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amrward

Picture of 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire battalion

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amrward

[ Moderators - I'm not sure which the correct section for this is, please move if it's in the wrong place ]

 

I was doing some research into a fairly famous picture of the Loyal North Lancashires (IWM Q518, https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205072015) - I have seen the unit in the photo described as "55th Division", "1/4th or 1/5th Loyal North Lancashire" or "1/4th Loyal North Lancashire", and the context being "parading for the trenches", "cheering their return to the trenches" or even "showing off their new steel Brodie helmets". There are actually three photos of the group in the IWM collection, two (Q518, Q519) being informal and the last (Q520) being formal. The IWM notes say that they were taken in Wailly in France on 17/4/1916 - there were actually two battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire in that area at that time (1/4th and 1/5th), both under the 55th Division.

 

My interest stemmed from the slim possibility that the photo was of the 1/5th LNL (I was trying to find a photo of my great-grandfather's battalion!) but I always thought it more likely it was the 1/4th LNL - the 1/4th LNL war diary mentions on 18/4/1916 that the battalion was photographed in Monchiet (a few miles from Wailly) by the official photographer, and one photo appears in the post-war battalion history of the 1/4th LNL. But I thought I'd try and see if I could positively ID any of the soldiers in the picture, just to be sure and to close off that avenue.

 

Using the soldier biographies on the excellent www.loyalregiment.com website, I think I found a couple of good matches which confirm for me that this is indeed the 1/4th LNL. I've attached the identification in case it's of interest to anyone else. One thing that helps a bit is that the photos aren't exactly the same, so they each give a few slightly different view of the same people.

 

Of the two soldiers I think I can ID, one of them (Pte. W. Carter) died a few days after the photo was taken in an accident with a misfiring rifle grenade, and the other (Pte. R. Coxhead) was posted as missing a few months later during the 1/4th LNL attack on Guillemont in the Somme and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. Even though it's not the 1/5th LNL, I still think it's a fascinating set of photos - the formal picture, with helmets on and everyone looking very serious, looks quintessentially "WW1" to me, but the two informal pictures, with everyone joking around and laughing together show a different side to the experience.

 

Anyway, I hope that might be of some interest to other forum members!

1_4_LNL.png

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brianmorris547

One of the photos is on display in the Lancashire Infantry Museum, Fulwood Barracks, Preston where it is marked 4 Bn. I have seen a similar one in the Bolton papers which made me think it was the 5th. I noticed the difference too. I have a note of the dates of Loyals photos in the Bolton papers for 1915 and 1916 if it is of any help to you.

Brian

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amrward

Thanks Brian - yes, I'd definitely be interested in getting hold of the photo dates, it's a long shot but next time I am near Bolton I'd definitely like to pop into the library to take a look. Could you DM it to me?

 

I actually have a couple of other potential IDs on the battalion photo, but they are much more tentative - I think to get a really solid ID correspondence you need to have a distinctive-looking person facing the camera straight on in each case. I would really like to know exactly where it was taken, I "flew" around Monichet/Wailley/Bellacourt in Google Earth for a bit but didn't see any area that looked right. (I think that perhaps the wall at the top of the photo, just left of centre, is south-facing - it has vines or other fruit growing up it in fans)

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brianmorris547

PM sent. For interest, this is the picture in the Bolton Journal and Guardian 05/05/1916. Slight differences, in the above photo the four men near the wheel of the cart are looking back at something. There was no supporting story with the picture. The BJG was the weekly version of the Bolton Evening News. 

Brian

009.JPG

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amrward

Thanks Brian, yes that's IWM Q519 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205072016), the one I posted above is Q518 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205072015). The formal "helmets-on" picture is Q520 (https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205072017).

 

[ You can actually tell that the order in which they were taken was Q520, then Q518, then Q519 (i.e. serious formal photo first, then the two informal photos), because there's an officer running to get in place at the top-right in Q518, who isn't there in Q520 but is in the right place in Q519! ]

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