14 April


Lonsdale Battalion events that took place on 14 April.
For events that took place elsewhere, see our sister project The Great War On This Day

1915 (Wednesday)

  • Letter from E Company written on Y.M.C.A. paper: After parade today....the Coy held a meeting, to ask you whether Sergeant Major Oliver has to stay with E Coy or the boys have to be bullied to death through him as the company have no heart to work when he is in sight and we also agreed not to do fatigue work after five o'clock as all the Battalions were to blame and not us only as was stated. We understood that when we enlisted in the Lonsdale Battalion that we would be trained to be soldiers not slaves and would be very pleased if you would do something for us. This letter is instead of that Post Card which you will very likely receive.[1]
  • Y.M.C.A. post card reads: We think it is time that Sergeant Major Oliver was shifted as we have no heart to work through his bullying.[1]

1916 (Friday)

  • Aveluy: In support involved in working parties.
  • A Company proceeds to isolation camp at Senlis with a case of the measles. Training continues during the entire period of isolation.[note 1]
  • Private J. Howsen writes a letter to the Workington Star and Harrington Guardian: Dear Star Man, I now take the pleasure of writing and acknowledging the parcel of smokes forwarded on to me, and I must take this opportunity of thanking the customers of the Royal Hotel, oh! to have a night with them! Well we have been back a bit, but they have moved us up again, and we expect to go in the firing line in a couple of days time. I saw in your paper where the 5th Border were grumbling about hard work, but I think all the Border men are alike. If there are any fatigues in our Division it’s "send for the 11th Border." Thanking you and your subscribers for their kindness towards me, and trusting you will convey my thanks to the customers of the Royal Hotel, not forgetting Jack Bates himself, through your valuable paper.
P.S. – As regards the fatigues our fellows have to do, they have got a little rhyme up, and it can be seen any time you have a mind to have a walk up the communication trench to the firing line. It runs as follows:
The Lord made the bee,
The bee made the honey;
The Border do the work,
And the R.E.’s get the money.[2]

1917 (Saturday)

  • Holnon: Assault on Fayet by the 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and 16th Highland Light Infantry commences at 4.30am.
  • Lonsdales remain in the line ready to concentrate if ordered, which comes through at 1pm to attack Twin Copses.
  • 1.00pm:Artillery opens up barrage, also at 1pm, and the Lonsdale advance on objective in extended order.
  • 1.26pm: Reaches terraced road where a machine gun opens fire from left front and inflicts several casualties to the left flank of the leading Company.
  • 1.33pm: Two platoons of the reserve company are ordered to deal with this, resulting in success and the capture of the gun. A telephone line was run out to Battn at 1.30pm and communications are established.
  • 1.45pm: North of Fayet: A report is received to the effect that the right companies had obtained their objectives and are consolidating.
  • 2.00pm: All companies are consolidating their lines.
  • Touch is established on the left with the 17th Highland Light Infantry, who were in Gricourt.
  • Except for slight shelling the situation remains quiet. Work is carried on all night on the defences.


1918 (Sunday)

  1. The Lonsdales moved again to another isolation camp in Contay Wood and remained there until 13 May. Whilst measles is uncommon in the UK today because of the advances in vaccination (NHS.uk), in 1916 things were a little different. One of the most effective ways to combat this highly infectious (but not life threatening) viral illness was to ensure it didn’t spread further. Containing the infection from the onset was the most realistic action to take. Those that were ill spent isolation convalescing, those that didn't show any of the typical signs continued as normal and that meant training. Away from the immediate dangers of the front line and with plenty of time on their hands, the Lonsdales were involved mainly with small working parties, Battalion training and Brigade and Divisional manoeuvres; keeping the men busy as not to idle the hours away when it could be spent more effectively.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Record No. DLONS/L/13/13/131
  2. Been Back a Bit, but Moved Up Again. Published 28 April 1916.
Various sources contemporary to the war have been used to compile The Lonsdale Battalion On This Day. The majority of the events shown on this day (14 April), including any supplementary notes, enlistments and statistical data etc., have been primarily sourced from the Lonsdale Battalion War Diary (November 1915 to June 1918), Record of the XIth (Service) Battalion (Lonsdale) and abridged material from Timeline and Chronology of the Lonsdale Battalion (September 1914 - May 1915), which are sourced from the original DLONS/L/13/13 Lowther Estate Archives. Events from that chronology are reproduced here with kind permission of Jim Lowther (2016). They are identified and referenced separately by their unique DLONS numbers. Please do not publish these events without prior permission from the Lowther Estate. All casualty names, numbers, ranks, date of deaths and places of burial/commemoration have been sourced from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19, Volume 39, The Border Regiment and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database respectively.
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