Robert Burnell

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Corporal

Service No:           15310

Unit:                     “D” Coy. 7th (Service) Bn. Gloucestershire Regiment

 

Robert was born in Bristol in 1886; he was the 8th child of Richard and Lydia Burnell.  In 1891 the family were living at 16 Mills Meadow Street Bristol Robert’s father was a Maltster from Dulverton, Somerset. In 1901 Robert now 14 was recorded on the census as an errand boy. By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 16 Beconsfield Road, St George, Bristol ; Lydia now widowed and Robert employed as a builders labourer.

7th (Service) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment was raised at Bristol in August 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and joined 39th Brigade 13th (Western) Division which assembled on Salisbury Plain. They moved to Tidworth and and spent the winter in billets in Basingstoke. They moved to Blackdown, Aldershot in February 1915 for final training and sailed from Avonmouth on the 19th of June 1915 landing at Alexandria then moving to Mudros, by the 4th of July to prepare for a landing at Gallipoli. The infantry landed on Cape Helles between the 6th and 16th of July to relieve 29th Division. They returned to Mudros at the end of the month, and the entire Division landed at ANZAC Cove between the 3rd and 5th of August. They were in action in The Battle of Sari Bair, The Battle of Russell's Top and The Battle of Hill 60, at ANZAC. Soon afterwards they transferred from ANZAC to Suvla Bay. They were evacuated from Suvla on the 19th and 20th of  December 1915, and after a weeks rest they moved to the Helles bridgehead. They were in action during The last Turkishh attacks at Helles on the 7th of January 1916 and were evacuated from Helles on the 8th and 9th. The Division concentrated at Port Said, holding forward posts in the Suez Canal defences. On the 12th of February 1916 they moved to Mesopotamia, to join the force being assembled near Sheikh Sa'ad for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. They joined the Tigris Corps on the 27th of March and were in action in the unsucessful attempts to relieve Kut. They were in action in The Battle of Kut al Amara, The capture of the Hai Salient, he capture of Dahra Bend and The passage of the Diyala, in the pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad. Units of the Division were the first troops to enter Baghdad, when it fell on the 11 March 1917. The Division then joined "Marshall's Column" and pushed north across Iraq, fighting at Delli 'Abbas, Duqma, Nahr Kalis, crossing the 'Adhaim on the 18 April and fighting at Shatt al 'Adhaim. Later in the year they were in action in the Second and Third Actions of Jabal Hamrin and fought at Tuz Khurmatli the following April. By the 28th of May 1918, Divisional HQ had moved to Dawalib and remained there until the end of the war, enduring extreme summer temperatures. In July 1918, 39th Brigade was detached and joined the North Persia Force which was in Transcaspia by October 1918.

Cpl. Robert Burnell was killed in action in Gallipoli on 8th August 1915 , 5 officers and many other ranks of 7th Bn. were killed or died of wounds received in action at Chunuk Bair on that day.

Robert has no know grave and is remembered with honour on the Helles Memorial; Panel 101 to 104. The memorial records the names of 20926 officers & men killed at Gallipoli no fewer than 269 were from 7th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. 

Image courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Robert was awarded the 1915 Star, The  British War Medal & Victory Medal, it is not known if these we claimed by his next of kin.

References 

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War

1891, 1901 & 1911 UK household census