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The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

20th November 1914

These pages include reports from the local press in Lancaster and district from November 1914.

Royal Lancaster Sergeant Complimented

Number 8889 Sergeant H Whiteside, 1st Battalion, The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), and also a native of Lancaster, has been severely wounded at Hazebrouck, and he was also complimented with 25 men, when patrolling during the night, on finding out the position of the enemy’s trenches whilst under fire.

Private John Carney

Mrs Carney, of 12 Ridge Street, Lancaster, received on Friday morning a notification from the record office in Preston that her son Private John Carney (8653) of the Royal Lancaster Regiment had died on the 21st October, “of wounds received in action.” The place was not stated but on Saturday a further communication was received by Mrs Carney stating that her son was wounded in the back, and that he was buried in the garden of Ouvri Notre Dame. Private Carney was born in Lancaster, and he was brought up in the town. He attended St. Paul’s school, and enlisted in the King’s Own when he was a young man. He was with the 1st Battalion in India for eight years, and had been for twelve months in the reserve when war broke out. He worked at Lune Works after returning to civil life. In August he rejoined the regiment, which was one of the first to land in France and to become engaged with the enemy. He sent one or two “field postcards” to his mother, the last being dated on the Saturday previous to the Wednesday on which he received the wound from which he died. No further communication was received from him or from the authorities until Friday, when the intimation of his death was received. Mrs Carney has three more sons serving in the army – Michael and James in the 5th King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment; and Martin, who has enlisted in Kitchener’s army. Three brothers in law of Private Carney are also serving the country, two in the Royal Lancaster Regiment, and one in the Army Medical Corps.

Local War Items

Captain H R Sparenborg, of the Royal Lancasters (at one time adjutant of the 4th Battalion), who has been previously reported (officially) wounded and missing, is now unofficially reported prisoner of war.

Corporal James Turner, a Blackburn man, of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, is a prisoner in the hands of the Germans. He was wounded in the Boer War, and in June last year received the Royal Humane Society’s certificate, for saving life of an eight year old schoolboy who had fallen in the canal.

Mrs Margaret Alice Preson, 53, Gorst Street, Preston, has been informed of the death of her husband, Private Fred Pearson at the Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. Private Pearson belonged to the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, and was called up on 5th August, being in the first contingent to leave England for the front. He participated in the early fighting, and was wounded in an action in Belgium on 21st October, a bullet entering his left arm and passing into his body, injuring three ribs.

Lancaster Men at Blackpool

A member of the Reserve Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment, now at Blackpool, writes:- The battalion has got well to work and during the past weekend most of the companies have received practical instruction in trench digging. Everybody appears to be in the best of health and spirits, and in almost every case are extremely delighted at the kindness with which they are treated in their billets. We have had very high tides, and they have been witnessed by large numbers of the Territorials. They have proved a counter attraction to the entertainments, to all of which we get half price. The Liverpool Scottish is one of the smartest regiments, but ours is nearly as smart. We are the senior battalion here, and Colonel Hall is brigadier, and Lieutenant Bainbridge is our acting adjutant. We drill on the Whitegate racecourse, and though it is considerably larger than the Giant Axe, it is not so pleasant to drill on, being very sloppy. Snow was on the ground on Sunday when we paraded, but it soon cleared away. Thirty of the men who volunteered to join the 5th Battalion are to be trained in musketry for a month, and we are then to join them at Sevenoaks, who are shortly to proceed to France for further training. They are also to act as the second line of defence.

News of Lieutenant Irvine

On Friday last week Mr Irvine, Drumgood Manor, Maguire’s Bridge, Ireland, received a letter from his son Lieutenant C G S Irvine of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, who had been “missing” since August. The young officer was wounded in the retreat from Mons, and on two occasions Mr Irvine was assured his son was dead, but the evidence was not satisfactory to his mind. Nearly three months passed between the date of the report that his son was “missing” and the receipt of the letter on Friday which set at rest doubts as to the young officer’s fate. In the meantime, Second Lieutenant Irvine has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in his regiment. After being wounded in the field, he was taken to a neighbouring village, and the last heard of him was that he was seen lying grievously wounded in the parish church. The Germans (he says in his letter) took him to Cambrai, and when he was fit to be moved they slung a stretcher by chains from the carriage roof, put him on it, and took him to Wurtzburg, in Bavaria. The journey took three days, so careful were the German doctors and officers of their patient. Mr Irvine can now walk 100 yards a day with the aid of two sticks: he is still very thin and weak, but he is given good food and every care. When he is strong enough he believes he will be interned as a prisoner of war in a fortress. Professor Mendelssohn-Bartholdy sees him daily, and shows him every kindness and attention, as indeed do all the German officials. Lieutenant Irvine wrote to his father as soon as his wounds enabled him to do so, but all the earlier letters must have gone astray or been stopped by the German Post Office.

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