Category Archives: Montauban

Remembering Private James Appleyard – 17th Manchesters 22/9/1916

James Appleyard Courtesy CWGC

James Appleyard Courtesy CWGC

Private James Appleyard. Courtesy Tony Bowden, Manchesters Forum

Private James Appleyard. Courtesy Tony Bowden, Manchesters Forum

Today is the anniversary of the death of Private James Appleyard.

James had joined Manchester Police in June 1904 and worked in the Didsbury Division.  His Police Number was D218.*  In common with many Manchester Policemen,  James had enlisted in the Pals Battalions in late (25th) January 1915.

The Roll of Honour shows James had been promoted to Corporal by March 1915.  He is included in the photograph of B Company’s V Platoon.

Records show James had been wounded in the assault at Montauban on 1st July 1916, at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.  His burial at home suggests James had been evacuated from France and died from his wounds in a British Hospital.

V Platoon, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment from Book of Honour. Courtesy

V Platoon, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment from Book of Honour. Courtesy http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php

*Police service record and casualty data courtesy Mack of http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php

2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Henry Callan Macardle KIA 9th July 1916

2nd Lt. Kenneth Callan-Macardle. One of the most prolific diarists of the opening days of the Battle of the Somme. IWM HU37057

2nd Lt. Kenneth Callan-Macardle. B Company, 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. IWM HU37057

Born in Ireland, Kenneth Macardle was working for the Canadian Bank of Commerce in California at the outbreak of the war.  He left his post on 18th January 1915 and returned to join the 17th Manchester Regiment.  He had been employed by the Bank sine February 1911.  He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in 14th Bttn on 6th April 1915 and later took command of a Platoon in B Company.  He entered France on 2nd February 1916.

Kenneth was a committed diarist and his well composed notes provide a vivid and expressive view of the events on the opening days of the Battle of the Somme.

Regrettably, Kenneth was left behind in Trones Wood when the Battalion withdrew on 9th July.  His body was never found and he remains commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing.

Kenneth’s diary provides a direct source for the events of 1st July and his prose has been a further catalyst for the commitment to record and present events on the Somme.  On visiting Thiepval, I have scanned the multitude of names of the lost men to identify the neatly carved name of my favourite diarist.  Here’s an extract:-

© IWM (HU 117311) Kenneth Callan Macardle“We were relieved in a hurricane of shells. We trailed out wearily and crossed the battlefield down trenches choked with the dead of ourselves and our enemies – stiff, yellow and stinking – the agony of a violent death in their twisted fingers and drawn faces. There were arms and things on the parapets and in trees. Shell holes with 3 or 4 in them. The dawn came as we reached again the assembly trenches in Cambridge Copse. From there, we looked back at Montauban, the scene of our triumph, where we, the 17th Battalion, temporary soldiers and temporary officers every one that went in, had added another name to the honours on the colours of an old fighting regiment of the line – not the least of the honours on it.”

“A molten sun slid up over a plum coloured wood, on a mauve hill shading down to grey. In a vivid flaming sky, topaz clouds with golden edges floated, the tips of shell-stricken bare trees stood out over a sea of billowing white mist, the morning light was golden. We trudged wearily up the hill but not unhappy. All this world was ever dead to Vaudrey and Kenworthy, Clesham, Sproat, Ford and the other ranks we did not know how many. Vaudrey used to enjoy early morning parades. Clesham loved to hunt back in Africa when the veldt was shimmering with the birth of a day.”

Kenneth’s father, Sir Thomas Callan Macardle, K.B.E., D.L. was the Irish brewer and proprietor of Macardle-Moore & Company Ltd of Dundalk. Ireland.   Macardle was knighted (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his contributions to the war effort, particularly in supplying grain and ale to the war effort. Kitchener Letter.  See http://soldiersofthequeen.com/blog/category/uncategorized/page/7/

Kenneth’s mother, Minnie Ross Macardle was English.  Her father, Lt. Col. James Clarke Ross had served in the Scots Greys. (courtesy Who’s Who)

Part of Minnie and Sir Thomas’ tragic loss is shown as their thoughts will have developed from hope to despair in their correspondence held in the Imperial War Museum – Catalogue P210.

Initially, Adjutant Major C L Macdonald wrote to Sir Thomas with a glimmer of hope and real admiration for Kenneth on 14th July.

“I regret very much too have to inform your son has been missing since the recent fighting in Trones Wood.  The wood changed hands…it is possible he was captured…it is impossible to build on this hope.  The wood was shelled so heavily…it was almost impossible for anyone to live in it….Whether captured or killed, he will be a very great loss to the regiment.  I assure you there is not a braver or more gallant officer living.  After the capture of Montauban, when the Battalion went back into action for the second time, your son, in spite of his junior rank, was put in Command of a Company [A Coy], and he handled his Company with great skill and dash…I shall miss him greatly…I had become very much attached to him…Whether alive or killed in action, I shall always be proud to have known him, and I assure you you may be very proud to have so gallant a son.”

Acting 17th Battalion Commanding Officer, Major J J Whitehead’s letter on 17th June gave a strong indication to Kenneth’s parents that he may have been captured by the Germans.

“…I saw him in the wood about 1.30pm and when I gave the order to withdraw…he failed to rejoin – this was about 3 pm.  I waited myself with a few men to cover his retirement, up to 5.15 pm, but as the enemy began to counter attack, can only assume that he was taken prisoner.  He was a most promising officer…I miss him very much indeed.”

The finality of Kenneth’s demise was concluded from one of Arthur Bell’s comrades in III Platoon, who had been captured with Lieutenant Humphrey.  The Red Cross Zurich wrote to Sir Thomas on 6th October with the report.  “…Communication from Private Arthur Watts, No 8941, A Comp.. 17th Manchester Reg:-“I saw Lt. Macardle badly wounded in Trones Wood on 9th July 1916, when I saw him I took him to be dead, as he had been lying on the top of the trench for 2 hours without moving but I could not say for certain if he was dead.” Signed Pte Arthur Watts, Prisoner of War at Dulmen.”  

The Macardles had four children including Kenneth and a daughter, Dorothy; who became a renowned Irish Republican author.  She was imprisoned on more than one occasion but – like her brother – continued to write in adversity.  The siblings may not have shared the same ideals if Kenneth had survived to discuss them.

2nd Lt. Kenneth Callan-Macardle Killed in action at Trones Wood 9th July 1916 IWM HU35936.

2nd Lt. Kenneth Callan-Macardle Killed in action at Trones Wood 9th July 1916 IWM HU35936.

Thanks to George Johnson of MRF for identifying US employment.  Previous records suggest Kenneth was ‘Ranching’.  A comparison with cowboys and bankers would be more 21st Century. Letters from the front. Being a record of the p….

Also see Kenneth’s Obituary in the his School Roll Stonyhurst War Record

Kenneth’s brother John Ross Macardle received the Military Cross, serving with the Artillery.

George Robinson Cotton Merchants Roll of Honour in 17th Manchesters

In late August 1914, members of Manchester Council and a group of business men agreed to form and finance a City Battalion of clerks and warehouseman from the commercial heart of the City. Certain commitments were made by principal employers and the organising committee promised that men who enlisted as a group would serve together. The Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour lists numerous Rolls of men who enlisted and some firms that lost numerous members of staff. One example that catches the eye is that of George Robinson & Co, cotton dealers of Princess Street. George Robinson Scroll Most employers Rolls list names and sometimes Regiment / Battalion. In this instance George Robinson provides portrait photographs. This enables us to put a face to the name of sample group of men from 17th Battalion – some of whom feature elsewhere on the site. Many men from the Company enlisted together and were posted to XVI Platoon of D Company. Six months later, only four employees remained in XVI Platoon, but the association with men posted to other Platoons will have remained. George Robinson & Co Photo RollHere are the faces and names for men who enlisted in the 17th Battalion. R L Bryant
Private R L Bryant.
Pte 9024 RL Bryant’s military records, except for his SDGW entry, may be found by searching for Reginald Lloyd-Bryant. He won the blindfold boxing at Heaton Park in April 1915, then went overseas with 17 Manchesters as a member of XIII Pl, was transferred to the Labour Corps and then 23 Lancashire Fusiliers, with which unit he was KIA on 27 Sep 18 as an acting CSM. He received the MM as a sergeant with this latter battalion (LG Feb 19).[Thanks for help of Mark] Reginald left a wife and son.Charles Critchlow

Lance Corporal Charles B Critchlow 8116. Manchester Grammar School Magazine reported he was wounded on July 2nd 1916 with three bullets through the leg and a scratch in the eye. Treated in 96 Field Ambulance and Hospital at Rouen. Home 7/7/1916. Furlough 86 Conyngham Road, Victoria Park in October 1916 after which he was posted to 69th Training Reserve Battalion. Discharged to Commission 25/4/1917. Various disciplinary offenses recorded some witnessed by Joseph McMenemy. Forfeited pay while in hospital while treated for VD. Former clerk at George Robinson & Co who had been born in Old Trafford. Aged 27 when enlisted 2/9/1914 and trained with XVI Pln, D Coy. Promoted Lance Corporal 9/2/1916. Charles was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant to the Manchesters on 25/4/1917 and killed in action on 22nd October 1917, serving with 21st Battalion.  On this day the Bttn took part in a major assault on the German positions near the Menin Road southwest of Gheveult.  The War Diary provides a vivid description of events in which 7 officers were killed, 1 missing and 5 wounded.  Eighteen Officers had taken part in the assault which commenced at 05.40am.  This was held up by heavy mud jamming all weapons – “almost before the advance commenced” – enfilade machine gun fire from both flanks and disorganisation as other troops mixed in with the Manchesters.   His Commission was published in the London Gazette on 22/5/1917.  He has no known resting place and is commemorated at TYNE COT MEMORIAL Son of Lucie Critchlow lived in 167 Barton Road, West Didsbury with daughters Jessie and Helen. Charles was one of 13 children. His father, Bernard had died by 1911 when the family lived at 68 Bishop Street, Moss Side. He had then been marine insurance clerk. Charles’ estate was left to his mother who remained resident at Conyngham Road. Probate suggests Charles had been posted to 17th Bttn. John Emerson

Sergeant John Emerson 8542. Trained with XV Pln. D Coy. Transferred Fit to Reserve 13/3/1919.

Percy Howard JonesCSM Percy Howard Jones 8673 B Company’s Company Sergeant Major was killed on 11/10/1916, in the German bombardment on trenches near Flers, the day before the Battalion joined a major assault to the north. Percy was 26 when he died. He is buried in the A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers, half a mile to the east of the Battalion’s trenches. His widow Leah Jones, lived at 3 Jackson St., Cheadle, Percy had been born in Didsbury and was employed by George Robinson & Co prior to hostilities. He had been CQMS when the Battalion arrived in France and Acting WO II when he was killed, previously been VI Pln Sergeant. Annersley Hazley

Private Annersley / Ellersley Hazley 8186 . Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Arrived in France 8/11/1915. Irish father, Annesley and Oldham born mother, Hannah noted as blind in the 1911 Census when Annersley was a clerk in a shipping warehouse. Born 1893 in Manchester the family had lived at 84 Lower Moss Lane. Annesley married Harriet Bent in the 1st quarter 1917. Sidney Labrey

Private Sidney Labrey 8221. 32 year old Pattern Card maker resident in Longsight when he enlisted 2nd September 1914. Discharged as unlikely to become an efficient soldier 27/1/1915 with valvular disease. 148 Days Service at Home No Medal entitlement. Received Pension from April 1918. Resident 62 Belgrave Road, Oldham. Son of Caroline Hester Labary, 14 Parsonage Lane, Flixton. His brother Ernest Edward Labrey served in 16th Bttn, having previously been in 2nd Volunteer Bttn and 6th Territorials. In 1917 he was attached to RAMC in France.
Private 8224 Henshaw Little was not included in the Roll, but his Service Record identifies George Robinson as his previous employment.  Henshaw was wounded in Spring 1916 and evacuated Home for hospital treatment on 20th May 1916.  He was posted to Reserve in July 1916 and discharged with a Pension on 9th April 1919.
George Harry SedgleyPrivate George Harry Sedgley 8891. Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Trained as bomber. Wounded Trones Wood. Cotton cloth clerk living with parents 575 Gorton Road, Reddish (1911). Born 1895. Later served with 2/5th Battalion. Transferred Fit to Reserve24/3/1919. Wilfred Lawrence WrayPrivate Wilfred Lawrence Wray 8354 – Born in York and resident Stretford. Born 1889. Son of William Thomas & Emily Maud Wray of 142, Barton Rd, Stretford, Manchester. Trained with XVI Pln. D Coy. Medal Roll specifies deceased, rather than killed, probably near Trones Wood, 10/7/1916. It is likely he was originally posted as missing. Accountants clerk living with parents (13 children) at 1054 Chester Road, Stretford in 1911. W L Wray also shown on Manchester Corporation, Tramways Dept. Roll. Thiepval Memorial

XVI Pln 17th Bttn Roll of Honour.1

Reflections on the Anniversary of World War I – 1914-2014

Five Historic Archives
Four French Deaths;
Three Shot at Dawn;
Two Football Games
and a Horse left in the German Wire.

PoppiesThe poppies in the Tower of London, my family visit to the Warhorse show and BBC’s Our World War series have provided a resounding success in recognising the anniversary of the Great War. As a WWI researcher, it’s been easy to find fault in publications or programmes. In an effort to avoid being sniffy, I concluded that it was best to accept the spirit on these media and appreciate that the current generation of British people are engaging with the subject on numerous levels. This piece reflects on the direction of the media’s presentation.
The buffeting from crowds of people walking through the City of London on a Saturday afternoon in November confirmed our society’s continuing recognition of the War. I visited with one of my daughters to see Alfred Ridge’s Poppy in the sea of 888,246 and I imagine other people had their own agendas, or were solely spectators. As a football fan, I know the common spirit of a crowd – or indeed a mob – and found

Alfred Ridge - Harlebeke New British Cemetery

Alfred Ridge – Harlebeke New British Cemetery

the effervescent Poppy experience unforgettable.
Further unreserved Anniversary success was the digitisation of records and fresh publication on line. Archive material from numerous sources can now be accessed at relatively low cost. Highlights for 17th Manchesters research in 2014 have been Red Cross Prisoner of War ICRC Digitised Records War Office Medal Rolls; Soldiers Wills for some men; War Diaries at the National Archive; extended data available on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission CWGC site.
As we approach the second year of Centenary and anticipating the Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in July 2016, some reservations are developing.
The first is the romanticisation or of war. The remarkable story of the 1914 Christmas truce have been lost to popularisation of the media’s obsession with football – particularly the controversial Sainsbury’s advert and factually incorrect dreams. No confirmed sources indicate there was any pretence of a match between German and British troops. There was a kick-about in at least two locations, but the shaking of hands, sharing food & drink and genuine shared experience of a temporary peace are the principle issues that should be remembered.
The second concern is the application of 2014 moral values on our ancestors. I watched the Private Peaceful play with my family and found the presentation of war horrors to be well balanced with the plot associated with a Shot at Dawn (SaD) case. The engagement of the audience was remarkable for itself, but particularly with the number of Primary School age children and teenagers who were engaged throughout.
Regrettably SaD cases seem to be highlighted in every other media opportunity e.g. The Village & Our World War. I accept this is an issue for moral interpretation and I have specific regret and sadness for the three men of the 18th Manchesters who were executed for cowardice. However I feel this 2014 moral question now eclipses the principal issues of hostilities. My grandfather was wounded leaving the same trenches, on the day one of the 18th Battalion SaD men absented himself from duty at Flers. Rather than judging the SaD morality, I always feel the slaughter of hundreds of men on that day may have been a little more significant at the time. Let’s also remember 8135 Harry Evans who was killed that day, along with Grandfather’s School friend 8132 Leonard Edmondson; his neighbour 8241 Alec Mitchell and 8474 Hubert Craig who had served in III Platoon with Grandad since 1914 Anniversary 12th October 1916. I realise the personal connection with these casualties relates to a specific private interest. However, I see no media reflection on the scale of casualties.
Thankfully the troops returning from Afghanistan are contributing to a clear media presentation of the true factors of warfare and the recent casualties in our immediate consciousness. Kajaki is shocking, heart-warming but painful to watch, and should be compulsory viewing for GCSE students – particularly those considering a career in politics.
There seems to be no equivalent presentation of WWI. There may be a inadvertent conspiracy to focus on palatable issues or politically correct questions at cost of avoiding the enormity and horror of trench warfare. I have seen some incredibly vivid photographs of dead soldiers in the Western Front. My choice to avoid publishing may be missing some very moving material out of respect for the men concerned. However I reflect on the prospect that I’m also making the unpalatable nature of warfare more accessible.
Not wishing to be getting ahead of the media, here’s thoughts on four deaths on the Somme recounted by Scout Sergeant Bert Payne in his interviews with Lyn E Smith. Payne James Albert IWM interview In an effort to portray a more comprehensive picture, these events are now added to the static content on the site.
Pals Memorial MontaubanBert served in the 16th Manchesters in Maricourt and was wounded in the First Day of the Somme at Montauban. These places and events are almost the same as the experiences of the 17th Battalion.
Bert first describes the uncomfortable delay in recovering the body of Corporal Pickering after he had been blown out of an Observation Point onto the wire near Maricourt. He then reported the losses in the advance Montauban. “I had a boy with me…out of school for six weeks…He said ‘…I’ve arrived today’ I said ‘Hang on to me.’…He was killed. Shot down next to me”
Bert Payne was wounded in the last dash up into the village. He was hit in the face by enfilade machine gun fire “There was a big shell hole full of dead and dying and blinded. It seemed to me to be a tall man got it through the jaw. A shorter man got it through the eyes.” After recovering consciousness Bert made a temporary dressing for his wound and made his way to the rear with Corporal Bill Brock, who had been shot through the foot.
On the way back over the hard fought battlefield, Bert and Bill came across a British Soldier with terrible wounds. “ A shell had come over and hit this man. Knocked off his left arm. Knocked off his left leg. His left eye was hanging on his cheek and he was calling out for Annie… So I shot him… But it hurt me. …He was just anybody’s boy. He was calling out for Annie…His eye was hanging out pulsing. I had to shoot him… Nobody could have done anything for him. He would have died in any case. I had the courage to do it.”
Later in the interview Bert mentions his repeated thoughts about his part in the death of the young man. It clearly made a deep impression on him and probably contributed to his response to a captured German Medical Officer he came across soon after. I asked this Doctor to bind the Corporal’s foot up and he wouldn’t. I told to do it or I’d shoot him…he said ‘Blame your own government.’ He refused to bind his foot so I shot him.”
These four deaths are not comfortable to address and any interpretation relate to the complete picture and context of hostilities. Following the confused assessment of a kick about at Christmas it may be best to leave the matter for personal interpretation and not the media. However, at the end of this Anniversary year, we will must not forget unpalatable aspects of death and maiming. The generation of men that returned mainly chose not to speak about their experiences. Thanks to Bert Payne and Arthur Bell we do have some first-hand experience that we can hear. Let’s hope the media don’t fail to listen.

Notes
6330 James Albert Payne went on to live a full life being interviewed in his 94 year. After a long period of recovery he worked then worked in a Military Hospital and was discharged with a Silver War Badge in March 1918, aged 24. Bert has been one of the first to enlist in the Pals in August 1914.
Two brothers Horace and Reginald Pickering had enlisted in August 1914 and served together. Lance Corporal Horace Pickering was killed in May 1916. One can imagine the anguish of his friends and brother when Horace’s body remained above their trench, but unavailable until nightfall. Horace was buried alongside Lance Corporal Charles Johnston-who had been killed in the same bombardment- in Maricourt Military Cemetery. Their remains were relocated to Cerisey-Gailly in 1920. Brother Reg had been a singer and entertained the troops with his tenor voice. He was later wounded and returned Home, where he looked for work in music.
William Priestley Brock later transferred to the Labour Corps where he was transferred fit to reserve in March 1919.

16th Bttn C Coy IX Pln Photo

16th Bttn IX Platoon including William Priestley Brock for his grandaughter Anne Wakefield (nee Brock)

16th Bttn C Coy IX Pln

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Digital Archive Launch

Vernon Street Cemetery was in this valley with Talus Bois and Maricourt in the background.  Fifty Five graves were lost when the area was shelled leaving a current war grave.

Vernon Street Cemetery was in this valley with Talus Bois and Maricourt in the background. Fifty Five graves were lost when the area was shelled leaving a current war grave.

The immaculate cemeteries in northern France and throughout the world are huge credit to the hard work of people in CWGC.  Their website has also provided an excellent resource for finding information on military casualties and it’s now leaped forward with the digitisation of further records.

Information on headstones is now published, including the epitaphs written by family members.  For example III Platoon’s Ernest Stelfox’s grave had a personal epitaph requested by his parents “Blessed are the pure in Heart” . The site is also more user friendly with tools including the ability to upload casualty lists to excel.

Perhaps more significantly ‘Concentration’ information is now available. Arthur Bell’s cousin’s death remains a mystery.  Belgium research had indicated1095 L/Cpl. Alfred Ridge had originally been buried in Menen Wald German Cemetery before he was exhumed and re-interred in Harlebeke.  CWGC now confirm the original grid reference of Alfred’s burial.  It also describe’s the location as Ram’s Wood – presumably the name given to the wood when the allied troops had withdrawn back to the Ypres salient.

From the 17th Battalion perspective, the review of the new data set has only just started.  This has revealed the original resting place of three 17th Battalion Officer casualties who were subsequently relocated to Dantzig Alley in Mametz.  The walk through the fields from Maricourt will be even more poignant when I next pass Machine Gun Wood where Captain Vaudrey was originally buried.  Close by was 27321 Private C R Felstead.

The track heading down to Talus Bois from Montauban is also significant as leading to the original battlefield graves of Captain Kenworthy and Arthur Bell’s OC Captain Ford from A Company.  It is anticipated this area was previously:-

VERNON STREET CEMETERY, CARNOY, in the valley between Carnoy and Maricourt, at a place called “Squeak Forward Position”. 110 soldiers who died in July-October 1916 were buried here by the 21st Infantry Brigade and other units.(Courtesy CWGC)

Other 17th Battalion men whose remains were relocated to Dantzig Alley include 9005 G Blundell from D Coy,

Vernon Street Cemetery was later hit by shell fire and 55 (half) of the original graves were lost.  These included six men from the Manchester Pals and the majority of others were from 30th Division, notably 21st Brigade and the Kings Liverpool Regiment.  The men with lost graves are now commemorated with individual grave stones along the wall and the Vernon Street / Bottom Wood Cemetery Memorial at Dantzig Alley. Memorial at foot of Page
I’ve always known the importance of the land I’ve wandered across – perhaps the CWGC have helped frame a little more significance.  Quoting the Memorial “Their Glory Shall not be Blotted Out”

Original Burials moved to Dantzig Alley

Original Burials moved to Dantzig Alley

Position of Vernon Street Cemetery at the brow of the slope to the left of the wood.

Position of Vernon Street Cemetery in front of the  wood.

Trench Map showing Vernon Street

Trench Map showing Vernon Street

Montauban Assembly Positions showing Vernon Street as part of the front line.  Crown Copyright.

Ernest McNamara 18th Battalion

18th Bttn C Coy IX Pln

18th Bttn C Coy IX Pln – Book of Honour

Ernest McNamara was killed in action at Montauban on 1st July 1916. His great niece introduced herself on the GUEST BOOK and asked if there may be further information on Ernest and his brother Arthur.

For Anne Warn these pages from the City Battalions Roll of Honour show Ernest in IX Platoon of C Company.  If Anne has a portrait of him, it would be great if you could identify the man in photo.  For other possible records, I firmly recommend asking the experts on The Manchester Regiment Group Forum.

18th Bttn IX Pln Roll of Honour

18th Bttn IX Pln Roll of Honour

The Manchesters website includes painstaking research of the men from the Regiment reported killed on 1st July 1916 and included in the 1st Anniversary of the Somme 1st July 1917 edition of the Manchester Evening News.  These entries were made for Ernest and include a reference to Arthur:-

McNAMARA – In loving memory of our dear brother
ERNEST (10555) Manchester Regiment (3rd Pals), killed
in action July 1st, 1916.
ROBERT, SUSIE, and ARTHUR (in France).

The Roll of Honour includes an entry to an E McNamara who enlisted in the City Battalions as part of the group system.   It is quite likely Ernest worked for Horrockses Crewdson & Co Ltd

I’ll have a scout around some other resources and add to this post if I find anything more.

I heard the Last Post from a bugler at Thiepval Memorial yesterday morning.  This is where Anne will see Ernest’s name inscribed in the stone panel.  We’re off to Ypres today where I will see Arthur’s name at Tyne Cot and my Grandad’s cousin at Harlebeke.

 

Historic Correction to Dail Mail

Captured by men from Manchester, Liverpool and 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers

Despite firmly refusing to collect WWI bits and bobs, I couldn’t help bidding for this postcard on an Auction site.  On successful delivery, I am perfectly happy with the photographic acquisition.  The images clearly shows the ruins of Montauban after the 17th Manchesters passed through the village, reflecting a minor success on an otherwise disastrous day for the British Army.

The text on the rear of the postcard is less satisfactory.  This inaccurately states

“The ruins of houses in the once pretty village of Montauban, captured by two Scottish regiments.”

Graham Maddocks’ certainly introduced the importance of the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers in his book – Montauban.  The Scottish Regulars formed part of the 90th Brigade’s final assault on the village.  This included three other Manchester Battalions (16th, 17th & 18th).  Recognition is also made to the men of the 19th Manchesters, 17th – 20th Kings Liverpool Regiment, 2nd Battalion Bedfords, Wilts and Yorkshire Regiments.  These consisted 21st & 89th Brigades which formed the first wave of the attack.

Unless the English county Regiments or the Cities of the north west have moved since the publication of the post card, a significant error was made.  The Official Censor approved the card – but we can bet he wasn’t a Manchester man!

Two from the cannon’s mouth men?

This site was always intended to place a context to the places, events and particularly people referred to in Private Arthur Bell’s journal and his interview with Martin MIddlebrook. The necessity to consider obituaries for the men that died contrasts with the more positive aspects of addressing the Honours awarded to men of the Battalion.  These Honours were awarded to a number of men referred to in Arthur’s journal, including Military Crosses to Lieutenants Alan Holt and Robert Mansergh.

It is not appropriate for the grandson of one of the men at the Somme to consider specific Awards that could / should have been made.  However, two men stand out from Arthur’s journal as being individuals he held in high esteem for bravery.  Having recently obtained photographs of these men, we can now place a face to the names.  Only Victoria Crosses were awarded posthumously.  We will never know how the following Pals would have been recognised if they hadn’t lost their lives so soon after their deeds.

Sgt and A/CSM Joseph McMenemy

Sgt and A/CSM Joseph McMenemy

CSM Joseph McMenemy KiA 30.7.16 “Sergt. McM (McMenemy) encouraged us on the last lap…; he had been a heroic figure in the advance on the first.  “Only another rush or two” he called as we lay, much cut up, just outside the perimeter at Montauban

CSM Joseph McMenemy KiA 30.7.16 “

Acting CSM Joseph McMenemy

Arthur recognised the bravery, leadership and humour of Joseph McMenemy at Montauban “Yer wanna be more careful” said newly promoted ex-Sergt. McM (McMenemy); he had been a heroic figure in the advance on the first.  “Only another rush or two” he called as we lay, much cut up, just outside the perimeter at Montauban.” 

Lt Ralph Miller Courtesy Sue Butcher

Lt Ralph Miller Courtesy his niece Sue Butcher

2nd Lieutenant Ralph Marillier Miller

Ralph Miller led Arthur Bell in the rescue of a wounded Sergeant Major near Trones Wood.   Arthur recounted his deep respect for the young subaltern “Brave Jockey!  Not many days after that [Trones Wood rescue] came the report that he had got a gas shell ‘all to himself’ – killed of course.  Would he have been one of Shakespeare’s ‘Even in the cannon’s mouth men’?”

Both men died in the Guillemont assault and have no know grave.  They are commemorated at Thiepval.

Montauban & Maricourt Photographs then and now