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Sgt 3324 / 241305 Stanley Royse MM.
1/5th bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Stanley Royse was born in Bolton on 30th September1892 and baptised at St Mark’s Church Fletcher Street on 19th October 1892, he was born and lived at 11 Grecian Street, Great Lever most of his life. His parents were Joseph and Ann Royse (nee Rogerson) his father worked in the local tannery as a lime pit labourer and died aged 55 years just before Stanley’s 18th birthday. There were seven children in the family: Clara, Thomas William, Walter, Frederick, Stanley, Joseph and Annie. The small brick terraced house had four rooms, 2 up and 2 down for the 6 males and 3 females not an unusual set of circumstances for families of the time.

When he reached working age Stanley worked as a piecer in the local cotton mill, a piecer joined up the broken threads on the spinning machines, he was also a member of the St Mark’s Church football club.

He enlisted at the beginning of hostilities on 7th November 1914 into the 5th (Home Service) Bn of the L.N.L. for 4 years’ service when he was 22 years and 2 months old and 5’6” in height. After initial training he left England from Southampton arriving in France 27th June 1915, whereupon he was attached to an entrenching battalion, after six months he re-joined his regiment on 22nd January 1916.

Three of his brothers had also joined up: Thomas William enlisted into the RAMC and both Frederick and Joseph joined different battalions of the L.N.L. the latter two being killed in action within 6 weeks of each other during 1916.

Stanley found himself at the Field Ambulance on 31st March and admitted 1st April with a septic foot, after admission and a fortnights’ treatment for cellulitis he was returned to duty.

The battalion was engaged in the action of Guillemont during 8th – 9th August 1916 and afterwards utilised for salvage work and burial detail the following month on the land where the Battle of Delville Wood had taken place. His younger brother Joseph, also in the battalion was killed here during this time.

He was promoted to Lance Cpl on 1st November 1916.

He had another period of hospitalisation on 16th February 1917 for a month for the treatment of scabies a condition caused by a tiny mite that burrows under the skin usually caught by living in close contact with others he re-joined his unit on the 15th March.

Royse was to go on to win the Military Medal for his actions on 31st July 1917 during the 3rd battle of Ypres. The 1/5th attack went in on the enemy lines at Wieltje north east of Ypres this day on a front of 350 yards and penetrated for 300 yards ‘A’ & ‘B’ coys took the first objective, then ‘C’ & ‘D’ coys leapfrogged and took the second objective. One can only imagine his thoughts when he went into action on this occasion doing exactly what he did and whether he had any thoughts of his two brothers that had been killed within the last year and if this had any bearing on his action.

He was made substantive Cpl on 8th August 1917 and had some much deserved leave between 12th – 23rd October 1917, during which he returned home to his family. The story below outlines the brief circumstances of his award.

He was presented with the Military Medal at a ceremony in Bolton by the Mayor, the Bolton Journal & Guardian of Friday 26th October 1917 reporting on the week provided the following information:

Four Gallant Bolton Soldiers 

Bolton men continue to gain awards by their gallantry on the field of battle. This morning the Mayor (Ald. Knowles Edge JP) had the pleasure of presenting medals to four local soldiers who had distinguished themselves in various parts of the Flanders front. L/Cpl Stanley Royse was a piecer at the Great Lever Spinning Companies Mill, and lived at Grecian Street with his sister and mother. He was connected with St. Mark’s church. On July 31st this year his company, when charging, were held up by an enemy machine gun situated in a ‘pill box’ and the ranks were thinning perceptibly. He rushed forward, bombed the concrete dug-out, and silenced the gun by killing those in charge of it.

A month after his return to the battalion on 30th November 1917 he was promoted Sgt (vice Sgt F Norburn.) Sgt Frederick Norburn MM had in fact been wounded and taken prisoner at the action of Cambrai on 30th November.

At the battle of Cambrai this day the battalion in trenches, having been overwhelmed and nearly surrounded by the enemy attack suffered the following losses. 3 Officers were killed and 2 wounded and were missing and 16 missing, the other ranks had 2 killed with 27 wounded and 384 missing, the Germans took a great deal of prisoners in this action from the battalion.

In the last year of the war, Royse was transferred to the 4/5th battalion LNL on 31st January 1918 and then later attached to the 502nd Field Company of the Royal Engineers for a three month period from 31st March until 16th June when he re-joined his regiment.

Prees Heath camp in Shropshire was a purpose built army camp opened in 1915 to assist with the training of new army units. It was from here that Stanley Royse was posted prior to his dispersal and demobilisation from the army on 5th February 1919 when his service concluded, he signed the receipt for the 1914-15 Star awarded to him on 5th February 1920.

On 27th August 1921 he married Miss Nellie Wilson (b.13.2.1900) a warehouse girl at Holy Trinity Church in Bolton, at this time Stanley was living at 75 Manchester Road, Bolton. To complete his medal entitlement he signed a receipt for the British War Medal and Victory Medal on the 26th January 1922 for which he had taken delivery.

He appears in the (WWII) 1939 register residing again at his childhood home of 11 Grecian Street Bolton, having resumed his previous occupation in the cotton mills being employed as a cotton spinner. He with Nellie on unpaid domestic duties are shown alone at the home, she passed away in 1959 and he died two years later aged 69yrs in 1961.

Pte 2921 Joseph Royse: 1/5th Bn.
Born in 1896, after leaving school he too was employed as a little piecer in the cotton mill together with his brother Stanley, prior to attesting for the 1/5th LNL on 19th October 1914 aged 18yrs and 10 months. He was 5’5” in height and his service file shows his next of kin as his older brother Thomas William and also records his other siblings, their mother had died in early 1914 aged 59. He was on home service after his attestation until 26th June 1915 when he sailed for France landing the next day.

He joined ‘A’ company on 13th November 1915 and within 6 months was with the Field Ambulance at Havre on 2nd May 1916 with boils to the leg. A month later he joined the 55th Divisional Depot at Rouen until re- joining the battalion on 23rd June.

At the opening of the battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916 the battalion had not been engaged, they were in the trenches at Bellacourt and had mainly been employed on working parties. They were however to take part in the action at Guillemont 8th – 9th August 1916 where they had 131 killed, wounded and missing.

Joseph was killed in action on 6th September 1916 aged 20, the battalion suffered many casualties throughout September from enemy fire whilst being used for salvage work and as burial parties on the edges of Delville Wood after the major battle at that place. On this day the battalion had 4 soldiers killed and 38 wounded during this work.

He is buried in grave XI F 5 of Delville Wood Military Cemetery Longueval. The epitaph on his headstone was provided by his brother Stanley, of 11 Grecian St:

‘Those miss you most who loved you best’

Brother Thomas Wm signed for Joseph’s trio of war medals after the war.

His name, with others is embossed in bronze on the 5th battalion memorial situated at the entrance to Queens Park in Bolton.

Pte 14605 Frederick Royse: [MIC as Fred Royce] 9th Bn.
Born in 1886 he was a Tram Car cleaner for the Bolton Corporation prior joining the 9th LNL. He went to France on 25th September 1915. A year on having moved from Aveluy Wood on 7th September1916 into trenches for the next two weeks, they prepared to attack the enemy positions at Stuff Redoubt.

The battalion went over the top of Hessian Trench on 21st October 1916 to attack Stuff Redoubt and Stuff Trench, they advanced on the enemy positions with few casualties until they reached the enemy barbed wire when machine gun and sniper fire tore into them this resulted in 2 officers killed and 3 wounded and 20 other ranks killed with 57 wounded. Frederick was one of those killed in this action aged 30 and is buried in grave II A 35 of Regina Trench Cemetery at Grandcourt ,North East of Thiepval.

His brother Thomas William Royse of 16 Bull Lane, provided the epitaph for the headstone as: ‘His death has left a loneliness this world can never fill’

Frederick qualified for the 1914-15 Star trio of medals for his service.

The Bolton Journal & Guardian printed the following story on 1st June 1917:

Pte Frederick Royse L.N.L. Regiment, missing since October 21st and now presumed to have died is the second of four soldier brothers reported killed Pte Joseph Royse having met his death on September 6th. Fred who had served since the month after the war was declared, was aged 30, and lived with a brother and sister at 11 Grecian St, Bolton. He was formerly a cleaner at the Corporation car shed, Bridgeman St and is on the Roll of Honour at St Mark’s Church. His brother Stanley holds the rank of L/Cpl with the LNL in France and the fourth Staff Sgt T. Royse RAMC, now at Boulogne.

Staff Sgt 25272 Thomas William Royse. Born in 1881 he too was a piecer in the local cotton mills and served in France from 21st August 1915 with the Royal Army Medical Corps until 25th May 1919.

Thomas qualified for the 1914-15 Star trio of medals for his service.

Garry Farmer
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