Category Archives: Trones Wood

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

War Diaries at the National Archive

As time goes by the Anniversary project for digitising all unit War Diaries is coming to a head.

I have now discovered the newly digitised version of the War Diary for my Grandad’s Battalion – the 2nd Manchester Pals.  The 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment for 1915-18 is @ 540 pages long and cost me £3.10 to download.

I have some happy hours ahead digesting the original notes concerning the men and events covered in this site and written by some of the Officers who now seem remarkably familiar.

The photo for this post concerns the disastrous withdrawal from Trones Wood This page of the Diary doesn’t mention the losses on on 9th July, nor the failed communication resulting in most of A Company being left behind and captured / killed.  Lots more reading is required.

Until corrected (?) I believe I can post these Crown Copyright images, because this site is non-profit. If the images later disappear we will know why!

 

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.

Some Foreign Lines – Froissy Dompierre Light Railway

Worth a visit if family require respite from battlefields and cemeteries.

Here’s some pics of the Somme railways during the war.

Light railway engine taking in water at a point in Trones Wood, December 1916 © IWM (Q 1692)

Light railway engine taking in water at a point in Trones Wood, December 1916 © IWM (Q 1692)

 Light railway engine taking in water at a point in Trones Wood, December 1916 © IWM (Q 1693)

Light railway engine taking in water at a point in Trones Wood, December 1916 © IWM (Q 1693)

 

Chasewaterstuff's Railway & Canal Blog

Some Foreign Lines

Froissy Dompierre Light Railway

771px-Froissy-Dompierre_Railway_map-en.svgThe Froissy Dompierre Light Railway (CFCD) is a narrow-gauge light railway running from Froissy to Dompierre-Becquincourt, through Cappy, in the Somme department, France. It is run as a heritage railway by APPEVA and is also known as P’tit Train de la Haute Somme. It is the last survivor of the 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge trench railways of the World War I battlefields.

Museum:

The Musée des chemins de fer Militaires et Industriels (Military and Industrial railways Museum), located near the line Terminus in the hamlet of Froissy, features a large collection of 600mm gauge railway material, steam engines, diesel engines and wagons, in a 1800 m² exhibition hall inaugurated in 1996. it also features an interesting Fairbanks-Morse speeder of 1917, used by the US Army.

 Froissy Dompierre Light Railway

(P’tit Train de la Haute Somme)

Commercial operations

Name Le…

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Trones Wood then and now

Trones Wood was an initial success for British Forces;

and subsequent crushing defeat due to the onslaught of German artillery.  Here are some photos before, during and after the 9th July 1916 assault by the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

 

Guillemont then and now

Suzanne then and now

Suzanne Church 1920 IWM Q 37179

Suzanne Church 1920 IWM Q 37179

The 16th and 17th Manchesters were billeted in Suzanne during the first half of 1916.  Here are some images then and now. Also see British Defences near Somme

IMG_7222

Suzanne Chateau. Used as 90th Brigade HQ in 1916

Suzanne Church 2013

Suzanne Church 2013

AWM ART03087 Church Suzanne 1918

AWM ART03087 Church Suzanne 1918

Suzanne Square & Bar AWM-c04895

Suzanne Square & Bar AWM-c04895

Former Bar.  Now a house 2013.

Former Bar. Now a house 2013.

Anniversary 9th / 10th July 1916 – III Platoon Men

Picture Courtesy IWM864

The 90th Brigade assault on Trones Wood on the morning of 9th July was initially successful and the 17th Manchesters occupied the northern part of the wood. Following continuing German bombardment the position became untenable and the Battalion withdrew at 5.30pm. At this stage, communication with outlying Platoons and Sections was impossible and many men were left behind when the Germans launched a successful counter-attack. Few men returned and many were taken prisoner. Today we remember the men of III Platoon who died. None of these have known graves; being commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission register the date of death as 10th July, although many of these men will have lost their lives the previous day.

It is not clear which officer was in command of III Platoon. Please see Trones Wood for details of the Officer casualties. These prominently include the diarist 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Callan Macardle

The most senior NCO, from III Platoon to have died at Trones Wood, was Sergeant Louis Linney 8705. Born in Failsworth, Louis was living at Clayton Bridge before he enlisted and worked at Haslams Limited. He was 28 when he died, having been promoted through the ranks from Lance Corporal in the Heaton Park Roll.

Roll of Honour Broadmeadow S.Amongst the other casualties of III Platoon was, former Lance Corporal Stephen Broadmeadow 8084, who had been out drinking with Arthur Bell in Grantham, during their stay at Belton Park. Following promotion to Lance Sergeant, he was Killed in Action at Trones Wood on 10th July 1916, aged 31. Stephen is commemorated on Memorials at Sale Rugby Club and Sale United Church. Courtesy Trafford War Dead. Stephen left is effects to his father Joseph. He had been born in Moss Side and educated at St Margaret’s School Whalley Range and then St Mary’s School, Ashton on Mersey.

Thomas Barnett Courtesy Adelphi Book of Remembrance

Thomas Barnett Courtesy Adelphi Book of Remembrance

Lance Corporal F. Thomas Barnett 8387 was another NCO that died at Trones Wood. Aged 29, Thomas had been born in Lower Broughton.   He was one of the 1,080 members of the Adelphi Lads Club, Salford, to have served in the War. Resources – Salford War Memorials.

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Also missing from III Platoon at Trones Wood was 8364 Private Walter Ashton. Before the war, Walter had worked as a pawnbroker’s assistant and resident in Stalybridge. He had been a member of Foundry St Primitive Methodist Church and is named on Chapel Hill Memorial and the Baptist Church Memorial, Dukenfield.

David Midgley & Sons Ltd - R Schofield & J LawA second Private to have lost his life at Trones Wood was 8703 John Laws. John had been born in St James Parish in Salford.   John’s Will shows he was married to Agnes and lived at Cornet Street, Higher Broughton in Salford.  The Roll of Honour indicates he was employed by David Midgley & Sons Ltd, enlisting with Robert Schofield.

Trones Wood 10/8/1916 IWM Q861

Trones Wood 10/8/1916 IWM Q861

South African Infantry helping Manchesters at Trones Wood

Private Walter Giddy - 2nd South African Infantry.  Courtesy http://www.delvillewood.com/giddy.htm

Private Walter Giddy – 2nd South African Infantry. Courtesy http://www.delvillewood.com/giddy.htm

Spanning almost one hundred years and thousands of miles between continents, the internet has led me to corresponding reports of events involving Empire troops and Arthur Bell.  This has subsequently led to contact with the great niece of one of the South African troops who may have helped my grandfather rescue a wounded Sergeant Major near Trones Wood.

Extracts of the diary of a young 2nd South African Infantry man can be found on this link for which I acknowledge copyright for the photo and extracts below. DELVILLE WOOD. Private Walter Giddy’s Battalion was defending Bernafay Wood in the period the 17th Manchesters were assaulting Trones Wood.  Lieutenant Ralph Miller and Arthur Bell were assisted by South African troops when they went to recover the wounded Company Sergeant Major Charles Johnson.  Extracts of Walter Giddy’s diary may suggest he was with those men.

9th July 1916

“Shall never forget it, as long as I live. Coming up the trench we were shelled the whole time, and to see a string a wounded making their way to a dressing station, those who can walk or hobble along…The Manchesters had to evacuate the wood below us, and we the one along here…

10th July 1916

… Of course we’ve dug in a bit, but its no protection against those big German shells… The S.A. lads in our platoon have stuck it splendidly, it has been a tough trial this.

We heard cries from the wood further down, and Geoghan and Edkins went to investigate, finding three wounded men lying down in the open. They had been lying there three days among their own dead, and had been buried a couple of times by their own shells, and the one brought in had been wounded again. They asked for four volunteers to bring in the other two, so off we went. It was an awful half hour, but we were well repaid by the grateful looks on their haggard faces. Poor old Geoghan was hit, his head was split off by shrapnel. Four of us buried him this morning.”

Extracts of Arthur Bell’s notes tell us:-

 “Who will volunteer to bring back Sergt. Major “J” (Johnson) – this was Lieut. Jockey M. (Miller) outside Trones Wood one day…Right, so we set off along the trenches.  The Lieutenant must have known where to look, for we got to the Sergt. Major without much trouble.  He was quite unconscious, hit in the face and elsewhere.  Nearby were some South African soldiers and one of them volunteered to help to carry the S.M. back to our lines.  He – the S.M – was a very heavy man…We went back over the top via the Briquetterie and the Sunken Road….”

The suggestion that the troops were wounded three days before, indicates that the men may not have been Manchesters – who had advanced from Bernafay Wood on the morning of 9th July; withdrawn that afternoon and waited near the Briqueterie on the 10th.  However, the 2nd SA Infantry had not been in Bernafay Wood long enough for Walter to assess this time accurately.

Charles Johnson. March 1915

Charles Johnson. March 1915

On the other hand, CSM Johnson had many injuries consistent with multiple wounds.  It may seem Edkins helped Arthur Bell carry the stretcher and Walter Giddy, Geoghan and their Section helped recover the other two wounded men.  It is possible Lieutenant Miller and Arthur Bell had made their way up to Bernafay Wood on the 10th July, consistent with Walter’s story.

Walter Giddy was born at Barkly East, Cape Province, South Africa, in 1895. He was the third son of Henry Richard Giddy and Catherine Octavia Dicks/Giddy. Walter was schooled at Dale’s College in King Williamstown. He voluntereed, together with friends, for overseas military service in 1915. He served in the 2nd S.A. Infantry Regiment. Having survived the battle of Delville Wood, he was killed by shrapnel on the 12th April 1917 near Fampoux. Walter Giddy is commemorated by a Special Memorial in Point du Jour Military Cemetary.

Arthur D Geoghan is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery.  His Grave indicates he died on 9th July, slightly contradicting Walter Giddy’s diary.

Pt. Vernon Edkins - 2nd South African Infantry.

Pt. Vernon Edkins – 2nd South African Infantry. Courtesy SAMHS

Vernon Jeffrey Edkins was the youngest son of Albert and Gertrude Edkins of Clifton, Cambridge (later incorporated into the City of East London in the Eastern Cape) Vernon died on 14th July after wounds received on 13th July during the infamous attack on DELVILLE WOOD. Vernon Edkins’ great niece, Iris Howes, contacted me and directed me to her review of  three great Uncles’ service in the war.  South African Military History Society – East London’s Edkins brothers in WWI This has a treasure trove of  documents, phots and plans.  My grandad, and Iris’s great uncle would be happy we have compared notes – particularly if it were these two men that carried CSM Johnson’s stretcher on 9th or 10th July 1916.

2nd Lieutenant Ralph (Jockey) Mariller Miller died in the assault on Guillemont | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme. Arthur Bell showed a great deal of respect for Ralph Miller and he will have a separate Entry.

Charles JohnsonFollowing transfer to Norwich war hospital CSM Charles Johnson eventually recovered from wounds to his left foot, face, hands and thigh. He was discharged with a Silver War Badge and Kings Certificate | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme.in February 1918 and convalesced in Weston-Super-Mare – with his parents Thomas and Mary Johnson – prior to returning to Manchester.  Charles Johnson had been employed as a printed cloth salesman at  Tootal, Broadhurst & Lee before the war.  The photos show Charles in March 1915 when he held the Rank of CQMS.  He was promoted to CSM that October, prior to embarkation to France.

For more information on events on 9th / 10th July 1916, see Trones Wood | 17th Manchester Regiment on the Somme.