SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
"WE WILL REMEMBER THEM" |
203064 Private ALBERT LONSDALE.
4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.
Formerly 7654 in the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.
Killed in action, aged 25, on the 27th May 1918.
Born Tynemouth. Enlisted at Richmond, N Yorks.
Son of Matthew Gowland Lonsdale and the late Elizabeth Lonsdale of Walker-on-Tyne, Northumberland.
La Ville Au Bois British Cemetery.
Albert's life story is perhaps the most tragic of all the lads on the Skelton War Memorials.
1878 December Quarter - His parents married in Tynemouth.
1881 - At the census of this year they are living at 69 Fisher Street, Longbenton, Tynemouth, Northumberland.
His father is Matthew Gowland Lonsdale, aged 26, born in Felling Durham and employed as a "Boilermaker at Works".
His mother is Elizabeth [nee Porter], aged 22, born in Walker, Northumberland.
Their first child, Matthew, is not yet one year old.
1891 - The family is still at Fisher Street and have 3 additions, Elizabeth A, 6, James, 4 and Agnes not yet 1.
1893 September Quarter - Albert Lonsdale is born.
1895 December Quarter - Albert's brother William is born.
1900 September Quarter - A sister Ellen is born. It is likely that Albert's mother, Elizabeth, died.
1901 - By the time of the census of this year the family had been decimated.
Albert's father, Matthew is living alone at 217 Kirk Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. He would die in the June Quarter of 1920, aged 65.
The two eldest children, Matthew, 20, and Elizabeth A, 17, are living with a Cousin, Thomas Batson at 75 Bolam Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
James, aged 14, is having treatment in the Wellesley Hospital, 12 Greens Place, South Shields, Durham.
It would seem that he has been a bad lad and has been committed to the Wellesley, Royal Navy Training ship, which was moored at North Shields in the Tyne.
This vessel was used as an approved School for youths considered to be out of parental control.
Magistrates sent young lads there for persistent truancy among other things.
A Skelton lad was sent there for not attending School in 1899. See here for more about it.
The youngest Lonsdale children, Agnes, 11, Albert, 7, William, 6 and baby Ellen, 1, are all Inmates in the Workhouse in the Arthur Hill Ward of Newcastle upon Tyne.
1901. The Newcastle Union erected cottage homes on a 70-acre rural site at Ponteland for the accommodation of 300 pauper children away from the workhouse.
Each cottage block was supervised by a "house-father" or "house-mother" and accommodated between thirty and forty children.
The homes, included a school, infirmary, and workshops. including a blacksmith's shop.
The cottages still exist and are now the Headquarters of the Northumbria Police.
Albert presumably spent the years until he reached the working age of 14 in these Childrens' Homes.
1903 September Quarter - Little Ellen died, aged 3.
1911 - At the census of this year Albert, aged 17, is living at Hedgeley Eglingham Alnwick, Northumberland.
He is a Boarder with a family called Redpath and employed as a Gardener, Domestic.
His brother, William, age 15, is learning Gardening at the Workhouse cottages, Ponteland.
1914 - At outbreak of the First War Albert was employed by Skelton Castle Estate as a Gardener.
Albert's Medal Card shows that he was first enlisted in the 6th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.
This Battalion came under the orders of the 32nd Brigade, 11th [Northern] Division.
It was the only Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment to take part in the failed Gallipoli campaign, shown on the Medal Card as "Balkans".
Albert was among the first batch of troops, arriving there on the 14th July 1915.
There were a great many casualties and those who survived were sent via Egypt to France, where the Battalion fought on the Somme in 1916, most notably in the offensive called the Battle of Flers-Courcelettes.
In 1917 it was sent to Ypres and fought in the Third Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele.
Albert's Service record, like so many others, has not survived.
It is surmised that he was not surprisingly wounded at some point in these actions and on recovery posted to the 4th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.
This Battalion, was part of the 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.
Albert's misfortune continued.
The 50th Division in the Spring of 1918 were one of the few Divisions to face all three German offensives.
On the Somme in March and on the River Lys in April, the British were heavily outnumbered and lost many men defending a German advance.
In May the Division was sent to what was supposed to be a quiet area on the River Aisne to rest and train new recruits. Unfortunately it was directly in the path of the third German push.
The 4th Battalion were decimated on the Chemin de Dames, at Craonne, above the river Aisne and ceased to exist as a fighting Unit.
Albert was killed at this time.
Full details based on the Battalion War Diary can be read starting here.
La Ville au Bois British Cemetery is North of Reims and the burials were brought in from a wide area after the War.