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Samuel Wignall was born in Preston on the 31st December 1875 to John and Caroline Wignall (nee Hoole). His parents’ marriage took place in St. Paul`s Church in Preston on the 6th September 1879 and they went on to have at least ten children together but sadly of those only three appear to have survived. After their marriage John and Caroline Wignall moved into Edmund Street in Preston where they remained for at least thirty years.

In 1901 at 42 Edmund Street the family consisted of; John and Caroline and their sons` Richard (1890) and Samuel. Also with the family was twenty two year old George Hoole, a son born to Caroline prior to her marriage to John Wignall. The family also had a boarder, Sarah J. Barton aged 21 years and the fiancée of George Hoole, the couple married later the same year. Samuel`s father was employed as an `out porter` at some sort of commercial hotel establishment and Samuel and his brother Richard were both attending St. Paul`s School.

The Wignall family were still resident at the same address in 1911 and while his father was still employed as an `out porter`, Samuel was working as an `under barman` in a public house. At some point after this and prior to him enlisting Samuel went to work as a warehouseman for Messrs. Addison & Co. Ltd. wine and spirit merchants.

Unfortunately Samuel`s service papers are not available but we do know that he enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 1st May 1916 and sailed to France on the 24th August of that year with a batch of reinforcements. On arrival he was posted to the 1st Battalion and joined the 8th Platoon in “B” Company.

Sadly, only a month later on the 26th September 1916 he was posted as missing in action on the Somme.

1st Battalion War Diary entry; 26th September 1916

IN FRONT OF EAUCOURT L`ABBAYE. 23.00hrs. In conjunction with the 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment and 50 Division on our left, the Battalion was ordered to attack the trench running from FLERS LINE to the CRESCENT in front of EAUCOURT L`ABBAYE. Dispositions `C and D` Companies in two lines of two platoons each at 50 x distance followed by `B` Company in one line of ½ platoon. `A` Company moving up to the jumping off trench. Owing to extremely dark conditions, direction was lost and the attack failed.

The 1st Battalion lost 57 men during this failed attack.

After Samuel`s parents had been notified that he was missing they had the following information published in the Preston Guardian.

24128 Private Samuel WignallAs Samuel had initially been posted as missing in action, his family would have had to wait for a number of months before the Authorities would finally confirm for official purposes that his death had occurred on or since 26th September 1916.

After the war Samuel was awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service, his family would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll.

On the 25th of February 1919 his mother Caroline who was obviously still desperate for any news of her son had the following notice published in the Lancashire Evening Post.

“MISSING – Will any returned prisoner of war kindly give any information  as to the whereabouts of Private Samuel Wignall, 24128, 1st Bn L.N.L.  “B” Coy, 8th Platoon, B.E.F. France, who was reported missing on the  26th September 1916. Any news concerning him will be gratefully received  by his mother, who lives at 3 Spencer Street, off Park Road, Preston”.

Samuel has no known grave and so his name was later inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

Rank: Private
Service No: 24128
Date of Death: 26/09/1916
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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