Friday Street, Leighton Buzzard c.1925 [WL800/2]
Sunday 20th February 1916: John and Sophia Shackleton of Friday Street in Leighton Buzzard now have five of their seven sons serving their country, with the two youngest prevented from doing so only by their age – in the case of 16 year old Harry, this is despite his best efforts to the contrary! The family is also known by the name of Wise and at least one of the sons is believed to be serving under that name. Their record of service is:
First Class Stoker John William Shackleton: The eldest son of the family, aged 30, he served in the Navy for five years and was working at the Wire Works when he was called up to return to the sea. He is now serving aboard H.M.S. Caesar.
Private Joseph Shackleton (or Wise) had served seven years with the 1st Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment and was a reservist when the War began. He was sent out to France in September 1914 and was at the battles of the Marne and the Aisne. In November 1914 he was wounded in the shoulder by a bullet, but made a good recovery and returned to the Front early last year. He was home for seven days’ leave in November.
Private Samuel Shackleton emigrated to Canada eight years ago when he was only 16 years old. When the War broke out he joined the Army raised in Canada for the defence of Britain. Although he joined for home service only, after a time his sense of patriotism inspired him to take the Imperial Service obligation. He is now training at Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the Canadian Highlanders. He is the only one of the brothers who is married.
Gunner Charles Shackleton has been serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery for three years. After some time stationed in Wales, he is now helping to defend one of the Empire’s most important strongholds.
Stoker George Shackleton followed his eldest brother into the Navy in April 1915. After serving on H.M.S. Ness he is now in port waiting to be posted to another vessel.
Harry Shackleton, the youngest of the brothers, enlisted in the 3/5th Bedfordshire Regiment when he was only 15. After serving for nearly a year at Windsor and Halton Park his age was discovered and he was sent home in January. To his disgust he is now employed sand-carting, but hopes to go to sea. Unfortunately his time in the army means he is prevented from doing so.