Gauld, Douglas. Died 3rd Jul 1916

Omitted from publication on 3rd Jul 2016

Douglas Gauld was born in 1890 in Aigburth in Lancashire and baptised on 6th July at St Anne’s Church there. His parents were John and Margaret (nee Valentine) who married in the same church on 22nd June 1887. John was a gardener at Bromborough Hall, across the Mersey on the Wirrel. In 1891 the family were living in Chester Road, Bromborough. Douglas was then the youngest of three children. Lizzie was three and Gordon 2. Father, John had been born in Scotland.

By 1901 the family had moved to Lutterworth Road, North Kilworth. John was still a domestic gardener and there were four more children, Wallace, John Valentine, Lottie and Joseph. Ten years later they were still living in North Kilworth and Douglas, aged 20 was working as a grocer’s assistant, his brother Wallace was a grocer’s clerk.

By the start of the war, Douglas was employed by the Rugby Co-operative Society in their Cambridge Street stores. His home was in Lutterworth. His father John had died in 1913, at the age of 53.

He must have enlisted early in the war, with the 10th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, (No. 15525) as his Medal Index card shows he arrived in France on the 19th July 1915. At some point he was promoted from private to Lance Corporal.

The 10th (Service) Battalion, Worcestershire was formed in Sept 1914 at Worcester as part of the Second New Army (K2), then moved to Salisbury Plain and joined the 57th Brigade of the 19th Division. In March 1915 they moved to Tidworth and on 19th July 1915 mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.

The Division was engaged in various action on the Western Front including;
In 1915, The Action of Pietre, (a diversionary action during the Battle of Loos).
During 1916, The Battle of Albert, The attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.

The capture of La Boisselle was a British local operation during the Battle of Albert, during the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme.

According to the War Diaries, the 10th Bn., Worcesteshire Regiment, on 1st July:
…moved into the Assembly Trenches to the North of ALBERT where the day was spent. As the attack had started at 7.30 am Rumours and alarms were frequent.
At 9.15 pm the Battalion was ordered to proceed to our original front line to support an attack. In the communication trenches confusion reigned – Wounded were being brought out – we were trying to get in – carrying parties were trying to go both ways – it was raining & the trench was knee-deep in mud. By about 1 am A, B & C Coy found themselves in the Front Line opposite LA BOISELLE – D Coy was ordered to remain in reserve at USNA REDOUBT. The attack which was due to begin at midnight had to be put off. Leaving the WARWICKSHIRE REGT. To hold the line A, B, & C. Coy made their way back to the USNA – TARA line. Everyone being thoroughly exhausted! The remainder of the day was spent in sleep which was greatly interrupted by the bombardment of LA BOISELLE.

There were various conferences that afternoon and after midnight:
3rd July 1916… the Battalion moved in lines of platoons in fours across country & lay down behind our old Front Line facing LA BOISELLE. The Battalion was seen & a heavy shrapnel fire was opened causing considerable Casualties.
2 am The advance was made in three lines one platoon of each Company being in front. The Battalion want forward with great dash & after a hard fight captured three lines of trenches. Small parties penetrated right through to the village of LA BOISELLE but running short of bombs were forced to retire. Intense fighting with various success continued till about 12 midday when a line was consolidated behind the Church. Coming to our support two companies of the WARWICKSHIRE REGT held the front line while we consolidated a line about 30 yards behind. Casualties were heavy – An appendix is attached.
4 pm Reserve Officers from Transport arrived and took over the Battalion.
Things quietened down considerably & the line was firmly consolidated.
During the night 3 weak bombing attacks by the enemy were easily stopped by Machine Gun fire.

The appendix, dated July 3rd 1916, lists five officers killed, four missing presumed dead, one died of wounds and five wounded. For Other Ranks 44 were killed, 197 wounded and 106 missing.

Douglas Gauld must have been among the 106 missing as he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 5 A and 6 C.

The Thiepval memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.

On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around. It is the largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing in the world

His death was reported in the Rugby Advertiser of 15th July 1916:
News was received on Thursday that Douglas Gould (Worcester Regiment), formerly employed at the Cambridge Street Stores of the Rugby Co-operative Society, has died of wounds received in the advance on July 3rd. His home is at Lutterworth.

Douglas Gould, as he was known to the army, received the Victory and British medals as well as the 15 star.

It was this mistake in spelling his name that delayed our identification until after the centenary of his death.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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