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The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

19th December 1914

War Items

Cadet A M W Horne, has been appointed Second Lieutenant on probation of the 3rd King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

The 2nd Battalion of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment have returned from India, and are stationed for the present at Winchester.

Recruiting at Bowerham Barracks

In view of the close approach of Christmas it is not surprising that recruiting has dropped off a little. About 75 have been sent out to the 3rd, 7th and 9th Battalions of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, and 13 men who had been invalids on furlough have returned to the colours.

“King’s Own” Roll of Honour

Information has been received that Private John Sibbald, of the Royal Lancaster Regiment, was killed in action on November 20th. Sibbald was a reservist, and completed his seven years with the regiment 14 months ago. He was employed as a dataller at the Birkacre Colliery, and resided with his married sister at 244 Moor Road, Chorley. Sibbald was 25 years old, and unmarried. His father lives at Froom Street, Chorley.

Among the soldiers permitted to Leeds Hospital are 11221 Private John Quinn (wounded) and 8019 Private J Rattarber (sick) both of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

On October 27th 11131 Private S Brew, of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment died of wounds in the base hospital.

Town Hall Working Parties

The working parties arranged by the Mayoress of Lancaster (Mrs Briggs) have suspended operations for the Christmas and New Year holidays, and the next meeting will be held on Wednesday January 20th, at the usual hour. During the week two bales of comforts have been despatched to the 1st Battalion King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment at the front, and one box of comforts to the 9th Battalion at Andover, and a box will be sent this weekend to the 5th (Reserve) Battalion at Blackpool.

Oilskins for Sentries

Mrs Hoyle, of Scarthwaite, has been kindly interesting herself in providing oilskins for the sentries of the King’s Own Regiment at the front. Fifty were required and Mrs Hoyle collected £22, the balance being provided by Colonel Duffin out of a fund at his disposal, so that for this purpose no more contributions are at present required. Mrs Hoyle tenders her thanks to all who have responded to her appeal, and has returned one or two donations sent to her.

Lawyers and the War

The Times, on Saturday, published a list of the lawyers and articled clerks in the country who are serving with HM Forces. They total 1,240, and include the following:-
NE Barnes (Ulverston), 4th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment;
Sergeant R Gardner (Lancaster), 5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment;
Captain W Tilly (Lancaster), National Reserve
Major H D Wilson (Lancaster), 2nd West Lancashire RFA
W H Winder, (Lancaster) 5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
A Beardsley (with Messrs Holden, Whelon, and Wilson), 4th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
George Hodgson, (with Mesrs Hall, Marshall and Sewart), 4th Border Regiment.
Lieutenant G F E Wilson, (Messrs Holden, Whelon and Wilson) 2nd West Lancashire RFA

Remember Soldiers in Hospital

A number of the men, who have been treated at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, have been sent to their homes on furlough. There are 43 men under treatment at the Bowerham Barracks Military Hospital, including 6094 Private R Randerson, of the King’s Own Regiment, who was wounded in the leg and mentioned in despatches by Field Marshal French for bravery in the battle of the River Aisne, etc. A suggestion has been made that the returned heroes in hospital at Lancaster should be remembered by the benevolent public at Christmas, and it is to be hoped that there will be a personal visit by the Mayor and Mayoress to cheer the men up. A concert is also being arranged.

Comforts for the Front

A great many gifts are being received at Bowerham Barracks to be despatched to the various battalions of the King’s Own. Girls at the Morecambe Central School have sent a number of plum puddings. Gifts of shirts, socks, helmets, cuffs etc are securely packed in waterproof covers, and sent off twice a week.

Captain Hodgson, of the King’s Own Regiment, recently sent an intimation to Messrs. Storey that the men of the King’s Own would appreciate very much gifts of butter and condensed milk which ranked as luxuries. He promised to distribute such gifts with the evening rations. An appeal amongst Messrs Storey Bros. works people has produced £12 1s 11d, and two consignments of butter, condensed milk and preserved meat for sandwiches have been despatched this week.

Tragedy at the Barracks: Drink not War

An inquest was held at the Town Hall, by Mr Coroner Holden, on Wednesday night, respecting the sad death of Colour Sergeant George Henry Brazier (42) of the King’s Own Regiment which occurred the previous morning under circumstances pointing to suicide. Deceased was known to the men at White Cross Mill, where he was for sometime employed. He was for a little while at Bay Horse as a coal agent’s manager, but left to go to Chapel-en-le-Frith, where his widow resides.
The Coroner in opening the inquest explained that Brazier had cut his throat with a penknife, and the following evidence was given:-

Company Sergeant Major William Smith, King’s Own Regiment, Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster, identified the body as that of Colour Sergeant George Henry Brazier, aged 42 years, whom he had known 15 years. He served in the Regiment 21 years, and was pensioned in April 1911, but rejoined Lord Kitchener’s army in September as an instructor. Nearly all his service was abroad, India, China and Burmah. He went from the Depot to Tidworth, and after a fortnight had elapsed returned from there owing to being unable to march, about the middle of October. He was then appointed to duty at the Depot, and posted to witness’s Company. He was able to perform the necessary duty. Some years ago he had an accident to his right arm, and worse a strap round the wrist, but otherwise was capable of doing his duty. He seemed in fairly good health, and slept with Sergeant Whybrow in the married quarters. Witness was wakened at 12.15 am by Sergeant Whybrow, who said that “The Colour Sergeant has cut his throat”. Witness went at once, and seeing the man was beyond hope, went to the officers’ mess and telephoned for a doctor from the Infirmary to come immediately. He had Brazier removed before death because there were other people in the room. Witness was present when he died.

Sergeant Thomas Whybrow, on duty at the Depot, said he slept in the same room as Brazier, whom he had known over 20 years. Witness rejoined the regiment on Monday, December 7th, and knew that Brazier was not well. He had been drinking hard, and was restless. Deceased was a big man, and seemed strong when witness got hold of him. He had not heard him suggest that he would do away with himself. Witness did not know he was getting his discharge. Sergeants Shepherd and Hanson were in the room. Witness was wakened by Brazier shouting out, and witness also shouted. Sergeant Shepherd woke and said “Look, Tim; he has cut his throat”. He looked and saw the throat cut. The knife (produced) was lying on the floor in the blood. Deceased had had no drink from the previous Saturday, but did not seem to be in his right mind, and shouted about a man at the window. He went to bed at 8.40 pm on Monday.

Sergeant E Parker, Depot (a member of the Metropolitan Police), said he was called to the deceased’s room and saw Brazier, whom he had known two months. He was a steady, sober man as far as he knew. Witness had not seen much of him, but had not seen him the worse for drink. At 12-5 on Tuesday he heard a shout, and on going into deceased’s room saw he was struggling. After witness had stopped the bleeding and bandaged the wound, Brazier said “Why didn’t you let me cut my head off?” Witness helped to take him to the hospital, and was present when he died, about 12-30 am. Witness could not tell why deceased should kill himself.

Surgeon Major Holmes RAMC, Bowerham Barracks, said that Brazier was sent for examination two days before. He said he had been drinking pretty hard, and although he admitted three or four pints a day, he must have had more. He was suffering from excessive drinking. He would have been discharged owing to his drinking habits.

The Coroner said there was not sufficient evidence to prove the man was of unsound mind, and suggested they should return a verdict of “Killed himself by cutting his throat” which they at once agreed to.


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