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Acle - Great War Memorial

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posted by alias Moominpappa06 on Tuesday 13th of October 2009 05:43:15 PM

From the Roll of Honour site (RoH) www.roll-of-honour.com/Norfolk/Acle.html Just like so many parishes during World War 1 the Rector of Acle collected photographs of all the men who were serving in the armed forces. Most of the collections have disappeared but at the back of St Edmund’s Church is the original photograph frame containing pictures of all twenty-eight Acle men who died during the First World War. Due to the diligence of a Church Warden during the 1980’s a second frame contains photographs of the five local men who died in the Second World War. Eastern Daily Press, Monday 19th December 1921: “At Acle yesterday afternoon there was an unusual, and yet most appealing, variation upon the customary method of unveiling war memorials. The Union Jack was drawn away from a granite cross by two orphaned boys, each four or five years old, and each the son of a father who had yielded his life in France. Edward Cushion and Owen Waters were their names. Twenty-eight men of Acle have fallen in the war; and they have been commemorated in a way that not only honours the dead, but speaks well for the practical good sense of the parishioners. The cross stands ten and a half feet high, the shaft resting on an octagonal base. It occupies a well elevated part of the church yard overlooking the Norwich and Yarmouth main road, at a point which hitherto has been rather dangerous; but now, at the instance of the Churchyard Improvement Committee, has been made much less so. The cross boldly marks the rounding of the cut-off corner, and a light wooden paling greatly relieves the anxieties of motorists. A kissing gate and a footpath immediately connect the roadway with the memorial.” For more detail about Acle and the church see the Acle Village web site. 1914-1918 Alan Cecil Aldis………………………………........(Roll of Honour) G/87390 Lance Corporal Aldis, 13th Battalion Middlesex Regiment who died on Sunday 13th October 1918, aged 20 years. When he enlisted at Norwich he is recorded as residing at Thorpe St Andrew. His father was the Station Master at Acle. He is buried at the Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugny, Pas de Calais and is also commemorated on the gravestone of his 5 year-old brother in the Churchyard at Acle. His CWGC entry also records that he was born at Holme Hale and that he was the son of Mr & Mrs A Aldis. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=240001 Lance Corporal Aldis can be seen here. norlink.norfolk.gov.uk/02_Catalogue/02_013_PictureTitleIn... The accompanying notes are Born 18 August 1898 at Holme Hale, Norfolk; son of Arthur and Hannah Aldis, Station House, Acle; enlisted June 1917; died of wounds at 46 Casualty Clearing Station, France, 13 October 1918. At the time of the 1901 Census, the 2 year old Alan C was living at the Station House, Ditchingham, where his 38 year old father, Arthur, (born Framingham Pigot), was Station Master. Also resident are his 40 year old mother Hannah, (born Marham), and his siblings, Reginald U…………….aged 9.………….born Fakenham Hubert H……………….aged 7.…………born Swaffham Percy G………………..aged 5.………….born Swaffham Audrey E………………aged 1.…………born Holme Hale Cambrai, 1918: and the Pursuit to the Selle River. 9th - 12th October 1918 In this Battle no less than six battalions of the Regiment took part, or are entitled to the Battle Honour as being in the immediate area of the operations. They are the 1st and 18th Battalions (33rd Division), 4th (37th Division), 1/7th and 1/8th (56th Division) and 13th (24th Division). freespace.virgin.net/howard.anderson/thebattleofcambrai.htm Historical Information: The village of St. Aubert was captured in the Pursuit to the Selle (9th-12th October, 1918); and the cemetery was begun by the 24th Division on the 12th. www.geocities.com/ptrue84020/aubert.html ************************************************************************ Elvin Spencer Bulley………………………………........(Roll of Honour) 18164 Lance Corporal Bulley, 9th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Sunday 17th September 1916, aged 32 years. He had lived in Acle for nine or ten years before enlisting and worked as a moulder at Smithdale’s foundry. He was captain of Acle Football Club and a member of the Bowling Club. At the time of his death his brother was fighting beside him in the same trench and was wounded a few hours earlier. He is buried in the Guillemont Road Cemetery on The Somme. His CWGC entry lists him as the son of William and Rosanna Bulley, of Swafield, North Walsham. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=534194 No match on Norlink No obvious match on the 1901 Census for England & Wales for either an Elvin, William or Rosanna Bulley\Bully 15th September 1916 Battle of the Somme The last great Allied effort to achieve a breakthrough came on 15 September in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette with the initial advance made by 11 British divisions (nine from Fourth Army, two Canadian divisions on the Reserve Army sector) and a later attack by four French corps. The battle is chiefly remembered today as the debut of the tank. The British had high hopes that this secret weapon would break the deadlock of the trenches. Early tanks were not weapons of mobile warfare—with a top speed of 2 mph (3.2 km/h), they were easily outpaced by the infantry—but were designed for trench warfare. They were untroubled by barbed wire obstacles and impervious to rifle and machine gun fire, though highly vulnerable to artillery. Additionally, the tanks were notoriously unreliable; of the 49 tanks available on 15 September, only 32 made it to the start line, and of these, only 21 made it into action en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Flers-Courcelette An intense preliminary bombardment began on 12 September and at 6.20am on Friday 15 September the advance began in mist and smoke. XIV Corps attack, on the extreme right, where hopes of breakthrough were pinned, fared badly; 56th Division and 6th Division lost heavily as tanks and artillery support failed to neutralise vital defensive positions www.cwgc.org/somme/content.asp?menuid=27&id=27&me... 151 Soldiers of the 9th Battalion appear to have died on this day, with 6 more the following day. I assume Private Bulley also died from wounds received on the 15th, as it seems unlikely the Norfolks were back in the front line 2 days after such a mauling. ********************************************************************* Percy Chilvers………………………………........(Roll of Honour) It is thought that Percy Chilvers served with the Norfolk Regiment but none of the records of men with that name contain any evidence to associate them with Acle. The most probable entry is: Percy CHILVERS, Sergeant 200284, 1st/4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action in Palestine 19th April 1917. Aged 26. Born Tottington, enlisted Norwich. Son of Mrs. Alice Chilvers, of "Shrublands," Brandon Rd., Watton, Thetford, Norfolk. No known grave. Commemorated on Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. Panels 12 to 15. The other two lisyed on CWGC are a Percy aged 32 when he died on the 23/09/1918 serving in France in the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, and Percy Ernest, aged 19 when he died 22/10/1914, serving with the Royal Marines aboard HMS Aboukir. The Percy referred to above is a Percy Read Chilvers. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1644687 He also appears on the Watton War Memorial No match on Norlink The Genes re-united transcription of the 1901 Census has no obvious match for the Percy Read Chilvers who was 26 by April 1917. The most likely match for the 32 year old is more interesting. He would appear to be a 15 years Plumbers Apprentice living at 20 Cambridge Road, Chiswick, having been born at Shepherds Bush, London. This was the home of his parents, George William, aged 41 and a Builders Managers from Docking in Norfolk, and Louisa, aged 41 and also from Norfolk, although the village is indecipherable on the 1901 Census. (The 1891 makes it clear that its Snettisham, although they also have an older child living with them that was born at Snettisham, and who is not present on the 1901 Census). While all their other children were born in London, it could be that the family returned to the county of their parents birth. A high level search of the 1911 Census shows the same individual in the district of Brentford, Middlesex. The most likely match for the 19 year old is a 6 year old born Raveningham, and now living at Brundish Cottage, Raveningham. The 26 year old serving with the 1st/4th Norfolks would have been involved in the disastrous 2nd Battle of Gaza on the 19th April 1917. More than a thousand one hundred of the men of the 54th posted killed wounded or missing were from the two Norfolk regiment battalions, equating to 75% of their strength. Eastern Daily Press "Sunday" section May 5, 2007 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_Gaza The 32 year old is listed as serving with the 4th Yorks but that unit had been reduced to a cadre following the German Spring offensives of 1918, and many of the surviving 4th Yorks were now serving in composite Battalions made up of platoons and companys drawn up from similarly depleted units. However, this site states he died a Prisoner of War. homepage.ntlworld.com/bandl.danby/065Bn1918.html The 19 year was a casualty of the early success that German U-Boats enjoyed against dated British warships in the North Sea. “U9 sinks HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. The patrol by these elderly ships was much criticised, they were too old and slow with inexperienced crews to put up a decent fight against modern German surface ships. Although the submarine threat at the time was not considered, even by critics of the patrol, the fact that the three ships didn't zigzag was criticised by the board of inquiry, a practice that was widely ignored at the time and even by some ships after the loss of the three cruisers.” www.worldwar1.co.uk/cressy.htm ********************************************************************** Sydney George Church………………………………........(Roll of Honour) 81839 Private Church, 29th Battalion Middlesex Regiment who died on Friday 5th April 1918 aged 37 years. He enlisted in 1915 when he had been married to Kate for three years. He was employed as a miller’s carter. He was admitted to Crowborough hospital in September 1917 suffering from rheumatism caused by exposure to wet and cold. After a further period in hospital at Brighton he died from a tubercular infection. He is buried at Hove Old Cemetery. The CWGC entry also tells us that he was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Daniel Church and had been transferred to the Labour Corps. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=659960 No match on Norlink No obvious match on the 1901 Census. *********************************************************************** Ambrose William Church………………………………........(Roll of Honour) 41039 Private Church, 8th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers who died on Thursday 16th August 1917. He is shown on the War Memorial as ‘W’ Church and the available records give his first name as Ambrose. He is believed to have been killed at Borry Farm with comrades who also have no known grave but are commemorated on panels 70/72 of the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1628737 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has the 3 year old Acle born Ambrose W. living at Damgate, Acle. This is the household of his parents, Joseph D. ,a 48 year old Corn and Flour Dealer from Acle, and and Martha J. aged 42 and from Somerleyton, Suffolk. Their other children are:- Percy F……………….aged 17.…………born Acle…..Corn and Flour Dealer Harry J……………….aged 18.………….born Acle………Corn and Flour Dealer Elsie J………………..aged 1.…………..born Acle Daisy B………………aged 13.………….born Acle Cecil R………………aged 7.…………..born Acle Walter C……………..aged 11.…………born Acle August 16th 1917 The 16th August 1917 was the opening day of the Battle of Langermarck, with the 7th & 8th battalions of the Inniskillings in the first wave. The fortification in front of 8th battalion was Borry Farm . This was a strongpoint consisting of three concrete dugouts linked by a breastwork. It was garrisoned by at least 100 men and five machine-guns. Both Beck House and Borry Farm were covered from Hills 35 and 37, and from the Potsdam and Bremen redoubts near Zonnebeke. A and B companies of the 8th Battalion outflanked Borry Farm and managed to advance about 800 yards, keeping in contact with the 7th Inniskillings on their left. A German counter-attack inflicted heavy casualties on these companies, killing, wounding, or capturing all but 30 men. C company launched frontal and flank attacks on Borry Farm and were reduced to a remnant that took cover in shell holes 50 yards to the west. Increasing German pressure led to the withdrawal of all survivors of the Battalion to their original positions. The battalion had suffered over 60% casualties. At the end of the day, the 16th Division was back where it had started. freespace.virgin.net/sh.k/3rdypres.html Operation order freespace.virgin.net/sh.k/ordlang.html *********************************************************************** Ernest Samuel Clarke………………………………........(Roll of Honour) 17767 Lance Corporal Clarke, 7th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Thursday 31st August 1916 aged 21 years. He was one of six Acle brothers on active service during the war. Following action on the Somme of 1st July 1916 he suffered gunshot wounds to his head and side at Bouzincourt on 21st August. He died of his wounds in the 1st Canadian General Hospital at Etaples and is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais. CWGC entry shows son of Robert and Eliza Clarke, of Acle, Norwich. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=499931 No match on Norlink On the 1901 Census, the 5 year old Ernest S, born Acle, is recorded at The Hill, Acle. This is the household of his parents, Robert, a 49 year old Labourer from Acle, and Eliza, aged 42 and also from Acle. Their other children are:- Edgar………….aged 3.……born Acle Edward………..aged 8.……born Acle John A…………aged 12.….born Acle Louisa M …….. aged 11.…born Acle Noah………….aged 14.…..born Acle….General servant in sausage factory Robert J……….aged 21.…born Acle I’m slightly mystified by the reference to Bouzincourt as this was behind the Allied lines at this time from what I can discover, and was the location of a field ambulance station, the next step on the ladder from the front line medical posts. The village received regular artillery bombardments. I can’t find any reference to the 7th Norfolks being in action on either date, (21st or 31st), although they had taken casualties on the 12th during the capture of Skyline Trench. *********************************************************************** Walter John Cole………………………………........(Roll of Honour) 18166 Private Cole, 9th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Friday 31st December 1915 aged 21 years. He was one of a family of seven children born in Acle; his father was a railway platelayer. His Battalion came under heavy German shelling at St Jean in the Ypres Salient on 17th December and it is probable that it was as a result of that action that Walter Cole died. He is buried at the New irish Farm Cemetery north east of Ypres. CWGC entry shows Son of William and Anna M. Cole, of Damgate, Acle, Norfolk. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=452139 No match on Norlink On the 1901 Census, the 7 year old Acle born Walter is living at Damgate, Acle. This is the household of his parents, William, a 46 year old Railway Plate Layer from Cambridge, and Anna, aged 39 and from Acle. Their other children, all born Acle, are Annie, (aged 2), Emma, (aged 9) and Louisa, (aged 12). For the rest of 1915 there is little to be told. During November the battalion was in and out of the trenches in the neighbourhood of Ypres, going through the usual monotonous routine of such service in the winter. On November 11 2/Lt G. Glanfield was killed by a shell. December passed in the same way. An extra heavy bombardment on the 19th led to the expectation of a German attack which did not materialise. At this time the Norfolk Battalion was in the trenches near St Jean. 1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t... (Slight discrepancy in the dates of the barrage, between the Roll of Honour contributor and the Great War Forum thread author). *********************************************************************** Eric A F Coleman………………………………........(Roll of Honour) Second Lieutenant Coleman, Machine Gun Corps who died on Tuesday 31st July 1917. The son of Captain and Mrs George Drury Coleman of Acle he was commissioned in April 1915. It is thought that he originally served in the Norfolk Regiment but by July 1917 he was a member of the Heavy Section of the Machine Gun Corps – later to be known as the Tank Corps. He was in command of a tank at Wieltje on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele when he was killed. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial. CWGC additional information reads Son of the late Capt. Coleman and Mrs. George Drury Coleman; husband of Lilian Coleman, of 5, St. John's Terrace, Wakefield. Native of Acle, Norfolk. His main unit is listed as the Norfolk Regiment but he is attached to the 3rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps. He is only listed as Eric Coleman. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1607255 No match on Norlink The most likely match on the 1901 Census is a 12 year old Eric A F, who is a resident pupil at Charles Towers School, Lingfield, (near Reigate). Eric had been born at Coles Hill, Middlesex. Unfortunately there is no obvious match on the 1891 census. Wieltje 55 Div 165 Bde The division advanced at Zero Hour with 165 Bde front right, 166 Bde front left and 164 Bde in support. Attacking troops in 165 Bde were 1/5th and 1/6th King’s Liverpool Regt. The two battalions reached the Blue Line with little trouble and then attacked Plum Farm from which heavy MG fire was coming. The Farm was captured whilst still under bombardment. 1/7th and 1/9th King’s Liverpool Regt then passed through, 1/7 th being held up by fire from Square Farm, the same position that was holding up the HLI of 15th Div at the same time. The Farm fell to the Liverpudlians after several attacks allowing the advance continue to the Black Line. Pommern Redoubt was captured at 9am and a tank captured Bank Farm. 166 Bde Despite running into many MG positions, 1/5th King’s Own Regt and 1/5th North Lancashire Regt kept up with the barrage and reached the first objective. 1/10th Liverpool Scottish and 1/5th South Lancashire Regt then passed through, encountering strong opposition from Spree Farm, Capricorn Trench and Pond Farm. 1/5th North Lancs was sent forward to support them. Capricorn Trench fell to the Liverpool Scottish at 9am. Spree Farm and Pond Farm remained in German hands and caused many casualties. 164 Bde The brigade joined the battle at 10am. 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers captured Spree Farm supported by the 1/8th Bn (Liverpool Irish). 1/4th Bn, North Lancs supported by 1/4th Bn, King’s Own advanced to the Green Line, capturing five batteries of 77mm guns on the way. The brigade consolidated in touch with 15th Div. Later on the left flank had to withdraw to get in touch with 39th Division troops. forum.irishmilitaryonline.com/showthread.php?t=11535 *********************************************************************** Harry Alfred Richard Crickmore…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 228816 Private Crickmore, 1/2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment who died on Friday 26th April 1918, aged 19 years. Known to his family as ‘Richard’, he worked as a gardener/handyman when, at the age of seventeen he volunteered for a four-year engagement on 24th August 1914. He served with the 10th and the 3rd Battalion Norfolk Regiment and went to France in December 1915. He suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was returned to hospital in England in September 1916. During his home service he was transferred to the Monmouthshire Regiment with whom he returned to France in December 1917. He suffered further serious head injuries and died at the 3rd Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. He is buried in St Edmunds churchyard at Acle. CWGC notes that he was the Son of Mrs. Lily Elizabeth Crickmore, of The Hill. Acle. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2802329 No match on Norlink The most likely match on the 1901 Census is a 2 year old Harry who is living at The Cottage, Great Fransham, the village of his birth. This is the household of his parents, Richard, a 35 year old Woodman\Timber Feller(? - could possibly be Seller) from Bungay, and Lily, aged 26 and from Upton. Their other child is Arthur, (aged 6), while a 15 year old lodger, Sydney Pearce, makes up the rest of the household The 1st/2nd Monmouthshires was the Pioneer Battalion of the 29th Division www.1914-1918.net/monmouth.htm *********************************************************************** Basil Philip Cushion…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 235627 Private Cushion, 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment who died on Saturday 20th April 1918 aged 35 years. He was married with one son who was one of the boys who unveiled the village War Memorial. He is buried at The Huts Cemetery south of Ypres. CWGC notes that he was the son of John and Clara Cushion, of Reedham, Norfolk; husband of Annie Cushion, of Bridewell Lane, Acle, Norwich. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=156124 No match on Norlink At the time of the 1901 Census, the 17 year old Basil P. ,born Reepham, was living at The High Street, Marsham and employed as a Iron Moulder. This is the household of his uncle and aunt, John W Slapp, a 47 year old builder from North Walsham, and Mary M Slapp, aged 29 and from Lowestoft. The 7th Leicesters were in the 21st Division, which lists amongst its battle honours, First Battle of Kemmel. 17-19 Apr 1918. warpath.orbat.com/divs/21_div.htm This was part of the bigger battle of Lys, which in turn was prompted by the second part of the German Spring Offensive known as Operation Georgette. www.webmatters.net/belgium/ww1_lys_4.htm *********************************************************************** John Henry Lewis Fayers…………………………........(Roll of Honour) MS/2267 Sergeant Fayers 604th M.T. Company attached XV Corps Army Service Corps who died on Thursday 13th September 1917 aged 23 years. John Fayers went to France on 13th August 1914 and posted to 604 Coy when it was formed in November 1915. It was attached to XV Corps Heavy Artillery as Corps Siege Park. Their duties involved the haulage of guns and the supply of ammunition. He is buried at the Zuydcoote Military Cemetery, Nord in France. CWGC notes that he was the son of John and Charlotte Fayers, of 8, Sefton Lane, Southtown, Great Yarmouth. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=617607 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has a 6 year old John Fayers living at 1 Mayhouse Cottages, Great Yarmouth. This was the household of his parents, John, a 43 year old General Labourer from Notting Hill, London and Charlotte, aged 32 and from Besthorpe. Also living with them are their daughter Winifred, aged 2 and born Yarmouth, and their nephew, Ernest Perfecy, (aged under 1 and born Lingwood) *********************************************************************** Harry Larkins Ford…………………………........(Roll of Honour) T/345558 Lance Corporal Ford, 108th Company Army Service Corps, who died 5th October 1916, aged 19 years. With his brother Walter he was born and brought up in Acle. He enlisted in the Army and became a driver in the A.S.C. In October 1915 the British Salonika Force and the French arrived in Greece at the request of the Greek Prime Minister to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian oppression. By that time the international force had been reinforced by Serbian and Italians units. The Bulgarian attempted invasion was repulsed near Lake Dorian and at the beginning of October the British began successful operations to capture the Rupell Pass and to advance almost to Serres. It was in this operation that Harry Ford died and is buried at the Karasouli Military Cemetery CWGC notes that he is the son of Donald and Anna M. Ford, of Bridewell Cottage, The Street, Acle, Norwich www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=623203 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has a 3 year old Harry Ford living at Rotten Marsh Road, Acle. This is the household of his parents, Donald, a 39 year old General Labourer from Wymondham, and Anna, aged 40 and from Acle. Also living with them are their other children, Charles………….aged 1.…….born Acle Donald………….aged 10.……born Sparham Ernest…………..aged 16.…….born Acle…………Grocers Apprentice Walter………….aged 13.……born Acle (see below) A taste of the campaign at this time can be glimpsed here www.harrys-ww1.co.uk/chapter6a.html *********************************************************************** Walter Charles Ford…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 9913 Private Ford, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who died on Wednesday 24th March 1915 aged 29 years. Brother to Harry Ford (above). No further information is available about his Army service. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. CWGC has no additional details. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=859497 No match on Norlink For family details, see Harry above Following the Battle at Neuve Chappelle, (March 10th to 12th 1915), when the 2nd Lincolns suffered 15 Officers and 288 men killed, wounded or missing, like other units in the Brigade the 2nd Lincolns probably received reinforcing drafts from the regiments home battalions, and were then back in the trenches near the village at the time of Private Ford’s death . www.purley.eu/H142P/P192-CATT.pdf *********************************************************************** Charles Fox…………………………........(Roll of Honour) The cap badge in his photograph shows that he served in the Suffolk Regiment but no further information is available from the usual sources Norlink has a picture of a Charles Edward Fox. His cap badge appears to be that of the Coldstream Guards, and indeed CWGC has a Company Sergeant Major from the 3rd Battalion of that regiment, who received the MM, and who died on the 12/03/1918. However, the additional information reads Husband of Maud Rose Fox, of 40, Devereux Rd., Windsor. As he is aged 38, he was possibly a career soldier. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=648860 norlink.norfolk.gov.uk/02_Catalogue/02_013_PictureTitleIn... The most likely match for the Norlink individual on the 1901 Census is a 21 year old single soldier who had been born at Burston, Norfolk, and who was now resident at Chelsea Barracks, Bridge Road, Chelsea. The census shows him as Charles E. There is no obvious match for this individual on the 1891 Census. I could find no London Gazette entry covering the award of the MM. *********************************************************************** William Garred…………………………........(Roll of Honour) The cap badge in his photograph shows that he served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps but no further information is available from the usual sources. No match on Norlink No obvious match on the 1901 Census. No match on CWGC *********************************************************************** Robert William Goodrum…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 31137 Driver Goodrum, 63rd Battery Royal Field Artillery who died on Wednesday 16th August 1916 aged 25 years. Probably killed in the action at Kut, he is buried at the Bagdad (North Gate) Cemetery. (More likely died a PoW on the march after the fall of Kut - no additional info on CWGC.) www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=633576 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has the 10 year old Robert, who had been born in Acle, living at Walsham Road, Acle. This was the household of his parents, Robert, (aged 44 and a Farm Teamster from Acle), and Louisa, (aged 43 and from Upton) as well as their other son, Herbert, (aged 12) Following the defeat of the Turkish forces at the Battle of Ctesiphon, 22/11/1915, the allies were left too weak to continue their advannce and so fell back to the City of Kut. This proved to be a tactical mistake, as the Turks, under German military advisers, were able to isolate the city and then hold off relief attempts. Amonst the units trapped were the 63rd Battery RFA under the leadership of Major H Broke Smith. Eventually, at casuallies rose, with supplies exhausted and epidemics breaking out, the city surrendered to the Turks on April 29th 1916. A significant portion of the troops who fell into Turkish hands were units with Norfolk associations, including the 2nd Norfolks, In an eerie forerunner of the treament of the captured Norfolks following the fall of Singapore in 1941, the prisoners were very poorly treated.Most of the Arabs left in Kut were hanged by the Turks for helping the British. During May 1916, 2000 British Troops, including the Norfolks, started the march some were still in Khaki some were almost naked. The first day they walked 15 miles without food or water. Behind the column were many dead or dying, those who dropped out were killed by the Arab guards. They were first taken to a temporary camp at Shumran about 80 miles from Kut. The Kurdish guards had stolen the troops food rations and even their water bottles and boots. The British officers were separated at Shumran and were taken up river by steamer leaving their men to walk and die. Wounded officers were then repatriated to India. From Kut to Baghdad is 100 miles, marching 12-15 miles a day lying at night on the open ground. They were herded like sheep by mounted guards with sticks and whips. The route of the death march was through what is now Iraq into Turkey, a distance of over 400 miles: Aziziya, Baghdad, Tikrit, Mosul, Nisibin, Ras alAin, Mamourra and Aran The American Ambassadors at Constantinople (Messrs. Morgenthau and Elkus) saw the results of the march and protested, but to no avail. Other diplomatic efforts during the siege, such as the payment of ransom to the Turkish Government, failed. It seems that the Turkish Government wished to impress its Central Power partners. It has been estimated that 70% died, either on the march or on arrival at the prison camps. www.stephen-stratford.co.uk/pte_wilby.htm *********************************************************************** Stanley Goodrum…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 33126 Private Goodrum, 36th Labour Battalion who died on Sunday 14th October 1917 aged 28 years. After enlisting in Norwich he served in the Royal Fusiliers before transfer to the Labour Corps and his unit served throughout Belgium. At the time of his death five other men died in the same incident and sixteen others died from wounds the following day. He is buried at the Dunhallow Advanced Dressing Station Cemetery at Ypres 36th Battalion were the Regiment Pioneers. CWGC notes he had transferred to 106th Company, Labour Corps. Additional info lists that he was the brother of Miss E. E. Goodrum, The New Rd., Acle, Norwich. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2936067 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has the 11 year old Stanley living at New Road, Acle, having been born in the village. This was the household of his parents, John, (aged 40 and a Farm Teamster from Acle), and Ann M, (aged 34 and from Acle). Living with them are John’s brother Frederick, (single, aged 38 and a Farm labourer from Acle), and their children, George R……………aged 16.……..born Acle…………..Bakers Assistant Herbert……………aged 14.……….born Acle Florence R Rumbold (Step daughter)….aged 13.……..born Acle George Rumbold (Father in Law)……aged 64.…..born Acle……..Farm Labourer 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th and 37th (Labour) Battalions Formed at Seaford (33rd) and Falmer (34th to 37th) in May and June 1916. April 1917 became the 99th to 108th Labour Companies, Labour Corps. www.1914-1918.net/royalfus.htm A quick search of the burials in the cemetery attached to All Hallows ADS shows that the unit mix in October 1917 is almost entirely Artillery men. There was no obvious front-line action at this time. ********************************************************************** William James Green…………………………........(Roll of Honour) 203979 Private Green, 1st Hertfordshire Regiment who died on Friday 23rd August 1918 aged 20 years. Son of George and Martha Green of Acle he was awarded the Military Medal. He is buried at Bucquoy Communal Cemetery Extension near Arras. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=305721 Private Green can be seen here norlink.norfolk.gov.uk/02_Catalogue/02_013_PictureTitleIn... The 1901 Census has a William J Green living at Bridge Road, Acle. This is the household of his parents, George , (aged 32 and a Labourer\Stockman from Fleggburgh), and Martha E, (aged 30 and from Stokesby). Also living with them is another sin, George T, (aged 8 and born Fleggburgh), and a daughter Clara L. (aged 6 and born Acle). From the battalion War Diary 22-8-18. Battn resting in BRADFORD-LEEDS-HALIFAX trenches. Moved up to assembly positions S. of LOGEAST WOOD at 11pm. 23-8-18. Battn attacked at 11am. Attack successful. Railway cutting in front of ACHIET-LE-GRAND taken. Casualties – Captain S.W. [Saxon Weston] MOORE & 2/Lt F. SMITH [Frederick John SMITH, 5th Bedfordshire regiment attached to the 1st Hertfordshire] killed 7 Officers wounded. O. Ranks 26 killed 140 wounded. 24-8-18. Battn moved to position SE of BIHUCOURT. 25-8-18 to 31-8-18. Battn in Divisional Reserve in shelters SE of BIHUCOURT. [Comment; Officers also killed – Lt George ABBOTT and Ronald Henry Pruess ARNHOLTZ on the 23rd August and 2/Lt Laurence REEVES died from his wounds on the 25th] www.bedfordregiment.org.uk/hertsrgt/1stherts1918diary.html The 1st Herts were part of a bigger action involving 3 divisions and tanks tasked with recapturing the village. www.achiet-le-grand.org/august_1918.htm ********************************************************************** Only Jones………………….…………………........(Roll of Honour) 2496 Private Jones ‘C’ Company 1/4th Territorial Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on 7th October 1915 aged 28 years. The 1/4th Bn Norfolk Regiment was mobilized at the outbreak of war and after extensive training they embarked on the SS Aquitania at Liverpool to arrive at Suvla Bay (Gallipoli) on 10th August 1915. He was wounded and taken on board a hospital ship where he died the same day. He was buried at sea and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. CWGC tells us he was the son of Daniel and Eliza Jones, of Fleggburgh, Great Yarmouth. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=681408 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has what looks like an Onley Jones, aged 14 and resident as a boarder at The Street, Acle. He was born in Acle and now works as a Cow Boy on farm. He lives in the household of the Clements family, which is headed by the widowed 51 year old Robert, who works as a Milkman on farm. On the 1891 Census “Only” Jones, aged 4, was living at Damgate, Acle. This was the household of his parents, Daniel Jones, (aged 34 and a Railway Labourer from Halvergate), and Eliza, (aged 35 and from Thurne). Their other children are: Leah…………….age 13.…….born Stokesby……….Domestic Servant Rachel…………..age 11.…….born Stokesby Ruth…………….age 10.…….born Stokesby Charles………….age 7.……..born Stokesby Lynca(sp.??? male)…(age 5)……….born Acle I then rechecked the 1901 Census - the 46 year old Eliza was by then a widow, working as a Housekeeper. She was visiting friends on the night of the Census at a household in Green Lane, Potter Heigham that included as boarders a 17 year old Charles Jones, who was employed as a cattleman on Farm, a 14 year old Lyna Jones, (male), and a 7 year old John who had been born Acle. After the fighting in the middle of August, the struggle was more against disease and hardship than against Turkish guns and rifles. Dysentery caused havoc in all ranks, and in the middle of October there remained of the 1/4th Battalion only sixteen officers and 242 men fit for duty. user.online.be/~snelders/sand.htm *********************************************************************** Herbert Laight………………….…………………........(Roll of Honour) 151 Private Laight, 1st Eastern Company Non-Combatant Corps who died on Wednesday 27th November 1918 aged 33 years. He and three other members of the large Acle family served during the war. Nothing is known of the circumstances of his death and he is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. CWGC notes that he was the son of William and Ellen Laight, of Acle, Norfolk. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=503059 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has the 15 year old Herbert living at The Post office, The Street, Acle, the village of his birth. This is the household of his parents, William, (age 55 and a Sub-Postmaster and Shopkeeper from Lincoln), and Ellen, (aged 54, a shopkeeper and from Acle). Also with them are: Edward……………..age 13.…………..born Acle Ella…………………age 17.…………..born Acle……….Post Office assistant Emma………………age 20.………….born Acle……….Post Office assistant Ethel………………..age 21.………….born Acle……….Post Office clerk Florence……………age 27.………….born Acle……….Shop assistant Ralph………………age 9.……………born Acle Ruth……………….age 24.…………..born Acle……….Post office Clerk Unwilling soldiers 3,400 COs (Consciencious Objectors) accepted call-up into the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC) or the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) as non-combatants. The NCC (the 'No-Courage Corps' as the press rudely called it) was set up in March 1916, part of the army and run by its regular officers. The COs assigned to it were army privates, wore army uniforms and were subject to army discipline, but didn't carry weapons or take part in battle. Their duties were mainly to provide physical labour (building, cleaning, loading and unloading anything except munitions) in support of the military. The NCC may have been a shock to the COs who agreed to join it. But for the absolutists and alternativists who were forcibly enlisted into the NCC it was much worse. They immediately faced the question of whether to agree to wearing uniform. The men who decided to refuse were formally charged and court-martialled. Often they were treated harshly, bullied, deprived of basic needs and rights, and imprisoned in inhumane conditions. So were the men who refused to perform duties like handling munitions or building rifle ranges. Some broke down, physically or mentally, as a result of their ill-treatment. www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/cos/st_co_wwone1.html This report in the Hansard shows some of the dilemmas faced by individual conscientious objectors serving in the Corps. hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1918/mar/06/non-comba... *********************************************************************** William Leeder Laight………………….…………………........(Roll of Honour) 152439 Petty Officer Stoker Laight, H.M.S. Spey who died on Wednesday 7th March 1917 aged 47 years. Having served as a regular sailor he was recalled for war service at the age of 45 years. H.M.S. Spey formed part of the Home Defence and operated in the Thames Estuary. In high winds the Spey lost an anchor and was involved in a collision with SS Belvedere – a mud-hopper carrying sludge from London. As a result of the accident nineteen of the crew of thirty-seven from H.M.S. Spey were lost. He is buried in the churchyard of St Peter’s church at Boughton Monchelsea, Kent. I assume this has been confimed, as there are no additional details on the CWGC entry for this individual. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=369523 This William is commemorated in the Churchyard of St Peter, Broughton Monchelsea www.stpeters-church.org.uk/church.html However, there is also this individual:- Name: LAIGHT, WILLIAM Rank: Private Service: Royal Army Medical Corps Unit Text: 2nd/1st (Home Counties) Field Amb Age: 19 Date of Death: 12/09/1917 Service No: 493352 Additional information: Son of William Leader Laight and Mary Jane Laight. Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. D. 20. Cemetery: MENDINGHEM MILITARY CEMETERY www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=437980 (Of course Leeder\Leader may be a family name, and so the two individuals may be related or even father and son) The younger William Laight was born at Broughton Monchelsea, Kent, and at the time of the 1901 Census, aged 3, he was living at Church Road, Broughton Monchelsea. His mother Jane, although married, is given as the head of the household. Reading the details of William Leeder Laight, I would hazard a guess that he was in the Royal Navy at the time and away on service and so does not appear on the Census., You have to go back to the 1871 Census to find a William Laight of the right age living in Acle, although the actual address isn’t shown on the scanned sheet available on the Genes Re-united site. However his 25 year old father is another William, and is a Coachman from Lincoln, so likely to be related to the Postmasters family listed for Herbert Laight. The situation is made clear here www.warcemetery.nl/kentfallen doc.pdf The old William was the father, the younger William the son. Father William was born 21st October 1869 at Acle, and was the son of William and Ellen Laight, (nee Leeder). No match on Norlink Spey, collision BOORMAN, Albert E, Chief Petty Officer (RFR A 2025), 147658 (Ch) BULL, Joseph A, Able Seaman (RFR B 4816), 179032 (Ch) HANCOX, George W, Able Seaman (RFR B 6033), 183687 (Ch) HARRIS, Alfred, Armourer's Crew, 206312 (Ch) HODDER, John F, Stoker 1c (RFR B 5867), SS 100896 (Ch) HUMPHREY, Ernest F, Act/Lieutenant, RNR ILSTON, John, Petty Officer, 147886 (Ch) KEATLEY, John, Stoker 1c (RFR B 7525), 291835 (Ch) LAIGHT, William L, Stoker Petty Officer (Pens), 152439 (Ch) MERRITT, John, Private, RMLI (RFR B 1659), 10581 (Ch) MORGAN, Charles C, Corporal, RMLI (RFR B 362), 5097 (Ch) REED, Alfred J, Private, RMLI (Pens), 2222 (Ch) REYNOLDS, William, Act/Warrant Officer RUNACLES, Arthur W, Ordinary Seaman, J 28414 (Ch) SEARLE, Frederick, Stoker 1c (RFR B 7769), SS 103252 (Ch) SHIPLEE, Frederick J, Officer's Steward 2c, L 4954 (Ch) SMITH, Arthur J, Chief Stoker, 154073 (Ch) SOULSBY, George, Engine Room Artificer 1c, RNR, EB 426 WOODWARD, William T, Leading Stoker (RFR B 8722), 289658 (Ch) WORNAST, Charles J, Able Seaman (RFR B 4784), 184111 (Ch) www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1917-03Mar.htm There’s a picture here of the Spey and confirmation that she was sold off until 1923, so she wasn’t scrapped straight away www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/r_n_gunboats.htm *********************************************************************** George Alfred Lake……………………………….................................................(RoH) 6561DA Deckhand Lake, H.M. Trawler ‘New Comet’, Royal Navy Reserve who died on Saturday 20th January 1917 aged 33 years. The trawler was requisitioned by the Royal Navy in 1915 but it is not known if he was already a member of its crew. Records show that it was sunk by a mine off Orford Ness. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent. CWGC notes that he was the son of George Lake, of The Hill, Acle, Norfolk, and the late Elizabeth Lake. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=3053053 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has a 17 year old George A Lake living at Rotten Marsh Road, Acle, born Halvergate and employed as a General Carter and Petroleum Hawker. This was the household of his parents George, (aged 53 and a Railway Platelayer from Freethorpe), and Elizabeth, (aged 56 and from Mautby). New Comet, ship lost BLYTH, Clifford, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 6847 BURCH, Robert N, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 11528 CLARKE, Arthur F, 2nd Hand, RNR, SA 215 CROSBY, James, Engineman, RNR, ES 4528 CUMBERLAND, Henry, Trimmer, RNR, TS 2176 GIBBONS, Martin, Trimmer, RNR, TS 2519 LAKE, George A, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 6561 MANZIE, Thomas, Engineman, RNR, ES 2919 MARTIN, Joseph H, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 7534, DOW www.naval-history.net/xDKCas1917-01Jan.htm *********************************************************************** George Hungerford Morgan………………………………...........(RoH) 430346 Lance Corporal Morgan, 7th Battalion Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment) who died on Tuesday 15th August 1917 aged 37 years. As a 35 year old farming in Canada he enlisted in the Canadian Army served with the C.E.F. in Europe in March 1916. He recovered and died in the famous attack on Hill 70. Although not a native of Acle he is commemorated on a prayer desk in the parish church with his cousin – Lt E.Coleman. He is also commemorated on the Vymy Memorial. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=1572088 No match on Norlink George was born on the 8/12/1890 in Madras, India. On his enlistment papers he gives his next of kin as a H R Morgan, living at what looks like Mangalore, Madras coast, India. Although he gives his profession as farmer, he also states he did three years service in the Mysore Rifles. George Attested on the 4th March 1915. His attestation papers can be seen here collectionscanada.ca/databases/cef/001042-119.02-e.php?im... collectionscanada.ca/databases/cef/001042-119.02-e.php?im... The 7th Battalion were in the second wave of the attack on Hill 70. By about 7.00 am the Battalion was reduced to about 120 men and three officers, and were pinned down by heavy machine gun fire. Even so they were among the most advanced of the Canadian Battalion, and had to pull back slightly to prevent themselves from being outflanked by German Counterattacks. The battalions War Diaries for the period can be seen here, data4.collectionscanada.gc.ca/netacgi/nph-brs?s1=7th+Batt... *********************************************************************** George Rowe………………………………...............................(RoH) 20701 Private Rowe 1st Battalion Essex Regiment who died on Friday 13th August 1915 aged 20 years. One of two sons of Thomas and Miriam Rowe of Acle who were killed in WW1. George Rowe enlisted in Norwich to the Norfolk Regiment and volunteered to reinforce the Essex Regiment. He was one of those 300, or so, reinforcements carried by the transport “Royal Edward” which was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean Sea. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. CWGC notes add that he was the son of Thomas William and Miriam Rowe, of 12, New Terrace, The Hill, Acle, Norwich. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=683223 No match on Norlink The 1901 Census has a 6 year old George and a 4 year old William, (both born Darnall, Yorkshire), living at 55 Catcliffe Road, Attercliffe cum Darnall, Sheffield. This was the household of his parents, Thomas W, (a 37 year old Bricklayer from Tickhill, Yorkshire), and Miriam, (aged 33 and from “Norfolk Narbro” - presumably Narborough). Their other children are Lucy M, (aged 8), and Robert, (aged 2). By the 1911 census, the 43 year Miriam is recorded in the District of Blofield, Norfolk. HMT Royal Edward, 11,117 grt, sunk 13th August 1915 by German submarine SMU UB14, 6 miles W from Kandeliusa, Aegean Sea, carrying goverment stores from Avonmouth & Alexandria to Mudros. Owned by Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd-Toronto. 132 crew died. Out of a total compliment of 1586 (crew and troops) less than 500 were saved. 1/Essex lost 174 O.R's, but 172 of them were volunteers who'd transfer from the Norfolk's (3rd Special Reserve) based at Felixstowe, 100 on 23 June and 200 on 24 July. A passage from the History of Norfolk Regiment tells the rest of Teddie's story: Colonel Tonge refers to the loss of 300 men, the best draft that ever left Felixstowe. These men volunteered to join the Essex Regiment and appear to have constituted the drafts of June 23 and July 24 1915. They were part of the reinforcements carried by the transport "Royal Edward" which was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean Sea on August 14th 1915. She sank two and a half minutes after the torpedo struck her.Of the 1,400 men she carried only 600 were saved,and the drowned included all but 18 of the 300 Norfolk men. The men who had had a route march just before leaving Alexandria, were waiting on deck for foot inspection at about 9.20 am. Their lifebelts were down below, and when the ship was unexpectedly struck most of them ran below to fetch the belts. Owing to the ship's sudden heeling over and sinking, these never got up again. Those who escaped were picked up by a hospital ship which responded to the s.o.s. signal. To partly replace this sad loss, another draft of 150 men to the Essex Regiment was dispatched on September 29, 1915. Addenda 1994 From: "Men of Gallipoli"(David & Charles,1988) by kind permission of the publishers. One of the features of the Cape Helles monument is the rows of names of men drowned in the torpedoing of the Royal Edward,which sank in the Eastern Mediterranean on 13th August with a loss of over 850 lives. .A.T.Fraser in the Border Regiment, was in a deckchair on the afterdeck starboard side when suddenly dozens of men ran past him from port to starboard. The explosion came before he had time to ask what was the matter. "The ship had no escort and we had not been ordered to have our life-belts with us. The hundreds on deck ran below to get their life-belts and hundreds below would have met them on their way up.I shared a cabin accessible from the deck I was on and I raced there to get my life-belt and ran to my life-boat station which was on the star- board side.As the men arrived they fell in two ranks. Already the ship was listing and this prevented our boats from being lowered,so we were ordered to jump for it.I saw no panic,but of course one could imagine what was happening on the inside stairs. I swam away from the ship and turned to see the funnels leaning towards me.When they reached the sea,all the soot was belched out,there was a loud whoosh and the ship sank. No explosion,no surge.So I was alone.The little waves were such that in the trough you saw nothing,on the crest you saw a few yards.The water was warm.I wondered if there were sharks". Fraser found some wood to rest on and he was joined by a seaman,an older man who had twice previously been torpedoed.This brought the young Scot confidence.An up turned Royal Edward lifeboat was to provide 17 of the survivors with a little more security though in what Fraser calls half-hourly recurring turbulence,the boat turned over,offering them conventional but completely waterlogged accommodation every alternate half hour but at least providing them with something to do.There was no singing and little conversation. The first ship that passed hailed the scattered men and promised to signal for help.It could not stop as it had high explosives for Lemnos.Some of the men became depressed and showed unwillingness to clamber back in the life boat when it overturned,but on each occasion all were persuaded.Finally the hospital ship SOUDAIN arrived to pick them up in her life-boats,and at 2 o'clock Fraser was safely aboard her after just under five hours in the sea. He remembers that"a large number of men lost their false teeth as we were constantly sick in the sea- and these men were sent back to England www.geocities.com/heartland/acres/5564/royaledward.html *********************************************************************** William Rowe………………………………....................................(RoH) 15678 Private Rowe 7th (Service) Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died on Monday 26th August 1918 aged 22 years. One year younger than his brother George he arrived in France on 30th May 1915. He suffered wounds to his face and right leg and was admitted to No 2 General Hospital at Le Havre in November. Returned to duty he was again wounded in the lower back, paralysed and severely ill. He was transferred to the Fulham Military Hospital where he died. He is buried in St Edmund’s churchyard at Acle beneath a stone bearing the inscription, “Erected to the honoured memory of William Rowe by the Officers, soldiers and parishioners of Acle, who died for King and Country.” CWGC adds that he was the son of William and Miriam Rowe, of 12, New Terrace, The Hill. Acle. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2802330 No match on Norlink See George above for Census details *********************************************************************** Harry William Self………………………………..........................(RoH) 20943 Private Self, 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, who died on Monday 3rd July 1916. He died on the third day of the Battle of the Somme when his battalion was in action in the area of Ovillers la Boiselle. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=811978 No match on Norlink There is no obvious match for Harry on the 1901 Cenus. The following account is adapted from part 14 of The Hospital Way: The 9th Essex formed part of the 35th Brigade, 12th Division, its objective the capture of Ovillers. The Division would attack on a two brigade front with the 35th Brigade on the right and the 37th on the left. The 9th Essex would be in support of the attacking battalions of the 5th Royal Berkshire and 7th Suffolk Regiments and all men would take up positions by the 2nd July in readiness for an attack the following day. At around 3:00 am on Monday July 3rd, the attacking troops of the 12th Division left their trenches and moved under cover of artillery fire to assembly trenches dug in no man’s land. Fifteen minutes later, the barrage ceased and the men rushed the German trenches under cover of a smoke screen to their left. At first, all went well. The 5th Royal Berkshires suffered few casualties whilst crossing and used the cover of a sunken road to lead them straight into Ovillers. The German wire had been virtually obliterated by artillery fire and the men passed with relative ease through the first and second lines until they reached the ruins of houses on the Western edge of Ovillers. Here though, they were engaged in heavy bombing attacks and due to a lack of further supplies of bombs, the leading companies suffered heavy casualties. The 7th Suffolk Regiment’s advance followed a similar pattern. They too passed through the German first line, encountered strong opposition in the second line but pushed forward to the third. This position was strongly held and made even more uncomfortable for the attacking troops by German fire coming in from the left flank. Fred and Victor Denton and their comrades in the 9th Essex fared even worse. “The march of the Battalion,” wrote one of its soldiers later, “… will forever be remembered by those engaged. Innumerable gun flashes lit the darkness of the night; they seemed endless and as one approached the line, the noise was deafening. After what appeared to be endless marching we reached the trenches in front of Ovillers. They were of hard chalk and with the bad weather not at all easy to negotiate without trench boards. In moving to positions for attack the congestion in the trenches was awful and mortally wounded men could not be moved.” To make matters worse, the German defenders, by now fully awake and repelling the attacking battalions in front of them, were sweeping no man’s land with machine gun fire. Here, states the Divisional History, “considerable casualties were sustained, and the waves of the attack becoming a series of small parties not strong enough to give any material assistance to the forward formations, the 35th Brigade attack broke down and the remnants of the battalions were driven out of the German lines.” C Company, supported by a platoon from B Company managed to reach La Boiselle and capture 200 Germans but it was an isolated success on a morning of strong initial advances, punished by vigorous counter attacks and German machine guns brought up from deep dug-outs which had been unaffected by the intense one hour bombardment which preceded the assault. By nine o’clock, the Division was reporting that the attack had failed. A combination of flanking machine gun fire, lack of cohesion by troops advancing in the dark and the pock-marked terrain, made impassable in places due to the recent heavy rains, had put paid to the Division’s efforts. The 6th Royal West Kent Regiment, lost 19 officers and 375 other ranks out of an attacking force of 617. Other battalions suffered similarly. The casualties for the 12th Division’s two attacking brigades amounted to 97 officers and 2277 other ranks. At around 4am, the 9th Essex attack had come to a standstill and the survivors withdrew to the front line to be relieved by the 7th Norfolks. In little under one hour the battalion had suffered 12 officer and 386 other rank casualties. www.chailey1914-1918.net/frederick_denton.html



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