Remembrance – Alfred Thompson

Our second remembrance of today is Alfred Thompson who was killed this day, 8th June 1917, serving with the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, commemorated on the Bourne and Arras memorials. One of two 4th Battalion men from the Bourne area to fall on this day

Alfred Thompson was born late in 1897 in Little Horton, near Bradford, to George Thompson a railway worker and his wife Annie Susannah Osbourne, both born in Little Horton. George and Annie were married in 1891 in St Peter’s Bradford and were blessed with their first of three children in 1895.
• James Thompson, 1895, Little Horton
• Ellen Thompson, 1896, Little Horton
• Alfred Thompson, 1897, Little Horton

In 1901 the young family are living in Horton where George was working as a carter for the railway and Susannah (Annie Susannah) as a Worsted Spinner.

10 years later Annie (Annie Susannah), Ellen and Alfred can be found living with her parents in Darton Street Bradford. Annie and both children are working in a Worsted Spinning factory and Alfred was employed as a Doffer. A Doffer took the full bobbins off the spinning machines and replaced them with empty ones. George has not been found on the 1911 census to date although Annie lists that she has been married for 18 years and so it is to be assumed that George is still alive.

In September 1913 Annie Susannah, referred to variously as Annie or Susannah Hubbard in official records, remarried to Charles Hubbard in Deeping St Nicholas Fen and in 1919 was living in Tongue End near Bourne Lincolnshire.

As Alfred’s army records have not been found, assumed to have been destroyed in the London Blitz warehouse fire, we can only trace his movements through the surviving records and so some of the dates and information may be approximate.

Alfred enlisted into the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in Spalding around May or June 1915, although the exact date is unknown. The medal rolls show that he has three separate entries for Battalions served, first the 4th Lincs (3941), then the 5th Lincs (3941) and finally the 4th Lincs again (201275).

Alfred enlisted originally into the 4th Battalion and after training was posted to France to join his battalion on 10th December 1915. At that time the Battalion were in Thiennes and on the 22nd December 1915 an entry in the Battalion Diary reports that “106 Reinforcements arrived from the 3/4th Battalion at 2.30pm, kit inspection held on arrival”. This would be Alfred’s first meeting with his Battalion ion the field.

The prospect of a long winter in the trenches was dispelled during the month of January by orders to the 46th Division to embark for Egypt at an early date, and on the 7th January both the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions left Marseilles in T.S.S. “ Anchises.”
The vessel reached Alexandria on the 13th January and they left by rail for El Shalufa, two miles south of the Bitter Lakes, where, after detraining, they crossed the Suez Canal by ferry, and bivouacked to the east of it.
By day the desert to the east was patrolled by Indian Lancers, but by night each battalion, in turn, furnished an outpost line round the camp. The days were very hot, and the nights cold; any wind that blew carried clouds of dust; nevertheless a fortnight passed very pleasantly.

This peaceful existence came to an end when the 46th Division received sudden orders to return to France, and on the 4th February the 4th Battalion embarked at Alexandria on the “ Minnewaska,” and the 5th on the “ Megantic,” disembarking in Marseilles on the 9th February 1916.
The evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula set free a large number of troops for service in Egypt and the 46th Division was in consequence ordered back to France.

The Battalion then spend time in Ailly Le Haute Clocher training until the end of February and then on to Doullens, it would not be until the 11th of March 1916 that the Battalion would be back in trenches since the 2nd December and Alfred’s first taste of the trenches. Later it in the month was a movement for the Battalion and into trenches around Fonquevillers for June.

Eventually they would be given orders for a Zero Time of 7-30am for a planned attack on the 1st July, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Their orders were to “take over a trench line south of the Gommecourt Road on the night of 27th/28th” This was to be their sector for the big push and they were to attack Gommecourt although the 4th battalion was not in the front wave.
The Battalion Diary does not give much detail for the Battle of the Somme and they remained in the trenches until the 8th July when they were relived and dropped back to Bienvillers to provide working parties.

Alfred’s next mention in any documents is on the 10th July 1916 when we find A Thompson of B Company 1/4th Lincs being admitted to the 2nd General Hospital at Le Havre with Suppuration of the Lymph Glands, axilla (Axillary Lymph Nodes). After two days in the General Hospital he was transferred to H.S. Carisbrook Castle and returned to England.

Usually after convalescence, if fully fighting fit, a man would be pushed back to the front but depending upon the level of fitness obtained it was possible that they were assigned to a Home Service Unit for duties such as defending ammunitions factories, military facilities or docks until the point when they were declared fit for a return to the Front.
It was very usual for a man to be sent back to France and then at the base camp be assigned or posted to a Battalion or Regiment that needed men as reinforcements the most urgently.

We have no records to say what happened in Alfred’s case although his medal roles show that he was posted to the 5th Battalion (still with regimental number 3941) and then back to the 4th Battalion (regimental number 201275) at some point in his war story. All we can say for certain is that when he was killed he was back with the 4th Battalion.

The following shows the movements of the 4th Battalion in the month before Arthur Thompson’s death and are taken from the 4th Battalion diaries. This is the most accurate way of seeing Arthur’s movements over the last days of his life.

May 28th 1917 – Bovigny Boyeffles
The 138th Brigade (Lincolns and Leicesters) was withdrawn from the line, the 4th Battalion Lincolns taking up billets at Bouvigny Boyeffles. There it was that the striking news reached them. The Battalion had been honoured by the command to take part in an extensive enterprise on a 2000 yards front North West., West and South West of Lens. The 138th Infantry Brigade being further represented by the 5th Leicesters. Our Battalion was thrilled with the news and one heard repeatedly the remark “Our first real chance since Hohenzollern”

29th May – June 3rd 1917 – Bouvigny Boyeffles
Training began in earnest. A replica to scale of the ground over which the attack would be launched was planned and laid out at Marqueffles Farm a mile or so South East of Bouvigny. From “assembly trenches” one’s eye ranged forward to persuasive notice boards announcing in bold letters “Railway Cutting” and “Bridge Destroyed”, on past crinoline wire entanglements to objective trenches, first and second line strongholds of the enemy, strangely quiescent, and labelled according to their map designations, Ahead, Agnes, Alcove, Archie, Alice, Amy, Admiral and Annie such were the communications and trenches guarding hill 65. These it was, the Battalion was to storm.
Daily to the practice ground went the Battalion joined by D Company (captain Wakeley) of the 4th Leicesters – our “Moppers-up” elect. The artillery and machine gun barrage to cover our advance and keep the impetuous in check was indicated by flagmen and thus the progress of the attacking waves was directed.
On six successive days the course was covered. Forward at Zero to the “Cutting”, half right form to face the objective trenches, B Company then edging away to the left, half D Company inclining to the right and joining up with C Company on that flank. “Moppers-up” in position behind the first wave – Gradually the movement attained a clock work precision and every man wac capable of pushing his path blindfold.
On the seventh day Dress rehersal. General Holland 1st Corps Commander, General W Thwaites 46th Division G.O.C, Colonel Thorpe Commanding 138th Infantry Brigade (Whose presence and responsibility for the tactical dispositions inspired the confidence of all ranks), and their staffs surveyed the final training bout. Fully equipped with arms, spades, picks, bombs, lights and flares the “Attack” began. The repeated “Toot toot” of a “claxton” from a contact plane aloft completed the programme. Flares were lighted to announce the progress of the advance.

4th June 1917
The higher commands were satisfied. It only remained to form up and receive the confident good wishes of the staff, and , with a full day’s rest on the morrow, all were ready and impatient for the real thing.

5th June 1917
A day of well-earned rest.

6th June 1917
On the morning of the June 6th the Commanding Officer announced to the Battalion, at a special parade, that plans had been altered and instead of the premeditated operation the attack was to be a series of destructive raids. The same evening the Battalion marched away from Bouvigny and billeted in the ruins of Cite Des Bureaux, Lievin.

7th June 1917 – Cite Des Bureaux, Lievin

8th June 1917 – Cite Des Riaumont
The 8th June arrived – a perfect summer day. The afternoon was spent in moving up to the cellars in Cite De Riaumont adjoining the assembly trenches. All Companies reached these without mishap except D Company which lost the services of 2nd Lieut E A Dennis (13 Platoon) wounded by one of the enemy’s shells that were already finding our starting zone.
Time crept on towards zero. “Sausages” enlivened the waiting period as they crashed on and around the ruins which sheltered us. Well before 8pm “C”, “D” and “B” Companies were in position in their respective assembly trenches. In some way the enemy seems to have known our timed movements and intentions. The intensity of the barrage to which the assembled troops was subjected was and experience no one on the spot is likely to forget.
“D” Company fared worst as, while the bombardment of their sector was accurate to a degree, on the flank sectors it was sufficiently plus to miss the assembled platoons.

At Zero – 3 Captain R D Ellis commanding D Company and Captain Wakeley O.C. 4th Leicesters “Mopping-Up” Company were caught by the same shell as they came into position in the rear trench. Both were killed outright.

At 8:30pm the synchronised signal to advance was given. C Company on the right got away without mishap, two platoons South of Cutting and one under 2nd Lieut A B Hardy, who was wounded almost immediately, to bring covering fire from the Cutting. D Company in the centre as soon as they “Jumped Off”, by ranks and increased intervals to lessen gaps, showed the effects of their experience in the assembly trenches. B Company on the left were a joy to behold as they went over the line.
The Cutting was reached.
D Company by this time reduced by half its number and B company, already caught by the enemy’s guns, scaled the further slope of the Cutting together and advanced to their objectives. Captain E.J.S. Maples commanding B Company was at this juncture struck in the forearm by an ugly piece of shell case but continued the advance with his men. Owing to the position of their line being oblique to the “A” Barrage and the stokes mortars which were to deal with this sector being put out of action, the enemy had time to man his trenches from his dug-outs. C Company with the platoon of the 5th Leicester’s on their right were completely held up. When the first waves of “D” & “B” Companies reached the first German trench his barrage was already on it, and a temporary check occurred until the reinforcing waves came up. Owing to this check we were unable to keep up with our barrage, and the enemy had lined his second trench before our arrival there. Hand to hand fighting ensued and after a further advance of D Company to the South and B Company to the East the odds became overwhelming. We fell back first to Ahead and then the Cutting. Meantime Sergeant Quinton E, with his platoon got further afield than the rest. It was during this stage of the fight that B Company lost 2nd Lieut R T Thomson and 2nd Lieut H C Chase, both of whom died gloriously, the former a result of a second wound and the latter from a shell burst. Sergeant E Quinton, B Company, and his platoon after several attempts to re-join their comrades, in which they repeatedly bumped up against strong parties of the enemy, finally succeeded in rushing an opposition post and fighting their way back to our line, after having been in the German lines for four hours; a triumph of leadership on the part of Sergeant E Quinton. The demolished bridge on the right flank was at once mamed, and under 2nd Liuet W F Maskell (D Company 14 Platoon) kept the enemy at respectful distance, sterling work being done by the Lewis gun. The front of the Cutting was lines by the remnant of B and D Companies under Captain E J S Maples and was held until orders for withdrawal to Assembly Trenches was received, A Company having manned our original line of posts. It was not till then that Captain E J S Maples withdrew from the fight and had his arm properly dressed, some 3 hours after he was wounded.

The greatest assistance had been rendered throughout by the 138th Machine Gun Company under Major A A Ellwood, a 4th Lincoln officer and particularly by a detachment of two of his guns under Lieut Stentiford, manned by 4th Lincolns.

The attack on the right hand had gone well, A Company 4th Leicesters having reached their objectives and sent back 27 prisoners.

9th June 1917 – Chateau (Leivin)
The day was spent reorganising Companies. Evacuation of wounded continues and by night search parties went out, discovering two more wounded men and a number of dead, who before had been reckoned as missing. On the night of the 9th we were relieved by the 5th Lincolns and moved to billets in Aix Noulette. Here we rested that night and also the following day.

10th June 1917 – Aix Noulette
In the afternoon we were honoured by a visit of the G.O.C the Battalion paraded in clean fatigue and were addressed by the General. He expressed himself well pleased with the excellent fighting qualities our men showed, and with the number of Boches they killed.

On the night of the 10th we moved into support in Lievin.

Private Alfred Thompson was killed in the actions that took place during the attack on the 8th June.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private Alfred Thompson, 201275, 1st/4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 8 June 1917 Age 19. Son of Mrs Susannah Hubbard (formerly Thompson) Tongue End, Spalding, Lincs. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial.

We Will Remember Them…/alfred-…/

Remembrance – Ernest Codling

Today we remember Bourne man Ernest Codling who was killed in action on this day, 8th June 1917, serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment during the second day of the Battle of Messines Ridge.

Ernest Codling was born on the 28th August 1896 at 51 King Street Lincoln to John Codling, a railway porter from Lincoln and his wife Mary Elizabeth Cobb. John and Mary were married in Lincoln in 1892.

John and Mary had 8 children in total, unfortunately they had lost 3 of them before 1911.

  • Albert Codling, 1893, Lincoln
  • Gertrude Mary Codling, 1894, Lincoln
  • Ernest Codling, 1896, Lincoln
  • John William Codling, 1906, Lincoln
  • Doris May Codling, 1910, Lincoln

The three children they lost were between census returns and so their names are not currently known.

In 1901 John, Mary and their three children were living at 37 Queen Street Lincoln. The next year Ernest started St Peter at Gowts infants school on the 11th June 1902 where he remained until 22nd August 1905. The National Schools admission register indicates that when leaving St Peter at Gowts Ernest went on to attend the newly re-organised St Andrews school in St Andrews Street Lincoln.

By 1911 Ernest had moved from home and was living with his uncle, William Marshall Codling, at Watering Dyke Farm, Grange-de-Lings near Nettleham, Lincoln. Here he worked as a farm servant and the census lists his job as “odd duties”.

Ernest later moved back to live with his parents at 1 Naan Cottages, Grey Street, Lincoln and started working as a warehouseman.

During the war years the family moved to Bourne and settled there. Whilst in Bourne the family received the sad new that Ernest’s oldest brother, Albert, who had joined the Lincolnshire Regiment before the war, had been killed in May 1915 in the area around Ypres.

Ernest enlisted into the army at Lincoln on the 8th December 1914.

Ernest’s full service records, like that of 60% of the men from WW1 cannot be found. It is likely that they are part of the records destroyed in a London warehouse fire during the Blitz. The following story of Ernest’s war has been pieced together with as much accuracy as possible for other surviving records.

The medal rolls also show that Ernest has three separate regimental numbers tied into different Battalions of the Lincolnshire regiment. It is likely that on enlistment he was assigned to the 4th Battalion (3442) to start training. The associated medal card shows that he was not eligible for the 1914/15 Star and certainly no 1914/15 star medal roll has been found which would support this fact. You would assume that he did not serve abroad before the end of 1915 however other documents may dispute this fact. Until recent documents were found with regards to a wounded list it was always thought that Ernest did not serve abroad until 1916.

The 4th Battalion had been mobilised for war and landed at Harvre on the 1st March 1915 as part of the 138th Brigade of the 46th Division. There is no documentary evidence to say that Ernest was amongst this first mobilisation and if he had started training immediately on enlistment it could be possible but without the proof we will not describe the exact movements of the 4th Battalion at this point.

Albert Codling, Ernest’s brother was also serving with the 4th Battalion and certainly was part of the first mobilisation in March 1915. Albert had been killed on the 13th May in fighting around Lindenhoek and it is possible that Ernest was already in the Battalion fighting at the same time.

During 1915 the Battalion would also be involved in the first liquid fire attack at Hooge.

We next find that on the Army’s Casualty List issued by the war office on the 28th October 1915, Private Ernest Codling 3442, 4th Battalion, serving in France and Flanders was listed as “Wounded”. In our experience these lists could be as much as 4 weeks and in extreme cases 6 weeks behind real life and therefore the exact date of being wounded and the nature of this remains unknown for now.

During September the Battalion had been at Bellewarde just outside Ypres but during the first week of October they were moved to Busnettes, North-West of Bethune where they underwent training. On the 8th the officers were taken to Vermelles where they inspected the trenches and got a first look at the Hohenzollern Redoubt. The rest of the men would see a model of the Redout 2 days later as part of their training.

On the 13th October the Hohenzollern Redoubt was taken, the 4th Lincs in support of the 5th Lincs and 4th Leics but at great cost to the Battalion with 10 officers and 385 other ranks falling as casualties.

It is not known if it was this action where Ernest was wounded or if it was during the time in late September near Ypres.

After a man had recovered from his injuries, if bad enough he would be sent back for convalescence rather than his old Battalion until a time when he was classed as medically fit re-join a Battalion. In many cases the attrition rate and the rate of replacements was so great that it was most likely that they would be placed into a Battalion that was in most need of experienced men. This may be the trigger for Ernest being posted to the 5th Battalion Lincolnshire regiment (20047) or his later posting to the 6th Battalion (40635), in both cases we have no documentary proof of the dates.

There are similar 200xx regimental numbering ranges being used by men joining the Supernumery Companies of the 5th Lincs around September 1915 (reserve companies on home service), and so we suspect that Ernest Joined a company of the 5th Lincs when he was fit enough and this may have been at one of the base camps or back in England. It is possible that he was then posted to the 6th Battalion when he regained A1 fitness. This is a possibility based on other records for men around a similar time but without any documentary proof plus we have no further wounded lists that support a second injury or posting to the 6th battalion.

We do know that when he was killed, Ernest Codling was with the 6th Battalion and so we can only look at his movements during his last month. Unfortunately, the diaries for the 6th Battalion from this period are largely unreadable and so a ful transcription may take a long while and a lot of patience.

The following extract is from “The History of the 6th Service Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment” by Colonel F.G. Spring, and is the best source of information for this period (May 1917). For clarity the 6th Battalion were Part of the 33rd Infantry Brigade of the 11th Division, 2nd Army.  

“The maintenance of pressure on the Arras front, which kept the enemy constantly on the alert, enabled final preparations to be made for the opening of the Flanders offensive, which was to begin with the Battle of Messines.

The actual front selected for this operation extended between nine and ten miles from a point opposite St. Yves to Mount Sorrel. The objective of the attack was a group of hills known as the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, which lies about midway between Armentières and Ypres. Messines itself is situated on the southern spur of the ridge which commands a wide view of the valley of the Lys and enfiladed the British lines to the south. North-west of Messines, Wytschaete, situated at the point of the salient and on the highest part of the ridge, commanded a view of almost the entire town of Ypres and all the old British positions in the Ypres Salient.

A special feature in the operations due to take place on the 7th of June was one original in warfare – the explosion of nineteen deep mines at the moment of assault. No such mining feat had ever before been attempted. In the construction of these mines, eight thousand yards of gallery had been driven and over one million pounds of explosives used.

Nine divisions were to take part in the actual assault, and three were in support, among which was the 11th Division who latter lay opposite Wytschaete, and in rear of the 16th Division at the centre of the attack.

Having left Albert (Somme) on the night of 17th/18th of May, the 6th Lincolns detrained at Caëstre and marched to Le Thieushouck where they were billeted. The first three days at Le Thieushouck were spent in interior economy and company training, although the training was greatly restricted by the highly cultivated state of the surrounding ground. On May 22nd the Division was informed that it was to take part in the coming operations, and two days later the Battalion marched to a training area situated on the frontier between France and Belgium, about six miles in rear of the Wytschaete sector. The following two weeks there were spent in training for the attack.

The 11th Division received orders to pass through the 16th Division when the latter had captured its objective. The role of the 33rd Brigade was to pass through and capture a trench system three miles east of Wytschaete.

At midday on the 6th of June orders were received to attack the following morning. Preparations were quickly made and at 11.30 p.m. the Lincolnshire marched to Butterfly Farm, two miles from the front line, to await final orders.

As dawn was breaking on the 7th, there was a sudden rumbling of the earth, huge flames shot up, clouds of smoke, dust and debris, a rocking of the ground – as the nineteen mines “went up.” Before one was able to regain one’s normal faculties, there was another deafening crash as the barrage roared out from a thousand guns. The 6th Lincolns had taken up a position among the “Heavies” and were almost stunned by the ear-splitting din of the monsters as they roared and poured a hail of big shells upon the wretched Germans.

The 6th Lincolns waited in suspense for the first results of the attack. The barrage still continued but at about 9 a.m., word was received that the 16th Division had taken their first two objectives and were pushing on to the third.

At about 11 a.m., orders were received to advance to the Vierstraat Switch, a trench running parallel to, and about a thousand yards behind, the British line.

At about midday the battalion reached its destination and the men had dinner, while Lieut.-Colonel Gater went to Brigade Headquarters for further orders.

Just after 2 p.m., he returned with the information that at 3 p.m., another barrage would fall under cover of which the battalion was to attack the third objective.

The forming-up place was to be two miles away on the further slope of the Wytschaete Ridge but the intervening ground was badly cut up by shell-holes, broken trenches and communication trenches full of troops and wounded men. The battalion, being scattered over a thousand yards of trench, had to be got together, and so as not to be late, Battalion Headquarters and ‘D’ Company started off and arrived at the forming-up line just as the barrage opened. The other companies had not yet come up, so Lieut.-Colonel Gater decided to push on with ‘D’ Company for fear of losing the barrage. ‘D’ Company shook out into artillery formation and advanced. Australian troops were on the right and portions of the 6th Border Regiment on the left, with the 7th South Staffords and 9th Sherwood Foresters in support and reserve respectively.

The enemy’s artillery opened fire as soon as our barrage fell but his barrage was weak and ill-directed, and many of his guns were effectively smothered by our fire. ‘D’ Company extended into line in two waves after passing through the first line of posts held by the 16th Division. Very little opposition was encountered: the enemy either ran or surrendered until the objective was nearly reached. Here the Germans attempted a counter-attack but with the assistance of tanks it was broken up, and by 5 p.m. the objective had been gained. Casualties during the attack had been extraordinarily light, ‘D’ Company losing only two or three men. The heaviest losses were in Battalion Headquarters: Lieutenant F.C. Thorn and Regimental-Sergeant-Major Smith and twenty Other Ranks being wounded.

The senior Company Commander, Captain Howis, brought up the remaining three companies with very few casualties. The appearance of these companies, comparatively fresh and intact, was of enormous value in consolidating the position. As dusk was falling the German guns began to shell the position heavily. Captain Sutherland was wounded in the face, and a platoon of ‘C’ Company, holding a strong point, was entirely wiped out (with the exception of and Lieutenant Read, who was badly wounded).

Early next morning on the 8th, another counter-attack developed which at one time looked serious until A Company, with Lewis gun and rifle-fire, succeeded in breaking it up. Second Lieutenant Rowlands was wounded and ‘A’ Company had altogether about a dozen casualties. One N.C.O. – Sergeant Biggadike – was conspicuous for his bravery; he died very gallantly, successfully maintaining his post which the enemy attempted to rush.

Lieut.-Colonel G.H. Gater was wounded in the face when leading ‘D’ Company to the attack but with great self-sacrifice remained at duty until his battalion went out of the line.

There was another counter-attack on the evening of the 9th, accompanied by heavy shell-fire, during which, to everyone’s regret, the Battalion Medical Officer, Captain Frere, was killed, and many other casualties were suffered.

On the night of the 10th/11th of June, the 6th Lincolns were relieved by the 34th Brigade and moved back to camp near Kemmel. The total casualties of the Battalion during the Battle of Messines 1917 were six officers and one hundred and sixty Other Ranks.

The Battalion remained in camp until the 18th of June, engaged in salvage work, and then began to march back in easy stages to Ganspette”.

Ernest Codling was killed in action on the 8th June whilst taking part in the planned offensive described above.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private E Codling, 40635, 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 8 June 1917
Remembered with honour, Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

Ernest is buried in Messines Ridge cemetery no more than 4 miles from Lindenhoek Chalet where his brother Albert is buried, having been killed on the 13th May 1915 in operations with the 4th Battalion.

Ernest’s photograph courtesy of Jonathan Smith

Remembrance – George Robert Lunn MM

Remembrance – George Robert Lunn MM

Today we pay our respects to Lance Corporal George Lunn who died 100 years ago today, 11th December 1917 and served with the Lincolnshire Regiment.

George was born in Dyke in 1882, the son of John Lunn and his wife Elizabeth Allen. John Lunn was working as a traction engine driver in Dyke in 1911 and at this time George was working as a mineral water packer at Mills and Co Mineral Water Works (Mills and Baxter) in Bourne.

George enlisted into the Lincolnshire Regiment in Bourne around the spring of 1915 and after training was posted to the 1/5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

In April 1917 George was invalided home with septic poisoning and he then spent 5 months in hospital in Manchester.

Whilst still in hospital the London Gazette of the 14th September 1917 carried the following report:-
His Majesty the KING- has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned Ladies, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men :-
241750 L./C. G. R. Lunn, Linc. R. (Callick).

After being released from hospital George visited Bourne briefly before being called to Lincoln and then posted to the 4th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at their East Coast Camp as a musketry instructor. He arrived at the camp and later that night was involved in an accidental shooting, being shot in the chest and later died en route to hospital.

George was buried with a military funeral at Bourne Cemetery and is also commemorated on the Bourne Memorial


Lincolnshire Echo 14th December 1917
Fatal Rifle Accident – Lance Corporal George Robert Lunn of the Lincolnshire whose home is at 108 Birkin Avenue, Hyson Green, Nottingham has been fatally shot at a camp on the Lincolnshire Coast. Whilst Lunn was standing in the hut talking with the another soldier, Private Bartram Sissons picked up a rifle from the rack and was examining it, when the weapon went off. The bullet struck Lunn who died on the way to hospital. Lunn and Sissons have served together for more than a year in France, and were on good terms.

Grantham Journal 15th December 1917
Memorial Service – On Sunday evening, the Reverend J. Carvath conducted a memorial service for the late Lance Corporal George Lunn at Bourne Congregational Church at which the deceased was a regular worshiper before he left Bourne to join the army. The Rev. Gentleman took for his text of words “I am the resurrection and the light” and pointed out that when Christ spoke these words. He did so to comfort Martha and Mary and they had been a comfort to the bereaved ever since, as he trusted they would be to those who mourned for their departed friend that night.
Military Funeral – On Saturday afternoon a military funeral at Bourne Cemetery attracted a large assembly. The burial was that of Lance Corporal George Lunn, who met his death under sudden circumstances on the previous Tuesday. Deceased had only just returned to camp, after having spent 5 months in hospital in Manchester. Corporal Lunn was with a number of others of the Regiment in the Non Comm hut when a discussion arose on musketry. A rifle was used to demonstrate an argument and on the trigger being pulled, to the dismay of all present, the rifle was found to have contained a live cartridge. Deceased was shot and succumbed to his injuries before arriving at hospital. At the inquest a verdict of accidental death was returned. The funeral was attended by Lieut C. F. E. Dean (representing the T.F. Reserve Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment). Sergeant-Major Garfoot, Sergeant Dolman (who had the funeral arrangements in hand, including the firing party), and Sergeant Drummer Leaning, conducting the bugle band. The cortege was met at Bourne station by the members of the family, including Mr John Lunn (Father), Miss Sergeant (Fiancee), Mr Tom Lunn (Brother), Miss Maude Lunn, Miss Hilda Lunn, Miss Muriel Lunn (Sisters), Mr and Mrs D. Drakard (Uncle and Aunt), Miss Allen (Aunt), Mrs T. Lunn (Sister in Law), Mrs J. Lunn (Step Mother). The service was conducted by the Rev J. Comyn Jones and the Rev J. Carvath. The firing party fired the three volleys. The bearers were six Lance-Corporals, five of whom were personal friends of the deceased. The last post was sounded by the bugle band. There were a number of floral tributes including those from his father; His Sister’s, Maud, Hilda and Muriel; Tom and Gertie; Mrs S. Pick; Mr and Mrs Fell and family; The officers of the Reserve Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment; The Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess of the Lincolns. Deceased was well known at Bourne, having lived for many years in the town and was employed up to the time of his enlistment in Messrs R. N. Mills and Co’s Mineral water factory and was a packer, the employees of whom were represented at the funeral by Messrs H. Robinson, T. Teat, H. and A. Gilbert. Amongst others present were Messrs George Brown and W. H. Carter (Representing the Bourne Brotherhood) of which body deceased was a member and regular attendant). The Liberal Club (of which deceased was a member since its inception) was represented by Messrs W. Kelby, T. Mee and W. Nichols.

Memorial Visit – Maroc British Cemetery

Memorial Visit – Maroc British Cemetery

Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay

We found Four 5th Lincolnshire lads laying side by side in the November sunshine.

On the 25th April 1917 Victor Barsby of Bourne was killed. Only 5 days later on the 30th, George Inkly of Thurlby was killed along with George Freeman of Deeping st James and Sergeant David Kent born in Grimsby.

They lay together forever as comrades.


Percy Victor Barsby – Bourne – 25th April 1917 – 5th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment

George Inkley – Thurlby – 30th April 1915 – 5th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment