Monday 31 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Twenty Three on the Somme

Tuesday 31st October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 1st Battalion is near the old 1915 battleground at Festubert. Plans have been made for a group of eighty men under Captain C A S Morris to enter the enemy's trenches, bomb his dug-outs, kill as many Germans and do as much damage as possible. The plan is as described below

They will enter at points shown on the map above as silently as possible with four parties. A Bangalore torpedo detachment will accompany each party, in the event of the wire proving too thick. On entering the trench a stop will be formed (to prevent enemy reinforcements reaching the attackers) and the remainder of the party will attack inwards, using the bayonet and bombing their way, if strongly opposed. The rear parties following on the same line and close on the heels of the leading party will continue along the line of the ditch until reaching support trench at the points shown. On reaching these points they will form a block and attack inwards.

Each party will consist of an officer and four groups of one NCO and four men each. No.1 group will consist of bombers and wire cutters; No.2 group will be a Lewis gun detachment. Nos.3 and 4 groups will be bayonet men and bombers. The leader of each group will carry a torch. Faces will be blacked. Bayonets will be dulled with soot and oil. Each man will carry two bombs in each pocket and there will be a wire-cutter to every two men. To avoid rattling, oil bottles will not be carried in the rifles. Equipment will not be worn. One bandolier of ammunition will be carried. The men have been reminded that they should not give any information if captured, beyond that of their number, name and regiment. No letters or diaries will be carried by anyone.

At the end of this month, 8th Bedfords, who suffered so greatly in September, have recovered their strength. They currently have 30 officers and 780 other ranks. This month they have lost 2 officers and 46 other ranks killed, one officer and 65 other ranks wounded. 135 men have gone to hospital sick and 58 have returned.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/9/1

Roll of Honour - 31st October 1916

Killed in Action

1st Battalion: a trench raid at Quinque Rue near Festubert
  • 40020 Private Ernest BAALHAM, 18, ex-28653 Suffolk Regiment, born and resided Lawford [Essex], brother of Mrs E A Rogers of Wignal Street, Lawford (le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoué)
  • 8414 Private Herbert DURANT, born and resided Bloxworth [Dorset] (Loos Memorial)
  • 19499 Private Frank KEFFORD, born Sutton, resided Biggleswade (Loos Memorial)
  • 29355 Private Harold Vernon OCLEE, born and resided Bedford (Loos Memorial)

4th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line near Beaumont-Hamel
  • 26242 Acting Corporal George Frederick EDE, 24, born Kilburn [Middlesex], resided Tring [Hertfordshire], son of Henry and Emma M Ede of 38a Denzil Road, Willesden [Middlesex] (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 25523 Private Ernest TWYDELL, 22, son of John and Eliza Twydell of Bury End, Shillington (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)
  • 23696 Private Percy WOODS, 24, born Wood Walton [Huntingdonshire], son of Joseph Woods of 2 Council Houses, North Road, Sawtry [Huntingdonshire] (Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 16338 Lance Corporal John Robert ALLEN, 22, born and resided Sawtry [Huntingdonshire], son of George and Mary Ann Allen of The Park, Connington [Huntingdonshire] (Boulogne Eastern Cemetery)


1st Garrison Battalion
  • 24099 Private John George WELCH, ex-11129 Royal West Kent Regiment, born Isleworth [Middlesex], resided Sutton Valence [Kent] (Delhi War Cemetery)

Sunday 30 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Twenty Two on the Somme

Lieutenant Mudford

Monday 30th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today 2nd Bedfords have moved to front line trenches at Berles-au-Bois opposite German-held Monchy north of the Somme. Captain L F Beal is no longer Town Major of Pommier, having been made temporary aide-de-camp to 30th Division commander, Sir John Shea. His replacement is Lieutenant H E Mudford. Meanwhile Captain H A W Pearse has returned from 30th Divisional School and has taken command of A Company.

4th Battalion have left Varennes and are tonight near the front line at Beaumont-Hamel. Their division may go into action here in the near future. 7th Battalion are also preparing for an attack. Their task will be to capture the village of Petit-Miraumont on the River Ancre north of Courcelette and with it, a vital bridge across the Ancre.

On the Thiepval ridge 11th Division have taken the southern half of Stuff Redoubt. the Canadians also helped the division to clear more of Hessian Trench. Meanwhile 55th Brigade of 18th Division has been fighting hard to hold on to its grasp of the Schwaben Redoubt.

23rd Division stormed Destremont Farm during the day whilst 47th (London) Division made progress north-east of Flers.

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

Saturday 29 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Twenty One on the Somme

Captain Pearse

Sunday 29th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today we hear from the 2nd Bedfords that they have marched to billets in Pommier, where Captain L F Beal is Town Major. Lieutenant N V Dabell has left the battalion temporarily, as he is going to replace Captain H A W Pearse as adjutant of 30th Divisional School.

33rd Division have again attacked the enemy east of Lesboeufs in heavy rain today. Even heavier enemy fire prevented any advance. 

39th Division took some ground at a point known as the Pope’s Nose on the slope from the River Ancre up to Thiepval, where Mill Lane branches off from Thiepval Road. We have had rain since 25th of this month and the going, bad before, is now worse. The devastation of millions of shells have destroyed all natural drainage and so the ground, in many areas, is effectively waterlogged.

Source: X550/3/wd

Friday 28 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Twenty on the Somme

Saturday 28th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

We understand that 33rd Division has taken a small step towards the village of Le Transloy having captured Rainy and Dewdrop Trenches east of Lesboeufs early this morning.

The adjutant of the 1st Battalion tells me that Captain Morris has been put in command of a composite company, composed of eighty men from B and D Companies, who are to take part in a raid near Festubert in the near future. All, for the moment, is quiet.

Captain L F Beal

Captain L F Beal of 2nd Battalion has been made Town Major of Pommier, a village just to the north of the Somme battlefield. This means he is in charge of keeping good order in the place. The Battalion has been joined today by Lieutenant H de Buriatte, who has been posted to A Company.

Lieutenant de Buriatte

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

Roll of Honour - 28th October 1916

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 14267 Private Arthur BEASLEY, born Sopwell [Hertfordshire], resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Contay British Cemetery)

Thursday 27 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Nineteen on the Somme

Friday 27th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 2nd Bedfords tells me that they are now in billets in the village of Mondicourt, well behind the lines. A draft of ten other ranks has joined them today. He also reported that Lance Corporal A Trowbridge has been awarded the Military Medal.

Source: X550/3/wd

Roll of Honour - 27th October 1916

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 40490 Private Arthur Oscar EAREY, ex-28719 Essex Regiment, born Castle Hedingham [Essex], resided Rush Green [Essex] (Saint-Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen)

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Eighteen on the Somme

Gas masks at the Imperial War Museum

Thursday 26th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 1st Bedfords tells me that they have been issued with a new design of box respirator to prevent the effects of poisoned gas. Every officer and man in the battalion, duly wearing the new respirators, underwent a session in the “gas house” at Essars. This involved going through a chamber filled with gas. He was glad to report on the effectiveness of the respirators, not a man suffering any ill effects.

He also mentioned something about practising for a forthcoming raid. The war goes on away from this place. It is sometimes difficult to remember that men are fighting and dying in places other than this fifty square miles or so of soggy misery north of the River Somme.

Source: X550/2/5

Roll of Honour - 26th October 1916

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 43338 Private James William SALISBURY, 22, ex-7939 Middlesex Regiment, born Saint Pancras [London], resided Islington [London], husband of Florence E of 30 Pembroke Street, King's Cross (Contay British Cemetery)

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Seventeen on the Somme

Wednesday 25th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Proof of the dreadful conditions facing our soldiers here on the Somme was demonstrated today by 4th Canadian Division. The Canadians are second to none in dash and determination and today they tried to push their position in Regina Trench a little further. 

The trenches are knee and sometimes thigh high or higher with dirty water. Going “over the top” is no better as the ground is slimy and glutinous with deep mud. This saps a man’s strength before he can go very far. Add heavy machine gun fire and shrapnel from bursting shells to the ingredients and one can easily understand that such attacks are often doomed to failure before they even begin.

Conditions such as these were known even to the English longbowmen, hardy as they were. Today is the 501st anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

Roll of Honour - 25th October 1916

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line at Regina Trench near le Sars.
  • 19805 Acting Corporal Charles Henry Charles Henry HAMMOND, born Finsbury [London], resided Sarratt Bottom [Hertfordshire] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 15120 Private Harry George Walter HURT, 24, born Saint Pancras [London], son of Frederick George and Martha Hurt of 11 Guildford Road, South Lambeth [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 43313 Private Michael KENNEDY, 29, ex-3/1323 East Surrey Regiment, born Clapham [London], son of Michael and Johanna Kennedy of 8 Wandle Road, South Wimbledon [Surrey] (Regina Trench Cemetery
  • 12789 Lance Corporal William George PARSONS, 30, B Company, son of Arthur F Parsons of 38 Salisbury Street, Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30006 Private Albert REEVE, born and resided East Winch [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19309 Private Stanley George RUTT, born and resided Langford (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 22024 Private Arthur SAMS, resided Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 30010 Private Ernest Devereux SMITH, born Loddon [Norfolk], resided Starston [Norfolk] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 27888 Private Wilfred SMITH, 21, son of George and Jane Smith of Bramfield [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15938 Private Thomas Ashmall THUMWOOD, born Hastings [Sussex], resided Bermondsey [London] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 25109 Lance Corporal Maurice WEDD, born and resided Kneesworth [Hertfordshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27355 Private Owen YOUNG, 21, son of Joseph and Kate of North Crawley [Buckinghamshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 43342 Private George William TAYLOR, Long service and Good Conduct Medal, 36, ex-3/8138 Norfolk Regiment, born Catton [Norfolk], son of George William and Elizabeth Taylor of Norwich [Norfolk], husband of Clara Woods (ex-Taylor) of 15 The Palace, Barrack Street, Norwich; served in the 2nd Boer War (Albert Communal Cemetery Extension)

Monday 24 October 2016

Roll of Honour - 24th October 1916

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line at Regina Trench near le Sars
  • 19159 Private Walter PURTON, 25, son of George and Elizabeth of High Street, Northchurch [Hertfordshire] (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 27821 Private Herbert SHARP, 37, born and resided Hitchin [Hertfordshire], son of Arthur and Alice Sharp; husband of Alice Sharp of 85 Queen Street, Hitchin (Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt)
  • 27280 Private Harry WALLER, 44, son of Sara Waller of 38 New Town Street, Luton (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15483 Private William Cecil WARNEFORD, born North Kensington [London], resided Paddington [London] (Courcelette British Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

7th Battalion
  • 19357 Lance Sergeant Arthur BUTLER, 25, born Old Ford [London], son of Harry Robert and Emily Butler of 9 Tudor Road, East Ham [Essex] (Woodgrange Park Cemetery, East Ham)

Sunday 23 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Fifteen on the Somme

Monday 23rd October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today we have heard that 7th Bedfords are holding the front line at Regina Trench, recently taken by the Canadians. Further east, 8th Division have attacked German positions east of Gueudecourt. The ground has had no chance to dry and the attack took place through thick, sucking mud. It seems little has been gained. 4th Division, attacking alongside the French north-east of Gueudecourt encountered similar problems and, likewise, were able to achieve little. The weather, it seems, is quickly bringing this campaign to an end. Het us hope that one last hurrah can carry the army to Bapaume.

Source: X550/8/1

Saturday 22 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Fourteen on the Somme

Sunday 22nd October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today 19th (Northern) Division has relieved 25th and part of 39th Division near Thiepval. More prisoners have been taken today, bringing the total for the last two days to over a thousand. These are all men the German Army here can ill afford to lose.

Roll of Honour - 22nd October 1916

Killed in Action

7th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: attack practice near Albert
  • 29760 Private Alfred Walter HOLMES, 22, son of John and Elizabeth Holmes of Farcet [Huntingdonshire] (Pozières British Cemetery, Ovillers-la Boisselle)
  • 18132 Private Albert HORLEY, born and resided Heath & Reach (Pozières British Cemetery, Ovillers-la Boisselle)

Friday 21 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Thirteen on the Somme

Saturday 21st October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The enemy, it seems, have not yet given up their dreams of holding the Schwaben Redoubt, taken by 39th Division on 14th October. This morning they launched an attack to re-take it but were defeated. Perhaps now they will “get the message” as one of the soldiers said to me. 

A major attack involving four divisions, 18th (Eastern), 25th, 39th and 4th Canadian got underway today. As is appropriate the Canadians attacked Regina Trench west of Le Sars, which they took. 18th, 25th and 39th Divisions all captured their allotted sections of Stuff Trench and at Stump Road an amazing 731 prisoners, nineteen machine guns and three field guns were captured.

Roll of Honour - 21st October 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of the Somme: in reserve near Flers
  • 29322 Private Morley John BUNTING, born and resided Terrington Saint Clement [Norfolk] (Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 4/6352 Private Charles CHAMBERLAIN, born Upper Holloway [London], resided Colney Heath [Hertfordshire] (Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé)

8th Battalion
  • 17458 Private Thomas Frederick PIGGOTT, 21 son of Thomas and Ellen Piggott of Watford [Hertfordshire], resided Luton (Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension)

Thursday 20 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Twelve on the Somme

Friday 20th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The adjutant of the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, part of 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, who are at Rainchavel, tells me that there is a rumour that they will soon be part of a great offensive on Beaumont-Hamel, one of the villages due for seizure on 1st July.

6th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers has been involved all day in a bloody fight for a small feature east of Le Sars known as The Nose. This was lost yesterday by South Africans. The Borderers took the position again, lost it and finally retook it this afternoon. 

Roll of Honour - 20th October 1916

Killed in Action

2nd Battalion: Battle of the Somme: in reserve near Flers
  • 9425 Sergeant Arthur Percy HUMPHRIES, born Northill, resided Biggleswade (Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 27948 Private Walter Joseph COOK, 41, born Hove [Sussex], resided Watford [Hertfordshire] son of William and Ann Cook (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)
  • 9638 Lance Sergeant Thomas GREEN DCM, born Murrow [Cambridgeshire], resided Peterborough (Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé)

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Eleven on the Somme

Thursday 19th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

It has rained again all day today, turning the battlefield into a vile soup of mud and filth dotted with bodies and destroyed equipment. German flame-throwers and infantry attacked the South African Brigade this morning near a position called The Nose east of Le Sars. This caused them to retreat but artillery halted any further German advance. Meanwhile a trench north-east of Gueudecourt was found to be empty of enemy and was occupied by 4th Division.

Roll of Honour - 19th October 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line east of Gueudecourt then to reserve at Trônes Wood
  • 19937 Corporal Archie BRIERLEY, born and resided Burnley [Lancashire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19615 Private Walter Henry LYGOE, 31, born Clerkenwell [London], son of George and Alice Susan Lygoe of Islington [London], husband of N L Cushion (ex-Lygoe) of Islington, father of W Lygoe of 71 Landor Road, Stockwell [London] (London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval)
  • 20147 Private Richard WOODING, born and resided Houghton Conquest, husband of Rose of Clifton (Bancourt British Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion

  • 10405 Corporal John Edward Hyde, 21, D Company, born Kempston, son of John and Nancy Hyde of 18 Spencer Street, Saint Albans [Hertfordshire] (Saint-Sever Cemetery, Rouen)

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Ten on the Somme

Wednesday 18th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Today, in wet conditions and from flooded trenches more British attacks have taken place, most of them well before dawn. The attacks, in an arc from Le Sars eastward to Lesboeufs have seen little success. Uncut wire and stiff resistence as well as the appalling conditions underfoot have prevented much success. As the year fails it is likely that optimum conditions for any attack will now be quite rare events, but we are sure Tommy Atkins will deal with the conditions with his usual cheery humour and attack with his usual dogged determination.

Many of these attacks have been designed to push the British line northwards to the Butte de Warlencourt. This mound oversees all the flat land hereabouts and serves as a perfect observation post for German artillery. Capture of this will assist any further move towards the still distant target of the town on Bapaume. The villages of Warlencourt and Ligny-Thilloy also lie in the path of attack towards Bapaume. 

4th and 6th Divisions made attacks east of Lesboeufs, 12th Division was successful in advancing the line on the right flank of the 30th Division, which was unable to make any headway towards the now infamous Gird Trench. These attacks were undertaken by 89th and 21st Brigades but the 2nd Bedfords were not involved, much to their relief we are sure. To the left of 30th Division 9th (Scottish) managed to get a little way forward near a small elevation known as The Pimple.

Roll of Honour - 18th October 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line east of Gueudecourt
  • 40226 Private Alfred Ernest BUTTIFANT, 37, born South Heigham [Norfolk], son of Alfred Buttifant of 17 Warwick Street, Norwich [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19735 Private George Thomas HALL, 39, born Madingley [Cambridgeshire], resided Connington [Huntingdonshire], husband of Eliza Harriett Martha Hall of Holme Lane Cottage, Connington (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 13698 Corporal Alfred PHILLIPS, born Old Ford [London], resided Bow [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 20777 Private Edgar Joseph WEST, 23, born Broughton [Huntingdonshire], son of Joseph and Emma West of Ivy Cottage, Great Raveley [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 19540 Private William WOODHAM, 39, born Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire], resided Bolnhurst, son of Peter Woodham of Stow Longa [Huntingdonshire], husband of Sarah Ann of Church Lane, Spaldwick [Huntingdonshire] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 13013 Private Bertie CHARGE, 25, son of David Charge of High Street Green, HemelHempstead [Hertfordshire] (Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers)

Monday 17 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Nine on the Somme

Tuesday 17th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Here in the blasted landscape of the Somme the battlefield is about as quiet as it gets today. Of course, nowhere at the front is ever quiet. There are always isolated shells moaning through the air of crumping around the lines, always little pops and snaps from snipers’ bullets and always muted sounds of war heard far-off, as if under the sea.

At such times it is good to take stock. The seizure of Le Sars a few days ago brings the total number of villages seized since the 1st July to twenty. These are:
  • Montauban-de-Picardie and Mametz, both taken on 1st July;
  • Fricourt, taken on 2nd July;
  • la Boisselle, taken on 6th July;
  • Contalmaison, taken on 10th July;
  • Ovillers, Bazentin-le-Petit and  Bazentin-le-Grand, taken on 14th July;
  • Pozières, take on 23rd July;
  • Longueval, taken on  27th July;
  • Guillemont, taken on 3rd September;
  • Ginchy, taken on 9th September;
  • Courcelette, Flers and Martinpuich, taken on 15th September;
  • Lesboeufs and Morval, taken on 25th September;
  • Gueudecourt, taken on 26th September;
  • Thiepval, taken on 27th September
  • Eaucourt-l’Abbaye, taken on 1st October.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Eight on the Somme

Lieutenant Hopkins

Monday 16th October 1916: From our Correspondent in the Field

8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, are still in the line east of Gueudecourt. They reported that in the clear skies which we have had for most of the day, aircraft have been very active, resulting in less hostile shelling during daylight. There was intense hostile shelling for half an hour commenced at 5.45 this evening, though, resulting in four dead and four wounded. Good news is that another German sniper has been shot down.

Second Lieutenant Oakley

The 2nd Battalion moved into Flers Trench today, near Le Sars where they are acting as reserve for 21st Brigade. Lieutenant R Hopkins has taken over command of B Company and Second Lieutenant R E Oakley of A Company. The strength of the Battalion in the trenches is that all four companies – A, B, C and D have just two officers and fifty men each. Headquarters comprises four officers and 107 men under the command of Major J W H T Douglas.

Major Douglas.

Today 6th Division took some gun pits near Lesboeufs whilst 39th Division fought off no fewer than three German attempts to retake the Schwaben Redoubt. This was a particularly fine performance by the division as the enemy were employing flame-throwers.

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/9/1

Roll of Honour - 16th October 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line east of Gueudecourt, intense hostile shelling
  • 16053 Private Patrick James GALLAGHER, 22, D Company, born Swineford [Mayo], resided Hertford, son of Patrick J and Anne Gallagher of 18 Castleton Road, Goodmayes [Essex] (Bancourt British Cemetery)
  • 10236 Sergeant Frank David HAMMOND, son of G Hammond of 39 Barngate Street,  Bury Saint Edmunds [Suffolk] (Bancourt British Cemetery)
  • 16727 Private George Charles WEST, 21, son of A C West of 91 Denmark Street, West Kilburn [Middlesex] (Bancourt British Cemetery)

Died of Wounds

8th Battalion

  • 16830 Private Ernest TAYLOR, 20, born Leytonstone [Essex], son of Charles and Minnie Taylor of Page's Farm, Debden [Essex], his brother Edward also fell [Bancourt British Cemetery]

Saturday 15 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Seven on the Somme

Sunday 15th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The attacks made by 4th Division last night, we have been told this morning, were unsuccessful. Before dawn this morning 6th Division occupied gun pits in front of Cloudy Trench east of Gueudecourt.

The 8th Battalion adjutant tells me that they are still in front line trenches east of Gueudecourt. There has been intermittent shelling all day, very intense for about half an hour at midnight last night. Three enemy snipers have been shot down. Casualties Second Lieutenant John Seear Gibson has died of wounds inflicted by the shelling and two other ranks have been killed, with eight wounded.

At the Schwaben Redoubt today the Germans launched desperate counter-attacks with their favoured flame-throwers. All of these, I am glad to report, have been defeated.

Source: X550/9/1

Roll of Honour - 15th October 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line east of Gueudecourt
  • 19774 Private Alfred Mark MANLEY, born Saint Pancras [London], resided Kentish Town [London] (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

2nd Battalion
  • 17875 Private William HART, born and resided Leighton Buzzard (Heilly Station Cemetery, Méricourt-l'Abbé)
  • 28840 Private George Ernest NEAVE, 34, born Moulton [Norfolk], son of Mrs C Skipper of 49 Cliff Hill, Gorleston-on-Sea [Norfolk] (Étaples MIlitary Cemetery)

8th Battalion
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant John Seear GIBSON, attached 16th Trench Mortar Battery, fourth son of Edward Morris and Martha Gibson of Sutton [Surrey]; husband of Elsie May of Maidstone [Kent] (Thiepval Memorial)

Friday 14 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Six on the Somme

Saturday 14th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

Last night the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment were relieved in the front line by 18th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment and withdrew to reserve trenches west of the village of Flers. Just before this, about 8.10 pm in Gird Trench Sergeant F Brown successfully bombed a party of the enemy, capturing one, who was a Saxon. This proved important, as it showed that a relief had taken place, as Bavarians had occupied the trench during the attack on October 12th. Total casuatlies for the attack on 12th are now reckoned to be 10 officers and 242 other ranks killed and wounded.

It appears that another hard-fighting battalion of the regiment is preparing for a third attack in this battle. 7th Battalion have today received orders to the effect that the 18th Division had opened advance Divisional Headquarters at Albert: the 53rd Brigade have moved up in readiness for an attack on Regina Trench and the 54th Brigade will move to Beauville. All necessary arrangements are being made for the Battalion to move tomorrow morning. Advance billeting parties were detailed to proceed ahead at 2 pm today - but, this was cancelled just before time to march off.

This afternoon 25th Division made a successful attack on an area known as The Mound, west of the River Ancre and Saint-Pierre-Divion. Seizing this objective gives them observation of the village.

Perhaps the most momentous news of the day is the capture of the last parts of the Schwaben Redoubt. This was achieved by the 39th Division, specifically the 4th/5th Battalion, Black Watch, the 17th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps and our close neighbours from 1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment. About 150 prisoners were taken. So the position first attacked by 7th Bedfords and others on 28th September has finally fallen.

About half an hour ago we were told that 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders of 4th Division have assaulted Rainy Trench and gun pits south of Dewdrop Trench east of Lesboeufs. 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers have also attacked gun pits in front of Hazy Trench.

Source: X550/3/wd; X550/8/1

Roll of Honour - 14th October 1916

Killed in Action

8th Battalion: Battle of the Somme: front line east of Gueudecourt, artillery very active
  • 15874 Private John COAD, born Newcastle-upon-Tyne [Northumberland], resided Haverstock Hill [London] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 40144 Private Charles Arthur EARL, ex-28192 Essex Regiment, born Coltishall [Norfolk], resided Horstead [Norfolk] (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 22660 Private Percy LOCKEY, born Shefford, resided Bedford (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 15707 Lance Corporal Frederick John PALMER, born Bedminster [Bristol], resided Bristol (Thiepval Memorial)
  • 27625 Private Percy Charles TWO, 28, born and resided Bedford, son of Samuel and Mary Two (Thiepval Memorial)

Died of Wounds

1st Battalion
  • 22099 Private Albert MEDLOCK, born and registered Wrestlingworth (Wrestlingworth Burial Ground)

9th Battalion
  • Temporary Second Lieutenant Frank Lloyd SHARPIN, 33, attached 8th Battalion; son of Archdeacon Frederick Lloyd Sharpin, former Rector of Millbrook and Helen Georgina of 37 Eversley Road, Bexhill-on-Sea [Sussex]; born Bombay [India]; volunteered for the Honourable Artillery Company from the staff of London County and Westminster Bank August 1914; wounded March 1915 at Saint-Eloi; gazetted September 1915 (Grove Town Cemetery, Méaulte)

Thursday 13 October 2016

Day One Hundred and Five on the Somme

Captain E S M Poyntz

Friday 13th October 1916 From our Correspondent in the Field

The 2nd Battalion tell me that the night passed quietly and the enemy did not counterattack. Today I have learned a little more about the Battalion’s attack of yesterday. Captain Poyntz told me that they reckon to have gained about 200 yards of Bite Trench and about 70 yards of Gird Trench. He commented: “The Battalion did magnificently and were the only Battalion to gain any ground on the whole of the Corps Front, all the others having to withdraw to their front trenches”. I am very pleased to say that the message carried by second Lieutenant Pitts reached Captain Beal's party last night and they were able to withdraw to the original front line.

Second Lieutenant Chadwick

The total of dead comes, so far, to 82 dead. Officers killed were: Second Lieutenant Joseph Chadwick; Second Lieutenant Harold Fyson; Second Lieutenant Lawrence Walker and Lieutenant William White. Amongst the wounded were Lieutenant-Colonel Poyntz, Second Lieutenant William Bird, Lieutenant R. Hopkins and Second Lieutenant J P Pitts. The latter two were both slightly wounded but remain at duty.

The 8th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, are in front line trenches near Gueudecourt. Enemy artillery has been active, as have snipers. There was an intense bombardment this evening which ended about three-quarters of an hour ago, which we hope does not foreshadow an enemy attack. So far today casualties have been four other ranks killed and eleven wounded.

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/9/1