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Public and professional service: M008
This wonderful photo was sent in by Kev Alexander in December 2007. It shows G Company, King's Own Royal Lancaster 4th Battalion (Askam and Dalton), at Milly Bridge Farm, Twyford Camp, just prior to the outbreak of the Great War. The names are:
(back row, left to right) C Wells, J Charnock, M Benson, J Riley, P Roberts, H Riley, J Gill
(second row) E Burns, T Gott, T Crossley, J Jackson, W Waters, H Phillips, W Kipling, R Wallace, C Nicholas, H Shrimpton, W Corbett, J Edwards, W Corbett, J Edwards
(front row) F Thomas, C Maile, Pim Taylor, C Raven, T Thompson, W Williamson, Tar Preston.
Sgt Wells was Kev Alexander's great-great-grandad. He was stationed with the Askam detachment and was wounded at the Somme. His brother (back row) was a prisoner of war, and his grandad's brother-in-law, Tommy Thompson, was wounded and returned home to train troops. He also became a sergeant.
Kev tells me that all present were reserves and were trained for active service prior to the outbreak of the war.
In February 2009 I received more information on these men from Andy Moss:
"These men are all Territorial soldiers and the photo was taken after they had been mobilised for war, when they were stationed along the length of the Great Western Railway on guard duty (the original caption on your website says it was just prior to the outbreak of the war). Judging from their service numbers they are all pre-war enlistees and so I would suspect that this dates the photograph to mid- to late-August, 1914, before any of the men who had enlisted on the outbreak of war had had chance to join the battalion in the south of England.
"As Territorials they weren’t actually under any compunction to serve overseas at this stage of the war, although, when asked to, most of them volunteerd to do so. However, not all of them wanted to or were, in fact, old enough or fit enough to do so. Hence, in the list, you find men who did not see any active service in France. By one means or another I have managed to identify a couple of these but I suspect that the others I have not been able to identify probably fall into this category too. Two of them have nicknames and so I have not been able to positively identify them from all the available options (‘Tar’ Preston and ‘Pim’ Taylor).
"A lot of them were discharged before the end of the war on account of wounds or sickness, including Gerald Huck, whose death has only been formally recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (as being a consequence of his war service) within the last twelve months."