In Remembrance of
- Second Lieutenant Henry Lawrence - Private Joseph Henry Sails
Following their heroic attack and subsequent defence on the ‘Stuff Redoubt’ and ‘Hessian Trench’ at Thiepval Ridge [featured in Part 11, 1916] the shattered remnants of the Sixth Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment [on the 29TH of September 1916 the battalion had suffered nearly four hundred casualties] had been relieved during the night of the thirtieth of September by troops from the 25TH Division, shortly afterwards the battle weary unit had made their way to the rear, to a rest camp at Bouzincourt a village two miles to the east of Albert, where the valiant band of survivors [ including Captain Archie White who would eventually receive the Victoria Cross for his actions at Hessian Trench] had been afforded some rest.
The battalion had eventually been moved to the village of Beaumetz where it had received ‘drips and drabs’ of reinforcements throughout October 1916, by the end of the month the unit had received nineteen officers and four hundred and twenty seven ‘other ranks’ from the B.E.F’s base camp at Etaples. Amongst the officers who had joined the battalion had been a twenty six years old who had been seconded to the Sixth from the Yorkshire Regiment’s Fifth Territorial battalion: Second Lieutenant Henry Lawrence.
Born in Scarborough at ‘Somerset Cottage’, No 6 Somerset Terrace, on the 22ND of November 1890 [Baptised at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 17th of December] Henry had been the youngest son of Adeline and nurseryman James Sidney Lawrence, a widower by 1917 who had been the proprietor of ‘Crescent Nurseries’ in Manor Road, and a florist shop in Valley Bridge Parade. 
Motherless from the age of five, Henry had been a pupil of Gladstone Road Board School at the time that his mother had died at the age of forty-three years on Wednesday the first of May 1895. At the age of thirteen Henry, popularly known as Harry, had been fortunate enough to secure a place at the town’s Municipal School [the equivalent of today’s Comprehensive School] that had been situated in Westwood. Arriving there during 1903, Harry had remained at the ‘Muni’ until 1907 when he had left the school to travel to Canada to study at Toronto’s Wycliffe College with a view to being ordained and becoming a missionary. During the summer of 1913 Lawrence had travelled to the wilds of the Western Canadian Province of Saskatchewan to assist with missionary work amongst the three hundred inhabitants of the small, and curiously named town of ‘Eyebrow’, he had remained at the settlement until the outbreak of war.
During September 1914 Harry Lawrence had enlisted at Montreal as a private into the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. The brainchild of wealthy Montreal businessman Hamilton Gault, the Patricia’s, named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, the Governor General of Canada’s daughter, had been an extraordinary battalion of infantry which had recruited mostly from the thousands of ex-British Army and Navy personnel who had settled in Canada in the years before the war.
By the time the battalion had completed it’s formation only one in ten of the 1, 100 recruits had been born in Canada. Sixty five per cent of the recruits had been English, fifteen per cent Scottish, and ten per cent had been Irishmen. In addition 1, 049 of the Patricia’s had served in the British Army or Royal Navy, almost half of those had seen war service and between them they had worn the ribbons of seven hundred and seventy one campaign and service medals. By the time the formation had been ready to leave Canadian shores it had consisted of two sections of ex guardsmen, two of ex riflemen, and two of ex public school boys.
With the minimum of training, Harry Lawrence and the remainder of the Patricia’s [even in official documents the unit had always been referred to as ‘The Patricia’s’] with their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Buller D.S.O. had sailed from Quebec on the 27TH of September 1914 to become the first of Britain’s Empire forces to land in the U.K. The Battalion had eventually been sent to the Winchester area during November where it had been considered good enough to be incorporated into the 83rd Brigade of the then forming 27TH Division, a formation composed of twelve Regular Army infantry battalions who had recently arrived in Britain following service in India, Hong Kong, and China. The Division had crossed to France shortly before Christmas 1914 and had eventually been sent to the waterlogged St Eloi sector of Flanders during February 1915, where they had existed in appalling trench conditions.
The Patricia’s had subsequently taken part in the Second Battle of Ypres [22 April-24 May 1915] where they had faced repeated frenzied German attacks and suffered terrible losses during the most critical day of the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, the 8TH May, when all that stood between the Germans and the capture of the town of Ypres had been a thin line of battle weary troops drawn their own 27TH Division and the 28TH Division [between the 23RD of April and the 8TH of May the 83RD Brigade had lost 128 officers and 4,379 men]. The British line at Ypres had been held together by the superhuman efforts of the defenders and shortly after the fighting at Frezenberg Second Ypres had fizzled out.
Harry Lawrence had eventually served with the Patricia’s for nine months. During that time he had been promoted to Corporal and had experienced one or two close calls. On one occasion whilst in the trenches at St Eloi a shell had exploded nearby killing and wounding five soldiers who had been standing nearby, Lawrence had received but a few scratches from the shattered glass of a periscope lens.
Lawrence had eventually been promoted ‘in the field’ to Second Lieutenant during early 1916 and had shortly afterwards asked for, and received a transfer to the Fifth Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, which as we already know had contained many men from Scarborough, including Lawrence’s great friend, the thirty seven years old Solicitors son, William Andrew Turnbull, who had been serving as a Second Lieutenant with the battalion. The two officers had served together until the 17TH of July 1916 when Turnbull had been killed in action in the Locre Sector of Flanders.
The Fifth Battalion had eventually been sent to the Somme Sector where they had taken part in the Battle of Flers/Courcelette [15-22 September 1916] and the capture of the Village of Martinpuich on the 16TH of September. Shortly after these engagements Harry had taken a short leave in Scarborough before returning to France during October where he had eventually joined the Sixth Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment.
Barely three months after his son had returned to the Western Front, James Lawrence had received a telegram from the War Office informing him that Harry had been reported as missing in action from Wednesday the seventeenth of January 1917. At the time Harry’s father had only been told that he had been reported missing in France. After the war he had found that his son had been involved in the operations in the Ancre Valley and had been ‘lost’ near a war shattered village called Beaucourt Sur L’Ancre, which after six months of some of the bitterest fighting of the Somme Offensive had existed in name only. [Beaucourt had recently [November 13TH 1916] been captured at a terrible price by the sailors and marines of the 63RD [Royal Naval] Division].
Henry Lawrence’s remains had never been found in the sea of mud, water filled shell holes, tangle of wire, and blasted fortified positions that had been the Ancre Valley in early 1917. His name had eventually been added to the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme, it can be located on Pier and Face 3A and 3D. In Scarborough the missing Lieutenants name had been included on a now  fallen down and broken gravestone in the town’s Dean Road Cemetery [Section A. Row 8. Grave 2.], which also bears the names of his Norfolk born mother Adeline, and Scarborough born father James Sidney Lawrence who had died at his home at No 71 Manor Road on the 22ND of October 1922 at the age of 78years.
Henry Lawrence had also been commemorated in his old school in Gladstone Road on a ‘Roll of Honour’ that bears the names of seventy-one ‘old boy’s’ and two women who had lost their lives during the war. The memorial can be found in the hall of the present day Junior School. He had also been commemorated on the ‘Roll of Honour’ at the Municipal school, which carries the names of sixty-three former pupils. Their memorial is now  located in Graham Comprehensive School, in Woodlands Drive and bears the inscription - ‘To the honoured memory of the old boys who fell in the Great War’ - ‘Erected by the Old Scholars Club’
A member of the congregation of the now defunct Holy Trinity Church in Scarborough’s Trinity Road, Harry Lawrence’s name [and that of William Andrew Turnbull] had been included on the church ‘Roll of Honour’ which had been situated on the south interior wall and window of the church [at the time of writing, 2003, the church is in the process of being converted into a unit of flats, the whereabouts of the ‘Roll of Honour’ is not known.
‘To the glory of God and in undying memory of the men from this church and parish who gave their lives in the Great War 1914—1919. This window and tablet have been placed here by their friends and fellow parishioners’…
Henry Lawrence’s is also commemorated in Canada on page 578 of the First World War Book of Remembrance, which is located in a memorial chamber in The Peace Tower, on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, which is maintained by Veteran Affairs Canada.
Raised at Middlesborough, North Yorkshire, during January 1915 the Twelfth Service Battalion [Tee-side] of the Yorkshire Regiment had unofficially been a ‘Pals’ battalion. Possessing at the time only two officers [the Commanding Officer, Major [Temporary Lieutenant Colonel] H.W. Becher and Quartermaster, Honorary Lieutenant J.W.Best] orders had eventually been received for the new battalion to be organised and trained as a Pioneer Battalion, consequently those recruited for the unit had been a mixture of men experienced with picks and shovels, miners, road men, and labourers, and skilled artisan’s, such as fitters, carpenters, blacksmiths, engine drivers, tinsmiths, bricklayers, and masons. According to the History of the Battalion:
‘The training quarters were especially comfortably established at Marton Hall Camp [on the outskirts of Middlesborough] and the battalion was in a measure fortunate in having come into existence somewhat later than the majority of the battalions of which the New Armies were composed, for by this time practically everything was forthcoming that was needed for the large numbers of soldiers that had been recruited’
After a few weeks at Middlesborough the battalion had been moved to Gosforth, in Northumberland, where the unit had been accommodated in billets. The battalion had eventually numbered a hundred and forty ‘all ranks’, and since recruits had still been arriving it had been authorised to form a depot company, that would eventually supply the parent battalion with reinforcements once they had ‘gone abroad’. On the thirteen of August 1916 the battalion had received orders to move to Cannock Chase, in Staffordshire, where they had made camp on Penkridge Bank.
Whilst there the battalion had built four new rifle ranges which had provided enough accommodation in butts and firing points to enable over two hundred men to fire at one time. From Cannock the ‘Teeside Pioneers’ had been sent to Badajos Barracks at Aldershot where they had joined the 40TH [Bantam] Division as the Divisional Pioneer Battalion. In addition to their Pioneer duties the ‘Tees-siders would be expected to fight if the need had arisen, therefore, during December 1915 the Pioneers had been moved to Pirbright, in Surrey, where they had undergone musketry training. 
By the middle of May 1916 the 40TH Division had completed training and had been ready to ‘proceed abroad’. On the 25TH the formation had been inspected on ‘Laffans Plain’ by H.M. King George the Fifth. Two days later the Tees-side Pioneers had been mobilised, subsequently sailing from Southampton in the Transport S.S.France during the evening of the first of June 1916. The battalion had arrived at Le Havre early the following morning.
Unlike the infantry battalions, which on the whole had remained with their allotted divisions, the pioneer battalions, on account of their skills and expertise had often been transferred temporarily to other divisions from time to time. This had been the case with the Tees-Side Pioneers. Shortly after the battalion had arrived in France the four companies of the formation had been sent to various divisions to work under the orders of the Royal Engineers on the front line trenches, making shelters, clearing the field of fire, making fire steps, etc.
Spared from the carnage of the early operations of the Somme Offensive, the Tees-Side Pioneers had arrived in the sector during November 1916. On the fourteenth the battalion had arrived at Bayencourt where they had been attached to the 31ST Division that had been in the Hebuterne sector. However, on the twentieth of the month the unit had again been moved via Halloy, Autheulle, and Berneil to Ailly-le-Haut Clocher, where the men had at last been afforded some rest. Of this period the History of the Battalion says:
‘This quiet period only lasted until the 8TH of December, when the battalion moved by rail and road and by Longpre, Pont Remy, Maricourt, and Bray to Maurepas, where it came under the orders of C.R.E. [Commander Royal Engineers] XV Corps for work and was chiefly employed in repairing the Combles- Fregicourt and the Combles-Rancourt roads, incurring here some few casualties, and on the 25th rejoining the 40TH Division and going back to trench repair work, the trenches here being in places waist deep in mud and water.
‘This work continued well into the year 1917, for it was the 27th January before the 12TH Green Howards went back to a camp about three miles from Bray, having during this tour in the Bouchavesnes North and Rancourt Sectors had five other ranks killed, nineteen men wounded. Amongst them had been 23967 Private Joseph Henry Sails.
Killed in action on Sunday the 21ST of January 1917 at the age of thirty-eight years, Joe Sails had been born in Scarborough on the 22ND of October 1879 [Baptised at St Mary’s Parish Church on February 3RD 1887] at No 6 Sussex Street and had been the third of five children of Sarah and Bricklayer, Thomas B. Sails. 
A pupil of Scarborough’s Central Board School in Trafalgar Street West [now Genevieve Court], Sails had left the school at the age of twelve to begin an Bricklayer’s apprenticeship with local builder John Jaram with whom he had been working in 1899 at the time of the outbreak of the war in South Africa. Joe had subsequently enlisted into the Second Volunteer Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment at their Headquarters in North Street and had volunteered for service in South Africa at the beginning of January 1900, joining the Regiment’s First Battalion on the Cape during April.
Sails had served in South Africa until the end of the war in 1902 and had eventually arrive back in Scarborough to live with his widowed mother and sisters Sarah and Maud at No 6 Sussex Street. For his services in South Africa Joe had received the King’s and Queen’s Medals with the Clasps, ‘South Africa 1900-1902’, ‘Pretoria’, and ‘Brandfort’.
Joe Sails had eventually secured a job with the General Superintendents Office of the North Eastern Railway at West Hartlepool, where he had used his bricklaying skills to maintain the various railway bridges owned by the N.E.R. between Middlesborough and Stockton. By the outbreak of the ‘Great War’ Joe had been the husband of Ann Sails, and the father of four children, who had been living in Scarborough at No 112 Nelson Street by the outbreak of war in August 1914. He had eventually enlisted into the Army at Middlesborough during February 1915.
Ann Sails had received the news of her husband’s death on Wednesday the twenty fourth of January in a letter that had been written by Joe’s former Company Commander [Captain A.C. Mildred], which had stated that he had been killed three days before by ‘the bursting of a shell in a trench’. Joe Sails name had eventually appeared in a casualty list that had been published in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday, the twenty sixth of January 1917.
Officially recorded as being killed in action on Saturday the twentieth of January 1917, the remains of Joe Sails had been buried in Rancourt Military Cemetery, which had been, and still is, situated in fields on the southern outskirts of the small Somme village of Rancourt. His grave can be found in Section C [Grave 19] of this Cemetery.
In addition to the Scarborough War Memorial, Joseph Henry Sail’s name can be found on a gravestone in the town’s Dean Road Cemetery [Section A, Border, Grave 11] which also has engraved upon it the name of one of his children, a daughter named Frances H. [Rumford] who had died on the 29TH of May 1929 at the age of twenty three years. Joe’s wife had eventually remarried [Taylor], and had lived for many years at No 74 Nelson Street. She had died on the fourth of March 1974 at the age of ninety-two years. Her name is also commemorated on the stone.
Joe is also commemorated on the North Eastern Railway’s Memorial located in Station Road in the City of York. Designed in 1921 by the renowned Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial had been built in 1923 and commemorates the names of over two thousand ex employees of the Company who had lost their lives during the First World War. Joe’s name can also be found in a Book of Remembrance in the foyer of the former N.E.R.Headquarters across the road.
 At the time of the 1891 Census of the population of Scarborough, the Lawrence family had been residing at ‘Somerset Cottage’ and had consisted of James, aged thirty-seven years, born at Scarborough. Adeline, aged thirty-nine years, born Pulham, Norfolk. Arthur, aged fifteen years, Ernest, aged fourteen years, Frank, aged eleven years, Agnes, aged seven years, [all born at Doncaster], Flora, aged three years, and Henry, aged four months, both of whom had been born at Scarborough.
Arthur Lawrence, a florist in the family business had died at the age of forty on the 26TH of February 1916. Following a ‘heated argument’ with his father he had returned to his home at No 138 Moorland Road where he had committed suicide by hanging. His body had been found by his wife, Minnie Theresa Lawrence. Arthur had subsequently been buried in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section O. Row 2. Grave O.], with first wife Jessie Lawrence [Arthur had married Jessie Plows at St Mary’s May 6TH 1899] who had died on the 25TH of April 1910 at the age of thirty-six years, whilst second wife, Minnie Theresa Lawrence had eventually died on the 10TH of April 1933 at the age of sixty-three years. her grave is located on the border of Section W, Grave 75 Henry’s eldest brother Ernest Lawrence had died in Scarborough at the age of ninety three on the third of August 1970 and had eventually been buried in Manor Road Cemetery with wife Elizabeth [formerly Alden] who had died on the 10TH of January 1958, at the age of 80years.
 The Green Howards in the Great War 1914-1919, Colonel H.C. Wylly.
 The Fortieth Division had been formed at Aldershot during September 1915 and had included units recruited in England Scotland and Wales. Most of the men of the division had been under the regulation height [5feet 3inches] required for enlistment into the British Army and had been named ‘Bantams’.
 At the time of the 1891 Scarborough Census the Sails family had consisted of Thomas B. aged thirty seven years, Sarah, also aged thirty seven, John William aged fifteen years, George T.B. [born September 10TH 1876] aged fourteen years, Joseph Henry, aged eleven years, Sarah F.E. [Born January 1ST 1884], aged seven years, Maud M.H. aged two years, all were born at Scarborough. [George, Joe, and Sarah were belatedly baptised at St Mary’s Parish Church on the same day, February 3RD 1887].