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Robert Shackleton was born in the second quarter of 1895 in the School Lane area between Bamber Bridge and Walton Le Dale.  His father was William Shackleton (b. 1858 in Blackburn), a general labourer in a cotton mill.  His mother was Mary Alice Gregson (b. 1855 in Preston).  William and Mary Alice were married in 1894 and Robert was their only child.  However, they had both been married previously.  William’s first wife was Sarah Mausley (b. 1855 in Preston, d. 1893).  They had two children: Thomas William (b. 1881) and Mary Ann (b. 1888).  Mary Alice had been married twice.  Her first husband was William Riding (b. 1849 in Preston, d. 1884).  They had two sons: William (b. 1879) and Francis (b. 1884).  When he died, Mary Alice married Edward Pickering (b. 1844, d. 1889).  They had no children.  So in 1911, the Shackleton household consisted of William and Mary Alice with his daughter, Mary Ann, her son Francis, and their son Robert.  Robert was a weaver in the cotton mill.  They were living at 36 Duke Street, Bamber Bridge, though Robert later moved back to Brandiforth Street.


Robert enlisted when war broke out with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.  He was given service number 3134 and posted to 6th Battalion.  6Bn came under orders of 38th Brigade in 13th Division.  13th Division were sent to Gallipoli in the late spring of 1915 as reinforcements to relieve the war-torn 29th Division.  Robert landed on 27 June 1917.  They were engaged in the very heavy fighting at Chunuk Bair in early August 1915.  They were evacuated from the peninsula in December 1915, first to Lemnos then to Alexandria.  It’s not entirely clear what happened to Robert next: his Battalion was posted to Mesopotamia, where it spent the rest of the War, but Robert was transferred to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) with a new service number, 242016.  He may have been wounded at Gallipoli and sent home and transferred then.  And this may have been when he was involved in the incident on the Ribble referred to in the newspaper article.


Robert was posted to 9th Battalion in the Cameronians.  9Bn initially came under orders of 28th Brigade in 9th (Scottish) Division and they landed in France in 1915.  In May 1916 they were transferred to 27th Brigade in the same Division.  In February 1918, they were transferred to 43rd Brigade in 14th (Light) Division.  This Division was engaged in the headlong retreat from Beugny to Frémicourt and Bienvillers in the opening phase of the German Spring Offensive, 21-26 March 1918.  The Division suffered severe losses in this period and on 21 April the Bn was transferred to the South African Brigade, back in the 9th Division.  The Battalion was engaged in the Battle of the Lys (Operation Georgette, the second phase of the German Spring Offensive), at the Second Battle of Kemmel (25-26 April) when the German Fourth Army made a sudden attack and captured the Kemmelberg.  It was probably here that Robert earned his Distinguished Conduct Medal.


On 18 and 19 August 1918, 9th Division were part of the advance in Flanders, south of Meteren, engaged in the capture of the Outtersteene Ridge.  In the Final Advance in Flanders, 9th Division was engaged at the Battle of Courtrai (14-19 October) and in the subsequent action at Ooteghem (25 October).  Robert was killed in action that day.  He was 23 years old.  The capture of the village of Ingoyghem was the very last action of 9th (Scottish) Division during the War but it cost the lives of 88 British servicemen, all of whom are now buried at the cemetery there.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  242016

Award:  D C M

Date of Death:  25/10/1918

Service/Regiment:  Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), 9th Bn.

Cemetery/memorial reference: C. 28.


Additional Information:  Son of Mr. W. Shackleton, of 19 Brandiforth Street, Walton-le-Dale, Preston.

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