Sapper Lionel GARRICK

Royal Engineers
20th Airline Section.
Service Number:
Date of Death:
6 December 1919 - Died (Home)
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:

Personal History:

Lionel was born at Portsea Island, Hampshire, on the 7th March 1885, son of Edward John and Minnie Janette (née Smith) Garrick. In 1891 (Census RG 12/4128) he was living with his mother, older sister, Norma, and younger siblings, Esca [See: Footnote below.] and Vera, at 16 Penshore Street, Sunderland.

By 1901 (Scottish Census) Lionel was a boy seaman on board the 'HMS Caledonia' - Service Number - 209770, having enlisted in 1900. (HMS Caledonia started her naval career as HMS Impregnable. A wooden-walled second rate of 2406 tons built in 1802, she became HMS Caledonia Boys' Training Ship in 1891 when she was anchored a few cables to the west of the Forth Bridge.)

On the 28th April 1903 Edward, Lionel's father, a Master Mariner, died and on the 24th March 1906 Lionel married Mary Matilda Henderson at the Registry Office, Tynemouth. The outcome of the marriage is not known, as in 1911 (Census RG 14/27897) he was lodging at 8 Low Street, Sheffield, listed as "Single" and employed as a "Wireman".

In the December quarter 1912 Lionel married Norah Margaret (formerly Lafferty, née Buxton), of 37 Dale Road, Buxton. [see below] In the June quarter 1914 they had a daughter, also named Norah Margaret. 
After he was discharged from the Army in 1919 Lionel returned to live at the same address with his family, where he died of "Heart disease" on the 6th December 1919. In his Will he left £132 [A relative value today - 2014 - of £5,293.00]. He had returned to his former peacetime employment as a "Foreman wireman at the Post Office". At the time of his death Lionel and his family were living at Vincent House, Dale Road, Buxton (presumably No. 37).

Footnote: In 1911 (Census RG 14/21241) Norah had been living at the same address, married to Peter Lafferty, with an eight year old daughter, Margaret. (They had had three other younger children, John, Kathleen and Mary Agnes - all of whom died in infancy.) Peter Lafferty died in the June quarter 1911, shortly after the Census was taken, and their surviving child, Margaret, died in 1918, aged 15 years. Norah continued to live in Buxton until her death in 1960, aged 80.

Military History:
Lionel's Medal Index Card shows that he entered the War in France on the 9th October 1915, so allowing for training he probably enlisted early on in the War. Unfortunately, his Service Records have not survived.

An Airline Section was responsible for the erection of telephone and telegraph lines on poles - hence
airline. They mainly operated in rear areas although they could continue working as far forward as
brigade headquarters. Basically they were units of the R.E. Signal Service that erected signal cable
on poles as opposed to Cable Sections who ground laid or buried cable.

The composition of an airline section changed as the war went on, but in 1918 consisted of
1 x Subaltern, 1 x Sgt, 2 x Cpl's, 2 x 2nd Cpl's, 29 x Sappers and Pioneers, 7 x ASC MT drivers.
Of the Sappers and Pioneers, 14 were permanent linesmen and 14 were wiremen. The fact that
Lionel occupation in 1911 (see above) was "Wireman" would have clearly led him into this
Company of the Royal Engineers when he enlisted.

The 20th (Motor) Air-Line Section was attached to VII Corps from its formation in mid-July 1915
until the end of 1918 as part of the Corps Signal Company. VII Corps was formed in France on
the 14th July 1915 and placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow, KCB, KCMG [see Footnote below]. Its first serious engagement was in the Somme offensive - 1st July - 18th November 1916. The VII Corps was also involved in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line [14th March - 5th April 1917], the Arras Offensive [9th April - 16th May 1917], the Cambrai operations [20th November - 30th December 1917] and the First Battles of the Somme 1918.

Lionel's Medal Index Card shows the endorsement "Class 'Z' A.R." [Army Reserve], a classification authorised by an Army Order of the 3rd December 1918. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve "for the duration", were at first posted to Class Z. These men returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. Accordingly, therefore, Lionel was discharged in February 1919. ['Buxton Advertiser' 13 December 1919]

Lionel died at home, according to his Death Certificate, of "Heart disease" on the 6th December 1919. Lionel's funeral took place on Thursday, 11th December, in Buxton Cemetery Chapel, with Rev. Canon Kind officiating. In reporting his funeral, in its edition of the 13th December 1919, 'The Buxton Advertiser' stated that Lionel had served for four years in the Army and that: "During his illness Mr Garrick had been under fourteen doctors and was seen by a specialist only a fortnight ago. He was well known in Buxton, although a native of Sunderland, and was foreman of the G.P.O. Telephone staff.".

After listing the mourners 'The Buxton Advertiser' went on to report that: "… the bearers were four of the deceased colleagues. The coffin was draped in the Union Jack, and a military party from the C.D.D. [Canadian Discharge Depot] attended". Lionel is buried in an isolated corner of Buxton Cemetery, in a poorly maintained area (see photo above), and really deserves better for his five years of War Service.

· Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow was the great grandfather of BBC historian and presenter Dan Snow.

· Lionel's brother, Dvr. 47909 Esca GARRICK, enlisted as a 'Saddler' in the 7th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery ('J' Battery) on 19 August 1907.
  After serving 6 years on Active Service up to August 1913, he was recalled from the Reserve at the outbreak of War and was with the first
  contingent of the B.E.F. to arrive in France, landing on 15 August 1914 and served as a "Driver" throughout the War until being discharged to
  the Army Reserve on 28 October 1918.
· Shetland Family History
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 13 December 1919

Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Where Lionel rest
Lionel Garrick's grave in Buxton Cemetery
A Motor Airline Unit
A Motor Airline Unit