Name: Henry A Mason Peile
DoB: January 7 1896.
Regt: Rifleman 301359 London Rifle Brigade.
DoD: Date of Death: Reported wounded and missing; officially reported killed in action, July 1, 1916.
Academic Career: CGS Sept 1906 – July, 1907.
Henry was the son of Walker Peile and Gertrude nee Simpson, of 7, St. James’ Road. His father was recorded as a grocer’s assistant in 1891 and a commission agent in 1901.He died in 1909. His wife, who was six years older and originated from Melksham Wiltshire was recorded visiting her sister in Birmingham in 1911 where she was a companion to an elderly lady. She died at Taunton in 1941 aged 77. Henry’s older sister Alice Muriel was living at Station Hill Wigton in 1911, training to be a teacher. She got a BA Hons in geography from LSE and registered with the Teachers’ Registration Council in 1921. She taught in Cheshire, Chiswick and Guildford before becoming headmistress of Bishop Fox’s Girls School Taunton. An Alice Peile died in 1965 in Bristol aged 72.
In the 1911 Census Henry is recorded as being a boarder at the Friends School, Wigton.
Henry enlisted into the 3rd Battalion London Rifle Brigade in early 1915 and went to France in a draft to the 1st Battalion on October 15 of that year. Henry was part of the 56thDivision which formed in February 1916. The London Rifle Brigade was quite exclusive – demanding an entry fee – and so attracted the more privileged classes. In May and June they were training behind the lines at Arras. The 56th Division was ordered to attack at Gommecourt on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916. The width of No-Man’s Land was perhaps 800 yards in May – too far for the troops to cross – and time was spent extending the trenches although bad weather in June hampered progress. The distance on July 1 was still between 250 and 400 yards however. The riflemen crossed No-Man’s Land at a walk as ordered but were cut down by machine gun fire. By 8.30pm the surviving men of the Division were given the order “every man for himself” and they tried to get back to the British lines. The two divisions at Gommecourt suffered 6,769 casualties, of whom 2,206 men were killed. Gommecourt was not taken. More than 300 London Rifle Brigade men were killed on that day, or died from wounds later. Henry was reported wounded and missing; and officially reported killed in action.
London Rifle Brigade
a) Carlisle School Memorial Register 1264-1924
b) Census: 1861 RG9 /1294
1871 RG10/1917 and RG10/5239
1911 RG14/31358 and RG14/17876 and RG14/31359
c) UK, De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1924
d) Death Index 1906-2006
e) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
f) The Carliol 1908; 1909; 1910; 1911.
g) the Great War Forum