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cplvincentpoultonVincent Poulton was born in Preston in late 1890 and was the fifth son of Ann and Joseph Poulton. He had six brothers and two sisters;

  • Edward Poulton (1881–1950)
  • Francis J Poulton (b. 1885)
  • Thomas Ignatius Poulton (1887–1952)
  • John Berchman Poulton (1889–1958)
  • Cathrine Mary Poulton (b. 1894)
  • Alice Poulton (b. 1895)
  • Joseph Poulton (b. 1898)
  • Fredrick Poulton (b. 1902)

At the time of the 1891 census, the family were living at 13 Schelswig Street, Preston. His father was working for the Post Office (G.P.O). By 1901 they had moved to 1 Dove Street, Deepdale ,Preston, and his father gave his occupation as head mail messenger, G.P.O. Ten years later, 1911, they were still at the same address and his father is recorded as being a ‘Postal Official’.

Answering the call of Mr. Cyril Cartmell – son of the major of Preston, Vincent Poulton was one of the origianl men who enlisted into D Company of the 7th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, commonly referred to as the ‘Preston Pals’. He was given the number 13158. The ‘Pals’, a company that was meant to comprise of clerks and businessmen, paraded in Preston before marching to the railway station to embark for training at Tidworth.

pals

The Preston Pals parading in front of large crowds in Preston

At the time of Vincent’s enlistment in the Army on 7th September 1914 he was 23 years 9 months old and had been working as a draper’s assistant for at least 3 years. He had also completed a full term of reserve service in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was ‘Time expired’.

During his medical assessment for enlistment into the New Armies, the officer described Vincent as standing 5ft 5in tall, weighing 130lbs with a 35in chest. He also noted three scars on Vincent’s right shoulder blade and two boils on his arm.

Vincent initially nominated his father as his legal next of kin, however this passed to his mother when Joseph died the following month.

pals

The Preston Pals at Tidworth (Click to Enlarge)

Probably due to his previous military experience he was quickly appointed Lance Corporal, unpaid, (27th September 1914)  and Lance Corporal, paid (30th January 1915). Promotion to Corporal was achieved on 1st July 1915, just before he sailed from Folkestone to France with the initial deployment of 7th Battalion men on 17th July 1915.

vincent poulton

Photo provided by Sara Brent (Gt Gt Niece)

Between 20-27th February 1916 he was granted leave although it is unclear whether he returned to the UK during this period; and on 7th July 1916 he was wounded in action at La Boisselle.

LA BOISSELLE

The Battalion had been in the old German trenches near La Boisselle since the 3rd July. The trenches here were “very much knocked about and full of dead” and from here they launched their attack on the village of La Boisselle, during which, on the 5th July 1916 that Temp Lt. Thomas Orde Lawder Wilkinson won the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery. The village was consolidated by the evening of the 6th but the Battalion remained in the line until 11pm on 7th July 1916.

Having been wounded at La Boisselle, Vincent was taken to Boulogne for five days convalescence before being moved back to the Infantry Base Depot at Etaples for a further 10 days.Then on 22nd July 1916 he was posted across to ‘D Company’ of the 1st Battalion.

Less than one month later, on 18th August 1916, Corporal Vincent Poulton was killed in action with the 1st Battalion at High Wood.

War Diary: 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Brigade. 1st Division 1.

OPERATION ORDERS No 10. 18/8/16

An attack on a big front will take place today. The 33rd Divn on our Right will capture German Trench running through centre of HIGH WOOD and will establish a strong point at N.W. Corner of the WOOD. 2nd Brigade will join up with Left Brigade 33rd Divn at this point. 1st Brigade will attack on our left. The Battalion will attack and capture the German Trench in S.3.D up trench running along N.W. edge of HIGH WOOD from S.3.D.95.75 to S.3.B.75.15.

Prior to the intense bombardment Northampton Regiment will evacuate the eastern portion of the German Trench captured last night and will afterwards co-operate by bombing inwards. The assaulting coys will move forward as follows:- D and C Coys in 2 lines at 50 paces interval, D. Coy on Right, C Coy on Left, each line at 5 paces extension.

D Coys front line will consist of 3 platoons of D Coy, of which the right platoon will be responsible for seizing the German Trench along the N.W. Edge of HIGH WOOD; their 2nd line will consist of 1 platoon of D Coy and 1 platoon of B Coy; the latter platoon will move into position in new front line on D Coys left – & will be in position by 1.30pm. …… D Coy on obtaining its objective, will establish a strong post which will consist at first of a barricade, bombers and 1 Lewis Gun in German trench near point S.3.B.72 just clear of N.W. Corner of HIGH WOOD.

After capturing German Trenches running West Edge of HIGH WOOD, Battn must hold it against possible attack from E and N.E until such time as troops of 98th Brigade come up and take over. Strong-post to be established by D Coy will protect our right flank. 2. Nr High Wood 18.8.16 In conjunction with troops on our flanks, the Bde attacked the German trenches just west of HIGH WOOD.

Casualties Capt M.A. Cross and Capt D.O.H Tripp DSO killed. Lieut Nicholl, Lieuts Ware, Stephenson, Harrison, Heaton and Bulling wounded. Killed 30 OR. Wounded 110 OR. Missing 50 OR (approximate)

REPORT ON OPERATIONS AUGUST 18th, 1916

In conjunction with attacks by the French and ourselves from THIEPVAL to the SOMME, the Battalion attacked the German Line from the right of 1st Northamptons about point S.3.B.0.8 to N.W Corner of HIGH WOOD S.3.B.72 and also trench running along Western edge from S.3.B.72 to S.3.D.95.75.

Zero Time 2.45pm. At that hour the right platoon, which was detailed to attack, trench S.3.B.72 to S.3.B.95.75 and to form strong point at N.W corner of WOOD at S.3.B.72, left their trenches and was seen to advance into our intense bombardment, which was not timed to lift until 0.03. Remainder of right appears to have followed on too quickly and suffered a similar fate, though up to the present, no survivors have been found capable of giving a reliable account. The left delayed their assault until about 0.02 and, advancing close under our barrage entered the German Trench without difficulty assisted by Northampton attack on the right. By the time the 3rd Line got in, only 1 officer had not become a casualty. He, realizing that, on the right the trench was unoccupied, extended his men down the trench to within 200 yards of HIGH WOOD and commenced the consolidation of the position.

 

Vincent Poulton had served a total of 1 year and 346 days during the Great War, 1 year 33 days of which were in France. His body was not recovered from the battlefield and no personal effects were sent home. He was 25 years old and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing.

For his war service, Vincent’s mother would later sign for his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. In recognition of his sacrifice the family would later also receive a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 13158
Date of Death: 18/08/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “D” Coy. 1st Bn.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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