2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment. Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the London Gazette of 11 March 1916. Anness was a native of Nelson, Lancashire.
Photo courtesy of Steve Bury.
The Colne and Nelson Times of 12 January 1917 reported: -
Three Casualties in Colne Family: One brother Killed and Two Wounded.
The Anness family of Colne, have rendered noble service for their King and Country. Of four brother who entered His Majesties Forces, one has paid the supreme sacrifice, one, since wounded, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal; a third is still suffering from wounds received in action; and a fourth, Private Leonard Anness, is serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France. Appended are details of the three brothers referred to above.
Information has been recently received that Gunner Alfred Anness, of the Royal Field Artillery, formerly of 50, Allendale Street, Colne, has died from wounds received in action in France. The deceased soldier enlisted on 4 january 1915, and went to France the following September. He was 25 years of age, and prior to enlisting, was employed as a weaver at Messrs. Pilling Ltd. Riverside Mill, Colne. Private Anness's fiancé, Miss Felton, of Bridgetown, Cannock, Staffordshire, has received the following letter from the deceased soldier's officer: - Dear Miss Felton, I am very sorry to have to communicate to you the death of Gunner Alfred Anness in action. Ever since I have been with the battery I have had him as my servant, and he has always proved to be devoted to this duty, and I have found him a very good and willing servant. I am sending you all the possessions he had with him at the time, and enclose a list. If there is anything I can do for you, if you let me know, I will do it for you. Again expressing my deep sympathy with you in your loss. William R. Scott, R.F.A. In answer to a request she received a second letter. In this the same officer wrote: - Dear Miss Felton, I expect you think I am never going to give you the information you require, but I have not had the time. I am very sorry you did not get all of Gunner Anness's effects, but as I packed them all myself I know they left here quite safely. I expect it was opened at the base, and as his pay book was taken out, it is quite probable. He is buried in the Sunken Road Cemetery, near ------. At the time of his death he was standing, with two other servants and the cook, when a shrapnel shell fell about five yards from them, wounding all four of them. We immediately did what we could for them, and three of them including Gunner Anness, who were all very badly wounded, were carried to a field dressing station. Anness and one of the other servants died as soon as they arrived there. If there is anything else I can do for you let me know. Hope you are feeling better than you were at first. I remain, sincerely, W.K. Scott.
As stated in a previous issue of the "Times", Sergeant Benjamin Anness, of the East Lancashire Regiment, whose home is at 15, Lower Green, Colne, was seriously wounded in the advance of July last year. Sergeant Anness is 33 years of age, and has been in the army for 14 years. At the outbreak of war he was a time expired man from the Scots Guards, and he re-enlisted into the East Lancashire's. He has been out in France and Belgium since October 1914. Before the war he was employed as a flesher at Messrs. Sagar's Leather Works, Cottontree. Early last year Sergeant Anness was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for gallant service, "On 15 September 1915, he went out under fire and tried to rescue a lieutenant and a fellow soldier. Both the officer and private had been shot, and Sergeant Anness went out and carried them a considerable distance, the enemy firing upon him all the while. The soldier died on the way, and the officer died shortly after Sergeant Anness had carried him near to the dug-outs".
The third brother Sergeant George Anness, of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment, has been wounded, and is now in hospital in Chichester. The none commissioned officer was called up as a reservist at the outbreak of war. He was the 31 years of age, and was sent to France in April, 1915. He had only been on active service for a month when he was wounded and gassed at Hill 60, necessitating his removal to hospital in Newcastle. He remained in England until the end of August of the same year, when he was drafted to the Dardanelles. He was there until the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula, when he was ordered with his regiment to Egypt for a rest. July 1916, again saw Sergeant Anness in France, where he saw heavy fighting at the commencement of the "Big Push". In the latter end of September he received his third wound, in the leg, the secong being received in the Dardanelles, when a bullet passed through his coat collar and grazed his neck. Sergeant Annes is unmarried and formerly resided with his elder brother at Cottontree.
The Colne and Nelson Times of 22 February 1918 reported the death in action of Sergeant George Anness.
The citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal published in the London Gazette reads, "For consistent good work. He has set a fine example of courage and energy, and has led many important patrols".