22 May 1917 Pte Herbert Killian

Herbert Killian was born in Burnley in the second quarter of 1898

Location of Burnley in the north west of England (cc OpenStreetMap)

Age 13, in 1911, Herbert Killian (or variously Killiven or Killioen) was employed in a nut and bolts works. He lived with his father Michael, a coal miner (hewer), and his mother Margaret, who worked in the cotton mill. Herbert had one older sister and by the time of the 1911 census eight further younger siblings. 

The family of ten were living in a four room house in Burnley in 1911, moving to 16 Morley Street by 1917.  

16 Morley Street, Burnley (August 2009) (c) Google Street View 2021

When Herbert enlisted on 10 September 1914 in the 9th East Lancashire Regiment he was only a little over 16 years old.

On the 13 September he was posted to Sussex, spending two weeks billeted in Lewes before moving down to the 22nd Division training camp at Seaford.

Seaford Camp from the Golf Links. Reproduced by courtesy of Seaford Museum and Heritage Society.

Physical fitness and military training continued here through to September 1915, with a spell in Aldershot in the Spring. 

British troops wearing gas masks in the trenches, Salonika, 1917 (from the National Army Museum collection).

The 22nd Division were sent to Salonika in October 1915 where they remained for the duration of the war. 

Like many, Herbert contracted Malaria. He recovered and had been returned to his regiment when he was wounded in his back, chest and arm in April 1917. Advised of his injuries in a telegram, his parents then learnt of Herbert's death on 22 May 1917.

13766 Private Herbert Killian East Lancashire Regiment 

Pension Card from The Western Front Association digital archive on Fold3 by Ancestry

Research by Jonathan Vernon


‘Herbert Killian’ (1911) England & Wales Census PRO 24826/472 West Ward, Burnley.  Available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk (Accessed: 13 July 2017).

‘Herbert Killian’ (1919) East Lancashire Regiment, Roll of Individuals, Enlisted 6th Lancs, transferred to 9th Lancs. (Shared by michaelholmes581 2015) http://www.ancestry.co.uk (Accessed: 13 July 2017).  

‘Herbert Killian’ (1920) 9th. Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. Roll of Individuals entitled to decorations. Fulwood Barracks, Preston.

‘Herbert Killian’ (1919) UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929. Available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk (Accessed: 13 July 2017).

‘Herbert Killian’ British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920. Available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk (Accessed: 13 July 2017).

‘Herbert Killian’  UK Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919. Available at: http://www.ancestry.co.uk (Accessed: 13 July 2017).

‘Our Fallen Heroes’ Burnley Express, 23 June 1917, p.4. Available at: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (Accessed 19 July 2017).

Seaford Museum & Heritage Society