PRIVATE JAMES GARDNER
2ND NOVEMBER 1917 AGE 26
BURIED: LANCASTER CEMETERY, LANCASTER, UK
I said in yesterday's inscription that 'Also' was a very ominous way to begin an inscription because it always meant that another brother had been killed. Today's remembers two brothers killed in addition to the one on whose headstone they are remembered.
I don't know how James Gardner died but his two brothers were both killed in action: his elder brother, Alfred, serving with the 2nd/4th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, at Passchendaele on 10 October 1917, and his younger brother, Reginald, of the 8th Battalion King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, in the Battle of Arras on 9 April 1917. Neither brother has a grave. Alfred is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and Reginald on the Arras Memorial. I like the way the parents have included the brothers in the order in which they died rather than in order of seniority; Alfred was 30 and Reginald 20.
James, the middle of the three Gardner brothers, died a month after Alfred. He was a member of the 49th Battalion Training Reserve. So many men were called up following the introduction of conscription in January 1916 that the army couldn't cope with them. The reserve battalions of the various regiments couldn't incorporate them all either so a Training Reserve was created, which was not attached to any of the regiments. Men were trained up and then placed wherever they were needed, rather than as before waiting to be placed in the regiment they had joined. James died whilst with the Training Reserve, whether from illness or accident I haven't been able to find out. All I do know is that John and Annie Gardner lost all three of their sons between April and November 1917. They had five surviving daughters.