Liddington, Wallace. Died 25th Apr 1017

Wallace LIDDINGTON was born in Rugby in about 1886, the second son of Frederick William Liddington, a cattle salesman, who was born in 1852 in Tring, Hertfordshire and Kate née Hirons. Their marriage was registered in Bromsgrove in 1879.

Before 1881 his parents had moved to Rugby and initially Frederick had been a ‘grocer’s assistant’ and they lived at 7 Bath Street. All their children were born in Rugby. Wallace was christened at St. Andrew’s church, Rugby on 7 January 1886, by which date the family had moved to live at 26 Arnold Street and Wallace’s father, Frederick, had become a ‘cattle dealer’.

Aged 5 in 1891, Wallace was with the family at 26 Arnold Street, Rugby, where his father was still a ‘cattle dealer’. In 1901 he seems to have been entered on the census as William! In 1911, Wallace was still living with his family, and they had now moved to live at 88 Railway Terrace, Rugby. Wallace had started work and was an ‘assistant butcher’ and a later report[1] noted that he had been employed as a butcher by Mr. Whittaker.

Wallace enlisted in Rugby and joined up as Private, No. 21021, in the 11th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in September 1916.[2] His medal record suggests that he may have been initially in the 14th Battalion of the Warwicks before being transferred to the 11th Battalion

The 11th (Service) Battalion was formed at Warwick in September 1914 as part of K3 and attached as Army Troops to 24th Division. In April 1915 it joined 112th Brigade, 37th Division concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain and on 25 June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill.[3] On 22 July 1915 the Division began to cross the English Channel and by 2 August all units were concentrated near Tilques. The 11th Warwicks landed in France on 30 July 1915

There is no date of entry to ‘Overseas Theatre’ on his Medal Card, as this was after 1915, and hence the 1915 Star would not be awarded. It seems likely that Wallace was transferred from the 14th to the 11th after training as part of the reinforcement for the Arras offensive, when the 14th Battalion was in reserve and relatively quiet

The 11th Battalion was, as mentioned, in the 37th Division and their War Diary[4] survives, and in 1917 the 11th Battalion was involved two stages of the Battle of Arras which had started on 9 April 1917. The first stage was from 9 to 13 April 1917

The second action was from 23 to 29 April 1917, and known as the Second Battle of the Scarpe (23 to 24 April 1917).

… on 23 April, following two days of poor visibility and freezing weather, British troops … attacked to the east along an approximate 9 mile front from Croisilles to Gavrelle on both sides of the Scarpe. The 51st Division attacked on the northern side in heavy fighting on the western outskirts of Roeux Wood and the chemical works. On their left, the 37th Division [including the 11th Warwicks], attacked the buildings west of Roeux Station and gained the line of their objectives on the western slopes of Greenland Hill, north of the railway. … Several determined German counter-attacks were made and by the morning of 24 April, the British held Guémappe, Gavrelle and the high ground overlooking Fontaine-lez-Croisilles and Cherisy; the fighting around Roeux was indecisive.

Wallace met his death when involved in this second action. The four companies of 11th Battalion were located to the north-east of Fampoux, some five miles east of Arras. On 23 April the Battalion advanced at 6pm from Chili Trench to near Cuba Trench at 10pm and then by 6pm on 24 April were 100 yards east of the line of the Gavrelle to Roeux road and then they ‘dug-in’. They could not advance further due to heavy fire from a chemical works to their right.

In this second action, 37 men of the 11th Warwicks were killed or died of wounds and a further 192 men were wounded. A number of officers were specifically recorded as killed or wounded in the actions on 24 April – and it seems likely that it was on that date – a TUESDAY – that Wallace was also wounded – and was one of those 37 ‘killed or died of wounds’. He was probably admitted to ‘hospital’ on Tuesday 24 April 1917, ‘… suffering severe wounds to his chest, arm and head …’.

He was evacuated, presumably to Aubigny, some ten miles north-west of Arras, where there were a number of Casualty Clearing Stations. Wallace ‘… died of his wounds on the following day.’ This would have been Wednesday, 25 April 1917, which was the officially recorded date of his death. Indeed, the Diary records that they were relieved by the 5th Bedfords at 3am on the night of 24th/25th, when it was recorded that nothing else of importance occurred during this period – it would at least have allowed the wounded to be recovered and transported to ‘hospital’.

Wallace was buried in the Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension in grave ref: II. G. 6. There was no additional family inscription on the headstone. Aubigny-en-Artois is a village about 15kms north-west of Arras. From March 1916 to the Armistice, Aubigny was held by Commonwealth troops and burials were made in the Extension until September 1918. The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station buried in it during the whole period, the 30th in 1916 and 1917, the 24th and 1st Canadian in 1917 (during the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps) and the 57th in 1918. The Cemetery Extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

The register of effects showed a payment of £6-13-0 to Wallace’s father on 9 August 1917 and then a War Gratuity of £3-0-0 on 11 November 1919. By the end of the war the family had moved again to 44 Murray Road, Rugby.

Wallace was awarded the Victory and British medals. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Wallace LIDDINGTON was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, April 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

[3]       Sidbury Hill is just north-west of Tidworth Camp, and should not be confused with the better known Silbury Hill.

[4]       The National Archives, Piece 2538/2: 11 Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (1915 Aug – 1918 Feb).

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One thought on “Liddington, Wallace. Died 25th Apr 1017

  1. Pingback: Wilkins, Ebenezer Joseph. Died 29th Apr 1917 | Rugby Remembers

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