Layton’s Links to the Bloodiest Battle

The Battle of the Somme, where more than a million soldiers were killed in four months of machine gun warfare.

Layton Cemetery’s Cross of Sacrifice

Numerous British battalions were entering battle for the first time, and General Sir Henry Rawlinson issued an order that infantry troops were to advance at a walking pace in evenly spaced lines. Although many experienced officers ignored the order, thousands of the British who went over the tops of the trenches indeed walked steadily behind their officers, many of whom carried only revolvers or swagger sticks.

In Layton Cemetery Blackpool the names of 33 men who lost their lives in this battle are recorded on gravestones for posterity.

James Gaffney was one of the 20,000 British soldiers killed on the first day, the 1st July 1916.

Douglas Ashforth was killed on the last day of the Battle – the 18th of November 1916 and aged just 20.

One of the oldest men to be killed was Alfred Hildebrandt aged 36 and the youngest was George Moses aged just 18. Most men killed were in their 20s.

Alfred Hildebrandt

The Cross of Sacrifice in Layton Cemetery commemorates all members of H.M. Armed Services who lost their lives while serving their country.

F.O.L.C. at the Cross

The 18th November Douglas Ashforth

The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of The Great War and among the bloodiest in all of human history. Conflict took place between 1st July and 18th November, it began at the sound of a whistle at 7:30 am on the 1st of July 1916.

By the end of that day, over 15,000 British soldiers lay dead. After 141 days had passed over a million men on all sides had been killed.

One of those brave men was Douglas Ashforth from Blackpool, killed on the very last day of the Battle.

DOUGLAS ASHFORTH, Service Number: G/4209, is commemorated by this cenotaph in Layton Cemetery, Blackpool – his body (like many others) was never repatriated.

Douglas Ashforth

James Wilfred Gaffney

d: 1st July 1916

Remembered as one of the most infamous battles of the First World War, The Battle of the Somme was one of the most costly, bitterly contested and painful.

There were many casualties on both sides and during the very first day (1st July 1916) British forces reported 57,470 casualties, 19,240 of them were killed, becoming the largest loss suffered by the British Army in a single Day.

It was widely believed the German defenses had been destroyed, but this turned out not to be the case.

Many of the infantry who went over the top that day were volunteers.

James Wilfred Gaffney, one of our own, tragically lost his life that day, may he be at eternal rest.

James Gaffney

Maurice Comor was born in Blackpool in 1894.

His parents were Henry and Anna Comor and the family lived on Brighton Parade, close to the Metropole Hotel.

Both were well-known members of the United Hebrew Congregation where Henry Comor was Treasurer.

It’s believed the family were Refugees who had fled the horrific persecution of Jewish communities in Russia and Eastern Europe during the latter years of the 19th Century.

Henry and Anna Comor were contented enough to remain in Blackpool where the Jewish community was settled and flourishing.

But their son Maurice – in common with many other Refugees – was keen to join other members of the Comor family who were already happily settled in Canada and the USA.

Shortly after arriving in Newfoundland, Maurice Comor joined the Newfoundland Regiment which was on the point of being sent to join the Gallipoli Campaign and assist Anzac and British Forces.

The fighting there was intense and massive numbers of Anzac and allied troops were killed or seriously injured.

But somehow Maurice Comor managed to survive – however even worse was to follow.

The Newfoundlanders were sent on to the Battle of the Somme where Maurice Comor was seriously injured during the Campaign to retake Guedecourt.

Repatriated to the U.K. in October 1917, L.Cpl. Maurice Comor died on the 5th of December 1917 in the Stockport Military Hospital.

On the day of his funeral, a Military Procession accompanied the hearse to the Jewish Cemetery along Westcliffe Drive Layton.

Prior to the inhumation, Rev. Daniel Caplan, whose grave is also in the Cemetery, read a eulogy following which L. Cpl. Comor was buried with Full Military Honours.

Maurice Comor, in our Jewish Cemetery

Ernest Addison d: 9/8/1916

Private 5901, 1st/10th (Scottish) Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). Killed in action 9 August 1916. Aged 23. Born Bradford,Yorkshire, enlisted and resident Blackpool.

Son of Harry and Hannah Maria Addison, of 4, Durley Rd., Blackpool.

Attested 5 December 1915 at Blackpool Town Hall, aged 21 years 11 months, resident 4 Durley Road, Blackpool, Commercial Traveller by trade, served in United Kingdom from 5 December 1915 to 9 April 1916 then with B.E.F. France 10 April 1916 until his death,. ‘Embarked Southampton 10 April 1916, disembarked Rouen 11 April 1918, joined his unit 16 April 1916.

At the grave of Ernest Addison

Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme,

France. Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.

“When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”

John Maxwell Edmunds

Lest We Forget

Published by Deborah Contessa

Dilettante Historian, Graveyard Detective, Folklore Geek & Paranormal Enthusiast.

3 thoughts on “Layton’s Links to the Bloodiest Battle

  1. What a devastating waste of souls, a truly vicious way to go, we can’t comprehend the utter fear that they felt, thank you for another thought provoking slice of history.


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