Private 27892 Lionel Edward Lambourne
3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards
Private Lambourne was born in Hungerford the son of Ernest Lambourne of Park Street, Hungerford. He was employed in the town as a shop assistant.
On the 5th June 1916 when he reached the age of 18 years and three months he was attested at Newbury. He was immediately placed on reserve and was mobilized on the 8th November 1916. He was described as being 5' 10" tall, chest 35", with a chest expansion 4".
He joined the Guards Depot at Caterham on the 19th November 1916 where he carried out his training until the 8th June 1917. He was sent to France on the 9th June and was posted to the 7th (Guards) Entrenching Battalion. He remained with this battalion until the 26th July 1917 when he was posted to the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards in the front line.
Five days later he was killed in action on Tuesday 31st July 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the missing, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Phil Wood kindly added that the Newbury Weekly News reported on 13th September 1917, under the heading "Killed in Action":
"LAMBOURNE - Killed in action somewhere in France, July 31st. Pte Edward Lionel (Johnnie) Lambourne, of the Grenadier Guards, dearly loved son of Mr and Mrs Ernest Lambourne, Park-street, Hungerford, Berks, aged 19."
He had a total service of 256 days. On the 29th June 1921 his British War and Victory Medals were issued to his next of kin.
- Cap badge of the Grenadier Guards
On 31st July 1917 the Guards Division attacked from Boesinghe, over the Yser Canal to Pilckem Ridge and the Steenbeek. The Division made an advance of 2 miles over a 2000 yard front. Such a success was virtually unheard of after three years of stalemate. The attack was eventually bogged down by bad weather. The Grenadier battalions lost 122 killed and nearly 500 wounded. One of these was Private Lambourne.
Point of Interest:
The Guards entrenching Battalion is not a well known organization. It was formed in 1915 due to the concern that working parties from Front Line battalions and drafts were continually found thus depleted of front line strength. The entrenching units were ad-hoc organizations up until this point. It was felt unhealthy for soldiers of the Brigade of Guards to be under command of Non Guardsmen. (Also against regulations, which incidentally still exist although are widely disregarded). The Guards entrenching battalion was formed to support the Guards Division. It was used as a stepping stone for drafts to gain experience prior to joining the Battalions in the front. It had regimental companies and was disbanded in October 1917.
He is shown as a Private. Until 1918 there was no such rank as Guardsman. This was introduced after the armistice, on the instruction of King George V in recognition of the services of the Guards Division during the war.