5539 Sergeant Billie Glasgow 1st East Lancashire Regiment

(All research by Andrew Mackay)

Billy was born in Rawtenstall on the 28th August 1892, and resided at, 7 Whittlefield Street, Burnley, the only son of Mr William & Mrs Lily Glasgow

While he was in the Plugstreet area (Belgium) he visited the town of Poperinghe in the rear area were the troops could rest up. Poperinghe was the home of the famour Talbot house (Toc H) as described below

In 1915 army chaplain the Reverend Phillip Byard (Tubby) Clayton was sent to France and then on to the town of Poperinge in Belgium. Sitting a few miles back from the trenches around Ypres (nowadays known by its Flemish name Ieper), Pops – as the soldiers called it – was a busy transfer station where troops on their way to and from the battlefields of Flanders were billeted. Clayton, universally known as Tubby, was instructed by his senior chaplain, Neville Talbot, to set up some sort of rest house for the troops.

Renting a hop merchant’s house – temporarily vacated by its owner - to use as his base, Tubby decided to steer away from the traditional church club and set up an Everyman’s House. It was named Talbot House in honour of Gilbert Talbot (Neville’s brother) who had been killed earlier in the year. Of course, soldiers being soldiers, Talbot House soon became known by its initials TH, and then, in the radio signallers’ parlance of the day as Toc H. It opened on 11 Dec 1915.

Tubby ensured the house was open to men and officers alike. He created a library where soldiers could check-out a book by leaving their cap behind as a ticket. Tubby was a shrewd man and knew that no soldier would dare report for duty without a cap so he always got his books back. There was a large kitchen where much tea was consumed, a beautiful walled garden where men could sit and forget about the war for a while, and eventually, in the attic hop loft, a chapel where regular services were held. It was this chapel or Upper Room which became a focal point for many and was known as the ‘heart’ of the House. Some had their confirmation here and many attended their first communion in this special place. Sadly, for many, their last communion would be held here.
For most of the Great War Talbot House offered an oasis of sanity to the men passing through Poperinge. Not only could they socialise but Tubby also organised debates and concerts. Men could post messages for their missing comrades and hope they too might stop at Talbot House and see them. What was clear though was that the Talbot House promoted a special feeling of fellowship with those who rested there awhile.

Billy posted such a message asking to meet up with his friends (Ned Briggs or Billy Greenwood).

Click on his message below for details of his wartime service


Toc H continues to this day and their site can be visited at



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