Driver Sam Shackleton

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.


Driver. 147th Bde. Ammunition Col. Royal Field Artillery Service Number: 26402

A very grainy black and white newspaper photograph of a soldier in unifom facing the camera.

Driver Sam Smith, in training.

Early life:

Sam was born in Keighley in 1896 and his birth was registered there in the last quarter of the year.
His parents were John William Shackleton and Annie Shackleton née Smith. They had been married at Bradford Cathedral on 13th August 1887 and already had a daughter Lilian, born at Shipley on 26th April 1893.
In the 1891 census they were living at 17, Mary Street in Saltaire when John William aged 25 was a steam and gas fitter. Annie was aged 26 and Lilian was just one year old.
They seem to have moved house a couple of times and were probably renting. In 1893, probably after Lilian was born, they moved to 15, Helen Street in Saltaire and were living there for three years when Harry was born in late 1894.
After a couple more years they moved to Keighley, where Sam was born late in 1896. They were then living at 156, Oakworth Road. Sam's younger brother Ben was also born in Keighley in 1900 and the family were still living here in the 1901 census.
In the 1901 census Sam was aged four and living at 156, Oakworth road with his parents. John William was 36 years old and employed as a warehouseman at a worsted mill. Annie was also 36. Lilian was aged 11, Harry was six, and their new baby Ben was just 5 weeks old.
The family seems to have stayed here until at least 1904 when they moved out of their Oakworth Road address. They were still resident in Keighley for several more years when they moved back to Shipley in 1910, when the electoral records show that their successive addresses moved from 'Keighley' to 2, Joseph Street in Saltaire.
Sam had lived in Keighley for about 14 years before they moved to Shipley.

They were living at 2, Joseph Street in the 1911 census, John William was 46 years old and employed as a warehouseman for a worsted spinner. Annie was also 46 and they had been married for 24 years. They'd had seven children, four of whom were still living and they were Lilian aged 21 and a drawing box minder for a worsted spinner; Harry aged 16 and an apprenticed overlooker for a worsted spinner; Sam was now aged 14 and a roving warehouseman for a worsted spinner. The youngest child Ben, was ten years old and at school. Also living with them was Ann Smith, Annie's mother aged 76 and a widow, originally from Skipton.

Tragedy hit Annie and her family late in 1911 when her husband John William died aged 46. His death was registered at North Bierley in the last quarter of the year and the record implies he died in December.

War service:

Sam enlisted at Bradford on 12th September 1914 for six years with the colours and six in the Reserve. He stated his age was 19 years and 22 days and that he had been born in Keighley, Yorkshire and that he was employed as a mill hand. He appears to have attested and been posted to Depot on the same date.
His medical form gives a description of him: Height, 5 feet 4 inches, weight, 110 lbs; chest, 35 inches. Good physical development. Eyesight: 6/6 in both eyes. His complexion was fresh and he had brown eyes and hair and his religion was Church of England.

He was later posted (presumably after completing his basic Army training) as a Driver, to 147 Brigade on 22nd January 1915.
He was serving at 'Home' until 19th March 1915 (a period of 189 days) when he embarked overseas at Avonmouth, with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 20th March 1915. They entered the Egypt war theatre on 2nd April. After 28 days he was on board the troop transport ship HT Manitou which was stopped by a torpedo boat on 17th April 1915. It did not sink, but some of the soldiers went into the ship's lifeboats as a precaution and were drowned when one of the boats fell into the sea when a davit broke and another capsized.
From the Manchester Courier and Advertiser dated 23rd April 1915, page 4, the reports say 23 men were drowned, One man died of exposure and 25 men were declared missing, presumed drowned.

WO-95/4308. 147 Brigade RFA Ammunition Column:

War diary entry. From Alexandria to Lemnos.
ALEXANDRIA. 14th April 1915:
Re-embarked and sailed for Lemnos.
AT SEA. 16th April 1915. 10.10 am:
Torpedo boat fired 3 torpedos at ship, after having given Captain three minutes to clear. Had only 8 boats and seven hundred men on board. Boats lowered and got away, less no. 8. davits of which broke, killing several men. This unit lost 15 men drowned majority of men of rafts etc were picked up by SS Reclaimer.
LEMNOS. 17th April 1915:
Arrived, awaiting orders.

His next of kin were his mother Annie, his elder brother Harry (serving with the RFA) and his younger brother Ben living at Helen Street with his mother.

Letter found in Sam's Army records:

Private letter sent from Clara S. Denby of Wycliffe House, Shipley, Yorkshire:
April 22nd, 1915.
Dear Sir, Mrs. Shackleton, mother of Driver Sam Shackleton no. 24602 wishes me to write and ask you to kindly send me all the particulars to hand about her boy! She has had an intimation saying that he has been drowned in the Mediterranean, during the voyage across. Needless to say she is heartbroken. He was a splendid boy. I shall esteem it if you can tell me anything so I can go to her with some particulars.
Yours sincerely,
Clara J. Denby.

The response:
Kindly send private letter to Lady Denby giving particulars. 24/4/15.

Note:

Sir Ellis Denby was a mill owner and magistrate in Shipley living at Wycliffe House (this is now the Shipley Maternity Hospital) Lady Clara Sophia Denby was his wife:

Shipley Times and Express 23rd April 1915, page 6:

MORE SHIPLEY VICTIMS.
News was received yesterday (Thursday) morning that Gunner Sam Shackleton, son of Mrs. Shackleton, a widow, residing at 40, Helen Street, Saltaire, had been accidentally drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. The deceased, who was only eighteen years of age, was in the 147th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. Prior to the outbreak of war he was employed at the Saltaire Mills, and attended the Saltaire Congregational Church and Sunday School, where he was highly esteemed. Only a few days ago a letter was received from him in which he said he was in the best of health and spirits, and hoped he would be spared to see his mother and brothers again.. He was unable to tell them where he was, he added, but went so far as to say that he was 'over the sea.' Some time ago he received, amongst other things, a pocket bible from Lady Ellis Denby, and according to his letters he prized it very much, and always carried it with him.
His brother, Harry Shackleton, who is twenty years of age, is a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, and his battalion is now stationed at North Camp, Aldershot. He was apprenticed to overlooking at Airedale Mills.
The late Gunner Shackleton was cousin to Joshua Mitchell, who was rescued from the Falaba, which was recently torpedoed off the coast of Wales by a German submarime.

The Royal Leamington Spa Courier, 23rd April 1915 page 4:

BRITISH TROOPSHIP ATTACKED IN THE AEGEAN. 51 MEN DROWNED. LEAMINGTON'S SOLDIER GUESTS.
It is feared that the 51 soldiers who were drowned in the Aegean Sea last Saturday morning (as a sequel to the attack on the troopship 'Manitou') included a number of men of the R.F.A. who until recently were billeted at Milverton.
The following are the Admiralty's announcements on the subject:-
Saturday night.
The transport Manitou, carrying British troops, was attacked by a Turkish torpedo-boat in the Aegean this morning.The Turkish boat fired three torpedos, all of which missed. The torpedo-boat then made off, chased by a British Cruiser (Minerva) and destroyers, and was finally run ashore and destropyed on the coast of Chios in Kalamuti Bay. The crew have been made prisoners.
It is reported that about 100 men on board the transport have lost their lives through drowning, but particulars have not yet been received.
In a later announcement the Secretary of the Admiralty states:-
A further report shows that the loss of life on board the Manitou is less than was at first reported. It appears to have been due to one boat capsizing in the water and another while being lowered owing to the breaking of a davit. Twenty four men were drowned and their bodies have been identified; 27 are missing.
The transport herself was undamaged.

THE ADMIRALTY'S EXPLANATION. Lord C. Beresford (U., Portsmouth) asked in the House of Commons yesterday for a statement of the circumstances of the attack on the transport Manitou, and whether it was not a fact that the communication already made by the Admiralty left a mystery which was disquieting, and whether such mystery did not give occasion for unfair inferences to be drawn.
Dr. Macnamara replied that the transport Manitou, with troops on board, was stopped by the Turkish torpedo-boat Dhair Hissar, which had escaped from Smyrna. The crew and troops were ordered to abandon the vessel, about eight minutes being given. The torpedo-boat fired three torpedoes at the transport, which missed. She was then driven off by British destroyers, which had come up. She was chased, and eventually beached herself, and was destroyed, her crew being captured.
While the troops were leaving the transport two boats capsized, fifty-one lives being lost. In one case a davit broke, and in the other the boat appeared to have been overcrowded. There was nothing either mysterious or disquieting about the affair. The essential facts were made public by the Admiralty as soon as they were known. He did not know what unfair inferences had been drawn.
Sir C. Kinloch Cooke (U.. Devonport): How cane it about that there was a report that 100 lives had been lost instead of 51?
Dr. Macnamara: I cannot say.
Lord C. Beresford: Is the right hon. gentleman aware that it is because the essential facts were not known that the general idea was that there had been a panic?
Dr. Macnamara repeated that the essential facts were published by the Admiralty as soon as they were known.

LIST OF THE CASUALTIES.
The following casualties to non-commissioned officers and men are reported as having occurred on the S.S. Manitou on April 17th:-

DROWNED.
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY.
Bancroft, 23252, Driver R.; Barnes, 56064, Gunner J.; Brown, 55847, Driver J.; Bryan, 6752, Driver W.; Cannon, 55511, Gunner G. W.; Chadwick, 4619. Driver J.; Cleminson, 35996, Gunner W.; Cooper, 10637, Battery Qmr.-Sgt. E. W.; Creer, 86232, Driver A.; Dean, 30967, Driver F. W.; Doran, 50263, Gunner H.; Law. 60300. Driver E.; Locke, 30757, Driver W.; Mc- Donald, 31105, Gunner W.; Mabey, 52988, Bombardier C. W.; Martin, 48407, Acting Bombardier W.: Musgrave, 35956, Driver J. W.; Pettit, 78135. Driver H.; Pittman, 11643, Shoeing-smith W. W.; Rathbone, 53093, Gunner A.; Ryan, 82539, Driver B.; Shepherd, 43755, Driver J. H.; Wallace, 60904, Gunner P.
DIED OF EXPOSURE.
R.F.A.-Cox, 60128, Gunner P.
MISSING, FEARED DROWNED. ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY.
Bayne, 25160, Gunner J. D.; Clark, 80821, Driver J.; Cox. 42767, Sgt. G. H.; Cramman, 99963, Gunner T. H.; Evans, 56007, Driver R.; Harding, 86182, Driver W.; Jones, 32478, Driver C. H.; Kay, 67781, Saddler W.; Kent, 23522. Battery Qmr.-Sgt. G.; Lawrence, 82329, Driver B.; Meadth, 41807, Driver J.; Moffatt, 33674, Sgt. R. M.; Mooney, 26122, Driver H.; Morss. 82380, Driver T. J.; Mulkersis, 55348, Gunner P.; Patrick, 49793, Gunner A.; Piddington. 34471, Driver W.; Randell, 84322, Driver W. H.; Shackleton, 26402, Driver S.; Tetlow, 58913. Shoeing-smith Corp. J.; Welsh, 93789, Driver A.; Willis, 54881, Gunner T. A.; Woodthorpe, 58260, Gunner A.
South Wales Borderers, 2nd Batt.-Frost, 9576, L.-Corp. E.; Hogg, 9983, H.


Post war and Remembrance:

Sam was lost at sea and has no known final resting place. He is named on Panel 21 to 33 of the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli in Turkey which bears 20,907 names from that theatre of the war.

His mother Annie received his war service medals in 1921, these were the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. She should also have received a bronze war memorial plaque and scroll inscribed with his name and any of his personal effects.
She received his remaining Army pay which amounted to a payment of 7 shillings and 5 pence, on 11th October 1915. A war gratuity of £3 was also paid to her on 23rd July 1919.

The Army Pension record cards indicate that she was refused a pension and a gratuity, but no reason is given.

Annie remarried in 1915 to George A. Minto, registered at North Bierley in the third quarter of the year.

A death record exists for an Annie Minto who died aged 77, registered at Keighley in the second quarter of 1942. We have assumed this is her.

Information sources:

West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935
1891 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire Electoral Registers
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
British Newspaper Archive
UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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