Battle of Givenchy Centenary Tour Saturday 7th – Wednesday 11th April 2018

‘… the atmosphere that was created was very moving’ – comment by a year 9 pupil after a trip to the Somme, July 2016

55 Rose


The Hundredth Anniversary of the first day of the Battle of Givenchy – when the 55th (West Lancashire) Division fought off a massive German attack – will occur on 9th April 2018. It will be a good moment to visit the ground upon which so many soldiers from the North-West of England fought and are commemorated.


We will explore the landscape by either minibus or small coach (depending upon numbers) and on foot, taking in remnants of the battlefield and the many associated memorials and cemeteries. Real soldiers’ stories will be woven into our visits, giving many opportunities for discussion, reflection and commemoration. Continue reading


Carnforth Sailly Sur La Lys Research Project

Carnforth is twinned with Sailly Sur La Lys in Northern France, a town which was occupied by both German and Allied forces during the Great War. During 1918, it featured in the Battle of the Lys, in which the 55th West Lancashire Division, containing units from the Lancaster area, fought. It has been decided by members of both twinning associations that we should work together to research the histories of our respective towns during the Great War and to compare our discoveries, stories and themes. We aim to publish the results bilingually in the form of information panels, maps, guides and possibly a book. In addition, we hope to arrange appropriate commemorations, in both France and England, of the Battle of the Lys, during its centenary in 2018. Continue reading

Thomas Ernest De Maine of Morecambe

Thomas’s name appears on the Morecambe War Memorial. The first source to mention his existence is the 1901 census:

Demaine Family on King Street, Morecambe in 1901

Demaine Family on King Street, Morecambe in 1901

We see that Thomas’s parents were Henry and Mary De Maine and that Thomas had a brother called John McClure Demaine who was born in about 1893. The next source is the 1911 census: Continue reading

Private George William Nelson of Kendal

During July 2016, some pupils and staff from the Queen Katherine School in Kendal spent four days walking the Somme Battlefields in Northern France. The party was divided into four groups, each led by a teacher, who explored the experiences of one soldier buried or commemorated in the area. The group led by Dick Forsyth researched and commemorated George William Nelson from Kendal. Dick wrote the following biography, the first from Kendal to be published on this blog, but I hope not the last.

Commemorating Private George W. Nelson at Waggon Road Cemtery

Dick Forsyth, the author of this post, speaking about Private Nelson, July 2016.


There is little evidence left of Private George Nelson, who died on 18th November 1916, the last official day of the Somme campaign, in an assault on German positions along
Redan Ridge to the east of Beaumont-Hamel. He had been in France just over three months. It appears to have been his first and only time in a large scale assault.

Continue reading