yet unknown), and was originally posted to the West Riding Regiment, Service No. 39449.  Later he was transferred to the Northumberland Fusiliers, 14th Battalion, Service No. 65586.  Kenneth Lovatt saw active service in France and Flanders. (Ancestry records).

A personal diary kept by Kenneth Lovatt indicates that in May 1918 his regiment were deployed in the area of Cormicy, (north of Reims), in trench defences on the Western Front.  Given this location it is likely the regiment were involved in the ‘Aisne Offensive’, which began in the early hours of 27th May 1918 when the German forces launched the third phase of their ‘Spring Offensive’, a determined attempt to break through the allied defensive lines in the area around Reims.  The diary indicates that Kenneth Lovatt was captured by German forces on 27th May 1918 and became a ‘Prisoner of war’.  

The 14th Batallion Northumberland Fusiliers were a Pioneer battalion in that the soldiers were trained to fight but also to carry out construction work often transferring skills from civilian life. In Kenneth Lovatt’s case his mining background would have been useful.

The war diary for the period has been sourced and on the day of his capture does not make any reference to anything untoward saying ‘enemy bombardment opened up at 1am and in accordance with defence instructions HQ moved to a position near to Hermanville. At 8.30pm HQ moved to Champigonieres where Capt’s E H Hills and (illegible) reported with the remainder of the companies’ It continues to say that on the following day they were instructed to take up a position nearby but found it occupied by the Germans so they had to withdrawal.

There is no mention of casualties or direct fighting but its likely that during the move after the bombardment there were some skirmishes that led to the capture of Kenneth Lovatt. The Northumberland Fusiliers saw 220 men die on 27th May 1918 – all bar a few in France in the same area suggesting they were fighting in the same area despite there being many battalions. There is a CWWG cemetery at Hermoville and there is a single casualty buried there who died on 27th May 1918 and was in the 14 th Battalion.

In October 1918, after some months in transit, Kenneth Lovatt was transferred to the Lamsdorf Prisoner of War Camp, (German occupied Poland).  As will be seen, Kenneth Lovatt was cruelly treated whilst a prisoner of war given only minimal starvation rations and poor health care in circumstances which he understandably found hard to bear.

Kenneth Lovatt died on 5th December 1918, aged 19 yrs, at the Lamsdorf Prisoner of War Camp, less than 3 weeks after the German surrender.  He is buried in the Berlin South Western Cemetery.  

A local newspaper report shortly afterwards comments, “We are sorry to give particulars of the death of one of our brave lads, Pte. Kenneth R Lovatt.  The bereaved father and mother have been anxiously waiting for some definite news of their son and they have been convinced that he died at Lamsdorf Camp on the above date. (5th December 1918).  It has been a great blow to them and we feel sure they have the deepest sympathy of everyone in their great sorrow.  We give a few particulars taken from his diary by one of his chums which has reached his mother.”

“He was captured at Cormicy on 27th May 1918.  Issued out with blanket, pants and shirt and went to baths; had a haircut and shave: lived mostly on elderberries, snails, potato peelings, frogs and hedgehogs.  Sept 19th – moved from Bazancourt to an awful place; awful conditions; up to the neck in mud, and sleeping in huts not fit for pig styes; no letters or parcels been heard of: fell down in a faint through weakness.  Sept 27th – Boots are worn out and no chance of getting them mended; dinners no thicker than water and bread ration down to about 250 grams and more work to do; 21 men went to hospital in 3 days, all sick men who could walk had to march 6 kilos in pouring rain to see the doctor who looks at your tongue and marks you MD (medicine and duty).  Fainted 3 times in one day and went to hospital at Givet and was very well treated – 6 slices of bread and 3 soups a day.  Left hospital about 16th October and had 6 days journey to Lamsdorf, in German Poland.  400 grams of bread, 3 soups a day, and received half a parcel one week and 2 kilos of biscuits and next week 1½ kilos and an emergency.”

Footnote 1:  Battle of Aisne: At 01.00hrs 27 May 1918, over 3,700 German guns opened up in the fire pattern devised by Colonel Bruchmuller, saturating the gun emplacements, isolating the HQs as the communication lines were broken, and disorientating the defenders. The effect of gas shells was not to kill, but to cause every possible form of nuisance to the key personnel of the British Army in carrying out their duties. Everything was made more difficult, everything was more uncomfortable, everything was more tiring and stressful.  The barrage went through its phases until the stormtroopers burst out of their trenches at 03.40hrs. No one in either 8th Division or 50th Division Headquarters had any idea of what was happening. Officers like Captain Lyon (1/6 Durhams, 151 Brigade, 50th Division) had to emerge from their dugouts to check for themselves. When he looked at the German lines he could see that the new German tactics were to put the advance troops immediately behind the barrage so that the British defence had no time to recover. He observed files of German troops immediately in front of his own line. They were advancing leisurely meeting with little or no resistance. When he looked up he could see German aircraft sweeping the trench line with machine gun fire. It soon became apparent that the British defence had crumbled.  (Wikipedia).

Footnote 2.  Lamsdorf Prisoner of War Camp was situated in German occupied south west Poland, near the German border.  It had previously been used as a Prison of War Camp in the the Franco Prussian war.  The camp was reactivated during World War I, when the Germans set up one of the largest camps for prisoners of war, housing roughly 90,000 internees, mostly from the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy and Serbia. Due to poor housing conditions roughly 7000 men died in captivity.  (Wikipedia).

Footnote 3:  Doreen Hawkins, a niece of Kenneth Lovatt, still lives in Cheadle.

Footnote 4: Kenneth Lovatt is commemorated on War Memorials at Kingsley, Cheadle  and Parkhall Colliery.


John William Salt Died 18th November 1918

LeciestershirePrivate 48206. Leicestershire Regiment

John William Salt was born in January 1885 in Caverswall, the son of Henry and Emma Salt, the oldest  of their three children.  In 1891 the family were living at 17 Belle Vue, Leek, Staffs.  (1891 Census).  In 1901 John (aged 17yrs), was working at Kill Hill Farm, Bosley, Nr Macclesfield, for Elizabeth Brindley (Farmer) as a ‘Stockman – Cattle Farm’.  (1901 Census).   

In 1911 John (aged 26 yrs) was living with his parents at Greenhead, Kingsley Moor, near Cheadle, and was employed locally as a Blast Furnaceman.  The Census indicates that he was ‘Married’, albeit his wife is not recorded on the census. (1911 Census).  It seems likely that this was a clerical error by the census compiler as later army records, completed with information directly from John William Salt, make no reference to him being married.

It would appear from the available information that John William Salt had three separate stages of army service. Army records indicate that:

  1. John William Salt initially served for a period of 6 years 4 months in the North Staffordshire Regiment.  (Army Records).  (This was presumably in the the period between 1901 and 1911 although it may be a later period whilst serving as a Territorial Soldier)
  2. On 11th September 1914, John Salt, then aged 29 years 8 months, enlisted in the British Army for a 3 year Short Service Term, Service No. 37224, being posted to the Royal Regiment of Artillery (RRA).  In a pre-enlistment medical at Leek, he was described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 9 stone 11 lbs, with a 35 inch chest.  He was ‘Profusely tattooed back and front of both forearms. The middle finger of his left hand was missing.  Records indicate he discharged on 11th November 1914, after 55 days, as ‘Not being likely to become a good and efficient soldier’.  (Army records).
  3. From the limited information available it seems that at some later stage, possibly on 10th December 1915, (indistinct reference to this date in Army Records), John William Salt rejoined the army and was allocated to the Leicestershire Regiment, Service No. 48206. (Army records).

John William Salt was involved in active service in France with the Leicestershire Regiment, 7th Battalion, (CWGC Certificate).  Records indicate he died of Influenza on 18th November 1918, one week after the war had ended.  (Army records).

As an indication of the 1918/19 post war confusion the Army wrote to John Salt’s family asking if they were aware of his whereabouts.  His father replied that he was last seen, ‘Over on home leave in September 1918’ and that he ‘Died in France on the 18th November 1918 …. (illegible)…… Leicester Regiment’.  (Army records).

From the period of when he was last home on leave to the date of his death the regiment were still involved in fighting. According to the War Diary in September 1918 34 men were killed, 231 were wounded and 18 listed as missing. October 1918 saw over 100 casualties with 26 other ranks killed plus a number of officers wounded and killed.

Following the Armistice the Battalion retired to the rear and on the date of John Salt’s death were involved on a route march in full fighting kit. There is of course no mention of John Salt. The month’s end casualties detail 38 men wounded in action and 2 killed. There is no mention of men dying through illness.

Of course 1918 / 19 saw the great flu pandemic that killed up to 1 in 20 of the world’s population and clearly John Salt was one such victim.

The end of 1918 saw the Battalion winding down with the first 150 men returned to England identified as ‘miners’ suggesting their need was now at home in the coalfields.

John William Salt is buried in the Caudry British Cemetery in France. The cemetery is situated south east of Cambrai and Arras.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Salt is recorded as SALIT and he is also known to the Leicestershire Regimental website by that name and also Salt.  However his medal card is recorded as J W Salt. Whether this is a spelling mistake we shall perhaps never know as his Leicestershire war record has not survived. However his earlier service makes no mention of his subsequent service and clearly the Royal Regiment of Artillery had no idea where he was hence the letter they sent asking for information.

He may have joined under a false name or he may have joined under his correct name once the standards for service had lowered. The 1918 Voters Lists show his mother and father still living on Kingsley Moor but there is no mention of John Salt even as a Naval or Military voter.

As always if anyone can shed any light on his service etc please do get in touch.

Footnote 1.  The 7th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, formed part of the 110 Brigade, 37th Division, (The Leicester Tigers), who saw continuous active service on the Western Front in Northern France for the duration of the war, including action at Ancre, Menin Road Ridge, Passchendaele, Havrincourt, Cambrai and Sambre.  (The Long, Long Trail).  

Footnote 2.  In early November 1918 the regiment were involved in heavy fighting near the Sambre River.  At the time of the armistice, the regiment were withdrawn to Brigade HQ at Berlamont, North West France. (Regiment War Diary).

Footnote 3.  It seems a particularly cruel irony that John William Salt survived the duration of the war only to die of Influenza a week after the German surrender.


William Brindley Died 2nd November 1918

Private 55087.  Lancashire Fusiliers, 15th Battalion

William Brindley was born 1896 at Old Furnace (Farm), Greendale, Nr Oakamoor, Staffs.  It is possible, indeed likely, that his mother was Gertrude Blanche Brindley, who was aged 17yrs at the time of his birth; his father is unknown.  William assumed his mother’s family name, Brindley.  William (and Gertrude) lived with his Grandmother, Catherine Brindley.

In 1911 the family were living at Quarry Cottage, Stockton Brook, Stoke on Trent, at which stage Gertrude was employed locally as Domestic Servant but living with her employers. William was listed as his grandmother’s child and was working as a carter in the stone busines.  (1911 Census).  Prior to enlisting William lived with his Grandmother Catherine Brindley at 6 The Green, Kingsley. (CWGC Records).

In the 1918 Voters Register for the area William and his grandmother were shown as registered voters at 6 The Green. Interestingly Williams entry makes no mention of him being in the services which would have been the case had he been.  The voters register would have been compiled it is assumed in the autumn of 1917 indicating that William had yet to join.

Records show that he joined the Lincolnshire Regiment initially before moving to the Lancashire Fusiliers with the service number of 55087.

His enlistment place is given as Froghall which may indicate he was working at the copper works which might  have been a protected occupation?

Full Army records required.

On the day of his death William’s battalion were in the line at Happegarbe (also known as Happegarbes) in north-east France near to the Belgium border. They were according to the war diary holding the line prior to a planned attack. On that day the battalion attacked supported by three tanks and took ground and prisoners with many enemy killed.

However the Germans counter attacked with heavy machine gun fire and many casualties were sustained by the Fusiliers. This carried on until 4th November when the battalion was withdrawn from the line. In a cruel irony this was their last action of the war.

William Brindley died on 2nd November 1918, aged 22yrs, only nine days before the end of the war.  He is commemorated at the Landrecies British Cemetery, Nr Valenciennes, Northern France.

Quite how William met his death is unknown although it is likely to have been due to machine gun fire during the German counter attack. Casualties were high on the day he died with 45 men from his battalion recorded as having died on that day on the Commonwealth War Graves website.

A Sergeant James Clarke of the 15th Battalion was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery on the  2nd of November 1918 and following days. The nature of the action on those days is indicated in his citation for the award.

“For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during the attack at Happegarbe on 2nd November 1918, when in command of a platoon, he led his men forward with great determination, and, on being held up by heavy machine-gun fire, rushed forward through a thick, strongly held ridge, captured in succession four machine guns and single-handed bayoneted the crews.

Later, he led the remnants of his platoon to the capture of three machine guns and many prisoners. In the later stages of the attack on the same day, when his platoon was held up by enemy machine guns, he successfully led a Tank against them over very exposed ground. Continuing the attack on 3rd November, after capturing many prisoners and gaining his objective, he organised his line most skilfully and held up the enemy. On 4th November, in the attack on the Oise-Sambre Canal, under heavy fire from the Canal bank, he rushed forward with a Lewis gun team in the face of an intense barrage, brought the gun into action, effectively silenced the enemy’s fire, thus enabling his company to advance and gain their objectives.

Throughout the whole of these operations Sergeant Clarke acted with magnificent bravery and total disregard of personal safety, and by his gallantry and high sense of duty set an inspiring example to all ranks.”

Footnote 1.  The Lancashire Fusiliers, 15th Battalion, were known as ‘The Salford Pals’.  Following training the battalion was deployed to Boulogne on 22nd November 1915 as part of the 96th Brigade, 32nd Division.  The Battalion saw active service on the Western Front in North West France and were involved in a number of notable campaigns.

Footnote 2.  In November 1918 Allied Forces were making a final push to break through the long established German defences.  During the period 1st – 11th November the 15th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers were involved in the ‘Battle of Sambre’, named after the Sambre River / Canal which formed a natural line of defence and was the scene of heavy fighting, located in the Nord De Pas Calais area of Northern France.  


Thomas Clowes Died 19th October 1916

dbImagePrivate 28199.  Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry, (6th Battalion)

Thomas Clowes was born during the period April – June 1893 (UK Birth Index) the son of Robert and Lavina Clowes, the youngest of their three children.  

In 1901 the family were living at Homefield, Kingsley, at which stage Robert Clowes (Father) was employed as a General Estate Labourer, the children being Annie (16yrs), Ada (10yrs) and Thomas (7yrs).  (1901 Census).

By 1911 the family had moved to The Dams, Kingsley, at which stage Robert Clowes (Father) was employed as a Wood Manager / Timber Feller.  Thomas, aged 17yrs, was recorded as being a ‘State Labourer’ possibly meaning an Estate Labourer.

Thomas Clowes married Ethel Annie Potts in the Cheadle area in the summer of 1914, (she later remarried and lived in Abbots Bromley).

On a date as yet to be clarified Thomas Clowes joined the Army initially joining the Royal Field Artillery at Cheadle with a service number of 140483. At some point  after that he was posted to the Duke  of Cornwalls Light Infantry, 6th Battalion.

His medal record indicates that he did not enter the theatre  of operations until 1916 although the exact date is unclear. This is confirmed by the Battalion war diary which records the nominal role as of  20th December 1915 and there is no T Clowes.

October 1916 had the battalion in the Arras area  of France taking part in the Battle of the Somme. The diary reveals periods of action in the trenches and then rest and refit in the rear. Unusually there is rarely any mention of any officers and there is seldom any mention of the numbers of casualties in the diary.

15th October saw the unit back in the trenches and the diary over the next few days records trench mortar and artillery fire from both sides with little actual fighting and no reference to any casualties although it seems inconceivable that soldiers were not being wounded or worse.

There is also reference to our aeroplanes flying behind enemy lines and barrage balloons being hastily pulled down by the Germans.

For the 19th October the entry is brief and records that the Germans were shelling and mortaring the Cornwall’s front line and communication trenches and also that Arras itself was shelled. It adds that machine gun fire was kept up during the night.

There is no mention of casualties on this date but according to official records Thomas Clowes was killed on this day. The likelihood is that he was killed by enemy shelling. He was one  of two men killed that day – the other being a Fred Cooper from Huddersfield. Over the month of October the 6th Battalion lost 8 men all of whom are buried in Commonwealth War graves. A ninth died in the United Kingdom.

Full army record required.  

Both Thomas Clowes and Fred Cooper are  buried in the Faubourg D’amiens Cemetery, Arras, Northern France.

Footnote 1.  The Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry 6th (Service) Battalion was raised at Bodmin in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. They trained at Aldershot and spent the winter at Witley, returning to Aldershot in February 1915. They proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne on the 22nd May 1915. They fought in the The Action of Hooge, being the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers. They were in action in The Second Attack on Bellewaarde. In 1916 they were on the Somme seeing action in The Battle of Delville Wood and The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.  (Wikipedia)

Footnote 2.  The Battle of the Somme took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in northern France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed. (Wikipedia).
Footnote 3.  The Thiepval Memorial commemorates 72,000 officers and men from Britain and South Africa who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme and have no known grave.  Four men from Kingsley Parish are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial; Charles Allen (died 12th August 1916), Isaac Hammond (died 31st August 1916), George Price Bevans (died 8th September 1916) and Arthur Keene (died 12th October 1916).


Arthur Keene Died 12th October 1916

Arthur Keene - School Photograph (2)Private 37105.  Lancashire Fusiliers (2nd Battalion)

Arthur Keene was born in 1888 in Kingsley, the son of Samuel Keene (a Blacksmith) and Jemima Keene (nee Harris), the fifth of their five children.  Arthur had three older brothers and an older sister.   By 1891 the family were living in Whiston and remained in the village for some years. (1891 and 1901 Census).  

The above photograph is believed to be from circa 1896 and is believed to have been taken outside St Mildred’s Primary School, Whiston.  The subject Arthur Keene is seated front right, older brother Joseph is seated front left with older siblings standing at the rear.

In 1911 Arthur, aged 23 yrs, was described as being employed in Farming.  His brothers Walter Thomas and James were employed as Blacksmiths, brother Joseph was as a Wheelright and Joiner and sister Elizabeth was a Grocer.  (1911 Census).  Probate records indicate the family were living at The Dovecote, Whiston.  (Probate Register).

On a date (as yet) unknown Arthur Keene joined the Army, Service No. 37105, and was posted to the Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, and was involved in active service in Northern France. His entry into the theatre of operations was in 1916 as he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star which awarded to those who saw active service in either 1914 or 1915

The Lancashire Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, were involved in the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front between July – November 1916. It is entirely possible that Arthur Keene saw action on the first day of the Somme offensive on 1st July 1916.

On 12th October 1916 the Battalion were involved in a major offensive near to the road between Lesboeufs and Le Transloy, (Somme region).  An attack involving several battalions was planned to commence at 2.05pm, (Zero Hour).  Shortly beforehand a enemy aircraft flew overhead and will have seen the allied troops assembling in the trenches.  The following are extracts from the Regimental Diary compiled by an unnamed Staff Officer; “12.30pm. 12 Huns came into our line and surrendered.” – “1.30pm. Zero Hour 2.05pm.  The Dukes (abbreviation for unknown Regiment) to attack the length of trench occupied by the Hun….and then at 2.25pm the rest of the Division to attack.” – “2.00pm. Bombardment heavy.  Bayonets fixed.” – “2.03pm. Hun plane flew straight down our line about 300 feet up, must have seen the trenches crowded with men.  None of our planes in sight” – “Fiendish row. Zero hour. Heavy enemy barrage. The Dukes attacking on our right but can’t see much” – “Enemy machine gun barrage pretty unhealthy” – “2.50pm. 50% Company down”. – Later entries; “Only about 12 men left out of 100” – “Attack an absolute failure”.  (War Diary – Lt Hawkins – 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers).

The actual dairy / report can be viewed HERE it makes sombre reading.

RollcallArthur Keene was killed on 12th October 1916, the circumstances of his death other than he was likely involved in the above mentioned attack are unknown.. The adjacent sketch from the time indicates the scale of the loss. Research on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site show that 144 men from the second Battalion died on that day. A full strength battalion in World War one numbered just over 1000 officers and men giving the scale of the loss on this one day. 

The war diary breaks the casualties down somewhat stating that 4 officers and 62 other ranks were killed, 6 officers and 162 other ranks were wounded and 1 officer and 100 other ranks were missing. It makes little reference to the events however.

Arthur Keene is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, Northern France as having no known grave a fate that befell many on that day and throughout the offensive.

Footnote 1.     The Battle of the Somme took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in northern France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed. (Wikipedia).

Footnote 2.  The Thiepval Memorial commemorates the 72,000 British soldiers who lost their life on the Somme and have no known grave.  (CWGC Website).

Footnote 3.  As yet we have been unable to locate the Army Records of Arthur Keene.  His records may not have survived and like many others were probably destroyed in German bombing during the ‘Blitz’ in 1940 during WW2  when the War Ministry was hit and many thousands of military records were destroyed.

Footnote 4.  Family descendants of Arthur Keene still live locally.  His brother Joseph was a successful in business and owned many farms and houses around the village.  His nephew Samuel Keene owned the Filling Station / Garage in Whiston for many years up to circa 1975.  He is the Great Uncle of Malcolm Keene, (who lived at Cottage Farm, Whiston, until recently) and Joyce Worthy (nee Keene) who lives in Leek.


Thomas Salt Died 9th October 1915

hellesPrivate 16717.  North Staffordshire Regiment.  (7th Battalion)

Thomas Salt was born around 1884 in the Cheadle area and was the son of John and Agnes Salt (Nee Willett)

In 1891 the family are living at Sweet Hill Farm, Boundary, near Cheadle, with John Salt senior, and  sisters Mary Ann 9 and Ellen 11. John Salt’s occupation is given as farmer.(1891 Census)

By the 1901 census the family are living at Hatchley, which is believed to be modern day Hatchley Farm, Bate Lane, near Dilhorne. Thomas’s father is still farming, Mary Ann is married and called Walters and Ellen has moved out . Thomas does not have an occupation recorded against his name.

Thomas Salt married Florence May Carr on 10th October 1909 at Fenton. Their home address was given as 30 Alfred Street Fenton. Thomas’s occupation was given as a Butcher, as was his Father. (Marriage Certificate)

In 1911 at the census of that year the family were living at Dilhorne Lane, Forsbrook and had two children, Florence May, aged 2 yrs and Agnes aged 6 months. Thomas’s occupation was recorded as a General Farm Labourer.

The same census indicates his parents were living at Cash Heath between Blythe Bridge and Dilhorne, where his father was recorded as being a Farmer.

It is assumed that some time after the start of the war and perhaps very early on Thomas Salt joined the army and was posted to the 7th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment. He may have been a Territorial soldier before the war.

This battalion was formed in 1914 and based initially in Tidworth on Salisbury plain. By January of the following year the unit was at Basingstoke and then Aldershot before sailing from Avonmouth in June 1915 bound for Gallipoli.

Thomas Salt died on 9th October 1915. He is commemorated at the Helles Memorial in Western Turkey in memory of the 21,000 servicemen lost during the Gallipoli Campaign many who have no known grave. On the date of his death Thomas Salt was the only man from the North Staffords to lose his life.

The war diary of the battalion has been obtained and shows that at the time of Thomas Salts death they were on the front line in Gallipoli occupying fire trenches known as B65, B66 and B67. They relieved battalions of  the Gloucestershire Regiment and the Warwickshire Regiment on 3rd October 1915.

The following night saw a covering party escorting a digging party to a point called Gloster Post some 50 yards in front of their trenches. This post had to that point being used as an listening post for 6 men each night. Work carried out allowed for better communications and occupation day and night.

On each of the nights of 7th,8th and 9th October a small party of men went out into no man’s land right up to the Turkish trenches gaining intelligence and sketching their layouts.

On the 8th October the Stafford’s were subjected to what was described as asphyxiating bombing by the enemy in the area of C Companies trenches. This is assumed to be a reference to the use of chemical weapons.

There are no entries for 9th October 1915 other than a reference to the forays into no man’s land.

On the 10th October 120 men joined as  reinforcements from Madras in India.

There is no direct mention of any action that could be attributed to Thomas Salt’s death. On the day he died there was only one other casualty who was wounded and to that point there had been few casualties. Indeed over the whole month of October casualties were  5 killed and 13 wounded.

Whilst conjecture Thomas could have been killed on the reconnaissance party that went to the enemy trenches on the night of either 8th or 9th or he could have been killed as a result of the bombing of 8th October. Sadley we will probably never know how he died.

The battalion was evacuated from  Gallipoli in January 1916 going to Port Said in Egypt  and camping there. They remained in the middle east for the duration of the war ending it in Baku the capital of modern day Azerbaijan.



Further tragedy was to befall the family weeks after Thomas Salt died. The Cheadle and Tean Times newspaper reported on 3rd November 1915 that Mary Ellen Carr the 14 year old sister of Florence Carr died having had her clothes caught alight whilst cooking at her sister’s home. She was taken to Cheadle Hospital but later died.

Footnote 1: The 8 month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.  The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25 – 26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. From the end of August, no further serious action was fought and the lines remained unchanged. The peninsula was successfully evacuated in December and early January 1916.

Footnote 2:  The Helles Memorial serves the dual function of Commonwealth Battle Memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave. The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who died or were buried at sea in Gallipoli waters. The memorial bears monames.


Moses Holland Died 5th October 1918

Moses HollandPrivate 44545 – Lincolnshire Regiment (6th Battalion)

Moses Holland was born in the period January – March 1899 in Wolverhampton, the son of Henry (a General Hawker / Licensed Pedlar) and Mary Holland, being the fourth of their five children.  By 1901 the family were living in Kingsley Holt, Staffs, and that remained the situation for some years  (1901 & 1911 Census),  later moving to Thornby House, Consall, Staffs.  (CWGC records).

Moses Holland initially served in the Leicestershire Regiment, Service No. 30572.  He later transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment, 6th Battalion.  Service No. 44545.  and was posted on active service to France / Flanders. Research elsewhere indicates that he initially joined the Staffordshire Regiment. However this was not unusual as many joined their county regiment but were later moved to other regiments to make up shortfalls.

Moses Holland died on 5th October 1918.  He is commemorated at the Vis En Artois Memorial Cemetery, Northern France.

On the day of his death the battalion were north east of the village of Epinoy some 8 km north west of Cambrai. The battalion war diary records that the battalion moved to relieve the 11th Manchester’s but does not record any engagements. The diary requires further research but appears not to record any casualties during this period albeit they were in action as on  the following night a platoon was involved in fighting that claimed ten enemy dead – once again there is no mention of any casualties on the Lincolnshire side.

Death Notice050The family were notified of Moses death later that month – it states that the location was unknown but he was killed in action. (See image alongside)

On 15th February 1919 details of Moses Holland’s death were reported in the Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel, “Pte Moses Holland 6th Lincolnshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs H Holland, Rock Cottage, Consall Forge, was killed in action at Cambrai on October 5th 1918.  He was called up in 1917 prior to which he was in the employ of Messrs. Bolton & Sons, Froghall, where he was very much liked.  His Sergeant has written saying he was popular in his platoon and would be greatly missed, for he has always cheering up the others.”

The project team have not located any relatives of Moses Holland. However a photograph and some other documents are currently in the safekeeping of Elizabeth Winterton of Brookhouse Farm Cheddleton. They rented a cottage out to Moses younger sister Lydia who died aged 94 in around 1994. As a result of her death the items passed into Elizabeth’s care.

Among the documents are a card sent from Moses whilst servicing in the Leicestershire Regiment addressed from Bury St Edmonds which would suggest he was undergoing training in that area. Another possession is a spent .303 round – these were fired from the standard Lee Enfield rifle and also from the machine guns used at the time. The round has had a piece of wood inserted into it which has been shaped to look like an actual bullet. Perhaps Moses fired this either in action or whilst training?

Prior to his death Moses was featured in the Staffordshire Weekly Sentinel under a section  showing those who had joined up. The picture used in the paper was taken from the picture that appears here. Although not conclusive the cap badge is of the Leicestershire Regiment based on the shape and outline suggesting it was taken just after he joined up. If anyone knows what the sleeve badges are on the picture please get in touch with the project team.

Footnote 1.  6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment was raised at Lincoln in August 1914 as part of Kitchener’s First New Army and joined 33rd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. After initial training close to home, they moved to Belton Park, Grantham. On 4th April 1915 the Division assembled at Witley and Frensham for final training. They sailed for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros at the end of June 1915. They landed near Lala Baba at Suvla Bay on 7th August. On 19th and 20th December 1915 the Division was withdrawn from Gallipoli, moving to Imbros then to Egypt at the end of January. They concentrated at Sidi Bishr and took over a section of the Suez canal defences on the 19th February. On 17th June 1916 the Division was ordered to France to reinforce Third Army on The Somme. They departed from Alexandria on with the last units leaving on 3rd July. By 27th July, they were in the front line on the Somme and took part in The capture of the Wundt-Werk, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Thiepval. In 1917 they were in action in Operations on the Ancre then moved north to Flanders for The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde and The Battle of Poelcapelle. In 1918 they were at Arras for The 1918 Battle of the Scarpe and The Battle of the Drocourt-Quant Line and fought in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and The Battle of the Sambre including the passage of the Grand Honelle. At the Armistice the Division was on high ground east of Havay.