Yole R.C.


5115(S) Sapper R.C. Yole, Royal Marines Divisional Engineers, Royal Naval Division, Royal Marines was killed in action 10 December 1915 and is buried at Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Cape Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey.[1]  He was 28 years old and is commemorated on the Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaques in St. John the Baptist Church, Lynesack and Butterknowle Village Hall, formerly in South Side Methodist Chapel.

Family Details

Richards Clarence Yole was born 5 November 1897 [2] the son of John Henry and Emma Yole.  There were at least 8 children, all born within the Parish of Lynesack and Softley: [3]

  • Ada bc.1885
  • John H. bc.1886
  • Richard Clarence born 1897
  • Arthur bc.1890
  • Mary Ann bc.1892
  • Flora bc.1893
  • Edwin bc.1896
  • Vincent bc.1898

In 1891, the family lived at South Side near Butterknowle in the Parish of Lynesack and Softley.  John Henry Yole was born in Cornwall and worked as an insurance agent and was a Methodist Local Preacher.[4]  In 1879, John Henry married Emma Makepeace[5] born in Staindrop, Co Durham.  By 1901, John Henry was still an insurance agent and 14 year old John worked as a labourer and 13 year old Richards was employed as a coal miner (screener).[6]  By 1911, the family lived at Horsley Terrace, Butterknowle where John Henry was an insurance agent working for the Prudential Assurance Co., 23 year old Richard worked as a coal miner (hewer), Arthur worked at the Co-operative Store as a leather cutter in the boot and shoe department, Mary Ann was a school teacher assistant and Edwin was an apprentice in a drapery business.[7]

Service Details

Richard Yole enlisted 29 July 1915 and was allocated the regimental number Deal/5115/S.  He was drafted to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force 24 October 1915 and joined the 3rd Field Company, Divisional Engineers 22 November 1915.[8]

The Royal Naval Division (RND) was formed at the outbreak of war and composed largely of surplus Royal Navy reserves. The Division participated in the defence of Antwerp in late 1914.  Then it was shipped to Egypt prior to serving at Gallipoli where it fought on both the ANZAC and Helles battlefields.  By the end of the campaign casualties were such that the division no longer contained a significant number of naval servicemen. [9]

The 8 month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium and to open the supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.  The Allies landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula 25-26 April 1915.  The 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as ANZAC.  At Helles, the 29th Division landed troops ar “S”, “V”, “W”, “X” and “Y” Beaches, 5 small coves at or near the southern end of the peninsula.  The landing at “Y” Beach was carried out by the 1st King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Plymouth Battalion of the RND but these troops were forced to re-embark the following day.  Under very severe fire 1st Lancashire Fusiliers landed on “W” Beach and cut their way through the wire entanglements and trenches to the edge of the cliff.  The beach became known as Lancashire Landing.[10]  The evacuation took place between 20 December 1915 and 9 January 1916.

5115(S) Sapper R.C. Yole was killed in action 10 December 1915. [11]  The service record and the war diary of the No. 3 Field Company, RE has not been researched therefore the exact circumstances of Sapper R.C. Yole’s death remain unknown.  There was no battle in progress at this time and he was the only serviceman to be killed on this date. [12]  The RM Grave Roll records that the cause of death as: “killed or died as a result of enemy action.”  It is likely that he died as a result of sniper action or shell fire.

Sapper R.C. Yole would have been awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.


Sapper R.C. Yole is buried at grave reference H.66 Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Cape Helles, Gallipoli, Turkey.  There are 1,237 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery.[13]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919

[3] 1891, 1901 & 1911 census records

[4] 1891 census

[5] England & Wales Marriage Index Vol.10a p.248 Auckland 1879 Q2

[6] 1901 census

[7] 1911 census

[8] GB Royal Naval Division Casualties of the Great War 1914-1924

[9] En. Wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=63rd_(Royal_Naval)_Division&printable=yes

[10] CWGC

[11] CWGC

[12] http://www.naval-history.net/WW1Battle1503Daeranelles4.htm

[13] CWGC


YOLE R.C. Press photo

Press photo

YOLE R.C.  Headstone


Southside Primitive Methodist Chapel Memorial Plaque

Southside Primitive Methodist Chapel
Memorial Plaque

One thought on “Yole R.C.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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