1914 – Formation

Lord Kitchener's call to arms went out on the 8th August 1914 for 100,000 men to form the New Armies who were to fight in the Great War as he foresaw it. Thousand of recruits flocked to Regimental Depots, such as the Border Regiment Depot at Carlisle Castle, where thousands did congregate, and were formed into the ' Service Battalions', so named because they agreed to serve for the duration of the war.

In this way, the 7th (Service) Battalion, Border Regiment was formed on 7th September 1914 and 1,000 strong, was posted to Wool in Dorsetshire on 13th September 1914, for training.

Officers posted to the original unit included :-

  • Brevet Colonel J.S. Pelly, Major W.J. Ferguson-Davie, Captain R.L. Norrington(Adjutant), Lieutenant W.L. Dyson.

  • Second 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

  • Quartermaster- Honorary Lieutenant S. Ashby.

At 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).

1915 – Going Overseas

After training, the 7th Borders sailed for France in two batches, on the 12th and 14th July 1915, with 31 Officers and 932 Other Ranks on the 'Battalion strength'. The Officers who went overseas consisted of :-

  • Lieutenant Colonel R.L. Norrington (C.O.),

  • Major W.R. Foran and Major R.S. Irwin

  • Captain C.G. Page (Adjutant), Captain J.H. Grogan, Captain J.H. Bowe, Captain L.A. Newton, Captain T.L. Crosse, Captain A.P. Naismith, Captain J.W. Tailford, Captain W.F. Richardson and Medical Officer Captain Q.V.B, Wallace(R.A.M.C.).

  • Lieutenants – 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. Ashby(Quartermaster)

  • Second 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.

  • Reverend L.G. Mannering (Chaplain).

  • The 51st Brigade was commanded by Brigadier General W.S. Kays and the

  • Divisional Commander for the 17th Division was Major General T.B. Pilcher C.B.

The Battalion marched to Rest Camp at Boulogne on the night of the 15th July and next day travelled to Reninghelst via St Omer, Wallon Kappel and Eecke, to join II Corps Reserve for instruction in Trench Warfare, which was done by Companies, under the guidance of more experienced battalions. They were in the dreaded Ypres Salient, of deadly repute and even deadlier reality.

Ypres 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 13th September 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

On 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 Ypres.

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.

1916 - Ypres Salient

In January 1916, the depleted 7th Border moved to rest at St Omer for a month, where rest and reinforcements were the order of the day. On 7th February 1916 they moved to Divisional reserve in Poperinghe, being involved in an attempt to dislodge the enemy on its section of front 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.

1916 - Fricourt and Delville Wood

They then moved to Dickebusch, on to Bailleul and Houplines and to a training camp at Eperlecques, where. As part of II Corps once more, they moved into billets at Merlancourt. It was June 1916 and the 'Big Push' loomed heavy on the horizon for the British Army. 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.

This 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.

By 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.

On 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.

On 12th 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.

7th 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 at War.


Above is 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.

Lieut 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.

Pte 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 ammunition.
His 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.

Pte 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. “

Courtesy of Steve Scott and his website Keswick at War.

A story in Service Documents of a 7th Border Man

  Roland Dalton

 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 properly disbursed. 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.

1917 – Heavy Fighting

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 April 1917.

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 :-

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 Ypres

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 Cumberland Yeomanry.

The 1/1st Westmorland and Cumberland were formed in 1908 and headquartered at Penrith with the squadrons being based as follows:

    A Sqn: Kendal
    B Sqn: Penrith
    C Sqn: Whitehaven
    D Sqn: Carlisle

The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry Cap Badge, James Nicholson of the Yeomanry and his rapid rise to Second lieutenat in The Yorkshire Regiment

The Squadrons had been split up in June 1915 and attached to the 1st and 2nd Cavalry 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 .

In July 1917 it was decided to dismount the Regiment to train as infantry and thus trained they joined the 7th Border on the 22nd September 1917, under it's new title - 7th (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, Border Regiment.

On the 24th September 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 1st Lincolns. A further reinforcement of Yeomanry 1 Officer and 86 Other Ranks joined the 7th Border at this time.

On the 10th October 1917, they entrained for Elverdinghe and marched on to dug outs at the Yser Canal, supporting an attack on the 11th October in the Taube Farm area. Poor conditions and the uncertain nature of the attacks cost the 7th Border heavily during October 1917- 34 killed, 105 wounded and 1 missing. On the night of 13/14th October they were withdrawn to Poole Camp, Proven and then to Persia Camp by the end of the month, attached to the 35th Division.

On the 1st November 1917 the 7th Border 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 Camp.

When the battles of Third Ypres and Cambrai finished in early December 1917, the 7th Border 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.

1918 – The German Offensives

1918 -Somme

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 Regiment.

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.

Article on Robert Killip Teare, courtesy of Michael Teare from his website

1918 – The Hindenburg Line

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 missing.

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 9th November 1918. The operations cost the lives of 15 killed, 109 wounded and 10 missing.

On the 11th November 1918, news of the armistice reached the 7th Border 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

Post War Dispersal

The 7th Border were at Troisville until 14th December 1918, the moved to Liercourt, near Amiens. There they were gradually reduced to Cadre Strength. The Cadre left Liercourt on 16th April 1919, entraining at Longpre for Le Havre. They sailed for Southampton and travelled by train to Catterick Barracks in North Yorkshire.

At Catterick, the Cadre of the 7th (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, Border Regiment was officially disbanded.

7th Border Regiment and 7th W&C Yeomanry Battalion, Border Regiment - Battle Honours

Theatre of War/ Year



France and Flanders 1915


Trench Warfare -

Training and Line Holding.

Trench Warfare -

Training and Line Holding

France and Flanders 1916


Operations on the Somme 1916

Somme 1916



Albert 1916



Delville Wood 1916

France and Flanders 1917


Arras Offensive 1917

Arras 1917



Scarpe 1917



Flanders Offensive 1917

Ypres 1917



Passchendaele 1917

France and Flanders 1918


German Offensive in Picardy 1918

Somme 1918



St Quentin 1918



Bapaume 1918

France and Flanders 1918

Advance in Picardy 1918



Amiens 1918



Somme 1918



Albert 1918



Bapaume 1918

France and Flanders 1918


Breaking of the Hindenburg Line 1918



Hindenburg Line 1918



Epehy 1918



Cambrai 1918

France and Flanders 1918


Final Advance 1918



Selle 1918



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