RFA West Lancs Bdes
680293 DVR. W. LORD. R.F.A.
William Lord was born on 26 March 1894 in Saltley, Birmingham. (CWGC gives his name as William Henry, but none of the civilian records and most other military records show just William). His father was Thomas Lord (b. 1872 in Gloucester), a blacksmith. His mother was Mary Perry Smith (b. 1869 in Shrewsbury). Thomas and Mary were married in 1891. They had six children but lost two in infancy. The survivors were William, followed by Jessie (b. 1898), Nellie (b. 1903) and Samuel (b. 1906). William was born in Birmingham and his siblings were all born in Atcham, near Shrewsbury, but the family moved to Lancaster some time after 1906 and in 1911, they were living at 2 Germany Row, Lancaster (the street no longer exists, but these were back-to-back houses between Cable Street and St Leonard’s Gate). William was a blacksmith’s apprentice, presumably working with his father. Thomas attempted to join the army in September 1914, just after War broke out. He was 43 years old at the time but declared his age as 33 (meaning he would have been born in 1881), but on the next page of his attestation papers he declares his marriage in 1891 and the correct birthdays of his children. He was immediately discharged as medically unfit to serve.
William had presumably served in the Territorials before the War. He had an initial service number of 1365 and he was posted to “B” Battery of 276 Brigade. William landed in France with his Division on 30 September 1915.
55th Division relieved 42nd (East Lancashire) Division in the front line at Givenchy and Festubert on 15 February 1918. Here, it faced numerous strong enemy raids in March. Early April was at first much quieter but this was the quiet before the storm.
From the War Diary
9 April 1918 4.15am Enemy opened heavy H.E. and Gas bombardment on all Battery areas, Headquarters, and Wagon Lines. Batteries opened on “Counter preparation” and later on S.O.S. Hostile infantry reported attacking, and pressing back our Infantry on the Left. 164th Infantry Brigade still holding GIVENCHY. Continuous hostile shelling throughout the day. Enemy infantry at one time reached forward gun of A/276 Battery in GUNNER SIDING, but counter-attacked and driven off.
6.42pm A/276 Bty report all guns destroyed and personnel manning trench in front of position. Ordered to move personnel to Wagon lines with all material that can be salved. D/276 Battery moved forward gun back to main position. Throughout the day information received of enemy concentration. Batteries opened fire on all occasions, and with the exception of local encounters no further attack on a large scale developed on Group Front.
8.00pm Information received that 800 prisoners captured to date.
10 April 1918 7.30am FESTUBERT heavily shelled and enemy attacking in neighbourhood of LOISNE. (The enemy attack continued throughout the day but by) 8.30pm Infantry report enemy attack driven off. All Batteries ceased fire on S.O.S. lines but continued harassing fire at slow rate.
11-14 April The enemy attacked, were repulsed, re-grouped and attacked again, but the ferocity of the attacks slowly diminished. They make another effort on 18 April but again are repulsed. On 26 April 164th Infantry Brigade feel confident enough to mount a counter-attack which is initially successful but they are later forced back to their original line.
The enemy attack continued until 18 April, when it slackened off then ceased. On 20 April, the Division re-captured a number of trenches near Givenchy and skirmishes continued until the end of the month but neither side made any gains.
During May, the Brigade remained near Givenchy but there were no more attacks and on 27 May they were relieved from the line and withdrew to bivouac at Bois des Dames. They moved back into the line between 9-12 June and between 13-20 June they supported a number of infantry raids. Throughout July, August and September they engaged in harassing fire, mainly by night. Some relatively minor infantry raids were mounted but the action was mainly to disrupt the enemy and prevent any counterattack. On 2 October, the Brigade received information that the Germans had begun to withdraw and the Brigade then began its advance. They reached Hantay on 4 October, Hocron on 16 October then Allennes and Seclin on 17 October. (Seclin is 10km south of Lille). There’s no record in the War Diary of what happened, but William died of drowning in an accident on 17 October 1918. He was 24 years old.
Service No: 680293
Date of Death: 17/10/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “B” Bty, 276th Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: VI. D. 4.
Cemetery/Memorial: LILLE SOUTHERN CEMETERY