Remembrance – Archer Cooke

Archer Cooke

Today we remembered local Baston, Lincolnshire man, Archer Cooke who was killed in action on the 9th May 1915, serving with the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

Archer “Archie” Cooke was born in the winter of 1889 to Alfred Cooke, a Groom and agricultural labourer born in Baston in 1848, and his wife Mary Adelaide Hill, Born in Baston in 1853.

The couple were married in Baston on the 25th November 1872. The couple remained in Baston where they had 15 children, Mary’s first son being born in 1871:-
• Randolph Hildebrand Hill, 1871, Baston (Half brother)
• Alfred William Cooke (aka William) 1873, Baston
• George Cooke, 1876, Baston
• Charles Cooke, 1877, Baston
• Joseph Ernest Cooke, 1879, Baston
• Arthur Cooke, 1882, Baston
• Matthew Cooke, 1884, Baston
• Alfred Cooke, 1885, Baston
• Elizabeth Skeath Cooke, 1886, Baston
• Christopher Cooke, 1888, Baston
• Archer Cooke, 1889, Baston
• Percy Cooke, 1892, Baston
• Hilda Cooke, 1893, Baston
• There were 3 more children whose names are unknown but are mentioned in the not survived column on the 1911 census.

In 1891 the 2 year old Archer is living with his parents in Main Street, Baston. By 1901 he is living with his father, a Garthman on a farm, his mother not being present on census night.
By 1911 Archer has already joined the Army and is serving with the 1st battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in Aden. He is listed on he 1911 Census in barracks, the location just being listed as Military, Overseas, Arabia, Cyprus, Gibraltar.
The family are still living in Baston and the census tells us hat Alfred and Mary have been married for 38 years and have had 16 children in total. Alfred now working as a warehouseman.

The Birth registers and 1891 census show that Archer’s full name was Archer Cooke although on the 1901 census returns and on all military documents he is Archie Cooke.

There are some parts of his Full Military Service records surviving but they are part of the Burnt Records that partially survived the warehouse fire in London in the Blitz that destroyed 60% of all WW1 records. The burnt records re a part that survived but the pages have some fire damage and hence some of the information is unclear or partially destroyed.

Archer attested to the Lincolnshire Regiment on 31st December 1907 and after passing his medical on 1st January 1908 was pronounced fit to serve. He had signed up for a 12 year period, that being 7 years active service and then 5 years on Military reserve.
On his enlistment form he declared that he was 18 years and 1 month old and also that he was serving with the 3rd Lincolnshire Regiment and previously served in the 2nd Militia. At the time his occupation was a farm servant. He was then enlisted and assigned the regimental number of 8318.

He was allotted to the 1st battalion on the 24th January 1908 and then sent to Portsmouth to serve.

Archer finds himself being posted to the 1st Battalion on the 7th February 1911 and by the 25th February he is with the Battalion in Aden.

A year on and on the 2nd January 1912 Archer is posted to the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and within days is posted out to Gibraltar on the 13th January.

On 7th January 1914, the 2nd battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Bunbury McAndrew, were posted to Bermuda and stationed at Prospect Camp, in Devonshire Parish, on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton (the colonial capital).
When war was declared on the 4th of August, the battalion was under orders to return to Britain. The Governor of Bermuda, Lieutenant-General Sir George Bullock, was temporarily abroad and Lieutenant-Colonel McAndrew filled his place, overseeing the placement of the colony onto a war footing.

The Battalion left Bermuda and headed for Canada as the first part of their leg home on 13th September 1914 heading to Halifax Nova Scotia on the SS Canada before embarking for Devonport on the 3rd October 1914.

Arriving back home on the 20th October the Battalion was moved to Hursley Park, Winchester to join the 25th Brigade, 8th Division. There they prepared for war and some men were given 48 hours leave before they were mobilised on the 5th November.

At 12 Noon on the 5th November the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment marched out of camp to join the British Expeditionary Force, arriving at Southampton at 5pm, they immediately embarked on SS Cestrian and sailed to France.
On arriving at Havre on the 6th November they marched to a reserve camp just outside of the city, three days later entraining for their eventual destination of Champiny, 10km South West of Armentieres. Here the Battalion entered trenches on the 14th November to see their first action of the Great War.

On the 29th December 1914 Archer is appointed as acting Corporal, in the field.

The Battalion remained in the Armentieres area until in March 1915 being moved up to be part of the Battle for Neuve-Chapelle which took place between the 10th and 13th March.
On the eve of the Battle of Neuve-Chappelle, the 10th March 1915, Archer was promoted to a full Corporal in the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.
During this battle the battalion saw an artillery bombardment using 300 guns for over one hour and then the battalion were part of the main attack. During the 7 days before being relieved the battle has cost the Battalion 7 officers killed, 8 wounded, 298 men killed and wounded.

The Battalion remained in this sector, in and out of trenches for the rest of March 1915, providing working parties and burying the dead before moving back to billets at Bac St Maur by the end of the month. This was similar in April, some training was carried out in the second week when the Battalion were out of the trenches and in Divisional Reserve. They were given training, which included wire cutting and specific training for blocking party use.

On the 17th April the Battalion were addressed by the Commander in Chief on the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle and then they carried out practice attacks in readiness for the next planned attack. The rest of the month they went back to the usual pattern of three days in the trenches and then three days out in support.
On 26th April 1915, Archer is admitted in to the 25th Field Ambulance for “alleged Fits”, 3 days later on the 29th April he is discharged and returns to his Battalion who at this time are in the Levantie Section of the Line near Fromelles.

Another tour of the trenches was carried out at the beginning of May and on the 7th they received orders for an attack on Fromelles, which was to be carried out early on the 9th. At 11pm on the night of the 8th the Battalion left the Billets and marched down to the assembly trenches.

The northern part of the assault would involve the 25th infantry Brigade of the 8th division, which included the second Lincolnshire battalion’s four companies. By 2 am, the 25th Brigade was lined up in assembly trenches opposite a section of enemy line. At 5 am the artillery guns open fire, pounding German defences and blowing wire entanglements apart. The guns ceased at 5:40 am and two companies of the second Lincolns advanced towards the village of Rouge Bancs, close behind the Royal Irish rifles and the 2nd Rifle Brigade. German artillery opened fire on the advancing troops, and they were subjected to a storm of machine gun and rifle fire from both flanks. The two leading formations suffered heavy losses.
We can see in great details the actions of this day and the following extract has been taken from the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment for May 1915.

5th May 1915
2 pm –
Battalion moved into close billets south east of Sailly.

6th-7th May 1915
Orders for attack on Fromelles received and issued to companies.

8th May 1915
11pm –
Battalion left billets and marched down to assembly trenches near Rue Petillon where it formed up ready for attack on the following morning. The battalion was on the left flank of the second line. W and X companies in front with Y and Z immediately behind.

9th May 1915
5am –
Artillery began bombardment of enemies trenches and on lifting at 5:40 am the 1st Royal Irish Rifles in the front line commenced the attack with the battalion following close behind. The enemy at once opened a heavy artillery and rifle fire. The leading companies of the battalion were able to advance as far as the trenches immediately in front of our own fire parapet and there found further advance impossible, heavy flanking fire from rifles and machine guns being brought to bear on them. Before this position was reached 2/Lieut Ayres (3rd Dorsetshire regiment and Lieut Nisbet were killed and Lieuts Nind and Clifford, wounded.
The 1st Royal Irish Rifles who preceded the battalion were also unable to reach the German trench.
The two companies of the battalion in the second line had by this time reached our own parapet and as a further advance from this point was impossible the GOC 25th infantry Brigade issued orders for these two companies to endeavour to work down for sap leading towards the main crater on the left and after gaining possession of the German trench to work Westwood and join up with the left of the 2nd Rifle Brigade.
At this moment the Brigadier was killed and the command of the Brigade devolved on Major S. Fiby G. Cox, Major H.E.R Boxer assuming command of the battalion. Capt B. J. Thruston was sent forward with the left party.
He sent on first a blocking and bombing party under 2/Lieut E.O. Black who succeeded in gaining the German trench and clearing 300 to the west but running out of bombs could advance no further. The remainder of the party followed close behind, but came under an extremely heavy fire from the right and left front especially the latter. Capt Thruston seeing this gave instructions for the bombing party of the Scottish rifles to go forward and clear the trench to the east of the mine crater. This they did.
9am –
While this was going on men were being sent across to occupy and put in a state of defence the trenches so cleared. Heavy casualties were suffered and only a small proportion of the men reach their objective. Capt Thruston having located to machine guns which were firing from beyond the crater and causing many casualties, collected five machine guns and very quickly silenced them.
10.30am –
Capt Thruston reported that he was in possession of the German trench to the west of the mind crater and was awaiting further orders. Considerable difficulty was experienced in communicating with this party owing to the ground between the opposing trenches being swept by enfilade machine-gun fire from hostile trenches further north east which had not been touched by our guns.
4pm –
An order eventually reached Captain Thruston directing him to bring his party back.
8pm –
As this was impossible during daylight he waited until 8 pm at which hour he was attacked on both flanks and rear, the enemy bombing and rushing in from the crater on the left first. Sing the situation and having no machine gun war bonds and being so hard pressed Captain Thruston gave the order for the party to get back to their own parapet, which they did. On the way back second lieutenant Black became missing.
11pm –
Orders were received for the battalion to proceed to billets. The party under Captain French (formally Major boxer) with Drew to our own parapet under cover of darkness, having been throughout the day severely subjected to shell and rifle fire.

10th May – Bac St Maur
2am –
Battalion reached billets just south of back St Maur.

By 3am on the 10th May all surviving Allied troops had been withdrawn from the German lines. It would take three days for all of the wounded men to be moved from the battlefield to field hospitals. The Battalion Diary notes, that in the attack, from the other ranks alone , 28 killed or died of wounds, 172 wounded, 77 missing, this was in addition to the officers that were named in the diary.

Archer Cooke was a casualty of this battle, like so many others killed in action on the 9th May 1915. Undoubtably Arher would have known Harry Briggs of Thurlby, who like him had served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment as a career soldier and was also killed in action on the 9th May 1915.
It was for his actions during this very same attack that Corporal Charles Sharpe of Bourne was awarded the Victoria Cross, being in the lead of the bombing party that took the 300 yards of enemy trench mentioned in the diary, that being after all of his party had become casualties, missing or killed.

More than 11,000 British casualties were sustained on 9th May 1915, the vast majority within yards of their own front line. If you look at length of the front for the attack this was one of the highest loss rates of any attack of the war.

The British Commander in Chief Sir John French had complained about the shortage of artillery shells to Colonel Tim Repington, the military correspondent for the Times newspaper. An article published on the 14 May in the Times placed the failure of the attack on the government. “British soldiers died in vain on the Aubers Ridge…because more shells were needed.” The story resulted in a political crisis, the Shell Scandal, which contributed to the Liberals being forced to accept a coalition government on the 25 May 1915. The Shell Scandal also brought about the creation of the Ministry of Munitions headed by David Lloyd George.

Lincolnshire Free Press – 21st May 1915
Much sympathy has been shown to Mr and Mrs a Cooke and family on the loss of their son, Corporal A Cooke, of the 2nd Lincolns, who was killed in action in the recent severe fighting. Lance-Corp F.J. Dann of the same regiment, conveyed the sad tidings to Mr and Mrs Cooke in a letter received from him last Friday, in which he stated:- “I am very sorry to have to tell you that your beloved son fell in our last engagement on Sunday the ninth inst., about 10 am, being shot through the head. He died instantly. I am sure everyone in the company are in morning with you as he was so well liked and respected by all who knew him.” A memorial service to him and another Baston lad, Sydney Cole, of the 2nd Northamptons, killed at Neuve-Chappelle, was held in the church on Sunday evening, at which there was a large congregation. The vicar spoke very consolingly to the mourners, and a muffled peal was wrung on the church bells, the school flag was half mastered, both lads being former scholars. Another son of Mr and Mrs Cooke, who was wounded in the retreat from Mons, has recently been promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major in the Kings own Royal Lancashires. In the same engagement mentioned above another Baston lad, Lance Corporal W Featherstone, Second Lincolns, was wounded in the hand, though, fortunately, not very seriously. In addition to the two killed this is the third wounded young man from Baston, one case necessitating amputation of right leg.

Grantham Journal Saturday 12th June 1915
The following casualties in the Expeditionary Force are reported from the Base under the dates given:-
May 21 – Killed – 2nd Battalion, Cooke 8318 Corpl. A.

We can see from a War Office form of the 14th September 1915, regarding posting of articles of property, the form has Mrs Mary Adelaide Cooke of Thetford Lane Baston struck through and a new address of Mr A Cooke, Cemetery Avenue Baston added. This looks like it was an amended instruction of the 11th August 1910.

On the 16th September Infantry Records at Litchfield sent Archer’s personal belongings (Effects) to his father and this was the sum total of one identity disc. The form was signed by Alfred Cooke and duly returned.

In November 1915 Mrs Mary Cooke of Cemetery Lane, Baston writes to the Infantry Records office stating that he would have had several things in his possession and could they give her any information of his small book as it might be of some interest to her.

In 1919 the Infantry Records office in Litchfield wrote to Mr Alfred Cook of Cemetery Lane Baston explaining that they wished to ‘dispose’ of the plaque and scroll in accordance with his Majesty’s wishes and that he would need to fill out a next of Kin form to progress these instructions. The form was duly signed by Alfred Cooke and he lists Archers’ family as, 10 brothers which he lists by initial and surname only, all living in Baston and one sister E Pask aged 30 also living in Baston. This he duly signed on the 31st May 1919.

On the 14th August 1919 a request was sent from the war office to the Infantry Records Office in Litchfield stating that any articles of personal property of Archer’s that were in their possession should be sent to Mr Alfred Cooke at Cemetery Avenue Baston.

The scroll and Plaque were then sent and a form acknowledging their receipt was sent back to the records signed by Alfred Cooke on the 29th November 1919.

In February 1922 Alfred Cooke received a further parcel for the Army and this time it contains The British War and Victory Medals of Corporal Cooke A, 8318, Lincolnshire Regiment. Albert signs the returns receipt slip on. 22nd February 1922, 7 years after his son’s death.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Corporal Archie Cooke, 8318, 2nd Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 9 May 1915, Remembered with honour, Ploegsteert Memorial.

Archer Cooke is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in St John the Baptist Church, Baston.…/archer-…/

Acknowledgements to Baston Church and Diane for the photograph of Archer Cooke.

Remembrance – George Hallam

Today we remember Baston man, George Hallam who was reported missing presumed dead on the 8th may 1915, serving with the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers near St Julien, Belgium.

George Hallam was born in Late Spring of 1882 in Bolden, County Durham to George Allam, a coal miner born in Baston Lincolnshire in 1854 and his wife Mary Dixon, born in Hetton Downs County Durham in 1860.
The couple were married in 1878 in Houghton Le Spring, County Durham and at first lived in Hetton Le Hole, where their first child was born. In all they had 5 children:-

• Elizabeth Hallam, 1879, Hetton le Hole
• Jane Ann Allam, 1880, Hetton le Hole
• George Allam, 1882, Boldon
• John Thomas Allam, 1884, Houghton le Spring
• William Allam, 1886, Hetton Downs

George was living with his parents at 94 Caroline Street in Hetton le Hole in 1891 although 10 years later he was living as a lodger with the Rouse family in Main Street, Greatford. Both George Hallam and George Rouse, head of the household, are working as Horsekeepers on a farm.

Between 1902 and 1908 we believe that George was in Military Service.

In 1908 George Hallam was married to Ethel Frisby Boor in Baston. Ethel was the daughter of Samuel Frisby Boor and Charlotte Rouse and was born on 21st October 1885. The couple settled in Baston and went on to have six children:-
George Bernard Hallam 8th August 1908, Baston
Jane Clarice Hallam, 14th October 1909, Baston
Dora Hallam, April – June 1911 (Died 1911)
Elizabeth Hallam, 29th April 1912
Ethel Louisa Hallam, 18th January 1914
William Lorraine Hallam, 24th March 1915

In 1911 George Hallam is living with his wife Ethel and their two children in a three room house in Atter’s Yard in Baston. George is working as a Farm Labourer.

Allam / Hallam –
Our first mystery is the spelling of he name Allam/Hallam. The birth registrations for George Allam Snr in Baston and all children, apart from Elizabeth were Allam. George Allam Jnr enlisted in the Army for WW1 with the surname Hallam, the same spelling as on his marriage registration and all documents once he had moved to Lincolnshire.

Army Service Pre War –
Our second mystery is with regards to George’s military service. As with 60% of the WW1 full service records, we assume that George’s were destroyed in the warehouse fire in the London Blitz in WW2. This means we have to piece together George’s Military history from other surviving documents.
The mystery starts with the Medal Rolls, we can see that George first served abroad with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers on the 13th August 1914, only days after the start of the war. As this was a first line, Regular Army, battalion it would be comprised of serving soldiers or those on the Army reserve list who has previously served.

The WW1 roll of soldiers that died in the Great War tells us that George Hallam enlisted in Newcastle upon Tyne and was serving with the 2nd Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers at the time of his death.

George Hallam is thought to have enlisted into the Northumberland Fusiliers, in Newcastle around January 1902. His regimental number of 8348 points to this period.
During this Boer War period the minimum period of service was 4 years with an addition 2 years if you enlisted before your 18th birthday. We suspect that George served the Minimum period of service as by 1908 he was back in Baston getting married and certainly working as farm labourer in 1911.

On the outbreak of war George joined the 1st battalion Northumberland Fusiliers who at the time were stationed at Portsmouth as part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division. The were mobilised for war on the 14th August and landed at Havre in France on 14th August.

1st Battalion Diary-
13th August 1914
The Battalion left Cambridge Barracks Portsmouth by two special trains for Southampton and embarked on S.S. Norman with transport wagons the horses being embarked on S.S. Italian Prince. Embarkation completed at 3.0pm and the first ship sailed for an unknown destination at 4.0pm. The 1st battalion Lincolnshire Regt and the Head quarters 9th Infantry Brigade were also on board. When we had been at sea about 1 hour it was given out that wee were destined for Havre which port we sighted before midnight.

14th August 1914
S.S. Norman was tied up at 3.0am and the Battalion disembarked at 5.0am leaving a platoon to unload the wagons marched to a tent camp about 5 1/2 miles N.N.E of Havre. This was a VERY HOT March and 82 men of the Battalion fell out owing to the intense heat. The tent camps were hardly ready for us.

Leaving camp on the 16th August, over the next week, the Battalion would have gone via Rouen, Busigny, Landrecis, Noyelles and Longueville before their final march to the Mons-Conde canal. They started to fortify the houses and barricading the streets south of the canal.
They saw their first action on the 23rd August as part of the Battle of Mons, retiring back to Frameries that afternoon. This was the first action in the retreat from Mons where the Battalion and the 1st Lincs fought a rear-guard in Frameries. This action on the 24th took the life of the first man from the Bourne area to be killed in the war, Serjeant Arthur Bates of the 1st Lincs. The pattern followed with retirement after retirement taking them to the Battle of Le Cateau, followed by the defence of the Marne and Aisne rivers before stopping the enemy short of Paris.

Next the British Army were part of the race for the sea an ever northwards battle which ended up trying to stop the enemy reaching the channel ports. During this time the Battalion were involved in the Battles of La Bassee (Near Lens France) and Messines, the First Battle of Ypres, Battle of Bellewarde, all in Belgium.

We have deliberately not covered the 1914 operations in any detail as at some point George changed battalion from the 1st to 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, we have no records to find out when and why this was. It was usual for a badly wounded or sick man, after his convalescence, to then be returned to his Battalion or posted to a Battalion that was low on fighting strength of men.
Checking the Battalion Diary Appendices (Killed, Wounded & Missing) for the 1st Battalion, we cannot see George Hallam listed however the following 2 appendices are missing:-
November 1st Mont Kemmel – Appendix IX
Nov 7-19th Hooge – Appendix XI
It may be possible that if George was wounded and sent to hospital then one of these two gaps would be the most likely time for that to happen.

As we don’t know exactly when George changed Battalions then we can only really look at his last days to tell a piece of his story with any certainty.

The 2nd Battalion had been out in India at the commencement of the war and sailed home from Karachi, arriving in Plymouth on the 22nd December 1914, moving to Winchester to join the 84th Brigade of the 28th Division. They were mobilised for war and landed at Harve on the 18th January 1915 on the S.S. Australind.

George’s story can be told from the Battalion Diary for May 1915:

4th May 1915
The Battalion reached the hutments just north of the Ypres to Vlamertinge Road early in the morning went into reserve.
Casualties during the tour of duty from April 21 to May 4:
Officers, 6 Wounded
Other Ranks, 35 Killed, 149 Wounded, 17 missing
Battalion ordered out at p.m. to support second Cheshire Regiment at Potijie. Remained in GHQ line in support

5th May 1915
Battalion still in support at Potijie.

6th May 1915
Battalion relieved the first Battalion Welsh regiment in the trenches about midnight. These trenches were situated to the north of the village Wieltje, Belgium, about 3/4 of a mile, with the left of the battalion astride the St Julien Road and the right resting on the Fortuin Road.

7th May
The enemy made an attack on the trenches nearby the battalion which was repulsed. Our guns then took up the fire and shelled the enemy.
2/Lieut H.S. Luke Killed, Sergts Taylor and Spaxman Killed
Germans continue shelling the position all day.

8th May
At about 3.30 the enemy’s guns opened fire with high explosive and shrapnel which increased in volume about 7 am and continued all day, till the enemies infantry delivered their attack upon the right of the line held by the 84th infantry Brigade at about 3:30 pm.
The line of trenches extended from the road St Julian to the Zonnebeke Road north of the Verlorenhoek which were held by the following units commencing on the right:-
2nd Cheshire Regiment
1st Bn Suffolk Regiment
1st Monmouthshire Regiment
2nd Bn Northumberland Fusiliers
The line at the Cheshires was broken and the enemy got through to the rear and enveloped the Suffolk Regiment. The Monmouth’s fell back and made a counter attack which failed, and from information obtained the enemy outflanked the Northumberland D. C. and B company. Number 1, 2 and 3 platoons, (A company) under second lieutenant W Watson Sergeant Lane and Hague head onto the trenches and foot gallantly. Their devotion to duty save the situation. These platoons were relieved at 4 am on the 9th by a detachment of the East Lancs Regiment.
The following casualties occurred,
Lieutenant-Colonel S H Enderby, P of W
Captain Rauld, P of W
Lieut A B Cramsie M.G. Officer, Killed
Lieut J K Manger Scout Officer , Wounded and Missing

F Company
Captain A C Hart, Killed
2/Lieut R Lord, Wounded
2/Lieut W Watson, Wounded

B Company
Capt G K Molineaux, Missing
2/Lieut W Taylor, Wounded, P of W

C Company
Lieut B E S Mahon, P of W
Lieut B C Hardy, P of W

D Company
Lieut G P Legard, Killed
2/Lieut K Shann, Killed
2/Lieut R V Taylor, Slightly Wounded

2/Lieut E B A Cardew, 4th Devon Regiment, P of W

NCO and Men, Killed Wounded and Missing 422*
Killed 12, Wounded 126, Missing 284

9th May
The diary reports that several officers re-joined the Transport Headquarters.
The following draft arrived from 3rd Battalion
2//Lieuts, C R Freeman, H E Hobbs, W G B Garrard + 248 Men
The battalion was reformed.
The Battalon now has a strength of 10 Officers and 454 NCOs and Men.
Battalion in Billets near Poperinghe.

It was in the action of the 8th that George Hallam was reported as missing later presumed dead.

The casualty report of the War Office from 2nd June 1915 officially Lists Pte G Hallam 8348, 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers as missing .

Newspaper clipping 11th June 1915
MISSING – Official intimation has been conveyed to his wife that Priv Geo. Hallam, Northumberland Fusiliers, is reported missing.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private George Hallam, 8348, 2nd Bn., Northumberland fusiliers Regiment who died on 8 May 1915 Age 34. Son of the late George Hallam; husband of Ethel Hallam, of Baston, Peterborough, Northants.
Remembered with honour, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
George is also remembered on the Baston Memorial

George was awarded the 1914 Star and clasp for service in 1914 and 1915.

We will remember them

Remembrance – Ernest Arthur Turner

Today we also remembered Baston man Ernest Arthur Turner, who was killed in action on 3rd May 1917 serving with 2nd/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.

Ernest along with Herbert Rowe of Thurlby, were both killed on the same day and served in the same Battalion. Those of you who have read or remembrance of Herbert will find some of the battalion diaries very familiar.

Ernest was born in Baston Lincolnshire in spring of 1893, the son of William Turner, a farm labourer born in Baston Fen in 1841 and his wife Emma Tyler born in Helpston in 1868.

The couple were married in 1892 in the Bourne District, Most likely in Baston. Ernest was one of nine children to be born to the couple before 1911 of which they had sadly lost two.
• William R Turner, 1878, Baston (Half brother)
• Ada Alice Turner, 1879, Baston (Half sister)
• Ethel M Turner, 1882, Baston, (Half sister)
• Ernest Arthur Turner, 1893, Baston
• Sidney Muggleston Turner, 1895, Baston
• Hannah Beatrice Turner, 1897, Baston
• Leila Alberta Turner. 1900. Baston
• Plus 2 more, names unknown taken from the 1911 census

In 1901 Ernest is living with his parents in Baston Fen, 1911 finds him still with his parents but by now he is aged 17 and working as a farm labourer. They are now listed as living on Baston Common.

It is not known when Ernest enlisted in Lincoln but at the time his residence was entered as Market Deeping which could mean Baston as his pension records state Baston, Market Deeping. The medal rolls tell us that he did not see active service abroad until after 1915. His brother Sidney had been killed serving in Gallipoli in August 1915 with the 6th Lincolnshire.

As Ernest’s military records have not been found we can assume they were destroyed in the WW2 warehouse fire caused by the blitz, sadly along with 60% of all WW1 Service Records.

As we cannot be sure when Ernest joined his regiment we can only look at his movements from his Battalion’s diary in the last month of his life.

The 2/5th Battalion had been training in Bedford at the end of 1916 and in January 1917 were mobilised as Part of the 186th Brigade of the 62nd Division. They embarked in Southampton on the SS Queen Alexandra on the 11th January. As we don’t have Ernest’s Service Records it is hard to say for certain if he sailed with the Battalion on that day or joined them later.

2nd/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment, 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division.

Battalion Diaries

1st April 1917 – Behagnies
Battalion moved from Achiet le Petit, Achiet Le Grand and Gomecourt into Behagnies.
Battalion on working parties at R A ammunition dumps and roads

2nd April 1917 – Behagnies
Five men of C Company accidently wounded by explosion of bomb or hidden German device in billet.
Battalion on working parties at R A ammunition dumps and roads

3rd April 1917 – Behagnies
German aeroplane destroyed two observation balloons at Behagnies and though fired on escaped.
Battalion on working parties at R A ammunition dumps and roads

4th to 8th April 1917 – Behagnies
Battalion on working parties at R A ammunition dumps and roads

9th April 1917 – Behagnies
Brigade practice attack for coming attack on Bullecourt

10th April 1917 – Behagnies
5am Battalion left for concentration of troops behind Ecoust ready to move through as advanced guard in the event of the Anzac corps, who were attacking, breaking through. Troops were ordered back at 7.15am as attack had been postponed.

11th April 1917 – Behagnies
5am Battalion again left for concentration behind Ecoust. Anzacs take both 1st and 2nd objectives but later in the day are driven out. Battalion with other units of brigade billet at Mory.

13th April 1917 – Mory
2nd Lieut Fisher and 12 other ranks along with similar parties from other units of the brigade, successfully fired Bangalore Torpedoes in the enemy wire West of Bullecourt. The Divisional Commander expressed his appreciation of this work.

14th April 1917 – Mory
Lieut L D Goldseller the battalion signal officer was mortally wounded whilst reconnoitring the German position South West of Bullecourt. He was accompanied by four battalion guides who were able to carry him back to Ecoust. As a result of this no 5036 Private E C Rust was awarded the Military Medal and no 5222 Pte C Crabtree and No 5100 Private C Chapman were mentioned in Divisional Orders.

15th April 1917 – Mory
Lieut L D Goldseller was buried by the Jewish Chaplain opposite Mory Abbye (B22a.6.8 – sheet 57c.N.W.

17th April 1917 – Mory
During the afternoon the emeny shelled the Eastern outskirts of Mory where the Battalion was bivouacked and caused casualties of 3 men killed and 9 men wounded in the Battalion. Camps were then moved into the open South of Mory.

15th to 30th April 1917 – Mory
Battalion was employed along with other units of the Brigade repaving Mory roads, the carrying of gas shells forward for special company Royal Engineers, digging in of cable between L’Homme Mort and Ecoust also on filling in craters in Mory and Ecoust.
During this period special training was carried out in practicing the attack on the Hindenberg line at Bullecourt.

1st May 1917 – Mory
9am to 12.30pm Companies employed in making strong posts and specialist training
2-4pm Companies went over miniature trench system of Bullecourt and studied the roads and trenches and barrage lines.

2nd May 1917 – Mory
9am to 12.30pm Interior economy and preparation for going into the line. Afternoon companies again went over miniature trench system of Bullecourt.
9.15pm battalion marched to Ecoust (Embankment) where they drew mats for getting over wire, bridges for crossing trenches and bombs. They then formed up on tape line ref Map1:10000 Ecoust St Mein U26.d.9.9 to V26.b.7.1 all was completed by 1.30am and without casualties. Tanks followed the battalion down from L’Homme Mort to Ecoust.

3rd May 1917 – Ecoust
3.45am Zero hour, at Zero hour minus 8 minutes Battalion were moved forward to attack Hindenberg Line West of Bullecourt. A heavy barrage commenced at Zero. A company reached objective and held it until 4pm when they were counter attacked and bombed out, they returned on to embankment, B, C and D companies came under heavy shell fire, rifle and machine gun fire and were held up in front of Enemy front line trench, small parties holding out in shell holes until after dusk when they returned to embankment. Battalion suffered heavy casualties. The following officers were killed, Captain and Adj T Bentley, Lieut D Walker. Missing believed killed 2nd Lieut Jacobs. Missing Captain G Glover, Lieut G Ridley MC, 2nd Lieut E T Sykes, 2nd Lieut Heaton, 2nd Lieuts Darwent and Hutton. Wounded; Captain W Shaw, 2nd Lieuts Fisher A and Simmonds. Shell Shock Lieut K C Feathers and Captain Walker J.N.P Other Men Killed 2, Missing 123, Wounded 275
8pm Six posts were put out in W26C&D under Captain Goodall. Lieut Haigh went out with stretcher bearers to bring in wounded.

4th May 1917 – Ecoust
Battalion still holding the line, wounded dribbled in all day, shelling was heavy at night. Battalion were relieved by 2/6th and 2/7th Duke of Wellingtons and marched back by companies to Mory Cops into camp. During relief there were no casualties. Arrived Mory Cops about 2am next day.
Ernest Turner was missing presumed dead on the actions of the 3rd May 1917 when his Battalion attacked the Hindenberg Line at Ecoust.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Private Ernest Arthur Turner, 241641, 2nd/5th Bn, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment who died on 3 May 1917. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial.

Ernest is also remembered on the Baston War Memorial, in the St John the Baptist Church.

Ernest’s brother Sidney Muggleston Turner and cousin Gilbert Ringham Tyler also fought and were killed in WW1. Sidney can be found on our page dedicated to the Baston War Memorial and Gilbert can be found on our page dedicated to the Thurlby War Memorial

We will remember them…/ernest-…/

6th June 1915

Sunday 6th June 1915


Today we learn of the sad death of Amos Stubley of Baston who died today after being discharged only 4 days ago from serving his country with the 3rd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. Our sympathies are with his Grandparents James and Betsy Stubley.

He will be missed by all in the village, his sacrifice will not be forgotten.

9th May 1915

Sunday 9th May 1915


Today we learn of the sad death of Harry Briggs of Thurlby who died today serving his country with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, formerly of the Essex Regiment serving in the South African War and India.

He will be missed by all in the village, his sacrifice will not be forgotten.


Today we learn of the sad death of Corporal Archer Cooke of Baston who died today serving his country with the 2nd battalion Lincolnshire Regiment. Our sympathy goes to his father Alfred and his family and Friends in the village.


Today we learn of the sad death of Arthur Edwin Clark of Bourne who died today serving his country with the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment in Belgium.

His sacrifice will not be forgotten.