‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

Owen Regan was born in Shaw in 1893. His parents were Dominic, a labourer originally from Ireland, and his wife Bridget,of Irish ancestry, from Wolverhampton. Dominic& Bridget had married and originally lived together in Stockport before moving first to Manchester and then back to Bridget's native Wolverhampton. At some point between the 1891 census and Owen's birth the Regans moved to Royton's neighbour, Shaw. He was the sixth of Dominic and Bridget's eight children who survived early infancy. Six of these seven siblings were Jane, Edward, Dominic, Catherine, Martin and Nellie.
Somewhere between about 1895 and 1901 the family moved over the border into Royton, 9 Dale Street in Heyside. Owen's father, Dominic, died in 1904 aged 52. In 1911 Owen,by now 18, lived at 11 Blackshaw Lane with his mother, brother Dominic, sister Nellie and a nephew,Edward.
At the time Owen enlisted, in August 1914, he was working as a piecer at the King Mill. It seems likely he joined on August 29th or 30th in Oldham and became a member of the 9th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers which formed in Bury on the 31st. Another Royton man, William Lupton, with a slightly lower service number and the same age as Owen was also sent to the 9th Battalion, perhaps they were already friends or acquaintances. When he enlisted Owen either fancied giving his surname an alternative spelling or a mistake was made as all the military records for him, including the name engraved on the Thiepval Memorial, are for Owen Ragan.
The 9th Lancashire Fusiliers were stationed at Belton Park near Grantham and after that were at Witley Camp near Godalming. They were then allocated to join the force fighting at Gallipoli, sailing from Liverpool on July 5th. They first landed at Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, only 30 or so miles from Gallipoli, where a large force was gathering. The British were going to land at Suvla Bay on the night of August 6th in what was to eventually prove to be a fruitless endeavour.
The convoy waited for dark to fall at about 19:30 before heading off from Imbros.The date had been specially chosen as the moon was not due to rise till after the troops were intended to be ashore.This night though was particularly dark.
The plan for Owen Regan's battalion was to seize Hill 10 which was a half mile east of 'A' Beach on which they were to land in Suvla Bay. The 8th Northumberland Fusiliers and 5th Dorsetshire Regiment were to join them on Hill 10 and then were together to attack Chocolate Hill from the north, advancing not later than 01:30 on August 7th.There was inadequate reconnaissance & maps were both late in arriving and inaccurate. Z Company was to land first and clear Hill 10 with a couple of platoons, the rest of the battalion was to form up on A Beach.
At 22:30 the destroyers anchored a mile from shore and cast off the lighters.The noise from these small vessels attracted some fire from the Turks ashore. The naval craft had been carried away from their proper course so rather than landing at A Beach they were a thousand yards south of it and in an area where the Royal Navy suspected there were shoals. Their suspicions were correct and the Lancastrians ran aground some fifty yards or so from the shore. The Turks at once opened fire on these tempting targets. The shortest officer available, Lieutenant E.H Davies was lowered over the side of one of the lighters and determined that the depth was only about 4 foot 6 inches. The men duly splashed ashore and patrols were sent out to try and determine their position.
Just after 03:00 on the morning of the 7th, an already wounded Colonel Welstead& Major Ibbetson were briefed by Major Ashburner from the 34th Brigade (the 9th LF being one of the four battalions in this brigade). Major Cyril Ibbetson later recalled this & what happened next:

" 'Look, do you see that hill, over there on the left?That is the hill we want - Hill 10.If you can take all the men you have got, and carry that hill between those two trees on the horizon we shall be all right, otherwise we shall probably be driven into the sea!' We started in three lines in extended order, the men going forward splendidly,led by their Platoon Commanders, in the most superb manner imaginable, with shells and bullets coming thicker and thicker, every man being eager to get to the objective. There was a check just before we got to the foot of the hill. Then in one mad rush we carried the hill at the point of the bayonet. A terrific fire was opened on us from a fieldwork facing us, from some trenches on our right which enfiladed our position and from some guns high up in a valley above us. Realising that we could not hold this position, unless the trenches were cleared of the enemy, I ordered an attack on those trenches. There was much confusion, so I was unable to get orders to the whole of my command, but I got a good lot together and soon we took those trenches, but the casualties were very heavy and I was wounded too. I sound found that the fieldwork, which I had ignored, enfiladed to a nicety these trenches and if anybody moved he was immediately hit. I ordered everybody to make cover for themselves and attend to the wounded. Nobody was allowed to show himself. Suddenly, to our horror, we saw Hill 10 evacuated by the troops which had come up to reinforce us and we watched them retire right back in the direction from whence we had come. We were now isolated. Our casualties increased and we made a desperate fight of it for hours until the West Yorks appeared on Hill 10 again. I shall not forget that trench."

Once the West Yorkshires arrived they attacked the fieldwork. The Fusiliers joined in and a lot of Turks were killed as they attempted to retreat. The men then met another party of Turks who were about to launch a counter attack and scattered them.
Unfortunately it wasn't even Hill 10. The hill the Fusiliers had attacked was a large sand dune about 400 yards south of the real Hill 10 and defended by only a small Turkish force. The real Hill 10 was captured later that morning by men of the Northumberland Fusiliers & Dorsetshire Regiment.Over the next two days the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers found themselves both in reserve for and fighting alongside the 5th Dorsetshires before being relieved on August 12th.From the landing up until that point they had lost 76 men killed and many more wounded. Three days later on August 15th, while out of the front line, two other men whose names can be found on Royton's War Memorial were killed - presumably by a shell - Charles Howard and William Moores.
Three days after the deaths of Howard and Moores the battalion was to see action again. The British objective on August 21st was to capture W Hill& Scimitar Hill. The 9th Battalion were part of the force tasked with taking the former. Their objective was to take, along with the 5th Dorsets, some Turkish trenches about 450 yards ahead of their positions. As soon as the battalion advanced, at 15:00, they came under heavy rifle and shrapnel fire. Nevertheless by 15:10 the battalion had taken the trenches with all the Turkish defenders either killed or wounded. They then began to consolidate their position but despite repeated appeals for help they received none. The men of the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers clung doggedly to their new positions but after 19 hours were forced to withdraw back to their starting point. They had less than 100 men left and no officers. A casualty list that appeared in the Manchester Evening News on September 28th 1915 has Owen's name on it, the sheer weight of others from the 9th Battalion on the list would indicate that these were all men injured in the fighting of August 21st. It would seem that Owen was not gravely injured at that point as he appears on yet another casualty list, this time as a member of the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, on October 15th. It would seem that after a spell out of the front line he was reassigned to the 1st Battalion and then very shortly after injured again.
This second injury saw him return to England where, the Oldham Chronicle reported, it was ascertained that his wound was of a very serious nature. After an unknown period of time he returned to the Lancashire Fusiliers depot in Bury only to be deemed fit for active service once again. Owen spent some time with the 3rd Battalion which was a reserve formation based in the Hull area as part of the Humber Garrison. The summer of 1916 saw Owen Regan sent back into the fray, this time with the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers. This unit had been on the Western Front since the first month of the war and had suffered the predictable heavy casualties. Royton men Harry Turner, Thomas Noone and John Rees Butterworth had all already been killed serving with the 2nd Battalion.
The battalion's travails, the last before Owen joined being the disastrous first day of the Battle of the Somme - July 1st 1916, saw it losing a little of it's Lancastrian flavour. Amongst those that joined the battalion with Owen in August 1916 were many men from the north Midlands - as can be seen from the amount of men from Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire who were to be killed alongside him.From August 4th to September 17th it carried out routine tours of duty in the line near Ypres, it had been sent to regroup in that area after July 1st, before heading by train back to the Somme area.
At a point in the British line between Lesbouefs and Le Transloy there was a 'dent' of German held ground.Before winter set in it was decided to straighten out the line and to gain possession of the ridges near Le Transloy. The 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers were to be one of the units involved in this battle. The fighting had begun on October 1st but it wasn't until October 9th that the men of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers reached the front line, relieving men of the Queen's Westminster Rifles. They came under heavy shellfire on both October 10th and 11th. On the 11th orders were received for an attack the following day. The battalion, along with other British and French troops, were to attack a ridge which lay about 1500 yards ahead of the existing line. The attack was to be in eight waves, the first four to take the objective,push patrols forward and dig in.The second four waves were to follow up and dig a support trench to the rear of the objective. The men were ready at their assembly positions at 05:15 on October 12th and the artillery bombardment began at 06:00. Zero hour wasnt until 14:25 and the bombardment continued up until that point. A few small parties of Germans tried to come across and surrender, 22 succeeding in their aim with others being killed or retreating back to their trench. From these incidents there came the strong impression that the enemy's morale must be very low.
However it was also clear that the Germans must know full well an attack was about to come, something confirmed when two German airplanes flew over the assembly trenches and would have seen that they were packed with troops.
Shortly before zero hour the two companies on the right, A & B,left their trenches and lay in shell holes and escaped any wholesale immediate casualties. C & D didn't leave their trenches until 14:25 and immediately came under enemy machine gun fire. It was noticed that there was a small trench between the lines manned by about 20 Germans with two machine guns. This group inflicted very heavy casualties and held up the advance as they poured enfilade fire through A & B Companies. In the centre of the battalion's attempted advance, small groups from B & C Companies managed to get past this trench and pushed about 200 yards further on before digging in. These men were later cut off and were all either killed or captured. The situation by this point was critical, Second Lieutenant Hawkins from C Company later wrote:

"2.50pm.Fifty per cent of company already down.Whole Brigade appears to be held up.L/Cpl.Fenton, one of my Lewis gunners,has got his gun going in a shell hole on my left. Awful din, can heardly hear it. Yelled at Sjt.Marrin to take the first wave on. He's lying just behind me. Hodgkinson says he's dead. Sjt.Mann on my right, of 7 Platoon,also dead.Most of the men appear to be dead. Shout at the rest and get up to take them on. Find myself sitting on the ground facing our own line with a great hole in my thigh.....Hodgkinson also hit in the wrist.Awful din still. Most of the Company now out....I put my tie round my leg as a tourniquet. Fortescue about five yards on my right still alive....Yell at him to come over to me. Show him my leg and tell him to carry on. He gets into a shell hole to listen while I tell him what to do. Shot through the heart while I'm talking to him.Addison also wounded and crawling back to our lines. That's all the officers and most of the NCO's.Can't see anything of Sergeant Bolton and 8 Platoon..."

Elsewhere small groups of Lancashire Fusiliers were in scattered positions holding on to what they had as best as they could. At 19:30 orders came from the Brigade for a combined raid to be made that night to expel the party of Germans in the small trench.Word got back to Brigade HQ from Major Willis at 20:50 that he now had only two officers and eighty men left so the plan was abandoned. The course of action after that was to collect any survivors and to consolidate any progress made. Eventually about 130 men were brought together and the battalion's surviving officers could tally up the day's losses. 4 officers and 62 other ranks killed, 6 officers and 162 other ranks wounded, and 1 officer and 100 other ranks missing. Many of those missing were in fact dead, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 144 men from the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers as having been killed that day. One of the dead men was Owen Regan.
The Oldham Chronicle of November 11th 1916 reported that Owen's mother had received official notification that he was missing. It noted that Owen was well known in the Heyside and Luzley Brook districts and that two of his brothers were serving - Dominic with the Royal Field Artillery and Martin with the Manchester Regiment.
The other men of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers killed during the failed attack were:

ALLEN ROBERT 21 Private  2920 from Manchester
ANCLIFF FRANK Private 24076 from Nottinghamshire
ATKINSON CHARLES Private 18302 from Bolton
BARLOW ERNEST Private 9242 born Accrington,enlisted Burnley
BARNETT RALPH 22 2nd Lt.from Southport
BENTLEY  ALFRED Serjeant 2733 from Oldham
BREWSTER SAMUEL Private 2734 from Manchester
BROWN ALFRED 30 Private 37024 from Gloucester
BROWN HENRY Private 37046 from Lincolnshire
BROWN JOHN Serjeant 4405 from Stockport
BROWN PERCY 27 Private 37040 from Wirksworth,Derbyshire
BURGESS  WILLIAM  CQSM 6590 born Aberdeen,lived Droitwich
BURKE FRANK Private 37039 from Newcastle-under-Lyme
BURLEY GEORGE Lance Serjeant 21418 from Blackburn
BURTON ARTHUR 28 Serjeant 317 from Nottingham
CAMPBELL JOHN 30 Corporal 4760 from Bolton
CARLILE ALEXANDER Serjeant 24095 from Chesterfield
CHADWICK ALBERT 19 Lance Corporal 29419 from Rochdale
CONNOLLY MICHAEL Corporal 17188 born Widnes,enlisted St.Helens
CORCORAN JAMES  Private  1963 from Manchester
CRANE WILLIAM Private 4886 from Salford
CROWDER GEORGE 34 Private 37059    from Newark
DALEY JOHN Private 23757 from Liverpool
DALY MICHAEL Corporal 19162 from Manchester
DAVENPORT ALFRED 35 Private 37072 from Stoke-on-Trent
DAVENPORT JOHN 29 Private 420 from Bolton
DAVIES GEORGE Private 37064 from Shropshire
DAVIES HARRY 21 Private  37071 from Sutton-in-Ashfield
DAVIES JOHN  29  Lance Corporal 465 from Wigan
DEARDEN  JAMES Serjeant 6472 from Bury
DERRY THOMAS 32 Private  37067 from Nottingham
DUNN CLEMENT Private 37065 from Staffordshire
EDMONDSON JAMES  21 Private 28049 from Tyldesley
ELKIN PATRICK Private 37076 from Staffordshire
ELLIS JOSEPH 24  Private 24200 from Wirksworth,Derbyshire
FIELDING WILLIAM 19 Private 31826 from Newhey
FINN JAMES Private 18086 from Burnley
FORTESCUE WILLIAM Lieutenant from London
FREER JAMES Private 3411 from Manchester
FURMIDGE FREDERICK 33 Private 37079 born Nottinghamshire,enlisted Derby
GIDDINS  ALBERT  Corporal 8435 from Wolverhampton
GILBERT RICHARD Private  37082 from Staffordshire
GLOVER ARTHUR Private 37085 from Staffordshire
GOLDSACK GEORGE Private 9762 from Earlestown
GRIME ARTHUR 30 Private  13314 from Little Lever
HALL WILLIAM Private 3992 born Clayton-le-Moors,enlisted Blackburn
HALLAM ARTHUR Private 37088 from Nottingham
HAMMOND ALLEN 29 Private 23797 from Liverpool
HANSON PERCY Private 27117 born Padiham,enlisted Burnley
HARRISON GEORGE Private 37094 born Leicester,enlisted Derby
HATTON EDWARD Private 12653    
HEALEY  THOMAS  CSM 5873 from Bolton
HEYWOOD  JOHN 20  Private  2959 from Colne
HICKSON  JONATHAN 21 Lance Corporal 23302 from Burnley
HILL ALFRED CSM 7453 from Manchester
HORNBY WILLIAM Lance Corporal 2942 from Rochdale
HORROCKS HENRY Private  14453 from Bolton
HOWARD BENJAMIN  Private  19075 born Swinton,enlisted South Wales
HOWARTH  GEORGE 32 Private 6480 from Bury
HOWELL AARON 36  Private  37095 from Tunstall,Stoke-on-Trent
JACQUES BEN 23 Private  28163 from Middleton
JOHNSON JOHN 18 Private 37103 from Scunthorpe
JOHNSON  MATTHEW  21 Private 3194  from Manchester
KAY JOSEPH Private 9174 from Pendleton
KEENE ARTHUR Private 37105 from Staffordshire
KELLY FRED Private 32287 from Rochdale
KENNEDY  ALFRED Private 3431 from Bolton
KEY WILLIAM 25 Private 37104 from Mansfield
LATHAM WILLIAM Private 29195 born Uttoxeter,enlisted Leigh
LAYCOCK  JOHN Private 37106 born Cheshire,enlisted New Mills Derbyshire
LEACH FRANK 25 Private 32292 from Rochdale
LIVESEY FRED Lance Corporal 29426 from Summerseat
LOMAS HERBERT Private 37107 from Stockport
LORD ABEL 25 Private 32290 from Rochdale
MANN ISAAC Serjeant 7804 from Bolton
MANSEL WILLIAM Captain        
MARRIN JAMES Serjeant 271 born Bolton,enlisted Barnsley
MARRISON WILLIAM 22 Private 37122 from Castleton,Derbyshire
MARSH WILLIAM Private 37131 from Staffordshire
MATTHEWS WILLIAM 24 Private 37125 from Stoke-on-Trent
MAUDE FRED Private 6337 from Oldham
MILLER ERNEST Corporal 3892 from London
MILLS WILLIAM Private 3494 born Salford,enlisted Manchester
MOGG LEONARD Private 23019 from London
MURRAY MICHAEL Private 14918 from Staffordshire
McGRATH  RICHARD Private 5381 born Warrington,enlisted Bury
NEWNS CHARLES 40 Private 37135 from Derbyshire
NIGHTINGALE CHRISTOPHER 22 Private 24237 from Scarborough
NOON JOHN Private 19178 from Failsworth
NORRIS WILLIE Private 9895 from Pembroke
OGDEN FRED Private 28691 born Chesterfield,enslited Radcliffe
OLDBURY GEORGE Private 37138 from Shropshire
PACEY ROBERT Private 37148 from Lincolnshire
PEARCE THOMAS Private 37143 from Chesterfield
PEARSON FREDERICK Private 8698 from Manchester
PERKINS  JOSEPH Lance Corporal 15410 from West Bromwich
PERRY WILLIAM 21 Private 2764 from Salford
PHILLIPS GEORGE 38 Private 37149 from Staffordshire
PHILLIPS WILLIAM Private 3631 from Stacksteads,Lancs
PRICE PATRICK Private 3222 from Swinford,Co.Mayo
PRINCE THOMAS 25 Private 37146    from Staffordshire
RANDLES  GEORGE 25 Private 37158  from Newcastle-under-Lyme
RILEY ARCHIE Private 27118 from Padiham
ROBERTS ALFRED  Private  37153 from Stoke-on-Trent
ROBINSON ALBERT Lance Corporal 25187 from Heywood
RODGERS GEORGE 35 Private 37159    from Derbyshire
ROKER FRED 27 Private 25191 from Littleborough
ROTHWELL SAMUEL Private  4357 from Bolton
RUSH GEORGE 22  Private 37150 from Chesterfield
SABINE FREDERICK Private 37173 from Derbyshire
SARGEANT HARRY Private 37181 from Chadderton
SCHOLES  GEORGE Private  6779 from Heywood
SELLARS JOHN 20 Private  37163 from Derbyshire
SHARP JAMES 22 2nd Lt.from Bury
SHUTTLEWORTH ALBERT 33 Private 4748 born Stockport,enlisted Manchester
SIMPSON HENRY Private 6456 from Blackburn
SLACK GEORGE 22 Private 37176 from Derby
SMITH GEORGE 34 Private 4917 from Farnworth
SMITH JAMES Private 4289 born Dublin,enlisted Liverpool
SPOWAGE GEORGE Private  37168 from Nottingham
STARBUCK FRANK 24 Private 37175 from Nottinghamshire
STOPPARD HENRY  Private 37166 from Alfreton
STOTT DAVID 23 Private 29445 from Rochdale
STOTT WILFRED Corporal 9452 from Rochdale
SUTCLIFFE JOHN Private 27060 enlisted Manchester
THOMSON  RONALD 18 Private 24250 from Nottingham
TURNER JOHN 20 Lance Corporal 37186 from Nottingham
VANDERSTEEN JOSEPH Private 1565 from London
WALLACE JOSEPH  21 Private 37195 from Stoke-on-Trent
WATKINS  CHARLES Lance Corporal 5352 from Bury
WATSON ROBERT Private 568 from Nelson
WELLS JOSEPH Private 9380 from Manchester
WELSH EDWARD 39  Private  18101 from Wigan
WHITEHURST HAROLD 19 Private 37032 from Stoke-on-Trent
WIDDOWSON THOMAS 26 Lance Corporal 24261 from Nottingham
WING ERNEST Private 37212 from Nottingham
WOOD ALFRED Private 37209 from Nottingham
WOOD JAMES Private 18215 from Manchester
WRAGG HUBERT  26 Private 37203 from Long Easton,Derbyshire
WRIGHT JOHN 26 Private  37211 from Stoke-on-Trent
WRIGLEY    LAURENCE 44 Private 9125 from Great Harwood
WROE WILLIAM 28  Private  3200 from Manchester
WYLD JACK Private 37204  from Derbyshire

Date of Death:12/10/1916
Service No:3909
Regiment:Lancashire Fusiliers
Unit:2nd Bn.
Thiepval Memorial
Panel Ref:Pier&Face 3C&3D