Boyer, Thomas William. Died 10th May 1917

Thomas was born in 1897, the eldest child of his parents Herbert Alfred and Agnes Pegg (nee Wiltshire) who were married in Peterborough Registration District in December quarter 1896. Both had been born in Peterborough.

We first find the family together in 1901 at 3 Hope Grove, Hendon in Middlesex. They became well travelled, not surprisingly as Herbert worked as a railway wagon repairer. After their marriage and Thomas’s birth in Peterborough, they moved to Fletton, Huntingdonshire where their daughter Maud was born (1899), and then to Cricklewood where two more daughters, Winifred (1901) and Daisy (1903), were born. Another daughter, Agnes, was born (1907) in Sandiacre, Nottinghamshire.

In 1911 Herbert and Agnes with their four children (Winifred had died in infancy) were living at 9 Gladstone Street, New Bilton, Herbert still a wagon repairer, and Thomas William aged 13 also working for the railway as a wagon painter.

Thomas’s army record has not survived, but Soldiers of the Great War records that he had joined the 10th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, no 16083, enlisting at Rugby, and risen to the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Thomas was killed in action on 10 May 1917, he was 20 years old. The Regiment was at this time near Ypres, and the Regiment’s War Diary for that day reported that there had been an intense enemy barrage at 3.30am.   When it ceased, it was found that one of the gun posts with six men had been destroyed, and it seems that William was killed in this action. Altogether losses reported that day were 2 killed, 6 missing and 12 wounded.

Thomas is buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, also known as Transport Farm, at Zillebeke, 2km from Ypres. It is so called because the railway line passed nearby on an embankment overlooking the small farm known by the troops as Transport Farm. Advanced Dressing Stations had been established in the dugouts and farm since the previous year. 1700 graves in the Cemetery were known and marked at the Armistice.

Thomas’s effects of £8.1s.6d, and a War Gratuity of £6 were sent to his father Herbert as next of kin.   His gravestone states that his parents were then at 17 Rutland Grove, Sandiacre.

Sources: CWGC; 1910 & 1911 censuses; GRO indexes; medal card; Soldiers Died in the Great War; War Diaries of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment WO95/2085/3 p263 on Ancestry.

 

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

 

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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

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/

 

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

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).

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