Albert Lord

 

Private, 265141 4th Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, A Coy No 2 Platoon.
Lived at 25 Scott Street Burnley.
Killed in Action 20th November 1917.
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Albert Lord married Amy Gregson on the 29th of June 1911 at Providence Chapel, Albert was a native of Crawshawbooth, and came from Loveclough. In Albert’s working civilian life he was a weaver, at Messrs Landless’s mill Clowbridge, and at that time their home address was 1001 Burnley Road Rawtenstall. Later when Albert was on active service the address would change to 25 Scott Street Burnley. Born in October 1884 he attested aged 31 years and two months at Rawtenstall on the 10th of December 1915, and, on the 11th of December 1915, he moved to Army Reserve, and was mobilised on the 16th of June 1916, transferring on the 26th June 1916 to the 4th East Lancashire Regiment. On the 1st of January 1917 Albert now Pte Albert Lord number 265141, found himself being transferred to the 12th Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment with whom he would stay until the 17th of July 1917. On that date he would board a ship at Folkestone, destination Boulogne, where he would disembark on the 18th of July1917.

On arrival he moved to the famous Bullring at Etaples being finally posted to the 1/4th Kings own Royal Lancaster’s and joined Battle on the7th of August 1917. The last seen of Pte Albert Lord of the1/4th Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment was during the Diversionary attack on the 20th of November 1917, which was to aid the Battle of Cambrai, the latter being an initial success. Albert’s wife Amy wrote to both the Burnley Express and the Rossendale Free Press during the November/December of 1918 for any information relating to her husband but to no avail. Albert was eventually declared dead by the War Council on the 13th of August 1919, prior to this date on the 22 of July 1918 his wife Amy by Army Order received a weekly pension of 13 shillings and nine pence.

Albert Lord was No 265241 of the 1/4th Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and was in A. Coy. The Battalion landed at Boulogne in May 1915 to the 164th Brigade, 55th West Lancashire Division. They were territorial division whose motto was “They win or die who wear the rose of Lancaster”.

The Small picture on the right  is  of  the 55th West Lancashire Division Memorial at  Givenchy La Bassee, the picture on the left is of the centre at the base of the cross same Memorial

Albert was reported as missing on the 20th of November 1917, which was the first day of the Cambrai offensive, begun in order to smash the then impregnable Hindenberg line, and initially went well. His wife writing to the Burnley Express in late 1918 to see if anyone knew of his whereabouts gave her address as 25 Scott Street Cheapside Burnley. In the express article Albert is described as being 33 years old and a native of Crawshawbooth where he was well known and respected, previous to joining the army he was also connected with St Johns in that district and was also a weaver at Messrs Landless Mill Clowbridge. An appeal by Albert’s wife in the Rossendale Free Press on December 7th 1918 came to nothing and he was later concluded as being dead.  As did many other wives in the district, Albert’s wife wrote to the Mayor of Rawtenstall for the Mayors Card, a personal commemoration of his life given.

Brief account of the attack in which Albert Lord Fell in action.
The 55th West Lancs were in fact the southern most limit of the attack in the Battle of Cambrai. Tanks were used en masse for the battle, lessons having been learned from their experience with them in September 1916 on the Somme, around Flers.

On the 1st of November 1917 the 1/4th were at Lempire, east of Peronne under Lt Colonel G.B.Balfour who returned from sick leave and took Command of the Battalion. By the 3rd of November 1917 they were at a village called Longavesnes where the Battalion spent the day cleaning equipment, clothes, arms and billets as the C.O. had inspected the billets that morning.  During the following two weeks the days were spent training for the coming battle, which included practicing attacks on dummy trenches.

In the afternoons there was time for football competitions, which also had the effect of keeping the men in a very fit state for the battle to come.

The war diary extract 1/4th KORL for the 10th and 11th November 1917 reads….
8.30 am, Battalion practice attack, 2.30 pm Football match, the Probables versus the Possibles the result being a win 1-0 for the Probables.

Presentations for earlier Football Competitions went on through November 1917 before the attack on the 20th, as did a match between 1/4th KORLR and the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers resulting in a 3-0 thrashing for the Fusiliers.
Football was played right up to the final on the 19th of November 1917 whilst still a part of their fitness regime offered light relief from the training and the Battle to come.
20/11/1917 Zero hour.

The Battalion Attacked on a frontage of three companies, A, B, and C, with a platoon from the remaining D company attached to the former company’s.

Zero was set for 6.20 a.m., and two minutes later the first line went over the top and advanced towards the German line, ten seconds later the second line followed them, these two lines (in which would have been Albert Lord A Coy) dashed towards the enemy trenches and encountered the heavy clumps of Cheveux de frise which was a very thick barbed wire.
In spite of everything they got across with few casualties and fifteen minutes later the commander of No 2 Platoon reported that he had mopped up his allocated section of enemy trench and then tried but failed to get in touch with B Company, so, leaving a sentry group they proceeded in working successfully up one of the trenches known as Loot Lane. But by 7.a.m. they were in difficulty, and with meeting with strong opposition had to send for reinforcements and supplies of bombs (Mills Grenades) that duly arrived ten minutes later, and putting these to use the enemy gave way.
At 7.45 they had reached the top of the trench known as Loot Lane and formed a kind of barricade known as a block to help consolidate the gained trench. They were under constant attack from the enemy and as many men as could be spared remained and held the block whilst the rest under Lieutenant Clark worked northwards up the trench bombing enemy dugouts and causing many casualties among them.

Meanwhile the Germans had intensified their efforts to against the men holding the block and got between them and Lieutenant Clark, information was dispatched to Lieutenant Clark but to no avail as he was killed at 10.30a.m. by machine gun fire between the trenches known as Bony Avenue and Claymore trench with others being wounded going to his aid.

By 12.40 a.m. it was all over, the Germans were too superior in numbers and ammunition, they chased the British out of their front line wounding and overpowering some in the process, but the majority excluding Albert Lord made it back to their start line.  Albert could have lost his life anywhere in this attack, along with the other 80 reported as missing, 11 confirmed dead, and 120 being wounded.

Albert has no known grave, but is one of the thousands commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing his Reference being between Pier 5 face D, and Pier 12 face B.The Thiepval Memorial, (pictured below) is to the missing of the Somme,and contains some 72,000 names of Officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector prior to the 20th of March 1918 and have no known grave of which 90% of the commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Unveiled on the 31st of July by the Prince of Wales and in the presence of the President of France, the memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and built between 1928 and 1932.

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