Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

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Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 14 May 2013, 12:38

Having finally got back to working on the book for a couple of days, the next name for research in August 1918 was that of Gunner Wilfred Anker. Wilfred is buried in an unmarked grave in Ghyll Cemetery, unmarked that is except for the spray marking indicating the plot and the cross placed there last year by Panbiker, both now faded. A check for updates on the CPGW Website shows that Wilfred was accepted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a suitable candidate for one of their headstones, in January 2012, as far as I am aware, this is not yet in place, this matter I will address in the coming weeks. So who was Wilfred Anker?
He was born in 1894 at number 325 Rochdale Road, Bacup in Lancashire, the second son of James and Mary Anker, his Brother and Sister were; John and Annie. Wilfreds Mother died in 1909 and at some point after 1911 he came to live with his widowed Father at number 9 Co-operative Street Barnoldswick, After the outbreak of WW1, on the 3rd of April 1915, Wilfred went to Colne and enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery, becoming Gunner Wilfred Anker, Service Number L/9165, he was 21 and single, his future life was to be short, but he would be married. More of this later, for now a pic of Wilfred's grave:-

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Last edited by Thomo on 15 May 2013, 10:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 14 May 2013, 16:03

So why the particular interest in Wilfred? Before remembrance day in 2011, it had already been discovered that there were names missing from the town Memorial, and at that time a fellow member of this site expressed an interest in him, that was "Travis". Before remembrance Sunday a few members of this site met at Ghyll on a Sunday morning to trawl through the grounds and record our findings, there was myself and my friend Gordon Bell, Travis, Panbiker and Heather, as a result of this we later convened in Rolls Welfare Club to look at our findings, it was as a result of this meeting that the "Barlick War Memorial Group" was formed, but on that day there was no result for Wilfred, Heather suggested a book, and thanks to her this in now under way. I went to see the then local Vicar and asked for his help in locating Wilfreds grave, he assured me that Wilfred was buried in Keighley, whereas the press report of the event put him at Ghyll on a Saturday burial. The council department resposible for the location of graves were contacted and came up with the plot where Wilfred lies, thanks to Travis we know now where he is. Wilfred is indeed mentioned on the towns Memorial, yet lies in an unmarked grave at Ghyll.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Travis » 14 May 2013, 19:29

I was informed by Terry Denham of the "In From The Cold" project that it usually takes a couple of years for the CWGC to arrange a headstone in these circumstances. I reckon Wilfred should recieving his later this year.

Andy.

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 15 May 2013, 08:47

Thats good news Travis, I will be posting more later today, Documents etc.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 15 May 2013, 10:13

This is a copy of Wilfred's Attestation Document:-

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by PanBiker » 15 May 2013, 11:36

I think it is worth mentioning here that that we would not be in the position we are now regarding bringing Wilfred in from the cold without the excellent services of the Estates department of Pendle Council. It was Robert Careswell (a good name for a good man) who after I made the enquiry about Wilfreds whereabouts not only did he tell me the location and emailed me a map but he also took the trouble to visit the site and mark up the plot as you see in the photograph. We would still be looking for him without that help. Sometimes councils get it right.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Travis » 15 May 2013, 14:26

Agreed!

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 17 May 2013, 11:55

Wilfred, document No2.

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And No3.

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 17 May 2013, 12:28

Document No4.

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No5.

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And finally, document No6.

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 17 May 2013, 13:56

Wilfred married Miss Edith O'Connor at Ghyll Church Barnoldswick, in the last quarter of 1917 and they had one child, a Daughter named Mary. Returned to his former occupation as a twister, his health again failed and he died in the Military Hospital at Keighley on the 13th of August 1918, here is the Craven Herald report on that event:-

THE ROLL OF HONOUR – Fatal effects of Poison Gas

The death took place last week at Keighley Military Hospital, of Gunner Wilfred Anker, formerly of the R.F.A. Deceased, who was 24 years of age, and married, was the son of Mr. James Anker, 9, Co-operative Street, Barnoldswick. He left the Army nearly two years ago, after being gassed in France, for which he was treated in Bournemouth Hospital, obtaining his final discharge in October last, and resumed his occupation as a twister at Messrs. B. and E. W. Holden’s, Moss Shed. The effects of the poison gas had, however, not been eradicated, and on the advice of a specialist he was readmitted to hospital where he died ten days later. The funeral took place at Gill Cemetery on Saturday afternoon.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by chinatyke » 19 May 2013, 12:54

His father must have had a strange sense of humour. You just can't make these things up. :sad:

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 19 May 2013, 15:10

When Wilfred was born in 1894, the subversive language of the 20th century was not in place, like many things it is an unfortunate product of the modern world.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by PanBiker » 08 Mar 2014, 14:21

Just been down to Ghyll to see Mum and Dad and our lad Dan. I took the camera just on the off chance that Wifred may have received his CWGC headstone. Nothing yet but an interesting development. A new sign on the entrance to the cemetery from the lower car park.

Image

If you look closely below the sign on the gate you can just see Wilfred's plot H37 with it's temporary cross. Just in front of the brown glazed surround. I have left the image at native size so you can zoom right in if you click the image. An encouraging development maybe, hopefully Wilfred's headstone will not be far behind.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 08 Mar 2014, 14:51

Thank you Ian, this needs to chased up, and will go on the "To do" list.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 04 Jun 2014, 08:19

This is from the "In from the cold" website:-

Name: Wilfred ANKER Date of Death: 13/08/1918
Rank: Gunner Service No: L/9165 Age: 24
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery Unit: 5 Res Bde.
Cause of Death: Died post discharge of endocarditis
Cemetery/Memorial: Ghyll Undenominational Burial Ground, Yorks

Date of Acceptance: 12/01/2012 Volunteer: Chris Foster
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 04 Jul 2014, 11:02

I have sent a request for an update to the IFTC project. It is now 2.5 years since the application was accepted.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 04 Jul 2014, 11:49

I have just had a response from Terry Denham from IFTC. He has pointed me to the CWGC body responsible for the erection of headstones, that I will try next.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 09 Jul 2014, 10:27

I have mailed enquiries at CWGC asking for an indication of when Wilfred might get a headstone.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 10 Jul 2014, 09:26

Mail to enquiries at CWCG returned address not recognised, so I have sent it direct to CWGC, receipt acknowledged.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Travis » 21 Jul 2014, 11:24

Have they replied yet Thomo?

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 21 Jul 2014, 11:44

No Travis, not yet. I am glad that my life doesn't depend on rapid response to my outgoing mails!
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 16 Sep 2014, 13:24

Still nothing as yet. I have just spent the last few hours planting clumps of genuine Flanders Poppies in the borders out front, the nice healthy ones left are to go on Wilfred's bare plot at Ghyll.
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Thomo » 19 Nov 2014, 16:26

At last we are getting there, this just in from CWGC:-

Dear Mr Thompson

Thank you for your email of 10 July 2014 regarding the headstone for Gunner Wilfred Anker, L/9165, of the Royal Field Artillery. Let me apologise for the delay in our response to your enquiry. Due to the commencement of the 1914-18 Centenary commemorative period, we have experienced a sharp increase in the number of enquiries received. Regrettably, as we are a small team, this has resulted in a backlog and I therefore apologise for the delay in my reply.

I have searched the records that we hold here and I can confirm that this details that the headstone for Gunner Anker was shipped from our workshop in France during November 2014. Once this arrives within the United Kingdom, it would still need to be recieved into our distribution area, checked, and then our Works Team would have to arrange for our Headstone Team to install it, at Ghyll Undenominational Burial Ground, Barnoldswick, when they are next in the area. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm a timeframe for when this process would be completed.

Whilst I cannot provide an exact timescale, I hope, however, that the above information might prove reassuring that the headstone is still in progress.

Yours sincerely

David Royle

Enquiries Administrator
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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by Travis » 19 Nov 2014, 16:54

Nice one Thomo, at least it's finally happening. It will be good to see him remembered with a proper headstone.

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Re: Gnr WILFRED ANKER, in from the cold?

Post by PanBiker » 19 Nov 2014, 17:15

Excellent Peter at least we now know that it's finally on the cards. Only 96 years overdue. I would imagine that the CWGC would indeed have been very busy with the increased interest generated by the build up to the centenary.
Ian

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