BUCKLEY AT WAR

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Jubilant street scenes. Buckley received the good news about 11 o’clock on Monday morning. At most of the works the news gained currency that an armistice had been signed; but although the morning papers conveyed no tidings of good news, the telephones were busy. The children at the county school were granted a holiday, but, still there was a feeling of doubt until the hooter at the Castle Fire Brick Works was heard, followed by the one at the Catherall’s works. Gibson’s joined in the chorus, and then the big bell and St. Matthew’s pealed forth the glad tidings.
Throughout the war there was a strong British force stationed in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and engage the Turks in Palestine. Buckley boys serving with the RWF died in this campaign which culminated in in General Allenby’s capture of Jerusalem on 8 December 1917, described as the Christmas present Lloyd George had requested for the British people
Worse was to come in July with the large-scale offensive on the western front at the battle of the Somme. It lasted from 1 July to 18 November. The casualties increased amongst the Buckley soldiers, many of them serving with the RWF. Other men perished of disease in the ill-fated campaign in Mesopatamia. They are commemorated on the Basra Memorial
Because of the need to train the volunteer recruits from Buckley many of them did not go into battle until late 1915. The main scenes of action were the second Battle of Ypres (April 22 - May 15), when the British casualties numbers 59,000, and the British attack at Loos, September, with 5,000 casualties. In April the British and French opened a new theatre of War in Gallipoli against the Turks. The British casualties for the campaign, which lasted until the evacuation in January 1916, numbered 210,000. The public were angered by the sinking of the Lusitania by the U-Boat in may, and the German use of mustard gas in their spring offensive.
The first recorded military death was noted by George Lewis on January 31. ‘A military funeral at Bistre Church for a Canadian solider‘. This was Private R. A. Hughes of the Canadian Medical Corps, who had served in Flanders. In April 1915, Buckley was saddened and shocked by the death by a sniper’s bullet, of the local 30-year old squire and Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire, W. G. C. Gladstone, who had just arrived at the front at Laviente, as an officer in the Royal Walsh Fusiliers, The first deaths in action were from the Royal Welsh: Private John Ellis was killed at Ypres on 16 May and three other privates in the regiment at the battle of Loos in September and October. Recruitments continued. By March over 130 old scholars from St Matthew’s school had joined the colours. The establishment of a Red Cross Hospital at Leeswood was an outlet for public sympathy and many local women worked there on a voluntary basis. In October school children collected 650 large potatoes for patients.

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