Inwood, Cecil Stanley. Died 27th May 1917

Cecil Stanley Inwood was born in Rugby in 1897. His father was Thomas James Inwood from Weston Turville in Buckinghamshire. His mother was Hettie Melinda (nee Noon), of Whilton, Northants. They married in Whilton on 25th May 1896. Thomas living in Rugby at the time, his father was running the Queen’s Head pub in Little Elborowe Street. Thomas worked for the Post Office, as a Stamper and later Mail Porter.

Cecil was their only child, a daughter was born and died in 1900. The family lived at 12 Lodge Road, Rugby. Cecil attended Elborowe School and on leaving, became an Electrical Apprentice with Mr S P Martin in Regent Street.

Cecil Stanley Inwood joined the Worcester Regiment under the group system, in late 1915. He was a private, no. 29753. The 14th Battalion, Worcester Regt. was formed in autumn 1915, one of the new “Pioneer” Regiments. They were first quartered in Norton Barracks in Worcester, moving to Salisbury Plain in Spring 1916. Training on Salisbury Plain was hard, since technical knowledge was added to battle training. They left on 19th June 1916 and arrived in France on the morning of 21st June. By 23rd June they reached billets on the front at Chamblain Chatelain, where they became part of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

They moved position frequently, working on defences and other technical work, perhaps Cecil’s electrical apprenticeship helped. Working parties were continually under fire, but losses were not heavy. (Casualties of the 14th Battalion from July 1st to Sept 17th were 4 killed, 8 wounded.)

In October they moved to the Somme front. A stay in Englebelmer was long remembered in the Battalion, due to the large number of rats in the deserted village. It was a relief to leave and live under canvas, even though it was November. They took part in the Battle of the Ancre, consolidating captured defences and building new communication trenches. On 14th November, a party from 14th Worcester helped to dig out two tanks, stuck in mud.

Operations began again in mid January 1917, constructing trenches and wire entanglements. By the end of February, there was news that the enemy had evacuated all their front-line defences, east of Miraumont, and all companies of the 14th Worcestershire were recalled from other work and set to the construction of roads across the evacuated land. They returned to Flanders at the start of March and remained in the area until the 7th April 1917, working and training.

The 14th Worcestershire were employed near Gavrelle at the start of the Battle of Arras, fully occupied in work on roads in the battle-area just north of Arras, but when the enemy counter attacked on 29th April, they took part in fighting. The advance was checked and the next three weeks many working parties were sent out. On 20th May they returned to their former camp on the Arras-Lens road.

War Diaries 14th Bn Worcestershire Regt.
27-31 May 1917

During these five days the Battalion working at night have continued work on the Divisional Front making Front & support trenches and communication trenches between them and have sustained the following casualties.
Killed 4 other ranks Wounded 17 other ranks
The total casualties for the month are killed 6 other ranks, wounded 23 other ranks.

It is not known if Cecil was included among the killed or wounded, but the report in the Rugby Advertiser of 9th June 1917 states that:
The death took place in a hospital in France on Whit Sunday of Pte Cecil Stanley Inwood… who was wounded by a sniper a few hours earlier.

 

He died on 27th May 1917 and was buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun. The site of a Casualty Clearing Station 9 kilometres west of Arras.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

Source: Worcestershire Regiment website http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/wr.php?main=inc/bat_14

 

Handyside, John Robert. Died 19th May 1917

John Robert HANDYSIDE was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1886, the son of John and Jane Handyside.   He was baptised on 15 September 1886 at St Anne’s, Newcastle on Tyne.

In 1901, John’s father was a ‘Blacksmith’s Labourer’ and the family lived at 15 Rippenden Street, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne. John was then 14 years old and had five younger siblings.

In 1911, John, now 25 and still single, was a labourer in an engineering works and still at home with the family. A family of eight in a three roomed house would have been somewhat crowded.

Sometime between 1911 and 1914 John moved to Rugby to work ‘… at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, and lodged at the house of Mrs Hayward, 43 Lodge Road, Rugby’.[1]

‘His enlistment was reported in the September 1914, ‘Supplementary List, No. 3.’ from Willans & Robinson Ltd.[2] By January 1916, ‘The employees from Messrs Willans and Robinson’s with the colours consist of 15 officers (including one staff-captain) and 233 men, 248 in all.   Of these, two officers and ten men have already been killed, …’[3]

A later report confirmed that John ‘… enlisted as a gunner on September 3rd, 1914, and has now been promoted to the rank of Corporal.’[4] He enlisted initially as No. 11029 with ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. 71st Brigade was part of the New Army K2 and its service is summarised below.[5]

‘LXXI Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, made up of 223, 224 and 225 Batteries RFA and the Brigade Ammunition Column served with 15th (Scottish) Division. 15th (Scottish) Division was formed in September 1914, as part of Kitchener’s Second New Army. In February 1915 the three six-gun batteries were reorganised to become four four-gun batteries and were titled as A, B, C and D. 71 Brigade proceeded to France in the second week of July 1915. They were in action in the Battle of Loos in 1915.

In spring 1916, they were involved in the German gas attacks near Hulluch and the defence of the Kink position. On the 22nd May 1916 the Brigade Ammunition Column merged with other columns of the divisional artillery to form the 15th Divisional Ammunition Column. On the 7th of June 1916 D Battery exchanged with C Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade of the same division, each adopting the others name. 71 Brigade were in action during the Battles of the Somme, including the Battle of Pozieres, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the capture of Martinpuich, The Battle of Le Transloy and the attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt.   The brigade was reorganised in early December 1916. C Battery was split between A and B Battery to bring them up to six guns each. B Battery, 73 (Howitzer) Brigade joined and was renamed C Battery, 71 Brigade. On the 22nd of January 1917 a section of two howitzers from 532 (Howitzer) Battery, 72 Brigade joined to make D (Howitzer) Battery up to six guns.

In 1917 they were in action in the First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Guemappe during the Arras Offensive. They then moved north to Flanders and were in action during the Battle of Pilckem and the Battle of Langemark.’

One of John’s three Medal Cards shows that he went to France on 8 July 1915, which agrees with the above 71st Brigade history.

During his earlier period in France, a later report mentioned,
‘Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.’[6]

This may have been the occasion when, as a Corporal, another Medal Card noted that he was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’.[7]

Sometime before the end of November, whilst he was an Acting Bombardier and still in ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and there were several [similar] reports.

‘ANOTHER RUGBY MAN AWARDED THE D.C.M.
‘Amongst those who have recently been awarded the D.C.M is Bombardier J R Handyside, D Battery, 71st Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He received the distinction for conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications.’[8]

‘11029 Bombardier J. R. Handyside, ‘D’ Battery, 71st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. For conspicuous gallantry from the 26th September to the 14th October, 1915, during which time his battery was in the open and constantly under a very heavy fire. He frequently volunteered to mend telephone wires under heavy fire, thereby successfully maintaining communications. Bombardier Handyside had been previously brought to notice for coolness and bravery on the 25th September near Loos, when he repeatedly volunteered to repair wires under very heavy fire, although he was suffering from the effect of gas fumes at the time.[9]

In addition, he was also awarded the Medaille Militaire,[10] and was subsequently promoted to Sergeant and it might have been during the reorganisation of the 71st Brigade in early December 1916, that he was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to ‘C’ Battery, 70th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

70th Brigade was also part of the New Army K2, and also in the 15th Division, indeed the 70th, 71st and 72nd Brigades were largely working together and in May 1917, were generally in the Feuchy to Tilloy areas to the East of Arras. This was during the aftermath of the Battle of Arras which had been in progress from 9 April to 16 May 1917, with the 70th Brigade in the Tilloy area.

‘C/70 came up into the line’ on 15 May and the 16, 17 and 18 May were ‘quiet all day’ with an attack at 8.20pm on the 18 May which did not gain its objective. On 19 May, the War Diary recorded,
‘Quiet day.   Preparation for attack. A/70 came into the line for the attack.   Attack by the XVII corps.[11] Our batteries assisted by shelling the enemy’s defenses on the Brigade front.’

Some time during this ‘Quiet day …’, 19 May 1917, John Handyside was ‘Killed in Action’.

John was buried in the Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras in Grave: V. F. 13.   There was no additional inscription on his headstone.

The Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery is the main CWGC cemetery in the western part of the town of Arras. The Commonwealth section of the cemetery was begun in March 1916, behind the French military cemetery established earlier. It continued to be used by field ambulances and fighting units until November 1918.

John R HANDYSIDE was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gates and in St. Philip’s Church, Wood Street, Rugby.
‘The memorial takes the form of a stone tablet framed in light oak, and bears the figures of our Lord, St John, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is in the south chancel of the church, and by its side, as a part of the memorial, is another picture of the entombment of our Lord. The Tablet bears the following inscription:- Like as Christ was raised from the dead even so should we also walk in the newness of life.’[12]

His mother as Sole Legatee received John’s outstanding pay of £41-0-11d on 11 September 1917; then a further £1-2-0 on 13 October 1917; and a War Gratuity of £15-10-0 on 24 October 1919. She received a further Gratuity for his D.C.M. of £20-0-0d on 28 September 1921.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

– – – – – –

 

This article on John R HANDYSIDE 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, May 2017.

[1]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[2]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 September 1914; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 5 September 1914.

[3]       Rugby Advertiser, 1 January 1916; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 1 January 2017.

[4]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[5]         http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/fartillery.php?pid=9943.

[6]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[7]       The Medal Card mentions ‘London Gazette, 1/1/16 p.19 [or 9]’ although this has not been found.

[8]       Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915.

[9]       The London Gazette, 26 November 1915, Supplement: 29384, Page: 11896; also The Edinburgh Gazette, 1 December 1915, Issue: 12878, Page: 1822; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

[10]     Rugby Advertiser, 4 December 1915; as reported in Rugby Remembers, https://rugbyremembers.wordpress.com, 4 December 1915; also Rugby Advertiser, Saturday, 1 January 1916.

.

[11]     In April 1917, XVII Corps attacked east of Arras near the River Scarpe, but was bogged down in rain and snow.

[12]     From a report of the unveiling, Rugby Advertiser, 12 November 1920, see http://www.rugbyfhg.co.uk/rugby-st-philips-church. It is not known if the Memorial in St Philip’s Church still exists.

Knight, William Albert. Died 13th May 1917

Albert as he was known in the family, was born in 1895, and baptised at St Paul’s Church, Northampton on 2 June. His parents, George Walter Knight and Sarah Dudley Markham, were married in Northampton Registration District in September Quarter of 1892. George was born in Wilby Northants and Sarah in Buckingham.

They had three other children, George Walter jnr born 1893, Ernest James born 1897, and Dora Elizabeth born 1899. All four were baptised at St Paul’s; their father was a labourer, and the family were living first in Burleigh Street, Northampton when their eldest child was born, then at 6 Richmond Terrace where Albert was born. They were still there in 1901.

By 1911 they had moved to 107 Winfield Street, Rugby. George snr was unfortunately now an invalid, but his three sons were all working, George jnr and Albert at an electrical works (British Thompson Houston) and Ernest an errand boy for a boot shop. They must have thought work opportunities to be greater in Rugby than Northampton.

107 Winfield St, Rugby

Albert enlisted at the outbreak of war at Rugby as William Knight, and joined the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, No 18263. He was sent to France on 4 December 1915, qualifying him for the 1915 Star as well as the British War and Victory medals. This is confirmed by the report of his death in the Rugby Advertiser on 2 June 1917.

The South Staffs formed part of the 7th Division which saw action all through the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In 1917 they fought throughout the German retreat to the Hindenberg Line during the Arras offensive.

On 13 May 1917 the Regiment along with the Australians was ordered to attack the heavily fortified village of Bullecourt. It was believed to be weakened by days of heavy bombardment but this was not so, and a vicious battle ensued. The Regiment was caught in crossfire at a location known as the Red Patch. After three days Bullecourt was taken with the loss of 2 officers and 37 men killed.

It was probably during this action that Albert was killed aged 22, but he may have been wounded and died later, as Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery where he is buried was occupied from April 1917 by two casualty clearing stations.

Achiet le Grand cemetery entrance

The list of Soldiers Effects records that he “died in the field” rather than was “killed in action”.   His mother as his sole legatee received his back pay of £8.18s.11d, and War Gratuity of £12.10s. His father had died in 1914.

He is commemorated on the BTH memorial in Rugby (as A W Knight) as well as the Memorial Gates.     The above notice of his death also records “He enlisted at the outbreak of war, and prior to that was employed in the BTH Winding Department. He had been in France a year, and some time ago distinguished himself by saving the life of an officer at great personal danger to himself”.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Evans, Horace John. Died 9th May 1917

Horace John EVANS was the son of Eli Henry (b.1866 Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire – 1939) and Agnes Harriet née Attfield Evans (1863–1947). Their marriage was registered in Ampthill in later 1889, a village some five miles from where Eli was born. It seems the family moved about somewhat, but Surrey was the family’s home for many years.

Horace’s birth was registered in Guilford, Surrey in 1894. He was baptised at St John the Evangelist, Stoke next Guildford, on 1 April 1894 – when he seems to have been miss-recorded as the son of Eli and Elizabeth Evans. By then the family lived at 4 Elm Terrace, Stoughton Road; Chertsey. Eli was then a ‘carter’.

In 1901 Eli was working as a ‘Relayer [deleted, ‘Plate’ substituted] on Railway’, and the family lived in Gas Works Lane, Chertsey. In total Eli and Agnes had nine children. By 1911 his eldest sister Gladys had moved to work as a servant in Shepperton. Horace, now aged 17, was the eldest of the eight children still at home[1] at No 1 Floral House, Railway Approach, Chertsey, Surrey. Horace was working as an Assistant Clerk at the Wholesale Newsagent, W H Smith. His father was then a ‘gasman’.

Eli and Agnes and probably most of their family moved to Rugby, probably at some date between 1911 and the war – probably for work, possibly on the railways. They later lived at 14 Newbold Road, Rugby. Indeed, they lived there until the ends of their lives as did some of their children.

Horace was certainly in Rugby when he married Annie M Terry and their marriage was registered in Rugby in the third quarter of 1916. This might suggest that he had moved to Rugby sufficiently previous to that date to court and marry her!   However, as later, after Horace’s death, she returned to live at 47A Guildford Street, Chertsey, Surrey, this suggests that she was probably someone he had known from the time the family was also living in Chertsey. Horace joined up in Rugby, quite possibly after he had married.

He enlisted at Rugby as a Private, No.21774, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The number is misquoted in some sources as 201774 [on Register of Effects].

With only the minimal details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Horace’s service history. His service number – No.20174 – can be compared to similar numbers and a William Jarvis, No.22396, appears to have joined up on 30 October 1916. Whilst this is well into the war. He may have planned to marry, in part, as at the outbreak of war married men were not conscripted.[2]  However, in June 1916, possibly even before his marriage, the conscription of married men started.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then on 15 June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and on 14 January 1916 had transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. In March 1916, probably still before Frederick had joined up, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge.   When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

It is unlikely that Horace had received sufficient training to have been involved on the Somme, but in October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert and this may have been when newer recruits would have joined the 15th Battalion as reinforcements. Whilst there was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.

In early April 1917 they moved to Arras for the various phases of the Battles of Arras, starting with the attack on Vimy Ridge from 9-12 April 1917; and then three Battles of the Scarpe, 9-14 April; 23-24 April 1917; and 3-4 May 1917; and the subsidiary attack on La Coulotte on 23 April 1917.

There appear to be conflicting Diaries for the period – indeed there are two separate handwritten entries for 9 May which give varying accounts.

On the day before Horace died, 8 May 1917, the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to attack the German-held village of Fresnoy [in full Fresnoy-en-Gohelle], which was about 8 miles north-east of Arras and west of Vimy.

The Battalion War Diary records that preparations did not go smoothly. The men were ordered forward to a forming up point several hours before the attack, from where they would launch their offensive. Unfortunately, orders were issued, countermanded and reissued, and the men were moved forlornly around the forming up area, all the while artillery fire. Time passed, and eventually the attack was cancelled for that day and postponed until 0200 on the 9th. Sadly, the delay and confusion meant that the Warwicks were held in the jump off zone for several hours, coming under German artillery fire and sustaining casualties of six other ranks killed, 18 wounded.[3]

Terry Carter provided a summary of the 9 May attack in his book The Birmingham Pals:

Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No Man’s Land. Despite these early losses men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objectives in and around Fresnoy, but because they were now weak in numbers and both flanks in the air, the remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping off line. During this failed attack the Battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed. Once back in the jumping off trench, the 15th Royal Warwicks were relieved by the 16th, who then suffered four days of concentrated artillery bombardment, in which twenty five men lost there [sic] lives.[4]

Another soldier in the 15th Battalion, Private Ernest Powell, No.22718, who died the day before Horace, …

… died whilst engaged in a fight for the nearby village of Fresnoy in which 104 men were killed. A colonel commanding the battalion wrote a report of the “disaster” of 8th May and concluded that the men were “attempting to hold an impossible salient as a defensive position”, that there was no aerial or artillery support and the appalling weather turned the area into a sea of mud with “visibility being NIL”.

Horace was ‘Dth psmd’ i.e. ‘Death presumed’ and he was formally reported as ‘Killed in Action’ on 9 May 1917. His body was not found or identified and he is remembered on Bay 3 of the Arras Memorial

Horace was awarded the Victory and British war Medals.   His widow Annie received his Gratuity of £3-10-0d on 6 January 1920, by which date she had returned to Chertsey.

Horace John EVANS is commemorated on the War Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Horace John Evans was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       Gladys Linda Evans, would have been 19 in 1911. Those at home were: Horace John Evans, 17; Wilfred Osman Evans, 15; Leonard William Evans, 13; Victor Lewis Evans, 11; Daisy Lucinda Evans, 9; Agnes Marion Evans, 7; Phyllis May Evans, 4; and Hilda Blanch Evans, 2.

[2]       Conscription during First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.   The age limit was also eventually raised to 51 years old

[3]         http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy.

[4]       Terry Carter, The Birmingham Pals, at http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy

Bromwich, Frederick. Died 8th May 1917

Frederick Bromwich was born in Rugby in about 1879. His father was Edwin Bromwich, who was born in Rugby in 1852. He married Mary A. [née Sharp] Bromwich, who was born in Middlesex, in Rugby in 1875. In 1881 Edwin Bromwich was a shoemaker, living at 26 Ploughman Street, Rugby; in 1891 he had become a football maker, now at 21 Plowman Street – although this may have been the same house renumbered by the Post Office.

By 1901 the family had moved to 5 Round Street, and Frederick’s father was now working as a boot-maker, whist Frederick had started work as a groom.

In early 1909, Frederick married Fanny Hodges in Rugby. She was some six years his junior. By 1911, Frederick, now 32, was a ‘vanman’, and the couple lived at 39 Temple Street, Rugby. At some date they moved to Chapel Street, Long Lawford, Rugby.

At some date after the outbreak of the war, he enlisted at Rugby as a Private, No.22391, in the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

With only the minimum details on his Medal Card and no surviving Service Record, it is difficult to reconstruct Frederick’s service history. His service number can be compared to similar numbers and a William Jarvis, No.22396, only five different, appears to have joined up on 30 October 1916.   Whilst this is well into the war, it must be remembered that at the outbreak of war Frederick was already 35 and married,[1] but the conscription of married men had started in June 1916.

The 15th Battalion (2nd Birmingham) Royal Warwickshire Regiment had been formed in Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local Committee in September 1914. The Battalion moved to Sutton Coalfield and then in June 1915 to Wensleydale to join the 95th Brigade of the 32nd Division and later moved to Salisbury Plain.

On 21 November 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and on 14 January 1916 had transferred to 13th Brigade in the 5th Division. In March 1916, still before Frederick had joined up, the Division took over a section of front line near Arras, between St Laurent Blangy and the southern edge of Vimy Ridge. When the offensive opened on the Somme on 1 July 1916, the 5th Division was enjoying a period of rest and re-fit and was in GHQ Reserve. However, this restful time was not destined to last and in July 1916 they moved some 50 miles south to reinforce the Somme.

It is unlikely that Frederick had received sufficient training to have been involved on the Somme, but in October 1916 the Division had left the Somme and was holding a quieter line near Festubert and this may have been when newer recruits would have joined the 15th Battalion as reinforcements. Whilst there was a constant threat from enemy artillery and sniper fire, in comparison with the Somme it was a relatively tranquil period that lasted until March 1917.

In early April 1917 they moved to Arras for the various phases of the Battles of Arras, starting with the attack on Vimy Ridge from 9-12 April 1917; and then three Battles of the Scarpe, 9-14 April; 23-24 April 1917; and 3-4 May 1917; and the subsidiary attack on La Coulotte on 23 April 1917.

However on the date that Frederick died, 8 May 1917, the 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to attack the German-held village of Fresnoy [in full Fresnoy-en-Gohelle], which was about 8 miles north-east of Arras and west of Vimy.

The Battalion War Diary records that preparations did not go smoothly. The men were ordered forward to a forming up point several hours before the attack, from where they would launch their offensive. Unfortunately, orders were issued, countermanded and reissued, and the men were moved forlornly around the forming up area, all the while artillery fire. Time passed, and eventually the attack was cancelled for that day and postponed until 0200 on the 9th. Sadly, the delay and confusion meant that the Warwicks were held in the jump off zone for several hours, coming under German artillery fire and sustaining casualties of six other ranks killed, 18 wounded.[2]

Terry Carter provided a summary of the 9 May attack in his book The Birmingham Pals:

Before the men even got to the German positions many casualties were caused by shellfire catching them whilst crossing No Man’s Land. Despite these early losses men of the 15th Royal Warwicks reached their objectives in and around Fresnoy, but because they were now weak in numbers and both flanks in the air, the remaining men had to pull out and return to the jumping off line. During this failed attack the Battalion lost 206 men; sixty of these were killed. Once back in the jumping off trench, the 15th Royal Warwicks were relieved by the 16th, who then suffered four days of concentrated artillery bombardment, in which twenty five men lost there [sic] lives.[3]

Another soldier in the 15th Battalion, Private Ernest Powell, No.22718, who died on the same day as Frederick, was buried in the same cemetery.

… he died whilst engaged in a fight for the nearby village of Fresnoy in which 104 men were killed. A colonel commanding the battalion wrote a report of the “disaster” of 8th May and concluded that the men were “attempting to hold an impossible salient as a defensive postition”, that there was no aerial or artillery support and the appalling weather turned the area into a sea of mud with “visibility being NIL”.

Frederick was ‘Killed in Action’ on 8 May 1917. He is buried in the Orchard Dump Cemetery, Arleux-En-Gohelle in Grave Reference: I. E. 4. The cemetery is about a kilometer west of Arleux-en-Gohelle, which is about two kilometers west of Fresnoy.

The Orchard Dump Cemetery was only begun in April 1917, to serve the new front opening with the Battles of Arras, and it was used by the units holding that front until the following November. The original burials are in Plot VI, Row K, and Plot I, Rows A to F which latter plot includes Frederick’s grave. He was one of the first casualties to be buried there, in the seemingly less regimented area, now surrounded by the more orderly ranks of graves.

The cemetery was greatly enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves, mostly of unknown soldiers, from the neighbouring battlefields and from other burial grounds. During the 1939-45 War, the cemetery was used again by a casualty clearing station. The site was given by the widow of a Captain in the French 72nd Infantry Regiment, killed in action in August 1914.

Frederick Bromwich does not appear to be related to John George Bromwich who is also commemorated on the War Memorial Gates in Hillmorton Road, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

 

– – – – – –

 

This article on Frederick Bromwich 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, July 2014.

 

[1]       Conscription during First World War began when the British government passed the Military Service Act in 1916. The act specified that single men aged 18 to 45 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. Married men were exempt in the original Act, although this was changed in June 1916.   The age limit was also eventually raised to 51 years old

[2]       http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy.

[3]       Terry Carter, The Birmingham Pals, at http://www.frontlinelivinghistory.com/#!social–blog/c1muy

Irving, Hubert James Francis. Died 5th May 1917

Hubert James Francis Irving was born in the 4th Quarter of 1897 to John Sherwin and Caroline Minnie Irving at Loughborough Leicestershire.   He was the youngest of three sons born to John and Caroline Irving. Older brother Cecil Eric was born 1893, and Malcolm Claude born 1895. Both Hubert and Malcolm were born in Loughborough Leicestershire, while Cecil was born in Derby.

Their mother Caroline had been married previously to Alfred Disney and had two daughters Mary Louisa and Florence M. and two sons Ernest and John.   Ernest, John and Florence were born in Duffield, Derbyshire and sister Mary was born in Derby. By the time of the 1891 census Caroline is a widow and head of the family. Also on the 1891 census John Sherwin Irving is living as a boarder in Caroline’s home at 1 North Street St Alkmunds Derby. John working as a Mechanical Engineer and Caroline is given as Living on Her Own Means.

Caroline’s first husband had died 1st July 1890 and had been a Railway Clerk, he left £199 15s 0p.   Caroline was the executor. When Caroline married Albert in 1875 her maiden name was Roberts.

According to the 1901 census the family, with the exception of Ernest and John, are living at 7 Rectory Road Loughborough and John Sherwin Irving is working as an Electrical Engineer Inspector. By the 1911 census only the two sons Cecil and Hubert are with their parents and are living at 105 Albert Street Rugby. Cecil is a Pupil Teacher at an Elementary School teacher and Hubert is at school and their father is working as a Mechanical Engineer for a Manufacturing Engineers. Malcolm is away from home living in Woking and is an Apprentice in Dentistry.

Hubert was usually called “Jimmy”, was a temporary student teacher at Murray school and was a member of the church choir, an assistant scoutmaster and in the school band.

Hubert James Francis Irving enlisted in Rugby and joined the Army, 1st Battalion London Scottish Regiment, in May 1916, Service Number 7785, 513674. The Regiment had been transferred to the newly arrived 168th Brigade 56th division (London) on the 8th February 1916 who were then assembling in the Hallencourt area. 1916 they saw action on the Somme and were involved in the Battle of Ginchy, Battle of Flers – Courceloette, Battle of Morval and the Battle of Transloy Ridge. In 1917 the Regiment were in action during the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Battle of Arras April 1917.   Hubert would have participated in some of these battles and it was probably at the Battle of Arras when he was killed in action and given the date of death as 5th May 1917 aged 19 years.

Rugby Advertiser 26th May 1917

Deaths: –
Pte. HUBERT JAMES FRANCIS IRVING, 1st Battalion London Scottish Regiment, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Irving, 24 Lancaster Road. Officially reported killed in action on May 5th, somewhere in France; aged 19.

Also in the same paper Rugby Advertiser 26th May 1917 under War News.

Pte. JAMES IRVING
Mr. J. S. Irving, of 24 Lancaster Road, Rugby, had received information that his youngest son, Pte. James Irving, of the London Scottish was killed in action on May 5th. “Jimmy” Irving as he was familiarly called by his intimate friends was only 19 years of age and joined the Army in May 1916, as soon as he was old enough to do so. He was a scholar at the Murray School, and gaining a scholarship from there, proceeded to the Lower School. When a boy he was a member of the Parish Church Choir. He was afterwards a student teacher at the Murray School, and was subsequently appointed temporary teacher there, which post he held when he joined the Army. He was assistant scoutmaster and a member of the school band. Of a bright and sunny disposition, he was very popular with both staff and pupils, and his cheerful letters from the front were always most welcome. On Monday evening the Murray School Troop of the Boys Scouts, with the staff and scholars, attended an intercession service at the Holy Trinity Church, which also took the form of a memorial service. The scouts   carried the drooped colours, and marched to the sound of muffled drums. Pte. Irving was the first member of the school staff to be killed in action.

Under the Registry of Soldiers Effects Hubert’s father was sent £3 0s 7p the 5th September 1917 and later sent War Gratuity of £3 0s 0p on the 22nd October 1919.

Hubert has no known grave and his name his on the Arras Memorial in France, Bay 10. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Lister, Herbert Henry Holden. Died 4th May 1917

Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was born on 27 March 1898 in Rugby.[1] He was the only son of Herbert Lister Lister (born in Rugby in 1870) and Sarah Lister (née Holden, born in Wolston in 1868).   He was baptised on 24 April 1898 at St. Matthews Church, Rugby.

In 1901 the family was at 105 Clifton Road, Rugby, the home of Herbert’s widowed paternal grandfather, Henry Lister. Herbert’s father, also Herbert Lister, was shown on the census as a Railway Clerk and his mother, Sarah, was probably looking after Herbert’s three older cousins: Nellie -14, Elsie – 12, and Charles – 10.

In 1911 the family, – Herbert (senior), Sarah and Herbert (junior) – was at 235 Railway Terrace, Rugby.   Herbert being only 13 was still at school. The records show that he attended Lawrence Sheriff School, and it seems that his education was sufficient that when he joined up, he was selected for Officer training. Possibly he had been a member of a school cadet force and had some preliminary training. By 1917 his parents had moved again and were living at 107 Clifton Road, Rugby

Herbert’s full Service Record is held at The National Archives,[2] and have yet to be consulted, but he gained a Commission and became a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

In August 1914, the 2nd Battalion[3] was in Malta and was one of nine battalions recalled from overseas service. They returned to England on 19 August 1914.   They were formed up and mobilised from 31 August and 4 October 1914 at Bolton’s Bench, Lyndhurst in Hampshire, the site of one of the Great War army camps and joining the 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. Over 4 and 5 October the Division embarked at Southampton, landed at Zeebrugge during 6 and 7 October, reached Ghent on 9 October and arrived at Ypres on 14 October 1914 after the fall of Antwerp.

When Herbert joined them is unknown at present, but his date of entry to France is not recorded on his Medal Card and he did not receive the 1915 Star, so he probably did not join his battalion in France until 1916 at the earliest, possibly in the reinforcement after the battle of the Somme.

The 7th Division saw action in France and Belgium on the Western Front until 17 November 1917 when it was transferred to the Italian front, serving there for the remainder of the War. Actions in France included various parts of the Battles of Ypres – 19/10/1914; including the Battle of Langemarck – 21/10/1914; and the Battle of Gheluvelt – 29/10/1914; the Rouges Bancs – Well Farm Attack – 18/12/1914; the Battle of Neuve Chapelle – 10/03/1915; the Battle of Auber’s Ridge – 09/05/1915; the Battle of Festubert – 15/05/1915; action at Givenchy – 15/06/1915; the Battle of Loos – 25/09/1915; and in 1916 the various battles of the Somme including the Battle of Albert – 01/07/1916; the Capture of Mametz – 01/07/1916; the Battle of Bazentin Ridge – 14/07/1916; the Attack on High Wood – 20/07/1916; the Battle of Guillemont – 03/09/1916. In 1917: Operations on the Ancre – 11/01/1917 and 21/02/1917; and following the German retreat/withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line – 14/03/1917.

Herbert was Killed in Action with ‘D’ Company of 2nd Bn, RWarR during the Battle of Bullecourt, which commenced on 3 May 1917. This was one of the actions in the Arras area, of which the result was somewhat inconclusive. An Anglo-Australian assault on German positions around Bullecourt during April failed to penetrate the German lines so plans were made for second attempt. Shortly before 04.00am on 3rd May, 62nd Division attacked Bullecourt village while the 2nd Australian Division, both in V Corps, Fifth Army, attacked east of the village, their objective to penetrate the Hindenburg Line and capture the town of Hendecourt-les-Cagnicourt. Strong German resistance held out until the exhausted Australian troops were relieved by 7th Division and 1st Australian Division.

The 2nd Bn. RWarR were part of the 22nd Brigade in the 7th Division and the Battalion Diary devotes several pages to the actions prior to and on 4 May 1917.

On 1 May the Battalion was ‘In Billets & Ruins COURCRELLES’, then on the night of 2/3 May they moved to ‘MORY COPSE’. As noted above, they were a reserve for the attack on the Hindenburg Line. After the attack of the 62nd Division was unsuccessful, the Battalion was ordered to attack Bullecourt. ‘D’ Company provided two platoons to ‘A’ Company and two platoons to ‘C’ Company for carrying and mopping up. ‘A’ Company was on the right and ‘C’ Company was on the left and also formed a defensive left flank. Their sector included a railway embankment which provided some cover, but they were subject to strong shelling and machine gun fire; and the wire was also uncut.

‘The strength of the Battalion going into action was:- 20 Officers, 609 Other Ranks. After the Action the strength was:- 8 Officers, 362 Other Ranks. Only 3 junior Officers were left out of those who carried out the attacks.’

They reorganised and gathered up men and carried out a further strong patrol, but were held up …

‘… The enemy held his fire until they reached the 2nd belt of wire which was uncut, and then opened strong rifle and M.Gun fire which caused heavy casualties. Communication was impossible as the signal lamp was broken by shell fire and both pigeons had died of shell shock. The attack was a failure.’

By the end of the day two Lieutenants were known to have been Killed in Action; six were wounded and four, including Herbert Lister, were ‘Missing’ – all four had actually been Killed in Action and their bodies, and indeed those of the two known to have been killed were never recovered or identified.

The next day the Battalion was relieved and left the Railway Embankment for a ‘camping ground at MORY-ABBAYE’.

Herbert Lister is now remembered, as are the other five officers from the Battalion killed that day, on Bay 3, of the Arras Memorial, which is located in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, to the west of Arras, near the Citadel.

In total 102 members of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment were killed that day and were never recovered or identified, and are all remembered on Bay 3 of the Arras Memorial.

The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was awarded the Victory and British medals.   His Executor was his father, Herbert Lister Lister, who received his Gratuity of £35-0-0 on 4 December 1919.

As well as the arras Memorial, he is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on the Lawrence Sheriff School Plaque:- ‘In Commemoration of our Brother Laurentians who Fell in the Great War –   1914-1918 – Orando Laborando’

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Herbert Henry Holden LISTER was researched and written for a Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by Anne Rogers and John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the Rugby Family History Group, December 2016.

[1]       UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.

[2]       Officers Service Papers, TNA ref:WO 339/71149, 2/Lieutenant Herbert Henry Holden LISTER, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

[3]         https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/maps/units/668/royal-warwickshire-regiment/2nd-battalion/