LITHERLAND AT WAR
1914—1918


THE NIBLETT BROTHERS
Sons of George and Fanny Niblett, 16 Ince Avenue, Litherland
 

Graphic by Ronnie Cusworth 2005
2652 Pte George Albert Niblett
1st/9th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Killed in Action 9th May 1915
Aged 21
George has no known grave
Commemorated: Le Touret Memorial - Pas de Calais, France
© Commonwealth War Graves Commission
George Albert Niblett was born in 1894 the son of George and Fanny Niblett. During the war the family lived in Ince Avenue Litherland. The 'Evening Express' report lists the address as No.8 Ince Avenue whereas the War Graves entry which was compiled in the early 1920's lists the address as 16 Ince Avenue. George was working as a saloon steward with the Cunard Line when he enlisted in Liverpool on 8th September 1914 in the ranks of the 1st/9th King's (Liverpool Regiment). After a period of training he embarked for France from Southampton to Le Havre with his Battalion on 12th March, 1915. He was killed in action on 9th May, 1915 with 13 of his comrades in the first full attack carried out by the Battalion.
'JACK fell as he’d have wished,’ the Mother said,
And folded up the letter that she’d read.
‘The Colonel writes so nicely.’ Something broke
In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.
She half looked up. ‘We mothers are so proud
Of our dead soldiers.’ Then her face was bowed.

The War Diary for the 1st/9th Kings (Liverpool Regiment) records the events as follows:

Richebourg L'Avoue - Essars
8/5/15
6pm Battalion moved into battle positions in Subsection D.2. at Rue du Bois. Transport at Mesplaux
9/5/15
Attack by 2nd Infantry Brigade. Battalion moved into the 3rd line of trenches at 5.30am and into the front line at 6am to support the 2nd Kings Royal Rifles. Battalion ordered at 11.15am to assault the enemy's position at 12.40pm. The attack was postponed until 4pm, but at 1.45pm these orders were cancelled. At 1.45pm the Battalion withdrew to the 1st line trenches to reorganise. 'A' and 'C' companies moved into support line at 4pm and the remainder of the Battalion at 4.25pm. At 7.30pm the Battalion was relieved by 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and marched via Le Touret to Essars.
Casualties:-
Officers: Major T.J. Bolland and 2nd Lieutenant D.G. Mathwin killed, 3 wounded.
Other Ranks: 12 killed and 66 wounded and two reported as missing.

Merseyside Comrades Killed in Action alongside George on 9th May 1915 - Only two have known graves
Pte Thomas Cassidy - Sgt Joseph Douglas - Pte George Fearon - Pte Samuel Henry Henderson - Pte Robert Jervis
Pte James Nolan - Pte Thomas Preece - Pte Thomas Rawsthorne - Pte William Thomas Smith - Pte Charles J. Taylor


Graphic by Ronnie Cusworth 2005
3437 Pte William Henry Niblett MM
'C' Company 1st/6th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
'The Liverpool Rifles'
William Survived
William Henry Niblett was born in 1897 the son of George and Fanny Niblett and younger brother of George and Cathy Niblett. In May, 1915 - 18 year George enlisted in the King's (Liverpool Regiment) in Liverpool; being given the number 3437 and placed in 'C' Company 1st/6th (Territorial) Battalion - 'The Liverpool Rifles'. The 1st/6th depot was at Princes Park Barracks, Upper Warwick Street, Liverpool. On completion of his training, William joined his battalion in France, part of 165th (Liverpool) Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.
55th (West Lancashire) Divisional Sign
On the 24th September, 1916 William was wounded, suffering shrapnel wounds to both hand and thigh - being admitted to 15th Corps Collection Station then to the Divisional Sanitary Section - rejoining his battalion on 1st October. The following year on the 19th June, 1917, William suffered a shrapnel wound to his left arm and admitted to 1st Wessex Field Ambulance from there to the 2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on the same day, where he remained until 22nd June and then admitted to13th General Hospital, Boulogne on the 22nd June. After treatment he moved to the 55th Divisional Rest Camp on the 25th July. William rejoined his battalion and saw further action with his battalion until being taken prisoner on the 30th November, 1917 and incarcerated in Dulmen Camp, Westphalia, Germany until the Armistice of the 11th November, 1918.
 
The London Gazette dated 21st December 1916 lists the award of the Military Medal to 3437 Private W. H. Niblett. At a ceremony held in the Battalion Reserve Camp 'O', Major General Jeudwine, Commanding officer of the 55th Division presented William with his Military Medal ribbon along with other recipients of the Military Cross and Military Medal.
Extract from London Gazette
Military Medal
The following is extracted from the History of the Liverpool Regiment during the Great War covering the date that William was captured:

29th/30th November 1917:
The night of the 29th/30th was exceptionally quiet, and although the troops had been warned that the enemy might attack, "stand to" on the 30th passed without any signs of the enemy. But at 7.5 a.m. the enemy's guns suddenly broke the stillness of the morning and soon a very heavy gas barrage was in progress near the left battalion of the 165th Brigade (1/6th King's), all roads and tracks in the neighbourhood being subjected to a very violent bombardment. Simultaneously with the barrage the enemy, in great numbers, attacked Fleeceall Post, Eagle Quarry and The Birdcage (roughly the centre of the divisional front) and the front line trenches of the 166th Brigade. The right of the Brigade front, held by the 1/7th King's, was not attacked, the Battalion Diary disposing of the whole day's operations in six words: "Enemy attack on our left commenced." Along the front of the 1/5th King's the enemy attacked Fleeceall and Grafton Posts, but was met by such heavy and well-directed fire that he was forced to fall back and gained not a foot of ground; the Battalion Diary of the 1/5th states "the enemy attacked positions on our immediate left. He was beaten off at Grafton and Fleeceall Posts."

The 1/6th King's suffered very heavily from the enemy's barrage. They state that the Birdcage and the Ossus Wood sector fell into the enemy's hands, "there being very few men left alive in the front line, from reports received, to offer much resistance after the barrage lifted." The supports, however, in Heythrop and Cruciform Posts were not so badly affected as to be incapable of resistance, for they put up a very stubborn fight and flung back the enemy, though they could not prevent him occupying Little Priel Farm; from that place he was eventually driven out. Great numbers of the enemy, pushing down the Catelet Valley, seized Holts' Bank and support posts on the extreme left flank of the 1/6th King's. The reserve company had re formed in the meantime at Battalion Headquarters, which were situated on the Lempire road in rear of Heythrop Post. One platoon of this company was then sent to Holts' Bank, but they could not re occupy it as the enemy was in too great a strength; the other platoon was sent up to strengthen various supporting posts. The left flank of the Battalion was very much in the air and various flank defences had to be improvised. During the evening the 1/9th King's reinforced the 1/6th and the latter were able to "hold on."


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