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Soldiers of the Regiment

Private Edward Herd, number 2487, 1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

From the Kendal Mercury 16th July 1915

Wounded at St. Julien
A Holme soldier with the 5th King’s Own.
German Airmen Captured.

In an interview Private Edward Herd, 5th King’s Own Regiment, of Holme, who is now at home suffering from wounds tells the following:- I was wounded at St. Julien, near Ypres, on 3 May 1915 whilst repairing our trenches which had been blown in by the Germans. Whilst placing sandbags in position I received a bullet right through the centre of the left hand and another in the muscles of the army. As I was going down the communication trench to the dressing station I came across a Carnforth comrade who had been shot through both legs and could not crawl to the dressing station and he had lain there nearly two days so I got two stretcher bearers to bring him to the dressing station. I had my wounds dressed at a little farm house by the roadside, and then those of us who could walk had to walk our way back to the rear. We got a lift in a transport wagon which took us out of the danger zone, and we spent the night at another farm house with other wounded soldiers. We were brought to Le Havre by train and arrived at Southampton early next morning. I spent 11 weeks in hospital at Liverpool before coming home.
Private Herd took part in two bayonet charges and came out of both safely, although the regiment suffered terrible losses. Both charges were at Langemarke, the first time being when the French were driven out of their trenches by the gas and forced to retired. The King’s own were ordered to reinforce the Canadians and retake the lost ground at all costs and this was done one Friday night about 6.30, the charge being across open fields which were being swept by shrapnel, ‘Jack Johnsons’, coal boxes etc. The regiment suffered heavily in the charge but took the trenches alright, driving the Germans out who soon made off when they saw the bayonet and the khaki clad lads. It was during this charge that they lost Second Lieutenant Kirk, the well-known footballer, Private Herd being only a few yards away from him at the time. After they had taken the trenches they had to remain in them for two days without food owing to the heavy fire which they were subjected to. The second charge came about four days after the first when they had just been relieved and were going to have a rest, word coming that the Germans had broken through again. The King’s Own got the order to stand to ready to charge. On one occasion they were forced to retire after charging the odds being overwhelming, and they again suffered heavily. On one occasion ten of the King’s Own were killed outright and four others wounded by a Jack Johnson which burst right in the centre of the group one of the wounded being Private Harry Read, of Burton.
Splendid Work of Our Flying Corps
The flying corps are doing splendid work out yonder, and Private Herd witnessed several duels in the air, whilst they brought down and made prisoners of the pilots. The Germans fire a deal more shells than we do, shrapnel constantly flying around the trenches. At one time the King’s Own were so close to the Germans that they could talk to them, and they always knew the British regiments who were in the first line of trenches. They called the King’s Own the “Mad Lancasters” on account of them using the bayonet so freely. After the two charges they had a good week’s rest outside the firing line, and they had many a game of football although still under shell fire, making for shelter when one came along. Private Herd is still unable to move his hand of arm and two of his fingers he may never be able to use again.


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