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    A blog from the Friends of St Annes Library featuring stories from the people who live and work in St Annes about the objects that are most special to them.
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Andrew’s First World War memento

Hello there, I’m Andrew walmsley and I’m the Community History Manager for Fylde District Libraries and I’ve been based at St Annes Library since April 2009.


I have selected the dog tag which belonged to my grandfather in the First World War. I never knew my grandfather, as I was only 7 months old when he died,  so don’t know how we would have got on  but I have  heard a lot about him. So it’s not really a remimder of him,  more a tangible connection with the past and the history of my own DNA if you like. It speaks of my connection with him, what he went through and the times he lived in.

I’m  from Preston and my father John is  from Clitheroe. His father (my grandfather), also John and also from Clitheroe was born on the feast of the Epiphany 1887 and  served in Egypt as part of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (DLOY). The RC on the tag indicates that he was a Roman Catholic. The DLOY was a territorial cavalry regiment. My grandfather loved horses which is probably why he went into this regiment.

Dad tells me that he actually met Lawrence of Arabia whilst he was in Egypt. He would have known very little about him and apparently his reaction to him was… “…he was a funny bugger who dressed like the Arabs”.

My granddad was also batman to a member of the Garnett family and we think he may also have been the best man at his wedding. This marriage took place at the Shepheard’s Hotel which acted as the British Headquarters in the Near East during the first world war. The Garnett family owned the mill at Low Moor near Clitheroe where my grandfather and family lived on St Paul’s Rd.

Apart from the being a regular soldier my granfather had numerous other jobs and was proud of the fact that he was able to find work even in difficult times. He worked from a number of years as a  gardener at Clitheroe Castle and at Roefield Hall near Clitheroe. His father James  was,  for a time,   also a gardener at Waddow Hall which is also near Clitheroe.

John Walmsley's Dog Tag

John Walmsley's WWI dogtag. DLOY - Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry.

John Walmsley's WWI dogtag - reverse. RC - Roman Catholic.

My Grandfather, with My Grandmother and son Gregory who would have been my uncle. He died aged 5 as a result of complications from contracting pneumonia.

Lawrence of Arabia

“From December 1914 to October 1918 Lawrence was intimately involved in collecting and assessing intelligence and in shaping strategy and policy in the Middle East. His academic training fitted him for tasks which he performed diligently and well.” From The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. (Free online access to members of Lancashire Library through the Online Reference Library)

From Medals Rolls Index

John Walmsley in the WWI Medal Rolls Index. Taken from the "Ancestry" website. Free access in Lancashire Libraries.

1901 Census

John Walmsley in the 1901 census - age 14 - living in Clitheroe. Image taken from the "Ancestry" website. Free access to Ancestry in Lancashire Libraries.



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