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Dunderdale 1David Dunderdale was born on the 21 November, 1897 in Preston to John and Agnes Dunderdale (nee Oldham). When John married Agnes in St. Mark`s Church in Preston on 3 November, 1895 he was already a widower with seven grown up children, his first wife Emma having died in 1892.

Sadly, John Dunderdale died in 1899 and not long after his death Agnes gave birth to another son John Robert but he only lived for a short time, his death was registered in the December quarter of 1899.

By 1901 three year old David and his mother Agnes were boarding with William and Margaret Craig and their 6 year old son James at number 70 Brunswick Street in Preston. At the time Agnes was going out to work in a cotton mill in order to support herself and her son.

When the 1911 Census was recorded David and his mother were living on their own at number 65 Brunswick Street. By now Agnes was fifty years old and she was working as a charwoman while David was at school.

In 1913 records show that at the age of 16 David had started work on the railways at Preston as a “call boy”. The job apparently involved personally delivering messages to railway crews to inform them about cancelled trains.

At some point after the war broke out he went to enlist and was allocated the number 36935 but as his service papers have not survived it is difficult to establish when this was. His Medal Index Card suggests that he did not go overseas until after January 1916 and after arriving in France probably with a batch of reinforcements he was subsequently posted to the 1st Battalion.

The newspaper article below was published in June 1918 and it mentions that David had been invalided home with shell shock the previous August (1917) and had spent some time in the Auxiliary Hospital on Moor Park in Preston.

David apparently recovered from the shell shock and was eventually sent back out to France at some point. Information on the Medal Rolls indicates that he also served with both the 10th and the 9th Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at some time before eventually re-joining the 1st Battalion.

On the 9th April 1918, the German Army launched the second phase of its spring offensive in what would become known as the Battle of the Lys. On the 16th of the month the 1st Battalion relieved the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers and went into the front line near La Basse Canal, they were in position by 3.55pm. The following day was generally quiet.

It would appear that David went missing two days later during an attack on the 18th April 1918.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – 18th April 1918

“At 4.15am, the enemy commenced to bombard the whole of the Divisional front. The barrage became intense and at 8.10 the enemy attacked from the north, filtering into our trenches under cover of the high ground at Givenchy. He succeeded in reaching and occupying the main line of resistance before counter measures could be taken. Vigorous counter attacks by “C” and “D” Companies eventually succeeded in ejecting the enemy from our main line and by 11am he was only holding a few isolated posts in our outpost line”

On the following day there was a certain amount of sniping from the Germans who were now holding the shell craters which had formed the outpost line. The 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment later successfully attacked the remaining enemy and the Germans retreated back to their own line.

A period of quiet then followed with the men concentrating on repairing and improving the defences until finally being relieved from the front line on the 23rd-24th April.

Although the Battalion War Diary does not give a daily account of casualties for this particular period in the front line it does record losses of 46 men killed, 105 wounded and 189 missing.

Agnes Dunderdale would have been notified that her son was missing in action and was no doubt very relieved when she eventually received word that he had been taken prisoner.

The following article then appeared in the Preston Guardian.Dunderdale 2 The Red Cross Prisoner of War records unfortunately do not show any details of which Prisoner of War Camp David was held in. The only information available is that he was released and repatriated back to England and arrived back in Dover on the 30 November, 1918.

After the war David would have received the British War and Victory Medals that he was entitled to.

By 1925 he was back at work on the railways in Preston again, this time working as a signalman. Three years later he married Ellen Eva Bingham at St. Jude`s Church in Preston and they had one son.

Dunderdale 3

Photo reproduced with the kind permission of Susannah Barton-Rossall one of David`s relatives

This photograph of David Dunderdale was probably taken in the mid 1930s so pre second world war. David passed away at the age of 72 in the June quarter of 1970. His wife Ellen Eva passed away in 1980.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 36935 PTE. D. DUNDERDALE. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Susannah Barton-Rossall says:

    Many thanks for the article,Janet. It was very interesting as I knew nothing much about David at all before you contacted me.It;s good to be able to add more facts to my family tree.
    Best regards

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