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cologne1Cologne Southern Cemetery

More than 1,000 Allied prisoners and dozens of German servicemen were buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery during the First World War. Commonwealth forces entered Cologne on 6 December 1918, less than a month after the Armistice, and the city was occupied under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles until January 1926. During this period the cemetery was used by the occupying garrison. In 1922 it was decided that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries at Kassel, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne. Over the course of the following year, graves were transferred to Cologne Southern Cemetery from over 180 different burial grounds in Hanover, Hessen, the Rhine and Westphalia.

There are now almost 2,500 First World War servicemen buried or commemorated in the Commonwealth plots at Cologne. The Cologne Memorial, located inside the shelter building at the entrance to the Commonwealth plots, commemorates 25 British and Irish servicemen who died in Germany and who have no known grave. Of these, 19 are known to have died as prisoners but their places of burial are not recorded. The remaining six died after the Armistice by drowning and their bodies were not recovered. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery also contains over 130 Second World War graves, mostly those of servicemen who died with the occupying forces. There are, in addition, 676 non-war graves and 29 burials of other nationalities.

Commonwealth Prisoners of War in Germany during the First World War

Between the outbreak of war in August 1914 and the Armistice of November 1918, the German forces captured almost 300,000 Commonwealth servicemen on the Western Front. Approximately one third of these prisoners were held in German occupied territory in France and Belgium, but most were transported to camps located throughout Germany. In common with the other belligerent states, Germany was poorly equipped to house, feed and clothe large numbers of enemy troops, but prisoners of war had been granted certain rights under international agreements established at Geneva in 1864 and at The Hague in 1899 and 1907. The Red Cross also monitored conditions in the camps and ensured that food, clothing, and personal correspondence sent from Britain was safely delivered to prisoners. In June 1917, and again in July 1918, the British and German governments agreed to exchange prisoners who were too badly wounded to fight again, and hundreds of prisoners were repatriated through the Netherlands. Finally, the fear that the thousands of German prisoners in Britain and France would be mistreated in retaliation meant that Allied POWs often enjoyed quite humane treatment. This was especially the case for officer prisoners, who were segregated into separate camps and not forced to work.

plaque
Despite these various checks on the mistreatment of prisoners, conditions in German camps varied widely and as many as 12,000 Commonwealth servicemen died in captivity. Some of these men were badly wounded when taken prisoner and died shortly after arriving in Germany. Some prisoners also died as a result of violence perpetrated by their captors, but although violence was common, particularly during the first year of the war, the killing of prisoners was rare. Non-commissioned officers and privates were often forced to work and some died of exhaustion or accidents while labouring in coalmines, stone quarries or steel works. Yet by far the most common cause of prisoner death in wartime Germany was disease. Prisoners weakened by wounds, poor diet, or fatigue were particularly susceptible to the effects of disease and an outbreak of typhus in 1915 and the influenza epidemic of 1918 had a devastating effect on the Allied prisoner population. (Source: CWGC.org)

William ASHWORTH

William was born and enlisted in Bolton, Lancashire.  His original service number was 2048. He sailed for France on 12th February 1915 as Private and during the war was promoted to Serjeant. William died of wounds on 21st February 1918. He had recently been awarded the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field (SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 14 JANUARY, 1918 – wrongly lists his name as Ashcroft).

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 240451
Date of Death: 21/02/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Awards: M M
Grave Reference: XIII. D. 8.
ashworth

John BENTHAM

John Bentham was born on 1st September 1891 in Parbold, Lancashire. He was living with his sister Mary Ann Swift at 6 Abernethy Street, Horwich when he re-enlisted in the 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in August 1914. He had previously served in the Battalion but had become ‘time expired’. His service number 278 was changed to 200135 in 1917. John sailed to France with the initial deployment of the Battalion on 4th May 1915. He was wounded in action within a month.

After actions on 8th August 1916, John was reported to be missing in action.  It later transpired he had been taken Prisoner of War.

John  died of Pneumonia at Reserve Hospital II in Dusseldorf  at 6:30PM on 27th October 1918.

Rank: Private
Service No: 200135
Date of Death: 27/10/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XI. B. 4.
bentham
bird

Peter BOMMER

Peter Bommer was born in Westhoughton and enlisted as Special Reserve at Bolton on 21st August 1914. He was 31 years old and had no military experience. He had been working as a carter/coachman. Peter had married Elizabeth Ann (nee Brown) in October 1903 at Bolton.

Peter sailed for France to reinforce the 1st Battalion on 29th November 1914.  Within a month of arriving in France the 1st Battalion were in action at Givenchy on 22nd December. During the battle Peter sustained gunshot wounds to the back of his legs (below the knee) and was taken Prisoner of War.  He died of his wounds in captivity at Aix la Chapelle (Aachen) at 5:00 AM on 2nd January 1915.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3088
Date of Death: 02/01/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. C. 11.
bommer

Edward BRADSHAW

Edward Bradshaw was the son of Robinson and Rebecca Bradshaw, of 68, Railway Terrace, Padiham. Edward was born in Padiham and enlisted into the East Lancashire Regiment at Burnley with the number 27135.  He sailed to France with the East Lancs before later being transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 30923. He was probably originally in a Service battalion, but then joined the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion when many Service Battalion were disbanded in early 1918.  It appears that in late 1918 he was taken POW, and he died shortly before the Armistice was declared.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 30923
Date of Death: 26/10/1918
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XI. G. 8.
bradshaw

John Henry BURTON

There is very little known about John Henry Burton, the son of Mrs. Margaret Burton, of 46, Bull Lane, Bolton.  It appears he originally joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 16432.  He sailed to France with the 9th (Service) Battalion on 25th September 1915 as a Private, and at some point was transferred to the Liverpool Regiment with the number 108041.  He was later promoted to Corporal and returned to the Loyals with the number 43739.  John died in Germany in August 1920 whilst serving with the Army of Occupation.

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 43739
Date of Death: 09/08/1920
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: VI. E. 11.
burton

Clifford Noble CORLETT

Clifford Noble Corlett was born and enlisted in Leeds, Yorkshire.  His parents were Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Corlett, of 30 Airlie Avenue, Harehills, Leeds.  Before joining the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment Clifford had served with the Liverpool Regiment (number 86320) and the 62nd Divisional Cyclists Company (number 110).  Clifford died five days after the Armistice, presumably awaiting his release from captivity.

Rank: Private
Service No: 28342
Date of Death: 16/11/1918
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.
Grave Reference: VIII. E. 14.
corlett

James CROSS

James Cross was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Cross, of 11, Ebony Street, Blackburn. He was born and enlisted in Blackburn and was given the number 5657 which changed in 1917 to 202628. James entered France sometime in 1916 and died in captivity on 24th August 1917.

Rank: Private
Service No: 202628
Date of Death: 24/08/1917
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: VIII. G. 13.
cross

Lucien FARRAR

Lucien Farrar was the son of William and Ellinor Farrar, of Challan Hall Cottages, Silverdale, Carnforth. Lucien was born in Silverdale and enlisted in one of the Service Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 19005. Lucien sailed for France on 3rd June 1915 and was wounded and probably taken POW in late December 1917/early January 1918 whilst attached to the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion. It appears he died of these wounds.

Rank: Private
Service No: 19005
Date of Death: 13/01/1918
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XVI. A. 30.
farrar

Thomas FURNISS

Thomas Furniss was born in Leeds but enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston having previously served in the West Yorkshire Regiment (3016/Time expired). When he reenlisted as a Special Reservist in the 3rd Battalion LNL he was 41 years 7 months old and had been employed as a groom.

Thomas was mobilised and sailed to France on 29th November 1914 to join the 1st Battalion and was wounded in his left shoulder and elbow during the Battle of Givenchy on 22nd December 1914.  Wounded, he was taken POW and held at Aachen POW camp. He succumbed to his wounds on 2nd February 1915. Thomas left his wife Fanny (nee Taylor) and their ten month old child Edward Lawrence.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3199
Date of Death: 02/02/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Cemetery: COLOGNE SOUTHERN CEMETERY

furniss

William GREGSON

William Gregson was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Gregson, of 22, St. Andrew’s Road, Preston. William enlisted in the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire on 20th October 1914. He had no previous service but was embodied the same day. William sailed from Folkestone to France with the main body of the Battalion on 4th May 1915. One month later, on 15th June 1915 William sustained gunshot wounds to his left leg and leg arm and was taken Prisoner of War. His death in captivity on 25th July 1915 was attributed to Cardiac weakness.

An article published in the local newspaper is available – click here.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2955
Date of Death: 25/07/1915
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XVI. A. 2.
gregson

John HALL

John Hall was the son of James and Sarah Hall, of Whitestakes, Preston. John sailed to France to reinforce the 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion sometime in 1916 and died in captivity on boxing day 1917.  For information about Private Hall – click here.

Rank: Private
Service No: 20950
Date of Death: 26/12/1917
Age: 21
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. C. 1.
hall

Willaim HARTE

William Harte originally served with the East Lancashire Regiment (service number 40497) before transferring to a Service battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. William was born in Clonavoe, King’s County, the son of Mrs Mary Harte. William enlisted at Fleetwood and sailed to France sometime after January 1916. William was transferred to the 2/4th (Territorial) Battalion, probably after his Service Battalion had disbanded in early 1918 and died in captivity on 8th October 1918.

Rank: Private
Service No: 31040
Date of Death: 08/10/1918
Age: 37
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. E. 5.
hart

Wilfred Howard HENSHAW

Wilfred Howard Henshaw was the husband of Nancy Alice Henshaw, of Waterhouse Green, Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancs. Wilfred sailed to France on 22nd September 1914 with the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. During the first three months of the War he was promoted to Lance Corporal, probably due to his experience as a pre-war regualr soldier. At the battle of Givenchy 22-23rd December 1914 Wilfred was wounded in action and taken POW. He had succumbed to his wounds in captivity by the end of the month.

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 2645
Date of Death: 30/12/1914
Age: 33
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. A. 12.
henshaw

William HETHERINGTON

William Hetherington was the son of the late William and Eliza Hetherington, of 12, Clay Street, Eagley, Bolton. He enlisted into town’s 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 28th December 1914. William was embodied and sailed from Folkestone to France on 15th July 1916, that September he was transferred to the 8th Battalion. On 10th October 1916 he was wounded in action but soon rejoined his Battalion. He was wounded again in September 1917.  On 30th November 1917 he was reported to be missing in action, it later transpired he had been taken Prisoner of War. He died in captivity a week before the Armistice was signed.

Rank: Private
Service No: 241449
Date of Death: 04/11/1918
Age: 28
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn.
Grave Reference: V. D. 8.
hetherington

Robert ISHERWOOD

There is a full write-up and photo of Robert Isherwood at the following link – click here.

Rank: Private
Service No: 201686
Date of Death: 30/04/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.
Grave Reference: XI. E. 13.
isherwood

John Henry ORGILL

John Henry Orgill was the son of James and Clara Orgill of Markfield, Leicester; and was the husband of Mrs Eliza Alice Orgill of Market Overton, Rutland and they had three children. Pre-war John was the innkeeper of the Three Horseshoes public house in Market Overton, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 11th December 1915. After spending some time in the 76th Training Reserve Battalion, in January 1917 he was transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire and sailed to France to join the 1st Battalion. On 18th April 1918 John was reported to be missing in action. He died in captivity of pneumonia/influenza at Aix la Chapelle (Aachen) on 29th October 1918.

Rank: Private
Service No: 36050
Date of Death: 29/10/1918
Age: 38
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. G. 19.
orgill

J POLE

Private Pole was the son of James Walker Pole and Hannah McFarlane Pole, of 53, Seedhill Road, Paisley. He died, aged 22, on 6th June 1921 whilst probably serving with the Army of Occupation.  There are no further details known.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3847796
Date of Death: 06/06/1921
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: VII. B. 6.

pole

Joseph RHODES

Joseph Rhodes was the son of William and Hannah Rhodes of 34, Patent Street, Manningham, Bradford, Yorkshire. Joseph was born in Bingley and originally enlisted in the West Riding Regiment (number 19715) at Bradford. He was later transferred and sailed to France to join the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment sometime after January 1916. Joseph was wounded in action and taken POW, he died of these wounds in captivity on 24th August 1918. He was 34 years old.

Rank: Private
Service No: 26342
Date of Death: 24/08/1918
Age: 34
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Bn.
Grave Reference: XIV. E. 1.

rhodes
rows

Francis Joseph YATES

Preston born Francis Joseph Yates had previously served in the South Lancashire Regiment (number 3258) but had become time expired. When War broke out he was 42 years 5 months old and joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a Special Reserve on 16th September 1914. At the time of his enlistment he was living with his wife Eleanor (nee Battersby) at 4 Fleetwood Street, Preston – she was heavily pregnant with their ninth child. Francis sailed to France to reinforce the 1st Battalion on 29th November 1914. On 22nd December 1914 Francis was shot in the right of the pelvis at Givenchy and taken Prisoner of War. He died from his wound six days later at Aix la Chapelle (Aachen) and was ‘buried by Germans’.

An article was published in a local newspaper shortly after his death – click here.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3941
Date of Death: 28/12/1914
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Grave Reference: XIII. C. 24.

yates
end

We are especially grateful to Phil Child for going to the trouble of photographing these CWGC headstones at Cologne, Thank you.

Contact me

Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to COLOGNE SOUTHERN CEMETERY

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is excellent work, and it’s great that you are commemorating these men.

  2. CHRISTINE says:

    My Aunt who is 100 years old on February 27th. Private Gilbert Charles Taylor was her cousin when he was home on leave used to stay at her house she was very close to him and she never knew how he died of where he was until I researched for her ABOUT 3 YEARS AGO .WE STILL DO NOT KNOW IF HE WAS INJURED AS HIS DATE OF DEATH IS 22ND OF FEB 1919 WE THINK IT WAS IN THE BATTLE OF THE SOM I WOULD LIKE TO GET HER AS MUCH INFORMATION AS I CAN WITH A PHOTO OF THE GRAVE 24 ROW E I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRICIATE IT THANKS

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