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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Loyal served in France


James Russell
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Dear Community,

One of my grandmothers had five brothers serve in the Great War. I'm making a post for each of them. With this post I am interested in any help or pointers on the youngest brother:

RobertSutton.jpg

Pte. Robert Sutton, 200718, killed 31 July 17, A Coy, 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was from Preston, Lancashire.

He is dressed in Highland kit which you might think strange for a Loyal. The family lore is that this was simply a lark – that Scottish units were nearby and the uniforms were swapped merely for the purposes of the photos to send home. In a volume entitled Story of The 55th (West Lancashire) Division by Rev J.O. Coop, is the following quote, “Between November 1914 and March 1915 eight battalions left the [55th] division for France to provide reinforcements for the BEF. In April a complete brigade, the North Lancashire, was transferred to the 51st Highland Division and having been redesignated 3rd Highland Brigade went to France with that division in May.” The advert from the bookseller says, “Whether they were in kilts or not is not made clear.” The photo of Bob must certainly be just a photo-op; the Stag’s head (Gordons?) cap badge suggesting so. But I wonder whether Lancashire lads were sent to the front feeling unfamiliar drafts?

Preston’s Harris Museum has a Roll of Honour with the following information regarding Bob:

RollofHonour.jpg

Ancestry has offered up a Medal Index Card with the right number.

imagex.jpg

Perhaps some particular about one of them could help in learning about the others. Any advice or information would be most gratefully received. Where can I go from here? Thanks.

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Thank you John,

I have been to the Menin Gate. I don't know whether it is more sad than beautiful or more beautiful than sad - it is sad. Funny, considering the photo I have of him - the day I was there the place had been invaded by Scottish school children.

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Thank you John,

I have been to the Menin Gate. I don't know whether it is more sad than beautiful or more beautiful than sad - it is sad. Funny, considering the photo I have of him - the day I was there the place had been invaded by Scottish school children.

Yes,

I suppose it is beautiful in the way that these men are being remebered however it is sad that there is no grave to lay a reath.

At least these places are being well looked after.

haha "invaded by scottish school children".

Best regards

John

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Dear Phil B,

Thanks for the tip. Good to hear from you again. I'm saving my pennies for another trip to Preston.

The newspaper archive is kept on microfiche and takes an investment of time. Microfiche also requires discipline because one is presented with a reel parade of articles on Ireland, fisheries and hunting, Methodist temperance meetings, ships sailing for New York, advertisements for trench coats and wrist watches, and local laws and ordinances that almost all distract.

Here's a question: what sort of delay do you think is likely between a death date and an article in a local newspaper? For that matter, I've been wondering how long lapsed between all my great uncle's deaths and the family being notified.

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Normally 2 - 3 weeks if he was a known casualty. The missing are more difficult as it could be many months or even years. I doubt if, in this case, you`re going to find out more unless you`re very lucky and there`s a photo. Could be worth writing to the Local History Librarian at the Harris and asking him/her to look at the month or so after death date.

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