Author Topic: Three brothers who died one from the Manchester's  (Read 1294 times)


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Three brothers who died one from the Manchester's
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:38:10 PM »
Captain Harold Thomas Cawley MP (1878-1915), Major John Stephen Cawley (1879-1914) Captain, The Hon. Oswald Cawley MP (1882-1918)
Captain Harold Thomas Cawley 6th Manchester's

The second son of Sir Frederick Cawley, Harold was born on 12 June, 1878 at Crumpsall, Lancashire. He went to Rugby School in 1891 and from there up to New College, Oxford in 1895. Graduating with honours from the History School, he left Oxford and was subsequently called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1902. Eight years later, and in the general election of January, 1910, he was returned as Liberal member for the south-east Lancashire Division of Heywood.
Harold Cawley's military career had began in 1904 when in that year he joined the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Manchester Regiment. A keen horseman, he would be one of several officers attached to the Battalion's Mounted Infantry Company. Briton's part-time soldiers, the Volunteer Force in 1908 became the Territorial Force. The 2nd VB Manchester at that time being redesignated as 6th Battalion.  August, 1914 saw Harold Cawley, MP, at the Home Office serving as Secretary to the Rt. Hon. Reginald McKenna. War declared, he immediately volunteered for foreign service and subsequently sailed with the Manchesters for Egypt on 10 September, 1914. Captain Cawley having been appointed Aide-de-Camp to Major-General W. Douglas, then GOC, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division, landed at Gallipoli early in May, 1915.
Turning now to the Rugby School Memorial book, we learn that As ADC, Harold Cawley was not content with the comparative safety of Divisional Headquarters and requested that he be posted to his battalion in the forward area - "I have always felt rather a brute skulking behind in comparative safety while my friends were being killed." Most of the 6th Manchester officers had been killed or wounded, including four old friends from Rugby during the 4-5 June assault on Turkish positions at Krithia. His wish granted, he subsequently joined his men early in September, but in less than two weeks would himself be killed. The following accounts of his short service in the front line appeared in Memorials of Rugbeians who fell in the Great War Volume II -
"When we went up to the front line I put him in charge of the firing trench, and it was due in a great measure to his coolness and bravery, on the day that we had a very large mine blown up just against our trench, that the men were quite cool, every one in his place, and ready, if there had been a Turkish attack." (Commanding Officer)
"He obtained leave to join the tattered remnants of the Regiment which he loved more than life. He knew the full cost of it, the almost inevitable end, and he deliberately accepted that cost without a moment's hesitation or regret." (The Rt. Hon. C.F.C. Masterman)
"Captain Cawley was a very brave and unassuming gentleman; one of his exploits is worth recounting. A small ammunition cart had been taken up the principal nullah, where the men proceeded to unload in order to carry the cases to the dug-out. The enemy spotted this waggon and immediately started to shell it vigorously with shrapnel. Naturally there was a slight hesitancy on the part of the men unloading as to what was the wisest thing to do. Captain Cawley settled the situation by getting off his horse into the cart and handing the boxes down in double-quick time. After the vehicle was clear he coolly rode away." ("A Manchester Territorial")
Age thirty-seven, Harold Thomas Cawley was buried at the south end of the Gallipoli Peninsular in Lancashire Landing Cemetery. This place overlooking "W" Beach, scene of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers landing on 25 April, 1915.

Major John Stephen Cawley

Born at Crumpsall, Lancashire on 27 October, 1879, John Cawley was a regular soldier. Obtaining his commission at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and joining his regiment, the 20th Hussars, at Mhow, India in 1897. After South Africa, where as Signalling Officer to General Low's column he took part in operations in Orange River Colony and Cape Colony, he subsequently served in Egypt and after passing through the Staff College was appointed Instructor at the Cavalry School, Netheravon in 1911. In the following year he joined the General Staff at the War Office, and in 1913 became Brigade Major to the 1st Cavalry Brigade. It was as such that he sailed for France in August, 1914.
Killed on 1 September during the retirement from Mons, a brother officer gave the following account of John Cawley's death:-
"Our Brigade was attacked soon after dawn at Nery by a force double our number - a Cavalry Division with 12 guns. Owing to thick mist they managed to get within 600 yards of us; 350 horses of the Bays stampeded and their men went after them, and the 'L' Battery was cut to pieces. The occasion was one which called for personal example, and Major Cawley, by permission of the General, went to help to restore order and get the broken remnants in their places. The Situation being met and everyone being in his place, he joined the advance line and was almost immediately killed by a piece of shell. The splendid manner in which he met his death in deliberately facing the awful fire to help others when he really need not have done so, is only what his whole life has led us to expect." (This taken from Volume 1 of The Bond of Sacrifice.)
Major John Stephen Cawley is buried at Nery Communal Cemetery which he shares with the men of "L" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery and his brother who was interred there after his death in August, 1918. A good all-round sportsman, he played polo for  for his regiment and at the 1905 Royal Military Tournament took the Officers' riding and jumping prize.
Action at NĂ©ry

Captain Oswald Cawley

A Member of Parliament since 1895, Sir Frederick Cawley was elevated to the peerage on 16 January, 1918. His son, Oswald, being immediately invited to contest his father's seat at Prestwich, Lancashire. He was subsequently elected by a large majority, even though his stipulation, whereas he remained away from home on active service, was upheld.
Oswald Cawley also went to Rugby School and Oxford. Working in his father's business (the Heaton Mills Bleaching Company) before travelling around the world in 1911. He joined the Shropshire Yeomanry in May, 1914 and in March, 1916 went to Egypt. Here the Regiment served with the Baharia Field Force and in November, 1916 entered Palestine. After the fighting for Gaza and Jerusalem, the Yeomanry, now designated as 10th King's Shropshire Light Infantry, left for France on 1 May, 1918. A period of training was carried out at St. Hilaire, then on 10 July a section of the front line at St. Flois was taken over. The Battalion's line running between the Lys Canal and St. Venant-Merville Railway. A fairly quiet sector notes regimental historian of the KSLI, Major W. de B. Wood.
On 22 August, however, orders were received to move forward. A general advance being made north of the canal. The attack, records Major Wood -
"....was unfortunately hung up, and, without any information of the position on the left flank, the 10th KSLI proceeded into what proved to be for them a trap. Advancing through high standing corn the battalion continued until within a few hundred yards of the concealed enemy, who met them with a devastating fire......He then followed up his advantage with a determined counter-attack and severe hand-to-hand fighting took place."
Further details (published in Memorials of Rugbeians who fell in the Great War) were received in a letter sent by the 10th KSLI Commanding Officer to Lord and Lady Cawley -
"Your son's company was on the right....The enemy lay low, until we were right on their line, and then put down a very heavy barrage behind us and had many machine guns in front.....Your son was hit in the arm, which he got dressed by his Company stretcher-bearers, and then went on and was wounded again the second time in the jaw, and after that we could hear no news, and we had to fall back to our old line."
Oswald Cawley was subsequently buried close to his brother at Nery Communal Cemetery.

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