Tag Archives: Flers

Remembering Private John Morrissey 8734. Died 2/11/1916.

John MorrisseyJohn Morrissey died on 2nd November 1916 as a Prisoner of War in Germany.  He is buried in NIEDERZWEHREN CEMETERY which includes many men who have been re interred from other previous PoW cemeteries.

Pt. Morrissey was 21 years old when he died having been born on 15/7/1895. The Service Number indicates he had enlisted in early September 1914 and records confirm he had served with B Company, having trained – alongside Arthur Bell’s brother in law, Herbert Vernon – with VIII Platoon.  The Medal Index Card confirms he entered France with the rest of the 2nd Manchester Pals on 8th November 1915; not quite a year before he died of wounds.

Documents released by ICRC in 2014 now provide further details of wounds and Prisoner of War status. These specify John was captured at Trones Wood on 8th [9th] July. He had grenade wounds to both legs and right fore arm. John was transferred through a series of German Camps returning to Ohrdruf on 21/10/1916. It. Is likely that this last transfer was to seek health care for problems with John’s wounds and an indication of his place of death.

John was the son of John and Ada Morrissey, of 3, Bank Place, Salford. John Snr was himself serving in No 336 Prisoner of War Camp, Pembury, as Pte 21153 with the  Royal Defence Corps, when he received funds from his son’s estate. The family had earlier lived at 15 North George. The 1911 census records that he had worked as an office boy, aged 15/16.  He is recorded on Salford’s St Philip with St Stephen – War Memorial– The Parish where he was born.  He also has a commemoration in Weaste Cemetery, Salford

In loving memory of our Dear son John Morrissey 2nd Man Pals Died of wounds received In France Nov. 2nd 1916

Far from his home neath foreign
skies in a soldier’s grave
our dear son lies

Courtesy Gerald Tiddswell,, who discovered John’s father was part of the Royal Defence Corps acting as guard in a British PoW camp.  The Friends of Salford Cemeteries Trust

Anniversary 12th October 1916 – Flers Losses for 17th Manchesters

AIF Cemetery, Flers. Courtesy CWGC

AIF Cemetery, Flers. Courtesy CWGC

On 12th October 1916, the 17th Battalion took part in a disastrous assault on German positions north of the village of Flers.  Some advances were possible, but all progress was conceded in the face of relentless machine gun defences from the German Marines.  Arthur Bell – who provides a large part of the narrative on this site – was wounded at Flers and in common with many of his peers, his active Service ended on this day.   The anniversary also marks the end of the Battalion’s main action for the year.  They want on to further significant deeds in 1917.

The majority of 17th Battalion’s casualties in the summer of 1916 had enlisted into the Manchester Regiment during 1914; or early 1915. The troops  who were killed, wounded and captured in the assaults in July 1916 left very few ‘original’ Warehouseman and Clerks behind.  Sixteen of the ‘original’ Pals died on 12th October 1916 and a total of twenty members of this group died in that month.  The profile of the 12th October casualties are provided in this post.

WACOS Crest IILeonard Edmondson's Grave. Former pupil of Warehouseman & Clerks Orphans' School

Leonard Alfred EDMONDSON 8132 – Born Whalley Range, M/Chr. KiA. Aged 26 Former pupil of Warehouseman and Clerks Orphans’ School with his brother Charles and Arthur Bell.  Son of Alfred and Madeline E. Edmondson, of “Alarldale”, Highbury Avenue, Prestatyn, Flint. XI Platoon “C” Coy.  A.I.F. FLERS

Henry Kay Evans (see letters here) 8135 – Born Levenshulme.  KiA.. Aged 28 Son of Thomas W. and Agnes Evans, of 28, Ashwood Avenue, West Didsbury, Manchester. Trained with IX Pln, “C” Coy. Educated at Manchester Grammar 1904-1910, he had been a member of the Gymnasium Eight and played football for the school and YMCA. Father T.W Evans, Manager of the Manchester Evening News.  A.I.F. FLERS


Ernest FOALE 8140 – *Born Salford 1888.  Resident Seedley. 1911 Salford .236 Liverpool St , occupation Warehouse man.  KiA.  “A” Coy. I Platoon.  A.I.F. FLERS

8241 Alec Mitchell – Born St Bride’s Manchester.  Residence Sale.  DoW. Age 25. “D” Coy. Son of Charles William and Kate Mitchell, of 4, Warrener St., Sale, Manchester. Native of Brooks’ Bar, Manchester.   DARTMOOR “Grant him O Lord thine eternal peace.”
Harold PALMER 8265 – Born Greenheys, Manchester.  “D” Coy. Aged 38. Husband of Susannah Palmer, of 4, Horton Rd., Rusholme, Manchester.   THIEPVAL

Palmer H MEN 12.10.1917


 Hubert CRAIG 8474 – Born Walsall, Staffs. Enlisted M/Chr. KiA. Aged 28. “A” Coy. III Pln. 17th Bn. Son of the late Hubert and M. J. Craig, of Rusholme. Manchester.   THIEPVAL
Hugh Fraser HERBERT 8623 – Born & Resident Galashiels, Selkirk. KiA.  “B” Coy.  THIEPVAL
William NEWLAND 8766 – Born Hulme, Manchester. Resident Stretford. DoW.. Age 23 Son of Gilbert Newland, of 18, Portland Rd., Gorse Hill, Stretford, Manchester. “A” Coy. IV Platoon.  DARTMOOR
Sidney PAGE 8800 – Born   St. John’s, Pendlebury. Resident Irlams-o’-th’-height, Lancs. KiA. Age 23 “C” Coy Son of George and Sarah Ann Page, of 4, Prestwich St., Irlams-O’-th’-Height, Manchester.   THIEPVAL



Arthur ROGERS 8826 – Born New Moston, Manchester. KiA. None “B” Coy.  THIEPVAL
James ROBERTS 8840 – *Born Manchester. Resident Pendleton, Lancs. Enlisted 3/9/14. Employed as Printer. Father James, 91 Clarence Street, L/Broughton, then 2 Blackstock Rd, Chorlton-on-Medlock; Home of Uncle William, who was recipient of Williams effects (none) and medals.  Mother died by 1916.  James Nr was Pt. 41346 in Welsh Rgmnt. Promoted L/Cpl. 1/7/16. KiA. None “C” Coy.  THIEPVAL
James Alfred RILEY 17738 – Born Ancoats, Manchester. KiA. Age 21 Son of Edward Riley, of 95, Bradford Rd., Manchester, and the late Mary Riley.   THIEPVAL
Robert Jackson SETTLE 18421 – Born & Resident Farmworth, Lancs. KiA. Age 26. Son of Joseph and Elizabeth Settle, of 139, Lorne St., Moses Gate, Bolton; husband of Alice Settle, of 19, Green Lane, Kearsley, Bolton. Enlisted April, 1915.   THIEPVAL

Patrick MCGUIRE 24744 – Born Manchester. KiA. Age 28. Son of the late Martin and Bridget McGuire; husband of Maria McGuire, of 6, Blair St., Oldham Rd., Manchester. L/Cpl  Patrick Mcguire (Paddy) leaves a Widow, Maria and Children. Played left back for Manchester City.  THIEPVAL

Fred TURPIN 26268 – Born Manchester. KiA. None   THIEPVAL
Joe KNAPPER 28464 – Born Hollingwood, Lancs. KiA. Age 21. Son of Mark Knapper, of 8, Bower Lane End, Hollinwood, Oldham. News has reached Mr. Mark Knapper of 6, Bower lane end ,Hollingworth, that his son Pte 28464 Joe Knapper, who worked as a spinner in Oldham, has been listed as missing, on the 12th Oct 1916. He has now been reported as killed on this date. This is the second son that Mr. Knapper has lost in 17 days. Pte 7011 Mark Knapper of the 1/7th kings Liverpool Regiment, was killed on 25th September, 1916.Formerly served in the 3/9th Manchester’s  THIEPVAL

The casualty list provides an illustration of the replacement drafts, from Manchester, Lancashire and much further afield.   713 men had joined the 17th Battalion in July 1916.  The few Service Records remaining for men who died in October 1916 enables there to be some extrapolation to assess the likely make up of the troops that replaced the original pals.

Personal accounts recount the changing nature of the Battalion when the first draft of men arrived in mid July.  The unique status of the clerical workers was the first element to change when men arrived from the Manchester Regiment Reserve Battalions.  Men attached to the Battalion with service number commencing 30000 are likely to have formed the first element of the July 1916 draft.  There were no casualties in this number sequence before 10th July and these men are likely to have been attached from the 25th (Reserve), or Territorial Battalions.  As such, the majority were Mancunian born or resident.  Nineteen of the October Roll of Honour were part of this group and 16 died on 12th July 1916.

John MORT 32390 – Born Hulme, Manchester. KiA. None   THIEPVAL
George Bartlett ELLIOTT 32794 – Born Sale, KiA. None   A.I.F. FLERS Manchester University Roll of Honour – Elliott, George Bartlett. Son of Thomas Phelps Elliott,
Holly Villa, Rectory Road, Crumpsall. Born 1895 at Sale.
Holly Bank S. ; Manchester G.S. O.T.C. Oct. 1915
to Jan. 1 9 1 6. Apprentice to the Cotton Trade. Enl. 1 9 1 6 ;
17th Bn. Manch. R. ; Cpl. ; Western Front. Killed 12th
Oct. 19 1 6 at Flers, Somme.
John ROWLAND 33381 – **Born & Resident Lees, Oldham. Originally 27th Battalion..    THIEPVAL
Cyril FURBER 33414 – Born Chester.  Resident Oldham.  KiA.. Age 26. Son of Annie Furber, of 133, Rock St., Mumps, Oldham, and the late John E. Furber.   THIEPVAL
Albert HOPE 33608 – Born Pendleton.  Residence Blackley, M/Chr. KiA.. None   THIEPVAL
Horatio MATHER 33760 – Born Manchester.  Resident Heaton Park. KiA. Age 30. Eldest son of Jane Mather, of 21, Park St., Heaton Park, Manchester, and the late William Mather.   THIEPVAL
John Edward TIERNAN 33761 – Born Manchester. KiA. Age 28. Son of William and Mary Tiernan, of 101, Edson Place, Tieman Avenue, Corona, Long Island, U.S.A. Native of Manchester, England.   A.I.F. FLERS
Charles Francis TAYLOR 33853 – Born Manchester. Resident Harpurhey. KiA. Age 25. Son of Charles and Sarah Catherine Taylor, of 22, Baywood St., Harpurhey, Manchester; husband of Teresa Taylor (nee Gowing). L/Sgt 33853 Charles, Francis Taylor of 22 Baywood St, Harpurhey has been killed in action 12-10-16 aged 25. Killed, shortly after marrying his sweetheart, Miss Teresa Gowing.  WARLENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
Peter Swan WALKER 33876 – Residence Newton Heath. KiA. Age 31. Son of Charles and Mary Walker; husband of Edith Walker, of 500A, Oldham Rd., Newton Heath, Manchester.   THIEPVAL
Arthur BOYLING 33988 – Born Thornham Lancs. Resident Chadderton. KiA.. Age 31. Son of Edward and Fanny Boyling.   THIEPVAL
William CLARKE 33998 – Born Oldham. KiA. None   A.I.F. FLERS
William MORAN 34516 – Born St . Helens. KiA. Age 22. Son of William and Katherine Moran, of 9, Hamilton St., Collyhurst, Manchester.   A.I.F. FLERS
William NOLAN 34824 – Born Dublin. Resident Southport, Lancs. KiA. None   THIEPVAL
Percy Robert MARSHALL 34855 – Born Stockport. Resident Withington.. Age 36. Brother of Harold Marshall, of 106, Oliver St., Stockport.   WARLENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
James ORMISHER 35215 – Born Wigan, Lancs. KiA. Age 21. Son of John Thomas and Ann Ormisher, of 53, Northumberland St., Wigan.   THIEPVAL
Moses VALENTINE 35375 – Born & Resident Standish, Lancs. KiA. Age 28. Son of John and Margaret Valentine, of 26, Church St., Standish, Wigan.   THIEPVAL.  Manager at dye works. Standish Cenotaph.

Fourteen casualties numbered 43131-43246 were attached to the 17th Battalion, having transferred from other Lancashire Battalions, although one man was from Newcastle.  Some of these men were returning to service after wounds and others had newly arrived in France after serving as reserves with their original Regiments.   Eight of these Lancashire men died on 12th October.

Thomas SCHOLES 43131 – Born St John’s Bolton, Formerly 16467, Loyal North Lancs Regt. DoW.. Age 32. Son of James and Caroline A. Scholes, of Bolton.   DARTMOOR
Richard BENNISON 43132 – Born Bolton.  Formerly 16117, North Lancs. Regt. KiA. Age 27. Son of Eliza Bennison, of 1, Gilnow Rd., Bolton, and the late George Bennison.   THIEPVAL
John Dickinson. Courtesy Astley Hall

John Dickinson. Courtesy Astley Hall

John DICKINSON 43133 – Born Chorley. Formerly 14284, 9th Loyal North Lancs Regt. enlisting on 7/9/1914.  Wounded 7/7/1916 – Poss La Boiselle. Previously employed by Ellerbeck Colliery. KIA. Age 29. Son of Mrs. Emily Arrowsmith, of II, Carr Lane, Chorley, Lancs.   THIEPVAL. Attended St Gregory’s Catholic Church, Chorley. Further details courtesy @SKnight1921

Heys Robert 17-43166Robert  HEYS 43166 – Born Rawtenstall, Lancs, Formerly 25013, East Lancs Regt. KIA. None   A.I.F. FLERS
Heys Burnley News 11.11.1916


arry Dixon HEYS 43168 – *Born Lancaster.  Former Butcher. Resident 78 Fleet Streer, Nelson Lancs. Enlisted27/3/16 26472, 12th Reserve East Lancs Regt.Embarked  France 4/7/16. Attd. 17th MChrs. 11/7/16. Trsfrrd. 1/9/16. KiA. Age 21. Son of Matthew and Mary Ann Heys, of 17, Woodside Terrace, Nelson, Lancs.   THIEPVAL

Wilfred W WALKER 43179 – Born & Resident Brierfield, Lancs. Formerly 26308, East Lancs Regt. KiA. . Age 21. Son of Richard and Grace Walker, of 18, Halifax Rd., Brierfield, Burnley.   THIEPVAL
Harry WIBDEN 43181 – Born Cloughfold. Resident Rawtenstall. Formerly 22145, East Lancs Regt. KiA. None   THIEPVAL
Percy JONES 43237 – Born Glascote, Warwick. Resident Stockingford, Nuneaton. Formerly 18821, South Lancs Regt. KiA. None   THIEPVAL

Sixteen remaining men on the month’s Roll of Honour had transferred from other county Regiments; directly from reserve battalions, or recovering from wounds; none of the subsequent number sequence had been present at Guillemont .   Ten of these men (2 assumed with Berks. connection)  43271-43339 had transferred from the Royal Berkshire Regiment; eight died on 12th October.

Archie Edgar BLUNDELL 43271 – *Born & Resident 3 Stratfield St, Bow. Labourer. Wife Alice. 2 Daughters & Son (Died). Enlisted 1/9/14  11580, 1st & 3rd Bttns. Royal Berks Regt.  France 23/2/15. GSW Back (1st Btttn.) 15/5/15, Richebourg. Home until 7/12/15.  Transferred 17th M/Chrs 1/9/16. KiA. Brother’s letter confirmed service in B Coy. 6th Platoon using RBR No.. Age 34. Son of Mrs. B. Blundell; husband of Mrs. Alice Glitz (formerly Blundell).   THIEPVAL
Albert John GARDNER 43273 – Born Newington, Wallingford, Oxon. Formerly 9219, 1st Bttn Royal Berkshire Regt. KiA. None L/Cpl 43273 Albert, John Gardner of Newington, Wallingford, Oxon. A letter from Pte Briggs to his sister Sarah of Oxford states: “I saw your brother killed and buried by a shell along with 3 other men at Flers on 12th October”. He was 21yrs old and had worked as a farm labourer, for Mr. frank Stubb since leaving school. Arrived France 20/9/1914 with Regular RBR. Parents James and Sarah.  THIEPVAL
Frederick ATKINS 43277 – Born Staton Church.  Residence Henley-on-Thames. KiA. Age 34. Husband of Ethel Jane Atkins, of Turville Village, Henley-on-Thames.   THIEPVAL
Edwin BURROWS 43278 – Born Oxford. Enlisted Acton, Middx. KiA. Formerly 19171, Royal Berks Regt.. Age 37. Son of Charles and Martha Burrows; husband of Helen Burrows.   THIEPVAL
Pte Arthur BOSELEY 43280 – Born Tilehurst. Resident Reading, Berks. DoW. Formerly 20969, Royal Berks Regt.. None   FLATIRON COPSE
Robert JENNINGS 43307 – Born and Resident Stanford-in-the-vale, Faringdon, Berks. Formerly 20955, Royal Berkshire Regt. KiA. None Pte 43307 Robert Jennings of Stamford in the Vale Farrington Berkshire has been reported missing 12-10-16 aged 35. A quarryman. Joined the battalion on 1-9-16.  THIEPVAL
Courtesy Manchester Regiment Group Forum

Courtesy Manchester Regiment Group Forum

Frederick William SEYMOUR 43336 – *Born Tilehurst, Berks. 1901 Son of Henry & Mary Ann. Employed packer with G.W.R. Engineering Dept. Pangbourne.  Resident 10 Downing Road, Tilehurst. Married Elizabeth Hiscock  19/5/16.. Attested in Reserve Dec 1915.  Mobilised Feb 1916 20171, France 29/3/16.C Coy. 9th Royal Berkshire Regt.  10.4.16, Bovington. Wounded 28.6.16. Wimereux Hosp. 29/6/16. 5th Bttn. 30/6/16.  Attached 11/7/16 then Transfer 17th M/Chr 1/9/16.  KiA Age 27. Commemorated on GWR Memorial, Chester.. None   THIEPVAL

Arthur James THOMAS 43339 – Born & Resident Penzanze Cornwell, Enlisted Reading. KiA. Age 34. Son of the late John and Eliza Stella Thomas, of 43, Belgravia St., Penzance, Cornwall.   THIEPVAL

Four of the group (1 assumed) had served with the Royal Fusilier, one with the Royal Sussex and one transferred from the Middlesex Regiment. All of these men died on 12th October.

Charles Henry CHILDS 43353 – Born Acton, Middx. Formerly G/26271, Royal Fusiliers. KiA. Age 35. Son of the late George and Esther Childs.   THIEPVAL
George Henry KING 43358 – Born Elmfield, Ryde.  Formerly 8701, Royal Fusiliers. KiA. Age 43. Son of Charles John and Mary King, of Elmfield, Ryde, Isle of Wight; husband of Florence King, of 106, Salisbury Rd., West Ealing, London. Served in India with 1st Bn. Hampshire Regt. for 12 years, and in South Africa with 2nd Bn. Royal Munster Fusiliers for 4 years. L/Cpl 43348 George, Henry King of 108, Salisbury Rd West Ealing has been killed in action; 12-10-16 aged 41. Joined in a draft on 1-9-16. His body was located by a grave registration unit, and reburied at Marlencourt. A postman.  WARLENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY
Montague Sinclair PAYNE 43362 – Born & Resident Edmonton, Middx. KiA. None   THIEPVAL
J WAKELIN 43372 – Born & Resident Ealing.  Formerly G/26267, Royal Fusiliers. KiA. Age 21. Son of Mrs. E. Wakelin, of 56, Bedford Rd., West Ealing, London.   A.I.F. FLERS
Stephen PARSONS 43409 – *Born  Crawley, Sussex. Resident 16 Spencer Road – Bricklayers Labourer. Parents Nathan Peter & Annie. Enlisted 28/10/15 G/8057  Royal Sussex Regt. – Time expired Territorial 4th Bttn. – 4 Yrs. Posted 10th RSR Nov. 1915.  France March 1916. GSQ R/Hand 29/6/16. 9th Bttn .Aug 1916. Transfer 17th M/CHr 1/9/16. KiA. Age 34.. None   THIEPVAL
Albert HACKETT 43419 – *Born Horley, Surrey.  Bricklayer’s labourer & resident Newtown, Near Bognor. Attested 25th (Reserve) Middx. Regt. 11/12/15 Posted 24/3/16. France with 18th Bttn. 1/7/16. Transferred 17th M/Chrs 1/9/16.KiA Poss. Age 34. Age 32. Son of George and Ellen Hackett, of 52, Essex Rd., Bersted, Bognor, Sussex. Pte 43419 Harry Hackett of 52, Essex Rd, Newtown Bognor was reported wounded and missing at Flers 12th October aged 33. Joined the battalion 1-9-16.A bricklayer’s labourer. Parents; George and Ellen.  THIEPVAL

Records compiled from CWGC, SDGW, Census, Service and Pension Records. Significant nuggets also obtained with thanks from  http://www.themanchesters.org/ and members of http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php & http://salfordwarmemorials.proboards.com/

Officer casualties include C Company OC, Captain MacDonald Warriner Brown of Dane-in-Shaw 13 Elms Avenue, Lytham, Lancashire, aged 26.  His Widow was Jean Warriner  Dodds, after she remarried.  MacDonald is commemorated at Thiepval and at home in Cirencester Parish Church and Grammar School Memorial, Bingham Hall, Cirencester.  He had been born in Penarth in 1890. Please See Henry Kay Evans . A Master at North Manchester School, he joined the staff of the School in 1910, and joined the Public Schools Battalion in Nov. 1914. Granted a commission in the 17th Manchesters in 1915. He was grenade instructor, and only a fortnight before he fell he was made Captain. Quite recently CO, Colonel Johnson, remarked to another officer how splendidly Brown was doing, and how it was a certainty that he would get speedy promotion and honour. Who that heard him talk to the Natural History Society on the birds of the Fens, or of the Cheshire meres, will ever forget him? He was just at his best then, and would give, from his fascinating stories connected with the pursuit of his favourite hobby.
“The memory of his generous, sunny nature and of the healthy influence he exerted among all who worked with him, will long be treasured.”

Anniversary 11th October 1916 – 17th Manchesters, Flers

AIF Flers Courtesy CWGC

AIF Flers Courtesy CWGC

The 2nd Manchester Pals and the other men of 90th Brigade had been away from the front line after the actions on July 1916.  The battle of the Somme had continued in their absence and they were called back to action in early October.  An assault was planned to extend the gains north of the village of Flers.  This area had featured the The first Tanks in Battle. B and D Companies took over the line on the morning of 11th October.  During the day, the Manchesters faced a heavy bombardment from the German artillery.  B Company suffered the heaviest losses and had to be relieved by C Company.*  Six men lost their lives.

CSM Jones as VI Platoon Sergeant March 1915.  Liet. Norman Vaudrey sits to the left with L/Sgt. Ernest Greenwood to the left.  Book of Honour Courtesy MRF

CSM Jones as VI Platoon Sergeant March 1915.

CSM Percy JonesCSM Percy Howard Jones 8673Jones Percy H 17-8673 CSM B Company’s Company Sergeant Major was killed in the German bombardment,  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.


8673 Percy Howard Jones (Left) and 8060 Pte Herbert (Bert) Brown (3rd from Left) probably with other members of V Platoon. Training at Heaton Park in tram Guards uniforms 1914. Courtesy Stuart Brown

Sergeant Harry Sydney Guthrie 26327

Sgt. Harry Guthrie.  Courtesy Tony Bowden - Manchesters Forum

Sgt. Harry Guthrie. Courtesy Tony Bowden – Manchesters Forum

Guthrie HS MM 17-26327 Sgt

Guthrie HS MM 17-26327 Sgt

Harry Guthrie enlisted in 2nd City Battalion after resigining from Manchester Police on 30th June 1915.***  He was 27 years old when he died.  It is not confirmed that Harry was in B Company, However,   Private James Appleyard was also a Disbury Division Police Constable who is shown on the Roll of Honour photo in V Platoon of B Company and it’s quite possible the colleagues had served together. Harry had arrived in France on Christmas day 1915; a short time after the majority of the Battalion arrived in November that year.  He had been awarded the Military Medal for action expected to have taken place in July 1916, although the actual date or deed is not known. Harry is also buried at A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers. Harry had been born in Newton le Willows, Lancs. where he is commemorated on the Earlestown War Memorial.  His widow Florence  Guthrie lived at 56, Cecil Street, Whitworth Park.  Florence provided prose in her obituary entry in the local newspaper.*

“Sweet be your rest, my husband dear,

In life I loved you very dear,

In death I do the same.

From his sorrowing and devoted wife, FLO”

The newspaper also confirmed the MM award for bravery and notes that Harry had been recommended for a commission. Private Robert Jackson 8683 Born in Flixton and resident in Urmston when he enlisted, Robert Jackson had trained with XIII Platoon of D Company, which had occupied the front line with C Company on the morning he died on 11th October.  He has no known resting place and is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial It’s surprising to note that Robert Jackson’s Medal Index Card does not include a date of entry in France, or qualification for the 1915 Star.  His number indicates he enlisted in 1914 and he may have stayed behind when the Battalion left England in November 1915. Trafford War Dead provides census data and indicates Robert was 25 when he died and previously employed by the Callico Printers Association, Manchester.  He is found on memorials at St Clement’s and St Clement’s Day Schools Roll of Honour in Urmston.


Pte 8230 Alexander (Alex) Mackie (Seated) and Pte 8060 Herbert (Bert) Brown (Standing) Simpson & Son Wharf Road Grantham. Courtesy Stuart Brown. Bert was promoted to Sergeant and killed at Manchester Hill on 21st March 1918, attached to 90th Bgd TMB

Private Alexander Mackie 8230

Mackie A 17-8230

Mackie A 17-8230

Born in Salford, Alexander had been living with his Uncle in Miles Platting in 1911; working as a pattern card maker in a shipping warehouse. He trained with VI Platoon of B Company and arrived in France on 8th November 1915.  He is buried alongside his fellow Manchester men in A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers

Alex Mackie was mourned by Bert Brown’s mother, who wrote “Our dear Alex Mackie killed Oct 11th 1916”.  The Brown family believe Alex was possibly adopted by Mrs Brown, or at least a lodger in her home.

Private Louis Starkie 31155

Private Starkie was the son of Alfred and Sarah Jane Starkie, of 12, Bury St., in Oswaldtwistle,  Lancs. where he had been born.  Louis will  enlisted in 1915 in one of the Training Reserve Battalions and will have formed part of one of the drafts of additional men in the Battalion in July 1916.  He was 21 when he died.  His body was not recovered and he is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial Private Walter Dobson 43161

Dobson W 17-43161

Dobson W 17-43161

Formerly 24439 in the 12th East Lancs. Regiment, Private Dobson is buried alongside his fellow Manchester men in A.I.F Burial Ground, Flers Walter had been born in Baxneden, Lancs and lived at 17 Nelson Street in Accrington with his wife Rose, when he enlisted in his home town in December 1915.  The couple had married in March that year and their son, James was born in November.  His record indicates he was a cardroom hand in a cotton mill in his civilian life. The document isn’t clear, but it appears Walter arrived in France in early July 1916.  He probably formed part of the Divisional Reserve while he undertook further training.  He will then have formed part of the reinforcements to the 17th Manchesters after the losses of July 1916.  His transfer date may have been 1st September. Rose received an allowance from the Army for a short period after she was advised of her husband’s death. Evidence suggests Private Dobson had a battlefield grave and was subsequently re-interred alongside his peers.** *Extract of Battalion War Diary and obituary courtesy Kingo http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php (MRF) **Courtesy Mack and confirmed by Service Record MRF ***Courtesy Marymuseum MRF ****Courtesy Prospectroad SWARM

Flers 12th October 1916

Flers 12th October 1916

Flers 12th October 1916

This photograph shows the view from Gird Support Trench as seen by the supporting troops on 12th October 1916.

The British front line was situated at the bottom of the depression close to the vegetation marking the track running across the image from the chalky white storage area next to the road.

The German front line – Bayonet Trench – was located at the top of the rise overlooking the British advance.  The 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers assaulted on this section of the line, with the 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment immediately to their left (north).  Neither Battalion made much progress in the face of withering machine gun fire from the German defenders.

Arthur Bell was wounded by shrapnel in the foot at this place.  He was evacuated home.


Flers Assault 12th October 1916

17th Manchesters Battalion Plan.   Courtesy of Kingo of http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php

17th Manchesters Battalion Plan. Courtesy of Kingo of http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php

This plan forms part of the 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment Was Diary and shows the timing and plans for the British artillery bombardment.  The German infantry were seen to  retire behind the front line during the bombardment and then retook their positions when the creeping bombardment moved onwards and the Manchesters and Royals Scots Fusiliers advanced.

It appears Arthur Bell’s A Company assaulted Zone B.  We don’t know if III Platoon was held back by CSM Ham to hold the line from counter-attack.  None of the company advanced more than 20 yards before being scythed down by machine gun fire.  Arthur Bell received his ‘Blighty Wound’ here.   Remembering all the men that died.

Read this to learn more https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/flers/

Dilemma on reporting success on the First Day of the Somme

Graham Maddocks summed up the challenge “…even after the passage of more than eighty years [90], this is still not a well known or accepted fact.  Despite obvious and catastrophic set-backs, the men of these two divisions [18th & 30th] accomplished near miracles over difficult and varying terrain and even though it is odious to compare their success with the total failure elsewhere, it is that very failure that has fueled the public’s perception of the Somme battle ever since.”

Any feedback on how I have struck the balance in this site would be welcome.


The Battlefield Debut of the Tank, 1916

The Battlefield Debut of the Tank, 1916.

Good post with an introduction for the first use of tanks in battle, during the attack on Flers.  This was a few weeks before the Manchesters went over the top north of Flers, without tank support.

I have a feeling the first photos of tanks show Trones Wood in the background.