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Richard Hoyle was born in Chipping near Longridge on the 5th August 1895 to Thomas and Emma Hoyle (nee Dewhurst). Thomas and Emma were both from farming families in the Chipping area and they married in the church of St. Bartholomew in Chipping on the 5th February, 1885.

Richard had six brothers and two sisters, namely; Betsy (1886), James (1888), Giles (1890), Richard (1895), William Henry (1897), Thomas (1898), Emily Esther (1900), Horace (1904) and Fred (1910).

By 1911 Richard and his younger siblings were all living at home with their parents in Chipping village. Richard was an assistant chair maker and his father was employed as a labourer. Richard`s three oldest siblings had all left home, his sister Betsy had married, James had emigrated to Australia and Giles was in Cheshire working as a footman for Sir William John Crossley a gas engineering manufacturer.

In December 1912 Giles Hoyle left his footman`s job in Cheshire and followed his brother out to Australia. At some point after 1911 the rest of the Hoyle family had moved the short distance from Chipping to live in Mersey Street in Longridge.

On the 4 June, 1913 at the age of 17 years and 10 months old Richard enlisted for four years into the Territorial Force at Longridge and when war was declared he volunteered to serve overseas. He was allocated the service number 1681 and posted to the 1/4th Battalion.

Giles and James Hoyle who had previously emigrated to Australia both enlisted into the Australian Army, James joined up in September 1914 and Giles in November 1914. Richard`s younger brother Thomas also enlisted on the 17 April, 1915 into the East Lancashire Regiment. However, Thomas had added a couple of years onto his age when he signed up stating that he was 19 years and 6 months old when in fact he was only 17. He managed to serve for 245 days before he was found out and was sent home as a consequence of “having made a miss-statement as to his age on enlistment”.

Richard sailed to France with the 1/4th Battalion on the 4 May, 1915. According to his service papers he was injured during the Battalion`s first major action at Festubert on the 15 June, 1915 when as a result of being crushed by sandbags he suffered bruising to his abdomen and hip. The injuries were   serious enough for him to leave France and return home and so by the 19 June, 1915 he was in hospital in England.

The following article with photographs of the four brothers was printed in a local paper on the 16 June 1915 the day after Richard was injured, his parents obviously unaware that he was on his way home. Thomas the underage soldier also appears in the photograph which was taken before he was found out!


Richard spent almost 5 months in England before he was sent back out to France to re-join his Battalion in November 1915.

Sadly Private Richard Hoyle was reported as killed in action on the Somme on the 8 August, 1916.

Battalion account of the actions 8th August 1916

After a night in bivouacs, preparations were made to go over the ground prior to an attack on GUILLEMONT on the 8th. The Battalion returned to the line that night and assembled in trenches east and west of the road which ran south from the east corner of TRONES WOOD, C Company being details to consolidate the right of the enemy line and D Company the left on the west side of GUILLEMONT. A and B Companies acted in conjunction with the 1/4th Royal Lancasters and the 1/8th Liverpool Regiments respectively.

The attack was not a success. The right was held up from the start by the switch line which had been reported by our patrol on the 6th, such report having been either overlooked or ignored, and the men had to fall back to the original line, though the 1/8th Liverpools went through the village on the left and D Company of our Battalion commenced to consolidate, but were driven off by the enemy coming behind them and cutting them off from the Liverpools.

Considerable confusion was caused owing to the mist and the employment by the enemy of smoke bombs, the four platoons in reserve not being called upon for this reason, though all their Officers were killed and they suffered many other casualties. The operation was a costly one. Nine other ranks were killed, 97 wounded and 107 reported missing: whilst of the Officers, Captain E.M. Rennard and Captain H Lindsay were killed, Second Lieutenants O.H. Ducksbury and J. H. Holden missing (afterwards found to be prisoners of war) and Lieutenants De Blaby and A.T.D. Evans and Second Lieutenants E.L. Fairclough and T.A. Bigger wounded. Lieutenant De Blaby died the following day.

Not long after his parents had been informed of his death another article appeared in the Preston Guardian.


Richard`s body was never recovered from the battlefield and so his name was recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

His mother later signed for the 1915 Star, British War and Victory medals that her son was entitled to.

Additional family information 

56 Private James Hoyle, 11th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade A.I.F. was wounded twice in the fighting at the Dardanelles. Wounded at least three times in France and eventually returned to Australia and discharged on the 15 November, 1918.

2368 Private Giles Hoyle, 3rd Battalion A.I.F. was wounded in action when he was in the Dardanelles with his Battalion and he was sent back to England to recover. He married Susan Mary Turford in Worcestershire in 1918. After the war he returned to Australia with his wife.

After his early attempt at underage enlistment Thomas did return to the Army when he was old enough.

242223 Private Thomas Hoyle, East Lancashire Regiment. At some point he was transferred to the 5th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment as 244433 Private Thomas Hoyle. Sadly Thomas was killed in action on the 21st August, 1918 and was buried at the Sandpits British Cemetery, Fonquereul, France.


Richard and Thomas are both remembered on the War Memorial inside St. Lawrence`s Church in Longridge.

Janet Davis
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