Sunday 31 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 31st July 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line at Longueval and Delville Wood in the aftermath of an unsuccessful attack by other troops, considerable enemy sniping and shelling
  • 22235 Private Francis BOLTON, born Amersham Common [Buckinghamshire], resided West Kilburn [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8751 Lance Corporal George BROWN, born Wymington, resided Rushden [Northamptonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7759 Private George Reginald BROWN, 26, son of Thomas Charles and Martha Brown of Chicheley [Buckinghamshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/8638 Private Samuel DARNELL, 37, born Cockayne Hatley, resided Fulbourn [Cambridgeshire], son of Samuel and Tamar Darnell of Upper Caldecote ; husband of Lily Poulter (ex-Darnell) of 64 Huron Road, Goderich [Ontario] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20228 Private Ernest John ENDERSBY, 36, born Girtford, husband of Elizabeth of Pym's Cottages, Bedford Road, Sandy (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 13607 Private Walter FRANKLIN, born and resided Hatfield [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15565 Private Edward GAME, born High Cross [Hertfordshire], resided Buntingford [Hertfordshire] (Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval)
  • 15414 Private Frederick GILBEY, 24, son of Arthur Gilbey of Buckland [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20264 Private Albert Edward GREENAWAY, 33, son of Elijah and Elizabeth Greenaway of Lambourne [Essex]; husband of Lillie of Augusta Cottage, Hoe Lane, Lambourne; his brother George also fell (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9853 Lance Corporal Ernest LOVE, 21, B Company, son of George and Lydia Love of 1 The Square, Nelson Street, Northampton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Arthur Norris MARSHALL, son of William Norris and Adela Frances Marshall of Newent [Gloucestershire], husband of Grace (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14102 Corporal John PRIME, 23, born and resided Slip End, son of John and Eliza Prime (London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval)
  • 10422 Private Sydney James SEARLE, born and resided Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14947 Private Geoffrey SLATER, 21, son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Slater of Church End, Barley [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15438 Private Charles Alfred STREET, born Layston [Hertfordshire], resided Buntingford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

8th Battalion: relieved overnight to billets at Poperinghe
  • 19680 Private Frederick COULMAN, 35, C Company, son of Rebecca Coulman of 1 Newhall Street, Islington [London]; husband of Minnie of 345 Pickering Street, Islington (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres)

9th Battalion
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant David Newbold GAUSSEN, 23, attached 1st Battalion, son of Rev Charles E and Mary Gaussen of Fairview Cottage, Lord’s Well Lane, Crowborough [Sussex] (Dernancourt Communal Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 4/6643 Sergeant Sydney GLEAVE, born Edmonton [Middlesex], resided Enfield Wash [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8027 Lance Corporal William GOING, born Woburn, resided Leighton Buzzard (Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé)

6th Battalion

  • 12363 Private Ernest John BRUCE, 28, born Shoreditch [London], son of George and Anna Maria Bruce of 31 Nicholas Street, Hoxton [London] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Day Thirty One on the Somme

Monday 31st July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

We understand that after the costly action yesterday at Guillemont 30th Division (which has been in action since the beginning of the month, taking Montauban on the first day of this Battle of the Somme and heavily involved in the fighting at Trônes Wood in the second week, was relieved by 55th Division last night.

Today Major-General Shea had the 2nd Bedfords drawn up and addressed them as follows: "I have come here this morning to thank you all for the way that you fought yesterday. It may seem to most of you that after doing all you could, you were only successful in capturing a small amount of ground.
This however does not in any way represent the results of your hard fighting.
It came to my knowledge only this morning, that eleven of the freshest German Battalions (The 12th Bavarian Reserve) had just been brought up on the front which you attacked”.

“There were only eight battalions actually fighting for the Division, and judging from the number of prisoners taken, and the number of casualties known to have been inflicted on the enemy, it is clear that you were instrumental in completely preventing what would have been a very strong counter attack on the Bantams(1) in Trônes Wood”.

“The Army Commander has told me to thank you for him, and to his thanks I add mine and my hearty congratulations”.

“Colonel Poyntz I congratulate you on your Battalion and on your men."

I have heard from the adjutant of 1st Bedfords that at 6.45 yesterday evening orders were received to reinforce 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers holding the line in Longueval with the 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment in support. The leading platoon moved off at 6.53 p.m. and reached Longueval at 7.45 p.m. relieving the Royal West Kents

At 10.12 p.m., the commanding officer of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. reported that his men were retiring from the front line and A and C Companies were directed to proceed with guides to hold and consolidate this line. It was proposed to withdraw KOSB into reserve at dawn. Just after midnight the enemy began an intense bombardment on this already desolate and churned-up place and by 2.30 all companies were reporting heavy casualties including two officers killed and a number wounded.

All day snipers and machine gunners prevented the battalion establishing the line as had been ordered. Any movement attracted considerable shell-fire. Nevertheless the battalion held firm in the positions it had managed to reach until six o’clock this evening when the 1st Norfolks relieved both the shattered KOSB and the forward companies of the Bedfords who moved back to a reserve position east the remains of Longueval church. It is hoped that the battalion will be completely relieved tonight.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd

(1) 35th Division, so-called because all men were under the normal height for soldiers in the British Army of 5 feet 3 inches.

(2) Second Lieutenant A N Marshall and Second Lieutenant D N Gaussen. Gaussen is buried at Gaussen Communal Cemetery but Marshall has no known grave at is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 30th July 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line near Longueval consolidating after an unsuccessful attack by other troops
  • 26657 Private Arthur Edward GRIMWOOD, born and resided Great Bricett [Suffolk] (Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval)
  • 26648 Private Sargent HORREX, 24, son of John and Betsey Horrex of The Chequers Inn, Lakenheath [Suffolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 26626 Private Walter KNOCK, born and resided Bildeston[ Suffolk] (Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval)
  • 26418 Private Charles NICE, 26, born and resided Rougham [Suffolk], son of Arthur and Alice Nice of Thetford Road, Ixworth [Suffolk] (Thiepval Memorial)

2nd Battalion: Battle of the Somme: successful attack on Maltzkorn Farm and abortive attack on Guillemont

  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Robert Francis Cooper BALLARD, 20, son of George Robert and Ada Louisa Ballard of Lyndale, Surbiton [Surrey] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 4/6900 Private John BARKER, 18, born Takeley [Essex], son of John and Elizabeth Kate Barker of Brickend, Broxted [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18182 Private Rufus Ernest BOWYER, born Stevington, resided Harrowden (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 25529 Private Gerald Sidney BRUNTON, 21, born Fakenham [Norfolk], son of Frederick William and Martha Elizabeth Brunton of 53 Park Street, Luton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27214 Private Sidney George CADY, born Kelsale [Suffolk], resided Saxmundham [Suffolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 29052 Private Joseph CAMPBELL, 26, son of William and Emma Campbell of 7 Muspole Street, Norwich [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 6677 Sergeant George CARTER, 30, C Company, born and resided Greenwich [London], son of Elizabeth Carter of 16 Park Road, South Farnborough [Hampshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 16950 Private George CARTER, 21, born and resided Welwyn [Hertfordshire], brother of Mrs E E Brunton of Moor Cottage, Welwyn (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9864 Lance Corporal Alfred CHAPMAN, born Cambridge, resided Cherry Hinton [Cambridgeshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20522 Private Albert John CLARK, 20, born Stepney [London], son of Thomas Gibbs and Catherine Clark of Red House Road,  Ware [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 22914 Private Thomas Arthur COOK, born Clitheroe [Lancashire], resided Barrowford [Lancashire] (Quarry Cemetery, Montauban)
  • 17831 Private Alfred John COVINGTON, 24, son of Caleb and Rosina Covington of 2 Council Cottages, Roxton, his brother Wilfred was killed with the battalion on 12th October 1916 (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20466 Private George CROCKETT, 19, son of Jesse Crickett of 22 Pleasant Row, Akeman Street, Tring [Hertfordshire] (Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille)
  • 9664 Private Francis Ernest DAWKS, Godmanchester [Huntingdonshire], resided Ramsey Saint Mary's [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 4/6668 Private George DRAPER, 20, son of Rebecca Draper of 35 Haycroft Road, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18795 Private Herbert James EDWARDS, born Tewin [Hertfordshire], resided Stapleford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7041 Lance Sergeant William EGGLETON, 21, son of John and Sarah Eggleton of 69 Heath Road, Leighton Buzzard (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12712 Lance Corporal William FELSTEAD, 22, born Leyton [Essex], son of M A Felstead of 24 Saint John's Avenue, Harlow [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 17523 Private Alfred FORDER, 30, son of Alfred and Emma of 55 Haycroft Road, Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9647 Corporal Donald McPherson FRASER, 24, born Nainital [Uttarakhand], resided Hounslow [Middlesex], son of John McPherson and Isabel Bloomfield Fraser (Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz)
  • 9178 Acting Corporal Leonard James FYNN MM, born Cardiff [Glamorgan], resided Aberkenfig [Glamorgan] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9732 Corporal Harry HANCOCK, 23, son of Alfred and Charlotte Hancock of 6 Semilong Road, Northampton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19110 Private William Robert HAYES, born Hornsey [Middlesex], resided Harringay [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20907 Private James Henry HEATHFIELD, born and resided Campton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12859 Private William Charles HOOKER, born and resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19703 Private Lawrence William HUCKLE, born and resided Sandy (Quarry Cemetery, Montauban)
  • 17741 Lance Corporal Walter Thomas HURL, 27, son of Arthur and Emma Maria Hurl of The Broadway,  Saint Ives [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 16483 Acting Sergeant George Henry KELLY MM, 29, born and resided Stapleford [Hertfordshire], son of John and Emma Kelly (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7428 Private Thomas George KEMPSTER, 19, born and resided Leighton Buzzard, son of W Kempster (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 17994 Private Frederick Robert KING, 21, born and resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire], son of Charles and Elizabeth King of Luffenhall [Hertfordshire] (AIF Burial Ground, Flers)
  • 14241 Lance Corporal Charles KITCHENER, 22, born Rotherhithe [London], resided Stotfold (Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont)
  • 14467 Private Patrick LEFFEY, born Galway [Ireland] (Serre Road Cemetery No. 2)
  • 10043 Private William LINGER, born Sandridge [Hertfordshire], resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 7918 Private Arthur MELLOR, 29, born Daventry [Northamptonshire], husband of Nellie of 3 Bath Square, Northampton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 26683 Private Arthur Benjamin NICHOLLS, 20, born Simpson [Buckinghamshire], resided Ampthill, son of Harry S and Annie Nicholls of Bury Ware, Lidlington (Serre Road Cemetery No. 2)
  • 22266 Private Albert William OSGOOD, 20, son of John and Susan Osgood of 11 Trinity Street, Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire] (Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont)
  • 26882 Lance Corporal Clarence J Upson PARKER, born Grundisborough [Suffolk], resided Tuddenham [Suffolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 4/6915 Private Herbert SADGROVE, born Shepreth [Cambridgeshire], resided Twickenham [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20818 Private Sidney SHARP, 31, born Breachwood Green [Hertfordshire], son of Herbert and Emily Sharp of 9 Council Cottages, Preston [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9909 Sergeant Levi SMITH, 24, born Whaplode [Lincolnshire], son of Cornelius and Alice Elizabeth Spring of 107 Commercial Road, Spalding [Lincolnshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 17746 Private William Alfred THODY, 27, son of Alfred and Elizabeth Thody of Cotton End (Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz)
  • 28850 Private Charles Zechariah TIDMAN, 32, born Ranworth [Norfolk], son of Edward and Emily Tidman of 2 Scotts Corner, Panxworth [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10452 Private Alfred Edward USHERWOOD, C Company, born Kentish Town [London], resided Finsbury Park [London], brother of E Usherwood of 31 Abbotsford Avenue, South Tottenham (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20968 Private William WALDOCK, born and resided Great Wymondley [Hertfordshire] (AIF Burial Ground, Flers)
  • 21062 Private John WATSON, 24, ex-55030 Royal Garrison Artillery, born Houghton-le-Spring [Durham], resided North Shields [Northumberland], son of Charles and Ursula Watson of 12 Osborne Road, Spennymoor [Durham] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9831 Private Albert Charles WATTS, 33, son of M H Watts of 17 Gas Street, Cambridge (Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz)

Day Thirty on the Somme

Sunday 30th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the attack on Guillemont, anticipated since 16th of this month, has got underway. This attack has been undertaken by 30th Division, including 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Having spoken with the Battalion’s adjutant it seems they were in reserve for the attack which was spear-headed by 19th and 20th Battalions, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment with 17th Liverpools in support. The attack was made in conjunction with an attack by the French, 30th Division being the most right-hand units of the British Expeditionary Force in France. A Company of the Bedfords, however, was part of the assaulting troops. As well as the attack on the village, 89th Brigade of 30th Division attacked Falfemont Farm, south-east of the village. On the other side of 90th Brigade Guillemont station and trenches north-west of the village were attacked by 5th Brigade of 2nd Division.

The attack began at 4.45 am and A Company, under Lieutenant White, operating with the French 153rd Regiment on its right flank it advanced north and seized Maltz Horn Farm(1) without opposition. This place was taken on 8th July but subsequently abandoned. There is a rumour that Lieutenant White and his French counterpart advanced arm-in-arm for part of the way, though I have not been able to verify this. The attack was a brilliant success, from seventy to eighty Germans being killed in the Maltz Horn Trench in front of the farm and one prisoner taken. The farm was found to be unoccupied. Once the position was taken the company rejoined the rest of the battalion in reserve and the farm was abandoned. The company lost about thirty men killed and wounded in this small operation, including Lieutenant H C Lovely, who was wounded.

Lieutenant Lovely

The main attack by the Liverpools was greatly hampered by a German bombardment last night and a dense fog this morning and about 6.30 am reinforcements were called for. B and C Companies of the Bedfords, accordingly moved out, but the Commanding Officer of 17th Liverpools stopped them from going too far as he had no word from his fellow commanders of the two assaulting battalions as to where exactly the support was needed. So the two companies stayed at the 17th Liverpools’ headquarters. Fifteen minutes later Lieutenant H A Chamen was seriously wounded(2).

Lieutenant Chamen

At 9 o’clock Lieutenant J T Coe and Lieutenant A L Gordon were both wounded and an hour later Lieutenant White again led A Company off to get back in contact with the French. Their attack had also been held up and they were digging in, so A Company dug in on their flank, just south of Maltz Horn Farm. Second Lieutenant F A Sloan was wounded just before midday.

Second Lieutenant Sloan

About 1.30 this afternoon it became clear that the attack on Guillemont had stalled and the Bedfords were ordered to consolidate a line along the low ridge from a small wood called Arrowhead Copse, just short of Guillemont, east to the French left wing. This they did, digging a new trench about 300 yards long. It is anticipated that the battalion will be relieved tonight, having suffered 6 officers and 186 other ranks dead and wounded.

I have just heard that this morning’s attack succeeded in entering Guillemont. However, due to the inability to communicate due to fog and telephone wires being cut Major-General Shea commanding the division took the decision to consolidate the line from the west side of Guillemont south-west to Maltz Horn Farm rather than losing what had been gained to any German counter-attack. The attack by 2nd Division on the north-west of Guillemont was a complete failure. The final line now extends from Maltz Horn Farm, to the road running south from Guillemont to Hardecourt, then north-west to Arrowhead Copse.

To assist the attack on Guillemont subsidiary attacks were made to the north-west at Longueval and Delville Wood again. This attack was confused and extremely costly and seems to have gained little or nothing. The fighting in this area may be described, not melodramatically, as a blood-bath and one of the Battalions of 5th Division is reported to have been reduced from 1,000 at full strength to just 175.

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) The proper name was Maltzkorn Farm after its founder, an 18th century German called Paul Maltzkorn. Today the farm buildings are long gone but a large crucifix stands on the site.
(2) Aged 22, he died on 1st August and is buried at Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension.

Friday 29 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 29th July 1916

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 20270 Private James Victor CONSTABLE, 19, son of Mrs Collins (ex-Constable) of 11 Pageant Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Dernancourt Communal Cemetery)

2nd Battalion
  • 10592 Private Dennis ADAMS, 26, born King's Walden [Hertfordshire], son of Charles and Jane Adams of Rosaline, Offa Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Saint Albans (Hatfield Road) Cemetery)

6th Battalion

  • 12131 Corporal Arthur HARSER, 29, born London, resided Brixton [London] (Brighton City (Bear Road) Cemetery)
  • 14144 Private Bert HOLES, 25, born and resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire], son of George and Maria Holes of Walkern [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)
  • 17424 Private Clifton OSLER, 23, son of Frank and Jane Osler of Bedmond [Hertfordshire] (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)

Day Twenty Nine on the Somme

Saturday 29th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

In the ruins of Delville Wood there has been some smaller scale activity today than of late. We are given to understand that an advance of 500 yards has been made in the west of the wood and a smaller advance in the east. The 1st Bedfords have taken no part, their brigade having been withdrawn yesterday.

The main fighting today has been taking place to the north-west on the high ground around Pozières. An attack has been made by 2nd Australian Division and 23rd British Division. The attack was due to start just after midnight but an incessant German bombardment meant that the Australians were late in starting and when they did attack they were met by a wall of machine-gun fire, 5th Australian Brigade does not seem to have been able to leave its front line trenches whilst 7th Brigade found German barbed wire uncut. 6th Australian Brigade was able to make some slight progress, we believe. 23rd Division got bogged down in a bomb-lobbing contest with its German opponents.

A rumour is doing the rounds that the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Douglas Haig, is not happy with the performance of the Australians, telling their Corps commander, General Birdwood: “You’re not fighting Bashi-Bazouks(1) now” or words to that effect. Given that the Australians seem to resent any form of criticism at any time from High Command, such a rumour, whether true or not, will not do the effort in general any good.

(1) Turkish soldiers – a reference to the fighting at Gallipoli the previous year.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 28th July 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: front line at Potijze Wood under shellfire
  • 22051 Private Charles BUSHBY, born and resided Harlington (Potijze Château Wood Cemetery)
  • 20072 Private Sidney SHEPHERD, born and resided Leighton Buzzard (Potijze Château Wood Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 14483 Private Thomas William SILLS, 24, D Company, son of C T Sills of 85 Regent Street, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15006 Private William WOTTON, born Somers Town [London], resided Notting Hill [London] (Dernancourt Communal Cemetery)

Day Twenty Eight on the Somme

Friday 28th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

At 9 pm last night C Company of 1st Bedfords in Longueval tried to establish itself on the line of the north-south road running through the village but was forced to withdraw. In the end 15th Brigade, including 1st Bedfords, were relieved in Longueval by 95th Brigade and a section of the rubble much disputed yesterday has been occupied without opposition. Of 23 officers and 807 men going into action the battalion has lost 9 officers and 303 men killed and wounded.

We have seen a communication from 15th Brigade congratulating those involved in the fighting in Longueval yesterday. It reads: “The Brigadier-General Commanding wishes to express to all ranks of the Brigade his great admiration at the magnificent manner in which they captured the Village of Longueval yesterday(1)”.

“To the 1st Norfolk Regiment and the 1st Bedfordshire Regiment and some of the 16th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, who were able to get into the enemy with the bayonet, he offers his heartiest congratulations. He knows it is what they have been waiting and wishing for for many months”.

“The 1st Cheshire Regiment made a most gallant and determined effort to reach their objective and failed through no fault of their own”.

“The way in which the Troops behaved under the subsequent heavy bombardment was worthy of the best traditions of the British Army”.

“The Brigade captured 4 Officers and 159 other ranks”.

The 1st Field Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers lost two men killed and four wounded today. They have been continuing work to ameliorate the British positions in Delville Wood, working almost in the centre of that shattered waste of trees.

Source: X550/2/5; X550/WD3

(1)  An exaggeration, as we have seen.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 27th July 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: partially successful attack at Longueval by B and D Companies
  • 3/8568 Private Walter Ernest ANDREWS born and resided Bushey [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10369 Private Thomas Phillip ASKEY born Peckham [London] resided Fulham [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14807 Private Bertram BARKER, 30, son of George and Charlotte Barker of 19 Cannon's Gardens, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/6753 Private Harry BAYS, 22, son of William and Sarah Bays of Chatteris [Cambridgeshire] where he was born and resided; husband of Kitty Sanders Burrows (ex-Bays) of South Brent [Devon] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10474 Private John BISWELL, 19, on of Henry and Louisa Biswell of Belconey, Leverstock Green [Hertfordshire]; his brother Harry George also fell (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18787 Private Arthur John BONESS, 31, son of John and Alice Boness of 3 London Road, Biggleswade; husband of Bertha of Hitchin Street, Biggleswade (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18484 Private George Henry BONESS, 39, son of Mary Ann Boness of Back Street, Biggleswade; husband of Pollie Butcher (ex-Boness) of 22 Town Fields, Biggleswade (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 7945 Private Alfred BROW, born Hatfield Heath [Hertfordshire], resided Bishop’s Stortford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8191 Private Sydney BULLARD, born and resided Therfield [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Acting Captain Henry Patrick Claude BURTON, 23, son of Claude E CH and KG Burton of 20 Claremont Avenue, Woking [Surrey] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8936 Private Robert CHAMBERLAIN, 30, son of Sarah Chamberlain of Montague Street, Eynesbury [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9451 Private Thomas CHESSUM, born Wrestlingworth, resided Girtford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9995 Private Cecil Herbert CLARK, 22, B Company, son of Morris and Annie Elizabeth Clark of 3 Dean Street, Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14486 Private George Thomas COLLINS, born and resided Hoddesdon [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7387 Private Ernest COOK, 19, son of William and Emma Cook of East Fen Common, Soham [Cambridgeshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8888 Private Herbert CRABTREE, born East Ham [Essex], resided Manor Park [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18042 Private Albert CURRINGTON, 21, D Company, born Eynesbury [Huntingdonshire] son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Currington of The Cross, Yelling [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19384 Private William CURRINGTON, 27, D Company, son of James and Anna Maria Currington of 1 Long Row, Yelling [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14355 Private Bernard DAY, 21, son of Solomon George and Martha Day of 74 Queen Street, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 4/6256 Sergeant Thomas Henry DOWLER, born Baldock [Hertfordshire], resided Rushden [Northamptonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15055 Private Thomas Edward DRISCOLL, born Chatham [Kent], son of S Driscoll of 97 Westmorland Road, Walworth [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14709 Private Bertram FULLER, 21, D Company, born Wootton, son of Arthur and Sarah Ann Fuller of 95 Woburn Road, Kempston (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10475 Private Charles GOATLEY, 21, born Harringay [Middlesex], resided Tottenham [Middlesex], brother of William Alfred Goatley of 113 Wellbourn Road, High Cross, Tottenham (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7032 Private Frank GOING, born and resided Leighton Buzzard (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18825 Private Charles James GOLDSMITH, 27,son of W Goldsmith, born Stevington, husband of Caroline Emily Goldsmith, of Silver Street, Stevington, resided Stagsden, (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/6858 Private Charles GREGORY, born and resided Luton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19190 Private John GULLEN, 31, born Shoreditch [London], resided Hackney [London], son of John and Mary Ann Gullen (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15170 Private Vivian HADDER, born and resided Sutton [Cambridgeshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19448 Private George HAGGAR, 20, son of Charles and Hannah Haggar of Wallington [Hertfordshire], resided Stevenage [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18092 Private Joseph William HANCOX, born Birmingham [Warwickshire], resided Stratford-upon-Avon [Warwickshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Alfred Charles HAYHOE, 27, son of Alfred and Harriette Hayhoe of Newmarket [Suffolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10828 Private Arthur HAYNES, born Highgate [London], resided Wood Green [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/8366 Private George HICKS, 41, born Fleetwood [Lancashire], husband of Florence Mary Hicks of 31 Atherton Crescent, Hungerford [Berkshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Archibald Clare HOLLAND, 28, son of James Frank and Jeanette Holland of 6 Queen Anne’s Gardens, Bedford Park, Chiswick [Middlesex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/7708 Private James HUGHES, 38, born and resided Walsall [Staffordshire], son of John and Catherine Hughes, served in the 2nd Boer War (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9894 Lance Corporal Lewis JACKSON, born and resided Polebrook [Northamptonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 16182 Private William George KILBEY, born and resided Holwell [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19893 Private Francis John KING, 23, son of John King of 24 Saint Andrew's Street, Leighton Buzzard (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18634 Private Henry LEWIS, 41, husband of Alice Jane of 4 Hatfield Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 9015 Private Thomas John LEWIS, born and resided Bermondsey [London] (Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval)
  • 16198 Private Samuel MACHON, born and resided Bethnal Green [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8202 Private Frederick George MANTON, born and resided Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14167 Private William Harry MOODY, born Peckham [London], resided Buntingford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 3/8736 Private William MORTIMER, born Bromham, resided Kempston (Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval)
  • 16853 Private William PLANT, 24, B Company, born Tunstall [Staffordshire], son of James and Martha Plant of 6 Rose Bank Street, Leek [Staffordshire], resided Leek; husband of Beatrice Barlow (ex-Plant) of 40 Wedgwood Street, Wolstanton [Staffordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 16994 Private Ernest PRINCE, 21, born Meerbrooke [Staffordshire], son of Ernest and Margaret Prince of High Up Cottage, Leek [Staffordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 13985 Private John QUARMAN, 28, born and resided Abbots Langley [Hertfordshire], son of William and Louisa Matilda Quarman; husband of Rose; enlisted 1914 (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8765 Sergeant Edward QUINCE MM, born and resided Sandy (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18526 Private John RAINSDEN, 33, resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire], son of Dinah Rainsden of 17 Charterhouse Road, Coventry [Warwickshire], husband of Annie of 61 Beech Road, Luton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14431 Private George ROBLETT, 26, born Hoddesden [Hertfordshire], son of Thomas and Ann Roblett of 70 Old Highway, Rye Park, Hoddesdon (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20408 Private Albert Henry ROGERS, born Hornchurch [Essex], resided Romford [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 8971 Private Joseph Robert SADDINGTON, born and resided Kettering [Northamptonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14291 Private Ernest SHARP, 31, son of James and Ann Sharp of New Road, Woolmer Green [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 14098 Private Ralph SHARP, 22, son of Stephen and Alice Mary Sharp of 41 Gower Road, Royston [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 10307 Lance Corporal Alfred TANNER, 21, born Kempston, son of Henry and Harriet Tanner of 31 Allhallows Lane, Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20479 Private Tom Cecil TEBBS, born Saint Ives [Huntingdonshire], resided Fenstanton [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 17597 Private Edward UNWIN, born Elsenham [Essex], resided Thaxted [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 18717 Private Walter WALDOCK born and resided Great Wymondley [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 12767 Private James William WATTS, 26, son of Mrs Watts of 50 Lansdowne Road, Leytonstone [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Norman Douglas WEMYSS, 20, son of Alexander and L F A Wemyss of 24 de Parys Avenue, Bedford (London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval)
  • 4/7253 Private Samuel Joseph WRIGHT, born Elmdon [Essex], resided Nazeing [Essex] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 4/7141 Private Percy YALDEN, 27, son of James and Alice Yalden of Lower Froyle [Hampshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

8th Battalion: front line at Potijze Wood
  • 16877 Private Herbert GOSS, 22, son of Frederick James and Martha Goss of 114 Hitchin Street, Biggleswade (Potijze Château Wood Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 15608 Private Percy Haydn DAY, born and resided Luton (Bronfay Farm Military Cemetery, Bray-sur-Somme)
  • 20083 Private Alfred Joseph PRICE, born Woburn, resided Eversholt (Thiepval Memorial)


7th Battalion
  • 15242 Private David MCQUILLAN, 20, adopted son of George Messenger of 27 Thorne Road, South Lambeth [London] (Abbeville Communal Cemetery)

Day Twenty Seven on the Somme

Thursday 27th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The shelling of Pozières, which was so severe last night has, mysteriously, melted away this morning with no German attack(1). Today the scene of activity has been east of Pozières at Longueval and the now infamous Delville, or Devil’s, Wood.

A massive bombardment, on top of the almost continuous fighting since 14th, has reduced the wood to a shambles of splinters, shell holes, trenches, bodies and smashed equipment. Today 99th Brigade of 2nd Division took almost all that remains of the wood, save for a strip on the northern edge, though a German counter-attack mid-morning succeeded in retaking a portion of the place by attacking from the east. For a time rumours were circulating that the whole wood had been lost again but, fortunately, these proved to be untrue. As I write sounds of battle, though more muted now, are still heard occasionally from the direction of the wood.

On their left flank 15th Brigade assaulted the ruins of Longueval. The 1st Bedfords took part in this attack. The assault was begun by 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment at 7.10 and at 7.40 the commanding officer of the Norfolks despatched a message requesting help due to heavy shell-fire. The first objective had already been taken by the Norfolks and it was the job of A and B Companies of the Bedfords to assist the Norfolks take the second objectives and for C and D Companies to then move through and take the third objectives. The 16th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was requested to occupy front line trenches when these were vacated by C and D Companies. A Company was responsible for that part of the ruins east of the former road running north-south through the village with B Company to the west of this road.

Lieutenant Fyson

A Company assisted the Norfolks to attack a German strong point and Lieutenant Fyson’s platoon succeeded in taking 32 prisoners. Just after 9 am C Company crossed the trench known as Princes Street, extending from Longueval more or less across the middle of Delville Wood but were held up by machine gun fire from the cross-roads in what remains of the village. The ruins holding the gun were taken by a party of the Norfolks and at the same time A Company reached the junction of the main road running south through Longueval and the road running north-east to Flers which skirts the edge of Delville Wood. Here they met a German counter-attack and brushed it off leaving around fifty of the enemy as casualties. From here A Company could see enemy posts on the ridge to the north.

Half an hour later C Company was able to cross Princes Street and took up a position along the main north-south road in touch with two companies of the Norfolks. Heavy machine-gun fire from Duke Street in the area just north of the name “Longueval” on the map (i.e. west and south-west of C Company) prevented any further advance and so they consolidated the position.

This machine-gun at Duke Street also prevented any advance by an officer and thirty men from B Company sent forward as a patrol to reinforce a company of the Norfolks. A Stokes mortar battery was requested to assist but did not. Later under cover of a British artillery bombardment B and D Companies were able to improve their position but at the cost of 2 officer and 54 other ranks and and 2 officers and 106 other ranks respectively.

1st Field Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers was supporting the attack by 2nd Division in Delville Wood today, ready to consolidate any ground taken. This they did, constructing works to prevent a successful counter-attack. Towards evening such a counter-attack seemed to be in the offing and the sappers manned the parapet and, to quote their commander: "After a considerable amount of rifle fire and bombing the attack was repulsed". Only one sapper was wounded

We have just heard that Royal Fusiliers on the right have been forced to withdraw meaning that A Company has had to move back slightly from the junction of the Flers road. It is expected that B and D Companies may also be ordered to withdraw tonight such is the danger of their position. Much of the fighting today has been hand-to-hand and the brief resumé of activities given above does not do justice to the ferocity of every small action undertaken.

Source: X550/2/5; X550/WD3

(1) Evidence points to the massive British counter-bombardment giving the Germans cause to think another British assault was on the way and so they moved onto the defensive.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Roll of Honour - 26th July 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: bivouacking in the former Pommiers Redoubt
  • 14453 Private Ralph Thomas POINTER, 24, son of Frank Pointer of 19 Leavesden Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

8th Battalion: front line at Potijze Wood
  • 16323 Private Charles Alfred MARSH, born and resided Newcastle-under-Lyne [Staffordshire] (Potijze Château Wood Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • Second Lieutenant Gerald SHERRY, 25, son of John and Eliza Sherry of Rusholme [Lancashire], husband of Amy Nancy of 29 Stafford Street, Gillingham [Kent] (Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé)

6th Battalion
  • 12098 Private Christopher COX, born and resided Ampthill (Ampthill (Saint Andrew) Churchyard)


2nd Battalion

  • 3/7383 Private Hubert COOK, 17, born Totternhoe, son of Walter and Annie Cook of 7 Tavistock Street, Dunstable (Dunstable Cemetery)

Day Twenty Six on the Somme

Wednesday 26th July 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, has been, by chance, bivouacked in the remains of the Pommiers Redbout, west of Montauban, which was captured by 7th Battalion on 1st July. During the day the battalion has been moving north towards the village of Longueval, still in German hands. They were held up for two hours, however, in Caterpillar Valley by a German bombardment which included poisoned gas. Fortunately only two men have been affected. 

This bombardment seems to have been a southern spur of the terrific bombardment of the area around Pozières which has been going on for two days now. Still there is no sign of an attempt by the enemy to retake the village. This evening the bombardment has intensified still further, a thing few thought possible, so our own guns are now all engaged on shelling the German artillery positions and trenches from which any attack will come.

7th Battalion is well to the north now, near the village of Wallon-Cappel between Saint-Omer and Hazebrouck, well behind the front line. The adjutant told me this evening by telephone that the divisional commander, Sir Ivor Maxse inspected the Battalion, which was formed up en-masse in a field. They paraded as strong as possible in dull order rather than parade dress. They totalled 29 officers and about 650 other ranks out of a notional strength of just over 1,000.

General Maxse complimented the battalion highly for turning out so clean and so well-clothed and shod after its recent heavy fighting. On completion of the inspection he called all officers together and spoke in very high terms of praise of both officers, N.C.O's and men who had taken part in the recent fighting. He particularly mentioned the splendid fighting spirit of the Battalion and thanked the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel G D Price and all concerned for the very efficient manner in which the attack on the Pommiers Redoubt was carried out on the 1st July.

Today is the first anniversary of the Battalion’s landing in France. The surviving officers (twelve in number) are assembling for a dinner at the Battalion Headquarters Mess. A very enjoyable evening is anticipated.

The 1st Field Company, East Anglian Royal Engineers have been under gas bombardment today as they move up to support an impending attack on Longueval. Their commander told me: "This barrage was continued for three hours and the wearing of the poisoned gas helmets coupled with the somewhat dense smoke cloud rendered the location of the various overland tracks extremely difficult as the only other route (Longueval Alley) was being subjected to a fairly severe enemy bombardment".

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/8/1; X550/WD3