7th BORDER REGIMENT AND 7th (W&C YEOMANRY) BATTALION,
BORDER REGIMENT IN THE GREAT WAR
Kitchener's call to arms went out on the 8th
August 1914 for 100,000 men to form the New Armies who were
to fight in the Great War as he foresaw it. Thousand of
recruits flocked to Regimental Depots, such as the Border
Regiment Depot at Carlisle Castle, where thousands did
congregate, and were formed into the ' Service Battalions',
so named because they agreed to serve for the duration of the
this way, the 7th
(Service) Battalion, Border Regiment was formed on 7th
September 1914 and 1,000 strong, was posted to Wool in
Dorsetshire on 13th
September 1914, for training.
Lieutenants :- F.R.H. Morgan, L.A. Newton, T.L. Crosse, H.C.
MacMichael, A.G.R. Williams, J.W. Tailford, D.J.G. Dixon, M.
MacDonald, A.G. Rigby, R.M.B. Welsh, and C.G. Page
Honorary Lieutenant S. Ashby.
Wool, the Battalion became part of the 51st
Brigade in the 17th(Northern) Division, along with fellow
brigade battalions, the 7th
Lincolnshires, the 8th
South Staffordshires and the 10th
Sherwood Forresters(Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).
– Going Overseas
training, the 7th Borders sailed for France in two
batches, on the 12th and 14th July
1915, with 31 Officers and 932 Other Ranks on the 'Battalion
strength'. The Officers who went overseas consisted of :-
– M. MacDonald, J.A. Stirling, D.J.G. Dixon, A.
Gordon, R.M.B Welsh, H.C. MacMichael, F.R.K. Morgan, and
D.F.R. Webster (Machine Gun Officer). Honorary Lieutenant S.
Lieutenants – A.G. Rigby(Signalling Officer) W.I.
McKeand(Transport Officer), L. Birch, C.M.H. Whiteside, J.C.
White, J.M.Lee, J.P.Edgar, T.D. Noble, and T.S. Swan.
L.G. Mannering (Chaplain).
51st Brigade was commanded by Brigadier General
W.S. Kays and the
Commander for the 17th Division was Major General
T.B. Pilcher C.B.
Battalion marched to Rest Camp at Boulogne on the night of
the 15th July
and next day travelled to Reninghelst via St Omer, Wallon
Kappel and Eecke, to join II Corps Reserve for instruction in
Trench Warfare, which was done by Companies, under the
guidance of more experienced battalions. They were in the
dreaded Ypres Salient, of deadly repute and even deadlier
and the Ypres Salient - IWM
The 7th Border
were lent to the 3rd Division and went in line at
Kruistraat, where early casualties, Privates' Lonsdale,
Chambers and Lamb, were unlucky victims, on 13th
September 1915. Private Lonsdale was killed 10 yards from the
German Front Line Trench and Captain Tailford rescued his
body from here in broad daylight. He is buried in Brandhoek
Military Cemetery, in grave I.E.19. Privates
Lamb and Chambers, also killed on 13thSeptember 1915, are buried
nearby in graves I.E.10. and I.E.20.
The graves of Privates Lonsdale, Lamb and Chambers in Brandhoek Military Cemetery, graves I.E.19, I.E.10 and I.E.20
the 25th September the 7th Border
supported and abortive attack by the 3rd and 14th
Divisions, near Hooge, during which the battalion bombers had
to go into action to keep the enemy at bay. 9 men were killed
and 17 wounded, including Second Lieutenant J.M. Lee, who was sent forward with a party of bombers to reinforce the line during an attack. The bombers had trouble with the British Bombs not igniting (pre the Mills Bomb) and had to use a hoard of German bombs after some impromptu on the spot training. Wounded severely by bombs and left for safety in an enemy dugout, Second Lt. Lee may have died as the dugout was shelled. Reported as
wounded and missing, later believed killed. The line taken had then to be given up under counter attack and Second Lt. Lee was left behind. He has no
known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in
Second Lieutenant John Mitchell Lee,7th Border Regiment. J.M Lee died of wounds leading the bombing party mentioned above on 25th September 1915. His grave has since been lost and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper. The picture of J.M Lee is courtesy of the Trinity School Carlisle, War Memorial and the entry from De Ruvigny's. Thanks to Linda Hodgson for her help.
15955 Private John Andrew Baulcomb of 22 Whalley Range, Blackburn. A former Dye Factory worker. A signaller in the 7th Border who must have enlisted underage. Two other brothers also served in the war. Killed in action age 18, in September 1915 and buried at Brandhoek Military Cemetery. Thanks to John Fearn for the article.
For the rest of 1915 the battalion was in and out of line around the Hooge/Sanctuary Wood area of the salient, alternating front line duty with reserve and rest. The
deadly Ypres Salient took a heavy toll on the 7th
Battalion, Border Regiment and by the end of 1915 casualties
had reduced the 31 Officers and 932 Other Ranks, to 18
Officers and 393 Other ranks.
Whitehaven News - January 1916 Private G Duff Of Holmrook and Millom, Wounded and gassed.
January 1916, the depleted 7th Border moved to
rest at St Omer for a month, where rest and reinforcements
were the order of the day. On 7th February 1916
they moved to Divisional reserve in Poperinghe, being
involved in an attempt to dislodge the enemy on its section
of front at The Bluff in the south of the Ypres Salient on 14th/15th February 1916. They appear to have garnered at bit of a reputation
for success in such ventures, on this occasion as before, at
a price of 21 of the N.C.O.'s and men's lives.
Private Henry Gambles,killed 15th February 1916 at "The Bluff".
"Private Henry Gambles 7th Battalion, C Company Border Regiment (died 14/15 February 1916)
Henry Gambles was born on 6 September 1887. He was a miner working at "Giants Hall Colliery", Standish, Wigan. He enlisted into the Border Regiment on 25 March 1915. He was 27 years old, but said he was 24. His next of kin was listed as his father, Robert Gambles of Swinley Hall Farm, Wigan. However, he asked for his personal effects, if found, to be forwarded to Miss Florence Neary of 13 Hardybutts, Wigan. Henry was killed at "The Bluff" in the south of the Ypres Salient Belgium during the night of 14/15 February 1916. We believe he was a "Bomber" i.e. a soldier trained to throw Mills Bombs (hand grenades). He and colleagues were trying to force the enemy out of some British trenches that the Germans had recently occupied. We believe that he was buried in a marked grave, but that this grave was destroyed later in the war by shelling. He is commemorated on Panel 35 of the Menin Gate Memorial. His name is also, with several other 7th Border Regiment members, on the Wigan War Memorial. There is a bronze plaque naming those employees of Giants Hall Colliery killed in the Great War. This was originally erected at the colliery, but when it was closed, the plaque was moved to its current location in the lynch gate of St Wilfred's Parish Church Standish .
Bio and picture of Henry Gambles, courtesy of Helen Gambles.
- Fricourt and Delville Wood
then moved to Dickebusch, on to Bailleul and Houplines and to
a training camp at Eperlecques, where. As part of II Corps
once more, they moved into billets at Merlancourt. It was
June 1916 and the 'Big Push' loomed heavy on the horizon for
the British Army. The 7th Border moved to Fricourt
Wood on the 2nd July 1916, the day after the
Opening attack, and attacked Bottom Wood at 3 a.m. On the
morning of July 3rd. They were set to take Railway
Alley then push on and consolidate Bottom Wood.
Private J.W. High, wounded July 1916.
they accomplished and were relieved back to dugouts in
Fricourt Wood during the evening of 3rd/4th July.
Second Lieutenant Harold H. Linzell was killed in this
attack. He had already written a short book about his war
experiences in 1915, which was later published. It is a
worthwhile read, all the more poignant knowing that as he
wrote, he little suspected how short a time he had left.
Second Lieutenants, Arthur Harold Crompton and Harold Harding Linzell; killed in action 3rd July at Fricourt Wood and originally buried side by side in Fricourt Wood. They now lie in Dantzig Alley Military Cemetery.H.H. Linzell had a book on his time in the trenches produced from his diary. Picture of A.H. Crompton-courtesy of P. Brooks.
the 5th August
the battalion was holding Delville Wood against German
counter attack. A counter attack of their own on the 7th
August, was heavily repulsed, with 9 killed, 34
wounded and 5 missing. By the 9th
August they withdrew under bombardment to
Montauban Alley, losing 4 killed and 17 wounded as they moved
from the front line into supports.
the 15th August
they entrained for Bienvillers and by the 4th
September they were stationed at St. Amand.
Further moves over September/ October took them to Halloy,
Sailly au Bois (15th
September), Mezerolles(October), Halloy (again),
Souastre, Doullens and the to Mericourt and Ville sur Ancre.
This was on the 22nd
October and the 17th
Division relieved the 8th
Division at the front, at this time.
The 50th and
51st brigades attacked on the 3rd
November 1916, clearing up Zenith Trench, distinguishing
themselves in the fighting and holding off a strong German
counterattack, at the cost of 1 officer (unknown)and 1 man
killed, 8 wounded. The 7th Border then went back
to camp in Montauban, remaining during November.
December they moved to Longpre, entraining for Meaulte via
Corbie and Carnoy, then marched to Guillemont into Brigade
Reserve of the 50th Brigade. The 7th
Border spent Christmas here, in leaky huts surrounded by mud.
Border Regiment men from Keswick on the Somme - Christmas
1916 Top row L to R - Pte H Stoddart, Pte H Morgan, Pte L
Boustead, Pte F Robinson, LCpl E Rigg Front row - Pte B
Vickers, Pte "Kitty Boustead", Sec Lt R R Hayes,
Sgt G Blamire. Picture
courtesy of Steve Scott and his website Keswick
a picture of keswick lads who are on the Somme front, all in
the 7th battalion Border Regiment of Lieut R. R. Hayes, son
of Mr T. R. Hayes, chairman of keswick Urban Council.
On the 20th of
December Lieut Hayes hunted up his Keswick comrades before
going into the trenches and entertained them to a "
Keswick night " of their own. The supper which consisted
of steak and chips, cauliflower with sauce, sardines on
toast, custard and fruit, cigarettes, etc - not bad
even for a Christmas party at home - was thoroughly enjoyed.
One of the lads Pte Bousfield son of the Keswick council
foreman , was so pleased he broke forth into song in
praise of the event.
Hayes in a letter home, speaks very highly of these sons of
keswick, and especially their work in the trenches. Sgt
Blamire he says is extra good and the company commander
places great confidence in him. Lance
Corpl Rigg is great on the Lewis gun, and carries the heavy
gun up the trenches with never a complaint about its weight,
and he will readily take a extra turn of duty on the gun if
there is a likelihood of catching the Boche on the hop.
Stoddart is the champion shot in the Btn and is specially
selected for work in the sniper`s section. He won the
brigade shooting competition not long ago.
Pte L Boustead helps L-Cpl
Rigg work the Lewis gun and carries most of the
brother " Kitty " is one of the pluckiest fellows
I`ve ever met, and however fagged out he may be he will cheer
up the fellows round him with a joke, and he is a real son of
his father in the poetry line.
Robinson s a good signaller and a fine chap. Pte
Vickers is a great lad and although smallest of the lot is
not lacking in pluck. He is a good cross country runner,
and will carry his heavy pack and never give in or fall out
on the march. Pte
Morgan is not with the Btn as he has been specially selected
for work on the trench mortar gun. Pte
D T Rigg is a fine lad , and keeps any party alive with jokes
and fun. Pte
Walker is a good chap and is on special work making roadways
near the trenches. “
Born 1885 in Wigan Lancashire. Family from Cockermouth, Cumberland.
In 1890 he lived at St Helens Street, Dalton Court Cockermouth.
Father Joseph H Dalton, a tailor; mother Mary H Dalton housewife.
2 brothers Thomas H Potts(soon to be Dalton) and John C Dalton and 1
sister Hannah Dalton, Mother of Mary H Dalton(nee Potts) lived with the family.
By 1901 had moved to 238 Kirkgate, Cockermouth and Roland became an apprentice
tailor aged 15. The family had one more child Emma L Dalton aged 8 and Thomas had
taken the family surname by then.
Roland married Esther Irving of Gt Broughton on 26th November 1908 at Cockermouth Registry Office
By 1911 Roland was a married man of 25 and a qualified tailor who lived with his wife
Esther age 24, of Broughton and his one year old daughter Muriel Maud Dalton, also living with
them was his father Joseph H Dalton, 48, in Bolton's Court St Helen's Street, Cockermouth.
On 18th November 1914 Roland Dalton aged 28, enlisted in the Border Regiment at Workington,
giving his address as 9 Cadman Street Workington, his occupation as a Tailor and citing 6
previous years service with the Territorial Force. He was given the Service Number 17807,
By now he has a further 2 children, a son,called Roland Cooper Dalton born 24th June 1913.
and a son John Dalton born 29th October 1916, just before he died of wounds sustained in France.
Medical Examination Form B178 undertaken at Workington 17th November 1914-
Age-28 Years 91 days; Occupation -Tailor; Height -5' 6"; Weight- 124lbs; Chest 36" with 4"
expansion; Physical Development -Good; Vision - Fair/Good and with a note that he has
teeth problems, but not enough to prevent him from enlisting.
His service with the Border Regiment is :-
Attached to the Depot Battalionn 18th November 1914, posted to the 10th Bn on 28th November 1914, where
he undergoes training , becoming an Unpaid Lance Corporal on 27th August 1915 and finally a
paid Lance Corporal on 4th September 1915.
He embarks Overseas on the 18th November 1915, for France
He is then posted to the 7th Border on the 19th December 1915,
serving at the front with the battalion. His dental problems return to plague him and 16th April 1916 he is
sent to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station at Remy Siding, for Dental Caries(decay) and admitted to No. 4 Stationary Hospital at Arques for treatment, being discharged
on on the 30th April and returning to duty 1st May 1916.
By 1st August 1916 He then gets a bout of Trench Fever (P.U.O - pyrexia of unknown origin)
and is moved from 51st Field Ambulance to the No.15 Casualty Clearing Station, Hazebrouck, spending a month in No.9 General Hospital
at Rouen. On the 24th August he had sufficiently recovered to be sent to the infamous Etaples Bull Ring att to 25th Infantry Base
Depot, where he spent a week being put through his paces(and probably put off ever returning there) before he was sent
back to rejoin 7th Border on 2nd September 1916.
He must have recovered well as he was made Acting Corporal on 1st October 1916.
There Roland's luck ran out as on the 1st November 1916 he was wounded in action - described as Gun Shot Wound Both Legs.
Admitted to No.34 Casualty Clearing Stationat Grovetown, and sent on to No.10 General Hospital Rouen and to England aboard the M.S. Asturias, where on arrival
he was sent to the 2nd Northern General Hospital, Manchester.
He was badly wounded and died of his wounds in the 2nd Northern General Hospital Manchester, described as
dying of shrapnel wounds and septicaemia in a telegram sent to the attestation office at Preston,
on the 15th of November 1916, being buried in Great Broughton Christchurch Churchyard by his grieving family.
Even then the trail did not end-
The army now was trying to dispose of his property and ensure his pension was
After his death Esther appears to have moved about, with addresses at Cadman Street Workington, 13 Black Court Carlisle and
Trough Cottage, Main Street, Great Broughton,where I supect her family lived. Unfortunately Roland had no effects to return, despite her
requests of the 22nd March 1917, replied to on March 31st 1917.
In April 1917 now comes the battle for his pension, which is awarded at 2/6 a week on 21st May 1917, but not before the
requisite forms are filled in and the third son, born just before Roland died has a birth certificate to show his parentage.
There is a problem with this, as it appears the youngest son is living with a sister who will not have a copy made.
Finally the War Office renege and having made sure the allowances previously paid for having a husband on service are
ceased, the pension is released.Still on the 30th July 1917 she receives a request for the certificate, asking where it
was sent to and replies- "the Ministry of Pensions War Office London". She is now living at 30 Morrishae Aberdeen, Scotland
in the house of a Mrs GF Day.
By 1921 Esther is trying to have Roland's War Medals and Scroll sent to her. Her address is given as 472 Gairbraid Street
Maryhill, Glasgow, but the Waer Office are unable to contact her and a Police Check reveals she is not known at that address
" or in the vicinity"- dated 9th February 1921.
On 9th November 1921, J.R. Johnston of the Aberdeen and District Sailors and Soldiers Wives and Dependants Association
writes to the War Office on her behalf requesting the medals etc, giving her address as 2 Castle Terrace, Aberdeen.
By 4th April 1923 Esther, now Mrs E Dempster of 2 Bannermill Street Aberdeen, is finally given the last twist.
She is informed "regulations do not permit me to furnish your late husbands records. Your letter has been passed
on to the Regimental Paymaster as regards his paybook" -G Daniel Lt Col I/C Infantry Records, Preston.
(A land fit for heroes, eh.....)
Regards to Mike Deacon for sending me the Service Documents he had, as part of his research into Cockermouth War Memorial.
Officers from 1917
Captain R.L Lewis 7th Border Regiment -1917
Captain Leonard Birch 7th Border 1917
Captain R.L Lewis 7th Border Regiment ex 10th Border.............................
Captain Leonard Birch 7th Border killed in action 23rd April 1917,
commemorated on Arras Memorial.
In early 1917 the battalion
was in the Combles area, where Lieutenant Colonel W.N.S.
Alexander D.S.O. took over command and they moved into
training at La Neuville. The 17th Division joined
VI Corps, Third Army to relieve the 15th Division
north of Monchy. The Battalion held Railway triangle and
worked on the defences, within an hours notice of being moved
up to the front line, during 14th -22nd
On the 23rd April
1917 VI Corps attacked along it front, the 7th
Border attacking Railway Trench and Rifle Trench near Pelves.
The attack was very heavily met with machine gun fire and
ended in no gains at the cost of 19 killed, 186 wounded and
214 missing. Many men had to shelter in shell holes from the
intense machine gun fire all day, only managing to scramble
back to their own front lines after dark. They were relieved
to Arras on 25th April 1917 and entrained for
Grand Rullecourt, accomodated in the chateau grounds for rest
and recovery. This rest was rather fitful, as German Counter
attacks made the situation in the area precarious. The 7th
Border were back in line in Crook, Seaforth Cash and Cuba
trenches on the 16th May 1917 amid rumours of a
German Attack, which did not materialise and held in Bivouac
Camp at St Nicholas.
From Lincoln to the 6th, then the 10th, then to the 7th Border. A story in Service Documents of a 7th Border Man at Arras.
Charles William Thompson
Born Lincolnshire 1879, birth registered at Grantham.
His father was Joseph Thompson, a moulder by trade, mother Annie and family of
6 children. In 1891 his family lived in Lincoln, at 59 Water Side North in the parish of St Swithins.
Service Record Details
By his enlistement Charles had moved to 27 Far Cross Bank East Kendal. The family he was lodging with were the Allisons and later documents claim he had lived with them for 10 years prior to enlisting , in 1915. He was a papermaker by trade, prior to enlisting in the 6th Border Regiment.
Far Cross Bank, Kendal
His fathers address was given as Sleaford, Lincolnshire on his documents. Under his Service Details, Charles aged 36 years 3 months, 5ft 7 1/2 tall, 136 pounds, of good physical development
He attested in the 6th Border Regiment 21st October 1915, posted to the depot with the Service number 20947,as a Private. He gave his father’s name and address as next of kin and his attestation form notes a scar on the thumb and index finger of his left hand. He was then posted to the 10th Border on 16 th November that year and finally joined the 7th Border Regiment in France on, retaining his Service Number, on 26th February 1916.
His service from that point. Initially sent to No. 17 Infantry Base depot at Etaples he was posted to the 7th Border, after initial training on, 10th March 1916. His stay did not last long however as a bout of scabies took him to No 50 (Northumbrian) Casualty Clearing Station at Hazebrouck, and 51st Field Ambulance, for treatment, on 28th/29th April 1916. Next a bad case of boils in May 1916 took Charles to the No 50 (Northumbrian) Casualty Clearing Station again, then No5 British Red Cross Hospital at Wimereux. A spell in No 5 Convalescent Depot in Boulogne followed, before he was posted back to
the No 17 I.B.D. at Etaples, before rejoining the 7th Border on 29th June 1916.
Charles William Thompson, served with the battalion for some months and his next entry, records, he was posted missing on 23rd April 1917, later assumed to have died on that date.
From the War Diary-
ARRAS 22nd April 1917
Day spent in Support Line. Battalion moved at 8.15 p.m. from support line to Assembly Trench, South of Lone Copse. A Company moved up in daylight to occupy Front Line and Assembly Trench which had been evacuated by 9th N.F. This was accomplished successfully with only two casualties. Night was fairly quiet, the enemy put down a barrage behind the Front Line, just as the last Company had arrived. This died down shortly afterwards.
ARRAS 23rd April 1917
Attack on enemy positions carried out on the whole front of the Offensive. 29th Division attacked on the right from in front of MONCHY LE PREUX. 51st Division attack on the north side of the SCARPE on the left of the 17th Division. Objective of 51st Brigade, Blue Line running from E. Edge of PELVES village along the line of the road running from I.27. central to I.33.d.6.8, thence along E. Of the BOIS DE SART. 1st objective of 51st Brigade, Brown Line running from Cross Roads I.26.a.6.3. to I.26.d.2.0. to I.32.a.2.1., then over sunken road at I.32.c.2.6. Preliminary objective of the 51st Brigade, a “T” trench running from lake at about I.25.a.5.2. through I.25.c and I.31.a to about I.31.a.1.0. called Bayonet Trench, with a switch trench running SE. From I.25.c.3.2. through I.31.b, crossing Pelves Road at I.31.b.5.6., called Rifle Trench. Objective of the Battalion to carry the Preliminary and Brown Line objectives. 8th S.Staffs on the left with the same objectives. Objective of the the 7th Lincolns and 10th Sherwoods, to pass through Brown Line and gain Blue Line. Formation for the attack was A & D Companies in the Front Line and B & C in the Supporting Line. A & B on the left of each line, 100 yards between waves, 200 yards between Attacking and Support Line. Men extended 10 paces. Rifle Trench was boundary between Borders and 8th S. Staffs. Zero hour was at 4.45 a.m. At Zero hour a standing barrage was put down on Bayonet Trench. A Creeping barrage began 200 yards west of Bayonet Trench and moved at a rate of 4 mins per 100 yards as far as Blue Line. Two Tanks were detailed for attack on PELVES. Battalion advanced at Zero hour. Right leading Company (D) lost direction and moved too much to it’s right, striking old German Trenches about H.36.b.8.6. and moved east. After crossing Bayonet Trench an intense M.G. fire was met from Rifle Trench. The remaining men of D Company swung up to the left towards Rifle Trench and entered a German Strong Point about I.31.a.8.4 which they enlarged and consolidated. D Company was joined by the survivors of the right Support Company (C), which had crossed Bayonet Trench and had advanced due E. The left leading Company (A) struck Bayonet Trench with it’s centre about the junction of Bayonet Trench and Rifle Trench and was then met by heavy M.G. fire from across the River Scarpe and Rifle Trench. The left Supporting Company (B) followed and was also mown down by M.G. fire. The survivors of B and A Company retired with companies of S.Staffs to the Assembly Trenches NE of Lone Copse. By that time there were no Officers fo either Company surviving. After their retirement, the Germans in a portion of Bayonet Trench, held up their hands when men of the Borders again advanced, but were again repulsed by M.G. fire. The survivors of the left Companies, then retired and occupied the Assembly Trenches N. of Lone Copse. The attack of the 8th S.Staffs was also repulsed by heavy M.G. fire. The survivors of C & D Companies remained out in shell holes until dark, when they made their way back to our line. Many were hit by M.G. fire on their way back. Lt Saunders and about 50 wounded and unwounded made their way in, up to 2 a.m. The 10th Sherwoods, who were occupying the southern portion of Bayonet Trench, found a party who brought 2nd Lt Sawyer, wounded to the knee and about 100 wounded and unwounded men. Battalion H.Q. moved from gun pits H.35.d.8.9. at 5.40 a.m. to trench about H.36.d.8.8. where it remained during the battle. This piece of trench was held by 9th N.F. The trench was shelled throughout the day but few casualties were suffered by Battalion H.Q. The Battalion was ordered to move to Railway Triangle about 1 ½ miles E. Of ARRAS and Battalion H.Q with about 100 men who had come in, started to move at 2.30 a.m., reaching the destination about 4 a.m.
GRAND RULLECOURT 25th April 1917
51st Brigade marched to ARRAS at 6 a.m. and entrained at 10 a.m. Breakfast at Transport Lines. Detrained at SAULTY station and marched to GRAND RULLECOURT, about 6 miles. Battalion billeted in Chateau and Huts.
GRAND RULLECOURT 26th/ 30th April 1917
Battalion equipping and re-organisation.
Corps Depot Officers and men returned.
April 1917 casualty figures for 7th Bn..20947 Private Charles William Thompson presumably amongst “Missing”
After his death the story did not stop here. The man whose family Charles William Thompson lodged with, at Far Cross Bank, Kendal, Thomas Allison wrote to the Infantry records office, trying to find out
information about him.
According to Thomas Allison, Thompson lived with them for 10 years prior to enlisting and he had come to believe Thompson’s parents were dead. He also claimed Thompson had promised his son the watch Thompson owned , in event of his death.
The Infantry Record Office write to the Local Chief Constable of Police, for clarification and although he confirms the fact that Thompson lived with the Allisons for over 8 years, he clearly states “they are not related” and that Thompsons immediate family are probably deceased.
The Infantry Records Office also conclude that there are “no relatives living as far as can be ascertained”.
A further request to track down more distant relations must have been successful, as the soldiers death plaque was found in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in 2010.
Regards to Paul Bramham for sending me the excerpts from Service Documents he had, as part of his research into men of Kendal.
Read about one of the 7th Border casualties of the Battle of Arras on the Patterdale and Glenridding War Memorial Project website, here :- SERGEANT WILLIAM SYDNEY STOCKDALE
Whilst the 7th
Border did not actually attack during May 1917,
they had to hold the line under some very heavy shelling,
with devastating effect. The Arras battles were characterised
by their high rates of daily casualties, amongst the highest
of the war and unseasonably bad weather making living
conditions poor. The Battalion withdrew to Arras and on to
camp at Mondicourt at the end of May 1917, with a strength of
13 Officers and 450 Men.
1917-Changes to come and Third
During the months of June and July the 7th Battalion Border Regiment were in St Nicholas Camp area not far from Arras, doing much good work behind the line and when up in the front taking part in many raids on the German trenches; at this time the battalion seems to have become greatly reduced in strength, despite the fact that casualties during this period were not heavy;
on the 23rd July there were only 13 Officers and 335 O.R. available for duty, although 7 officers had joined the during previous month- Captain E.P.B. Morrall and Second Lieutenants Swan, Hirst, Jarvis, Hudson and Good, with Lieutenant Green of the Cumberland and Westmorland Yeomanry. In the last days of July this small officer contingent was further depleted by the loss
of two senior Officers, Captain E.P.B. Morrall being killed and Captain H.J.H. Hamilton being mortally wounded.
Lieutenant Green of the Cumberland and Westmorland Yeomanry,
was a sign of a major change soon to come for the 7th
Border. The Battalion spent August and September 1917 in the
same positions and on the 22nd September 1917, a
major change took place.
It was announced the 7th
Border Regiment would now be known as the 7th
(Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, Border
Regiment and two drafts of 239 and 103 Other Ranks plus 19
Officers joined from the 1/1st Westmorland and
Westmorland and Cumberland were formed in 1908 and
headquartered at Penrith with the squadrons being based as
Kendal B Sqn: Penrith C Sqn: Whitehaven D Sqn:
The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry Cap Badge, James Nicholson of the Yeomanry and his rapid rise to Second lieutenat in The Yorkshire Regiment
Squadrons had been split up in June 1915 and attached to the
Divisions and XI Corps Cavalry Regiments (B Sqn att 1st
Cavalry Division, C Sqn att 2nd
Cavalry Division, Hqrs and D Sqn att XI Corps
Cavalry Regiment, A Sqn split between the other squadrons)
going abroad in 1915 and serving separately until May 1916,
when they rejoined the Regimental Headquarters .
July 1917 it was decided to dismount the Regiment to train as
infantry and thus trained they joined the 7th
Border on the
under it's new title - 7th(Westmorland
and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, Border Regiment.
1917, the newly constructed Battalion left Arras and marched
to Ivergny, where Lieutenant Colonel Alexander left the
Battalion for the UK and temporary command went to Major
W.E.W. Elkington formerly of the 1stLincolns.
A further reinforcement of Yeomanry 1 Officer and 86 Other
Ranks joined the 7thBorder
at this time.
1917, they entrained for Elverdinghe and marched on to dug
outs at the Yser Canal, supporting an attack on the 11thOctober
in the Taube Farm area. Poor conditions and the uncertain
nature of the attacks cost the 7thBorder
heavily during October 1917- 34 killed, 105 wounded and 1
missing. On the night of 13/14thOctober
they were withdrawn to Poole Camp, Proven and then to Persia
Camp by the end of the month, attached to the 35thDivision.
1917 the 7thBorder
left Persia Camp to march via Houtkerque and Herzeele into
billets at Wemaers Cappel. The next day they went by rail and
road to White Mill Camp Langemarck, employed on working
parties and front line duty in Claw and Candle Trenches,
Taube Farm and Millers Houses. Casualties for this period
were some 40 in all, 9 killed and 31 wounded. The Battalion
now moved to the Proven area, International Corner and Dublin
the battles of Third Ypres and Cambrai finished in early
December 1917, the 7thBorder
Regiment were in Penton Camp, near Couthove.
Private A. Dickson, of King Street Accrington 7th Border Regiment severely wounded in action. Picture courtesy of Denis Otter.
A Yeoman at War - The Service Documents
Thomas Holliday Ellwood
Born Bridekirk,Cockermouth, Cumberland 1889, son of John D. Ellwood a Foreman joiner and Elizabeth.
In 1901 he was 11 years old, with a younger brother Joseph William Ellwood, aged 8 living at 111 Papcastle, Bridekirk.
By the 1911 census Thomas Holliday Ellwood is described as a Grocers assistant
living in the house (and probably premises of a Grocer in Maxwell, Co Durham) of the Southeran Family.
Jane Southeran, the head of the house is a widow and mother of 10 children only 6 of whom have survived-
Thomas Herbert Southeran and Robert Southeran aged 16 and 15 respectively are Grocers Apprentices, 13 year old
Wilfred is a Joiners Apprentice and Henry and Charles aged 8 and 7 are at school,whilst the youngest Alfred aged 3
is still at home all day. Thomas Holliday Ellwood age 21 lives with the family as a "boarder" and Grocers Assistant,
probably to handle the tasks Jane or her still youthful sons used to leave to her deceased husband.
He enlists in the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry on 25th May 1915 aged 25 years and 10 months, stating his
occupation as a Grocer and is recruited and given the number 2943 in the W&C Yeomanry at Penrith, in B Squadron.
Training over, he embarks for France 22nd January 1916 landing at Rouen on the next day.
He is then sent for duty with B Squadron "in the field" by the 13th February 1916.
A bout of Scabies sends him to the 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and on to No.7 Casualty Clearing Station and 2/1 South Midland Field Ambulance for a week under medical
care, returning to duty on the 14th July 1916.
In 1917 on the 8th April he was attached to Headquarters XI Corps on Escort duty for a number of months, but sent
to 25th Infantry Base Depot at Etaples (The Bull Ring again) on 12th November 1917, along with most of the W&C Yeomanry.
There they were compulsarily tranferred to become Infantrymen, at Cavalry rates of pay and posted to the
7th (W&C YEO) Battalion, Border Regiment from 18th November 1917 and he was given a new Service Number 260681.
He joined the new Battalion on the 29th November 1917 for his new infantry service. This did not go too well for him
as life as a infantryman meant more exposure to the elements and he suffered a bout of influenza which took him
to No. 53 Field Ambulance on to No.21 Casualty Clearing Station and No.35 Base Hospital on the 9th January 1918.
His bout lasted until
the 26th January 1918, when he was posted to Hospital Depot and returned to the 7th Border on 11th February 1918.
He was granted leave one month later from 8th March to the 22nd March 1918, thus missing the peril of the German
Offensive of 21st March 1918, by a stroke of luck. He returned to duty and was probably involved in the thick
of some heavy fighting that the 7th Border took part in in spring 1918.
His health suffered again and once more
influenza laid him low and via 53 Field Ambulance and No.48 Casualty Clearing Station at Doullens then to No.3 Stationary Hospital in Rouen in on 3rd July 1918 being sent to
No.2 Infantry Base Depot in Rouen and then to 11 Infantry Base Depot at Etaples on 10th July 1918.
He was not discharged until 28th August when he was sent to
the Hospital Depot once again and at some point may have returned to the 7th Borders.
It is unclear what follows but on the 18th September 1918 he is described as Killed in Action or Died Of Wounds on or
shortly after the 18th September 1918 aged 29 years. The 7th Border were at Lechelle attacking Gauche Wood on
this day, an attack which cost 25 killed 225 wounded and 33 missing.
His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Vis en Artois Memorial, France.
His medals and effects were sent to his mother Elizabeth at Papcastle, Cockermouth in 1919.
Regards to Mike Deacon for sending me the Service Documents he had, as part of his research into Cockermouth War Memorial.
The German Offensives
January 1918 found the 7th
Border in Bertincourt and Moevres and February 1918 around
Hermies, supplying working parties for the defences there, in
anticipation if the expected German Offensive now the Eastern
Front fighting had finished and many battle hardened German
Divisions were being amassed on the Western Front. On March
21st 1918 the German Bombardment began and the 7th
Border 'stood to' in battle positions at Havrincourt as part
of V Corps, Third Army.
By the 22nd March
it was decided to withdraw from the Cambrai Salient and on
the 23rd they withdrew via Villers en Flos to
Martinplouich and manned a ridge there, repulsing an attack
by the Germans in this area. They continued to pull back
however, in a fighting retreat to Bazentin le Grand and
Fricourt Wood. March 26th -31st saw
further withdrawals to Millencourt, concentration at
Henencourt, holding up the German Assault yet again. Then a
fighting withdrawal through Warloy, Molliens au Bois and
Pierrecot took thenm to Flesselles when the battle ended on
5th April 1918, they were here, at a cost of 18
killed, 124 wounded and 65 missing. Finally at Fleselles they
were able to get reinforcements, with drafts of 45 from the
Royal Welch Fusiliers and 149 from the West Yorkshire
Isle of Man Soldier at War
24638 Private Robert Killip Teare 1891-1918
Robert Killip Teare was born 19 November 1891 in Ballabeg, Lonan, IoM, son of Philip Christopher Teare and Margaret Killip and in 1901 the family was living at their uncle’s house – Ballabeg Farm. In 1911 Robert was working as a horseman at Berrag Farm, Jurby, which was run by brothers Henry and Robert Quirk.
Robert enlisted on 11 November 1915 in Keswick where he was working as a farm labourer, he was recorded as 5ft 6¼ in tall, 147 lbs and with defective teeth. He joined the Border Regiment as a private in September 1916 and was initially posted to the 3rd Battn but then later to the 1st Battn.
Between December 1915 and July 1916 he was in UK and he married Sarah Mary Burrow on 29 June 1916. He was posted to France 16 July 1916 where he was wounded. He was in Topsham Gen Hosp between August and October 1916 with a gunshot wound to the cheek, which was reported as healing uneventfully but at the same time 10 teeth were extracted.
After a furlough he was again posted to France from May to December 1917. Back home 16 December 1917 he was admitted to Runcorn Hospital for a few days with a septic thumb. He was absent from parade on 13 February 1918 and confined to barracks for 5 days before he was posted to France again embarking from Folkestone for Boulogne on 17 February 1918 arriving in Etaples on the 18th to join the newly amalgamated 7th Battn Border Regiment (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry).
In February 1918 the regiment was around Hermies, supplying working parties for the defences being prepared for the expected German Offensive. With the end of fighting on the Eastern Front many battle hardened German Divisions were assembled. On March 21st 1918 the German Bombardment began and the 7th Border ‘stood to’ in battle positions at Havrincourt as part of V Corps, Third Army. By the 22nd March it was decided to withdraw from the Cambrai Salient and on the 23rd they withdrew via Villers en Flos to Martinplouich and manned a ridge there, repulsing an attack by the Germans in this area.
On 23 March 1918 Robert Teare was reported missing presumed dead.
He is remembered on the Malew Parish war memorial and the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. He had married Sarah Mary Burrow in Flimby Paris Church, Cumberland on 29 June 1916 and they had two children Eleanor Teare (born Maryport 25/09/1916) and John Burrow Teare (born Flimby 20/12/1917).
His £14-9s-6d pay owing was transferred to Sarah M Teare his widow and sole legatee.
The 7th Border
were at Lechelle on 17th September 1918, planning
an attack on Gauche Wood for the 18th September.
This fighting turned out to be severe, costing
the battalion 27 killed, 232 wounded and 33 missing, including Captain William Constantine, above.
Lieutenant Colonel Irwin,
the CO at the time, left and was replaced by Major Thomas of
the East Yorkshire Regiment, who was promoted in the field to
the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Battalion were training
from 26th September to 6th October 1918
at Etricourt, under the new Commanding Officer.
On the 6th
October the Battalion moved forward to Gouzeaucourt, taking
part in a successful attack starting a Walincourt and moving
forward to Bonne Enfance Farm and Selvigny on to Le Trouquoy.
After withdrawing to Inchy, they next attacked at Amerval
where the fighting was unexpectedly stiff and claimed a
number of casualties. Among those was the C.O. Lieutenant
Colonel W.E. Thomas and Captain N.M. Saunders, both killed by
sniper fire. The Communal Cemetery Extension at Amerval holds
20 graves from the 7th Border in this fighting.
Losses for the month totalled 34 killed, 138 wounded and 5
Captain Robert Richard Hayes of Keswick; winner of the Military Cross in action, in October 1918. Enlisted as a Private, he gained a commision and rose to the rank of Captain.
Next objective, on 2nd
November, was the Forest Of Mormal, near Englefontaine. The
attack 'went well' by Great War standards even including a
bayonet charge to take some enemy positions, taking 127
prisoners and many guns, but at the cost of 88 casualties.
The advance continued to La Tete Noire, Le Bouvist, Eclaibes
and was held up there, the battalion being relieved to
billets in Aulnoye on 9thNovember 1918. The operations cost the
lives of 15 killed, 109 wounded and 10 missing.
1918, news of the armistice reached the 7thBorder in billets at Aulnoye. The end had
finally come, but at a considerable cost.......
Another detachment of the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry had been stationed in Ireland at Buttevant in Co. Cork during the war and heard about the armistice in an unusual manner.
Extracts from memories of the announcement of the Armistice from Corporal Bertram Neyland, Royal Engineers, who was based in Ireland with men from The Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry: “Our first posting was in Ireland, and we felt we were in a different war altogether. We were sorry for all the boys in France and damned glad we weren’t there with them. I was transferred to Buttevant in County Cork – a little village in the north of the country with a big British barracks, and the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry were there. They were mobilized in August 1914 and they had never been out of Britain. It was weird and wonderful – they were fine physical types, but they’d never been abroad or seen action.
While I was at Buttevant the most remarkable thing was the Armistice. We were receiving the news on a little home made set that no wireless operator would have given tuppence for. Later in the day, the Westmorland and Cumberlands came crowding round the door, “Is it true, is it true?” The rain had stopped so we carted out our table with our tuppeny set on it and we had an enormous aerial, the length of a football field and very high. We were picking up the Eiffel Tower transmitter on it quite distinctly as it broadcast details of the Armistice to the world. I had two earphones which I put on the table so all the chaps could hear the signals. These were all the clickety-clicks for the Morse code and these chaps couldn’t believe that they were coming from the Eiffel tower. It was in French which added to the confusion. “
Article courtesy of Paul Bramham
The 7thBorder were at Troisville until 14thDecember 1918, the moved to Liercourt,
near Amiens. There they were gradually reduced to Cadre
Strength. The Cadre left Liercourt on 16thApril 1919, entraining at Longpre for Le
Havre. They sailed for Southampton and travelled by train to
Catterick Barracks in North Yorkshire.
Catterick, the Cadre of the 7th(Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry)
Battalion, Border Regiment was officially disbanded.