Monday, 6 August 2012

1916 THE REAL BATTLES BEGIN


                                          
                        

A rare look down a trench of 1916/17.  The walls are breaking down the floor is liquifying from the mud.  Into these conditions whole sections of men, horses, artillery cannons  were pulled under and drowned-by the time this photo was taken, bodies were being used to hold up the walls of trenches.  If you trod on something hard in the front line, it was usually an unburied body.  As often as not, the water became waist deep.  The campaigns of 16-17 and the continuous shelling across the low land of Flanders accelerated the rise of water.  Men from the Labour Corps and Engineers were in a constant fight against water, and pumps even got sucked under the mud.  Such was this one element of life in the trenches.

As 1916 dawned, the armies of the Western Front were locked in an ever growing series of trenches, the conditions of which were deteriorating. Indecisive battles of 1915 with ever growing casualty lists didn't really sway public opinion as the citizen armies grew, trained to what seemed like perfection.  The Lusitania had been sunk, the Germans had used gas and the flamethrower against the Hague (forerunner of the Geneva) convention with awful consequences-the so called chivalry if it existed was dead in the water. Gallipoli had been a disaster-Churchill resigned over it-but the allied armies of that sector quietly withdrew apparently without Turkish knowledge in January.  The likelihood of that though was that the Turks were just as glad that the fighting was over. Hence no route out of the strait for Russia.  In the heavens above the Germans had the upper hand with pilot quality and machine quality, and had a number of high scoring aces. Only a mere handful of men from Barton had enlisted-you generally had to be wealthy and already an officer. The heavens above Barton knew the roar and whine of the early aircraft as they went gallantly from Elsham under Captain Fanstone to fight the Zeppelins over Hull and the Humber.  There was also a seaplane base at East Halton and a refuelling spot next to the railway line at New Holland.  Food was getting scarce.  Around the British coast and beyond lurked German submarines,  growing in number and beginning to take a heavy toll on ships bringing supplies to the UK.  The risk in bringing goods was rewarded with high prices!   The Germans










22nd January George Dewey is wounded in action serving with the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, in the Indian Expeditionary Force (IEF) it is reported he was wounded on 24th December 1915.  He had given up a good job with the Indian Railway and had lived on King Street.

29th January Sergeant Geary of the West Ridings Regiment, a clerk in holy orders (Kelham, nr Newark Notts) has been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (he has been once severely wounded) 
Joseph Wilberforce Grassby of St.Kilda, Queen St., the son of James and Mrs Grassby has been killed while serving with the 15th Rifles.  He was 27 and leaves a widow and child.


Wilfred Herbert Marshall NORTH-COX
19 years old
2nd March 1916
2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion Sherwood Forresters (Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light infantry) 
Died of enteric at the Royal Military Hospital.  Wilfred was the son of the Revd. H.G.C. North-Cox, vicar of St. Peter’s in the late nineteenth century.   His mother was Clara who resided at ‘Copperdene’ in Butts Road.  He was buried at Byker Cemetery. (ref.DC24)  Photo right.
Wilfred North-Cox was educated at Denstone College and was buried at Heaton cemetery at Newcastle upon Tyne.  His family, brother officers, of the 3rd Sherwood Foresters, fellow students, and old Bartonians attended his funeral. White stacks, pink carnations, and violets adorned the coffin. 

 
Arthur Gledhill has once again been wounded. He joined upon outbreak of hostilities. (Lincolnshire Star)


Alfred Edward WHITAKER
12th March 1916
28 years old
Private 13796, 7th Lincolnshire Regiment
Alfred came to Barton from Hull to work in the Chemical Works, and was living at number 2, Chemical Row at some point. (Later Chemical Lane to Maltkilns Lane) He enlisted in October 1914.  He was a Wesleyan who left a widow, Gertrude, and a child in Margaret St. Hull where he was a pullyman for H & B.  According to casualty lists, Alfred was born and enlisted at Barton. Alfred is buried in Etaples military cemetery, having died of wounds at the Etaples base camp (according to the Parish magazine.
What is known for sure is that the Chaplain Revd. Stanley B Brough had been to visit Alfred and was shocked to find that he had died in the morning. In the same letter he said that Alfred had been buried in a valley which fits in with Etaples where his burial took place. 



18th March Captain J. Morley FRCS of the RAMC the son of Dr.T.S.Morley has been awarded the Croix de Chevalier for his services in the Dardanelles. (Lincolnshire Star)
Sergeant Barraclough DCM Royal Artillery, and Corporal Reginald Parnaby DCM of the Hussars met on Monday for the first time and no doubt had much to compare notes regarding their medals. (Lincolnshire Star)

Harold GILFOY

3rd April 1916
20 years old.
Private 3197, ‘E’ Company 1/5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment
No known grave
Harold was captured and died in German hands while serving with E company of the 5th Lincolns (Barton Company) He was the brother of Herbert who was later killed. 
There is a theory that he went into a trench carrying rations where the German and British trenches met.  
pl The Bishop of Pretoria had confirmed him along with other Barton men.  “Between Souchez and Neuville-St.-Vaast an enemy work party was heard and a patrol sent out.  Private Gilfoy became detached from this unit.  A search was made which yielded nothing, and he was reported missing.  Harry was the son of Tim and Ellen of 61 Newport and became a painter at 15.  He was born and enlisted at Barton.  Harry is remembered with honour at the Arras memorial, bays 3 and 4.  Harold had been wounded in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in 1915. (Visited)







FAMILY TIES-as can be seen here, several deaths in an extended family would have a devastating effect at a time when families had much closer ties.  Here the photos of Harold Gilfoy and Fred Nicholson, along with the Austins, all young members of their family-note not the entire family is here.







Harold is seen at the bottom left of this group of Barton men  The News clip from the Brian Peeps collection of Miss Welch.  Sidney Dixon is holding the axe and  Walter Blythe is on the end with a rifle.  Possibly A E Clapson in the centre with braces.  Seated left was reported in the paper as Private Gilfoy, who ''had since been killed in action''.

Another photo of Harold, in his uniform of his local battalion, Barton Company of the 1st/5th Lincolns. Below, his grieving parents Tim and Ellen of Newport (St) They also lost another son, Herbert in 1916.





15th April Mr J.Hope resigns as military representative. (Lincolnshire Star)

Frank, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Bygott late of Corn Hill farm has been shot dead, through the head in Flanders (July 15th?)  Frank is not listed on the cenotaph. Corporal Frank Bygott, born at Barton and enlisted at Leeds, killed in Flanders on 30th March 1916 while serving with the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regt. (Lincolnshire Star)

Frank BYGOTT
21 years old.
Corporal 15/74 Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regt.
30th March 1916
Frank pictured right, was the eldest son of James and Mary Bygott of Cornhill Farm, Barrow road. Frank was an engineer and had trained at Twyford, Winchester and Lancing College.  He sailed for Port Said as did several other Barton men on the Empress of Britain in March 1915. He sailed for Marseilles in 1916 on the HMT Ascania He is buried at Auchonvilliers military cemetery, 20 km South of Arras.  D Company Leeds City moved up to Serre in March 1916.  Frank was shot through the thigh by a comrade and bled to death. However, his parents received a standardized letter from his officer Lt Colenel Stuart-Taylor who laid it on thick....''he was as good a lad as any who ever stepped...the German lines are not more than 200 yards away at this point, and he was shot in charge of the front line...machine gun bullet...I mourn his loss very deeply...Reverend Chappel, the battalion chaplain also wrote and echoed the sentiments of all who mourned his loss in the company...it seems that he was very much loved and missed by his comrades..The Reverend Chappell assured the parents, James and Mary that the grave would be cared for..the little ceremony was simple...awe inspiring
Unusually his company commander also wrote a fine tribute to....a soldier and a man...informing the parents that an inscribed stone had been erected on the grave at Auchonvilliers.  Frank remained bureid at Auchonvilliers.  (After the war, many bodies were relocated to cenralized cemeteries.


April 29th Kut.  Private George Dewey and Glover Welton are reported in the besieged city of Kut al Imara, the former severely wounded.  Nothing is heard of Glover who is the son of T.Welton of Barrow Rd.

George DEWEY
37 years old
29th April 1916 or 30th June 1916
Rifleman 32712 or 7712,4th Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps
George died in Turkish captivity, after being captured, wounded at the siege of Kut, Mesopotamia. (Iraq) He is remembered at the Basra memorial.  George was the son of William Henry Dewey of the Market Place, possibly where TSB now stands.  They were a big trading family and had a café among other ventures.  
Alos of Handel House in King Street.

May 13th Douglas Witty (or Whitty) of Bank House, Corporal P.H.Morris, (the son of Mr. and Mrs. J.H.Morris) and Sergeant Barraclough have all been recommended for commissions.  Douglas Witty is studying for the Wesleyan Ministry and preached in the chapel on Sunday.  Jack Barraclough, former chauffeur to Fred Hopper is home on leave.  Bobby Pickard and Corny (Cornelius) Doughty are also home and very optimistic regarding the outcome of the war. (Lincolnshire Star)



May 20th: On Monday Sgt. Peter Atkinson, the son of William and Mrs Atkinson of Ferriby Rd. marched back to the front after 8 days leave.  He left for New Zealand in 1900 and joined up for the Boer War, his patriotism having got the better of him.  Leaving his farm behind, the same feeling occurred for him in this War, and he was in the first batch of the New Zealand Light Horse that went to Egypt and Gallipoli, having some rough times at Suvla Bay.  In a fierce hand to hand encounter he saved a comrade’s life by running a bayonet through a Turkish soldier. (Lincolnshire Star)
He is now back in France after a hearty welcome from family and friends.  Peter Hiram Atkinson won the DCM, but it is not known whether it was for this encounter.


 

   

Two officers of the 5th Lincolns, Major Wilson of Barton on the left, wearing steel helmets.  These were first issued in 1915 and their use spread rapidly, saving hundreds of lives as they replaced the old caps.  The officer on the right is wearing a bag that most likely contains a gas mask.  Poison gas attack was a routine occurrence in the poisoned landscape.   









 

Theodore WILES  

33 years old.
31st May 1916
Master Gunner (ships Cpl.1st Class) 210928                          
Theodore went down with H.M.S. Invincible at the battle of Jutland.  Theodore left a widow and child.  He was the son of James Horton Wiles, of 21 Queens Avenue, and the husband of Lilly Perkins, of 12 Oakland Terrace, Hartles Wintney, Winchfield Hampshire. Born at Downham, Norfolk.  Theodore is remembered at the Naval memorial at Chatham.  
The battle of Jutland was a turning point of sorts for the British Navy.  It was a pure show of strength, which resulted in the opposing forces meeting each other off the North East Coast of Scotland. The gigantic sea battle could be seen from land in the Orkneys.  The Invincible had, under the command of Admiral Hood, been doing great destruction under cover of mist on the Derfflinger.  Disastrously the fog lifted and the Invincible was exposed on the skyline to a sharp accurate response from Derfflinger and Konig, sending her quickly to the bottom of the Sea.  Only six made it off the vessel alive.
The strategic outcome was negligible and the losses great, the Germans coming away with lesser damage.  However, this was the last major ship to ship battle of the War, as the German Navy never ventured in large numbers to the British coast again, U Boats being the deadly exception.  The next time the Kaiser’s ‘Sea Pirates’ made a show of strength was at Scapa Flow in 1918 where their fleet was scuttled by their own crews rather than be surrendered to the British under the Versailles peace treaty.
The reluctance of the Germans to do battle with the Royal Navy is a little surprising given their general success up until that point but the tactical deployment of the unrestricted U Boat campaign which achieved the massive objectives of both sinking the bulk of allied and neutral merchant ships, fishing ships and materiel, and almost sinking the public spirit among the allies by the end of 1917 may explain this. 



 The front page from the Hull News dated June 8th 1916, with Master Gunner Theodore Whiles on the left.
As a point of interest, at the bottom of the photograph are the Havercroft brothers from Scunthorpe, Jack and Alex, who both went down with HMS Queen Mary at Jutland.  Alex was only 14 years old, a boy rating. The casualty list from Jutland went on for several days; given the Humber’s maritime traditions, it was only natural that many local men went to Sea.
June 16th  Lance Sgt. Windle who was reported dead has returned to the front.  His grief stricken parents were overjoyed to find he was still alive.  Not as overjoyed as he was, as the saying goes.  He survived the war. (Lincolnshire Star)
Vincent Cammack was on the Marlborough at Jutland.  Theodore Wiles, who went down with the Invincible was master gunner, and had lived at 9 Finkle Lane.  He left a wife and two children, and was the son of James Wiles. (Lincolnshire Star)
Edward Elijah Ward of the Maltkilns has been awarded the DSM (distinguished service medal) for his actions on board the ship, the “Ocean” in the Dardanelles that was sunk.
Harold Gilfoy, it has been reported, was out on patrol in No Mans Land when captured. (This would have been almost definitely been a night patrol)
Lance Corporal T. Robinson has sent a POW card from Friedrichsfeld thanking Mrs Burkitt for a food parcel.  Note: as seen before a big effort was made in towns like Barton to send home comforts to the troops, and especially the Prisoners, whom it was suspected were being treated quite badly in many cases by their captors.

 

Frank COX

25 years old.
27th June 1916
Sergeant 11/49 13th East Yorkshire Regiment
Buried at Mesnil Martinsart (Knigthsbridge) Cemetery. (Grave Ref H65)
Killed in action during an attack on the German lines.  Frank was the son of Alfred and Mary Jane Cox, Rose Ville, East Acridge. The family had been farmhands on Eastfield Road. Frank’s C.L.B. card was dated 1901.   The attack was a trench raid, most likely to gather information on enemy strength, what regiments were based there etc. when the Germans opened heavy fire on the night raiding party, killing Frank instantly, shot through the head. The Germans had been subject to 6 days of continuous shelling on the Somme and would have been very jumpy. They would possibly have more experience of trench warfare than the East Yorkshire men.  Reggie Ling and Jack Kirk would have been somewhere in the vicinity, the three having enlisted together. 
See section on pals who joined up together.  Frank played football for Barton United's cup winning team in 09/10.

                                                                        Frank Cox in Sunday best

July

Reverend Varah wrote ‘we are still anxious to hear about Glover Welton and George Dewey of the Townshend expedition at Kut.  We know that George Dewey was wounded and we hope in consequence that he may have been exchanged.’  (Unfortunately Turkish brutality was commonplace with prisoners who were often murdered or raped, beaten or starved to death.)   A former curate of Barton, Marcel W.T.Conran is serving as a chaplain officer at the front and has received the DCM.  (Chaplain 4th Class)   From this parish alone 90 members of the Church Lads Brigade have volunteered and 11 have made the supreme sacrifice.


George Phillimore HARROLD

19 years old.

1st July 1916
Private 19268
No Known Grave.
Killed in action on the first day of the Somme, George was serving in the Yorks. And Lancaster Regiment ''A'' Company 10th Battalion and was one of the first Barton men to volunteer.  His father had joined the same regiment, being a pre-war soldier of the same, and they had fought side by side until his father was seriously wounded and sent home.  The son of George and Elizabeth Dursley Harrold of Craven Street, Hull, and educated at Craven St. Secondary School, Hull. George and his father enlisted on September 9th 1914 into George Senior's old Regiment the Yorks and Lancasters.  The photo shows George in a strange looking uniform which was a temporary one of the Kitchener Battalions, in Navy Blue.
George snr. had a pre existing rank of Sergeant and this he retained on his re-enlisting. 
George senior was shot in the chest at the battle of Loos, on the same day that Sgt. George F. Gouldthorpe from Barton lost his life, 24h September 1915.  He was invalided out thereafter and returned home after a spell in a field hospital and rehabilitation to the home at 28 Lower Ings Lane in Barton.
He actually lasted to 1937 living at 128 Monks Road Lincoln ending his days as manager at Dawson's factory in Lincoln.  

George junior is remembered on the Thiepval memorial.  (Ref. Pier face 14a-14b.)  His brother, a 14 year old wireless clerk at the post office went missing on the day that his brother was reported killed.  It can only be assumed that he was the first to see the telegram.  He was found at New Holland, on his way to enlist.  He had on him a bible and a pair of boots. The news clip below shows George and his little brother.
The photo right shows George and George Senior.  
Unusually the pair worked at the Ropery (junior) and the family were (senior) belt making specialists.  Harrold senior returned to his profession after the war.  His father had been a doyen of the industry and the Harrold Belt Making Co. survives today.  George senior had a patent for ''the endless belt''!  George had the previous rank of Sergeant as a regular Tommy (born 1866) and returned to the fray with the same rank, George jnr. joining him. The family it seems travelled with their profession and had lived in Cardiff (01) Birmingham Hull and Barton. He ended up as factory manager at Jas. Dawson belts in Lincoln. The company exists to this day as a rubber hose manufacturer.  He was pensioned off after some time there for having a little too much of a good time!





Lawrence BURGESS

37 years old
1st July 1916
Private 14314 10th Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment
Fricourt Military Cemetery
Lawrence could have easily stayed at home for his age but decided that doing his duty was the better option, joining most likely upon the outbreak of War into one of the New Army Battalions. He was killed in action on the opening day of the Somme disaster, Lawrence is buried at Fricourt British Cemetery.  He was the son of Ellen and John Burgess of 13 Newport.  Visited 2008.  His trade was boot repairer.


William Alfred HOWSON

1st July 1916
22 years old.  (Listed as 14 in 1911)
L/Cpl. 10312 1st East Yorkshire Regiment
William was the son of Robert John and Mary Jane Howson of Chad’s Lane Waterside.  He lived at Burnham, having been born at Barrow, and was a farm labourer.  He had seen constant action with his regiment until his death on the opening day of the Somme.  The regiment had been out since the battle of Mons.  Many years ago a veteran of this battalion Mr Ernest Took, then 99 years old, informed me that at Fricourt, where the 1st East Yorkshires attacked, only three men, himself included remained out of a thousand. William is remembered at the Thiepval memorial. Visited 2008


Harry FRANKLIN

25 years old

2nd July 1916
Private 18651st/5th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment 
No Known Grave
Harry was pre-war territorial, most likely with the Barton Company, as his record number shows similarity to others.  Harry was also a Hopper's cycle worker and a keen footballer for Barton Town.  He was the second of the Franklin brothers to be killed.  Harry was born at Barton and enlisted at Grimsby and is remembered at Thiepval Memorial Pier Face 1c. among several thousand names.
The Franklin brothers lived at the Maltkilns, Vaults at the time of war and also 79 Newport (1911)  Their father, Andrew, was a Maltster and his mother was Sarah.  VISITED in 2008.   The photo below shows Harry with a steadying hand of a brother on Charles' shoulder in 1914.  
  

The battle of the Somme, the objective of which was described as ‘The Big Push’ through the German lines commenced on the 1st of July 1916.  It was the first British offensive to consist of a volunteer army. Led by veterans of the battles of 1914, these thousands of men had been trained in the playing fields of the Empire, had enlisted in their thousands when patriotism ruled the hearts of many in the early days of the conflict.  So numerous  were the recruits of the early drives, that broomsticks and shovels were issued in place of rifles that simply weren’t available. Kitchener had asked for a hundred thousand men to enlist.  The instant response was three times that figure.
They were pushed along somewhat to their destiny by men such as W.G.Grace, the cricketer, the young poet supreme, Rupert Brooke,  other sporting and literature names, some of whom would die terrible deaths in the trenches or in Brookes’ case, of dysentery.  The vicars and priests of the Empire played a questionable part, shaming and calling men cowards from the altar, ranting of glory on the battlefield.  They actually received regular guidance direct from the War Office on the conduct of services.  Carefully staged performances  of ''ravaged nuns'' and displaced citizens at public meetings entranced men into enlisting. Men who weren't fit for duty took a sweetener in their pockets to aid their passage through the recruiting process.
Pals battalions, entire factories and trades, streets, colleges and universities, had marched to the recruiting offices in their towns and enlisted as one.  Specific events such as the naval assault on Scarborough and the sinking of the passenger vessel the Lusitania in 1915 had spurred men to enlist. American citizens had likewise joined the Canadian army.  They stayed together in units and were here assembled in the New Army that Lord Kitchener, by now a casualty himself (HMS Hampshire, in mysterious circumstances) had organised.  The Sportsmen’s battalions, the Accrington Pals, the Bantams, (a battalion for men who were too short or light for regular service) the Grimsby Chums were here and ready for this greatest of battles, the Big Push.   
To pre-empt the attack, several huge mine shafts, 20,000 tonnes of Ammonal in each, had been dug beneath the German lines and these were exploded on the day.  A six-day barrage prior to the assault and the heaviest yet, (over a million shells were poured onto the enemy trenches) was supposed to cut the barbed wire entanglements that opposed the new armies to shreds. The Germans simply retreated into their deep system of underground bunkers and waited for the storm of British steel to end.  However, all was not well with them, and one soldier remarked that the end of the world was coming.  Anyone sent outside to observe, as they were ordered to, was definitely not coming back.
‘All that we’ll find is the caretaker and his dog.’ remarked one slightly over optimistic officer. The mines went off as planned, lots of German troops were blown to smithereens, but the wire was largely uncut.  As the whistles of hundreds of officers blew upon that sunny morning, the new army rose, bayonets glistening at 04:00hrs.from their trenches.  On the other side, shattered but living Germans wheeled their machine guns from out of the tunnels that had kept them safe.  The new Battalions of British troops walking in an orderly stroll, many grossly over laden with about 56lb.of equipment upon their backs.  They were fresh to battle and the majority of them, boys, were a sitting target.  The Germans could not believe their eyes.  They were, as one enemy soldier said, ‘Lions led by donkeys.’  Units of Germans stopped firing as a matter of mercy at the end of that first day. Only a few objectives had been captured and the Germans had retaken some of these.  On the first day of the Somme battles, which takes its name after the River, there were a total of nearly 58,000 British casualties.  Of these an estimated 27,000 troops had been killed in action.  The battles, during which the ruins of Gommecourt, Flers-Courcelette, the infamous Thiepval Ridge, Beaumont Hamel, High and Delivlle Woods were fought over, lasted three months; companies and battalions were slaughtered by Machine Gun bullets upon the German wire. There was though, no other plan but to keep on battering the enemy lines. By the end of the campaign it had cost both sides a total of 1.2 million casualties.  1,200,000. Entire streets, school years, factories, universities, trades, had been wiped out.  The effect was devastating.  The postmen and women were delivering the dreaded black lined envelope in thousands. Every town, every city, almost every village lost someone. Never again would Pals battalions be formed.  The Government had now lost the confidence of the British Public.  The only decisive tactic was the cautious yet somewhat ineffective introduction of the Mark 1 tank which had a terrifying effect on the Germans.  The new weapon was initially treated with disdain by the High Command so it was not at first mass produced. Its proper introduction could have shortened the War considerably.
In Germany, the ‘Badenblut’ or bloodbath as the Somme was called shook people to deep effect. The Kaiser tried to mediate through his American Embassy for peace but the conditional offer fell upon deaf ears, owing officially to his terms of negotiation.  The War would drag on for a further two desperate years.  As a parting shot the American president warned Kaiser Wilhelm that ‘God would hold him accountable for his conduct of War.’

July 8th Mrs Field has died from shock and grief having read a war letter from her son who is at the front. It could be inferred from this incident that the censors still had not tightened up their regulations.  Private Harold Field attended the funeral with the family. (Lincolnshire Star)


James Nathaniel NEWTON

21 years old
14th July 1916
Private 4091 ‘A’ Company 1/4th East Yorkshire Regt.
Photo above. James was killed by a sniper in Picardy, he was a volunteer.  He had two brothers on minesweepers. The son of James and Sarah Anne, living at Barraclough Lane, for work he assisted his father on a keel.  His name is among the 58,000 with no known grave at the Menin Gate memorial panel 21 and 31. Photo below from Mrs Welch's album courtesy of Brian Peeps.



 

Herbert SMITH

20 years old.
20th July 1916
Lance Sergeant 889, E Company, 1st/5th Lincolnshire Regiment. 

Sergeant Smith was severely wounded in attack on the Somme and died the next day in a field (battlefield) hospital.  His Lieutenant told the Vicar how Herbert was hit by rifle grenade splinters.  Herbert was born at Barton and enlisted at Brigg.  He had made good progress in the army.  By trade he was a handle bender at the cycle works and lived with the Doughty family as a lodger at Glanford Villa, Westfield Rd.   It was Herbert who had taunted the Germans in 1915 in the trenches at Ypres, shouting at them ''You're going to get some ice-cream now!" when the news was announced that Italy had entered the war. He is buried at a casualty clearing station cemetery at Warlincourt Halte, (ref: IH5) to the South West of Bapaume, on the Albert Road, Somme. 


Herbert GILFOY

22 years old
24th July 1916
Private 2641 59th Australian Bgde.
Died and was buried at the Calais South Cemetery plot E R 3.G2.  Herbert was the second Gilfoy brother to die in the conflict, the other being Harold.  He had lived at 45 Newport with his parents Ellen and Timothy in a family of nine, but was living in Yaram Yaram, Victoria, Australia.  He was originally with the 6th reinforcements, 23rd Battalion, transferring to the 58th Battalion on February 23rd 1916.  Embarking from Melbourne on HMAT Ulysses on October 27th 1915,  Herbert was admitted with gunshot wound to the head and died 26th July (Conflict of data)



 

 

The photo shows Pte Herbert Gilfoy and Private Mayall, taken in 1915, assumption being that Herbert is on the left. 

 

Herbert COULAM

39 years old
6th August 1916
Private 40776 South Staffordshire Regt.
Killed in action, Herbert photo right was the son of William and Harriet of the High Street. He was remembered on his parent’s headstone in Barton New Cemetery. Herbert was a tailor in Barton.  Having no known grave, Private Coulam's  name is among 20 in total from Barton, inscribed on the immense Thiepval memorial to the unknown dead of the Somme.  
He was apparently living at Sibsey near to Boston. 

12th August: A fire occurs at the Whiting works the property of Mr. Fisher.  A 10,000-gallon tank of paraffin was threatened but the Fire Brigade averted the danger.
The cottages along the way (Waterside, Victoria Terrace, and Ings Lane?) were evacuated and the refugees were put into the properties of Mr. W.A.Stow on Queen Street. (Lincolnshire Star) 

 


Walter Wright SMITH

18th August 1916
23 years old
No Known Grave
Private 1487 1/5th and 1st/8th East Yorkshire Regiment.
Killed in action and remembered on the Thiepval memorial (Ref. Pi.Fa.2c) and the soldier’s chapel at Beverley Cathedral.  Walter was a Primitive Methodist.
(Visited in 2008)  He was a solicitor's clerk and he lived at Marsh House, and was the son of tile manufacturer George Smith.




26th August  “Heroic Father and Son” George P.Harrold of 28 Ings Lane and his Father fought side by side at Loos the latter having rejoined the colours.  On 26th September, the father was injured and discharged after a stay at the Northern General Hospital in Newcastle.  Arthur, a 13 and a half year old son has gone missing on the same day as the day his brother was (reported killed) in his duties as a messenger boy for the Post Office, and has not yet been heard of. (Lincolnshire Star)


September


Captain Clarke, son in law of Mr and Mrs S.Ward has died in hospital in Cairo leaving a wife and two children. (Lincolnshire Star)  He is not listed on the Cenotaph.


Gilbert TAYLOR
20 years old  (actually 18)
3rd September 1916 (Sunday)
Rifleman 5024, Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment.
Killed in action in attack north of the Somme.  He had been called up for active service.  Postcards sent to his fiancée are in the Baysgarth Park Museum. (1984)
Remembered at the Thiepval Memorial Pier Face 2A-2C. A contradiction of information from the CWGC says he was killed on the 1st of July.   His father Fred was a grocer and the family lived at 2, Burgate. 


 

William Henry MILLS, DCM, MD

12th September 1916 (Tuesday)
Age unknown
44864 Bombardier (Gunner?) 2nd Wessex Howitzer Battery Territorial Force Royal Artillery
Prior to the war, William and his brother were in the civil service in India.  He died of enteric, aboard the Varsaux, a French ship, after being exchanged for Turkish prisoners.  He was buried at sea in the Persian Gulf.  He is remembered at the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton, which the author has visited.  It is a memorial dedicated principally to all those missing at Sea.  Among the names is that of Lord Kitchener.  William’s Gazette entry is for 11th July 1916.  He was the cousin of Paddy Mills whose account will be later told.


Albert Harvey enlisted at 14 years old and got into the trenches when found out.  He was returned home from his duties with the 4th East Yorkshires and becomes a Sergeant in the Church Lads Brigade, of home many at the front once belonged.
(Richard van Emden in his book, Boy Soldiers, has a chapter on him, but lists him as being from Hull.) More on him soon. 

Two soldiers have been charged with stealing both his and his father’s suits during a football match in Immingham.  They appear at the courthouse in Barton charged in the suits they had stolen!
Lieutenant Asquith, son of the former Prime Minister was an employee at the Barton and Immingham Light Railway.  He is killed in action on the Western Front.


 

Charles Lawrence GOLDTHORPE

21 years old
28th September 1916
Private 13686, 6th Lincolnshire Regiment
No Known Grave
Killed in action.  A Salvation Army man, he enlisted early in the war.  He had fought with the 4th Lincolns in Gallipoli, Egypt and France, the latter where he was killed.  By trade, Charles was a grinder at the Hopper cycle works.
Enlisted at Grimsby.  He is remembered at the Thiepval memorial, Pier Face 1c-8.  Charles’ sister Beatrice was killed in the same year while working as many women did, on the North Eastern Railway.  See photographs below.  Charles lived at 23 Pasture Road.


7th October Percy Uppleby is wounded in the back.  He is in hospital and recovering in Hampshire.  He is an old Barton volunteer and a cricketer.  Captain Percy Uppleby survived his injuries and was in later life a cattle inspector and grader.  




 

Peering out into the barren desolation of No Mans Land, a sniper of the Lincolns looks for a suitable German target. Snipers were a massive contribution to front line misery and danger. (Jonathan Capek Collection)



CHARLES COX
18 years old 
23rd October 1916
Private 35907 (or 27368) Royal Lancaster Regiment.
Killed in action in Picardy, Charles had been transferred from the Lincolns.  He resided at 1 Green Lane and was the son of Mr. H. and Mrs. A.E.Cox.  As with many other Barton men, Charles is remembered at the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme. Ref. Pier Face 5d Visited in 2008.  Charles was listed as an errand lad.


Percy CHAPPELL
33 years old
27th October 1916
Private 25221 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
Killed in action, he left a wife and five children behind.  Paddy Mills met Percy, his cousin, while they were both home on leave.  Percy said to Paddy after a chat, ‘I’ll shake hands with you now; I know I’m not coming back.’  He was a Primitive Methodist.  Percy is remembered at Thiepval memorial, having no known grave.  Pier Face 1c.  (Visited 2008)
He was the son of Sarah Chappell, a greengrocer and lived at 30 Pasture road and was a mineral water operative.  Percy's medals and death plaque, photo courtesy of Jono, are shown.




28th October A letter from Sgt. Frank Jubb.  ‘I managed to come through the charge without serious wounds, although I have been hit around the face with splinters.
It was a glorious sight to see us go over in the grey morning light.  The Germans had some MGs (machine guns) on us but they didn’t wait for us to get close to them; they were off.  I managed to kill two of them in the course of the scram.  I caught a cold coming back across No Mans Land with two of their MGs on us and how they missed me I don’t know. It took me 6 and half-hours to get back to our lines, sliding myself across the ground with my hands.  My adjutant informed me I’d been reported missing and he sent me to the dressing station.  (letter from Thomas Jubb Cornfield Villas)
This report is likely to have come from the closing stages of the battle of the Somme.
This letter appears to match the action on the Ancre by the 13th East Yorkshires. (Verify)  

November


A letter from a Barton man reads: ‘we are enjoying a rest after being in the trenches.  It was severe fighting we were in while it lasted.  When we get up to the German trenches they throw bombs (grenades) at you until you get within ten yards of them soon put their hands up and shout “Kamerad!” when you get to close quarters. They plead all sorts of pitiful tales to you. I must thank God for bringing me through it safely.  The Germans are as deep as Blow Wells. They say it has no bottom.” 
Note: it is difficult without proof to ascertain which letters are real and which may have been invented to fill the newspapers and parish magazines, often on instruction from the Government. Economy with the truth was sometimes the best medicine in times of disaster, the truth still holds today.
A 1918 circular from the Government urges preachers to impress upon their flocks that the war is being fought only to punish Germany, and not for pecuniary gain.

We are anxiously awaiting news of George Dewey and Glover Welton since the fall of Kut to the Turks, both missing since the surrender; also no word has been heard of Gilbert Taylor in Flanders. (Parish Magazine)


Thomas Edward NEWBOWN
24 years old
7th November 1916
Private 30897 7th East Yorkshire Regiment. 
Killed in action while his company was probing toward enemy lines.  Thomas had enlisted in 1915, and left a young widow, Maud (nee. Pearson married 4th July 1914) and a baby boy.  Thiepval memorial Pier Face 2c.
Born at Barton and enlisted at Hull, Thomas was a cycle worker who lived at Thompson's yard.  VISITED in 2008


Thomas John ROBINSON

20 years old
9th November 1916
Pte 37195 8th Battalion, Gloucester Regt.
No known Grave
Killed in action serving with the Gloucester Regiment.  He originally joined the Barton Company but was too young to go to France.  He was very keen to do his duty.  He was not officially listed with the War dead until 1917.   Thomas is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier Face 5a-5b.  


Walter PARKER

28 years old
13th November 1916
L/Cpl 13/726 13th East Yorkshire Regiment
No Known Grave
He was a cycle works man of ‘very good character’ who came from Caistor originally.  He was killed by shrapnel while serving on the Somme.  He was married to Edith, had a son, George, and had previously served in Egypt.  Walter is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Pier Face 2c. and also at Beverley Cathedral in the soldiers chapel.   Visited


Joseph (Joel) L. BOYD

Age Unknown Probably in his thirties.
13th November 1916
Private 12/1158 12th East Yorkshire Regiment
Born at Goxhill and enlisted at Hull, Joseph/Joel was killed in action in an attack on the German lines.  He was last seen being taken prisoner.  His grave is at Euston Road Cemetery II.V.7.at Colincamps and the Soldier’s chapel at Beverley cathedral.  The battle of the Ancre as it is recorded in the East Yorkshire history, would have taken place over the worst ground imaginable.  It was a finishing movement in the battle of the Somme, where the 92nd brigade of the 31st division struck past Touvent farm.  Not longer after, the Germans evacuated their remaining trenches and moved back into the Hindenburg line, thus completely neutralizing British efforts on the summer of hell on the Somme.


Freeman WRIGHT

40 years old
13th November 1916
Private 12/1295, 12th East Yorkshire Regiment
Born at East Halton and enlisted at Hull. He was seen in the battle to be slightly wounded and was never heard of again, killed in the same attack as Joel Boyd and Walter Parker.  Freeman left three motherless children at 10 Hungate.  Freeman was the son of George and Maria Wright of Hungate and had been a rope worker in his youth. 
Freeman is remembered at Beverley Soldier’s Chapel and is buried at the Euston Road Colincamps Cemetery Ref. III.V.7.   The photo is from the scrap book of Mrs Welch (Courtesy of Brian Peeps)




William Ernest Hare 
24 Years Old 
13th November 1916 
Lance Cpl 30949 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment
Killed in action at the battle of the Ancre.
Son of Walter Hare and Ann Harvey 
33 Ings Lane Waterside.
Attested 24th Feb 1916 at Hull RO. Originally enlisted with 5th Cyclist Battalion 1412 Shortly after in April he married Nora Rose Smith and left for France via Bolougne on 25th July.  Promoted to Lance Cpl in September, and reported missing later presumed killed on 13th November.   'Rosa' had inscribed on his grave at Serre Road cemetery number 1 ''One of the best''.  The Hare family were still living at Marsh House in the 1980s, as I was a regular visitor.  I visited the battlefield in 2007-the ground is more or less devoid of cover, and floods easily.  William was a violinist and a grocer's assistant of Overton Wass J.P. of Newport Street.

  
William E Hare's grave, killed in the final assault on the Somme, on the Ancre, aged 25, with the inscription from his loving wife Nora.  

Many thanks to Charles J Anderson for this photo.  The one that I originally took was lost when my computer fell out of my bag on the Somme!

 
  











 

 

 


The British attacks on the Somme on the 13th November took part in some of the filthiest weather and conditions to that date. Water was waste deep.   The 3rd Division attacks, known as the battle of the Ancre, a narrow river which flows nearest to the village of Beaucourt, some 6km to the South West of the battlefield, took in a 10 mile battle front over high ground and ended with the capture of Beaumont Hamel and Beaucourt railway station.
The expected advance of the 3rd Division upon this day which ended in failure was coordinated with the attack of the 31st Division of XIII Corps to which the 13th East Yorkshire Regiment belonged.  The 12th and 13th were to rush a frontline trench at midnight and make  a covering flank for   the main attack with snipers and Lewis Guns as main support.  The conditions were extremely muddy (waist deep mud) but for the previous 3 days there had been no rain. Saturday (11th November) had been frost and mist, but it would seem on Monday 13th that the weather was indifferent.  The Regiments they were facing were the 52nd Infanterie Regt.  (McCarthy The Somme Day by Day Account 1998)   The main assault of 3 Division failed owing to the depth of the mud but the East Yorkshires made the front line trench their own.  What is more amazing is that some elements of the attacking brigades got to the German front line in such deep mud. These however were isolated elements which were forced to withdraw or were stranded.  The Germans opened up with a barrage preventing the British carrying parties getting through with ammunition to the men who had occupied a crater and an infantry assault began across open ground from Star Wood 1000 yards away.  This was bought to a grinding halt by MG fire from the left flank.  The main assault had failed by 17:30 and so the East Yorkshires after their hard work of holding off the enemy all day was all but wasted.  They had been attacked from the flanks and from the front all day long but had held on, with John Cunningham of Scunthorpe winning his Victoria Cross for bravery. 
John is often claimed for Hull but he is indeed a Scunthorpe man, born in a slum -a milking yard off Frodingham Road as were his family-he had a large number of brothers serving in the forces out of a family of 13.
John found it hard to settle into civilian life post War-he was summonsed to court on occasions and imprisoned. When picking up his V.C. at the palace, the waiting crowd outside upon seeing him let out a huge roar and carried him through the streets on their shoulders-it would seem that his background as something of a tearaway had truly won the hearts of the people.  He died in 1941 after a troubled life. In Corporal Cunningham's citation, it does look like he was holding the same trench as two of the three Barton men were in, but this is conjecture. However, it reads, ''
On 13 November 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Ancre (the final offensive of the Battle of the Somme), attacking from opposite Hebuterne the 31st Division was to seize the German trenches and form a defensive flank north of Serre. After the enemy's front line had been captured, Private Cunningham went with a bombing section up a communication trench where much opposition was met and all the rest of the section were either killed or wounded. Collecting all the bombs from the casualties Private Cunningham went on alone and when he had used up all the bombs he had he returned for a fresh supply and again went up the communication trench where he met a party of 10 Germans. He killed all 10 and cleared the trench up to the new line.'' 
This is another spot I have visited and will explain more in later issue.
All in all a black day again on the 13th of the month for Barton town.


14th November- A further fire occurs at the Farmers Company Limited on Waterside.
(This was the chemical works where fertilizer was produced.

2nd December Elsie Burley in Malta awarded two stripes for splendid conduct with the wounded.

Walter Hare (sic) was an assistant to Overton Wass, magistrate and grocer, on Newport Street.

10th December George Stockdale is on leave at home at 15 Beck Hill.  On September 19th at Hill 60 he was awarded the Military Medal with Jim Austin, and Pte Warren of New Holland, for rescuing Sgt.Anthony Nicholson of Barton. The medal was awarded by the GOC (general officer commanding) the 1st/5th Lincolns.      

The end of 1916 had proved conclusively that victory would be no easy task.  Every army on the Western Front had bled itself dry, and for what little gains there had been men and supplies had been badly wasted and depleted and had it not been for the supply of munitions arriving from the United States, 1917 the War might just have ran out of steam by the end of the year.

Barton’s losses in 1916 -27










Beatrice Gouldthorpe, who was killed working for the North Eastern Railway in whose uniform she is seen here.  She is not on the cenotaph, in spite of being killed doing war service work.
Her brother right, is Charles Gouldthorpe, who was a veteran of several campaigns and officially listed as being 21.  His rank was Corporal at the time that he was killed.  Was he 21 years old?  This looks doubtful. Paddy Mills insisted that many were not of their stated age when going to the fornt, himself included (15 when he went out)  He enlisted early on in the War and like many boys of Barton he lied about his age.  Special thanks go to Rosa Gouldthorpe in Australia for the use of these photos.

3 comments:

  1. You mention that Frank Cox, killed 27/6/1916 is mentioned on the Thiepval Monument. This is not so. As you rightly pointed out he is buried in the Knightsbridge Cemetery. The Frank Cox on Thiepval 1c is in fact another Frank Cox of the Lincolnshire Regiment and was from Cleethorpes.
    Christopher Cox (grandson)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christopher-thanks for the information-this has now been corrected. I hope you are enjoying the blog.

      Delete
  2. ps Do you know any of the other team members in the football photo cheers!

    ReplyDelete