WILLIAM HENRY BAGULEY
Date of Death:21/08/1915
Cemetery:Green Hill Cemetery
Grave Ref:I. B. 16
Copyright of the War Graves Photographic Project
William's exact age is hard to place.The army had him as being 36, he was reported as being 38 in the Oldham Chronicle and the only William Baguley to be found in the records being born in the area would have been at least 42. His family life is likewise difficult to decipher from the distance of a century. He had 6 children, the youngest four of whom at least were born to Margaret Studholme who was not his wife. His wife seems to have left him at some point and she died before William,probably in 1914. William & Margaret Studholme's family was hit by tragedy in 1912 when their daughter Sarah died at the age of 4. They lived at 22 Union Street (where Harry Lomas had previously lived) and William was a carter by trade.
At the time of the outbreak of the First World War, William was an army veteran who had served as a Corporal with the 6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers during the Boer War. He rejoined his old regiment and found himself fighting in Gallipoli with the 1st Battalion.
He reached Gallipoli and his new unit the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers on June 2nd 1915 along with 17 officers and 506 other ranks from the new army, also joining that day was another Royton man Edwin Hyde. The 1st LF had suffered gravely during their landing at Gallipoli and had already lost over 650 men killed, missing and wounded. They had famously won 6 Victoria Crosses before breakfast on April 25th when, whilst landing at W Beach, during the British amphibious landings at Cape Helles so many of them had been killed.
Just two days after William's arrival he was to go over the top in what became known as the Third Battle of Krithia, along with the hundreds of newly arrived fresh green troops and what little remained of the old regular battalion. Once again the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers were to suffer massive casualties.
That morning saw a massive naval bombardment of the Turkish positions in front of William and the rest of the 1st LF.At 11:20 the shelling stopped and the British, en-masse, poked their bayonets above the parapets as if they were about to launch their assault. This was a ruse to get the Turks out of their deep dugouts and back into their open trenches and ten minutes later the naval bombardment began again. 30 further minutes of the Turkish lines being pounded and then it really was time for Edwin and his comrades to go over the top. They had already suffered under a Turkish counter bombardment. They charged the Turkish lines with bayonets fixed straight into a hail of fire from only a hundred yards or so. Many men died the moment they climbed over the parapet with many more mown down in front of the Turkish wire. The attack was a complete failure and by nightfall the survivors were back in their original trenches under heavy fire. William had survived but the lengthy casualty list contained the deaths of Edwin Hyde and 7 others from the Oldham area.
William died at the Battle of Scimitar Hill in the battalion's next major action in August 1915.This was the last offensive launched by the British at Suvla.The purpose of the attack was to clear the Turks from Suvla and also link up with the Anzac units further south. It was a costly failure, in one day of fighting the British suffered 5300 casualties out of the 14300 soldiers who participated.
The 1st Battalion were to support the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers on an attack on a well entrenched Turkish position called Hill 112. The wide stretch of No Man's Land was rough, stony and studded with patches of shrub. The vegetation caught fire in many places during the attack which added to the general confusion and mixing of units. The Munsters were held up by heavy fire and the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers advancing at 15:30 were met by heavy machine gun and rifle fire. Their attack and that of a neighbouring battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers also failed. By 19:30 scattered positions held by men of the Lancashire & Dublin Fusiliers were ordered to withdraw. The attack had been a complete failure.
The unit war diary says:
"Move to Brigade Reserve at 10.30 am and made necessary arrangements for attack on Hill 112 at 3.30pm. Bombardment commenced at 2.30pm. Battalion advanced by companies beginning with A Coy. at 3.30pm as reinforcements to the Munsters – B. C. D. at intervals of 40 minutes. Fire broke out on the ground over which we had to advance and rather disorganised things.
Casualties were NCO's Men 222 – Killed 17. Wounded 50. Missing 155.
Officers 12 - wounded"
Perhaps the bulk of the missing 155 were eventually located alive as the CWGC has 34 others dying alongside William Baguley that day. They were:
Private Edward Ainsworth,1546,27 years old,from Manchester
Private Thomas Beesley,2486,24 years old,from Preston
Private James Birtwell,5088,17 years old,from Blackburn
Private George Bradley,4730,35 years old,from Chorlton-cum-Hardy
Corporal Richard Browitt,4738,from Bolton
Private Richard Brown,4737,20 years old,from Warrington
Private William Burgess,17191,21 years old,from Dalbeattie
Private William Connor,18244,from Salford
Private Joseph Hagan,4233,33 years old,from Chorley
Private John Heywood,4999,18 years old,from Ardwick
Private Stephen Johnson,5496,from Yorkshire
Private John Keegan,9936,from Dublin
Corporal Thomas Kelly,3694,19 years old,from Bolton
Private John Lewis,5234,from Wigan
Private John Miller,3804,18 years old,from Bolton
Private William McHale,4665,26 years old,from Rochdale
Private Arthur Edward Roberts,18207,from Pendleton
Private James Rourke,804,31 years old,from Stoke-on-Trent
Private Joseph Rustidge,785,from Salford
Regimental Sergeant Major George Edward Simpson,4486,36 years old,from Portsmouth
Private David Sinclair,18161,from Kirkcaldy
Private John Smalley,3000,from Oldham
Private John Sullivan,5331,from Hull
Private Oscar Thomas,17160,from London
Private Joseph Travers,3641,23 years old,from Bolton
Private William Tudor,5998,from Berwick
Private Joseph Waite,2853,27 years old,from Manchester
Private James Watkinson,3350,27 years old,from Liverpool
Lance Corpoal George Watson,9551,from Barrow
Private George Whitehead,18100,21 years old,from Manchester
Private John Whittle,3424,from St Helens
Private Thomas Whittle,8496,from Wigan
Private Ernest Williams,5366,from Salford
Private Daniel Winnard,13263,33 years old,from Burnley