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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Lieutenant Thomas Ginger. Signals Officer. 4th Battalion. Thomas Ginger was awarded the Military Cross as a result of his bravery during the German ‘Spring Offensive’ of March 1918. In the citation for his award it describes how ‘On the first day his senior Officers were killed and in numerous rear-guard actions he found himself in command of considerable bodies of men’. One such example is during the retreat across the River Somme near Brie, when Ginger was ordered to take his men and cover the retreat of the remains of the 50th Division. He took his tired men to the far bank and took up positions to hold the advancing Germans back. At the same Lt George Begg, 239/Field Company was wiring the bridge that the retreating men were crossing. As German troops started to appear on the horizon and the last of the Durham Light Infantry crossed the bridge, Begg primed the detonator and pressed the plunger home. Nothing happened. This was repreated three times. When the bridge did blow, Begg looked across the river to see Ginger and his men still focusing fire on their foe. Eventually Ginger managed to construct a rudimentary footbridge, allowing his men to cross to safety.
Samuel was born in 1894 at Askrigg. His mother, Frances, was 20 years old and single. However, 5 years later she married Wilfred Kirk, the likely father of Samuel though the 1911 census has Samuel down as a ‘stepson’. Wilfred was some 20 years senior to Frances and a farmer. They would have four more children, all girls. However, the 1911 census only shows two daughters as being listed. Samuel attended Hardraw School and worked on the family farm. Samuel enlisted at Leyburn in June 1916 joining the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion went to France later that year. On November 1st 1917 the Battalion was in the support line SE of Loos in northern France. Between the 4th and the 6th work was spent on improving the Battalion trenches. On the 9th Samuel and his colleagues were helping in the preparations for a raid, cutting wire and ladder placements. On the evening of the 9th during heavy shelling Samuel was badly wounded. He was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station near Bethune. On the night of the 12th November Private Samuel Kirk Lambert died. He is buried in Choques Military Cemetery.
Submitted by Mavis Marwood a resident of Richmond for the last 10 years. Private Joseph Snowden Atkinson (204103) was my grandfather. He was born in Gainford and lived in Ravensworth. Like his father his occupation was as a stonemason. He served in France during the war and was one of the lucky soldiers to survive the conflict. One of the images is a handmade Christmas card that he sent from the front line to my mother when she was little girl. On his return to Ravensworth he went on to become a master stonemason.