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Lostock Hall Roll of Honour

1917

Of the 83 men named on the War Memorial, 35 lost their lives in 1917.  It was the darkest year of the War.

Date

Course of the War

Lostock Hall men

January-February

Although The Battle of the Somme is generally considered to have ended in November 1916, in fact fighting and shelling continued throughout the winter, if less intensely, as the Germans completed their secret plan to withdraw to their new defensive position along the Hindenburg Line.

24 January Gunner Thomas Cuthbert Cank of the Royal Field Artillery died of wounds received on The Somme.

1 February

Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare - a policy which would precipitate US  entry into the War.


23 February - 5 April

German forces on the Western Front withdraw to the Hindenberg Line.


11 March

In Mesopotamia, British and Indian forces capture Baghdad.


6 April

US declares war on Germany.


9 April - 16 May

Battle of Arras

Big gains by the Allies on the opening day were followed by stalemate.  The Canadian Infantry made significant gains with the capture of Vimy Ridge.


For the capture of a few muddy trenches, the British lost 160,000 men, killed, wounded or missing. German losses were 125,000.

9 April At Vimy Ridge, Edward Ashcroft was killed fighting with the Canadian Infantry.  He was born in Lostock Hall and had emigrated with his family in the 1890s.  He was 23 when he was killed.

12 April William Durham, 10Bn Loyal North Lancs, was among 13 officers and 286 other ranks from his battalion, killed, wounded or missing, in the capture of a few muddy trenches.  His brother, Fred, fighting in the same battalion, will be killed in October.

19 April Charles Hewitt, 1Bn East Lancs, was killed in action.

23 April Sidney Mill, 2/5 Manchester Reg, was killed in the trenches near Cambrin.

23 April James Harold Woods, 2 Royal Scots Fusiliers, was killed in an attack on Clérisy, along with 154 other officers and men from his Battalion.  The attack failed to achieve its objectives.

28 April Ernest Atkinson Barker, 10 Loyal North Lancs, was killed near St Nicholas.  During April 1917, this Battalion had 21 officers and 478 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.  His brother William, 8 LNLR, will be killed 6 weeks later. Their brother-in-law, Albert Gidlow, was killed in September 1916.

4 May Herbert Hodson Livesey, 1Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed at Bullecourt in a futile attempt to breach the Hindenburg Line.

7-14 June

Battle of Messines

Having failed at Arras, the British shift their efforts to Belgium.

5 June James Buck, serving with Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action near Messines (Mesen) in Belgium.  3 Buck brothers from Lostock Hall were killed during the War.

7 June Henry Dobson, serving in the Royal Field Artillery, was killed near Vlamertinghe.

16 June John William Gorst, also in the Royal Field Artillery, died of wounds at Brandhoek.

June

Fighting continued on other parts of the Front, especially at Armentières.  

Many men from Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge served here with 57 (West Lancs) Division.

29 June Leonard Eaves, serving with 2/10 King's (Liverpool Reg), was killed in action, along with 35 other officers and men from his battalion.

July

And Ypres

3 July James Doolan (like Ernest Atkinson and the Durham brothers, see above) served in 10 Loyal Lancs.  He had survived Arras but was killed in what was considered a 'quiet' sector between Armentières and Ypres.  James came from a very large family in Bamber Bridge and he married Jane McCabe, from a large family in Lostock Hall.  Most of the men from both families served in the War.

16 July Daniel Slater serving with the Royal Garrison Artillery was killed near Ypres, aged 19.

July

In Mesopotamia, British and Indian forces continued their consolidation.

17 July Richard Molyneux serving in the transport division of the Army Service Corps died in the appalling conditions in Basra.  He was 27.  His brother William will lose his life in 1918.


Ypres Salient

23 July Stephen Parr, one of 7 Lostock Hall men to die in the ranks of the Scots Guards, was killed when a shell burst in his trench near Boesinghe, north of Ypres.

31 July

Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the first phase of what will become known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres.  The attack on the first day was hampered by a heavy downpour of rain.  The rain continued through August, turning the battlefield into a morass of clinging mud.

1 August William Henry Parkinson, a 33-year old watchmaker living at King Street, was killed fighting with 2Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).  He left a wife and three young daughters. 66 officers and men from this battalion were killed on the first two days of the battle.


General Haig, commanding the British forces, claimed the battle as a success: casualties for such a large battle were deemed low, ‘only’ 31,850 men from 31 July – 2/3 August, compared to 57,540 casualties on the opening day of The Somme.  The line advanced about 3000 yards and numerous German prisoners were taken.


4 August Joseph Storey, who worked in a Leyland rubber works, was killed when a shell hit his trench, near Ypres.  He was serving with 8/LNLR, and was 20 years old.

On the same day, Frank Bradley, who worked as a labourer in one of the mills, serving with 2/5 King's (Liverpool Regiment) (part of 57th Division), died of wounds in a hospital on the French coast.  Aged 19.

6 August Thomas Gregory Baldwin died from wounds received at Pilckem Ridge. Tom served with the South Wales Borderers and had previously fought at Gallipoli in 1915 and at Mametz Wood, on the Somme, in 1916.  He was 30 years old and left a wife and two children.

August - October

In Mesopotamia, the consolidation of the British position continues, in appalling conditions.


19 August Charles Gynes was serving with 6Bn LNLR when he killed by the accidental explosion of a bomb in his camp.  Charles was 32 years old and left a wife and two children.

Further reinforcements were sent out during the summer and offensive operations recommenced in September.  On 19 October, 6Bn LNLR were engaged in an attack on two villages which they took with few casualties, nevertheless, John Charnley, a 20-year-old weaver, died from wounds received in the fighting.  (His brother George served with the Scots Guards and was taken prisoner in 1915 and spent the rest of the war in a prison camp in Germany.)

August - November

In the appalling weather in August, the British attempt to break through north of Ypres and to strike for the Channel ports had stalled.  After an exceptionally wet August, September was dry and renewed efforts were made to break through. Starting with the Battle of  the Menin Road Ridge (20-25 September), the British pursued a new tactic, called 'bite and hold'.  Though initially successful, the strategy was still enormously costly in infantryman lives.  The Battle of Broodseinde (4 October) was the third and most successful of these 'bite and hold' operations but heavy rain returned and when the First Battle of Passchendaele began on 12 October the battlefield was again a quagmire.

2 September William Winstanley, from Fairfield Street, Lostock Hall, serving with the Labour Corps and previously the Lancashire Fusiliers, was killed in action near Brandhoek, north of Ypres, he was 23.

20 September Henry Swindlehurst, serving with 1/4Bn LNLR, was killed in action in the successful assault at Gallipoli Copse and Hill 37.  Henry was 38 years old and left a widow and 5 children.  His step-brother, Edward Norris had been killed at Gallipoli in 1915.

9 October Fred Durham, serving with 10 LNLR, was killed during an attack on a German post.  He was 18. His brother William had been killed at Arras six months earlier.

Also on 9 October, Bert Nickson, serving with 286 Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action north of Ypres.  He was 23.


In the First Battle of Passchendaele (12 October), the Allies suffered 13,000 casualties, for no territorial gain.  The assault was suspended until the weather improved, but smaller harassing operations continued.  

23 October Robert Brown, a railway worker serving with 20Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, was killed in a harassing operation near Poelkapelle.  He was 39 years old and left a wife and daughter.

The same day, Harry Watson, a clog maker serving with 8Bn LNLR, died in hospital in England, possibly from the effects of mustard gas which was first used by the Germans in July 1917.  Harry was 24.


The village was finally taken by the Canadian Corps, after the Second Battle of Passchendaele, which was fought in three phases, on 26 and 30 October and 6 November.

26 October was the worst single day of the War for men from Lostock Hall.  That day three men were killed: Elijah Holden, Charles Ratcliffe and James McMullen.  All three were in the Loyal North Lancs Reg. - Elijah and Charles in 2/4Bn, James in 2/5Bn. In total on that one day LNLR had 306 men killed, of whom 112 were from 2/4Bn and 101 from 2/5Bn.



4 November George Buck died of wounds at Étaples.  He was serving in the Scots Guards and was wounded either at Poelcapelle on 9 October or when a bomb was dropped on his camp on 14 October. He was the third member of the Buck family to lose his life in the War.



15 November John Cowley, an insurance agent born in Wigan but married and living in Lostock Hall, serving with 7Bn LNLR, died of wounds at Valmertinghe, near Ypres.  He was 37.

20 November - 4 December

Battle of Cambrai

Another bloody and pointless attack, but notable for tactical and strategic advances made by both sides: the British combined use of artillery, tanks and infantry countered by the German ability to reply with massive counter attacks.  Each side suffered more than 40,000 casualties and by the end of the battle the front lines were back in the starting place.

After a terrible year for the village no Lostock Hall lives were lost at Cambrai.

Pilckem Ridge, August 1917

Bite and hold