Wednesday 31 August 2016

Day Sixty Two on the Somme

Thursday 31st August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Around 1 pm this afternoon there was a massive German attack on British positions in Delville Wood and Longeval. It was preceded by an intense artillery barrage and much activity by German aeroplanes. There has been hand-to-hand fighting with 7th Division and 24th Division east of the wood. The Germans also attacked British positions along the road from Ginchy to Longueval but seem to have been held. The Germans appear to have penetrated the northern outskirts of Longueval.

On a happier note, the new adjutant of 1st Bedfords, now in reserve at Billon Farm near Bray-sur-Somme, tells me that this morning General Horne, commander of XV Corps presented medals for gallantry at Longueval. Acting Company Sergeant Major Afford was given the Distiguished Conduct Medal whilst Lance Corporal Pettengell and Private J King received the Military Medal. The adjutant is now Major N W Lawder because Captain H Williams has been evacuated as sick(1)

Major Noel Lawder

As I write these lines another German attack seems to be developing, probably on the east side of Delville Wood where, so far, they have achieved little. There is considerable noise of artillery, including the dreaded “whizz-bangs”, and I seem to be able to hear rifle fire too.

Source: X550/2/5

(1) Major Noel Wilfred Lawder would be killed on 4th September. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. 

Roll of Honour - 31st August 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: relieved in the front line at Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée

  • 27776 Private William George ROSS, 37, born Pontypridd [Glamorgan], son of John and Margaret Ross of 45 Victoria Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Gorre British and Indian Cemetery)

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Day Sixty One on the Somme

Lieutenant H F Graves

Wednesday 30th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

As 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment contemplates going into action near Guillemont sometime in the near future, the adjutant has contacted me with the names of new officers who have joined the battalion during August to take the places of those who have fallen in the fight. The officers are:
  • Second Lieutenant E. A. Hague (joined on 14th August)
  • Second Lieutenant P. A. Gibbons (joined on 14th August)
  • Lieutenant H. F. Graves (joined on 15th August)
  • Second Lieutenant H. C. Covell (joined on 15th August)
  • Second Lieutenant  V. S. Sanders (joined on 16th August)(1)
  • Second Lieutenant J. H. Banyard (joined on 18th August)(2)
  • Second Lieutenant D. A. Lardner (joined on 18th August)
  • Second Lieutenant H. J. Everett (joined on 18th August)
  • Second Lieutenant A. J. Howard (joined on 27th August)(4)
  • Second Lieutenant P. G. Smith (joined on 27th August)

Second Lieutenant Addison Howard

Sources: X550/2/5

(1) Vincent Stanton Sanders, from Hornsey [Middlesex], would be killed on 4th September, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
(2) James Hirst Banyard would be killed on 3rd September, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
(3) Dion Albert Lardner, from Streatham [London], would be killed on 4th September, he is commemorated in the Thiepval Memorial.
(4) Addison James Howard, from Kempston Grange, would be killed on 4th September and is buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery; Addison Howard Park in Kempston was given to the people of Kempston and dedicated to his memory by his mother in 1937, having formed the grounds of Kempston Grange.

Monday 29 August 2016

Day Sixty on the Somme

Tuesday 29th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

It turns out that last night’s attack by the 7th Division east of Delville Wood was something of a damp squib. A damp squib which, however, will no doubt have cost the lives of good men.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Day Fifty Nine on the Somme

Monday 28th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today 1st Division has made a minor attack east of High Wood which has succeeded in gaining a small amount of ground. This evening an attack has begun on trenches east of Delville Wood by “the incomparable” 7th Division.  I can hear the noise as I write these few lines.

Roll of Honour - 28th August 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battle of the Somme: in bivouacs near Bronfay Farm
  • 43431 Private Arthur John ABBOTT, resided Little Raveley [Huntingdonshire] (Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz)
  • 43056 Private William BRAYBROOK, 23, ex-1132 Huntingdonshire Cyclists Battalion, born Elsworth [Cambridgeshire], resided Pidley [Huntingdonshire], husband of Kathleen of 115 High Street, Peckham [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 28134 Private Bertram HINTON, born and resided Gamlingay [Cambridgeshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20813 Private Jack Cecil Herbert SIMMONS, born Wendover [Buckinghamshire], resided Chesham [Buckinghamshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

2nd Battalion: front line trenches at Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée

  • 19138 Private Walter James COOPER, born Redbourn [Hertfordshire], son of Ada E Cooper of Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Gorre British and Indian Cemetery)
  • 10829 Private Alexander Walter IVES, born Hornsey [Middlesex], resided Wood Green [Middlesex], son of Charles Walter and Rosina Ives (Gorre British and Indian Cemetery)
  • 29053 Private William STEVENS, 19, son of E Stevens of 8 Hitchin Road, Shefford (Gorre British and Indian Cemetery)

Saturday 27 August 2016

Day Fifty Eight on the Somme

Sunday 27th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Last night the final part of Edge Trench, which runs along the eastern face of Delville Wood, was seized in a surprise attack by 14th (Light) Division, taking about sixty Germans prisoner. Thus to the 14th (Light) Division fell the honour of finally capturing the last few blasted trees of Devil’s Wood, which has withstood assaults since 14th July and has seen off 5th Division, 9th (Scottish) with its indomitable South African Brigade, and 17th (Northern) Divisions.

Fighting goes on around High Wood. Another Scottish division – 15th has been fighting off German attacks west of the wood.

This afternoon, the adjutant of 1st Bedfords contacted me and told me that senior officers from the Battalion have been inspecting trenches south of Guillemont. So it seems as if 5th Division will be dragged into the fight for this ruined place, so close to the scene of its last actions on the Somme at Longueval. Meanwhile 2nd Bedfords have taken over front line trenches at Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée near Béthune.

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

Roll of Honour - 27th August 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: Battle of the Somme: in bivouacs near Bronfay Farm
  • 3/8722 Private James George FROST, 28, born Elstree [Hertfordshire], husband of Jessie of 7 Rosebury Road, Bushey [Hertfordshire], son of F Frost of Linda Cottage, Whippendell Road, Watford [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

4th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: near Coupigny
  • 28012 Private Richard WEISS, 26, born Pabianice [Poland], resided Hoddesdon [Hertfordshire] (Bois-de-Noulette British Cemetery, Aix-Noulette)

5th Battalion

  • Lieutenant Geoffrey Reynolds DAY, 28, son of Rev Archibald Day of The Vicarage, Malvern Link [Worcestershire], husband of Jane, fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Thiepval Memorial) 

Friday 26 August 2016

Day Fifty Seven on the Somme

Saturday 26th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today the 1st Bedfords have moved from Méaulte to Bronfay Farm near Bray-sur-Somme. This is still well behind the lines.

The other regular battalion of the Regiment, 2nd Bedfords, are currently at Gorre near Béthune, miles to the north. Their adjutant has wired that Sergeant R A Foster, Corporal F Selby, Private S F Burrows and Private A Girdlestone have all been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the recent Somme battles(1)

The Australians have had another crack at Mouquet Farm today and have occupied a trench leading to it. Sadly, no further progress could be made.

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

(1) 18551 Private Samuel Foster Burrows MM, of B Company and from Fulham [London] would be killed on 11th February 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. 10835 Private Albert Edward James Girdlestone MM would be killed on 5th January 1918. He also has no known grave, being commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres.

Roll of Honour - 26th August 1916

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: front line, Loos Salient
  • 14215 Private Arthur John TITMUSS, born Holwell [Hertfordshire], son of J L Titmuss of Cadwell, Ickleford [Hertfordshire] (Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 18679 Private Bertie WATSON, son of Charles Watson of Charlton [Hertfordshire] (Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe)

Thursday 25 August 2016

Day Fifty Six on the Somme

Friday 25th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

We understand that the French attack yesterday finally saw them recapture the village of Maurepas, south-east of Guillemont. Meanwhile the German attack on the 23rd/24th August has meant that the British Army continues to consolidate and plan its next move

The adjutant of 1st Bedfords has wired me to say that his unit is back on the Somme. They are currently occupying a sandpit south-east of the village of Méaulte, a few miles behind the lines.

14th (Light) Division made an attack in Delville Wood early this morning. It is reported that they have pushed the enemy from a section of trench on the eastern edge of the wood.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 25th August 1916

Died of Wounds

8th Battalion

  • 25641 Private Albert Charles EVERITT, 20, son of John Everitt of High Street, Sible Hedingham [Essex] (Puchevillers British Cemetery)

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Day Fifty Five on the Somme

Thursday 24th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today 100th Brigade of 33rd Division made an unsuccessful attack between High Wood and Delville Wood. 

More urgently the Germans attacked 20th (Light) Division’s positions south of the railway and west of Guillemont last night. Our lines were full of engineers and parties of men working on consolidation, nevertheless, the attack was beaten-off. The 20th Division had been due to make an attack on Guillemont this morning but last night’s German effort has meant that this has had to be postponed.

The 14th (Light) Division again tried to push the Germans out of Delville Wood and managed to advance their front line. Nevertheless the enemy retains a foot-hold on the northern and north-eastern fringes on the wood.

Just over an hour ago we heard that the French had launched an attack all the way along the line from the River Somme to the boundary with the British army near Hardecourt-au-Bois. 

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Day Fifty Four on the Somme

Wednesday 23rd August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The attack by the Germans on the 48th (South Midland) Division near Pozières last night was, I am happy to say, seen off. In a day that sees a pause in attacks in this long-running Battle of the Somme, it seems like a good time to review the events which have taken place so far and ruminate on what is to come. The attack was made on a long front on 1st July with the intention of smashing through the German lines and breaking through towards Bapaume, eleven miles from Albert to the north-east along a straight Roman road. In the south good ground was made but everywhere else failure ruled the day. Nevertheless, the success of 18th and 30th Divisions in the south meant that the attack was not a complete disaster. The High Command seems to have taken the decision to close down operations north of the villages of Ovillers and la Boisselle, so places such as Serre, Beaumont-Hamel and Thiepval, all objectives for that first day, remain firmly in German hands.

South of this, however progress, if slow, has been marked. The villages of Montauban, Longueval, Mametz, Fricourt, Bazentin-le-Grand, Bazentin-le-Petit, Contalmaison, Ovillers, la-Boisselle and Pozières have all been taken and Ginchy, Guillemont, Flers, Martinpuich and Courcelette will surely soon come under attack and, in their turn, will fall. There is also hope that Thiepval, high on its spur overlooking the River Ancre will also soon come under assault.

Rather than a drive from west to east the battle has become a drive from south to north. The ground here is remarkably similar, in parts, to Dunstable Downs and the areas of south Bedfordshire immediately north of it, as it is chalk downland. In peace it must have been a pretty country, dotted with woods and pleasant little villages. The woods seem to have been as much objects of contention as the villages, in fact, sometimes more so. High Wood, and Delville Wood have resisted being taken for prodigious periods of time, longer than any of the villages. They contain abundant undergrowth, which hides enemy trenches and the trees add confusion to this as, when shattered by shells, the trunks usually survive to a height of several feet, giving more cover to the defender.

I understand that those who understand military matters concede that our High Command had much to learn about making war in the second decade of the 20th century but, they note, this is as true for our allies and our enemies. And clearly lessons have been learned, to some extent at least, as there have been days of great success, as with the attacks in the early morning of 15th July as well as those in the south on the first day.

Your correspondent has a feeling that he will be here for many more weeks. But he does not doubt that he will see victory crown the army’s efforts.

Monday 22 August 2016

Day Fifty Three on the Somme

Tuesday 22nd August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Early this morning 14th (Light) Division captured part of Edge Trench. This trench runs, as the name implies, along the eastern edge of Delville Wood. The Germans now have just a toe-hold remaining in this wood.

On the Pozières Ridge, 48th (South Midland) Division withstood German attacks on posts captured a short time before. This evening the enemy are reported to be attacking again and, indeed, much noise is audible from the north-west of my position in the rear areas around Montauban. 

Roll of Honour - 22nd August 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: working party near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 16678 Corporal Walter Guiness SPURR, 25, son of George E and Ethel Mary Spurr of 14/15 Market Place, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Englebelmer Communal Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 10571 Private Thomas Frederick STIRLING, 28, A Company, born Soho [London], son of T and M Stirling of 66 Castle Street, Long Acre, Covent Garden [London] (City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park)


1st/5th Battalion
  • 4631 Private Percy DUMPLETON, 24, born and resided Luton, husband of Alice Emily of 18 Glenferrie Road, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Cairo War Memorial Cemetery)

3rd/5th Battalion

  • 7269 Private William NASH, born Stewkley [Buckinghamshire], husband of A L Nash of 52 Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard (Leighton-Linslade (Leighton Buzzard) Cemetery)

Sunday 21 August 2016

Day Fifty Two on the Somme

Monday 21st August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Attacks have been made today at those twin sores Delville Wood and Guillemont. An attack by 41st Brigade (of 14th Division) on German defenses inside Devil’s Wood was a failure which inflicted over two hundred casualties on the light infantrymen.

33rd Division made an attack around midnight from the road from Longueval to Flers to a trench called Wood Lane which follows the track from the eastern tip of High Wood south-east towards Longueval and which ends in a T junction short of the northern end of the village. Regrettably one battalion was informed of the planned attack to late so only one battalion made the assault and it was beaten off by the defenders. On a brighter note, 14th (Light) Division succeeded in capturing trenches in and on the east side of Delville Wood and in taking two hundred prisoners.

Last night the French captured Angle Wood, north-east of Hardecourt-au-Bois, north-west of Maurepas and some way south of Guillemont, which they subsequently handed over to 35th Division. 

An attack by 35th Division on a strong-point near Arrowhead Copse was unsuccessful but a trench called Zig-Zag Trench which moves into the remains of Guillemont was captured by 24th Division.

This afternoon an attack on the quarry on the western edge of Guillemont has failed and, although a gallant fight for Guillemont Station was put up by the attackers, our men were unable to hold it due to the number of casualties they had taken. Thus Guillemont still evades the grasping hand of the British Army. 

Roll of Honour - 21st August 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: working party near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 16273 Private Alfred Henry BROWN, 22, son  of A E Brown of Cottage Gardens, Waltham Cross [Hertfordshire] (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 17364 Corporal George Arthur EDWARDS, 19, born Bermondsey [London], resided Canning Town [Essex] (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 18301 Private William KINGSLEY, 38, son of Elizabeth Kingsley of 16 Sunnyside, Hitchin [Hertfordshire] (Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 17752 Private Harry Edward HAYDEN, 20, son of Alfred C and Ellen Hayden of The Green, Eltisley [Cambridgeshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Saturday 20 August 2016

Day Fifty One on the Somme

Sunday 20th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today 33rd Division again attacked one of the woods which have so sorely tried the army in this Battle of the Somme – High Wood. They succeeded in occupying a trench on the western edge of the wood which will, hopefully, be the jumping-off point for a successful attack on the wood itself at some later date.

Friday 19 August 2016

Day Fifty on the Somme

Saturday 19th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Overnight we heard rumours that the successes around Guillemont yesterday had been repulsed. Accordingly, overnight, a special reconnaissance was undertaken which found that, so far from a British repulse, the Germans had fallen back in a line from roughly Falfemont Farm north-west to Wedge Wood, both of which lie south-east of Guillemont. Lonely Trench, which gave so much trouble yesterday, had also been abandoned. Thus today our troops have occupied Lonely Trench and dug in on the eastern side of the Guillemont Road, gaining touch with the French who were also able to reoccupy the ground they had lost. This encouraging event has fuelled fresh optimism that an attack might finally succeed in capturing Guillemont.

Today 1st Australian Division, near the German fortress of Mouquet Farm and south-east of the road to Bapaume, suffered a heavy German counter-attack on the positions they managed to take yesterday. They seem to have weathered them.

Roll of Honour - 19th August 1916

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 14081 Lance Corporal Frederick EDWARDS, born Tewin [Hertfordshire], resided Stapleford [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

7th Battalion

  • 13943 Private Herbert WARE, 34, born Roborough [Devon], resided Renhold, husband of Elizabeth Agnes Farrell (ex-Ware) of Elm Farm, Renhold (Renhold (All Saints) Churchyard)

Thursday 18 August 2016

Day Forty Nine on the Somme

Friday 18th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today has seen more activity than any other day this month so far. On the left of the British line as it attacks from south to north, 33rd Division attacked High Wood. This novel attack was intended to use a German tactic, first used against British troops in July last year at Hooge near Ypres and used against 1st Division yesterday – flame-throwers, as well as oil drums hurled by Livens Projectors(1). Unfortunately the flamethrowers failed and the Livens Projectors were damaged and buried by the British barrage which fell short of its target. Given these failures it is not surprising that the infantry were unable to get forward in any numbers. Despite the setbacks, however, the imaginative thinking employed can only be applauded. At least Wood Trench between High Wood and Delville Wood (and north-west of Delville Wood) was captured.

In the centre of the attack Delville Wood has, once more, been attacked, along with the trenches immediately bordering it to the west and east. This time the unit drawing the proverbial short straw was 14th (Light) Division. Some prisoners were taken in the centre of the remains of the wood and gains were made, with a number of trenches falling to the attackers in the wood and either side of it.

An old and hated name resurfaced briefly in conversation today - Trônes Wood. 24th Division began an attack east on Guillemont from there this morning, following the line of the remains of the track leading from the remains of wood to the remains of the village. The attack mostly ground to a halt in front of the German wire, stopped by machine-guns. However, the German line was penetrated near the quarry on the west side of Guillemont and the position has been consolidated. In the area between the north-west of Guillemont and south-east of Delville Wood progress was made and around one hundred prisoners taken.

The right flank of the attack was south of Guillemont. 3rd Division attacked a trench called Lonely Trench east of Maltz Horn Farm near the road south from Hardecourt-au-Bois to Guillemont – a place which has become as infamous to Tommy Atkins as Delville Wood or High Wood and is generally known as the Gillymong Road. Trenches south-east of Arrowhead Copse were also attacked. Most of these attacks were unsuccessful. Meanwhile French troops took some more of the village of Maurepas and joined up with 3rd Division south of Guillemont. We have just heard, however, that the French have, again, been pushed back by a German counter-attack.

Meanwhile the Australians on the Pozières Ridge made further attacks towards Mouquet Farm as wel las south-east of the road from Albert to Bapaume. We understand some progress has been made here, too.

(1) Essentially large buried mortars

Roll of Honour - 18th August 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: in billets
  • 27989 Private Charles William GUNTON, 42, born and resided Cossey [Norfolk], son of William and Katherine Gunton of 42 Highland Road, Norwich [Norfolk] (Loos Memorial)

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 15454 Private William James HIBBERT, 20, born Sawtry [Huntingdonshire], son of Harriet Elizabeth Burdett of Holme [Huntingdonshire] (Auchonvillers Military Cemetery)
  • 25782 Private George LINSELL, born and resided Sible Hedingham [Essex] (Auchonvillers Military Cemetery)


1st Garrison Battalion

  • 24026 Private William Jesse RUSSELL ex-7988 Royal Sussex Regiment, born and resided East Grinstead [Sussex] (Delhi War Cemetery)

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Day Forty Eight on the Somme

Thursday 17th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

We understand that the attacks carried out in the vicinity of Guillemont yesterday, by our 3rd Division and the French 153rd Division have unraveled overnight. The French were forced to give way by strong German counter-attacks and 3rd Division did not manage to hold the road from Guillemont to Hardecourt due to failures of attacks by other units of the same division on its flanks. The one bright spot is that a particularly troublesome enemy trench called Cochrane Alley, near Maltz Horn Farm, was taken yesterday and has been held.

Early this morning 1st Division was attacked by the enemy in a trench which it had secured to the west of High Wood. The enemy used flame-throwers, ghastly weapons men of the 1st Bedfords will remember from attacks they faced near Ypres in July last year. Unfortunately some of the trench was lost to the enemy.

Roll of Honour - 17th August 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line trenches near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 19960 Private John TYLER, born Saint Pancras [London], resided Camden Town [London] (Auchonvillers Military Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 17551 Private Joseph William HARPER, born Paddington [London], resided Islington [London] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Day Forty Seven on the Somme

Lieutenant D A Roeber

Wednesday 16th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 6th Bedfords are saying farewell to the Somme, at least for the present. They have marched to the village of Behencourt and are reported to be heading north to the area around Loos. They will no doubt be exhaling a collective sigh of relief after a rough time of it here.

The 7th Battalion is not far from this town at the moment, being in the front line opposite Armentières..Yesterday night we understand they carried out a dummy raid. This involves using artillery and trench mortars on a section of the enemy front line then simulating a lift in the bombardment to positions further to the rear, as if to impeded enemy reinforcements. At the same time poles are shown above the British front line trenches to simulate men and smoke is released.  This forces the enemy to man his parapet to shoot at the “raiders”. The dummy raid was successful in doing this and the enemy front line trench was then shelled by field artillery and Stokes mortars. The adjutant remarked to me: “It is thought that the enemy suffered severe losses. His artillery reply was feeble”. The Bedfords themselves lost Lieutenant Roeber and three other ranks killed and two other ranks wounded.

Today the French 153rd Division has again advanced between Maurepas and Guillemont. The British 3rd Division attacked east towards and reached the road running south from Guillemont to Hardecourt-au-Bois.

Sources: X550/7/1; X550/8/1

Monday 15 August 2016

Day Forty Six on the Somme

Tuesday 15th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 6th Battalion, beds Regiment, tells us that they are now in Bécourt Wood and have suffered one death and two men wounded today from shell fire.

The 8th Battalion, newly arrived on the Somme, have moved into front-line trenches opposite the fortress-village of Beaumont-Hamel. This village saw some of the bloodiest fighting on the first day of this Battle of the Somme and, despite the explosion of a massive mine(1) held out against all attacks.

Last night the Australians attacked Mouquet Farm, north of Pozières but failed to take it. They were overwhelmed by strong counter-attacks and forced to fall back to trenches they had taken a short while earlier.

Sources: X550/7/1; X550/9/1

(1) This mine was filmed by Geoffrey Malins and appears in the film which was shown in cinemas around the country. It is still much-used as stock footage in documentaries on aspects of World War One.

Roll of Honour - 15th August 1916

Killed in Action

6th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 12338 Lance Corporal Ernest William CREEK, born High Barnet [Hertfordshire], resided Clerkenwell [London] (Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion
  • 17751 Private Hugh CROOT, 19, ward of Amy Sharman of of 18 Gold Street, Riseley (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Sunday 14 August 2016

Day Forty Five on the Somme

14th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

This evening Australian troops are moving in the direction of Mouquet Farm  (known variously as Moocow Farm and Mucky Farm), north of Pozières and east of Thiepval, still occupied by the Germans. It is expected that they will make an attack on the farm tonight.

This farm is not far from one of the Somme’s most heavily fortified villages – Thiepval. This hamlet sits on top of a commanding position overlooking the River Ancre. It was attacked by Ulster troops on the first day of the battle but resisted capture despite at one time looking likely to fall. In a terrible situation, which is not rare, the troops who had penetrated the defences ran out of ammunition and became cut-off meaning many were killed and others forced to surrender. It is known that High Command believes that capture of this village is vital if this Battle of the Somme is to progress to a victorious conclusion.

Roll of Honour - 14th August 1916

Killed in Action

3rd Battalion
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant David Arnold ROEBER, 18, attached 7th Battalion, son of A O and M I Roeber of 21 Honor Oak Road, Forest Hill [London] (Ration Farm Cemetery, la Chapelle d’Armentières)

7th Battalion: front line near Armentières
  • 13834 Sergeant William Henry PRICE, born and resided Bristol (Ration Farm Cemetery, la Chapelle-d'Armentières)
  • 22868 Private Cecil TYLER, 19, born Datchworth [Hertfordshire], son of William and Dinah Tyler of Burnham Green [Hertfordshire] (Ration Farm Cemetery, la Chapelle-d'Armentières)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 21063 Private George William WARD ex-52531 Royal Garrison Artillery, born Beckbury [Shropshire], resided Wolverhampton [Staffordshire] (Wolverhampton Borough Cemetery)

6th Battalion

  • 12027 Sergeant Albert Edwin WALKER, born Walthamstow [Essex], resided Leytonstone [Essex] (Wimereux Communal Cemetery)

Saturday 13 August 2016

Day Forty Four on the Somme

Sunday 13th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

There have been no French attacks between Maurepas and Guillemont today and so no units from our army have advanced either(1). So far August has seen considerably less activity than July and all of it seems to have been concentrated into small areas rather than the sweeping attacks which characterised 1st and 15th July. It is not clear to we “newspapermen”whether this is a well-thought-out strategy by High Command or local responses made by officers on the ground.

The fighting continues at Pozières. 12th (Eastern) Division, supporting the Australians, has been involved in hand-to-hand fighting with the enemy west of the village and south-west near the fortress village of Ovillers, which fell a month ago on 14th July.

(1) In the event the French were receiving German counter-attacks following French successes on the previous day and so no advance could be made.

Roll of Honour - 13th August 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: billets at Lestrem
  • 23480 Private William SPICER, born and resided Great Hormead [Hertfordshire] (Loos Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 18315 Private Percy Alfred SWAIN, 22, son of William and Susan Swain of Dane End, Weston [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

6th Battalion

  • 13074 Private Alfred AUSTIN, 22, son of A H Austin of 260 Wickham Lane, Plumstead [London] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)
  • 12164 Private George Edward RUSH, 35, A Company, son of John Robert and Emily Rush of 94 Penton Place, Walworth [London], resided Camberwell [London] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)

Friday 12 August 2016

Day Forty Three on the Somme

Saturday 12th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

It seems as if the Somme battle is now revolving around the small village of Guillemont, or rather around its remains. The French today attacked and seized a considerable amount of ground around Maurepas, to the south-east. This evening troops from 55th (West Lancashire) Division attacked the spur of ground south of Guillemont expecting a French effort alongside them. By the time the attack had been underway for a while it became clear that the French were “no shows”. We understand that the attack has been aborted and that the troops will be withdrawn after dark.  

Roll of Honour - 12th August 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: billets at Lestrem
  • 25511 Private John William HOLMES, born and resided Farcet Fen [Huntingdonshire] (Loos Memorial)
  • 25761 Private Ernest Rennie LEEDING, 20, attached 9th Battalion, Essex Regiment, son of Sanders and Lydia Louisa Leeding of 27 Wentworth Road, Rushden [Northamptonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: night working parties near Acheux-en-Amienois
  • 16475 Lance Corporal Sidney BALL, 21, son of Thomas Ball of Bassingbourn [Cambridgeshire], resided Royston [Hertfordshire] (Englebelmer Communal Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

6th Battalion

  • 13066 Corporal Fred MEADER, 22, born and resided Islington [London], son of Mr and Mrs Meader of 12 Scott Buildings, Caledonian Road (Étaples Military Cemetery)

Thursday 11 August 2016

Day Forty Two on the Somme

Friday 11th August 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

With the prospect of the 8th Battalion coming into action at some point in this battle it seems a good time to review losses amongst our men in the field. I have been able to get no clear figures on numbers wounded but I have the figures for those killed in action or died of wounds since 1st July, which are as follows:

  • 1st Battalion: 124
  • 2nd Battalion: 152
  • 6th Battalion:  164
  • 7th Battalion: 121
Horribly high these figures are, but must be set against a context of over 100,000 British and Commonwealth casualties, dead and wounded. It is to my regret that the unit which has suffered most, 6th Battalion, has figured so little in these despatches but the commanding officer and adjutant seem reluctant to speak to the press(1)

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/7/1; X550/8/1

(1) War diaries differed greatly in detail from unit to unit. Those for 2nd and 7th Battalions are superb, full of detail, that for 1st Battalion is very good. The war diary for the 1st/5th, 6th and 8th Battalions are poor, lacking much in the way of detail whilst that for 4th Battalion, in perhaps the most interesting formation of the war, the Royal Naval Division, is very poor indeed.

Roll of Honour - 11th August 1916

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 18823 Private Charles WOOD, born and resided Stepney [London], husband of Norah of 51 Brenton Street, Limehouse [London] (City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery)

2nd Battalion

  • 9387 Lance Corporal Frederick BOYCE, 28, son of William and Minnie Boyce of 33 Friday Street, Leighton Buzzard, born Heath and Reach (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)