Private 1468 Robert Poole
Divisional Ammunition Column Royal Field Artillery.
Died 8thOctober 1918.
Son of John and Mary of 64 Park Lane. (Long row)
They had 9 children, John William, Sarah, George, Laura, Robert, Stanley, Ella, Walter, and Doris.
Before enlisting he was employed as a miner at Lord Vernon’s collieries.
“Mr John Poole has received news that his son Robert Poole. Ammunition Column R.F. A has died in Salonica on October 8thfrom bronco-pneumonia. Driver Poole who was 27 years of age, joined the colours shortly after the outbreak of war. Unfortunately, he has had many attacks of illness whilst on active service in Salonica.”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that Robert served in the 19thDivision, Ammunition Column. However, the 19thDivision did not serve in Salonica, so this is Obviously a mistake, therefore it is possible that he actually served in either the 22nd27thor 28thDivision Ammunition Columns who were still in Salonica late 1918. Robert was a lorry driver carrying ammunition for the Division from shore dumps in the reserve areas towards the front line.
At the invitation of the Greek Prime Minister, M.Venizelos, Salonika (now Thessalonika) was occupied by three French Divisions and the 10th (Irish) Division from Gallipoli in October 1915. Other French and Commonwealth forces landed during the year and in the summer of 1916, they were joined by Russian and Italian troops. In August 1916, a Greek revolution broke out at Salonika, with the result that the Greek National Army came into the war on the Allied side. The town was the base of the British Salonika Force and it contained, from time to time, eighteen general and stationary hospitals. Three of these hospitals were Canadian,
although there were no other Canadian units in the force. The British cemetery at Mikra was opened in April 1917, remaining in use until 1920. The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when graves were brought in from a number of burial grounds in the area.
Bulgaria attacked Serbia in October 1915. This new threat led Serbia to appeal to the British and French governments for military assistance. At the same time Greece asked the Allies for help with their treaty obligations to Serbia. The British and French sent a small force which began landing at the Greek port of Salonika (Thessalonika) at the end of October. They advanced into Macedonia but were too late to help the Serbs who had to retreat through the Albanian mountains. The Allies then withdrew back to Salonika and set up an entrenchment camp around the town known as the "Bird cage" and waited for the Bulgarians to attack. The Bulgarians did not advance on Salonika, but instead consolidated their gains in Macedonia.
The British continued to build up their forces, and by early 1916 the force had increased from just the 10th(Irish) Division to the 10th, 22nd, 26th, 27th and 28th Divisions.
The Allies advanced up to the Serbian frontier and liberated Monastir. Trench warfare then began. The Allies attacked in the spring of 1917 but failed to break through. However, in September 1918 they attacked again and within two weeks had obtained Bulgaria's unconditional surrender.
The campaign in Macedonia was considered by many to be a "side-show". The Allied army was known back home as the "Gardeners of Salonika" due to the apparent lack of activity and people would comment "If you want a holiday, go to Salonika".
Despite the view of those at home, life in Macedonia was far from easy. The British Salonika Force not only had to cope with the extremes in temperature but also malaria. In 1916 it was possible to evacuate the most serious cases. However, with the introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare in April 1917 this was no longer possible. Consequently, the cases of malaria soared as the infected men were compelled to stay in Macedonia. Hospital admissions in 1917 alone were 63,396 out of a strength of about 100,000 men.
The total casualties for the Salonica campaign 23,787 in Battle, 502,543 Non-battle.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on Robert