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200640 Private Samuel LambertSamuel Lambert was born on the 21st December 1896 in Preston to John and Catherine Ann Lambert (nee Taylor). His parents married in the church of St. Luke in Preston on the 28th June 1891 and according to the 1911 Census they had twelve children, four of whom survived. However, Thomas the eldest of the four surviving children was born to Catherine Ann Taylor two years before she married John Lambert.

  • Thomas (Taylor) born 1889
  • Samuel born 1896
  • John born 1899
  • William born 1902

In 1901 Samuel and his family lived at 20 Young Street in Preston where his father worked as a general labourer and his mother was a cotton carder in one of the local mills.

By 1911 the Lambert family had moved to 20 Shuttle Street were John Lambert was still a labourer `iron fixing`, Thomas was a lap piercer and 14 year old Samuel was an errand lad.

On the 15th September 1914 Samuel enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at the recruiting office in Preston. Later information states that prior to his enlistment he had been labouring for Messrs. Irvin & Sellers, wood turners and shuttle manufacturers on Fletcher Road in Preston. Samuel was posted to the 4th Battalion LNL and allocated the service number 2588 which would later become 200640. Unfortunately no other details of his enlistment are available.

Samuel sailed to France with the main body of the 1/4th Battalion on the 4th May 1915 as a member of “B” Company. A few weeks after landing in France he was involved in the Battalion actions at Festubert during what later became known as `the great bayonet charge` where he received a gun-shot wound to his right ankle. Samuel was later able to write to his parents to let them know what had happened to him and an extract from his letter appeared in the Lancashire Daily Post;

Pte Samuel Lambert of the 4th L.N.L. Regt., whose mother lives in Shuttle Street in Preston, and who formerly worked for Messrs. Irvin and Sellers, in the course of a letter tells how he crawled a distance of 300 yards under a hot fire after being wounded.

“We took the first German trench without much loss, and we were taking the second when a few got knocked out and I was one of the few. I had to lie in a `Jack Johnson` hole for six hours and then our lot had to give back a bit because we could not get reinforcements up in time. The Germans were coming right on top of me so I got out of the hole and, heedless of the shells and bullets, I crawled on my hands and knees back to our trenches, a distance of about 300 yards, and I can tell you I was not half thankful when I got there.

After about four hours stay in the fire trench I attempted to get to our reserve trenches with the aid of a stick, and I succeeded but after a bit of a struggle. The communication trenches were all blown up, and everywhere there were awful sights, and I think myself lucky to come back alive”.

It wasn`t until the following day (16th) that Samuel received medical help and was eventually taken back down the line to No. 13 General Hospital in Boulogne. By the 21st June 1915 he was on his way back England where he was admitted for treatment in the 2nd Western General Hospital at Whitworth Street in Manchester. When his wound was sufficiently healed he was then sent to the Kings Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital at Squires Gate in Blackpool. After his period of convalescence in Blackpool he was posted to the Heaton Park Command Depot for further rehabilitation and training.

Samuel married Elizabeth Cragg in Emmanuel Church in Preston in the last quarter of 1917 and a son Samuel was born in mid-December of that year.  On the 29th December 1917 he was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion LNL at Felixstowe where he would have to undergo additional training in readiness for a return to the front.

On the 11th February 1918 Samuel sailed to France for the second time and the following day he was posted to the 9th Battalion, joining them in the field on the 18th February 1918.

The 9th Battalion LNL came under the command of 74th Brigade in the 25th Division and at the end of February 1918 the 25th Division was withdrawn to the Achiet-le-Petit area which was some four miles to the north-west of Bapaume. They spent ten days or so in Buchanan Camp before moving to Fremicourt on the 12th March where they remained until later in the month.

On the 21st March 1918 the German Spring Offensive began and on that date the 9th Battalion had been sent forward to support the 51st Division near the Beetroot Factory, north of the Cambrai-Bapaume Road. The day after on the 22nd Samuel was taken prisoner, being one of thousands captured during this particular period. The Red Cross Prisoner of War records state that on the 1st May 1918 Samuel was being held at Munster I Prisoner of war camp and that by the 20th June he had been moved to Friedrichsfeld POW Camp, his records also noting that he had shrapnel wounds to his back.

He remained a prisoner for the rest of the war before finally being repatriated back to England on board the “SS Porto” arriving in Hull on the 29th November 1918. On the 2nd February 1919 Samuel was posted back to the Depot at Fulwood before being discharged and issued with Silver War Badge No. 463027 on the 1st March 1919, his home address given as 20 Shuttle Street in Preston. A second child, a daughter they named Kathleen was born in the September quarter of 1919.

In 1939 Samuel was living with his wife and family at 306 Cemetery Road in Preston where he was employed as a horticultural gardener. Samuel passed away at the same address on the 14th August 1956 aged 59 years.

Janet Davis
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