Trones Wood Officer Fatalities

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.  IWM HU37057

Brigade Casualty List 16th & 17th Manchesters

Brigade Casualty List 16th & 17th Manchesters

At the beginning of the account of the Trones Wood assault, it was noted that the depth of resources was significantly less than those available for 1st July.  The most noticeable absence is the diary of 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Callan-MacArdle.  He was a casualty at Trones Wood and the detailed record of his diary came to an end with him.  This was a tragedy for his father Sir Thomas Callan-Macardle, K.B.E., of Cambrickville, Dundalk, Ireland.  It is clearly a loss for all of us, as one of the finest war diarists of the British Army.   Kenneth had joined the Battalion in February 1916 and was part of B Company.  Kenneth was 26 when he died and he has no known resting place.  Very few men were recovered from Trones Wood until the autumn of 1916, due to the continued vulnerability of the position.  Kenneth and many of the other 17th Battalion men who were killed at Trones Wood are commemorated Thiepval. More information can be found at Kenneth Macardle Profile

IWM HU 115490 Malcolm Grigg

HU 115490 Malcolm Grigg

IWM Grigg 2nd From R

Q 70075 Possibly Riflemen Andrew (middle) and Grigg (second from the right, background) of the London Rifle Brigade with troops of the 104th and 106th Saxon Regiments. British and German soldiers fraternising at Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914, front of 11th Brigade, 4th Division.

2nd Lieutenant Malcolm Howard Grigg also died at Trones Wood on 9th July and is commemorated at Thiepval, as originally been posted missing and later presumed killed in action.  A junior officer of the 17th Manchesters (attached from 26th), Malcolm was 22 when he died.  Lieutenant Leslie Humphreys was captured at Trones Wood (See PoW).  He recounted (IWM P210) that Malcolm was killed by a bomb [grenade] landing on him as the Germans surrounded the remaining detachment of survivors including about 20 members of A Company and approximately 30 members of B Company dug in at the edge of the wood.  Malcolm’s mother, Gertrude and father John Selby Grigg, lived at 10 Radley Road, Tottenham in London.

Malcolm had previously served in the ranks as Pte 9603, 5th (City of London) Battalion (London Rifle Brigade) 4th November 1914 to 5th May 1915 and possibly originally posted to 21st Manchesters when commissioned on 23rd August 1915.  The renowned Christmas Truce photo was sent to Malcolm’s father and may feature him wearing the cap and scarf to the right side of the image.

2nd Lt. Robert Calvert. The Times 21/7/1916.  Thanks to

2nd Lt. Robert Calvert. The Times 21/7/1916.

A former St. Bees School pupil, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Mayson Calvert was also killed on 9th July. Robert’s body was eventually recovered and he is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No2.  In common with at least three other members of the Regiment, Robert had originally had a battlefield grave in the south west corner of the wood, close to the point where Trones Alley had entered.  His exhumation record from 1929 indicates Robert’s remains were identified with the help of his pipe.  Kenneth MacArdle’s final contribution described Robert in his diary as “Calvert – a student of classics lately from St Bees in Cumberland, with bored looking wrinkles on his forehead and an inability to pronounce his “R”s which he substitutes with “W”s. He was meant for the Civil Service but makes a good enough soldier and is as comic as a clown with a tired resentful expression.” (Thanks to John Hartley) Robert Calvert had been an accomplished scholar, as a Hastings Exhibitioner at Queens College, Oxford. His parents were Robert and Fanny Calvert.  A major L Calvert  finally arranged the inscription on Robert’s memorial “Remembered at his home, Burgh-by-Sands, Cumberland”.

Arthur Horace Brown

Arthur Horace Brown

2nd Lieutenant Brown was listed in the Battalion casualty report a missing on 10th July.  The 90th Brigade report this was Arthur Horace Mortimer Brown, a former articled clerk, attached from 27th (Reserve) Battalion.  Arthur’s body was discovered in 1933 in Bernafay Wood, close to Trones Alley on the eastern side.  Following exhumation Arthur was identified by his personal effects, including a signet ring engraved by his father in 1908.  He was then reburied in Ovillers Military Cemetery.  His parents Arthur Mortimer and Susanah Kate Brown lived at 2 Wilkinson Street, South Lambeth.  Arthur senior had a business with artificial flowers.  They received Arthur’s medals at a Great Portland Street address in 1929. Aged 29 at his death, Arthur had been commissioned on 27th October 1915 and arrived in France on 21st April 1916.  Arthur is commemorated at St Marks War Memorial at Kennington Oval.

2nd Lieutenant Charles William Robertson is another subaltern attached to B Company of the 17th Battalion (from 3rd) who was originally posted as wounded & Missing. Charles died of wounds in captivity on 22nd August 1916. He is buried in Le Cateaeu Military Cemetery-most likely close to a German Hospital he may have been treated for wounds to his chest and left arm. Charles had been a Corporal in 3/14 London (Scottish) Regiment prior to his Commission- Gazetted 15/11/1915 -and was the 25 year old son of William and Emily Robertson, of 5 Clarence Square, Cheltenham. William arranged the inscription ‘Till He Come’ on his son’s headstone. At this stage he lived at Crawford Road, Wandsworth and worked at the India Office in Whitehall.