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53830 PTE. H. H. LIVESEY. R.W.FUS.


Herbert Hodson Livesey was born on 23 March 1897 in Farington and baptised at St Paul’s on 18 April.  His father was John Livesey (b. 1858 in Darwen), a power loom overlooker in a cotton mill.  His mother was Alice Ann Hodson (b. 185 in Bamber Bridge).  Jack and Alice were married in 1881 and had 8 children, 6 of whom survived.  Herbert was their youngest, his older siblings were: Margaret (b. 1883), Elizabeth Ellen (b. 1886), Alice Ann (b. 1887), William (b. 1888), James (1891-1895), and Florence (b. 1895).  The Liveseys lived first in Bamber Bridge (School Lane), then Curden Green and by 1911 were living at Wards New Row, Lostock Hall.  Aged 14, Herbert is shown as still being at school, though no doubt he would have been a part-timer at the mill.


According to SDGW, Herbert first enlisted with the Liverpool Regiment, with service number 36709, but then transferred to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1 Battalion, with service number 53830.  1Bn R.W.FUS came under the orders of 22nd Brigade in 7th Division.  On the Somme in 1916, 7th Division fought in many of the major engagements, at Albert (including the capture of Mametz), High Wood, Delville Wood and Guillemont.  During the Arras Offensive in 1917 the Division fought in the flanking operations around Bullecourt.


Bullecourt was a small village just behind the Hindenburg Line.  A first attempt had been made to break through here in early April, led mainly by the 4th Brigade of the Australian Infantry.  Of the 3000 Australians who went into action, 2258 were killed, wounded or missing.  By now, the Battle of Arras had slowed to an attritional nightmare.  A second futile attempt was made to take Bullecourt on 3-4 May.  7th Division were initially  in reserve but were soon called into action.  Some breaches were made in the line but they could not be held and the British were forced to withdraw by ferocious German counterattacks.  38 officers and men from 1Bn were killed that day, including Herbert Livesey, who was 20 years old.


Rank:  Private

Service No:  53830

Date of Death:  04/05/1917

Age:  20

Regiment/Service:  Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1st Bn.

Panel Reference:  Bay 6.


Additional Information:  Son of John and Alice Ann Livesey, of Mount Pleasant, Croston Rd., Farington, Preston, Lancs.


Herbert’s brother William (b. 1888) also served in the Army.  109652 CPL. W. LIVESEY.  He was a grocer, living at 16 Watkin Lane, Lostock Hall, married to Gertrude Stirrup and they had a son, Jack born in 1913.  William enlisted in December 1915 in the Royal Field Artillery but he wasn’t called up until February 1917, when he was transferred to K Battery of the Machine Gun Corps and then to the Royal Tank Corps.  A year later, in the field, he was promoted to Lance Corporal, then Corporal.  He was demobilised in February 1919.  William died in 1950.

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