January South Cumbrian casualty toll as war raged on a century ago

2 January 2017 3:27PM

THERE were no major battles raging in January 1917 but the casualty toll for South Cumbrian soldiers in the First World War kept rising.

There were at least 13 deaths of men with strong local connections in that month, including men from Barrow, Ulverston, Dalton, Broughton, Rusland and Ambleside.

The international nature of the war by early 1917 is reflected in the places where the men are buried or commemorated as missing in action – everywhere from Barrow and Ambleside cemeteries to Tanzania and Iraq.

January 1:

Pte J. H. Taylor, aged 19, was number 21578 with the 20th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

He was buried at the Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains, on the outskirts of Arras.

Pte Taylor was the son of John Henry Taylor, of 9H Devonshire Buildings, Barrow.

January 8:

Pte George Edward Evans, aged 20, was number 5908 with “D” Company of the 1/5th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery and was the son of Mr E. Evans, of Ulverston.

Cpl Fred Baxter, aged 27, was number 3659 with the 1/4th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

He is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, close to the French port.

Cpl Baxter was the son of Alice Baxter, of 111 Steel Street, Ulverston, and the late John Baxter.

January 10

Pte James Edward Carton, aged 19, was number 1949 with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry.

Pte Carton is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, between Ypres and Poperinge.

He was the son of George and Ettie Carton, of Barrow.

January 12

Pte H. E. Snell, aged 25, was number 9624 with the 12th Regiment of the South African Infantry.

He was the son of Elizabeth Ann Snell, of 28 Cobden Street, Dalton.

Pte Snell is buried at Dodoma Cemetery in what is now Tanzania.

Dodoma was part of German East Africa and was occupied by South African troops on July 29 in 1916 and they opened a casualty clearing station.

Engine Room Artificer Allan Niven, aged 26, was number 1993/EA with the Royal Naval Reserve.

He was serving on the destroyer HMS Obdurate, one of 103 in the M-class built during the First World War.

Obdurate was launched on January 27 in 1916 and was at the Battle of Jutland, the biggest naval engagement of the First World War.

ERA Niven is buried at Tynemouth (Preston) Cemetery in Northumberland.

He was born in Barrow and was the son of William and Isabella B. Niven, of 37 Birtley Avenue, Tynemouth.

Pte William Heaton, aged 23, was number 21083 with the 6th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and is named on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.

He was the son of the late John Heaton, of Preston, and of Grace Heaton, of Syke Cottage, Rusland.

January 13:

Company Sergeant Major H. Lynch, aged 39, was number 58764 with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and is buried in Barrow cemetery.

He was the husband of Alice Lynch, of 64 King’s Road, Canton, Cardiff and had been awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

January 14:

Captain James Wilfrid Haynes Park, aged 28, served in the Frontier Force with the 22 nd Sam Browne’s Cavalry,

He was mentioned in dispatches for brave conduct and is buried at Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.

Cpt Park was the son of the Reverend James Park, of Park Stile, Broughton, and the late Caroline M. Park.

January 17:

Pte James McGrath, aged 26, was number 42059 with the 3rd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers.

He is buried with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone in Barrow cemetery.

Pte McGrath was the son of William McGrath, of 17 Vernon Street, Barrow and the late Mary McGrath.

January 19:

Pte Isaac Dugdale, aged 37, was number 20081 with the Carlisle-based Border Regiment and is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard at Ambleside.

He was the son on Thomas and Jane Dugdale, of Church Street, Ambleside.

January 22:

Mess Room Steward John Mearns Grieve, aged just 16, served in the merchant navy on the steam-powered cargo ship Linwood, based at Middlesbrough.

He vanished with the rest of the 22-strong crew when the ship was lost to the weather or enemy action.

Young John is named on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

He was born in Dalton and was the son of George Grieve, of 3 Kirby Street, Newport, Wales and the late Isabella.

The SS Linwood was built at Blyth in 1892 and displaced 1,670 tons.

On January 22 it had left Gibraltar for Maryport in West Cumberland with a cargo of iron ore. The ship had previously been called Gondola.

January 26:

Company Segeant Major George Walter Barrow, aged 29, was number 240011 with the 1/5th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

He is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France and was born at Lancaster.

His widow lived at Snipe Gill, Marton, and had remarried a Hornby.

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