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Nowell Oxland

The 'New Army' Battalion, the 6th (Service) Battalion The Border Regiment was recruited from the dales, towns and village of Cumberland and Westmorland. These civilian soldiers found themselves thrust into the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915. The Gallipoli campaign was an ill-fated attempt to shorten the war by eliminating Turkey, creating a Balkan alliance against the Central Powers and securing a sea route to Russia. The allied forces suffered some 390,000 casualties in the campaign.
A large number of the men killed have no known grave. The Helles Memorial on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula commemorates those killed but who have no known resting place - almost 21,000 names are inscribed on the monument. The panels list 558 Border Regiment men of the 1st and 6th Battalions.

One of the Border men whose body was identified was Lieutenant Nowell Oxland  who is buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Sulva. His father, the Reverend William Oxland, was Vicar of Saint Augustine's Alston from 1902-17. Nowell was studying at Oxford when war broke out. He joined the 6th Battalion Border Regiment on August 24th 1914 and was commissioned on December 31st, sailing with the Battalion from Liverpool on 30th June 1915.
Lt Oxland took part in the Sulva landings on the Peninsula on August 6th 1915. On August 9th the 6th Battalion was ordered to attack Ismail Oglu Tepe and the windmills south of Anafarta Sagir. In the attack the Turks were occupying Hill 70 (ScimitarHill) and were able were able to pour fire down on the Border men. Before being forced to withdraw 13 officers and 26 men had been killed, 5 officers and 241 wounded, and 131 other ranks were missing. One of the fallen officers was Nowell Oxland. He was aged 24. His death was reported in the Cumberland News on 28th August 1915.
On the transport taking the Battalion to the Mediterranean Nowell had written a poem 'Outward Bound'. In the first verse he recalls his love of Alston Moor. This poem was published in the Times on August 27th 1915.

Outward Bound

There's a waterfall I'm leaving
Running down the rocks in foam,
There's a pool for which I'm grieving
Near the water-ouzel's home,
And it's there that I'd be lying
With the heather close at hand,
And the curlews faintly crying
Mid the wastes of Cumberland

For the full poem and further details on Nowell Oxland see
Alastair F.Robertson Alston Moor and the Great War, 2014
For more information on the Border Regiment and the Gallipoli Campaign see
Ralph May Glory is no Compensation, the Border Regiment at Gallipoli, 1915, 2003

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