Friday 24 October 2014

William Gardner b. 1876

William is my paternal great-father and I posted what little I knew about him almost 12 months ago in this post .
Today on a Lancaster Facebook page people were discussing the Lancaster War Memorial as there is a very sad story of 4 bros from the Butterworth family who were all killed in action in WW1. This prompted me to look for William and this is what I found...


Awards: MM
Sergeant 152411 6th Bn., King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regt.)
who died of wounds on Thursday, 08/03/1917 . Age 41 .
Son of Mrs. Jane Gardner;
Husband of Mary Ann Gardner, of 1, Albert Square, Lancaster.
BASRA MEMORIAL, Ref:: Panel 7, Iraq
Borough of Lancaster Civic Reception H M Forces Report Form shows:
William Gardner. Resided at 1 Albert Square, Lancaster. A married man. Sergeant 152411. K.O.R.L.Regt. Military Distinctions Awarded: M.M. He served for 6 months at home, and 2 years and 4 months abroad. Killed.
William Gardner. SERGT. 15241. King's Own [Royal Lancaster Regt.] 6th Bn.
Born, and enlisted in Lancaster.
Died 08/03/17. Died of Wounds. Mesopotamia.
Source: Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Gardner William Sergeant Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, awarded D C M. wounded at Baghdad, died of wounds in Mesopatamia 8 March 1917, 1917, age 40, address 1, Albert Square, Bridge Lane, Lancaster, educated at Quay school, employed at Lune Mills, he leaves a widow and seven children. His brother Private James, is serving in the same Battalion.
Source Lancaster Guardian date 24 March, 1917 page 5, photo Code ? 857, 867 .
William Gardner was born in Lancaster, one of the three sons of Mrs Jane Gardner of River Street, St. George's Quay, Lancaster. He attended St Mary's School on the Quay, and after leaving school worked at Lune Mills. He joined the 1st(Volunteer) Battalion, The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment about 1899 and, in 1900/1901, served in the South African war with No 1 Volunteer Service Company, attached 2nd Battalion, King's Own. In recognition of this he received the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps, and his further Volunteer/Territorial Force service, up to about 1908, brought him the award of the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.
In October 1914, William was among those who enlisted at Lancaster for the 8th (Service) Battalion, The King's Own. After a brief spell in camp at Codford, near Warminster, Wiltshire, 8th (S) King's Own moved to Boscombe, Hampshire, where it was made up to full strength, the men being billeted on the local people. Serious training then began as part of 76 Brigade, 25thDivision, and, after further moves to Romsey and Aldershot, the Battalion sailed to Boulogne, France on 27 Sept 1915, and had its baptism of fire at Ploegstreet, near Armentiers.
The Battalion then moved to St Eloi, and earned its first battle-honour at 'The Bluff' on 2/3/4 March 1916, when it held the 'post of honour' at the centre of the attack, and the men went 'over the top' for the first time. They swept across the old German front line to the base of the 'Bean' salient, and re-gained British possession of the 'International Trench'. In this action William was wounded in the right shoulder, after which he was invalided to 3rd Battalion, King's Own at Plymouth. For his bravery in the field, he received the Military Medal in the King's Birthday Honours list - (London Gazette, June 1916). 8th (S) King's Own casualties for 2/3/4 Mar 1916 were: three officers and 120 other ranks killed or missing; nine officers and 210 other ranks wounded.
Following his recovery, William volunteered to join 6th (S) Battn, King's Own, then fighting the Turks in Mesopotamia. On 8 March 1917, he died of wounds, most probably from the ill-fated attempt to cross the Dialah River on the night of 7/8 March. One officer and fourteen other ranks were killed, and one officer and twenty-four other ranks were wounded. The only man not wounded or dead was Private Jack White, a signaller who, with great presence of mind, fastened one end of his cable to the pontoon, took to the water and swam to the 'home bank' and succeeded in saving the lives of 2nd Lt. Paterson and several of the other wounded men. For his gallantry in action, Jack White was awarded the Victoria Cross.
In 1914, William Gardner was a married, family man living at 1 Albert Square, off Bridge Lane, Lancaster. He died aged 41, leaving a wife, Mary Ann, and seven children. His eldest son, Private James Gardner, was serving with 6th Battn, King's Own in Mesopotamia when his father died.
William's elder brother, T5/0454 Sergeant John Gardner, was killed in action in France & Flanders while serving with 1/5th(T.F.) King's Own on 27 Apr 1915.
William Gardner is commemorated on the Basra war memorial in Iraq, and John and William Gardner are commemorated together on the Lancaster city war memorial.

Another link from Russell Dunkeld at the Lancaster FB Page

Sergeant 454 King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) 1st/5th Bn.
who died on Tuesday, 27/04/1915 Age 37
Son of Jane Gardner, of 5, River St., George's Quay, Lancaster;
Husband of Alice Gardner, of 4, Ross Place, Cheapside, Lancaster.
YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ref: Panel 12. , Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Borough of Lancaster Civic Reception H M Forces Report Form shows:
John Gardner. Resided at 3 Ross Yd., Cheapside. [Lancaster]. A married man. Sgt.454. 5th Bn. K.O.R.L. He served for 9 weeks abroad. Left Eng. Feb 1915. Killed.
John Gardner. SERGT . 454. King's Own [Royal Lancaster Regt.] 1/5th Bn.
Born and enlisted in Lancaster.
Died 27/04/15. Killed in Action. France & Flanders.
Source: Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Gardner John Sergeant 5th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment killed in action age 37, educated at St Mary's school, employed by Lune Valley Engineering and White Cross Mills, played football for Marsh Hornets and Vale of Lune. His wife is a daughter of Mrs Bonsall of Lodge Street, and several members of her family are serving. He was the son of Mrs Gardner of River street. His brother Private William Gardner sailed for France last week

This photo of William and Mary Ann's wedding, I think the 3 Gardner bros are standing, their sister Elizabeth is on the left, Mary Ann and then her sister, Cissie Garner...this photo must have been taken in the late 1890s...

The Garden of Remembrance in Lancaster where the brothers are honoured...

"Lancaster's War Memorial stands in a small Garden of Remembrance on the east side of the Town Hall.  It was designed by Thomas Mawson and Sons and it commemorates the dead of the two world wars and other conflicts.  The ten bronze panels at the rear record the names of 1,010 Lancastrians who fell in the First World War.  The panels were dedicated on 3rd December 1924.  The plinth in front of the statue carries the names of a further 300 who fell in 1939-45."

Further information is available at this link

Lancaster Military Heritage Group

Dad's cousin Marion has just sent me these photos...Mary Ann and William with who I presume is their first born child James/Jim...

and these are their three daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth/Betty and Annie...Auntie Betty will be 101 yrs old in August...such a poignant photo, their clothing is so poor and yet they look strong and quite happy and remained close all their lives...

Thank you Marion, Annie's third and youngest daughter/child.


  1. What a treasure trove of information you found! Did you know all of this? The stories really do make them real people and not just names don't they? You should be very proud of your family.

  2. How interesting Sue, I love family history.
    I have an uncle who was killed at Gallipoli in September 2015 only he was serving in the British army.
    I must try & find out more about him. I do have a pencil written letter he wrote to my grandmother.

  3. Thank you both for leaving comments.
    I didn't know most of this, probably because we have lived in Australia since I was 11 yrs old and I missed hearing the stories from extended family members. When-ever we went to the UK for holidays I would sit down with both grandparents and write down as many details of their lives that I could remember.
    Joining the Lancaster FB group has helped me find the above details and I am so grateful to who-ever took the time to collate the newspaper reports and other information.
    MaryJo...ask your older relatives for information about your uncle, you will need to find out which battalion he was serving with etc, he may also be remembered on a memorial somewhere.
    My great grandfather and his brother were from Lancaster in the UK and so were also serving in the British Army.

    1. Haha Sue, I am the older generation!!!!
      I must have a fossick around at the old paperwork as I am sure I have seen his battalion somewhere. Just a matter of finding time. Maybe I will treat myself to an subscription, as I saw recently they had a months trial free. Frugal me!

    2. lol I love and have been many a confusing hour on there...I got copies of the relevant censuses from the UK and was able to work out a lot of great aunt and uncles and distant cousins that way...good luck!

  4. Interesting family you have, it's good to find out such information. My daughter has done a bit of research on ours, but few results. I do hope you are feeling perkier, Sue, I hate the low days. I've had many since losing my husband, but try to have a brighter attitude most days. I visited our daughter in Brisbane April-June and had a lovely time seeing your country. I enjoyed reading the update on Priscilla, she is a miracle. Keeping you all in my thoughts, Hedy

    1. Ah Hedy, so sad to lose Steve after his brave fight, it's just one day at a time when you feel down. We went to the funeral of a dear family friend who had been married for 57 yrs yesterday and the celebrant pointed out that these marriages don't end, they go on with the happy memories in our minds and that is what we must remember. I am glad that you, like "Auntie" Sylvia have a great family to support you. Priss is doing so well these days, let's hope it stays like this for many more years xxx

  5. Lovely blog i saw you thrue other blogger...nice posts to read...blessings ❤