Whilst researching the men of Broadway who fought in the First World War, I came across a number of men from the neighbouring village of Childswickham, many of whom had enlisted to serve for their country with men from Broadway.
One of the first men from Childswickham to enlist was Harry Gordon Lambley. Harry, born in 1894, was the eldest son of William Lambley and Elizabeth Lambley (nee Agg) of The Cross, Childswickham. A gardener, who worked for his uncle Mr. H.Smith (a market gardener of New Street), Harry enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment on 13th August 1914 and trained on Salisbury Plain and Blackdown before being sent to the Dardanelles (Gallipoli) in June 1915 where he took part in the landings at Suvla Bay. Whilst in the Dardanelles Harry contracted dysentery and was sent back to England to recover.
On 29th February 1916, his 22nd birthday, Harry was sent to France and took part in the storming of the village La Boiselle during the Battle of the Somme. His platoon got caught up in barbed wire crossing No Man’s Land and suffered many losses as men fell under heavy machine gunfire. A few found shelter in a shell hole but Harry was not one of them and he was initially declared as missing in action.
A memorial service for Harry, conducted by the Rev. J.E. Thompson at St Mary’s Church, Childswickham, was held several months later after he was officially declared as killed in action on 3rd July 1916. A fellow serving Worcester, Pte G. Harris, wrote in response to information about Harry and comrade Corporal William Edward Reeves1 “The last time I saw these two men they were at the back of a wall at La Boiselle fighting Germans for all they were worth. The Germans were only fifty yards away on the other side of the wall and Lieut. Ellis told them to get back into the trench but they went on fighting round the corner of the wall. I was wounded and do not know what happened after that.”
Harry is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and memorial plaque inside Childswickham Memorial Hall.
He sleeps, not in his native land,
But under foreign skies,
Far from those who loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.
Harry’s younger brother Felix Wilfred Lambley, who worked as a baker in Broadway, also fought in the war. Felix enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 9th December 1914 (Private 9579) with a number of men from Broadway including Private 9562 George Barnett. Felix received a gunshot wound to the head at Arras in November 1915 and was discharged from the army on 18th July 1916.
1. Corporal 15832 William Edward Reeves was born on 17th August 1896 in Gloucester, the son and first born child of John Edward Reeves and Edith Susannah Reeves (nee Trenfield also spelt Trunkfield). Prior his enlistment, William lived with his parents and siblings at 49 Lysons Avenue, Gloucester, and he worked as a clerk at Gloucester Co-operative Stores. William was declared as missing in action the same day as Harry Lambley and was officially declared dead in July 1917. William is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.