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1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment

The 1st Battalion,Cheshire Regiment was a regular unit of the British Army and was in Londonderry when war broke out in August 1914 with 15th Brigade in 5th Division. They returned to England and proceeded to France with the British Expeditionary Force, landing at Le Havre on the 16th of August 1914. They saw action at The Battle of Mons, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battles of La Bassee, at Messines and in The First Battle of Ypres. Between the 3rd of March and 7th of April 1915 they were attached with 15th Brigade to 28th Division in in exchange for 83rd Brigade in order to familiarise the newly arrived troops with the Western Front. In 1915 they were in action in The Second Battle of Ypres and the Capture of Hill 60. In March 1916 they took over a sector in the front line in the southern edge of Vimy Ridge, in front of Arras. The 5th Division arrived on the Somme to relieve the British units who had suffered badly in the attack on the first of July and went into action at High Wood, being withdrawn in October. The Division spent late Autumn and winter near Festubert and in 1917 were in action in the Battles of Arras and the Third Battle of Ypres. In 1918 they took part in the Battle of Hazebrouck, with the 1st Cheshires fighting in the Defence of Nieppe Forest. In August after a short period of rest they returned to the Somme and the 5th Division was in more or less continuous action until the end of October 1918, seeing action in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy, being near Le Quesnoy at the Armistice. They returned to Flanders in December where demobilisation began.

Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of this unit on a particular day? Which battles they took part in? Or any other interesting snipts?

Those known to have served with 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment during the Great War 1914-1918

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L/Cpl. Ben Schofield 1st Btn. Cheshire Regiment

My great grand father, Lance Corporal Ben Schofield no:9594, enlisted in the 1st battalion Cheshire Regiment on the 28th Feb 1911 at Chester.

He was posted to Belfast on the 10th July 1911, where he had his tonsils removed in Musgrave Park Military Hospital and was paid 2 shillings compensation.

He was then transferred to Ebrington Barracks in Londonderry on the 10th Jan 1913.At the out break of the War he was returned with the Regiment to the Regimental Depot and sent to France, arriving there on the 16th January 1915.

Overall his conduct was listed as good for his time in the U.K. There is only one entry on his ‘crime sheet’ dated 20 January 1914 ‘’Awarded 21 days detention by the C.O for being in possession of goods which where the property of a comrade.’’

The Regiment then took part in the second Battle of Ypres. On the 8th of May the First Battalion were fighting around the village of Frezenbuerg, L/cpl Schofield was wounded in the right arm and back then captured.

After receiving medical treatment in a German field hospital he was transferred to Mersburg Prisoner of War Camp, Saxony, Germany. It was here that he joined No 2 Company, being given the P.O.W number 1514.

He was repatriated to Britan on the 9th of January 1919 and discharged on the 9th of April 1919.

After the war he settled in Belfast, he married and raised 5 children after finding work as a tram driver for the Belfast Transport Corporation.

Neil Wilson


L\Cpl. Ernest Pacey 1st Btn. Cheshire Regt

Ernest joined the Cheshire Special Reserves on 26 Aug 1909, he attended annual training camp and qualified skills in musketry. Training camps 09,10,11,12,13 and 14. Ernest was promoted to L\Cpl in 1914 and later Mobilized on the 8 Aug 1914 to France.

He was posted to 1st Bn on the 20 Aug 1914, but was reported missing in action on the 22nd of October 1914. His wife, Rachel, who lived with their 2 children, Lucy and Lillian, was informed he was missing. On the 3rd of Apr 1915 it was unofficially reported he was a POW, on the 9th of October 1916 the War office was informed Ernest Pacey was a POW in Slammlaga. After the end of the war Ernest was repatriated on the 9 Jan 1919 and later discharged on the 31 Mar 1921.

Colin Booth


CSM. Harry Rossington 1st Btn. D Company Cheshire Regiment (d.11th Oct 1914)

Company Sergeant Major Harry Rossington 7923 D Company 1st Cheshire Regiment was wounded at Audregnies on the 24th August 1914, he died of Wounds 11th October 1914, aged 28.

Harry was born in St Marks Parish, West Gorton, Manchester. He was born June 1886 and was the second son of Harry and Alice Rossington (nee Woolam). He married Sarah Jane Andrews in 1912 from Co Armagh and had one daughter Edith born 1913. His father, mother, brothers and sisters all moved to Ohio in 1912. Three of his brothers joined the War after his death and all made it. He is survived by a small number of the McCann & O'Neill family in Portadown, Co Armagh, many distant relatives in the USA and the UK. I am his great grandson and have visited his grave with my wife and two boys, he will not be forgotten and the family from Co Armagh are planning to visit again for the Centenary 2014.

Lisa McCann


Cpl. George Povey 1st Btn. Cheshire Regiment (d.11th Feb 1915)

George Povey served with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment during WW1. He was executed for leaving his post on the 11th February 1915, aged 23. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial and was son of Mrs. Dinah Povey, of 51, Primrose Street, Connah Quay.

S Flynn


Pte. Edward Bolton 1st Btn. Cheshire Regiment (d.14th Apr 1916)

Edward Bolton was executed for desertion 14/04/1916 age 33 and buried in Roclincourt Valley Cemetery, Roclincourt, France.

S Flynn


Sgt. Joseph Brooke 15th Btn Cheshire Regiment

Joseph Brooke, my grandfather, joined the Army in 1911 or 12, aged 18. He was based at Londonderry, Northern Ireland at the outbreak of WW1 with the 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. For some reason, he did not cross to France until the end of August 1914. He joined his unit at the front on 16th Sept 1914, during The Battle of the Aisne, at Le Mesnil, near Soissons.

He served with the Cheshire Regiment throughout the war. In early 1918, he was transferred to the 15th Battalion of the Cheshires and made up to Sergeant. I was told by my father that he was at the First and Fourth Battles of Ypres. From the regimental diaries etc. it is possible that he fought on the Somme in 1916 and 1918 as well as the 2nd and 3rd Battles of Ypres.

I am proud to have in my possession his swagger stick and a 1908 pattern British cavalry sword that he brought back as a souvenir. Joseph died in 1957.

Edward Brooke


Pte. John Higgins 1st Btn. D Coy. Cheshire Regiment

My Grandfather John Higgins had served pre-war with the British Army as part of the 5th Btn, Manchester Regiment from August 1906 and at the start of World War 1 was an engine cleaner for Liverpool Corporation Tramways but also still an army reservist who was called up at Chester on 6th August 1914 and assigned to 1st Btn Cheshire Regt.

He was sent with the regiment as part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division to France as part of the Original B.E.F which subsequently became known as "The Old Contemptibles". As a member of "D" company on 24th August 1914 he found himself positioned at a crossroad close to a colliery outside the small Belgian village of Audregnies. The 1st Cheshires were directly faced by 4 German battalions that day and together with 1st Battalion The Norfolk Regiment and supporting cavalry stopped the entire German advance on the town for over 4 hours thereby playing their part in preventing the encirclement of the British 2nd Corps by the German 4th Corps.

John with the majority of his platoon was taken prisoner that day (only 8 days after arriving in France) and spent the next 4 years as a prisoner of war in the German PoW camp at Geissen near Frankfurt. After liberation he returned to work for The Liverpool Corporation Tramways as a Conductor, married my grandmother Charlotte Rumble, and unfortunately passed away prematurely at the age of 40 in 1930.

Peter Higgins


Pte. Albert James Belshaw 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment (d.24th Aug 1914)

Albert Belshaw died on the 24th August 1914 leaving behind a wife Ada Gilbert and two young Children Ethal-May who was 3yrs and John who was 2yrs old. His name is place on the memorial wall at Seine-et-Marne. Alfred like many other brave men received the 1914 Star medal and the Victory medal.

Emma Slater

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War.

Arthur Crookenden

Naval and Military Press, have once again provided the military historian and researcher with an invaluable service by re-publishing this long out of print volume at the most reasonable price. It chronicles the war record of the fifteen battalions of the regiment which served on the Western Front, in Italy, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Macedonia. The large appendices will however be invaluable for researchers, as having commenced with a summary showing the totals of dead officers and other rank totals by battalions, it is followed by the nominal rolls, with officers grouped alphabetically and other ranks in their battalions. The comprehensive 56-page list of Honours and Awards, including Mentions In Despatches, is arranged alphabetically and although the ranks of the recipients are not given, the citations for the VC, DSO, MC and DCM awards are. The final appendix, entitled `Mobilization', is useful too as it briefly provides the story of each battalion before it went overseas

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