I sat the other day in Albert Road looking at the war memorial and the plaques that tell of those that fell during both world wars. Over 380 brave men gave their lives for the ultimate great cause of freedom.
It has been said the price of freedom is paid with the lives of a few who defend many and it is the duty of those who served with them and those who were left at home to ensure their sacrifice has not been made in vain.
I contemplated who were these brave, young men who were taken off to war to fight for what was right and gave their lives? How old were they? Where did they live and ultimately die?
Like most, they were local men and came from normal homes and lived not too far from the war memorial. So I thought I would briefly write about a few of those who gave their lives for the ultimate sacrifice. Their stories tell it all, their names reside forever and are commemorated on the Colne Memorial:
L/Cpl Herbert R. Turner, Coldstream Guards – born in Earby – Herbert was living at 75 Duke Street, Colne. He saw action during the Battles of Loos, The Somme and Ypres before being killed during the Battle of Bapaume 1918. Having no known grave, he’s commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
Pte Thomas Clark Bentham, East Lancashire Regt – born in Skipton – Thomas lived at 8 Earl Street, Colne. At the outbreak of war, he was employed in the town hall water department. He served in Gallipoli. Thomas was invalided home with dysentery in 1916 but returned to active service in mid-1917. After serving on the Flanders Coast and at Third Ypres, he was wounded in action on December 2nd and died of his injuries. Thomas is now buried in Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery, Belgium.
Pte Henry Procter, East Lancashire Regiment, Harry was born in Burnley in 1878 and lived at 130 Knotts Lane, Colne. Prior to enlisting, Harry was an overlooker in Messrs, Pilling’s Riverside Mill, Colne. Harry had lived in Colne since his marriage to Mary Jane; they had two children. Harry Procter received gunshot wounds on September 25th, 1917, and died later that day.
There was those who died much nearer home: Dvr Frederick Binns, Royal Army Service Corps. A carter from Colne, Fred was born in Kelbrook. He enlisted into the ASC in November, 1914, and served as a driver in France from September, 1915, to January, 1919.
He had returned to the UK and was awaiting demobilisation (due on June 21st, 1919) when he fell ill with a stomach complaint needing surgery. Frederick died of complications following this surgery on June 5th, 1919, in Colne Cottage Hospital, Colne. He is buried in Colne Cemetery, Lancashire.
Mayor of Pendle