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Hermon Lancaster was born on 15 September 1891, when the family lived at Brandiforth Street, off School Lane in Bamber Bridge.  His father was Thomas Lancaster (b. 1865, in Bamber Bridge), a weaver by trade; his mother was Eleanor Billington (b. 1869 in Preston). Thomas and Eleanor were married at St Peter’s in Preston in 1888 and had 7 children, 2 of whom died in infancy.   The surviving siblings were: Ada (b. 1890), Hermon, William (b. 1893), Robert (b. 1898) and Sarah Ann (b. 1902).  In 1911, the family was living at 8 County Terrace, Clayton-le-Woods, though later they moved to 14 Smiths Terrace, Clayton-le-Woods.

Hermon was a weaver before he signed up on 2 September 1914.  He joined 7Bn of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, with service number 13875, and was posted to D Company (the Preston Pals).  On his attestation form it says he was 5’ 7¾” tall and weighed 144lbs, and had a 37” chest.  He had brown eyes and dark brown hair.  He was promoted to Corporal on 11th July 1915, Lance Sergeant on 15th March 1916, and to Sergeant on 15th July 1916.

Hermon landed with 7Bn at Boulogne on 17th July 1915 and fought in the Battle of Loos in September that year.  After this battle and in the first half of 1916, the Battalion was in and out of the trenches in the area of Merville and Neuve Chappelle, near Armentières, but they left there in May and began training in preparation for the planned attack and at the end of June they went into the trenches at Henencourt Wood, to the north-east of Albert, on The Somme.  On the opening day of the battle, 7Bn was engaged in the failed attacks on Ovillers and La Boisselle.  There was then a lull in the fighting in the middle of July, but on the 19th the Battalion was ordered back into the line at Bazentin-Le-Petit, with no more than 480 rifles to defend a line over a thousand yards in length.  Between 19-23rd July, according to the Regimental history, 7Bn lost 11 officers and 290 other ranks, killed, wounded or missing.  According to CWGC, The Loyal Regiment in total had 113 officers and men killed during those days, and of these 88 were from 7Bn, including Hermon Lancaster.  Hermon was reported missing, presumed dead, on 23rd July 1916. He was 25 years old.

His effects of £7 14s 4d were returned to his father in 1917, and after the War his father received a War Gratuity of £11 10s.

Rank:  Serjeant
Service No:  13875
Date of Death:  23/07/1916
Age: 25
Regiment/Service:  The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “D” Coy. 7th Bn.
Panel Reference:  Pier and Face 11 A.

Bill Brierley
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