The Western Front Association rembers soldiers who served and died, from the Allies and Central Powers, during the First World War.


There will usually be a picture, though not always. There is a short personal biography: when and where they were born and what they did before the war, followed by their enlistment, training, and service.


All WW1 forces, all sides, on all fronts, east to west remembered as individual soldiers, nurses, labourers and others on the home front, their lives, service, their loss, burial and commemoration. 


Some can be more detailed than others. Included will be their final action or cause of death and their final resting place. 


Research by David O'Mara.


Readers are invited to add their comments and to submit ideas for people to feature.

 18 April 1916 Pte Sam Naylor
 Pte Sam Naylor


Pte Sam Naylor, 6th Bn East Lancashire Regt.

Born in Lancaster in 1877, Sam lived for much of his life in Gargrave, Yorkshire

He was employed in the New Brighton Saw Mills before moving to Accrington, Lancashire where he worked as a moulder at Newbank Works.

Having seen previous service, Sam was a reservist at the outbreak of war and, after being mobilised, he saw service in France for a short time before being invalided back home with frostbite and discharged.

After immediately re-enlisting, Sam was sent to Gallipoli in October 1915 and, from there his unit moved on to Mesopotamia in order to take part in the relief of Kut al Amara.

He was killed in action during the attack on the Beit Aisa line on 18 April 1916 and he is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, Iraq.

Sam Naylor was a father of nine children.

18 April 1916 killed in action

Research by David O'Mara.


 WW1 photograph of Frencham Fourier Laniel
Sgt Fourier Laniel 


1536 Sgt.Fourier Maurice Alphonse Laniel, 1er Régiment de Marche de Tirailleurs


Born at Tiranges, Haute-Loire on 2 August 1878, Maurice entered the army on 5 November 1899 and served for three years with the headquarters section of the 105e R.I.

A veteran of campaigns in Algeria between 1900 and 1902, he left the army with the rank of caporal in October 1902.

During his reserve service, Maurice worked in the recruitment depots of the 158e R.I. before transferring to the 101e Regiment d’Infanterie Territoriale.

Upon mobilisation for war on 2 August 1914, Maurice entered full time service with the 101e R.I.T. and was appointed caporal fourrier on 1 November 1914 while serving on the Somme front.

After serving on the Somme into the summer of 1915 and then on the Aisne into 1916, Maurice transferred to the 5me Régiment de Tirailleurs Algerièns in May 1916, with whom he was promoted to sergent fourier.

Serving in Algeria between May and August 1916, he returned to France at the end of August 1916 with part of his regiment that was incorporated into the 1er RMT.

Returning to the Somme front, Maurice took part in the final months of the Battle of the Somme, specifically taking part in a large scale attack near Bouchavesnes in September.

After their role in the Somme battle concluded in October 1916, a move to the North Sea coast and the trenches of Lombartzyde and Nieuport until late March 1917 ensued.

This was followed by transportation to the Marne sector and trench holding in the Prosnes area.

In April 1917, the 1er R.M.T. participated in the ‘Battle of the Hills’ in this area.

Maurice was killed in action on the first day of this battle in the Moronvilliers sector.

He was now buried in the Nécropole Nationale of ‘Bois-du-Puits’ at Auberive, Marne.

17 April 1917 killed in action.



Research by David O'Mara.


On This Day in 1916



Tableau d’Honneur – Morts pour La France Pub. Paris 1921

Sepultures de Guerre (

Historique du 5me Régiment de Tirailleurs Algerièns Pub :Béziers, 1920

Morts Pour La France de la Première Guerre Mondiale (fiches des soldats MPF) ( )

Journaux des marches et opérations des unités engagées dans la Première Guerre mondiale ( )

Departmental archives of the Haute-Loire ( )

15 April 1917 Pte John Joseph Shanley5170 Pte John Joseph Shanley, 6th Bn East Lancashire Regt.

A pre-war reservist, John was born in Burnley, Lancashire in 1893. He was called into full time service in August 1914 and transferred to the 2nd Battalion East Lancs with whom he arrived in France on 6 November 1914. After seeing action at Neuve Chapelle, Aubers and the Somme, he returned to the UK – possibly wounded – and was transferred to the 6th Battalion.

Whilst en-route to join his new battalion (at that point serving in Mesopotamia), John was on board the troop ship SS.Cameronia sailing between Marseilles and Alexandria. On 15 April 1917 the Cameronia was torpedoed and sunk 150 miles off Malta by the German submarine U-33. 210 of the men on board were killed in this sinking, amongst them was John. Having 'no grave but the sea', John is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria, Egypt.

15 April 1917

Research by David O'Mara

13 April 1918 Pte John William DuxburyPte John William Duxbury, 12th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (Miners' Battalion)

In 1914 many local organisations were motivated to assist the war effort by recruiting men who were associated with the organisation or area, and formed these recruits into battalions. The majority of these battalions were recruited geographically, and battalions such as the Leeds Pals, Bradford Pals and Grimsby Chums were formed. Other battalions were formed not on geographic lines, but by public schools, or those with a common interest such as football. Other groups, such as employers, formed other units, including the West Yorkshire Coal Owners' Association which raised the ‘Miners' Battalion'.

John William Duxbury (aged 26) from Ravensthorpe was probably influenced to join the Miners' Battalion by his elder brother, Arthur (aged 38) who lived at Bradbury Street, Ravensthorpe. On Tuesday, 10 August 1915 they went together to the recruiting office in Dewsbury and were given consecutive regimental numbers, Arthur was 1788 and John 1789. Another two brothers also joined the army: Fred aged 22 lived with John and their mother at 76 Sackville Street, Ravensthorpe and joined the 8th Battalion, KOYLI; and James Duxbury (aged 28 and married) joined up but was sent to India. The Miners' Battalion was clearly open to all trades - Arthur worked for the Mirfield Colliery Company, and John was employed by Pickles and Smithson, chemical manufacturers in Ravensthorpe.

After undergoing training at Otley, the Miners' Battalion (which had by now become the 12th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) became part of the 31st Division and, in view of the obvious labouring skills of the majority of its members, they became the divisional pioneer battalion. Towards the end of November 1915 orders were received to prepare for service overseas.

Much to everyone's surprise the division was not sent to France, but was instead ordered to Egypt where they were to guard the Suez Canal. After a short period in Egypt, the 31st Division was sent to France where, on 1 July 1916, they took part in the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

Despite being wounded in April 1917 (receiving treatment in France), John survived until 1918. In March of that year the Germans launched a series of offensives, one of which was aimed at capturing the vital railway junction at Hazebrouck. It is against this background that John and Arthur Duxbury were involved in the battalion's severest fighting of the war.

The Miners' Battalion's War Diary describes how, in early April 1918, the battalion was out of the line, undergoing training. Orders were received on 10 April, giving instructions to move. On the following day the battalion de-bussed near Vieux-Berquin, and from there marched to Merris. At 8.00pm orders came through to take up positions astride the Estaires to Caestre road, covering the crossroads in the village of La Couronne. The Miners' Battalion was in position by 9.30pm.

On 12 April the battalion was in much the same position; most of the morning was probably spent constructing trenches. The battalion was unable to gain touch with the troops on either their right or their left. At 3.00pm enemy machine gun and artillery fire became heavy, and troops on the battalion's left (who, according to the War Diary were from the 29th Division) started falling back. In accordance with its orders the battalion "..refused its left flank, and pivoting on La Couronne covered the village with its right flank facing east and south-east." They dug in and spent the night there. The War Diary gave casualties for the day as being two officers and 40 other ranks.

The German attack on the following day (Saturday, 13 April) developed at 8.30am. The battalion's left flank easily beat off the attacks by the Germans, all four of which failed. At the crossroads in La Couronne, however, the enemy succeeded in working up a trench that the battalion had constructed, but had been forced to abandon the previous day. From this position, with the aid of trench mortars, the Germans managed to dislodge the defenders who, although forced to fall back, formed another line under heavy fire.

The new line faced south-east with its right on a stream; the line extended to the main road where the rest of the battalion was holding off German attacks. Despite now being in touch with the Irish Guards on the right there was a gap here which the Germans exploited and it was from this direction that the battalion was enfiladed at 1.30pm. Shortly after this the Germans, working through the village, broke the line. The battalion's right was forced to fall back, and the troops on the left were partially surrounded, many being taken prisoner.

The remnants of the battalion rallied at La Becque Farm, but machine gun fire made the position untenable, and a further withdrawal was made, falling back on posts held by Australian troops on the Route du Bois.

On the morning of 14 April the Miners' Battalion was withdrawn from the line. The War Diary describes how, after going into action with nineteen officers and 510 other ranks, the battalion suffered casualties of twelve officers and about 275 other ranks (Soldiers Died in the Great War gives fatalities on 13 April as 59, plus a further two on 14 April).

The battalion had, however, accomplished its task: it had delayed the German advance sufficiently to enable troops from the 1st Australian Division to be brought up.

As might be expected, there is no clue in the War Diary of what happened to John and Arthur Duxbury. After sticking closely together throughout the war, on 13 April the brothers' paths diverged. Arthur was captured, probably wounded, by the Germans; he was, together with other prisoners, sent to the rear and eventually arrived in Germany, where, just over a fortnight after being captured, he died.

Nothing is known of John's fate. The family may have realised something was wrong when they failed to receive a regular letter, or possibly an officer or pal may have written to his mother to say that he had not returned after the battle. Although Arthur was reported as missing towards the end of May, it was not until 29 June that The Dewsbury Reporter printed a few lines to say that "Private John William Duxbury, son of Mrs Duxbury of 40 Fearnley Street, Dewsbury is officially reported missing since April."

The names of 47 of the 59 men killed on 13 April are inscribed on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing, just across the border in southern Belgium. Of the remaining 14 casualties from 13 and 14 April,* thirteen have known graves, which leaves one man unaccounted for.

Because of the chaotic circumstances during and after the Great War, it seems that a number of casualties were overlooked by the authorities. It was initially the responsibility of the War Office and not the Imperial War Graves Commission to compile lists of casualties. Somehow the name of John William Duxbury failed to be included in the lists the Imperial War Graves Commission took over from the War Office and, consequently, his name was not inscribed on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. For nearly 80 years, John Duxbury was not officially commemorated by the War Graves Commission.

This oversight was pointed out to the Commission and, after requesting evidence in November 1995, they confirmed on 14 April 1997, 79 years and one day after his death, that John William Duxbury's name had been added to the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing.

John's older brother, Arthur, is buried along with several hundred men who died as prisoners of war in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission plot in Ohlsdorf Cemetery near Hamburg.

Fred Duxbury was one of the casualties of 1 July 1916; he died whilst serving in the 8th Battalion, KOYLI and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

Only James Duxbury came home.

* One is buried at Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, one at Aire Communal Cemetery and one at Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery. A further ten are buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, being two miles north-east of where the battalion fought on 13 April. (It may be fair to assume that some of the unknown headstones in this cemetery stand over the graves of the 47 men named on the Ploegsteert Memorial.)

13 April 1918

Source - A Village Goes to War: David Tattersfield

16 April 1917 Cpl-Pilote Edmond Charles Clinton Genet29211 Cpl-Pilote Edmond Charles Clinton Genet, Escadrille 124 (‘Lafayette' or ‘Americaine').

Born at Ossining, New York on 23 November 1893, Edmond (the great-great grandson of ‘Citizen Genêt', the French Ambassador to the United States in the period immediately before the French Revolution) was an ex-US Navy sailor who was serving on the USS Georgia at Vera Cruz shortly before the outbreak of war.

Described as a ‘born wanderer', he set sail for France in January 1915 (whilst still officially serving in the USN) and, in early February, he enlisted into the Legion Etranger in Paris. (A devout church-goer, it appears from some of his letters that Edmond fully expected to die at some point in this adventure. He had made his peace and claimed that, due to his faith, death held no fear for him).

After undergoing training, Edmond was assigned to the 1er Regiment de Marche, LE and saw his first frontline duties in April 1915. Time was spent routinely until September 1915 when, on the 25th, his regiment was launched into the ferocious actions near Navarin Farm and Bois Sabot - a disastrous assault in which Edmond was one of only 31 men (of 500) to return from the action unscathed. Following the battle, Edmond's unit was sent to the rear and spent time resting and refitting near Paris. During this period, he decided to apply for a transfer to the French Aviation Service - a request which was granted in the spring of 1916.

On 22 January 1917, Edmond was transferred to the American squadron - Escadrille 124 - and he became the first American pilot to die in action after the US declaration of war when he was shot down and killed by German anti-aircraft fire near Clastres (St Quentin) on 16 April 1917. Originally buried at Ham, Edmond is now interred at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial at Hauts de Seine near Paris.

16 April 1917 killed in action 

Research by David O'Mara

Lt Thaddeus* Francis McCarthy, 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

Thaddeus Francis McCarthy was the youngest of the eleven sons of Michael and Ursula McCarthy. He was born on the 14 March 1896 and he, his brothers and sisters lived on Talbot Street in the village of Whitwick in Leicestershire. He was very bright and attended the Convent Private School in Whitwick before joining Loughborough Grammar School in September 1908 where he studied for five years until 13 July 1913. He left to join a solicitor's office in Leicester aged 17 years and 4 months.

In December 1915, immediately after passing his intermediate law exams aged 20, when he was articled to Mr R A Loseby, Solicitor of Leicester, he joined the 28th Battalion County of London Regiment (Artists Rifles) as Private. He received his commission for 2nd Lieutenant in September 1916 to the 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He spent his 21st birthday in the trenches and was wounded in the arm in August 1917. He was awarded the MC for gallantry in the field. The award was gazetted on the 26 September 1917 and the statement read:

When in charge of the battalion carrying and rations parties, he carried out his work with the greatest coolness and ability, and although by reason of the heavy shell fire it was of a most arduous and dangerous nature, it was due to his exertions and personal supervision that rations arrived regularly. On another occasion during an attack, he led his men forward with great coolness, setting a fine example to those around him. He afterwards took over and reorganized another company whose officers had all become casualties.

In March 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He was killed in action at Bailleul on 14 April 1918 aged 22.

The Coalville Times of April 26th 1918 reported:

"Mr. Michael McCarthy, C.C., Chairman of the Coalville Urban Council, and Mrs. McCarthy of New Swannington, on Wednesday received a telegram from the War Office, conveying the sad intelligence that their youngest son, Lieutenant T. F. McCarthy of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, was killed in action in France on April 14th."

When he died the family were living at New Swannington House in Whitwick and the Probate record shows that his effects totalled £186 12s 8d

He is commemorated on Panel 7 of the Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium

14 April 1918



*His first name has often been misread and written as Thaddens, as it is on the Commonwealth War Graves website.

With thanks to Josephine Dunn for the information she has added to Ancestry in the public domain.

Research: with thanks to Karen Ette for the Loughborough Grammar School Roll of Honour.

13 April 1918 Inf Jakob MaierInf Jakob Maier, 1 Komp Kgl Bay Inf-Leib-Regiment

A holder of the Iron Cross 2nd Class, Jakob was a labourer from Untervilslern, Bavaria. Born in 1896, he was called into full time service within the first few weeks of the war and saw service on the Western Front and on the Italian Front throughout the war.

A veteran of the Somme and Verdun, he took part in the great German offensives of the spring of 1918 and was killed in action near Bailleul during the Battle of the Lys on 13 April 1918. Jakob is buried in the kameradengrab of the German military cemetery of Lens-Sallaumines, Pas de Calais.

13 April 1918 killed in action 

Research by David O'Mara

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