3rd Battle of Ypres – 31st July 1917

During May 1917, the Battalion recuperated until 20th, when it travelled into Belgium towards Ypres.  They spent a period in the line and other time on fatigues preparing for the third Battle of Ypres.

Captain Hugh Tunbridge Pomfret (Reserve of Officers) was promoted to Major effective 29 June 1917.  This probably related to his appointment as Second in Command (LG 16/08/1917)

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood

The first four City Battalions reunited in attack for the first time since Montauban. On the Night of the 30th July, the troops occupied assembly trenches behind Sanctuary Wood.  At 3.50am the advance started. The Division’s objective was Polygon Wood.  The 16th and 18th Battalions formed the first phase of the assault, with the 17th and 19th Battalions forming the second wave.  The 18th Battalion succeeded in taking Stirling Castle and the 16th Battalion’s objective was carried.  The 17th Battalion pushed onwards over the infamous Menin Road. Machine guns in the Battalion’s objective in Glencourse Wood held up the advance and the assault ended as the men dug-in under a fresh enemy bombardment.  The Battalion was relieved the next morning and withdrew to Zillebeke.

Officer Strength 31.7.1917

Officer Strength 31.7.1917. A poignant roll of the Battalion’s leaders in Polygon Wood.

CWGC Records show 32 men from 17th Battalion died on 31st July and three further men died in France by the the end of August 1917.  It’s poignant to note that only three of these casualties have Regimental Number consistent with the ‘Original’ Pals 8,000 or 9,000 sequence.  These are Privates 8096 James Cleland, 8566 George Eric Fuller and 9470 Corporal Edmund Kane.  In common with the majority of fatalities, these men have no know grave and are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial

The War Diary records 2 Officers Killed in Action (2/Lt Frith & Southcomb) 5 Wounded in Action (Capt Faux, 2 Lts Sant, Parry, Marchant, Shenton); 1 Wounded & Missing (2Lt Richardson) ; 2 Wounded & at duty (Capt Orr & 2Lt Halliday).

Capt Orr was awarded a Military Cross

Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to Sergeant Frederick Cowman 8501 and Private Patrick Duffy 28259.

Private 2271 R Armstrong, Lance Corporal W Fearnley 9313/47243, Private A E Hare 43344 and Private 21073 J Murphy received a Military Medal.

8596 Corporal Ernest Hawksworth was wounded at Sanctuary Wood.  For further contemporary photos see Flanders.

13 thoughts on “3rd Battle of Ypres – 31st July 1917

  1. Pingback: 8596 Corporal Ernest Hawksworth IV Platoon, A Company, 17th Battalion | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  2. Pingback: Centenary of the Somme – 9th day of July | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  3. Salley

    9470 Corporal Edmund Kane one of 32 from 17th Battalion who was killed 31st July 2017 is my grandfather. His brother Maurice Kane 18th Battalion died on the same day. I do not have any other information other than they are both named on the Menin Gate. Would appreciate any information.

    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Salley,
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve posted Edmund’s details for 31st July to commemorate the centenary of his death and many others in 3rd Ypres. Please let me know your grandmother’s name? I couldn’t find their marriage. Let me know what I can add on later generations.

      1. David Martin Worden Snider

        My Canadian grandfather, 2/Lieutenant Ernest Harold Glover Worden, served with the 3rd Royal Berks and was badly wounded leading his men at Sanctuary Wood on July 31, 1917. He survived and was awarded the Military Cross for gallant and distinguished services in the field. My mother told me that her father was rescued from the field of battle by a doctor who had received the VC and posthumously the bar to the VC for tending to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Last summer while in the UK I read an article in The Daily Telegraph, dated July 31, 2017, about Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, the only British serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice during WW1. Any information that you can provide to corroborate this story and my grandfather’s service with the Royal Berkshire Regiment would be greatly appreciated.

      2. 8055bell Post author

        Hi David,
        I’m principally focussed on the 17th Manchesters in 1916, although I have some knowledge of 1917/18 for the Bttn. This means I don’t have any depth of knowledge of other units in the opening days of Passchendaele. Chavasse was in the area on 31/7/1917, based at a Dressing Station at Wieltje, which is quite a long way from Sactuary Wood (My Gt Grandad’s cousin was killed there). However, it is recorded that he went out to collect the wounded and maybe went as far as Sanctuary Wood. I suugest you ask on http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php
        to find out more.

      3. 8055bell Post author

        Ernest was an Officer Cadet with the Artist’s Rifles, Commissioned in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Bttn R Berks R. 4/2/1917. He received his MC (LG 18/10/1917) for SANCTUARY WOOD, 31st July, 1917. Though badly wounded he led his men with great gallantry under heavy shell and machine-gun fire to their objective. He set an excellent example of courage and endurance throughout. (LG 7/3/1918). The 3rd Bttn was Home based and I can’t find which Bttn he served with on Wetern Front. It’s likley to have been 1st or 2nd Bttns and I recommend you obtain their War Diaries, which should mention him, depending which he served with. These are available from National Archives. I’d guess at 2nd Bttn, as they were in Ypres at the time.

  4. Pingback: Centenary of Passchendaele – Corporal 9470 Edmund Kane | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  5. Pingback: Private 8071 Thomas Brooks and his Pals | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  6. Tim Bailey

    I am looking for information about my great uncle Pvt Edward Bailey 26548 who died on the 8th September 1917 I know he was in the Manchester regiment but I don’t know which battalion. He is buried in Belgium and it’s likely he was killed in the third battle of Ypres.

  7. Pingback: Private 8394 Harold Bretnall | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

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