Private Sam Lowndes, 18th Battalion, (Prince of Wales' Own) West Yorkshire Regiment. [Bradford Pals] Regimental No: 18/713.
Sam was born at Cartworth, Holmfirth, in 1888. He was one of five sons and three daughters of Charles and Ellen Ann Lowndes.
In 1891 he was aged two years and living at Brownhill, Cartworth, Holmfirth, with his parents, one brother and two sisters. His father was a dyehouse labourer.
In 1901 he was twelve years old and they were living at 12, Becks Road, Keighley, with his parents, four brothers and three sisters. His father had now changed occupation to stone quarryman. Sam
was working as a worsted spinner.
In 1904 the family moved to 3, then 8, Alpha Street, just off Parkwood Road in Keighley.
By 1911 he was twenty two and they had moved again, just over the road from Alpha Street to 9, Belle Vue Terrace, Keighley, with his parents, three brothers and two sisters. His father's occupation was as a labourer in an iron foundry. Sam's occupation was 'wringing machine painter' for Messrs. Summerscales Ltd., on Coney Lane, Keighley. He was also a 'sidesman' at St Paul's Church on Parkwood Road, Keighley.
He enlisted in Keighley with the Second Bradford Pals battalion, the 18th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, possibly late in April, 1915.
He first entered the war theatre in Egypt on 22nd December 1915 and the battalion later transferred to France in March 1916.
Sam was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916, when the Bradford Pals Regiment was decimated in the attack.
18th Battalion, Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment (2nd Bradford Pals) war diary entry for 1st July 1916.
Report by Officer Commanding 'C' Company. Lieutenant Stephenson:
The company did not pass our front line, and were therefore in dead ground as far as our field of view went. We were first shelled before leaving our assembly trench at about 1.20 after zero, the shrapnel doing considerable damage on our left.
On getting out into the open we ran into the zone of H.E. (High Explosive) just in front of DUNMOW.
Direction of shrapnel shells from SERRE: H.E. shells from direction of PUISIEUX.
Most of the machine gun fire seemed to come from the direction of the QUADRILATERAL, enfilading our advancing lines from the South after they had left our front line.
No enemy seen in large numbers, but there were several seen on the enemy front line parapet. These must have had good cover in their front line during our bombardment, either in dugouts or tunnels.
This company was the last to leave the assembly trenches, and all four platoons reached our first line.
The enemy artillery was a great surprise to our troops, who had expected to find most of the enemy guns put out of action.
The enemy infantry standing on their parapet firing at out advancing troops seemed to consider themselves quite safe from our guns. Could our advanced troops not have lain down while our guns shelled them down with shrapnel?
Had our machine guns not all been used in the advance, they might have been of some use in enfilading the German parapet or in combating their machine guns.
The platoons each moved off in four lines, but owing to lack of bridges and width of trenches after bombardment, these lines had to close in on each other at every trench crossed. More bridges over each of the trenches to be crossed would have obviated this.
The companies in front seemed to have completely lost their direction, possibly owing to the 16th W. Yorks pushing too far to the left.
(signed) A. D. Stephenson, O. C. "C" Coy.
[Note: Lieutenant Stephenson was one of just six of the battalion's officers remaining two hours after the 8.40 am start of the attack. They had casualty* numbers estimated at 16 officers and 400 other ranks in the first part of the attack.]
*A 'casualty' to the Army is a man who is out of action. He could be dead, wounded or sick, or taken prisoner.
Keighley News, 22nd July 1916:
The following letter has been received by Mr Lowndes, of 9, Feather Street, Parkwood, Keighley, informing him of the death of his son, Lance-Corporal S. Lowndes, of the West Yorkshire Regiment, which was briefly announced in last week's "Keighley News." The letter was sent by Second Lieutenant Stephens(on), who said, "Your son was killed in the battle of the Somme on the 1st of this month. He was in my platoon, and gave every satisfaction in his work. The platoon has lost a good soldier and a popular comrade." Lance-Corporal Lowndes enlisted about 15 months ago, and went out to Egypt, but was later drafted to France. Formerly he was employed by Messrs Summerscales Ltd, Coney Lane, Keighley.
He was awarded the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Sam is buried in Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension. Plot II., Row A., Grave 7A., Mesnil-Martinsart, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.
[Note:This cemetery was the site of an advanced dressing station and also a concentration cemetery which was enlarged by graves being moved from the battlefields after the war. There is no 'concentration' record for Sam, so it's possible that he was buried there because he died of wounds at the dressing station, having been stretchered back from the front line.]
He is remembered alongside with brother Charles Lowndes, on the St Paul's Church WW1 Memorial, St Andrew's Church, (Keighley Shared Church):
Both men are also remembered in Keighley's Great War Roll of Honour, in Keighley Library.
Sam is also remembered on the St Mark's Church War Memorial at Utley, so he must have had a connection with that church.
Birth, marriage and death records.
1891, 1901 and 1911 census.
WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920.
Soldier's effects records.
Keighley News archives, Keighley Library.
St Mary's Church Vestry Minutes.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
National Archives war diary for 18th Battalion, Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment. WO-95-2362-2_1