Hipwell, George William Ward. Died 3rd May 1917

George William Ward Hipwell was born in Old Basford, Nottingham on 9 April 1885, and was christened in New Bilton, Warwickshire on 9 December 1885.   His parents were George Henry Ward Hipwell, born in Ullesthorpe in 1859 and Annie Elizabeth, born in about 1862 in Long Lawford. In 1911 George Henry was a cabman living at 27 King Edward Road, Rugby, they had ten children and nine were still living, and living with them, in 1911.

George William was the eldest of those ten children and in 1911 he was an Electrical Engineering Fitter at BTH works in Rugby.

George William enlisted in Rugby, as a Private, No.11894, in the 5th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He probably joined up at the same time as many other men – many from Hillmorton – who also joined the 5th Battalion. He went to France with his Battalion on 22 July 1915.

He must have had leave as his marriage with Bertha Frances A. Ingram was registered in Rugby in the first quarter of 1916 [Rugby Q1, 1916, 6d, 1383].

George was killed in action on 3 May 1917.   The action on that day was recorded the following day, by Lieut.-Colonel, H. L. Wood, who was commanding the 5th Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

RECORD OF THE 5th (SERVICE) BATTALION.1st July 1916 to 30th June 1917.

The movements of the 42nd Brigade to positions of assembly on “Y” day and “Y”/”Z” night had been previously notified, thus:

The 5th Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry from N.14.b via Brigade H.Q.(N.15.d.4.4), N.22 central, N.23.d.8.4, along the bank and via the railway. The Battalion will move by platoons in file at 3 minutes’ interval. The leading platoon to arrive at Brigade H.Q. at 8 p.m. Water will be issued to men requiring it, under Brigade arrangements at Brigade H.Q. The Battalion will be clear of Cross Roads N.22.a by 9.15p.m., and will proceed in file to their Assembly Trenches. All trenches have been labelled. All units (less 9th K.R.R.C.) will report by runner to Advance Brigade H.Q. in the Stag as soon as they are in their positions of assembly. As soon as Battalions are in their Assembly Trenches an issue of hot tea and rum will be made under Brigade arrangements. The Assembly Trenches were named “zoologically,” and the Battalion assembled for the assault in portions of the Ape, the Boar, the Buck, the Lion, and the Bison. ‘Z’ day was 3rd May and zero hour 3.45a.m. The following is Lieut.-Colonel H.L. Wood’s Official Report of action of the Battalion:

 —

At zero the Battalion was formed up as follows: A and C Companies in the front line, A on the right, C on the left; B and D Companies in the second line, B on the right, D on the left; each company in two lines of two platoons. The front line was on the taped line, the second line in Ape Trench. The German artillery and machine-guns opened fire within 3 minutes of our barrage commencing; most of the artillery fire was between Ape and Bison. Until the advance commenced at zero plus 18 there were only a few casualties from artillery fire in Ape, and none in the companies in front. On the other hand, the machine-gun fire was very heavy and accurate, and came from the left flank (either from St. Rohart Factory or from the Quarry in 0.15.c) and front (from the Quarry at 0.21.b.8.0 or from Triangle Wood).

At zero plus 18 the advance commenced and reached a line about 50 yards west of New Trench, beyond which it was found impossible to advance farther on the left. On the right of the line 2nd Lieut. Peel (A Company) found it possible to avoid the machine-gun fire by crawling, and he got a few men forward and occupied part of New Trench. As touch had been lost with the 8th K.R.R.C., 2nd Lieut. Peel brought up the reserve platoon of A Company on his right flank, and gained touch with them. This was about 4.30 a.m. About this time the remainder of A Company and part of D Company managed to get into New Trench on the left of A Company. The Germans who had been holding New Trench retired to a line about 40 yards in rear, from which they heavily bombed and opened fire with two machine-guns on New Trench. These were, however, soon silenced by rifle and Lewis-gun fire. It was, however, found impossible to advance owing to the very accurate and unceasing machine-gun fire from the left, and also to a certain extent from the front. The artillery fire also became fairly heavy about this time. The situation now was as follows: about 50 men of all companies in New Trench, and parties of B and D Companies (about two platoons in all) in a line of shell-holes about 40 yards behind. This party tried to consolidate, but found it impossible to work owing to the incessant machine-gun fire, snipers, and heavy Vane-bomb fire, which came from the left flank, probably from Hillside Work. The situation remained unchanged until about 10.45a.m., New Trench being shelled continuously, while a very heavy barrage was maintained on the Assembly Trenches. At about 10.45a.m. the troops on our right were observed retiring, and a strong enemy counter-attack in 6 or 7 waves (each estimated by those in the front line at about 150 to 200 men) was launched against New Trench. Fire was immediately opened on them with all available rifles, Lewis-guns, and two Vickers which had come up, and many casualties were inflicted, but without stopping the counter-attack. When the enemy had got within 50 yards of New Trench, and our ammunition was practically all expended, the remnants withdrew to the Assembly Trenches, bringing back as many Lewis-guns as possible. The two Vickers had to be abandoned.

… The casualties were: A Company (Right leading) 75, out of 129 who attacked. C Company (Left leading) 84, out of 118. B Company (Right Support) 57, out of 123. D Company (Left Support) 62, out of 123. H.Q. 13, out of 30, including bombers who went over behind the leading company.[1]

Of the 12 officers and 523 N.C.O.s and Men who went into action on 3 May 1917, 8 officers and 291 N.C.O.s and Men became casualties.

George William Hipwell’s body was not found and he is remembered on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D´Amiens Cemetery, Arras.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article  was researched and written for the Rugby Family History Group [RFHG] project, by John P H Frearson and is © John P H Frearson and the RFHG, May 2015.

[1]         http://www.lightbobs.com/5-oxf–bucks-li-1916-1917.html

Swingler, William James. Died 30th Apr 1917

William James SWINGLER, was born in Welford, Northants on 5 November 1885, the son of James Samuel Swingler of Welford, Rugby, where he was born in about early 1852

In 1881, James Samuel seems to be either a ‘widower’ or ‘single’ (the record is confused!), when he was enumerated as an ‘innkeeper and carrier’, with his widowed sister as his housekeeper. In 1891, he was enumerated more specifically at the Crown Inn, High Street, Welford as a ‘publican and farmer’ with his ‘wife’, Sarah, who was born in about 1849 in Rothersthorpe, Northants, and their six year old son, William James Swingler.

There is no ‘obvious’ record of James Samuel Swingler’s marriage with Sarah, before 1891, nor is there any record of her death between 1881 and 1900, however James Samuel later [?re]-married on 12 June 1900, with his ‘second’ wife, Mary Ellen née Simons, who was born in Denbigh, North Wales.

In 1901 the family were still in Welford living at West End and James Samuel was now a ‘farmer’, with William as a ‘farmer’s son’. By 1911 William was 25 and recorded as a ‘farmer’s son labourer’, and there were three younger half-siblings.

William was attested at Welford on 19 November 1915 when he was 31, 5ft 8in tall, and now working as a postman. He had been medically examined on 17 November 1915 when he was aged ‘31 years and 14 days’. He seems to have been re-measured as 5ft 9¼ inches tall! He weighed 128lbs.   ‘Slight defects’ included ‘subject to dental treatment’ and ‘slight eczema feet’.

He then ‘enlisted’ in Northampton – when he was 32 – and was ‘mobilised’ on 18 March 1916, and posted on 19 March as Private, No.6653 in the 8th Battalion of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. Many of the detailed dates for his life and military career are found in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour and particularly in his Service Record which survives.[1]

Assuming the 8th Battalion was the 1/8th Battalion, then from March 1916 to March 1917, the 1/8th Battalion was in 70th Brigade in the 8th Division in France, and then on 9 February 1916 it was transferred to 167th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.   If it were the 2/8th Battalion, its record was the same as 1/7th Battalion which was combined with the 1/8th by February 1916.[2]

William presumably had leave, and married Charlotte Maria Howe in Rugby on 11 November 1916 and their home was at 101 Grosvenor Road, Rugby. She then replaced his father as his next of kin.

William had his TAB[3] vaccinations on 23 March and 11 April 1916, and in ?January 1917 received ‘part upper and part lower dentures’ fitted at Tunbridge Wells.

He remained on Home Service until 7 March 1917 when he was posted to the British Expeditionary Force in France, embarking at Folkestone and disembarking at Boulogne on 8 March 1917.   He was transferred to the 16th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment on 26 March 1917, as No.205192.

The 16th (Service) Battalion (Public Schools) had been formed in London on 1 September 1914 by Lt-Col. J.J.Mackay. It moved to Kempton Park racecourse, going on in December to Warlingham. In July 1915 it moved to Clipstone Camp and came under command of 100th Brigade in 33rd Division and moved in August to Perham Down. On 17 November 1915 the Battalion landed at Boulogne and on 25 February 1916 left the Division and transferred to GHQ Troops. On 25 April 1916 the Battalion transferred to 86th Brigade in 29th Division.

So when William arrived the 16th Battalion would have been in the 86th Brigade in the 29th Division. Between 1 to 12 April, the Regimental Diary noted that the Battalion marched from Halloy-l-Pernois to Gezancourt; then back to Halloy, then to Sus St. Leger, then Bavincourt; Simencourt and arrived in Arras on 12 April, three days after the start of the Battle of Arras.

13 April    – 6am          – Battalion to original German first line trenches near Tilloy-lez-Mofflaines.

                – 8pm         – Battalion to original German third line trenches.

14 April   – 1pm         – Battalion to Orange Hill. Casualties, Other Ranks K.7. W.10.

                – 8pm         – Battalion moved to take over front line from 2nd Hants. Regt. in Monchy

15-18 April                – Battalion engaged in making new defences of Monchy.

     Casualties. Officers, K.1. W.1. others, K.7. W.59. M.3.

18-19 April                – Battalion is relieved …

Just five or so weeks after he had arrived in France, William’s Service Record showed that he was wounded on 16 April 1917. He was probably one of those 59 men who were wounded whilst engaged in ‘making new defences of Monchy’.

He was moved to the 87th Field Ambulance[4] and then to No.8 Casualty Clearing Station, which was based at Agnez-les-Duisans about 10 miles west of Arras, where he died of his wounds, aged 32, on 30 April 1917.[5]

William was buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, in Grave Ref: II. O. 23. His headstone confirms the ‘official’ date of death of 30 April 1917, however the schedules for any inscription appear to be missing.

Duisans is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, about 9 kilometres west of Arras. The Cemetery takes its name from the village although it technically lies in the Commune of Etrun.

The area around Duisans was occupied by Commonwealth forces from March 1916, but it was not until February 1917 that the site of this cemetery was selected for the 8th Casualty Clearing Station. The first burials took place in March and from the beginning of April the cemetery grew very quickly, with most of the graves relating to the Battles of Arras in 1917, and the trench warfare that followed.[6]

William had served for 1 year and 44 days and on 22 May 1917 he was formally ‘Discharged in consequence of death from wounds received in action. The discharge of the above named man is hereby approved.’[7]

William was awarded the Victory and British medals. He is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and a memorial notice was published in the Rugby Advertiser.[8]

After the war, his widow, Charlotte Maria Swingler, was recorded as living at 101 Grosvenor Road, Rugby.   It seems his medals had been ‘returned’ and his Medal Card indicates that they were re-issued in August 1922.

Charlotte received William’s outstanding pay of £3-0-1d on 22 September 1917, and his War Gratuity of £4-0-0d on 11 December 1919. She was also awarded a pension of 13 shillings and 9 pence per week from 12 November 1917.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on William James SWINGLER 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]       De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919, Volume 4, and British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920, from The National Archives (TNA), Kew, both available at www.ancestry.co.uk.

[2]       Based on data from: http://www.1914-1918.net/msex.htm.

[3]       A combined vaccine used to produce immunity against the diseases typhoid, paratyphoid A, and paratyphoid B; the “paratyphoid” components would later prove ineffective

[4]       87th (1st West Lancashire) Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps served with 29th Division.

[5]       One earlier grave registration report gives the date of his death as the next day, 1 May 1917.

[6]       From; http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/4300/DUISANS%20BRITISH%20CEMETERY,%20ETRUN

[7]       From William’s Service Record, British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920, from The National Archives (TNA), Kew, available at www.ancestry.co.uk.

 

[8]       Rugby Advertiser, 5 May 1917.

Wilkins, Ebenezer Joseph. Died 29th Apr 1917

Ebenezer Joseph Wilkins (usually known as Joseph) was born in Rugby in 1877 and baptised on 30th September at New Bilton Church. His brother Edwin Ernest, less than two years older was baptised at the same time. Their father was William Wilkins, a carpenter born in Lighthorne, Warwickshire and their mother was Sarah (nee Collins). They had married on 11th June 1867 in Rugby Parish Church. The family lived at 51 Union Street.

In the 1911 census Joseph, at the age of 34, seems to have been listed by his brother’s name, Ernest. He was a painter. Ernest, age 35 was a butler, living in Grantham. Since he was listed as a page boy in 1891 and footman in 1901, while Joseph remained at home, this seems the most logical conclusion.

Sarah Wilkins died on 16th September, 1915, aged 76, her husband William (74), died three weeks later on 6th October. In the probate index for William, Ebenezer Wilkins is described as a paperhanger.

It must have been a few months after this that Ebenezer Joseph joined the 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment as private no.17598. His medal roll index card, in the name of Edward Wilkins, gives no indication he served before 1916.

For more information about the movements of the 11th Bn, see the biography of Wallace Liddington, who died a few days earlier on 25th April 1917.

On the 29th April, R.W.R was involved in the second action (23rd-29th Apr) of the Battle of Arras. Early on the morning of 28th April they were in position to attack Greenland Hill

War Diary, 11th Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

28.4.17
4.25am After going about 100 yds the right front Coy (D. Coy – Lieut M Shaw) commenced to make a left incline with the object of filling a gap which had occurred between us and the 63rd Bde on our left. B. Coy conformed(?) to this movement. As both the officers with the leading Coys became casualties immediately after, a few men lost direction & became mixed up with the 111th Bde. The remainder advanced but owing to the fact that all the officers and senior N.C.O.s with the exception of two Sergeants were either killed or wounded the battalion became very scattered. Detached parties with Lewis Guns occupied a general line 300 – 400 yds East of CUBA TR overlapping 63rd Bde on the left & remainder of this Bde (112th) on the right.
Battn remained in this position until the Brigade was relieved by 10th Agyll & Sutherland Highlanders just before daybreak on the 29th

29.4.17
Marched back to transport west of ST NICHOLAS
At 2p.m. Battn embussed & proceeded to DENIER & went into billets.

30.4.17 Battn rested.

Ebenezer Joseph Wilkins must have been one of the 59 other ranks listed as missing of the action from 23rd-29th April 1917. He is listed on the Arras Memorial, Bay 3.

His next of kin was his younger sister, Sarah. She put a notice in the Rugby Advertiser in 1921, on the anniversary of his death.
WILKINS – In ever loving memory of my dear brother, Pte. J. Wilkins, R.W.R. who was reported missing (presumed killed) April 29th, 1917
-Ever in the thoughts of his loving sister.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Welch, Ernest Edward. Died 28th Apr 1917

Ernest Edward Welch’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1880 in Rugby to Edward Welch (b.1852 in London) and Harriett Welch (née Lack b.1855 in Rugby). Ernest Edward’s parents had married in Rugby in 1878. Ernest’s father, Edward, was a traffic guard with the LNWR railway in 1891 when the family were living at 48 Union Street, Rugby. They were at the same address in 1901 and his father was still with the LNWR.  There were now five children Edith, Ernest, Florence, Ethel and Alice.

By 1901, Ernest Edward Welch was a bricklayer and his marriage with Bertha Elizabeth Lenton was registered in Rugby the next year, in the third quarter of 1902. In 1903 Ernest and Bertha had a daughter, Effie. Before 1911 they had moved to 54 Union Street, and later – and after the war – his widow and daughter were at 35 Union Street.

Ernest joined up as No.26321 in the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry [Ox. & Bucks.]. His record in the ‘Soldiers Died in the Great War’ states that he enlisted at Rugby, and the ‘Medal Roll’ indicates that he was at first in the 6th Battalion,

6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Oxford in September 1914 as part of K2 and placed under orders of 60th Brigade in 20th (Light) Division. The Battalion landed at Boulogne on 22 July 1915.

Whether Ernest was with them at that date is unknown but he may have still been in training. His Medal Card does not record the date he went to France, and there are no surviving Service Records, however, the absence of an award of a 1914 or 1914-1915 Star suggests it was some time in 1916 or later. At some date he was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion and possibly this was when he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

The 2nd Battalion had returned home from India in 1903 and was initially based in Chatham and in 1907 moved to Tidworth, Wiltshire. When World War I started the Battalion was stationed at Albuhera barracks, Aldershot, and was part of the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.   On 14 August 1914 the Battalion mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and was engaged in various actions on the Western Front including in 1914: the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat; the Battle of the Marne; the Battle of the Aisne; and the First Battle of Ypres. Then in 1915: the Winter Operations 1914-15; the Battle of Festubert; and the Battle of Loos.

It seems likely that Ernest would have been involved in some of the actions in 1916: the Battle of Delville Wood; the Battle of the Ancre; and other operations on the Ancre. A fuller summary of the campaigns can be found on Wikipedia,[1] which also summarises the actions in early 1917 …

‘The New Year of 1917 brought with it a period of severe weather conditions on the Somme plain which led to an unofficial truce between the two sides. In March 1917, the Germans began the withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line (14 March – 5 April) and at the end of March the 2nd Ox and Bucks moved from the Somme to the back areas of Arras. The 2nd Ox and Bucks and other battalions of the regiment saw much involvement in the Arras Offensive (9 April – 16 May), including at the Battles of Scarpe and Arleux. The 2nd Ox and Bucks took part in the battle of Arras from 11 April and had a leading role in the battle of Arleux on 28-29 April: during the battle the battalion protected the right flank of the Canadian 1st Division which was critical to the capture of the village of Arleux and sustained more than 200 casualties.’

It seems likely that Ernest was one of those 200 casualties on 28 April 1917, during the attack on the Arleux-Oppy Line. Further details are provided in the Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Colonel Crosse’s) Diary.[2]

April 28th.- 4.25 a.m. was fixed for “zero hour,” when the Regiment attacked in four Waves, … The whole attack was more successful on the left than on the right, the Canadian Corps taking and holding, apparently without difficulty, all their objectives. …

The feature of the operations … was the initiative, resource, and good leading of the Company and Platoon Commanders, …   All their subordinate commanders seemed to realize the necessity for at once collecting together adjacent men – no matter to whom they belonged – and retelling-off and reorganizing them for immediate further action.

The casualties included … about 200 other ranks, of whom 130 were wounded, and the remainder either killed or missing.

The Regiment, in touch on either flank with the adjacent troops, continued to hold its front, approximately on the line of the “Blue Line” (2nd Objective), where extremely good work was done by the Lewis-gunners.

The trenches were very much shelled and badly provided with dugouts; a number of men were buried, and a certain number of casualties occurred, the exact figures it has not yet been possible to arrive at as regards separating them from those which occurred in the actual attack.

At some point during this action, on 28 April 1917, Ernest Welch was killed, either in the action or the subsequent shelling described above. Ernest’s body was not recovered or identified and he is now remembered on Panel: G. 11. of the Arras Memorial, located in the Faubourg-d’Amiens Cemetery, to the west of Arras, near the Citadel.

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.

Ernest was awarded the Victory and British medals, and after his death, Ernest’s effects and money owing were paid to his widow, Bertha. She received £2-18-3d on 8 September 1917 and then a gratuity of £3 on 1 November 1919.

As well as the Arras Memorial, Ernest is remembered on the Rugby Memorial Gate and on a family headstone in the Clifton Road Cemetery, Rugby.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

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This article on Ernest Edward Welch 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]       https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfordshire_and_Buckinghamshire_Light_Infantry

[2]       Diary, 2nd Bn. Ox. and Bucks. L. I., http://www.lightbobs.com/1917-arras-april-june.html.

Liddington, Wallace. Died 25th Apr 1917

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).

Poole, Frank. Died 24th Apr 1917

Frank Poole was born in Rugby and baptised on 22nd Aug 1897 at St Matthews Church. He was the only son of Samuel Johnson and Emma Poole who lived at 178 Cambridge Street Rugby. Samuel was a boot maker.

Frank Poole attended Murray School from where he had gained a scholarship to the Lower School, which was on the site of the present day Lawrence Sheriff School. He was first employed in the B.T.H. offices and then as a junior clerk in The Rugby Gas Co’s Office.

He attested for the war under the Derby Group Scheme and joined up July 1916 after reaching his 19th Birthday. He served with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwick Regiment.   Frank Poole was killed in action 24th April 1917, aged 19 years.

According to his obituary, published in the Rugby Advertiser on 5th May 1917, he was a good singer and as a boy was a member of the Holy Trinity Church Choir, also being a teacher at the Murray Sunday School. He had a quiet unassuming nature and was generally loved and respected by those who knew him.

He is buried at La Chauderiere Military Cemetery Vimy France, and on his parents grave in Clifton Road Cemetery Rugby, there is a memorial to him “In loving memory of Frank Poole Roy. Wark. Reg. Killed in action in France 24th April 1917 aged 19 years. He gave his life for his God and Country. His father Samuel died July 1924 aged 63 years and his mother Emma passed away 28th December 1932 aged 72 years.

 

RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM

Read, Charles Henry. Died 11th Apr 1917

Charles Henry Read was born in Norwich in Norfolk in around 1885. He was the son of Charles and Alice Read. Charles and Alice Green did not marry until 1902, so Charles Henry may have been registered as Green. In 1901 Charles Henry was aged 16, a shoe cutter. His father is listed as a retired Baker living in Barn Road, Norwich. In 1906 Charles Henry married Edith Spooner and in 1911 they were living at 35 Goldsmith St, Dereham Road, Norwich. He was a boot maker and they had a son Charles William, aged 4.

Some time after this, Charles Henry moved to Rugby, to work at B.T.H. in the Controller Dept. He must have signed up towards the start of the way in the 1st Bn, Warwickshire Regiment (Private no. 3382) and landed in France on 4th May 1915.

From 1st April the Royal Warwicks was at Camblain-Chatelaine involved in training. On the 7th, there was a route march to Bethon-sart, continuing to “X” camp the next day. By 11th April they were in Dug-outs S of Athies

War Diaries of 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
11 April 1917

2-3 a.m. Conference at Brigade Head Quarters and orders issued that 10th Brigade will attack at 12 noon Operation Order attached.

8.30 a.m. Battalion moved  off to W. of Fampoux and arrived 10.00 a.m.

11.20 a.m. Battalion moved up to Assembly position on Sunken Road on E. edge of Fampoux and arrived 12 noon.

A & C Coys attack on 2 Coy frontage of 500x per Coy and B Coy follow in near as carriers.

12 noon Attack commences and 1st R. Irish Fus. and 2nd Seaforth Highlanders start going forward

12.10 p.m. A & C Coys followed by B Coy follow these Battalions, our Battalion supporting 1st R. Irish Fus. The enemy shelled our Assembly positions heavily and we had many casualties before starting.

The enemy’s M. Gun fire held up our attack almost from the start and the Brigade consolidated a line about 400x in front of the Assembly position.

Both Brigades on our right and left were held up also by M. Gun fire.

Enemy put up a heavy barrage on Assembly positions and vicinity.

Battalion dug in and held a line from Huddue Trench at H.18.a.0.9 to H.18.b,1,3 with Seaforth Highlanders on left and 1st R Irish Fus on right.

Enemy fairly quiet at night. Very cold and snow.

Officer casualties are given 2nd Lieuts 2 killed, 1 wounded and missing, 5 wounded.

Heavy shelling of Fampoux continued for several days and on the 20th Apr, the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Lincolnshire Regt.

Total casualties for the period 9th to 21st Incl.
Killed                             2 Officers            43 Other Ranks (includes 10 died of wds since)
Wounded and missing 1 Officer             – Other Ranks
Wounded                     5 Officers            173 Other Ranks
Missing                      – Officers              33 Other Ranks
Missing believed wounded -Officers       1 Other Ranks.

Both Joseph Vincent Cleaver and Charles Henry Read died on 11th April, probably in this action.

Charles Henry Read was buried at Fampoux British Cemetery.

He is also listed on the B.T.H. War Memorial.

 

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Cleaver, Joseph Vincent. Died 11th April 1917

Joseph Vincent Cleaver was born in Oxford in 1878. His father was Thomas Howlett Cleaver who was born in Rugby and Jemima Mary (nee Vickers). Thomas met his wife in Alton, Staffordshire where her father worked at the stone quarry there. Thomas was a clerk and they married in 1870. By 1881, when Joseph was three, the family was living in Caldecote, near Nuneaton and Thomas was a builder’s agent. The family had returned to Rugby by 1891, living at Clifton Cottage in Bilton. Thomas was now a builder’s manager and thirteen year old Joseph was still at school. He was the third of nine children. In 1901 they were living at 51 Victoria Street and Thomas was a builder’s surveyor. Joseph was the eldest son still living at home. At 23 he was a brewer’s clerk.

By 1911 Thomas was a widower. He was a publican, living at the Horse and Jockey Inn in Lawford Road. Joseph was still living with him, a 33-year-old brewer’s clerk war (He was employed by the Leamington Brewery Company) together with his sister Zita, who was acting as housekeeper.

Joseph signed up in December 1915, one of the first to join up under Lord Derby’s Group System. He joined the 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Private no. 17860). He would have fought in the Battle of the Somme and other actions on the western front.

From 1st April the Royal Warwicks was at Camblain-Chatelaine involved in training. On the 7th, there was a route march to Bethon-sart, continuing to “X” camp the next day. By 11th April they were in Dug-outs S of Athies

War Diaries of 1st Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
11 April 1917

2-3 a.m. Conference at Brigade Head Quarters and orders issued that 10th Brigade will attack at 12 noon Operation Order attached.

8.30 a.m. Battalion moved  off to W. of Fampoux and arrived 10.00 a.m.

11.20 a.m. Battalion moved up to Assembly position on Sunken Road on E. edge of Fampoux and arrived 12 noon.

A & C Coys attack on 2 Coy frontage of 500x per Coy and B Coy follow in near as carriers.

12 noon Attack commences and 1st R. Irish Fus. and 2nd Seaforth Highlanders start going forward

12.10 p.m. A & C Coys followed by B Coy follow these Battalions, our Battalion supporting 1st R. Irish Fus. The enemy shelled our Assembly positions heavily and we had many casualties before starting.

The enemy’s M. Gun fire held up our attack almost from the start and the Brigade consolidated a line about 400x in front of the Assembly position.

Both Brigades on our right and left were held up also by M. Gun fire.

Enemy put up a heavy barrage on Assembly positions and vicinity.

Battalion dug in and held a line from Huddue Trench at H.18.a.0.9 to H.18.b,1,3 with Seaforth Highlanders on left and 1st R Irish Fus on right.

Enemy fairly quiet at night. Very cold and snow.

Officer casualties are given 2nd Lieuts 2 killed, 1 wounded and missing, 5 wounded.

Heavy shelling of Fampoux continued for several days and on the 20th Apr, the Battalion was relieved by the 8th Lincolnshire Regt.

Total casualties for the period 9th to 21st Incl.
Killed                             2 Officers            43 Other Ranks (includes 10 died of wds since)
Wounded and missing 1 Officer             – Other Ranks
Wounded                     5 Officers            173 Other Ranks
Missing                      – Officers              33 Other Ranks
Missing believed wounded -Officers       1 Other Ranks.

Both Joseph Vincent Cleaver and Charles Henry Read died on 11th April, probably in this action

Joseph Vincent Cleaver was buried at Point-Du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies

Rugby Advertiser, 12th May 1917 states
… This is the second son Mr Cleaver (Gregory) has lost in action and two more, George and Austin were wounded earlier in the war.”

Thomas Howlett Cleaver died in 1919. Joseph’s next of kin was named, in the soldiers effects, as his sister Zita.

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Chaplin, Aubrey Fletcher. Died 10th Apr 1917

Aubrey Fletcher Chaplin was born on 1st July 1881 at Brooksby Hall, situated between Leicester and Melton Mowbray. His father was London born barrister Ernest Chaplin, son of William Jones Chaplin M.P. His mother was Sophy Jane, daughter of the Rev. Edward Elmhurst, rector of Shawell. They married on 12th May 1864 and moved to Brooksby Hall shortly afterwards.

In 1890 the family sold the Hall and in 1891 were lodging in Hastings. Aubrey was not with the family, perhaps at school.

In July 1895 he became a cadet at HMS Conway in Liverpool. After two years he joined a merchant ship the Hawksdale. Six months later in January 1898 the ship ran aground on the sands between Margate and Clacton. Seventeen year old Aubrey later received a medal for rescuing the ship’s cat. The cat was later cared for by Aubrey’s parents, now living at “The Firs” in Bilton Road, Rugby.

Aubrey served as an apprentice on two more ships and on 6th December 1900 received his certificate to serve as 2nd mate on foreign-going ships. His address was given as 107 Penny Lane, Liverpool. His height was 5ft 6in, and he had a dark complexion and dark hair and eyes.

It is not known if he went sea after this, but in 1901 he was at home with his parents, occupation merchant marine. Ernest Chaplin died in 1902, leaving nearly £20,000. In 1911 Aubrey was living with his widowed mother. The address was “The Beeches” in Clifton upon Dunsmore (although the families address was always given as “The Firs” in Bilton Road. He was engaged in poultry farming.

Aubrey must have been called up at the start of the war. He joined the Northamptonshire Yeomanry as lance corpl. (No. 955) His entry to theatre of war was 6th November 1914. He would have been involved in a lot of the action in France, finally dying on 10th April 1917 at the Battle of Arras.

The Northamptonshire Yeomanry was in action on the opening day of the Battle of Arras and passed trough the infantry at around 5.00 pm. On reaching the crossroads at Fampoux it encountered some opposition, but acquitted itself well by driving off several snipers and capturing six field guns. More importantly though, it secured the road and railway bridges across the Scarpe. This was crucial as it provided a link between the 15th (Scottish) Division south of the river and the 4th Division north of it.
(Visiting the Fallen-Arras South, Peter Hughes, Pen and Sword, 2015)

Lieutenant Aubrey Fletcher Chaplin was the first of four officers from the regiment to be killed in action that month.

He was buried at Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains. Plot A.1

The Rugby Advertiser first reported his death, on 21st Apr, as occurring on 8th April but all other sources give it as 10th.

 

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Bradby, Daniel Edward. Died 9th Apr 1917

Daniel Edward Bradby was born in the summer of 1896 in Rugby. The first son of Rugby schoolmaster Henry Christopher Bradby and Violet Alice Bradby (nee Milford). He was baptised at Rugby parish church – St. Andrew’s – on 5 September 1896. Their address being 11 Hillmorton Road.

He had three siblings. Matthew Seymour Bradby, Royal Naval officer (1899 – 11 June 1963), Robert Christopher Bradby, publisher (18 January 1905 – 16 December 1982), Edward Lawrence Bradby, schoolmaster (15 March 1907 – 20 August 1996) and Anne Barbara Bradby (30 July 1912 – 15 October 2001). By April 1899 the family were living at 46 Church Street, Rugby. Before 1911 to after 1918 Henry C Bradby and family lived at ‘School Field’, near the head of Barby Road – a Rugby School property. Edward Henry Bradby – grand-father of Daniel – had been a schoolmaster at the (then) recently formed Haileybury College, Hertfordshire.

Daniel was educated at Rugby Public School. He was in School House, an able cricketer and footballer, he was a member of the Rugby School cricket XX. Also a member of the school’s Officers’ Training Corps. He left a the end of the autumn term, 1914, with a commission in the Army. Rank made up to temporary Lieutenant (from 2nd Lieut.), effective 16 Sept. 1916. Then temporary Captain (from Lieut.), effective 16 Oct. 1916.

As a 20 year old at the date of his death he was a Captain and Battalion Acting Adjutant, leading ‘B’ Company, 9th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade – part of the 42nd Infantry Brigade.

On the 24 March (1917) the Battalion was relieved from the trenches by the 8th Rifle Brigade and moved to Arras for rest. The next move was on 29 March to billets at Fosseux until 4 April when they moved in ‘full marching order’ to the caves at Ronville. Operations against the Germans were then made between the 5th and 11th April. Bradby was killed on the 9th leading part of ‘B’ Company in an attack on position where two machine guns were set. A further attack led by Captain J M Buckley and eight other ranks was successful. Sixty Germans and the two machine guns were captured. Lieut H M Smith and 15 other ranks were wounded. Capt Buckley was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts.

The London Gazette cites
“Temp. Capt. Joseph Michael Buckley, Rif.Bde.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led two companies in the most gallant manner, and was largely responsible for the success of the operations. He gained his objective, capturing sixty prisoners and two machine-guns.”

Bradby was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal and 1915 Star. He is buried at the Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines.

You, whose forebodings have been all fulfilled,
You who have heard the bell, seen the boy stand
Holding the flimsy message in his hand
While through your heart the fiery question thrilled
‘Wounded or killed, which, which?’-and it was ‘Killed-‘
And in a kind of trance have read it, numb
But conscious that the dreaded hour was come,
No dream this dream wherewith your blood was chilled-
Oh brothers in calamity, unknown
Companions in the order of black loss,
Lift up your hearts, for your are not alone,
And let our sombre hosts together bring
Their sorrows to the shadow of the Cross
And learn the fellowship of suffering.

Henry Christopher Bradby – April 1918

 

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