13315 PTE. R. DEWHURST. R.G.A.

 

Robert Dewhurst was born in 1887 in Bamber Bridge.  His father was James Dewhurst (b. 1852 in Bamber Bridge), a spinner in a cotton mill.  His mother was Elizabeth Mason (?), (b. 1852 in Walton Le Dale).  James and Elizabeth were married in 1873 and they had 5 chldren: Agnes (b. 1874), Mary (b. 1877), Ellen (b. 1882), then Robert, and finally James (b. 1892).  It appears that James (snr) died in 1891, before his last son was born.  In 1901, his widow Elizabeth was living with the children at 3 Duke Street.  Robert was a cart driver in a cotton mill.  His older sisters were weavers.  Robert married in 1907.  His wife was Margaret Ainsworth (b. 1882 in Bamber Bridge).  The couple had two children: James (b. 1908) and Ellen (b. 1909) and they lived at 4 Edward Street.

 

Robert had presumably served in the Territorials and he enlisted with the Royal Garrison Artillery at the outbreak of War.  He was assigned service number 13315 and posted to 2nd Siege Battery.  Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers which sent large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.  The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines. 

 

2nd Siege Battery landed in France on 17 September 1914.  On 5 November 1914, they were at Loisne-Beuvry, not far from Béthune, when they were shelled by enemy artillery and several men were killed when a shell landed on their bivouac.  The battery would be engaged later in the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle (10-13 March 1915).  But it was in the intermittent shelling and fighting, on 11 February 1915, that Robert was killed.  He was 28 years old.

 

Rank:  Private

Service No:  13315

Date of Death:  11/02/1915

Age:  28

Regiment/Service:  Royal Garrison Artillery, 2nd Siege Battery

Cemetery/memorial reference: I. H. 5.

Cemetery:  MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY

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