Albert Broderick

albert broderickLance Corporal, 10932, 7th (Service) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 2nd March 1916, aged 27.

Born at Luddington in October 1889, Albert was the eldest son and one of nine children of John and Ada Broderick (nee Gelder). His mother was from Luddington and his father, a farm worker, was from Crowle. Shortly after Albert was born the family moved to West Butterwick. In 1900 they moved again when John became the farm foreman at Poplars Farm, Jacques Bank, Medge Hall and they lived in Poplar Farm Cottages.

Before he enlisted in the Lincolnshire Regiment, aged 24 years 301 days and with a full set of dentures, at Scunthorpe on 31st August 1914, Albert was working as a railway shunter at the Ironworks. Appointed to the 7th (Service) Battalion during his training at Wool in Dorset he qualified as a Lewis Machine Gunner. Known to his colleagues as ‘Jerry’, in May 1915 Albert was promoted to Lance Corporal. He and the 7th Lincoln’s arrived on the Western Front on 14th July 1915.

Able to visit his family in Crowle on furlough in December 1915, Albert returned to France on Christmas Eve 1915. When he reached his unit they were spending a period in training at Hellebrouck, near St Omer, before moving back to the front line on 7th February 1916. This time they were positioned south east of Ypres, close to St Eloi and the Ypres-Comines Canal, where there was a steep mound known as The Bluff. Actually a spoil heap from digging the canal The Bluff was of strategic importance to both sides and had been lost after three days of intense, often hand-to-hand, fighting to a major German assault on 14th February. The British were determined to recapture it and spared nothing in their preparation. Even going as far as to make a full-scale replica of it, near Reninghelst, that for several days the 7th Lincoln’s and the other troops soon to be involved, practised attacking.

On the evening of the 1st March 1916, Albert and the 7th Lincoln’s moved back to the trenches ready for the attack on The Bluff. At 4.00am the next morning the men crawled quietly forward and gathered in groups, near the German wire, which was found to be in bad condition. At 4.30am, the British artillery let off a sudden burst of heavy fire, which the German defenders expected to be followed by a pause before a second salvo. So were completely taken by surprise when the British appeared. Albert and the other machine-gunners played a prominent part as the attackers quickly captured the front line trenches, then pursued the fleeing defenders along their communication trenches.

Later that morning the German’s responded with a massive artillery bombardment, that lasted the whole night and through into the next morning, but the British held their position. The contribution of 7th Lincoln’s in the capture of The Bluff was recognised with the award of four Military Crosses and eight Distinguished Conduct Medals after the battle. However the success was not achieved without casualties. 34 men were killed, 183 were wounded and 16 were recorded missing.

Among the casualties was Albert Broderick. Struck in the side by a piece of shrapnel during the retaliatory bombardment, he died within two minutes. Buried at the time in a battlefield grave the site of which is now lost, Albert is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Albert was commemorated with a memorial service in St Oswald’s Church in March 1916.

Albert is also remembered on Thorne War Memorial. At least two of his brothers, Walter and John Thomas (Tom) also served during the war and his sister Annie was the wife of William Lockwood.

Memoriam to Albert published in the Crowle Advertiser

Memoriam to Albert published in the Crowle Advertiser