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First World War

Wooden Grave marker crosses

The production of wooden grave markers crosses appears to have been the responsibility of the carpenters of the battalion, who worked under the direction of the quartermaster.  A more standard army-wide pattern was also used, with a simple wooden cross and metal strips stamped with the details of the soldier buried.

In the museum's collection there are a few photographs of the wooden graves, which from the 1920s onwards were replaced by the standard Portland stone headstone.

Grave of Captain Frank Miller Bingham, of the 1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Dr. Bingham was a medical doctor in Lancaster and despite his training and a high demand for doctors in the Royal Army Medical Corps he served with the King's Own as an infantry officer.  Captain Bingham arrived in France along with the rest of the battalion on 14th February 1915, he was killed in action on 22nd May 1915 having just returned to the front line from a period of leave in England.  He was buried in Sanctuary Wood, his grave marked with a wooden cross and the plot fenced off.  As the war ravaged the area the grave was lost and Captain F M Bingham is now recorded on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. 
Frank Bingham was aged 40 when he died, the son of Dr and Mrs Bingham of Alfreton, Derbyshire, husband of Ruth Morley Bingham of Highfield House, Lancaster.
There is a memorial to Captain Bingham in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancaster.
Accession Number: KO0592/02

Grave of Sergeant Herbert Dobson, MM, number 2746 of the 1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Herbert Dobson enlisted on the 3rd September 1914 as one of the 'Lancaster Pals', and he arrived on the Western Front on 5th May 1915.  He was killed in action on 9th August 1916 at Trones Wood in the attack on Guillemont.  He is buried in Quarry Cemetery, Montauban, Somme, France.  He was the son of Robert and Sarah Ann Dobson of 31 Dundee Street, Moorlands, Lancaster.
The cross is one of over 200 painted by Corporal Robert Bell, number 241639, of the 1st/5th Battalion.
More on Herbert Dobson
Accession Number: KO0534/01

Grave of 2nd Lieutenant Angus Dickson, 1st/5th Battalion, The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment who was accidentally killed on 14th October 1916. 
From the History of the 1st/5th Battalion:
"When the Division arrived in Ypres, .... It was decided to have a raid, and the 1st/5th King's Own were told to get ready for one during their first tour.  'A' Company was selected.... the objective of the raid was the 'Mound'....  On 14th October 1916 the General Officer in Command watched the raid practised, and all was considered ready, but on the same day a revolver accident  caused the death of 2nd Lieutenant Dickson, one of the raiding party.  It was a most unfortunate loss of a promising officer...."
A letter in the museum's collection from his mother to Lieutenant Booth, dated 22nd May 1917:
"My Dear Lieutenant Booth,
..... I enclosed a copy of photograph of our lads grave, there is something I don't quite understand about it.  I believe it is not customary for the authorities to erect anything other than a single cross where a soldier is buried.  If so who put up the wooden cross?  I have not any information and would like to thank those who have shown this mark of respect..."  Letter Accession Number: KO2115/06
He was the son of James and Margaret Hogg Dickson of 31 Lugsmore Lane, St. Helens, Lancashire, and was born in Penycare, Ruabon, Denbighshire.  He is buried in Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, Belgium.
Accession Number: KO2115/05

Letter to Lieutenant Booth from Mrs. Dickson re death of her son (two sheets)
Accession Number: KO2115/06

Envelope addressed to 2nd Lieutenant Booth, G 3 Ward, 2nd W G Hospital, Whitworth Street, Manchester. Post makred 22 May 1917.
Accession Number: KO2115/07

The grave of Private Robert Harry Willman, number 3088/241032, of the 2nd/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  He was killed in action on 28th March 1917.  Private Willman, a native of Dolphinholme, is recorded as the son of Mrs I Gardner of Brookfield Terrace, Bay Horse, near Lancaster.  His grave is in Erquinghem-Lys Churchyard Extension Cemetery.
Accession Number: KO2890/01

Part of the cross of 2nd Lieutenant Robert Aubrey Hildyard, 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, killed in action on 20th December 1916.  The brass plaque states "The remains of the Cross originally erected over the grave of 2nd Lieutenant R A Hildyard" which can now be found, along side a memorial window, in St. Leonard's Parish Church, Hythe, Kent.
2nd Lieutenant Hildyard was the son of Major Harry Robert Hildyard (West Riding Regiment) and Mrs Edith Vivian Hildyard of the Peak, Hythe Kent.  He had been educated at Leas Court, Folkestone, Malvern College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.  He was commissioned on 6th April 1916 and joined the 1st Battalion in France in July 1916.  He was the battalion signalling officer at the time he was killed, he had just returned from leave the previous day and was killed along with 2nd Lieutenant Godfrey James Wilding of London, who were both killed by the same shell as they sheltered in a dug out in a reserve trench at Fregicout.
Accession Number: KO2413/01

Grave of Lieutenant Arthur Stanley Mack, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, killed in action 9th April 1917, with official wooden cross and un-official painted cross marking the grave. Mindel Trench British Cemetery
Accession Number: KO3057/10

Memorial believed to be in Mindel Trench British Cemetery dated “1917” “Sacred to the memory of the officers, NCO’s and men of the 1st Bn The King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, who were killed near this spot 9 Apr 1917.
Accession Number: KO3057/11

The grave of Captain Albert Ellwood, MC, of the 1st/4th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.  Albert Ellwood had volunteered for service with the 5th Battalion in September 1914, he went overseas with the 1st/5th Battalion on 14th February 1915 and was commissioned in August 1916.  In 1917 he was transferred to the 1st/4th Battalion and was killed in action with them on 14th August 1918 during the fighting at Givenchy.
He is buried in Vielle Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture.
The 1st/4th Battalion was part of the 55th West Lancashire Division and the Divisional Graves Identification Fund had been established to pay for enamel discs bearing the divisional badge (the red rose and two leafy stems) and the legend 'They Win or Die Those Who Wear the Rose of Lancaster."
Accession Number: KO0922/06 & Example of Enamel Plaque, Accession Number: KO2588/01

The grave of Company Sergeant Major Robert Harker, number 7833, of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
Robert Harker was a regular soldier who had served with both the 2nd and 1st Battalions of the King's Own prior to the First World War, it would appear he was with the 1st Battalion between 1908 and 1913, and his whereabouts is not known in 1914, however he did not arrive in France with the rest of the battalion, he arrived on 18th December 1914.
Warrant Officer Class 2 (Company Sergeant Major) Robert Harker was killed in action on 3rd July 1918 at the age of 34 years.  He was the husband of Harriet Marsay Harker of the Star Inn, Haggersgate, Whitby.  Robert Harker was born at North Shields.
He is buried in Mont Bernanchon British Cemetery, Gonnehem, France.
Accession Number: KO2833/08

Wooden cross on grave of Private William Hodgson, killed in action on the 24th May 1917 whilst serving with the 2nd/5th Battalion of the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
Accession Number: KO2716/140


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