Vipond Vickers Swindle

Vipond Vickers Swindle
Born at Keswick in 1895, Vipond's first name was the surname of his great grandmother and came to him via his grandfather. He was one of two sons and one daughter born to Norman and Mary (née Routledge). Vipond's father's occupation was originally a chemist. In 1895 he was called to court after selling carbolic acid to a woman who then used it to commit suicide. By 1901 the family lived in Castle Street, Clitheroe, Vipond's father occupied as a publican. The family employed a domestic cook.

Vipond's father died late in 1901, aged 44yrs, when Vipond was aged 6yrs. The family lived at 3 Blencathra Street, Keswick by 1911. Vipond's mother ran a grocery shop from the house.

It's unclear what brought Vipond to St Ives. He enlisted in St Ives with the Hunts Cyclists on 14 December 1914 and the Hunts Post listed him as enrolled on 4 June 1915. His initial service was most likely coastal defence in Lincolnshire. At some point he transferred to the 1st/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.

The Battle of Passchendaele was launched in the early hours of 31 July 1917. British and Canadian soldiers found themselves fighting not only the Germans, but a quagmire of stinking mud that swallowed up men, horses and tanks. After three months of brutal warfare, by November 1917 one third of a million British and Allied soldiers had been killed or wounded in some of the most horrific trench warfare.

Passchendaele
The treacherous conditions that faced British soldiers at Passchendaele
After a few days rest and training, on Thursday 16 August 1917 Vipond's Company moved up to the front ready for an attack on Hillock Farm, St Julian, part of the Battle of Langemarck. By 4.00am they were all in position and at 4.45am they promptly arose from muddy holes to advance on German positions, a strong artillery barrage landing just ahead of them for protection.

There was little enemy fire for the first two hundred yards. Then hit by deadly machine gun and rifle fire, the Company's advance was halted. Seeking protection behind concrete shelters, each attempt to advance resulted in more casualties until most of the Company's twelve officers were dead or injured. By evening there had been no further progress.

Vipond was killed in action on this day, aged 22yrs. Identified by the disc he was wearing, he is buried at Poelcapelle British Cemetery, Belgium and also commemorated on Keswick War Memorial. There was no report of Vipond's death in the Hunts Post.

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Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1901 Census
1911 Census
Medal Rolls Index Card
War diary, 1st/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Burial return
Grave registration report form
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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