Albert Spencer M.M.
Albert Spencer lived at 131 Mold Road, Buckley,and was conscripted into the army in 1916. He was attested on 22nd January 1916 and was later called up on 16th June 1916 to train with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers 20th Reserve Battalion at Kinmel Park.
Albert was born at Wrenbury near Nantwich in Cheshire in 1896 and was nearly 21 when he joined the army. On 31st August 1916 he was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers for training at Litherland, Liverpool. He was sent to France as part of a draft of reinforcements on 7th January 1917 and arrived at No. 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen from where he was posted to "D" Company, 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He arrived with the 9th in the field on 27th January 1917. The 9th Battalion served with the 58th Infantry Brigade in the 19th Division. In 1917 they fought at The Battle of Messines; The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge; The Battle of Polygon Wood; The Battle of Broodseinde; The Battle of Poelcapelle and the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele. In 1918 they fought at The Battle of St Quentin during the enemy's advance on the Somme on March 21st 1918. Hellfire Corner, Menin Road 1917
Albert was wounded in the right arm on March 24th 1918 and was treated at Camiers before being returned to the UK on March 29th 1918 aboard the hospital ship Princess Victoria. He was treated at Graylingwell War Hospital at Chichester. On 21st June 1918 Albert returned to France and passed through "C" Infantry Base Depot from where he was posted to the 17th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers who served with 115th Infantry Brigade in the 38th Division. He was killed in action on 30th August 1918, the day after his award of the Military Medal had been announced in the London Gazette. Albert was buried at the Red Dragon Cemetery between Ovillers and la Boiselle. Graves from that cemetery were later moved to Ovillers Military Cemetery. When he died the 38th Division had been fighting in the Battle of Bapaume which was seen as the turning point of the war.No citation for his Military Medal was published in the London Gazette so it is not possible to say where he earned it.
Lieutenant Colonel C.H. Blackburne
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Harold Blackburne. D.S.O. 5th Bn. Dragoon Guards (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s).
Born 20 May 1876, He was the third son of Charles Edward Blackburne of Oldham. Educated at Tonbridge School, Kent (1890-1893). Served with 11th Bn (West Kent) Imperial Yeomanry throughout Boer War. Promoted Capt. Awarded Distinguished Service Order. Three times mentioned in despatches. Queen’s Medal (Three bars) King’s Medal (Two bars). Secretary to Transvaal Repatriation Dept. after the war. 1902-1906 General Manager of Transvaal Stud Farm at Standerton. In 1903 he married Emily Beatrice Jones. Returned to the U.K and purchased an estate at Tyddyn, near Mold, in 1910. He ran a livery and motor components business in Liverpool. Tyddyn House
On the Special Reserve of officers, he was attached to 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales’s) Dragoon Guards on the outbreak of the First World War. He took part in the battles of Mons and Le Cateau and the retreat, which followed. When the Allies counter attacked, he took part in the Battle of the Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres. In November 1914, under very heavy shellfire, he and five others carried four seriously wounded men from the trenches, near Ypres, Belgium. One of the party was killed and another wounded. Captain Blackburne was mentioned in despatches for this action.
On 13 May 1915 the trenches held by Captain Blackburne’s men were under heavy shellfire during the Second battle of Ypres. He constantly exposed himself to fire in order to direct the rebuilding of parapets.
Eventually he was wounded in his left shoulder by shell fragments. He was evacuated to England on 19 May. In spite of several operations, his arm was permanently disabled. He was unfit for further active service. On 22 June 1915 Field Marshal Sir John French mentioned him in despatches for services
prior to 5 April of that year. He was made Brevet Major on 23 June 1915, in the 1915 Birthday Honours List. On Friday 28 April, towards the end of Easter week 1916, he was posted to the Curragh, Co. Kildare, Ireland. He was appointed principal officer to General Lowe, who had commanded the
British troops in Dublin during the 1916 Rising. On 1 January 1917 he was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. He subsequently served on the staffs of General Sir John Maxwell, General Sir Bryan Mahon and General Sir Frederick Shaw. At some point the Blackburnes sold the Tyddyn estate to J. Graham Reece.
On 10 October 1918 the family and the children’s governess, Rose De Prury, were on board the ship R.M.S Leinster on their way to visit friends in the vicinity of their old home when it was torpedoed by German submarine UB-123. Charles and his children (Audrey and Peter) and Rose De Prury were lost in the sinking.
The following appeared in The Times Newspaper.12 October: “One gallant man, highly stationed and very popular in Dublin, was
John William Ellis
John William Ellis lived at 103 Brunswick Road in Buckley.
He served with "B" company 10th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but was later attached to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He died of wounds on the 24th May 1918.
He landed in France 9th December 1917 with the 10th battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In late March 1918 with the German Offensive under way, 15 officers and a large proportion of the ORs were transferred to the 63rd RN Divn.
'A raid was planned for the night of 24/25th May, 1918: the 63rd (RN) Division, co-operating with the 12th Division on its left, was to take prisoners and obtain identification, papers and maps. As a secondary task, as much damage as possible should be done to any enemy dugouts and shelters discovered. Three raids would be carried out simultaneously by RND battalions; and the Hood was to cover the area from the railway line and all points west of the River Ancre.
The Hood's A Company enjoyed almost complete success on their mission, but D Company came across some stiff opposition and suffered casualties. B Company, coming to the aid of D, met with similar difficulties. The enemy posts found during the raid were ingeniously concealed, and were sited only on the reverse slopes. Each post was covered by an overhanging tree surrounded by rusty old wire entangled in the grass, with a camouflaged path leading to a shelter dug into the bank. One was covered by two-inch iron girders in a cone shape. But despite this information the raid was not a complete success, and there were a number of casualties: Sub-Lieutenant Egbert Hulbert was killed; Second Lieutenant D. J. Jones and Sub-Lieutenants Percy Weeks and J. W. Ellis were wounded; Sub-Lieutenants Phillip Dann and Reginald Stephenson went missing, and there were 75 casualties in other ranks.”*
He is buried in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval.
*from Len Sellers' “The Hood Battalion”
Thomas Latham Catherall
Thomas Latham Catherall lived at Willow Bank, Middle Common, Buckley. In 1915 he enlisted in the 5th Flintshire Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and held the rank of signaller.
After training in Conway and Northamptonshire he embarked to Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay on 9th August 1915. He survived the campaign but suffered from frostbite and malaria. The Battalion evacuated in December 1915 to Egypt and Palestine, they fought in the battle of Rumani and the three battles of Gaza.
After the war, on returning home to Buckley as an ex miner he worked in the local mines and later at Castle Brickworks. In 1928 he was appointed the first superintendent of the newly built public swimming baths. He served the swimming club as coach and chairman and as a committee member of the North Wales and Welsh amateur swimming association. In 1960 he received an award from the Royal Humane Society for restoring the life of a young boy . He worked there until he retired in 1965.
After retiring from the baths, he became an active member of Hawksebury Bowling Club and for a time was the Chairman.
Thomas Latham Catherall passed away in 1982.
. Frank Sharpe Cup 1972.
Thanks to J.Catherall
Fred Dunn was born in a little village in Suffolk in 1889 and he trained for seven years to be a joiner as a young man. In 1914 when war broke out he joined the Army.
Fred Dunn (right)
In 1917 the Germans sent poison gas on the wind to the British soldiers and Dunn became very ill with a bad chest. He was sent home to a hospital just outside Manchester and there he met Florence Balmer from Buckley who was a children's nursemaid. They fell in love and got married in Buckley just before Christmas 1917.
Dunn had to go back to France until the war came to an end.He came home to live in Buckley with his wife and worked as a joiner on building the Tivoli Cinema, the Majestic Cinema in Chester and the airmens' blocks at RAF Sealand.
Fred Dunn died in February 1943.
Joseph Hughes Bartley
Born 1899 in Nant Mawr, Buckley.