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WEST PELTON

Salkeld, H., Pte., 1916
In the A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers, Somme, France, is the Commonwealth War Grave of 16665 Private Henry Salkeld serving with the Durham Light Infantry who died 16/09/1916.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Henry Salkeld was born November 1887 in West Pelton, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, one of 12 children of whom only six survived. His father Thomas Salkeld Snr. 1857 of Collierley, Dipton, married July 22nd 1882, in Newcastle upon Tyne, Jane Ann Turnbull born 1862 Ouston, County Durham. In 1891 they were living at Kingís Buildings in South Gateshead, St Helenís Parish, (possibly Low Fell). By 1901 they had moved to 12 Gladstone Street, Pelton where Henry, now 13 years of age, worked as a pony driver below ground at the pit along with his father and elder brother Thomas.

May 29th 1909 Henry married in the district of Lanchester Nancy Anforth born March 17th 1888 in Burnley Lane, Lanchester, County Durham. They were living at 6a, Cooperative Buildings, Stanley in 1911, along with their daughter Maria born November 4th 1909, their son Robert was born April 3rd 1914.

Henry Salkeld enlisted, in Consett, August 24th 1914 assigned to the General Service Infantry as Private 16665 10th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. The Battalion came under the orders of the 43rd Brigade, 14th Division, undergoing training initially in Woking, then Aldershot and on to Witley by November 1914, returning to Aldershot February 1915. They embarked for France landing at Boulogne, May 25th 1916 and were deployed to the Western Front. June 13th 1916 Henry was wounded, taking a gunshot wound to his right leg which fractured the fibula. Initially treated at the Casualty Clearing Station he was evacuated back to the United Kingdom for care and recuperation. July 8th 1916 the medical board concluded that he was fit and his wound had not caused any lasting damage that might impede him serving again with his regiment. Sent to the 3rd depot D. L. I. August 18th 1916 he was drafted back to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, August 24th and re-joined the 10th Battalion in the field September 9th 1916 just as preparations were underway for the Battle of Flers-Courcelette which began September 15th 1916.

Henry Salkeld was reported as missing on or after September 16th. His body had been buried on the battlefield and was brought into A.I.F. Burial Ground Flers after Armistice, grave II. G. A.. The C.W.G.C. have adopted the date of September 16th 1916 as the official date of death for Private 16665 Henry Salkeld Durham Light Infantry, he was 29 years old.

In his pay book was found a will, signed by Henry and witnessed by Private Henry MacPhearson which stated, that in the event of his death, he gave the whole of his money and effects to his wife. His widow Nancy received all monies due to him from the Army, his awards of the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal also a pension of 22 shillings and 11 pence a week for herself and the children as of May 28th 1917.

After her husbandís death Nancy took the decision to leave the children at her home of 18, St. Maryís Place, Stanley, in the care of Mrs E. Smith, while she moved to Morecambe in Lancashire working filling shells at the government run National Filling Factory, White Lund. The factory produced over 3 million shells from 1915 until it was destroyed by a fire in 1917 thought to have been started by a cigarette butt. At the time there were 22,000 shells in the building, the blasts could be heard 40 miles away in Burnley, some thought it was the start of a German invasion, while locals ran for their lives to the safety of the beach. Ten people were killed and the remaining workers were assigned to other factories throughout the country.

Nancy married Thomas Lowe in 1919 in the district of Stoke-on-Trent, she died in County Durham, December 1970.

Henryís brother Private 665 Thomas Salkeld Northumberland Fusiliers also enlisted in 1914. He was killed in action, two months prior to his brother, July 1st 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France.

In Godís safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Henry Salkeld is remembered at West Pelton with his brother Thomas on W112.01 and in the D.L.I. Book of Remembrance page 249


The CWGC entry for Private Salkeld

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk