Remembered Today: Private Reginald B. Hill 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Remembered Today: Private Reginald Bertram Hill, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who was killed in action on the Western Front on 4th July 1915. Reginald, who was born in Broadway in 1894 and grew up at Bury End on the outskirts of the village. Reginald, an apprenticed as a baker after leaving Broadway Council School and enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in December 1914. Reginald is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium, and is commemorated on the war memorial in Broadway.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

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Remembered Today: Pte 13862 Harry Gordon Lambley 10th (Service) Worcestershire Regiment of Childswickham

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.

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Notes:
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.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers
July 2015

Pte Wilford Figgitt writes home from the Western Front, July 1915

Wilford Figgitt of Broadway, who served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the Western Front from May 1915, regularly wrote letters home with news from the trenches. In July 1915 he wrote:

We have had a pretty rough time during the last week and that a few men; sixty out of one company were killed or wounded. Last Wednesday I had a job carrying rations up to the Royal Scots in the middle of an attack, and shall not forget it in a hurry. The shells fell like hail and the bullets whistled like hell. The sights I shall never forget, for there were piles of dead and wounded to walk over, some with their heads blown off. We had a bit of amusement on Saturday. Our artillery and French started shelling the German trenches and you could see nothing but smoke and sandbags flying up in the air. It just pleased the Canadians, and they started throwing ladders over the top of their trenches to make believe they were going to attack, and as soon as the Germans showed their heads over theirs they opened on them with machine guns and yelled themselves hoarse. The time before when we got in their trenches we found a German boy, not more than thirteen years old, red-haired and wearing big jack-boots. He had probably been sent to throw bombs at us and got shot. I could tell you heaps more, but haven’t any paper to write on.

Pte Wilford Figgitt, son of Wilford John and Tryphena Figgitt, of Church Street, Broadway, was killed in action, aged 23, on 25th September 1915. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, and the Broadway War Memorial on the green in the village where he grew up.   Debbie Williamson Broadway Remembers

Remembered Today: Private 37889 Arthur H. Goddard, 1/5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

Arthur Harold Goddard, known as Harold, was born in Cow Honeybourne, Worcestershire, in 1899. Harold’s father, George, worked as a farm labourer and the family moved from village to village as George moved from farm to farm in search of work. By 1911, the family had settled in Broadway and Harold found work as a labourer in the employ of Mr H. Roberts at nearby Buckland.

Aged 18, Harold enlisted in Worcester in August 1917 and he joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Harold was posted to the Western Front on 3rd April 1918 joining his battalion just before they took part in the Battle of Estaires. From the 12th April 1918 the battalion was involved in the Battle of Hazebrouck which lasted four days and it was on the first day of the battle that Harold was reported as missing in action. It was later reported by letter to his parents that Harold had been killed in action on either 12th or 14th April and that he had been buried between Estaires and Le Grand Pacault. It was later confirmed that Harold had been killed in action on the 14th and Harold is commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium, which is about 15 miles away from where he was originally reported to have been buried.

Harold’s older brother, Frederick, served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Frederick served with the 1st Battalion and was posted to the Western Front from where he wrote frequent letters home from ‘somewhere in France’ recounting his experiences of being in the trenches including surviving a gas attack on 24th May 1915. Frederick was wounded in the shin by an explosive bullet whilst on listening patrol on the Western Front on 31st October 1915. After months of hospital treatment, Frederick eventually lost his leg and he was honourably discharged with the Silver War Badge on 16th December 1916. Frederick re-enlisted with the Army Pay Corps in September 1918 and served in Nottingham until he was transferred to the Army Reserve on 9th March 1919.

Harold is one of 48 commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial. Further information about Harold, Frederick and their fellow men from Broadway commemorated on the memorial can be found in ‘Broadway Remembers’ (a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal).

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

 

 

Remembered Today: Pte 9562 George Barnett, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

George Barnett was born in Broadway in 1886, the youngest son of William and Mary Ann Smith Barnett. George enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Stratford-upon-Avon on 4th December 1914. He served with the 1st Battalion and was posted to the Western Front on 2nd May 1915. George was killed in action, aged 28, on 9th July 1915, whilst his battalion were fighting to capture the International Trench at Boesinghe near Ypres.

Pte George Barnett is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial and the Broadway War Memorial.

Christmas Truce 1914 by Pte Charlie Pratt, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Earlier today I came across the following letter, dated 27th December 1914, from Private Charlie Pratt of Naunton Beauchamp,  which was published in the Evesham Journal on 16th January 1915. His letter recounts his experiences of the 1914 Christmas Truce in the trenches on the Western Front in the First World War.

“Just a few lines to give you a brief account of my Christmas out here; under the circumstances it was excellent, and altogether a surprise. Had it not been for the absence of your two dear faces it would have been the most pleasant Christmas I ever knew. About seven o’clock on Christmas Eve we were thunderstruck to see the lonely figure of a German officer standing half-way between our trenches and theirs. He flashed a torch, and in good English said: ‘Will any officer or man come forward and have a drink with me? We have plenty of lager beer, and this is Christmas time. Please, who will come?’ At first no one would attempt to go, but he assured us that it would be perfectly safe and that nobody would be shot. Then one of our sergeants climbed over the trench and went rather cautiously towards him. The German sent up a star shell, which lit the place up lovely, and then for the first time we saw friend and foe shaking hands, drinking each other’s health and exchanging cigarettes. At that all our fellows were out of their trenches, and went half-way to meet the Germans who were coming towards them. They kept assuring us that none of their side would fire until Christmas was over, and then the order was passed along for us not to fire. After a nice time with them we wished them goodnight and returned to our trenches. Then their band struck up and gave us a few selections, which we appreciated very much. Everything was quiet after that, nothing to be heard save the rumbling of big guns away on our left. All of a sudden a cornet player commenced the old melody ‘Home, sweet home’ playing it beautifully, and when he finished claps and cheers rose from each side. No wonder that the next day, Christmas Day, both sides joined each other again, and remained with each other all day, exchanging food, tobacco, badges etc. A football match was arranged, only we could not find a pitch to play on, as all the ground for miles around had been torn up by shells some of the holes big enough to bury a team of horses. The Germans are very confident of victory, and say the war will end about Easter. But wait till they know the truth; what a take-back for them.”

Broadway Remembers
www.warmem.broadwaymanor.co.uk