Horace Mardle was a member of the English and Scottish Wholesale Societies Ltd in Luton, working at the cocoa works. He had enlisted in 1914, joining the 1st/5th Bedfordshire Regiment as a Private in the gun section. He was sent to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Dardanelles in north-west Turkey. He died on 16 August 1915 as a result of wounds obtained the previous day in battle, aged 31. Mardle was the first member of that co-operative society to be killed in the First World War.
The date of his injuries and death means that it is likely that he took part in the assault on Kiretch Tepe Sirt in Gallipoli, Turkey. Like many battles in Gallipoli during the war, it was a disaster. The British gained very little ground during their initial assault, and were simply driven back the next day. Four thousand British soldiers died during the assault, with very little territorial or strategic gain for the Allies as a result. A similar number of Turks also died in the battle.
A memorial to Mardle can be found at Helles Memorial in Turkey.
Co-operative News, 18 September 1915, page 1261.
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.