2nd Lt W Buckle

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance 2nd Lt W Buckle
Announcement Date: August 14, 2018

Information submitted by Mark Tovey, William Buckle is Mark’s wife’s great uncle.

William Buckle was born in Middlesbrough. In 1914 he was a 21-year-old clerk working for a well-known Middlesbrough steel company. The war was 4 weeks old when he, like many other young men from North Yorkshire, went to Northallerton to join their local Territorial Army Battalion – 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (4th Green Howards).

On 16 April 1915, 4th Green Howards were ordered to Belgium. On 22nd April the German Fourth Army attacked the Allied front line in the North of the Ypres Salient and, using poison gas for the first time, threatened Ypres itself. This was a crisis and, despite their inexperience, 4th Green Howards went straight to the fight. For the next month the Yorkshiremen were in almost continual action, suffering many casualties. Private William Buckle was one of the Battalion’s 200 casualties. He had been shot twice, in the right shoulder and hip. He spent the next 2 months recovering before, as a corporal, training Green Howard recruits in Northallerton.

Surprisingly, after his wounds healed, he volunteered for one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army – as a platoon commander. After a 4½ month course at an Officer Cadet Battalion at Denham, Buckinghamshire, Buckle was granted a commission as a Temporary Second Lieutenant in July 1916. The following month he was posted to 8th Green Howards. Buckle served on the Somme through the fierce battles of that summer and autumn until his battalion was ordered north to the Ypres sector in October.

In May 1917 the Battalion occupied trenches in the Hill 60 sector, about 3.5km SE of the Ypres City walls. On 7 June at 3.10 am, following the detonation of 2 huge mines under the German trenches on Hill 60, the 8th Green Howards assaulted and captured their objectives. The fighting during that hot summer’s day, cost 8th Green Howards with 37 men killed and 218 men wounded or missing.

Second Lieutenant William Buckle was wounded and evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) at Remy Sidings where he died. He was 24. He is buried in Lijessenhoek Military Cemetery.

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Joseph Whitwell Bainbridge

    Information submitted by Mrs Audrey Grundy. Joseph Whitell Bainbridge was born in 1896, his family ran Bainbridge’s Drapers Shop in Richmond Marketplace. Which occupied the building where Penley’s stands today. He was a territorial solider with the 4th battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment prior to the outbreak of the First World War and appears to have rejoined as a volunteer with the same battalion after the conflict started. Joseph arrived in France with the 4th battalion on 18 April 1915. His territorial regimental number (2370) was later revised to 200533. His war service led to the award of the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal. Joseph’s older brother, Thomas Lawrence Bainbridge (also of the Yorkshire Regiment) was killed during the Battle of Arras on 23 April 1917. He had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.  

  • Harold Surtees

    Jonathan Helm submitted this information about his Great Grandfather, Harold Surtees. Lance Corporal Surtees (2048/200407), was born in West Hartlepool and lived in Great Ayton. He volunteered for service in a local meeting on 2nd September 1914. Serving with the 1st/4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, he was posted to France as part of the 50th Northumbrian Division on 18th April 1915. Although little is known of his exact war record, his photograph indicates two wound stripes and the Whitby Gazette when reporting his death noted that he had been “three times wounded and gassed”. The only confirmed record of wounding is in the War Office Casualty List, which was printed in The Times on Wednesday 25th October 1916. This is likely to have occurred during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th – 22nd September 1916) which was fought during the Battle of the Somme. He died on the 10th April 1918 (aged 26) from wounds sustained when the battalion fought at the Battle of Estaires in an attempt to stop the German advance. Harold is buried at the Haverskerque British Cemetery in France. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Harold and Mary.

  • Betty Stevenson

    Betty was born on the 3rd September 1896 in Clifton in the Bootham area of York. She came from a well off middle class background and was educated at home until she was 14 whereby she was despatched to boarding school at St Georges Wood in Haslemere Surrey. From school she went to Brussels to study music. In 1913 the family moved to Harrogate where Betty’s father, Arthur, established himself as a leading estate agent. Betty had a younger brother born in 1901, James Arthur Radford, in which in her letters referred to him as JARS. Both Betty’s parents were active supporters of the YMCA. Her mother Catherine served throughout the war as chair of the YMCA’s Women’s Auxiliary. Betty appears to have acquired early in her life a high sense of civic duty. Betty and her parents were part of the group that travelled to London to help with the Belgium Relief Fund after the outbreak of WW1. They would be involved in the transferring of refugee families to the Harrogate area from their encampment at Alexandra Palace. In January 1916 one of Betty’s aunts went to France to manage a YMCA canteen and Betty was determined to join her. She set off on February 11th, aged 19, to join her in the St Denis Hut outside Paris. She completed her time at St Denis, took some home leave and returned to France to become a driver at Etaples in April 1917. Betty was extremely young at the time…