Pte 8405 Charles Soloman Berlyne, 17th Bttn – Sound Recording

Imperial War Museum has a selection of recordings of interviews with veterans.  It’s wonderful to hear the voices of these men, and sometimes there are snippets that expand knowledge of events and conditions. Some of the details needs to be cross-checked.

Charles Soloman Berlyne enlisted on 3 September 1914 and trained with V Pln of B Coy.  He disembarked with 17th Battalion on 8 November 1915. Charles had previously been a Tailors Machinist at Homes Terry & Co.

Charles was interviewed by a family member in 1979.  Here’s some notes, but best to listen for yourselves.

Training Heaton Park, Belton Park & Salisbury Plain.

First experience in the trenches, with rats and German mortar fire.

Entraining at Amiens for the Somme. Recounting first casualties in the rear (Suzanne) after arriving on the Somme, including some of his friends.

Also recalls German attack (in Frise) and staying in the line for 10 days.

Using Gas helmets. Training for the “Big Battle”.  Copied the layout and practising (attack). Recalls further supplies and longer artillery barrages.  Germans had best positions. British always observed. Aeroplanes shooting down balloons.  Also shooting machine guns from German Planes at them.

Interview sadly tops before the Montauban assault on 1st July 1916.

Noting from Service Record.  Wounded in July 1916. Posted to 24th Bttn in 1917 and GSW Rt Knee at Bullecourt 31/7/1917. Discharged with SWB & Pension in August 1918. Lived at 101 Cranworth St, C on M.

Pte Albert Hurst has a much more extensive recording.  He was the last surviving member of the Manchester Pals and his testimony has been used extensively in this research. Albert Hurst recording August 1990

PS My Grandfather’s (Pte 8055 A A Bell) 1976 interview with Martin Middlebrook is held in the archive, but it has BBC Radio 4 copyright and it’s not on line.  I have a copy and can share further details if anyone is interested.

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