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.
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