RFA West Lancs Bdes
681541 GNR. H. CALVERT. R.F.A.
Herbert Calvert was born in Darwen in the second quarter of 1890. His father was William Calvert (b. 1855 in Darwen), a house painter. His mother was Marcia Hill (b. 1857 in Sutton-in-Holderness, near Hull). Marcia had moved to Darwen by 1880 and she and William were married there in 1882. The couple had 9 children though two died in infancy. The survivors were: Lizzie (b. 1883), George (b. 1885), William Henry (b. 1888), then Herbert, then Minnie (b. 1892), Norman (b. 1895) and finally Jack (b. 1900). In 1911, the family was living at 5 Ivy Terrace, Darwen. George, William Henry and Herbert were all cotton weavers. Marcia died in 1915. William’s loss would be further compounded by the loss of his three oldest sons in the latter years of the War.
From his service number – 681541 – it looks as though Herbert enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery in late 1915 and he was probably first posted to “C” Battery of 286 Brigade, but at some stage he was transferred to 41st Battery in 42nd Brigade. 42Bde came under orders of 3rd Division.
3rd Division was extremely active during many phases of the battles of 1918, from Operation Michael in the early spring, to the Battle of the Lys in the second phase of the German Spring Offensive, then in September and October in the Battle of the Canal du Nord and the capture of Cambrai. They then pursued the Germans to the River Selle and after intense fighting, forced them to retreat further. Herbert was killed in action on 26 October 1918 at Poix-du-Nord during the Battle of the Selle. This was the final action of his Division in the War. Herbert was 28 years old.
Service No: 681541
Date of Death: 26/10/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, 41st Bty, 42nd Bde. Cemetery/memorial reference: II. B. 26.
Cemetery/Memorial: POIX-DU-NORD COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
Additional Information: Son of William Calvert, of 5 Ivy Terrace, Darwen, Lancs.
Herbert was the third of the Calvert brothers to lose his life. Brothers William Henry and George had already lost their lives.
84927 GNR. W. H. CALVERT. R.G.A.
William Henry Calvert was born in the first quarter of 1888 in Darwen. In September 1912, he married Lizzie Pearson (b. 1884 in Everton). The couple had four children: Lena (b. 1913), Leslie (b. 1915), Marcia (b. 1917), and Eileen (b. 1918). Eileen was born three months after her father was killed. To compound even further this family’s tragedies, Lena died aged only 6 in 1919.
William Henry attested he was willing to serve in the Royal Garrison Artillery in December 1915. He was assigned service number 84927 and posted to 331st Siege Battery. He was called up on 22 May 1916 and remained in England in training until 25 July 1917 when he was sent to the front. On 25 August 1917 he was transferred to 17th Battery, RGA. He died of wounds at 21st Field Ambulance on 4 October 1917. 21 Field Ambulance was attached to 7th Division which was engaged on 4 October in the Battle of Broodseinde, part of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele).
Service No: 84927
Date of Death: 04/10/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Garrison Artillery, 17th Bty.
Cemetery/memorial reference: II. J. 10.
Cemetery/Memorial: MENIN ROAD SOUTH MILITARY CEMETERY
R/1717. A.B. G. CALVERT. R.N.V.R.
George Calvert was born in January 1885. In March 1914, he married Jane Fish (b. 1887 in Darwen). George signed up, like his brothers, in December 1915, but George opted for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. He was called up in June 1917 and drafted for service in France in December that year. On 5 January 1918 he joined the Anson Battalion. Anson Battalion came under orders of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division which was an infantry division. It was originally formed as the Royal Naval Division at the outbreak of the war from Royal Navy and Royal Marine reservists and volunteers who were not needed for service at sea. The division fought at Antwerp in 1914 and at Gallipoli in 1915. In 1916, following many losses among the original naval volunteers, the division was transferred to the British Army. As an Army formation, it fought on the Western Front for the remainder of the war.
In early 1918, 63rd Division was on the Somme and would be engaged in the first phase of the German Spring Offensive which began on 21 March. Although the action was less intense in the run-up to the offensive, there was nevertheless intermittent shelling and gassing by both sides. George was gassed on 12 March 1918 and invalided to England two days later. He died in Nottingham General Hospital on 3 May 1918. He was 33 years old. His body was taken back to Darwen for burial.
Rank: Able Seaman
Service No: R/1717
Date of Death: 03/05/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Anson Bn. R.N. Div.
Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. 1070.
Cemetery/Memorial: DARWEN CEMETERY
Additional Information: Husband of Jane Calvert, of 33 Northcote Street, Darwen.