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First World War

1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment - 1914


A Company, 1st Battalion, King's Own at Dover in 1914 just before the battalion was mobilised for war.
Accession Number KO0116/08


Corps of Drums of the 1st Battalion, King's Own at Dover, July 1914.  "Seated on the right of the Drum Major, W R Thompson, is Sergeant Collins who was killed in action a few weeks later.  This was the last photograph taken of the Drums before the outbreak of the 1914 War, for within a month the Drums ceased to exist, many of the Drummers being killed, wounded or captured on 26th August 1914, near Haucourt and Le Cateau, France.  The drums were purchased from Henry Potter and Co of Aldershot in 1913.  They were stored away and replaced by drums issued by Ordnance for use on Active Service.  These were lost during the retirement from Mons.  In the centre of the group and wearing a leopard skin apron presented by Captain W A T Somerville DSO is Drummer Johnson.  On 26th August 1914 he was surrounded and captured while wielding his bayonet, and spent four years in Germany.
Only two of the group were married - Sergeant Collins and Drummer Ford who is seated fourth from the right of the Drum Major.  The marriage of Ford took place in the Guardroom of Grand Shaft Barracks, Dover, because war on Germany had been declared and the troops were confined to Barracks on mobilisation, 4th August 1914.  After the wedding the bride departed in tears."  W R Thompson, July 1959.
Accession Number KO1121/119


Members of the 1st Battalion at Dover, 30th July 1914, including Sergeant John Bamford and Sergeant Jack Williams, one of four brothers who served in the King's Own.  Both Sergeant Bamford, number 8503 and Sergeant John Henry Williams, number 7899, went across to France on 23rd August 1914 and were taken prisoner of war three days later at Le Cateau.
Accession Number KO0998/01-2


Group of the 1st Battalion at Shornehead Fort in Kent, probably in August 1914 just after the battalion was mobilised.  The postcard is known to have been sent by Private John William Darcy Rigg, who is recorded as having died in France on 5th September 1914.
Accession Number KO1435/01


"What the 1st Battalion saw on the morning of 26th August 1914.  Wambaix Station in the background.  Taken from the actual spot where Lieutenant Colonel Dykes was killed."
Accession Number: KO0012/15


Corporal Ellis Williams, number 6612, also arrived in France on 23rd August 1914 along with his brother.  Ellis was wounded and is pictured at Waterloo Station, London.
Writing on about 1st September, from 26 Cot, Sister Cotton's Ward at the London Hospital to his mother:
"I have landed here after a short tour round France.  I am wounded in the right forearm (shell) but nothing serious.  They think I have got a touch of dysentery but I doubt it myself.  I can't write about our engagement for it would fill a book.  Tell Dad [former Colour Sergeant Ellis Williams] it was a great blunder.  Our brigade formed in mass on a hill and entrenched to oppose the German right flank.  We had no sooner formed mass when the Germans opened fire with about 15 Maxims and 4 Brigades of artillery at a distance of about 350 to 500 yards.  All we could do was to lie down flat on our faces, but the fire got too hot and we had to return to a small village.  They then directed their fire on the village and completely destroyed it.  Our Colonel and many officers were killed and, they say, nearly half the Battalion.  I did not see Jack so God only knows if he is safe.  We must pray that he is so...... I have no arms or equipment.  I took them to the Field Hospital but they shelled it so we had to leave.  Some poor chaps were buried in it.  Poor Jack Sharp was one I believe.  I should like some cigarettes for I'm broke absolutely.  I have asked Fred to get me a razor and some more things and I will pay him later.
No more at present.  Mother.
Best Love to all.
Your affectionate son.
Ellis."
Accession Number KO0998/01-15

 

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2007 Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum