Thank you once again to Sandy Woods for another superbly researched local biography of those who appear on Immanuel Cenotaph. This year we learn about two brothers who served in the same campaign.
We honour their memory
Welcome to Immanuel Church today on
Remembrance Day 2013.
We would like to tell you
about two brothers who appear on our war memorial, Harry and Percy Bousfield.
Before we do that we would like to take you
back to last year when we told you about Phoebe Mercer. At the time we could
not tell you where Phoebe was buried but now we know she is interned at the Kan
chan aburi War Cemetery in Bangkok. We found this out due to the power of the
internet, when a lady called Dawn Taylor, who
lives in Philadelphia America, was visiting the
cemetery she noticed one woman’s grave amongst
five thousand men.
She was curious as to who she was and on her return home she
googled her name and was directed to our church website where she found out who
Phoebe was and about her short life. She then contacted us and we were able to
add the last piece to the jigsaw.
The Bousfield brothers were
born in Feniscowles and lived their early years at a house that was once known
as the Crow’s Nest but is now called The Hollows. If you don’t know this house,
it is the one down the dip on the Preston side of the church hall. At the time
the house was split into three and the Bousfields were one of three families
living there. Mother and Father were Mary and James and they had an elder and
younger sister Nancy and Margaret and a younger brother James. They also shared
the house with an uncle and a boarder. In the three cottages a total of twenty people
lived. The five siblings where the surviving children of the ten that Mary
Bousfield had borne and James was also to die
when he was only two. We can sometimes easily forget how easily children
died in the days before antibiotics when even measles was a fatal disease.
They all went to Feniscowles school and had
a long walk in the morning through the gate in the wall to school. The teacher at
the time was Mrs Alice Holden who lived in the cottage with her husband Walter.
A few years later they moved house and in
1911 they were living at 25 Kings Road as Dad who was a farm labourer moved
with his job. By the time war broke out in 1914 they had moved back down to
Broadhalgh Farm which is where the present day Coverdale estate is.
2366 Bousfield Percy
When they left school,
probably at the age of eleven, Percy went to work in the cotton mills and
became a weaver and Harry was an apprentice shoe maker. We know that their
younger sister Margaret was a weaver at the age of 13. When the outbreak of war
was looming Harry went to work at the Lancashire Explosives Works at Withnell
which later became part of the Royal Ordnance Factory.
At the outbreak of war Percy,
aged 22, was the first to join up, which he did at Canterbury Street barracks
3156 Bousfield Harry
In fact he was in the first batch of lads to join the newly
enlarged Territorial regiment and to be sent off to see service overseas.
The 1/4 regiment did their
basic training at Chesham Fold Camp near Bury and after this they sailed on 10
September 1914 from Southampton for Egypt where they landed at Alexandria on
In fact the cap badge of the East Lancs.
Regt is a Sphinx and it was in the middle east that the regiment seen most of
the actions they took part in.
While he was in Egypt Percy was based at Cairo
and on one occasion he was one of the guard of honour when the new Sultan was
In February 1915 he took part
in the action that repulsed a Turkish attack on the Suez Canal.
May saw Percy embarked at
Alexandria with the rest of the battalion and set sail for Gallipoli where they
landed at Cape Helles.
At around this time his
brother Harry, who was 19, was joining up at Darwen and was sent off to do
basic training at Chesham Fold Camp.
The 1/4 East Lancs.
were now lining up to take part of an assault with the objective of taking the
village of Krithia which was protected by five lines of Turkish trenches.
On the morning of the 4 June a
bombardment of the enemy lines started using army guns and also from warships
sailing close to the shore. This went on until noon when the signal to advance
was given and the first wave of British troop went into action.
reached the first of the Turkish trenches where they found the Turkish troop
either dead, wounded or badly dazed by the bombardment. But they did not give
up without a fight and shovels were swapped for bayonets to finally take the
trench. The second wave swept through and set about taking the second Turkish
trench line which was a further 500 yards behind the first.
They also achieved
this objective as they were supported for the first time by naval armoured cars
fitted with Maxim Machine guns.
By the end of the day the centre of the line
had been taken right back to the Turkish fifth line of trenches but not as far
as the village of Krithia.
The next day the Turks had
regrouped and counter attached and vicious fighting, a lot of it hand to hand, ensued
for the rest of the day. At first the
British had to give way on two of the formerly Turkish trenches but they were
able to retake them by nightfall.
It was during this fighting
that Percy was mortally wounded and despite being evacuated to hospital back in
Cairo he died of his wounds.
About this time his brother
Harry had finished his training and was embarked at Southampton to sail for Gallipoli.
Here he joined the regiment at Cape Helles some two weeks after his brother had
died. One of the largest causes of death was disease and it was here that Harry
contracted dysentery and only two months after his brother he died. We now know
that the cure for dysentery is simply clean water.
By the end of August, the division had lost about
2/3rd of its men through battle casualties, injuries or sickness.
So within two months Mary and James had
lost their only two sons, once they had marched from Canterbury Street Barracks
to the train at Blackburn Station they were never to see them again, little did
they know as they waved them off it was forever. They were two of the hundreds of thousands of
parents who did exactly the same.
Percy is buried at Cairo and Harry at
Alexandria. They are 100 miles apart but 3,000 miles from home, another part of
a foreign land that will be forever England.
In one way they were fortunate as there were
50,000 allied deaths at Gallipoli and only 10,000 of them have known graves.
were silent, and the silent hills
had bowed their grasses to a gentle breeze
I gazed upon the vales and on the rills,
And whispered, “What of these?’ and “What of these?
These long forgotten dead with sunken graves,
Some crossless, with unwritten memories
Their only mourners are the moaning waves,
Their only minstrels are the singing trees
And thus I mused and sorrowed wistfully
the place where they had scaled the height,
The height whereon they bled so bitterly
Throughout each day and through each blistered night
I sat there long, and listened – all things listened too
I heard the epics of a thousand trees,
A thousand waves I heard; and then I knew
The waves were very old, the trees were wise:
The dead would be remembered evermore-
The valiant dead that gazed upon the skies,
And slept in great battalions by the shore.
Gellert, Australian Gallipoli veteran, 1924