The 17th Battalion spent August to November 1917 with spells in the front line defences and working parties behind the lines, particularly near Kemmel.
At the end of November, the Battalion entered the British defences and prepared for the forthcoming assault on Polderhoek Chateau on 3rd December. The men were relieved by the 17th Kings Liverpool Regiment on 3rd December. The Battalion suffered 10 men killed in action or died of wounds in the following few days.
The Battalion returned to the front near Polderhoek on 12th December. They attacked German positions on 14th December successfully taking back trenches and pill box that had been held by the 18th Battalion. Arthur Bell’s cousin Alf Ridge was fatally wounded and captured by the German serving with 18th Battalion at Polderhoek in this action.
Following withdrawal, the 17th Battalion returned to the line on 24th December 1917 relieved by 1st January 1918, when they were billeted at Swan Chateau.
18 Men lost their lives during the month. The sole ‘Original’ Pal in this roll was Sergeant NORMAN, GEORGE ALFRED 8250 who died on Christmas Day 1917 aged 28. Norman has no known grave and is commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL. He was the son of the late Alfred and Amy Norman; husband of Frances Fingland (formerly Norman), of 40, Salisbury St., Moss Side, Manchester.
Following contact via Twitter, we’re pleased to publish this photograph of a young subaltern who was killed in action at Polderhoek Chateau on 27th December 1917 a few weeks before his 20th Brithday. Thanks to Steve Ward who is building a great profile of his great uncle 2nd Lt. Philip Ward 1898-1917 The site shows Philip had been recommended for a Military Cross, which were not awarded posthumously.
Although there is no confirmation of the date or place of his deed, the citation for 43403 CSM J E Young’s Distinguished Conduct Medal correlates with events on 14th December 1917. “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although badly shaken and partially buried by a shell which killed the man next to him, he remained at duty and together with a sergeant reconnoitered a communication trench leading to a pill box from which our men had driven. His report was of the greatest assistance to the attacking party which captured the pill-box. His example and cheerfulness are always inspiring.”
Corporal Albert Giblin 2163 and Private E Preston MM 240185 were gazetted for the award of Military Medals on 13/3/18 for deeds at Ypres on 16/12/17.
For further contemporary photographs see Flanders