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Lance/Corporal Herbert Gavin

6238 8th East Lancashire Regiment "D" Coy.
Killed in Action 15th July 1916, aged 19.


Herbert was born in the March quarter 1897 in Hollinwood, south west of Oldham. The son of Joseph Gavin and Lillian Wroe. In the 1901 census the family lived at 32.5 Ashfield Rd, Burnley. Joseph 35 labourer born in Salford, Lillian 32 weaver born in Ashton under Lyne, Emmanual 6 and Herbert 4 both born in Hollinwood. They only had the use of 1 room!

In the 1911 census, I am glad to say, the family still living at 32 Ashfield Rd now had the use of 4 rooms. Lillian now a widow 41, Emmanual 16 warehouseman, Herbert 14 weaver, Alice 9, Mary 6, and John 3. Lillian had been married to Joseph for 16 years had 7 children, two of whom had died.


Accompanying a letter of thanks for a parcel, Lce-corpl. H Gavan (sic), 8th East Lancs Regt., forwarded the following verses

The men who stay at home at ease,
Can go to bed just when they please,
Have lots of ‘bacca and of beer,
But yet I’d rather be out here.

The chaps that stay at home and dine,
Have lots of victuals and of wine,
With walnuts “shelled” and all good cheer,
But it’s better to be “shelled” out here

The chaps who stay - the lucky dogs,
Can stroll about in tailored togs,
But though my make-up may be queer,
I’d rather be a scarecrow here.

The chaps who stay at home can play,
At tennis throughout the summer’s day,
And ne’er fall, bleeding to the rear,
Yet it is finer to be bleeding here

Sweethearting - oh ! You lucky chaps,
Who go a-wooing ! Well perhaps,
Unless I get a nasty scratch,
I’ll get a girl when I come back.

Why yes ! Who knows ? There still may be,
Some girl to love a bloke like me,
There’s a girl I know would shed a tear,
If I went under way out here.

The men who stay at home at ease,
May list, or enlist as they please,
For me - oh Heaven ! With conscience clear, I much prefer to die out here.


The Parents of Lance-Corpl. (6238) Gavin of the East Lancashire Regt. , who live at 32 Ashfield -road Burnley, have received word that he has been missing since July 15. The soldier was reported slightly wounded on June 27 but he returned to duty, and was missing after an action on July 15. Before enlisting he was a weaver at Messrs. Burrows Britannia Mill.


From the Burnley Express dated 2nd May 1917: PRESUMED DEATH. - BURNLEY LANCE CORPORALS FATE.

Mrs Gavin of 32 Ashfield Road Burnley has received word from the Preston record office that no further news having been received relative to Lance Corporal Herbert Gavin 6238, of the 8th East Lancashire Regiment, who had been missing on July 15th 1916, he was now presumed to have been killed in action on that date.  20 years of age he was formerly a weaver at Messrs Burrows Britannia Mill, and enlisted in the same month the war broke out.  He went to the front in September 1915 and was wounded on June 27th 1916. It was only a slight wound,  and he was able to return to duty. At the time he was standing between two other men talking, when a Shell burst right over them. The other men were seriously wounded but he escaped with only a little piece of shell in his leg. He was connected with St Mary's Roman Catholic Church. His brother was formerly bookkeeper at the Britannia Mill, and is now in France with the RFA.

Whilst training at Plymouth he distinguished himself by saving a lad from drowning and in recognition of it he was presented with a leather writing case, inscribed: "this case was presented to Herbert Gavin by Lord Annadale for saving a lad from drowning in the sea at Plymouth. "


Lived at 135 Barden Lane

Herbert left his effects to his mother Lillian and brother Emmanual.

Herbert was buried in Pozieres British Cemetery France: Grave Ref;Plot 3 Row F Grave 30. Son of Joseph and Lilian Gavin, of 135, Barden Lane, Burnley.


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