Every day on the British Army Ancestors Facebook page I take time to commemorate a British soldier. This post will look at four of the men I have remembered recently; from left to right: C R Tilson, John Harling, and Herbert Darbyshire and Frederick Osborne.
7833 (later 243285) Corporal John Harling of the 5th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was born in Chorley, Lancashire on the 12th December 1893 and attested for service under the Derby Scheme three days before his 22nd birthday on the 9th December 1915. He was mobilised on the 31st January 1916 and posted to the 4/5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 2nd February 1916. This photograph of him was probably taken in 1916 and certainly before he gained his lance-corporal’s stripe in August 1917.
John served overseas from February 1917 and was promoted corporal on the 18th July 1918. He was killed in action on the 12th September 1918 and is now buried in Triangle Cemetery, Inchy-en-Artois. His grieving parents had the following words chiselled into his Commonwealth war Graves headstone: AT REST FAR FROM HOME / HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE.
The RHA’s ‘affair at Nery’ was widely talked about in the UK press in 1914 as a result of L Battery’s heroic stand there, and after which three Victoria Crosses were awarded. Driver Osborne and Gunner Darbyshire were both recommended for the VC but ended up with the Medaille Militaire. Despite there being quite a lot of information online about Nery, I didn’t find a single source which mentioned the men’s regimental numbers, and had track these down by doing some detective work on medal index cards and medal rolls.
This photograph of 53537 Gunner Herbert P Darbyshire, on the left, and 68372 Driver Frederick Alick Osborne was published in The Illustrated War News on the 28th October 1914 – and has now been published again on British Army Ancestors.