World War One Memorials in France - T Directory






















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Thiepval Memorial

The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing is on the D73 a minor road off the main road D929 from Albert to Bapaume.

It stands on the site of the former Thiepval Chateau and on part of the Leipzig Redoubt and the trenches of that German stronghold.

 Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, built between 1928 and 1932 of brick with stone facings with the central archway flanked by smaller arches resting on 16 pillars with panels of stone, the Memorial was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in the presence of the President of France on 31st July 1932

The Memorial records the names of over 73,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.  Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Those from Australia, Canada, India, Newfoundland and New Zealand with no known grave are commemorated on national memorials to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux, Vimy Ridge, Neuve Chapelle, Beaumont Hamel and Longueval respectively.


View of the rear of the Memorial

This shows the Cemetery at the rear of the Memorial which serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive, the Cemetery containing 300 graves of soldiers of each nationality.  Of the British casualties about 80% are unknown soldiers.







 One of the stone panels

The names are listed under the Regiment in which the casualty served, the Regiments following the order of precedence, under the title of each Regiment by ranks and under each rank alphabetically. First come Commands and Staff, Marines and Navy, Cavalry and Yeomanry Regiments, Artillery and Engineers, then the Foot Guards and Infantry and other Corps and Services.  The South African and the one West India Regiment casualties are on a separate pillar.









Another of the stone panels













Commemorated here and on the Woodbridge, Suffolk, War Memorial

Sergeant Frank J Brewster
4th Battn Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action 20th July 1916

Private Reginald Edmonds
2nd Battn Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action 20th July 1916

Private Wilfred Harry Holmes
8th Battn Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action 26th September 1916

Gunner Frederick Wells
113th Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery
Died of Wounds 26th October 1917

Private Ernest Frederick Welton
1/4th Battn Suffolk Regiment
Killed in action 15th July 1916

Private Donald Frederick Whisstock
7th Battn Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action 12th October 1916

Sapper Alfred Woodruffe
11th Field Coy. Royal Engineers
Killed in Action 2nd November 1916

Private Arthur Alfred Woods
1/24th Battn London Regiment
Killed in Action 17th September 1916

There are 133 casualties who died in the First World War commemorated on the Woodbridge War Memorial  of whom 8 are commemorated here, 6%.


Private Ernest Frederick Welton No. 3021 1/4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment. (Territorial Force). Second son of Henry and Ellen Welton 1, St. John’s Hill, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Born 11th September 1895. Pupil at Woodbridge School, Woodbridge.  Enlisted Ipswich.The Territorial Battalion mobilised 4th August 1914 at Portman Road Barracks Ipswich and on 9th November 1914 landed at Le Havre France. Killed in action 15th July 1916.Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

Ernest Welton was the second son of Henry and Ellen Welton, being born in 1895.  His elder brother was Charles William Welton, born in 1885, who served in the Suffolk Regiment in the Great War.  He had two elder sisters, Lily Florence Welton born in 1886 and Gertrude Amelia Welton who having trained as a Nurse in January 1915 joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service Reserve, serving at a Military Hospital at Felixstowe in Suffolk until going to France in October 1916.  She became a Sister in June 1917 and continued to serve in Casualty Clearing Stations and Stationary Hospitals on the Western Front until discharged in May 1919.Ernest Welton had two younger brothers, Albert Edward Welton born 1898, who served in the Royal Artillery in the Great War dying in 1928 from a service related disease, and Reginald Arthur Welton born in 1900 who served in the Bedfordshire Regiment in the Great War.  Henry and Ellen’s youngest child was their daughter Alice Evelyn Welton born in 1902.  All four brothers served on the Western Front but none went to France before January 1916.

The Somme offensive of 1916 began on the 1st July 1916 . The objectives on the opening day of the offensive were for the Fourth Army to take the German front-line defences from Montauban in the south to Serre in the north and in addition to secure the German second position on the ridge stretching from Pozieres to the River Ancre and on the slopes before the village of Miraumont.

With the 4th Kings, 1st Middlesex and 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 1/4th Suffolks formed the 98th Brigade  which on the opening day of the offensive was many miles to the north in the Bethune area of northern France.

Despite the greatest loss of men in one day General Haig remained confident and determined on continued attack. In the evening of 7th July 1916 Haig took measures to re-inforce the battle front transferring the 33rd Division (of which the 98th Brigade formed part) from the First to the Fourth Army.

On the  8th July 1916 General Rawlinson issued a preparatory order for the attack on the German Second Line, which ran through Grandcourt, between the fortified villages of Thiepval and Courcelette, in front of Bazentin le Petit, Bazentin le Grand and Longueval then turning south in front of Ginchy, Guillemont and Maurepas to the Somme river. Later it was settled XIII Corps would attack the line Longueval – Bazentin le Grand village with two Divisions, with two more Divisions to attack against Bazentin le Grand Wood – Bazentin le Petit village and cemetery.

Also on the  8th July 1916 the other three Battalions in the 98th Brigade entrained at Chocques near Bethune the 1/4th Suffolks following on the 9th July1916 and travelling to Amiens  from where the Battalion marched  in an easterly direction towards the Somme billeting  at Rainneville  then Vaux sur Somme then Ville sous Corbie , arriving at billets at Meaulte about a mile south of Albert with Orders to be ready to move at half an hours notice.

On the 14th July 1916 the British launched their second substantial blow of the Somme campaign.  The attack of 1st July 1916 –despite its failings – had broken the German first position in a  number of positions particularly to the right of the Albert – Bapaume road. To the north initial targets such as Thiepval,  Beaumont Hamel and Serre would be left for future attention but over the following fourteen days a series of small but significant advances were made in the south resulting in the seizure of La Boiselle, Bernafay Wood, Mametz and Contalmaison while fighting in Trones Wood went on over several days. In this way the second line of the German Defence became  exposed to attack  and General Rawlinson’s Fourth Army lost no time in assaulting it.   The attack on the 14th July 1916 was more modest than that on the 1st July 1916 , the objective being the Longueval Ridge. The main problem the British faced was the 1500 yards between the British forward positions and the German second line, the objective. Covering such a distance and then assaulting an enemy in trenches was a daunting task.  The answer, however, evolved of a stealthy night advance by the attacking infantry to a point close to the German line and a short final bombardment of some 5 minutes without shrapnel so the attackers could get close to their own gunfire with the actual attack at dawn. The brief bombardment drove the Germans underground and they were still there when the British entered the German trenches. By 10 a.m. on the 14th July 1916 the British had taken 6000 yards of what had been on the 1st July 1916 the second German lines. This was the opening day of the Battle of Bazentin Ridge and at the end of the first day the 9th Division had captured the major part of Longueval village and the  edge of Delville Wood, the 3rd Division Bazentin-le-Grand, the 7th Division Bazentin-le-Petit and the 21st Division Bazentin-le-Petit Wood.

West of Longueval the Germans rallied on the Switch Line, a new trench which followed the reverse slope of the Bazentin Ridge from the Flers defences, south of that village to the Albert – Bapaume road, cutting through the northern part of High Wood.  The Germans had begun the construction of this trench when High Wood was first threatened and it was improved and wired during the night of the 14th/15th July1916.

That night General Rawlinson issued an order for the resumption of operations next morning 15th July 1916. In so far as the 33rd Division was concerned two of the three Brigades were involved, Battalions of 100th  Brigade to attack the Switch Line between High Wood and Bazentin le Petit with a further effort to clear the western side of High Wood.  The left of the attack on the Switch Line was to be by 98th Brigade.

The 1/4th Suffolks had  left Meaulte at 11 a.m. on the 14th July 1916, had marched to Becordel and then east to a position  between Fricourt and Mamet where they  bivouacked during the night of July 14th – 15th 1916.

At dawn on the 15th July 1916 the Battalion went out under the command of Major H. C. Copeman D.S.O. to support the 1st Middlesex Regiment in an attack on  Switch Trench.  “A” and “B” Company’s formed the first line and “C” and “D” the second. After severe fighting a line immediately in front of the village of Bazentin le Petit was taken and held for the remainder of the day.

The 1st Middlesex deployed for the attack on the road on the eastern edge of the village to attack on a frontage of 800 yards with the 1st Queens on the right.  The Germans in the northern corner of High Wood fired into the left flank of the advancing Middlesex men  with field guns and howitzers placing a heavy barrage on the line of advance.  Machine gun fire began to take a heavy toll of the advancing Companies which were brought to a standstill on the crest of a slight ridge east of the village. Shelled and subject to machine gun fire the Middlesex attempted to dig in on the position gained but were compelled to fall back  to the road from which they had started.
The flanking units fared no better and the 1/4th Suffolks in support of 1st Middlesex were likewise brought to a standstill.

The casualties of 1/4th Suffolks  in support were 33 other ranks killed  including Private Ernest Welton, 4 officers plus another who died of wounds the next day and a Company Sergeant Major.

The 1st Middlesex lost 99 other ranks killed  and 4 officers.

Early on the following morning the 1/4th Suffolk  battalion on relief went into reserve in Shell valley digging itself into roadside trenches.


Commemorated here and on the listed Village War Memorial

Brinklow Village Memorial
2nd Lieut Donald Campbell Hair
6th Battn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Killed in Action 3rd October 1916

Private Robert Edward Henry Muden
2nd Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action 3rd September 1916

Churchover Village Memorial
Private Frank Sutton
3rd Battn Grenadier Guards
Killed in Action 14th/17th September 1916

Harborough Magna Village Memorial
Lance Corporal John William Cooper
1st Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action 26th June 1916

Pailton Village Memorial
Private Ernest Payne
11th Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action 15th July 1916

Monks Kirby Village Memorial
Lieut. Colonel Albert Norman Henderson
10th (Service) Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action 23rd July 1916

Wolston Village Memorial
Private William John Flowers
10th Battn Rifle Brigade
Killed in Action 3rd September 1916

Private Herbert Harold Kenney
1/6th Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Killed in Action 4th February 1917

Lance Sergeant Charles Woodings
8th Battn North Staffordshire Regiment
Killed in Action 6th July 1916

Brandon Village Memorial
Private Sidney Arthur Halford
14th Battn Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Died of Wounds 3rd September 1916

Private Charles Alfred Ward
10th Battn Rifle Brigade
Killed in Action 3rd September 1916


Commemorated here  -   Thomas Salkeld

Private No. 25/645 Thomas Salkeld 25th (2nd Tyneside Irish) Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers.  Killed in action 1st July 1916 aged 32 years and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

This Service Battalion was formed at Newcastle on the 9th November 1914 becoming in June 1915 part of 103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade, the other battalions in the Brigade being the 24th, 26th and 27th Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers.  The Brigade went to France in January 1916 as part of the 34th Division, the two other brigades being the 101st and the 102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigades.  The 103rd Brigade served first in the Armentieres sector and by May 1916 had arrived on the Somme.  The 34th Divisional front of about 2000 yards was in front of the village of La Boisselle, at its extremities being from 400 to 800 yards from the German line but in the centre at La Boiselle itself the two lines were practically touching.

The task set the 34th Division on the 1st July 1916 was to capture the German defences on its front, as far as the eastern (furthest) edge of Contalmaison where it was to entrench which meant an advance of about 3500 yards on a front of about 2000 yards capturing the fortified villages of La Boisselle and Contalmaison and six lines of trenches known to be well provided with deep dugouts.  The general scheme of the assault was that at 0630 on the 1st July 1916 the British artillery were to increase their bombardment of the German front lines and under cover of this the 102nd Brigade on the left and the 101st Brigade on the right were to push their leading waves into No-Man’s-Land, at 0728 four mines were to be exploded, the largest charged with 80,000 tons of ammonal and reaching to the German front line south of La Boiselle, (Lochnagar Crater) and then at 0730 the general attack would begin.  Battalions from the 101st and 102nd Brigades were to seize and hold the German defences to the reserve line and then to the German intermediate line whilst the 103rd Brigade had as its objective the line east of Contalmaison following the other Brigades at a distance of 500 yards with its Battalions in one line, the 25th Battalion  to pass to the north of La Boiselle the rest of the Brigade to the south.

The Battalion began its advance at 0745 but an early casualty was the Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Arden wounded by a machine-gun bullet in his observation post at 0750.  The War Diary notes heavy fire and casualties from the moment the assembly trenches were left.  La Boiselle was found to be strongly held.  The advance was maintained until only a few scattered soldiers were left standing, the discipline and courage of all ranks being remarkable.  Survivors, said to be 3 officers and 80 men, collected in British trenches near Keats Redan having returned from an abortive attack up Mash Valley.  The attack was cut down by machine-gun fire from Ovillers, La Boisselle and trenches on the right of the attack. An officer from a Pioneer battalion was watching the Tyneside Irish advance:  “As they moved forward, the sun gradually shone through the mist and the bayonets glinted.  They then commenced to have losses but, as each man fell, the men behind increased speed and the pattern was maintained.  No man was allowed to stop to assist casualties and the march continued to the beat of a single big drum centrally placed.”

A survivor from the 20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers in the 102nd Brigade ended up laying out in No-Man’s Land unable to get forward as a German machine gun was trained on a group but he told of eventually reaching the British front line having got over a number of British trenches and started over No-Man’s-Land when an officer said “You’re all right lads, they’re firing over our heads.” but that fire was decimating the Tyneside Irish who were coming in behind the 102nd Brigade. 

Seemingly 2nd Lieutenant T W Thompson and a handful of the Battalion nearly reached Contalmaison but were forced back:  some may have actually reached the village but all were killed.

The Battalion sustained 487 casualties of whom Thomas Salkeld was one.

The 34th Division casualties on the 1st July 1916 were 6,380 men, the highest of the day being over a 1000 more than the next highest, the 29th Division with 5,240.

Thomas Salkeld was born in Chester-le-Street and enlisted in Newcastle on Tyne.

Husband of Eliza J Mennom (formerly Salkeld) of Bloom’s Ground, West Stanley, Co.Durham.

His brother Henry Salkeld was killed in action on the 16th September 1916 and is buried in A. I. F. Burial Ground, Flers - see entry under Cemeteries France "A"



Commemorated here    -    Arthur Edward Hewitt

Rifleman No R/20351 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps killed in action 27th September 1916.  Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. 

At the outbreak of the war on the 4th August 1914 the Battalion was at  Blackdown as part of 2nd Brigade 1st Division.  The Battalion landed at Havre on the 13th August 1914 remaining in 2nd Brigade 1st Division until the Armistice on the 11th November 1918.

The Battalion arrived on the Somme on the 8th July 1916 and on the 23rd July participated in the attack on Switch Line north-east of Pozieres the casualties including the Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel H.F.W. Bircham   DSO who died of his wounds during the night.  In August the Battalion was in action between the 18th and 20th in positions west and north-west of High Wood, on the 26th to Mametz Wood with five days spent under constant howitzer fire and on the 31st to the front line at High Wood where they remained until going back to Black Wood in support.  After a period at Baizieux in the back area for training the Battalion moved forward again arriving at Lozenge Wood just to the north of Fricourt on the 19th September and then on the 25th September moved up to trenches near Eaucourt l’Abbaye (north-west of Martinpuich, south-east of le Sars, due south of the Butte de Warlencourt and due west of Guedecourt, a complex of farm buildings. “Went up to look round the line. (The whole time that we had been on the Somme we had always been fighting uphill and had never seen more than 200 yards of Bosch country in front of us.  The big push of September 15th had gained the whole High Wood Ridge and we now saw a wonderful panorama of Bosch country with green trees and fields unbroken by shell holes.)  Saw Flers and Martinpuich in the distance.  Saw 5 more tanks.”  On the 26th September 1916 attack on the Flers Line with 130 yards of trenches taken with further attacks made on the 27th and 28th September.  The Battalion took part in five bombing attacks.  The first was on the night of the 25th-26th September and was successful 130 yards of trench being taken – chiefly by the bravery and resolution of No 8 Rhodesian platoon.  At 230 pm on the 26th another attack was made, this time unsuccessfully.  Again at 11 pm the Battalion drove the Germans down 40 yards of trench, and two more attacks were made without result on the 27th.  The Battalion was relieved on the night of the 27th/28th September 1916 leaving temporarily the Somme area.  During the three days the Battalion lost killed Captain L A Balance:   Lieutenant W P Bristowe, 2nd Lieutentants A W Farman and N F E Anson wounded, 26 other ranks killed and 80 wounded.  It was in these operations that Rifleman Hewitt was killed.

Commemorated here from

The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

12813 Private George Bruback
2816 Private Thomas Burns
13077 Private Henry Craven
15379 Private Arthur Franklin
4173 Private William Hinchcliffe
18273 Private John Lacey
12571 Private Arthur Lee
16519 Private William Leigh
12772 Private Michael McWalters
17044 Private Albert Monk
14848 Lance Corporal James Palmer
10213 Private John Richardson
3073 Private Mark Robinson
13127 Private Elijah Ruddle
13156 Private Patrick Leo Sealley
12565 Private Leonard Smith
12999 Private Wallace Thompson
15159 Private Frank Travis
18089 Private Harold Widdop
2nd Lieutenant Henry May Clure

All of the 7th Battalion of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) killed in action on the 30th July 1916 near High Wood on the Somme.

Captain Henry Rylands Knowles M.C. Royal Army Medical Corps the Battalion Medical Officer for this Battalion also killed in action that day.

For information as to the circumstances see the entry under French Cemeteries – Dartmoor Cemetery – Private James Miller V.C.


Commemorated here - Harry Lewis Fearn 

No. 8137 Private Harry Lewis Fearn 17th (Service) Battalion (2nd City) Manchester Regiment killed in action 30th July 1916 aged 20 years.  He has no known grave. View detailed record of Private Harry Fearn.


Ainge Brothers one killed and the other wounded by the same bullet

Commemorated here
No. Z/2795 Rifleman William Ernest Ainge.

Rifleman William Ainge served with the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade and was killed in action on the 10th July 1916 aged 20 years.

His younger brother No. Z/2786 Rifleman Henry John Ainge was wounded on the same occasion, in fact by the same bullet as killed William but, probably after treatment in a Casualty Clearing Station, was evacuated to England, did not return to front line service, served in the London Fire Brigade in the 2nd World War and died in 1994 aged 85 years.

In 1901 John Frederick Ainge  a General Labourer was living in Lambeth with his wife Edith and their children Francis (7), William (5), Henry (3) and Edith (8 days).  In 1911 the family was at 3 Hutton Road Lambeth, John (42) was now a Stonedresser employed by the Borough Council, Edith was 44,  William (14) was a Trade Student, Henry (12) was at school as was his younger sisters Edith (10) and Hilda May (7).

The 13th (Service) Battalion was formed at Winchester in October 1914 and in April 1915 was at Andover and in 111th Brigade 37th Division.  The three other Battalion in the Brigade were 10th Royal Fusiliers, 13th Royal Fusiliers and 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

The 13th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne on the 30th July 1915 and both brothers were with the Battalion when it landed and during the period of attachment to units of the 37th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division for training in trench warfare in the Armentieres sector before moving south to the Somme sector in early September 1915. 

In June 1915 General Joffre was proposing two offensives against the German forces; from Champagne northwards and from the Artois plateau eastwards.  The offensive from Artois – as planned at the beginning of June – was to be the main operation and formed a sequel to the expected capture of Vimy ridge with a greatly re-enforced French 10th Army attacking eastwards from about Arras and Lens into and across the Douai plain.  The offensive from Champagne was to be delivered from about Reims northwards along the foothill of the Ardennes following the eastern border of the plain.

On the 4th June General Joffre sent a draft of his scheme to British G.H.Q. with the British being asked to assist in two ways;  by taking over 22 miles of the French line south of Arras from Chaulnes (33 miles south of Arras) across the Somme to Hebuterne (13 miles S.S.W. of Arras) in order to free for the offensive in Champagne the French Second Army the holding that sector of the line and also participating in the French 10th Army offensive by attacking either on its immediate left, north of Lens, or on  its right  across the Somme uplands south of Arras.

In principle Sir John French agreed to these proposals and the Third Army (formed on the 3rd July 1915 under General Sir Charles Monro) was to become responsible for the extended front, in fact of 13 miles rather than 22 miles, from Curlu on the Somme River to Berles-au-Bois north of Hebuterne,

The first units into the trenches were on the 20th July 1915 1/5th Gloucesters, 1/8th Worcesters and 1/4th Oxford and Bucks. from the 48th (South Midland) Division  to hold the area  Fonquevillers (about 10 miles North of Albert) south to a point near Serre.

In September 1915 the 13th Battalion arrived at Hannescamps a “behind the lines” village a mile North of Fonquevillers and some 10 miles South West of Arras taking over the trenches from the French 258th Regiment.  It remained in this area for the remainder of 1915 but by May 1916 had moved North to the vicinity of Bailleuval, 7 miles South West of Arras remaining in this general area until the 5th July 1916 when it arrived at Bresle just under 4 miles West of Albert.

In the period 1st to 3rd July 1916 units of the 34th Division sustained a total of 6,591 casualties rendering it impossible for that Division to remain in the line unless it was reconstituted and therefore the 102nd and 103rd Brigades from the 19th Division were transferred to the 37th Division, the 111th and 112th Brigades from the 37th Division taking their place.

However in the period 3rd/4th July 1916 the 57th and 58th Brigades of the 19th Division had captured La Boiselle but was then so short of men as to make reinforcement essential so on the 6th July the 13th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and 13th Battalion Rifle Brigade were hurried off at 5 p.m. on the 6th July to join 56th Brigade then holding the newly won line. The 13th Battalion Rifle Brigade was put into Brigade Reserve in the Tara-Usna line across the high ground in front of Albert.  The next day they spent some time in the trenches and buried many of the dead from the beginning of the battle including scores of dead of the Northumberland Fusiliers from the 34th Division.
During the evening of the 7th July the 13th Battalion relieved the 8th North Staffordshire in the front line at La Boiselle the dead of the Tyneside Scottish (102nd Brigade, 34th Division) still all around, many still with bolt-covers on their rifles.  On the 10th July the Battalion was withdrawn to the support line when units of the 34th Division again attacked, to try and occupy a line of trench running from the north-west of Contalmaison westward to a fork formed by the junction of two tracks from Poizeres and Ovillers and prolonged northwards to the Pozieres-Albert road which it crossed about 1000 yards west of Pozieres.  The 13th Battalion was in support to the initial attack but was during the afternoon and evening holding the 111th Brigade front when it was heavily shelled losing 2 officers and several other ranks.  At about 7.30 p.m. on the 10th July the 13th Rifle Brigade received orders to move up and renew the attack at 8.45 p.m. in conjunction with attacks by other units on either flank.  The Battalion was deployed in two lines with “A” and “B” Companies leading and “C” and “D” Companies following 130 yards behind in support.  “C” and “D” were already in the support trenches and therefore “A” and “B” could start as soon as “C” and “D” reached the front line – for no time could be lost.  Although raked by machine guns from Ovillers still in the enemy’s hands the Riflemen upheld the best regimental traditions – penetrating three lines of enemy trenches, capturing 200 prisoners and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.  Inexplicably after the attack had been launched, a runner of the 10th Royal Fusiliers caught up the rear companies after they had moved abut 200 yards forward with a message that the operation was cancelled but by then the Battalion was committed.  The leading troops had penetrated the third line of the enemies trenches before the order to retire was given when the Battalion retired to its original position having lost 20 officers, including the Commanding Officer wounded, Second in command Major Sir Foster Bell killed in action, the Adjutant and all four Company Commanders two Captains Walter Bladen and Geoffrey Smith being killed in action and 2nd Lieutenants Ernest Boothby and Douglas Bruce being killed in action.  About 380 other ranks were casualties 76 being killed in action, Rifleman William Ainge being one of those killed and his brother Henry one of those wounded.


Commemorated here – 2nd Lieutenant John Sherwin Engall

2nd Lieutenant John Sherwin Engall 1/16th (County of London) Battalion (Queen’s Westminster Rifles) killed in action 1st July 1916 (aged 19 years) commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

John Sherwin Engall (known as Jack) was the son of John B Sherwin Engall and Edith M Engall of 62 Goldsmith Avenue, Acton London.

The Battalion was formed at Queen’s Hall, Westminster on the 4th August 1914 as part of 4th London Brigade, London Division landing at Havre in France on the 3rd November 1914.  On the 12th November 1915 the Battalion moved to 18th Brigade, 6th Division and was in that Brigade on the 31st December 1915 when 2nd Lieutenant Engall landed in France to join his Battalion, then in the Ypres Salient in the area south of Wieltje with the Mound and the old Stables in No Man’s Land to the west of Verlorenhoek, that village being in German hands.  The Battalion remained in the frontline until the 1st February 1916 and by the 6th February was concentrated at Poperinghe to be refitted in preparation for its transfer from the 6th Division to the 56th (London) Division, a new Territorial Division being formed in France.

In early February 1916 a new Division, the 56th (1st London Territorial) Division was formed in France and on the 5th February 1916 Major-General C.P.A. Hull, to whom command of the new division was given, arrived at Hallencourt  (a village about 8 miles South of Abbeville).  On the 10th February 1916 the 1/16th Battalion was transferred to the 56th Division forming, with 1/2nd London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), 1/5th London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade), and 1/9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) the 169th Infantry Brigade.  The formation of the Brigade took place at Huppy (a village North West of Hallencourt)  and for the following two months there was intensive training, virtually taking over the village of Halloy, (the Westminsters going into hutments there) it being appreciated that the Division was being specially prepared to take part in an offensive on a very big scale. Towards the end of that period, in fact on the 17th April 1916, 169th Machine Gun Company was formed.

From the outbreak of the war, in addition to the four infantry companies, each battalion had a machine-gun section with two, six man gun teams.

The two machine-guns with each battalion were, until the outbreak of the war, the Maxim pattern gun which had been introduced in the 1890s.  In the latter half of 1914 many of these were replaced by the improved Vickers version.  Both were belt-fed and water-cooled and were fired from a tripod using ammunition of the same type as in the rifle.

The first significant change, which had been implemented by February 1915, was the doubling of the machine-gun allocation, to four guns per battalion, requiring a total of four, six man gun teams.

Starting in June 1915, Lewis guns on a scale of one per company were issued to battalions.  This was a light automatic weapon air cooled and fired by one man with a loader who carried the ammunition. 

On the 2nd September 1915 a proposal was made to the War Office for the formation of a machine-gun company for each brigade by withdrawing the Vickers guns from the battalions to make up four sections for each infantry brigade each section having four guns.  They were to be replaced by Lewis guns, thus giving each battalion a total of eight Lewis guns.

This proposal was approved on the 22nd October 1915 when an Army Order was issued bringing into existence the Machine Gun Corps.  From November 1915 the machine-guns were concentrated into Brigade machine-gun companies of the Machine Gun Corps, numbered the same as the Brigade to which it was allotted.  The reorganisation depending upon the output of Lewis guns, was ordered to take place in brigades by rotation and was completed before the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916.

On formation of the 169th MG Company, Captain J. R. Pyper of the 4th London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) was appointed to command with Captain J. B. Baber from the Queen’s Westminster Rifles, second in command.  2nd Lieutenant Engall with his section was transferred from the 1/16th to the MG Company.

On the 4th May 1916 the 56th Division arrived in the Hebuterne sector, the 167th Brigade taking over the front line system held by the 48th Division.  The British front line ran in a curve some 750 yards East of Fonquevillers  to a position some 2000 yards East of Hebuterne, around the Gommecourt Salient.  Gommecourt is 9 miles north of Albert, South East of Foncquevillers and North East of Hebuterne and was probably the strongest point held by the Germans on the Western Front in France.  A spur of woodlands known as Gommecourt Park formed the tip of the salient, which had been strongly fortified by the enemy and other strongpoints had been made in the village cemetery, the Quadrilateral and Nameless Farm.  The enemy salient was in fact a small modern fortress which required siege operations or bombardment by super heavy guns to destroy its dug-outs but in Sir Douglas Haig’s plan nothing depended on the capture of Gommecourt.   The operations of VII Corps of the Third Army was to assist in the operations of the Fourth Army by diverting against itself the fire of infantry and artillery which might otherwise be directed against the left flank of the main attack near Serre.  There was no intention of exploiting the capture of Gommecourt by sending a force southwards from the village to roll up the German line or clear the ridge behind Gommecourt.  It was a true diversionary effort and as well there was a two mile gap between the operations at Gommecourt and the left of the main attack against Beaumont-Hamel and Serre to be carried out by VIII Corps where no attack was planned owing to the lack of troops.

VII Corps attack on the 1st July 1916 was to be made by both the 46th (North Midland) Division and the 56th (London) Division, the 46th Division attacking generally South East towards the North West face of the Salient and from the Fonquevillers sector, with the 56th Division attacking North East and East from the Hebuterne sector towards the South West face of the salient. Between these two areas was about 2,000 yards of front facing the village and the park where there was to be no offensive operation although the German wire was to be cut and smoke released.  The two Divisional attacks were to converge behind the village in the German Switch line and join hands to isolate Gommecourt, the village and the park remaining under bombardment by the British artillery until zero + 3 hours. 
On the 3rd June 1916 the Battalion moved to Bayencourt and on the 5th June were in the front line, that night supplying working parties of 400 men to work on the new front line to the east of Hebuterne.  On the 16th June the Battalion was relieved by the London Rifle Brigade and moved back to Bayencourt when every available man was sent forward to Hebuterne for work.  On the 21st June the Battalion moved back to Halloy to complete training, 7 a.m. on the 29th June being zero hour for the general attack on the Somme but bad weather caused a postponement until the 1st July.  On the 27th June, the Battalion moved to St. Amand preparatory to taking up its position in the assembly trenches.  On the night of 30th June the Battalion moved up by platoons to Hebuterne to take up their allotted position in the assembly trenches

Probably on the 30th June and whilst at St. Amand John Engall wrote to his parents.  By then orders established that “A”, “B” and “C” Companies of the Battalion would be assaulting with “D” Company in support and that one section of 169th MG Company was attached to go forward with the Queen’s Westminsters.

“My dearest mother and father,

I’m writing this letter the day before the most important moment of my life – a moment which I must admit I have never prayed for, like thousands of others have, but nevertheless a moment, which, now it has come, I would not back out of for all the money in the world. The day has almost dawned when I shall really do my little bit in the cause of civilisation. Tomorrow morning I shall take my men – men whom I have got to love, and who, I think have got to love me - over the top to do our bit in which the London Territorials have taken part as a whole unit.  I’m sure you will be pleased to hear that I am going over with the “Westminsters.”  The old regiment has been given the most ticklish task in the division; and I’m very proud of my section, because it is the only section in the whole of the machine-gun company that is going over the top; and my two particular guns have been given the most advanced, and therefore most important, positions of all – an honour that is coveted by many.  So you can see that I have cause to be proud, inasmuch as at the moment that counts I am the officer who is entrusted with the most difficult task.  I took my communion yesterday with dozens of other who are going over tomorrow; and never have I attended a more impressive service.  I placed my soul and body in God’s keeping, and I am going into battle with His name on my lips, full of confidence and trusting implicitly in Him. I have a strong feeling that I shall come through this safely; but nevertheless, should it be God’s holy will to call me away, I am quite prepared to go; and I could not wish for a finer death; and my dear Mother and Dad, will know that I died doing my duty to my God, my country, and my King.  I ask that you should look upon it as an honour that you have given a son for the sake of King and country.  I wish I had time to write more but time presses.  I fear I must close now, au revoir, dearest Mother and Dad. Fondest love to all that I love so dearly, especially yourselves,

Your devoted and happy son,


The Queen’s Westminsters reached their positions in the assembly trenches at about 2 a.m. on the morning of July 1st and at dawn a light north-westerly breeze sprang up favourable for drifting a smoke screen across to the enemy trenches and this was duly released about 5 minutes before zero completely obscuring from view the assaulting battalions.  However the wire had not been totally cut and the assaulting troops were hit by machine-gun fire from the right near Nameless Farm.  Troops struggle through such gaps as existed in the wire to reach a steep bank the exact position of which was known to the enemy making it impossible to make any advance for instant death awaited any man who showed himself above the top of the bank.  Parties of men managed to get into German trenches and commenced bombing their way forward, one party getting almost to the Cemetery but contrary to expectations the bombardment had failed to destroy the enemy’s dugouts or to kill the garrison of the trenches so no sooner had waves of the British attack passed forward than the garrison and machine-gunners emerged from their dugouts and engaged the British troops from the rear. It was impossible for reinforcements to get across No Man’s Land because of the intensity of the enemy’s fire and between 7 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. such as survived were finally driven back to the old British line from a remnant in the Fern, Ferret and Fen German trenches.

2nd Lieutenant Engall’s Vickers gun team had been attached to “A” Company and got as for as the junction of Etch, Fern and Feed trenches where it was brought into action by Lieutentnt Engall who by that time had only one member of his team left.  Lieutenant Engall worked the gun single-handed until he himself was killed.

Out of the 750 officers and men who went into action, 600 were killed, wounded and missing and it is believed that not a single unwounded member of the Queen’s Westminster Rifles fell into enemy hands.

The VII Corps attack on the 1st July 1916 must be accounted a practically unmitigated disaster.  The 46th Division attacking the northern bulge ran into much uncut fire and intense fire and when, half way across No Man’s Land, the wind blew the smoke back onto the British lines it  revealed to the enemy the attacking troops. Few men of this division were able to penetrate the German wire and those that did could not hold their gains.  From the moment the attack of the 46th Division failed, the fate of the assaulting battalions of the 56th Division was sealed for the enemy was then able to concentrate the fire of the large number of guns collected behind Gommecourt onto the southern areas of the attack.

The German defences in the Gommecourt salient were so formidable that the enemy command did not relocate even one gun to support their troops although one German division was moved in.  A total of 6,800 men from VII Corps fell in the attack for precisely no gains and it is arguable that all that was required was a feint attack and not a diversionary assault.

2nd Lieutenant John Engal was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.


No. 246 Lance Corporal Harry Goodall, 15th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment killed in action 3rd September 1916.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Harry Goodall was born about 1896 in Ladywood Birmingham the son of Richard and Mary Goodall.  In 1901 Richard (44) a Postman was living with his wife Mary Ann Goodall (48) at 39 Morville Street Ladywood Birmingham with their children Richard (19) a clerk, Edith (18) Printers Assistant, Walter (14) a clerk, George (12), Mildred (10), Agnes (8) and Harry (5), all the children being born in Birmingham and Harry almost certainly at Morville Street.

The 15th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment was raised in Birmingham in September 1914 and the Battalion landed at Boulogne on the 21st November 1915 as part of 95th Brigade 32nd Division.  Harry Goodall who had enlisted  in early September 1914 landed in France with his Battalion.

On the 26th December 1915 the Battalion was moved to 14th Brigade, 5th Division and on the 14th January 1916 to 13th Brigade, still in 5th Division.

The Battalion first arrived in the Somme sector in mid July 1916, on the 17th July was at Dernancourt  about 2 miles south west of Albert and in the back area until moving up in support at Bazentin-le-Grand on the 20th July attacking Wood Lane on the 22nd July sustaining heavy losses due to machine-gun fire from High Wood. The Battalion left the Somme sector at the beginning of August, being back at Dernancourt on the 24th August.

On the 19th August Sir Douglas Haig had sent to General Sir Henry Rawlinson, commanding the Fourth Army, a directive to prepare for a major attack in mid-September along the whole of the Army front to capture the Germans’ last prepared defensive line between Morval and Le Sars  but before that could happen the intermediate and second positions had to be taken and held in order to reach a more favourable position from which to launch the mid-September offensive and this made it vital that High Wood, Ginchy, Guillemont and Falfemont Farm be captured by the Fourth Army.

On the 26th August 1916 the 5th Division relieved the 35th (Bantam) Division on the eastern slopes of the Maltz Horn Ridge, the Division’s sector being about a mile in length south of the village of Guillemont running in a south easterly direction from Arrow Head Copse to a point some 3 miles west of the village of Combles then firmly in German hands, near Angle Wood.  Opposite the right brigade’s front was the end of the spur on which Leuze and Bouleaux Woods were sited and at the south west of this spur was the German strong point of Falfemont Farm about 400 yards from the British Line.  The Farm was a widespread building with many loopholed outhouses spouting wide ranging machine-gun fire.

On taking over the line the situation on the Division’s front was comparatively quiet although positions were subjected to a good deal of shelling.  1st Royal Kent Regiment and the 15th Royal Warwicks took over the front line, the relief being completed about 2.30 a.m. on the 27th August, the line having only been captured two days before.  Whilst there was a fairly well established trench system from Maltz Horn Farm, south west of Guillemont, running up to Delville Wood, the sector taken over by the 15th Royal Warwcks was some 400 yards long consisting of shell-craters inter-connected by a ditch in a sea of stinking mud.

On the evening of the 27th August the 15th Warwicks were ordered to commence digging a new front line trench 200 yards nearer to Falfemont Farm which under heavy German shell-fire had been completed by dawn on the 28th August.  Work on this new system continued after dark on the 28th, and patrols were sent out to examine the state of the wire in front of the Farm.  On the 29th August the Battalion occupied the new trench but persistent rain caused the new trench to collapse in places whilst in the afternoon a severe German artillery  bombardment resulted in the death of 14 men with others being wounded.   The Battalion was relieved on the evening of the 29th August by the 2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers, the relief being completed by 03.30 a.m. on the 30th August, the troops very tired and worn after the strain of shellfire went back to Casement Trench about a mile south of Montauban (a trench formerly German captured on the 1st July 1916).  In those three days in front of the Farm the Battalion had 132 casualties, 33 being killed.   

It had been arranged with the French Sixth Army that Falfemont Farm should be stormed as a preliminary operation at 9 a.m. on the 3rd September when the French, who had reached the edge of Oakhanger Wood, would also advance. The main attack at 12 noon particularly that by the 20th Division to the left of the 5th Division, would seek the capture of Guillemont.

 The 13th Infantry Brigade objective was the German trenches running from Wedge Wood, about 800 yards south east of Guillemont,  to Point 48, just to the north of Oakhanger Wood and the railway  on the northern edge of the Wood which marked the boundary with the French 6th Army.  Falfemont Farm was in the middle point of the German line and out of view from the British assembly trenches. which were about 500 yards from the German line.

The 14th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment received its orders to take part in this attack on the 1st September and on the 2nd September took over the trenches from the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment between Falfemont Farm and Wedge Wood. The 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers were seen to advance at 9 a.m. on the 3rd September 1916 but the troops were lost to sight over a ridge.  That Battalion was on the right of the Brigade attack being directed on Falfemont Farm.  Unfortunately the French 127th Regiment in the ravine was prevented from moving by the fire of German machine-guns and worse still the barrage of French artillery intended to cover the advance of the Borderers did not open.  Without notice being given to the British, the French guns had been called upon to deal with a German counter-attack further south. Struck by rifle and machine-gun fire this became a very gallant attempt to carry out an impossible task and the Battalion lost nearly 300 of all ranks, only two of its officers were not casualties.

The 14th Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the left was directed on the trenches between the Farm and Wedge Wood to the North West.  At 12.10 p.m. “C” Company of the 14th Battalion attacked but was soon pinned down by machine gun fire from the former German artillery position, the Gun Pits, and the Farm itself but by making use of shell craters eventually at about 1.40 p.m. the troops managed to occupy the old battery position and obtain a footing in a section of German trench immediately south of Wedge Wood taking 17 prisoners and two machine-guns.   At 1250 p.m. “A” and “B” Companies attacked behind a creeping barrage to the left of the Farm and down the slope towards Wedge Wood but the barrage actually fell behind the attacking troops and exposed to machine gun and rifle fire from the Farm and the trenches to the right of the Farm, there were heavy casualties and the attack ground to a halt “A” Company on the right losing most of its troops whilst “B” Company although severely hit managed to struggle on to occupy and hold a section of trench south of Wedge Wood.  The 14th Battalion had 86 killed and 216 wounded with the survivors in Dublin Trench, about a mile south of Montauban (a trench formerly German captured on the 1st July 1916).

.The main attack involved the 95th Brigade of the 5th Division attacking with the 20th Division and the 47th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division attached on its left.

Punctually at noon the 95th Brigade of the 5th Division advanced to assault the German trenches on the spur south of Guillemont.  The advance went well and although the lead Battalions, 12th Gloucestershires and 1st Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry suffered considerable casualties, the German 2nd Position to the south eastern edge of Guillemont was captured and later that afternoon units linked up with those from the 20th Division on the East of the ruins of Guillemont units from that Division and from the 47th Brigade having captured the site of the village of Guillemont, not a brick even remaining in place.

The 15th Royal Warwickshire had moved into front line trenches near Angle Wood on the 2nd September and received orders for their part in the attack on the following day,   3rd September, being in support of the 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers.  That Battalion attacked the Farm at 9 a.m. but the attack failed because of heavy German machine gun fire and the Royal Warwicks were ordered to repeat the attack at the same time as the general attack.  At about 12.50 p.m. on the 3rd September  the Battalion left the assembly trenches but again heavy machine gun fire held up any advance and with mounting casualties the advance came to a halt on the slopes leading up to Falfemont Farm.   One of these casualties, who survived, was a Private Francis Fields, who had been hit in the leg, arm and side by traversing machine gun bullets and above an eye by shrapnel and crouched in No Man’s Land in a shell hole, with one of his Battalion colleagues dead on the shell-hole lip and a badly wounded private from the King’s Own Scottish Borderers with his thigh and knee shattered in the earlier attack alongside him. The French Sixth Army attacked along its whole line north of the Somme at noon on the 3rd September and achieved a considerable success although on the extreme left no assistance was afforded to the British right and in particular no attempt had been made to clear the Germans from the slopes of the Combles ravine and enfilade fire from that area and from the Farm itself caused very heavy casualties.  As darkness approached on the evening of the 3rd September the survivors off the 13th Brigade began to make their way back to the assembly trenches and by the early hours of the 4th September the survivors of the 15th Battalion were back in Casement Trench.
Falfemont Farm was not captured until 3 a.m. on the 5th September 1916 by the 1st Battalion the Norfolk Regiment.

The Battalion’s War Diary records that Lieutenant J R Landon was killed and 7 other officers wounded, 30 Other Ranks were killed in action, 14 wounded and 40 missing.

In the attack on the 3rd September 1916 the Battalion lost in fact 62 other ranks and one officer killed in action.  Of the 63 casualties, 50 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Memorial at Thiepval, 12 are buried at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme and 1 is buried at Combles Communal Cemetery Extension, Combles, Somme.

Six members of the Battalion died of their wounds, two on the 3rd September and four the following day, the 4th September.

No. 15/1464 Private George Hawkins was buried after the Armistice in Combles Communal Cemetery.

No. 333 Sergeant Frederick Barrett, No. 1824 Sergeant Alfred Blundell, No. 255 Private Henry Brassington, No. 15/31 Private Hubert Cooper, No. 16/1780 Lionel Dance, No. 1247 Private George Freeman, No. 14/1620 Thomas Hawkins, No. 505 Private Archibald Jackson, No. 16889 Private William Kitely, No. 15430 Private Charles North, No. 133 Private James Sanders and No. 16/1498 Percy Thacker are buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval.  The Cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of a few small cemeteries and of isolated graves and these 12 were almost certainly from the latter.

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) John Landon, No. 30128 Private Robert Adam, No. 317 Private Thomas Anstey, No. 15/1342 Private Alfred Baker, No. 324 Lance Cpl. Leonard Barnett, No. 1389 Private Ronald Baugust, No. 2030 Lance Sgt. Edward Berry, No. 16731 Private George Brittain, No. 17721 Private Archibald Brown, No. 185 Private Rowland Burgess, No. 164 Private Charles Clark, No. 709 Sergeant Herbert Cox, No. 15/1318 Private William Craddock, No. 196 Private George Crennell, No. 14/1471 Private Robert Dawson, No. 14/1747 Lance Cpl. Henry Doble, No. 12286 Private Thomas Dodgson, No. 12393 Private Charles Duncan, No. 14/1742 Private Ernest Eden-Hurlstone, No. 382 Private Alfred Sear, No. 246 Lance Cpl. Harry Goodall, No. 15/1583 Private Frederick Gough,  No. 16883 Private Albert Green, No. 17055 Private Frederick Hancock, No. 18312 Private Frederick Hardman, No. 242 Private William Heath, No. 506 Private Ernest Holt, No. 79 Corporal Harold Horton, No. 74 Lance Cpl. Charles IllingworthNo. 987 Private Austin Jones, No. 63 Corporal William Lerrigo, No. 15/1607 Frederick Lord, No. 18302 Private Ernest Lyon, No. 253 Corporal James Meredith, No. 176 Corporal Sidney Page, No. 692 Corporal Herbert Palmer, No. 814 Sergeant William Pilch, No. 785 Lance Cpl. Frederic Sadler, No. 16680 Private Alfred Salt, No. 14/1711 Private William Skinner, No. 891 Private Garnet Smith, No. 482 Private Ernest Statham, No. 30155 Private Edward Swadling, No. 531 Private Edward Taylor No. 17307 Private Henry Troman, No. 30158 Private Frank White, No. 15720 Lance Cpl. Thomas Whiteman, No. 188 Private Robert Wright, No. 1696 Private Edmund Wyatt and No. 116 Corporal Francis Yates are the fifty members of the Battalion who have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

No. 16855 Private John Dingley died of wounds on the 3rd September 1916 and is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension.  No. 1172 Private Thomas Hall almost certainly died of wounds on the same day and is buried in Dive Copse British Cemetery, Sailly-le-Sec, both of these cemeteries being adjacent to the railway line from Amiens to Albert where ambulance trains brought the wounded back from the front.

No. 16/1580 Private John Durnall is buried in Corbie Communal cemetery Extension, No. 154 Private George Fisher is buried in La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie, No. 533 Private Clarence Mould is buried in Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension and No. 179 Private Horace Walker is buried in St.Pierre Cemetery in the suburbs of Amiens.  All died of their wounds on the 4th September 1916 in Casualty Clearing Stations near these cemeteries.

Lance Corporal Harry Goodall was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1914 – 1915 Star as he served in France before the 31st December 1915.   


Commemorated here C.S.M. Albert Frank Greenfield and Sergeant Percy Greenfield

Harry, Albert Frank and Percy Greenfield were all the sons of Frank and Eliza Greenfield of 7 St. James Place, Cranleigh, Surrey.

All enlisted and served in the 7th Battalion Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment.  The Battalion was a Service Battalion formed at Guildford in September 1914 and formed, with the 7th Buffs (East Kent Regiment), 8th East Surrey Regiment and 7th Royal West Kent Regiment the 55th Brigade of the 18th (Eastern) Division.

The Battalion landed at Boulogne on the 27th July 1915 and the three brothers disembarked with the Battalion which by the 7th August 1915 was in the Somme sector at Dernancourt.  The period of instruction in trench warfare was in trenches in the Fricourt-Carnoy area and on the 22nd August 1915 the Battalion took over the front line trenches in the same general area.

In the Spring of 1916 all of the Battalions in the Division began strenuous preparation for the forthcoming Somme offensive

On the 1st June 1916 the result of a complex relief was the French XXth Corps took over the trenches formerly the responsibility of 90th Brigade, 30th Division resulting in the boundary between the British and French Armies bisecting what little was left of the village of Maricourt.

 On the 1st July 1916 the 18th Division and the 30th Division formed the right of the British attack, the 89th Brigade of the 30th Division abutting the Army Boundary with the French XXth Corps. 

The direction of the attack was due north the 18th Division facing the area between Mametz (to be attacked by the 7th Division) and Montauban (to be assaulted by the 30th Division).  The village of Montauban itself and Pommiers Redoubt were the two main obstacles to the British advance in this area, and 18th Division had three brigades in line; from left to right, the 54th, 53rd and 55th, the latter being adjacent to the 21st Brigade of the 30th Division.  The 55th Brigade’s objective was a trench line, the German communication trench Montauban Alley,  about 200 yards north of the Montauban – Mametz road and also the western end of Montauban.  The 7th Queens attacked on the left, the 8th East Surrey on the right with the 7th Buffs in support and the 7th Royal West Kents in reserve.

By 2 a.m. on the 1st July all the Battalions were in position ready for the attack, zero hour being 7.30 a.m.  Two mines (the largest 5,000 pounds under Casino Point) had been blown at 7.27 a.m. which destroyed German dug-outs and their occupants.  The two leading companies of the Queen’s left their trench but the right leading company was checked at the second German line in front of Breslau support trench because of heavy machine-gun fire from the German machine-gunners in a cratered section of no man’s land who had survived the British bombardment, machine guns and flame throwers and who inflicted heavy casualties on the leading waves bringing the attack in this section temporarily to a halt.  However by 9.30 a.m. Pommiers Redoubt had fallen to the 54th Brigade and the German garrison in the cratered area had been subdued and a bombing party from the Queen’s up a communication trench cleared the German third line with 163 Germans surrendering.  The advance continued the Battalion fighting on through Back Trench and Train Alley reached by 10.15 a.m.  Just before the Mametz – Montauban road the Battalion came across Blind Alley known to be in enemy occupation but again a bombing party from the 7th Queens captured the trench with 12 Germans with it.  A German post west of Montauban held out for 3 hours before an attack by the Queen’s with the bayonet took possession to enable the steady advance to the final objective, Montauban Alley, which was reached at 5.15 p.m.  The line reached by the 7th Queen’s was held all night and then on the 3rd July the Battalion moved back on relief to Bronfay Wood south west of Carnoy.

The 7th Queen’s had 7 officers and 174 non-commissioned officers and men killed, 9 officers and 284 other ranks wounded and 58 men missing.  Lance Corporal Harry Greenfield was one of those killed in action on the 1st July 1916 and is buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz.

1st July 1916 was a disastrous day for the British Army.  Only in the south of the 16 mile front of attack had most of the objectives been secured albeit the Fourth Army was still not within striking distance of the German second line and none of the high ground of the Thiepval – Ginchy ridge facing the British and from which the Germans retained observation over the British front had been taken.  In the north where the German second line and the ridge were much closer to the British front line no gains had been made at all.  However the question was not whether the offensive should be continued but in which sector should the attack be renewed.  Initially the Commander of the Fourth Army, General Rawlinson, proposed renewing the attack in the centre and on the left where the 1st July offensive had failed, ignoring exploiting the gains on the right but Douglas Haig wanted the major effort to be in the area of Longueval and Bazentin le Grand.

On the 3rd July 1916 a meeting took place between Marshal Joseph Joffre (French Commander in Chief), Sir Douglas Haig (British Commander in Chief) and Sir Henry Rawlinson (Commander 4th Army) when Joffre “ordered” Haig to attack to secure Thiepval and Pozieres to secure a footing on the Thiepval – Ginchy ridge.  By the 3rd July Haig appreciated that the shattered state of VIII and X Corps meant neither was capable of any further effort leaving the only option, an attack in the south with or without French participation and so work began on the planning of a major operation in the southern sector.  This became the major attack by Fourth Army on the 14th July by XIII and XV Army Corps to capture and consolidate  the German second-line system of trenches, from the East  Delville Wood, Longueval, Bazentin le Grand village and wood,  Bazentin le Petit village and wood  to, on the west, Contalmaison Villa north East of the village of Contalmaison, the village itself having been captured on the 9th July 1916.  

It was necessary as a preliminary to that operation that a line within attacking distance of the German second line needed to be established with objectives including Bernafay Wood, Mametz Wood, Trones Wood,  la Boisselle and Contalmaison secured .  Then it was hoped the way to attack the German second line from Bazentin-le-Grand to Longueval would be open but the prerequisites for that operation were that Mametz Wood and Trones Wood should be in British hands to secure the flanks for the German second line operation.  So in the period between the 3rd and 13th July ten divisions of the Fourth Army launched 46 attacks against the German positions.

Major General Ivor Maxse commanded the 18th Division and on the 11th July 1916 he was advised that Trones Wood, which had already changed hands several times, had been taken by the 30th Division who were holding it but that all three of its Brigades had been fighting desperately during several days and one was nearly exhausted and he was ordered to send one of his Brigades to act as Divisional Reserve to the 30th Division.  As Trones Wood was supposed to be securely in British hands it was not thought that the Reserve Brigade would be called upon immediately and on the 11th July the 55th Infantry Brigade was moved to Maricourt (immediately south of Montauban) and attached to the 30th Division.

The situation changed dramatically however on the 12th July when 30th Division advised that the Germans had retaken Trones  Wood with the exception of a small portion of the southern end of it and it was vital that Trones Wood should be securely held on the flank of the attack planned for the early hours of the 14th July.  The result was that on the evening of the 12th July the 18th Division was ordered to relieve the 30th Division and further must recapture Trones Wood by midnight 13/14th July at all costs.

On the 12th July the 55th Infantry Brigade had already relieved the 89th Brigade of the 30th Division on the line Malzhorn Farm – South end of Trones Wood and this Brigade was detailed to recapture the whole of Trones Wood, the Brigade having attached for this operation the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and 6th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment from the 54th Brigade.  The Battalions making up the 55th Infantry Brigade were holding trenches scattered between just south of Maltzhorn Farm, the southern end of Trones Wood, the southern part of Bernafay Wood, in Silesia Trench in the original German system with the 7th Queens in support in and about  the Briqueterie (former brick works south of Bernafay Wood) and Dublin Trench (which ran eastwards from south of Montauban and Bernafay Wood to Faviere Wood west of Hardecourt) making it well nigh impossible for the Brigade Commander to liaise effectively with his battalion commanders.  This whole area was East of Montauban village with, first Bernafay Wood and then Trones Wood with Maltzhorn Farm to the south of the wood and further East still the German Stronghold of Guillemont village.

The 7th Queens fighting strength was about 300 all ranks since the action on the 1st July and in the afternoon of the 13th July Dublin Trench was subjected to heavy German shelling the Battalion suffering 20 casualties.  The situation in Trones Wood was not clear.  The enemy was known to have received orders that it was to be held at all costs, the Germans had suffered heavy casualties from previous bombardments of the wood and attacks by the 30th Division whilst on the other hand it was known the enemy had deep dug-outs in the wood and some strong points and the wood itself would therefore be difficult to clear.  The 7th Royal West Kents were to attack from the south and capture the southern half of the Wood.  The 7th Queens were to relieve a South African battalion in Longueval Alley (a trench running from Bernafay Wood into the western edge of Trones Wood and then bearing north) and to attack the northern part of the wood the dividing line between the two battalions being the railway running across the middle of the wood.  The 7th Buffs were to hold the line from Maltzhorn Farm north to the wood itself and capture a strongpoint south east of the wood but one company was to be attached to the Queens.  The 8th East Surreys in Brigade Reserve in Silesia Trench were detailed to carry R.E. Stores to forward dumps.

The British artillery began to bombard the west edge of Trones Wood, lifting at 7 p.m. on the 13th July which was zero hour.  The Battalion was to move up to the south-west corner of Bernafay Wood and then along Longueval Alley and then carry out the attack in two lines starting from a point on the railway to the northern extremity of the wood.  It was in position ready to attack just after 6 p.m. but it was then plain that the bombardment of Trones Wood had not been sufficiently heavy to neutralize the enemy holding the west edge of the wood and the Germans were able to keep up a steady fire on Bernafay Wood and Longueval Alley.  At zero the artillery barrage lifted and the Battalion moved forward from Longueval Alley but was at once met with a heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from the west of the wood and by a heavy barrage of 150 and 105 mm. howitzers and 77 mm. guns.  The first line suffered immediate and heavy casualties and the second line reinforced but also suffered casualties and was unable to get within 100 yards of Trones Wood.  The attack was held up and those who had not already become casualties took cover in shell-holes unable either to advance or retire.  The Lewis gun detachment and the Battalion bombing party with a platoon of infantry had a separate task to capture and consolidate at the north end of the wood and whilst meeting the enemy in Longueval Alley and being driven back by bombs, was eventually able to get into the wood but was attacked by parties of Germans and split up into small groups some of which although wounded managed to get back to Longueval Alley.  Three groups totalling 9 men managed to stay the night in the wood and were relieved by the 12th Middlesex about noon on the 14th July.

Towards 9 p.m. the wood had been again bombarded by the British guns but without much effect and as it was obviously impossible to gain the objective what was left of the 7th Queen’s was organized for the defence of Longueval Alley.  Undercover of darkness those who had been lying out in the open began to come in and from then until 2.30 a.m. on the 14th July when the Battalion withdrew, under continuous shell fire efforts were made to bring in all the wounded.  The Battalion withdrew to Grovetown Camp near Meaulte and initial returns recorded 4 officers and 22 other ranks killed, 7 officers and 150 other ranks wounded and 2 officers and 44 men missing.

As is not unusual, a percentage of those initially listed as missing, it was established, had in fact been killed in action and the following six officers were killed; Captain Ivan Bennett, 2nd Lieutenants Philip Woollatt, Gilbert Whittet, Ernest Blewchamp, Norman Wright and David Legge.  The number of other ranks killed in action that day rose to 36.

CSM Albert Frank Greenfeild and Sergeant Percy Greenfield were amongst those killed in action on the 13th July 1916, have no known place of burial and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

It still remained essential to the main operation on the 14th July that Trones Wood was secured and the 18th Division was ordered to attempt by using the 54th Brigade what the 55th Brigade had failed to achieve.  Brigadier-General Shoubridge arranged for the 12th Middlesex to lead and the 6th Northamptonshire to clear up and form a defensive flank.  Because of the communication problems he placed Colonel F A Maxwell V.C. in command of the 12th Middlesex to command the 6th Northamptonshire as well.  German strongpoints in the wood had now been identified and it was resolved to move upon Trones Wood from the South, from the  Sunken Road,  and to sweep through it to the north and then to establish a defensive flank along the eastern edge of the wood.   The supporting barrage was to begin at 4.30 a.m.  In the Sunken Road Colonel Maxwell found the 6th Northamptonshire ready to move but only one company of the Middlesex was in position and so he decided to reverse their roles and the 6th Northamptonshire led the advance.  The redoubt in the southern part of Central Trench resisted strongly but by 9.30 a.m. on the 14th July the units of the 18th Division had cleared the wood, rushing the strongpoint at the railway, and consolidating the position.

Of the total of 42 officers and other ranks killed in action, 32 have no known place of burial and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.  Captain Ivan Provis Wentworth Bennett is buried in the Thiepval Anglo French Cemetery, Authuille; Privates Herbert Edwards, William Langley and Horace Mitchell are buried in Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban; Private Henry Hibbert, L/Corporal Arthur Pearce and Sergeant Arthur Pusey are buried in Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval; Private George Plummer is buried in Serre Road No. 2 Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel; Private William Sheenan is buried in Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt and  Private Walter White is buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz.


Thiepval List

2nd Lieutenant Ernest John Blewchamp
2nd Lieutenant David St. Clan Legge
2nd Lieutenant Gilbert Whittett
2nd Lieutenant Philip Reginald Woollatt
2nd Lieutenant Norman George Wright

No. G/2131 Lance Sergeant William James Adam
No. G/2170 Corporal William Barlett
No. S/451 Private William Henry Board
No. G/1433 Private Benjamin Charles Corby
No. G/1380 Lance Corporal Walter James Cumber
No. G/8280 Private Thomas George Daniels
No. G/2317 Private Albert Diment
No. G/1682 Private George Charles Ellis
No. S/444 Lance Corporal Thomas Evans
No. G/2192 Company Sergeant Major Albert Frank Greenfield
No. G/2194 Sergeant Percy Greenfield
No. G/1720 Acting Corporal Walter Peter Haddow
No. G/1848 Corporal Henry Arthur Hill
No. G/6716 Private George Alfred Ivimey
No. G/1470 Acting Company Sergeant Major Edward Henry Jenkins
No. G/2774 Private Albert Victor Jennings
No. S/570 Private Albert Jewell
No. G/6925 Private John Kempshall
No. G/4469 Private Cecil Albert Oxford
No. G/2103 Lance Corporal Charles Henry Pegg
No. G/6059 John Robertson
No. G/2157 Private George Seymour
No. G/1246 Private Samuel Sturgess
No. G/1932 Corporal Charles Townsend
No G/2137 Private Arthur Tugwell
No. G/3250 Private Vernon Malcolm Whitehead
No. G/1672 Private George Willis










18th Division Memorial, Trones Wood, Somme.























Tablet on the Memorial  





















































































































































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