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FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014-1018

LOUIS FREDERICK GARDNER

Born 16th November, 1895 Brighton, Sussex, England

Died 12th April 1917 Pas de Calais, France.


Louis emigrated to Canada in June 1911 with his parents & siblings.

He signed on with the Canadian Infantry on 8th September 1915, two months before his 20th birthday & on 12th April 1917 at the tender age of 21 he was killed at Vimy Ridge.


Pte Denis Peter Shrubsole

B 27th March 1897 Lympne, Kent

D 1972 Canterbury, Kent


Denis was a private in the Army Service Corps

He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal

Gunner Harry Shrubsole, Royal Field Artillery

B 1885 Sellindge, Kent

D 1944 Carlisle, Cumbria


Harry had already been in the 20th Hussars from 1906 until 1911.  He married in 1912 and settled down to live in Carlisle, where no doubt he thought he'd enjoy the rest of his life.  It seems that war interrupted that for a spell as Harry joined the Royal Field Artillery sometime at the beginning of World War One.  One of his granddaughters believed that his son Harry Lorraine (born in 1915) had been named after a battle he had fought in.  This may well have been the case, for the Royal Field Artillery formed part of the British Expeditionary Force that fought on the flank of the French Army, standing in the path of the German First Army at the Battle of the Frontiers, a series of battles fought along the eastern frontier of France & southern Belgium shortly after the outbreak of World War I, amongst which was the Battle of Lorraine.  

Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914, and on 9 August the BEF began embarking for France. Unlike Continental European armies, the BEF in 1914 was exceedingly small. At the beginning of the war the German and French armies numbered well over a million men each, divided into eight and five field armies respectively; the BEF had ca. 80,000 soldiers in two corps of entirely professional soldiers made up of long-service volunteer soldiers and reservists. The BEF was probably the best trained and most experienced of the European armies of 1914.  British Army training emphasized rapid marksmanship and the average British soldier was able to hit a man-sized target fifteen times a minute, at a range of 300 yards (270 m) with his Lee-Enfield rifle.  This ability to generate a high volume of accurate rifle-fire which played an important role in the BEF's battles of 1914.

The Battle of the Frontiers represented a collision between the military strategies of the French Plan XVII and the German Schlieffen Plan. The German idea, to concentrate their forces on their right flank and wheel through Belgium to attack the French in the rear, was foiled by the movement of General Charles Lanrezac's Fifth Army towards the northwest to intercept them and the presence of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on his left flank. Although driven back by the weight of three German armies, the French and British rear guard actions delayed the German advance, allowing the French time to transfer their forces to the west to defend Paris, resulting in the First Battle of the Marne.

Sadly it seems Harry's military records are amongst the 60% that were destroyed during the bombing of London during World War II, so I am unable to form a full picture of what his movements were during the war, but my guess is that he was on the front for some time & very very lucky to have survived the war & come home; there were 49,076 men of the Royal Regiment of Artillery that gave their lives between 1914 - 1919.  One can only imagine what nightmares Harry may have suffered on returning home & how many comrades & friends he may have lost during that terrible time.  I do hope he was able to come to terms with it all & enjoy the rest of his life in Carlisle.

Harry was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

This photo is we believe of Royal Artillery members.  One can only assume as the photo is in the family that Harry must be in it somewhere but sadly we can’t identify which one he is.

My thanks to Janice & Denise for this photo.

Pte William John COOK

1883-1970

11th Battalion Border Regiment (The Lonsdales) B Company

[The Lonsdale Pals]

Unfortunately it looks as if William’s war records were amongst the 60% that were destroyed by the bombing of London in WW2, so we don’t have his full details.  We do however have his medal roll index card which shows he was awarded the
British War Medal, The Victory Medal and the 1915 Star.

The Lonsdales were involved on the front from November 1915.














11TH BATTALION, THE BORDER REGIMENT (THE LONSDALES)

11th (Lonsdale) Battalion, The Border Regiment was raised in Penrith, Carlisle, Kendal and Workington on 17 September 1914 by the Earl of Lonsdale and an Executive Committee. They trained at Carlisle Racecourse. In May 1915 they moved to Prees Heath and joined 97th Brigade in 32nd Division. In June 1915 they moved to Wensleydale and then to Fovant in August. The Battalion was adopted by the War Office on the 27th of August 1915.

By November 1915 the Lonsdales had been in continuous training for well over a year & had firmly established themselves in many skills and tactics needed for trench warfare.  They boarded the Princess Victoria at Folkestone for their 8 hour voyage & landed at Boulogne on the 23rd of November 1915. 31 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers and 995 other ranks.

Once landed they moved to Longpre by train & then marched the remaining distance to Albert, a small town on the Western Front, which along with the surrounding area, including trenches, became their home for many months.  

By 24th June 1916, the Lonsdales, amongst many others, were preparing for the Somme Offensive.  The bombardment had started and continued until July 1st.  On this day, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 32nd Division, which included the 1st Dorsets and the 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion of the Border Regt attacked the German line and stormed the Leipzig Salient, but were compelled to retire later in the day.  History tells us the bombardment did not have the expected result on the German lines and the brave men of the British Army, the Lonsdales amongst them, walked straight into machine gun fire from the Germans in well prepared ,well wired trenches.  It was a slaughter to which they stood little chance of survival. The Lonsdale battallion suffered 516 casualties on this opening day of the Battle of the Somme.  The Battle of the Somme officially ended on the 17th November 1916.  Fighting continued for The Lonsdales throughout 1916 & into 1917 involving operations on the Ancre and the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917.  In early 1918 they were in action on The Somme.  


On the 10th of May 1918 the Battalion was reduced to cadre strength, with surplus men being transferred to 1/5th Bn. On the 13 May the remainder of the Battalion transferred to the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division and on the 31st of July 1918 the 11th Battalion was absorbed by 1/5th Bn.;  The Lonsdales were no more.


LONSDALE CEMETERY, AUTHUILLE

Location Information:  Authuille is a village 5 kilometres north of the town of Albert on the D151 road to Grandcourt. The Cemetery (signposted in the centre of Authille) is 1 kilometre east of the village.

Historical Information:  On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 32nd Division, which included the 1st Dorsets and the 11th (Lonsdale) Battalion of the Border Regt attacked the German line at this point and stormed the Leipzig Salient, but were compelled to retire later in the day. In the spring of 1917, after the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, V Corps cleared these battlefields and made a number of new cemeteries, including Lonsdale No.1 and No.2.

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