Three Spalding Territorials killed
The biggest sensation since the start of the war had been caused by news of the first casualties among the Spalding Territorials.
“Never previously had the war been so more keenly brought home to our people,” wrote a reporter 100 years ago.
As letters arrived home from boys involved in the “terrible experience”, a story emerged of “true pluck, such as will redound for ever to the honour of the Spalding Territorials”.
The boys had been caught unawares, with no chance of retaliation.
The boys were in billets near Ypres, their task to keep the men in the trenches well supplied, something that involved frequent journeys across open country exposed to enemy fire.
A shrapnel shell burst through the roof of the barn one afternoon, quickly followed by another, and the barn was soon under fierce bombardment.
The order was given to head for the dug-outs, but Pte J H Buck, standing outside the door of the barn, Pte F Bridges and Lieut G Staniland were struck by shells.
The latter two were killed outright, and Pte Buck was so seriously wounded that he had to be taken to hospital, where he died the next day.
All the Spalding lads who wrote home agreed this was the most “terrible experience of their lives”.
Shells were falling on the boys as they took cover and some, finding trenches already full, had to find shelter elsewhere. The barn was blown to pieces.
Captain of the Spalding Company Capt Salaman was knocked over by a shell, retired to the dug-out, where another shell fell near him, but he escaped unharmed.
Both Ptes Buck and Bridges were buried in the cemetery near Ypres.