Meaburn Staniland

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Meaburn Staniland
Two soldiers in uniform with backs to the camera, looking out of a trench
Captain Meaburn Staniland (left), of Wyberton, taking ranges
Died 29 July 1915(1915-07-29) (aged 36)
Resting place Sint-Jan-Baptistkerk, Dranouter
Education Boston Grammar School (1890s)
Occupation Solicitor, Town Clerk
Spouse Frances Sophia
Children John Meaburn Staniland
Parents Robert William Staniland
Relatives Geoffrey Staniland (brother), Meaburn Staniland (grandfather)

Meaburn Staniland attended Boston Grammar School in the 1890’s, and joined the Old Bostonian Club when it was founded in 1900.

In the years following school, Meaburn engaged widely in sport. He rowed for Boston Rowing Club, was captain of Boston Cricket Club, enjoyed hunting and was a fine tennis player, winning many open tournaments.

Their father was the Town Clerk of the Boston Borough and also a Lieutenant Colonel in C Company of the Boston Volunteers, a local Territorial Army unit.

Meaburn followed in his father’s footsteps, succeeding him as Town Clerk. Both he and brother joined the Territorial Army and both reached officer ranks in the 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

At the end of the Boer War, Meaburn Staniland was one of the "Gallant Eight" to whom freedom of the borough of Boston was granted.

Soon after war broke out in August 1914, the Regiment was posted to France eventually to face the hell of the trenches.

Meaburn was a Company Commander with the rank of Captain. He and his men were in the front line trenches in July 1915, enduring constant shelling, trench mortar bombs and ‘whiz-bangs’. Casualties were heavy.

On the early morning of Thursday 29th July 1915, just after dawn, he made his customary round of the sentry posts of his company. At each position he stood up on the fire step and, with great caution, peered across no-mans-land to assess enemy positions. At three o’clock that morning, he reached an advanced position of the trench, occupied by Lance Corporal Short and his section. Meaburn stepped up on to the fire platform and raised his head above the parapet. Within a second, a German sniper’s bullet struck him full in the face and he fell back on the sandbags behind. His men made great efforts to help him, but within three minutes he had died.

Captain Robert Stanton Fieldsend's war diary for for 29th July 1915 "( Location fire trenches 49S near Sanctuary Wood)- Thursday 29 July. Fine day. In the early morning we were heavily bombed with trench mortars and 'sausages' ( black cylinders about 18" long and 6" in diameter, filled with high explosive and a time fuse). Our filed artillery replied very effectively and eventually quietened them. Captain Staniland and Lieut. Fox of the 4th Lincolns were killed. Two of my men Dixon and Fish were wounded, also one of the 7th Lincolns."[1]

Meaburn was probably fighting at Hooge in World War I which is in Ypres (Belgium) when he died. King George V had inspected his division on 19th February 1915.

The mystery of Meaburn's death is why he was buried in the same churchyard at Dranouter as his brother, Geoffrey, when he died quite a distance away and three months later. Perhaps he asked to be buried next to his brother as a dying wish or maybe his men arranged it for him, knowing about his brother?

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