Maurice Sugarman was killed in action at Guillemont on 30th July 1916. He was originally buried alongside his comrade, Private A Clifford, in a field north of the village near the railway station. Their remains were later relocated to Delville Wood Cemetery in Longueval, less than a mile north from the original grave.
Very little is known about Maurice’s life, but the photo places a face to his name. As one of the few Jewish men to be killed serving with the Battalion, there are also some extra resources to address. It is certainly uncommon to see a Star of David on a 17th Battalion grave.
Maurice was born in Manchester in the 4th Quarter 1895. His parents Abraham and Jane had both been born in Russia and it seems the initially Registered their second son’s name as Barnet. The 1901 Census changed this to Morris Barnet and Maurice in 1911. There were six children in the family.
Abraham was a silverware shopkeeper and absent from the family home on the 1911 census. It is possible he was then resident in New York. Maurice was then working with his brother David, as waterproofer, at a garment maker. The family lived at 278 Rochdale Road. Maurice’s home address was given as 142 Elizabeth Street, Salford in later records.
Soldiers Effects records show Abraham received his son’s estate, including a War Gratuity of £3. This sum indicated Maurice had enlisted at some stage between August 1915 and February 1916. The Medal Roll confirms Abraham will have received a Victory Medal and British War Medal; but not a 1914/15 Star, for men embarking overseas before January 1916. Provisional assessment of the Regimental Number of 27829 indicates Maurice enlisted in the Regiment in August 1915, went overseas at the end of June 1916 and then joined the 17th Battalion in France in early, as part of a draft of reinforcements to replace the losses at Montauban and Trones Wood.
Maurice took part in the assault on Guillemont, assembling overnight on 29th July and advancing in the second wave of the assault, in the misty dawn of the next morning. Records show he was originally posted missing and then presumed dead. His original burial was not in the area of the Battalion’s attack and he was most likely collected by burial parties two months after his death, when the German Army was finally levered out of the village.
Records have been found that indicate Maurice’s sister Carrie Annie named her second son Maurice. She had married in North Manchester Synagogue in 1914, where Maurice is not mentioned on the War Memorial. Carrie’s home address was 18 Woodland Terrace, Broughton. More data may be found from family records.