Remembrance – George Sherwin

Today we remember Bourne man George Sherwin of the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment who was killed on the 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

George was born in 1891 in Bourne to Luke Woodstock Sherwin, a General Dealer and his wife Mary Jane, nee Brand.

Luke Woodstock Sherwin was born in Bourne in 1855 and was a Brewer (Later a General Dealer), Mary Jane Brand was born in Bourne in. 1857 and the couple were married in the Stamford District in 1877.
They settled in Bourne where all of their 10 children were born.
• John Sherwin, 1878, Bourne
• Florence Sherwin, 1879, Bourne
• Sarah Jane Sherwin, 1881, Bourne
• Elizabeth Sherwin, 1883, Bourne
• Albert Sherwin, 1885, Bourne
• Gertrude Sherwin, 1886, Bourne
• Fanny Sherwin, 1888, Bourne
• Luke Sherwin, 1889, Bourne
• George Sherwin, 1891, Bourne
• Alice Sherwin, 1892, Bourne

By 1891 Luke had changed occupation to a General Dealer and they were living on West Street, Bourne with the first 8 of their children.
10 years later the 1901 Census shows us Luke living on West Street next door to his brother George, also a general Dealer. The family is now complete and as well as Luke working as a general dealer, eldest son John was working as a Shop worker. An occupation that Younger son Luke would later go on to have with his own shop on West Street.

In 1911 we find the Luke and Jane Sherwin still on West street now married for 33 years although sadly we learn that three of the ten children have now passed away. As well as George being a general dealer, son John has joined him in that occupation. Son Luke is working as a hair dresser (Picture of Luke’s shop has been added to the photographs on this post) and George is working as a maltster . This is not unusual for Bourne’s young men especially as the Maltings were on the opposite side of West Street to where the family were living. Youngest Daughter Alice is the only other child living at home on the census night 1911.

George Sherwin filled out his attestation form and enlisted in the Army at Bourne on the 30h August 1914. On his attestation he declares that he has had previous military service with F Company 4th Lincolns (Disbanded).
He is given the Regimental number 11059 and posted to the 7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at the depot in Lincoln. After a coupe of days he is moved to Grantham and then on the 9th September posted to the 6th Battalion.

The 6th Lincolnshire was formed in the first week of the war and stationed themselves at Belton Park near Grantham, ready to receive recruits. By the end of the month they had formed 4 companies of new recruits from the men that answered Kitchener’s call. It was noted that the physical standard of troops for the 6th Battalion was high due to the high numbers of agricultural workers that joined the Battalion.

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Grantham Journal Saturday 5th October 1914
BOURNE
HEARTY SEND OFF FOR RECRUITS -On Monday morning a company of fifteen left Bourne Station to join the Lincoln Regiment of Lord Kitchener’s Army. The company met at the recruiting station in West Street, and we escorted to the station by the Bourne Brass Band and a large number of the residents of the town. The names were:- Arthur Maxon, Fred W Savage, John Thos Baldock, Geo Sherwin, George Carver, Frank Baldock (married), H Cleary, W Herbert Bloodworth, Percy J Vickers, Walter Parker (married), Ernest Robinson, Harry Darnes (Bourne), Jos Smith, Walter Archer and Percy Cave (Witham-on-the Hill), the latter three being the result of a meeting at Witham-on-the-Hill on Sunday evening, addressed by Lord Kesteven and Lieut K. R. G. Fenwick and presided over by Col C Birch-Reynardson.
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George trained with the 6th Battalion at Belton Camp until the 29th January 1915 when he received a posting to the 3rd Battalion in Grimsby. The third Battalion were a home service battalion and would be used to guard key infrastructure in the area such as docks and munitions factories. They were also used to train men who had joined the army as a career before they received their posting to either of the 1st or 2nd Battalions which were regular army battalions.

George would remain with the 3rd Battalion for about 6 weeks before receiving is orders to join the British Expeditionary Force in France and so George embarked for France on the 6th March 1915. Typically when arriving in France men would arrive at a base camp to be processed and then posted to their Battalion in the field. In George’s case he was posted to the 2nd Battalion on the 9th March 1915. It is assumed that he arrived with the Battalion around this time but as this could take many days we cannot be totally sure that he had joined them before their next action on the 10th March. The Battalion Diary makes no reference to receiving reinforcements at this time or any time in the months before or after.

In March the 2nd Battalion had just been moved from their previous sector into the area of Neuve-Chapelle in readiness for the planned attack on the German defences there. The plan was to take Neuve-Chapelle and then move on to Aubers Ridge.
The battalion Diary tells the story of what may have been George Sherwin’s first action of the war:-

10th March 1915 – Opposite Neuve-Chapelle
7.30am – Battalion remained in trenches during the night 9th-10th at 7.30 artillery bombardment started (about 300 guns). At 8.5 am guns lifted their sights and infantry attacked. The Colonel was with the assaulting companies.
The Battalion all rose simultaneously and rushed the first trench after cutting the barbed wire in an incredibly short time – losing about 20 men. The blocking parties then proceeded down the trenches clearing all before them with grenades –
Captain Peake did good work, he was soon afterwards shot in the head. The Battalion still moved on – the supports (A and B Companies) following up close in rear – some of A company supporting the firing line as soon as it got to the second German trench. Lt Col G B McAndrew was hills between the first and second German trench – his right leg was blown to pieces by one of our own shells – he died asking after his regiment, without any complaint of the pain he was suffering. The assault in companies then pressed on, being temporarily checked by a water obstacle at ’26’ (see map attached) – a plank was eventually discovered and the line took a position in front of this obstacle. They were then checked by the fire of their own guns and it was found necessary to retire 50 yards on account of this. It was at about this period that we were subjected to a severe fire from our left rear, which caused the greater part of our casualties. Lieut. Wylie was shot (mortally) at about this time. The line then retired again and took up a position behind the water obstacle where they entrenched themselves. The battalion was then sorted out into its proper sections – A and B Companies remind in the front trench while C and D companies were in rear in an old German trench which was being converted to face the other way. Later on in the day a and B companies were sent forward to help the Irish rifles who were previously passed through us. They help them in and trenching themselves in. During the night of the 10th-11th C and D companies were back in the fire trench behind the obstacle – A and B Companies in support German trench just in rear. The battalion was then commanded by Major J J Howley DSO. Captain E H Impey was adjutant, Captain E P Lloyd having been wounded in the hand.
During the small hours of the morning of the 11th, A and B cos had to move to be in close support of the Irish Rifles – at about 5 am we had orders to collect the battalion in some trenches near us on our left rear. To do this the headquarters of the battalion moved to a point ‘X’ just south of ’18’. At about 6 am a small H E Shell came through the parapet – making a direct hit on Major Howley – killing one of the other men and wounding two more. Major S Fitz G Cox then took command and the battalion was eventually collected in the old German trench just in rear. During the morning and operation order was received to the effect that the Irish Rifles and Rifle Brigade would attack at 10 am and that the Lincolnshire Regiment would support the Irish rifles – this order was afterwards postponed to 12:30 pm. At 10 am the battalion was subjected to a very heavy shelling which lasted till 12 o’clock. The shelling was very accurate, and they were big shells – so the moral of the regiment was very highly tried – especially after all it had already gone through. At 12:15 pm Major Gitz G Cox decided to anticipate an order which should been expected (our telephone wire had been blown away) and namely to move up to Neuve Chappelle into close support of the Irish Rifles. This was done. The battalion remained in Neuve Chappelle during the night of the 11th-12th.

12th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
On the morning of the 12th we moved back to our previous position into the old German trench. The battalion remained in their trenches all that day and night. It was between 12 and 1 am on the 13th that Captain C G V wellesley was killed – he had been ill and away from the regiment previous to this, and had only just rejoined 10 minutes before a shrapnel burst from the left – mortally wounded and him and about 10 others.

13th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Next morning we went into loose support of the Irish Rifles returning again to these trenches during the afternoon (?). On the morning of the 13th we believe the Irish rifles in trenches North East and East of Neuve Chapelle. During the night nothing unusual because we strengthened our defence and filled in the trench, which was full of half buried Germans.

14th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Enemy shelled Neuve Chappelle all day. During the night we were relieved by the Royal Berkshire and we intern relieves the door sits in adjoining trenches on our left.

15th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Spent in consolidating our position – add a detached fort of 40 men a machine gun and officer about 40 yards to our front, which wanted strengthening.

16th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Enemy shell headquarters trenches very severely – dropping 128 shelves within 50 minutes no damage done.

17th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Released by Irish Rifles – total casualties during action of Neuve Chapelle –
7 officers killed. 8 officers wounded – 298 men killed and wounded.
Went into trenches on Tilloy Road.

18th March 1915 – Neuve Chapelle
Provided working parties for burying dead and carrying materials etc.

19th March 1915
Moved to billets at Epinette.

George Sherwin certainly had a big introduction to trench warfare in his first tour of the trenches and the planned attack. As can be seen from the description over one quarter (1 in 4 men) became casualties in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, although it would take a second battle in May before both the objectives of taking Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge would be realised.
The Battle of Aubers Ridge description for the 2nd Battalion, including George Sherwin, can be found on our posts regarding Charles Sharpe, Archer Cooke and Harry Briggs.

The Battalion remained in the same sector of the Western Front doing tours in and out of the trenches until in September 1915. On the 25th September they had their next major planned action with the assault on Bridoux.
Following this it was back to their normal tour routine until November when they started company training and over a period were moved back to la Belle Hotesse for Divisional training that was to go on throughout December 1915.

January was to see them back in the trenches near Fleurbaix in the same old sector they had left in November and back into the tour of trenches routine with usually 4 days in and the same out before repeating.
At the end of March the Battalion entrained for the Longveau and the Somme, then marching to Flesselles via Amiens.

In George’s Service Record there is a note that on 1st April 1916 he was awarded 7 days field punishment No.2 by his Commanding Officer for “making an improper remark to a Non-commissioned Officer”.

The Battalion eventually ended up near Albert, in Brigade reserve, on the 9th April, being brought back into the trenches on the 11th in support of the 2nd Berkshire at USNA Redoubt, before finally getting back into the fire trenches themselves near La Boiselle on the 13th April.
The usual trench routine they had previously been used to around Armentieres now resumed, only now it was Albert and the Somme rather than Sailly and Bois Grenier.

June, when not in the trenches, would see the Battalion start to undertake extra training or periods when they supplied working parties, one such party working on the railway extension at Dernacourt. This continued until the 24th June when the Battalion Diary notes ‘Bombardment Commences’, this of course being the Bombardment that was meant to destroy the enemy trenches in advance of the commencement of the planned attack (Battle of the Somme) that would follow the days of bombardment.

We take up George’s story and that of the Battalion via the Battalion Dairy on the 28th June after going back into trenches overnight.

28th June 1916 – In trenches
In trenches preparatory to assault – Operations postponed about 4pm – Move to billets at Millencourt. Bombardment continued – 1 killed, 2 wounded.

29th June 1916 – In Long Valley
Move to bivouacs in Long Valley “W” company to Bouzincourt defences – Bombardment continues.

30th June 1916 – To assembly trenches
Moved to assembly trenches – W company 8 platoons front line 1 platoon – Pendle Hill. X company 3 platoons front line 1 platoon – Longridge – Y company 3 platoons in front line 1 platoon Longridge. Z Company 2 platoons Pendle Hill 2 Platoons Longridge. Battalion Headquarters Waltney Tunnel.
Battalion in position about 2.30am July 1st.

1st July 1916 – In trenches opposite Ovillers
Everybody was in their position by 3:30 am and the wire along the home of our front reported cut by 2:30 am. 2/Lt Eld and a few men got wounded doing this and Lt Ross’ party had trouble owing to continual hostile machine-gun fire. Brigade line was checked at 5:30 am.
6.25am – the intensive bombardment commenced to which the enemy retaliated on our front line and assembly trenches with high explosive shrapnel.
7.25am – companies started to move forward from there are similar positions preparatory to the assault. The three assaulting companies getting their first two waves out into no mans land and the third and fourth waves are out at zero hour. These arrangements were carried out most excellently, no hitch occurring, but casualties were fairly heavy from machine-gun fire. The support company got into our frontline trench but suffered a lot of casualties from shellfire.
7.30am – as soon as the barrage lifted the whole assaulted. They were met with very severe rifle fire and in most cases add to advance in rushes and return the fire. This fire seem to come from the German second line and the machine-gun fire from the left. I’m reaching the German front line they found it strongly held and we met with showers of bombs, but after a very hard fight about 200 yards of German lines were taken about 7:50 am the extreme right failing to get in and also the extreme left where there appeared to be a gap of about 70 yards although units of platoons of the 70th brigade joined them. The support company by this time joined in. A few offices that were left gallantly lead the men over the German trench to attack the second line but owing to the rifle and machine-gun fire could not push on. Attempts were made to consolidate and make blocks but the trench was so badly knocked about that very little cover was obtainable. From the enfilade machine-gun fire and continual bombing attacks which were being made by the enemy the whole line, and one frontal attack from the second line which we repulsed.
9am – this isolated position became untenable, no supports being able to reach us owing to the intense rifle and machine-gun fire. I will left being driven back the reminder which by now only held about 100 yards had to withdraw. On reaching our own line all the men that could be collected were phoned up and tried to push on again but the heavy machine gun and rifle fire made the ground quite impassable.
1pm – orders were received from the Brigade to withdraw to Ribble and Melling streets and occupy the assembly dugouts there which was done.
12 midnight – we were relieved by this 6th West Kents and proceeded to Long valley.
Other Ranks, 26 killed, 303 wounded, 89 missing, 25 wounded and missing.

Private George Sherwin was originally posted as wounded and missing in this fateful day for the British Army. It would not be until 23rd April 1917 that he was “Accepted an official purposes as having died on or since 1st July 1916”

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Grantham Journal 19th May 1917
LOCAL CASUALTIES – Corporal Jos. Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Brown, of Eastgate, Bourne, is in hospital at Hampton Court, suffering from wounds in his back and right hand. He is one of six sons, five of whom are in the Army. Private. G. Sherwin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Luke Sherwin, Bourne, who some months ago was officially notified as wounded and missing, is now reported dead. The official notification of Private Sherwin’s death was received by his parents last week. A memorial service for Private Sherwin and Private W Needham was held on Sunday, at the Abbey Church. Official notification has this week been received the Corporal E. Robinson, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Robinson, Wood View, Bourne, has been killed in action. Corporal Robinson was attached to the Lincolns.

Mr Luke Sherwin eventually received The British and War Medals for his son and the returned confirmation of delivery slip was sighed for by Luke Sherwin on Nov 10th 1921.

Brother John Sherwin also Served in WW1 with the Army Service Corps in the remounts section, enlisting in June 1916 one month before his brothers’ death, being mobilised in May 1917 and embarking for France in that September.

https://southlincolnshirewarmemorials.org.uk/…/george-…/

Family Photos Courtesy of Philip Sherwin

Remembrance – Wilfred Hart Harris

Today, Sunday 14th June, we remember Sempringham man Private Wilfred Hart Harris 1116, who died on this day from the effects of gas. He served with both the 10th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and then the 2nd battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

Wilfred was born in Millthorpe, nr Pointon Lincolnshire early in 1894 to Philip and Mary Elizabeth Harris. Philip was a farmer’s son born on the 11th October 1864 in Millthorpe, who married Mary Elizabeth Hart in 1886 in the Bourne area. She was born in Renhold Bedfordshire on the 25th August 1860 and had been working as a housemaid in Nottingham in 1881.

The couple settled in Dowsby after the marriage in 1886 where they were to start their family, Philip working initially as a general labourer before moving back to Millthorpe in 1894 befoe eventually taking over his father’s farm after his death in 1896 .

The couple were to go on and raise a family of eight children:-
• Harold Philip Harris, 1887, Dowsby
• Mabel Constance Harris, 1889, Dowsby
• George William Harris, 1890, Dowsby
• Cecil Charles Harris, 1891, Dowsby
• Wilfred Hart Harris, 1894, Millthorpe
• Laurence Henry Harris, 1895, Millthorpe
• Percy Harris, 1897, Millthorpe
• Gordon Harris, 1899, Millthorpe

Wilfed can be found on the 1901 census living with his family in Millthorpe before moving out to become Farm Waggoner working for the Michelson family in Millthorpe by 1911.

Wilfred’s full service records cannot be found and are thought to have been burnt during the Blitz when the London warehouse that housed the WW1 was subject to a fire that destroyed over 60% of all records. The following potted history of Wilfred’s Army service has been pieced together from other remaining records such as Pension, Discharge and Medals records.

On the 4th November 1914 Wilfred enlisted on the Army and was posted to the 10th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, ‘The Grimsby Chums’, ready for his training.

The Battalion had been raised in Grimsby by the Mayor and started recruiting on the 9th September 1914. The battalion was billeted in Grimsby, the HQ being the Drill Hall and equipped by contracts made by the raiser with private firms payment being made by Northern Command either direct or by an Officer’s impact account, the Battalion was finally taken over by the war office in July 1915.
The Battalion moved form Grimsby to Brocklesby Park on Initially the Battalion was Brigaded on the 28th December 1914 to the 115th Infantry Brigade.

Their training continued at Brocklesby Park through the first half of 1915 being inspected by the 115th OC Brigadier General Bowles on the 19th February.
On the 23rd April they took part in a route concentration march from the South Humber Defences to Barnetby-Le-Beck were it was inspected by Brigadier General Nugent.
Training continued and the next month saw the Battalion entrained on the 19th May bound for Cleethorpes from where it Marched through Cleethorpes and Grimsby, halting to be addressed by the Mayor. The march occupied from 6pm to 8.30pm at which time the Battalion entrained at Grimsby and returned to Brocklesby.

Their next posting was to Studley Royal Camp in Ripon on the 17th June where it joined the 101st Infantry Brigade, part of the 34th Division. The 101st Brigade consisted of the 10th Lincs, 15th and 16th Royal Scots and the 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment.
They were kept on the move for the next couple of Months as next was Musketry Firing Parts 1 and 2 and General Musketry course at Strenshall Camp, York where 76% of the Battalion qualified.
After being taken over by the War Office in July the training continued and on the 23rd of August the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lt-Col G.E. Heneage was sent for 5 days with the British Expeditionary Force. The 28th of August the Battalion was on the move again, moving to Peckham Down on Salisbury Plain, Lt-Col Heneage re-joining them the next day on return from France.

Their new camping ground having been in constant use for a long period was in bad condition and by no means sanitary, the tents were old and in bad condition. After 14 days of these conditions the Battalion struck camp and moved to higher ground after several officers and a considerable number of men were made unwell due to the insanitary conditions. From the 17th September they undertook Brigade training.
After one month at Peckham Down they were on the move again, this time the location of the new camp was Sutton Veny near Warminster and this time they were billeted into the Hutments of No 5 camp.
Their Divisional Training started on the 5th November, one year after Wilfred had joined the Battalion. The initial plan for Kitchener’s New Army was that it would be ready for war in the middle of 1916 but circumstances of the war dictated that this should be brought forward.
On the 10th November the Battalion was to undertake their Part III Musketry training using 30 old rifles that were issued to them, closely followed by Part IV training with 35 new rifles that had then been issued.

The 13th December was the first day of mobilisation for the Battalion and the communicated destination for their commencement into the war was going to be Egypt.
The next day the divisional training was an attack on “Enemy Trenches” by the 34th Division with general Paget and a mission of Japanese officers present. There was approval at then conduct of all ranks in the most adverse weather conditions and also the manner in which they carried out their work.

Chrsitmas day came and the only comment in the Battalion Diary wa sthat it was 3rd day of mobilisation before embarkation. Boxing day brought the news that service in Egypt had been withdrawn, their sun helmets had been withdrawn and they were all issued with warmer clothing to the vast disappointment of all ranks.

On the 9th January the Battalion was finally deployed and arrived in France although it would be another month before they saw their first trenches near Erquinghem on the outskirts of Armentiers. On the 2nd February A+B Companies went into the trenches for 2 days for instruction, A company were attached to the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters and B Company the 1st Battalion East Lancashire regiment. B Company had the Battalion’s first man wounded during his tour. They changed over and C and D companies started their instruction being attached to the 1st Worcesters and 1st Northants respectively. This time it was C company that had one man wounded.

Lord Kitchener inspected the 101st Brigade at Steenbecque on the 11th February, the Battalion marching their from their billets in Morbecque.

The first Battalion deaths would come on their first official tour of the trenches, in the Bois Grenier sector, on the 29th February 1916 where the diary reports that 4 men were killed including 1 N.C.O and 5 men wounded.

The Battalion would go on to see action in 1916 at The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge and The Battle of Pozieres Ridge.

It was actions on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916 that went down in history for all the Pals Battalions and the Grimsby Chums was no exception.

The previous month they had been at Bresle where the diary says that they were carrying out a series of tactical services. Towards the end of the month they resumed the regular tour of the trenches around Albert and the war diary has one thing to note that is of interest to our own local memorials research and we retell the story of the first day of the Battle of the Somme from a 10th Battalion point of view. The Battle commenced with six days of artillery bombardment for the enemy positions.

29th June 1916 – Albert
This was the fifth day of the artillery bombardment of the German trenches which commenced on the 24th. Lieut W.D. Wroe of C company was killed by shell fire on this day. He was the first officer of the Battalion to be killed since the battalion went on active service in January

30th June 1916 – Albert
German retaliatory fire heavier on this day than any other since the commencement of our bombardment.

1st July 1916 – Becourt
7.30am – At this hour the 101st Infantry Brigade, 34th Division delivered an assault on the German position south of La Boiselle. The 15th Royal Scots being the right assaulting battalion and the 10th Lincolnshire Regiment. The left assaulting battalion, the 18th Royal Scots right supporting battalion, the 11th Suffolks left supporting battalion.
The position of the German front line trenches assaulted by the 10th Lincolns was known as The Bloater + lay between the La Boiselle salient + the redoubt known as Heligoland. The formation of the 10th Lincolns was as follows A company on the right B in the centre C on the left. D company less 1 platoon was employed as a carrying company + advanced in far of the 103rd Brigade which was in reserve. Two minutes before the attack was timed to take place a mine was exploded near the south west corner of the La Boiselle salient forming an immense crater about 100 yds in diameter.
On leaving their trenches, the 10th Lincolns who advanced in 4 waves on a 3 platoon frontage at a distance of 100 yds between the first and second waves and 150 yards between the others, with a platoon of D company as a clearing platoon 50 yards in rear of the 4th wave + accompanied by 101/3 trench mortar battery were immediately exposed to a heavy shell fire, shrapnel and H.E. and the most intense enfilade machine gun fire from La Boiselle and Heligoland Redoubt. Advancing with the utmost steadiness and courage, not to be surpassed by any troops in the world, yet the distance they were away from the German trench (800 yds) + the intensity of the machine gun fire did not allow of the possibility of reaching and penetrating the enemy’s line. Some far men were able to enter the German Trench from New Crater + bombing their way up blocked it + helped to protect the right flank of the 102nd Brigade which attacked on our left, others consolidated + held positions in the New Crater a like object. One officer 2/lt Hendik with three men made his way on the right by way of the 21st Divisional front + consolidating a strong point in the German trench helped to protect the left flank of the 21st Division. It is doubtful if the troops have been subjected to a more intense machine gun fire than was experienced in this assault, a fire which made it impossible either to relieve or reinforce units during daylight.

4th July 1916
The 34th Division was relieved by the 19th Division in the early hours of the morning of July 4th, moving for the night to Albert + subsequently on the 5th July to Henecourt. The Battalion went into action with a total of 20 officers (of whom 4 were killed, 10 wounded and 1 missing) and 822 other ranks of whom 66 were killed, 259 wounded and 162 missing.
The rank and names of the officers taken into action are as follows:-
-Lt Col E K Cordeaux – – in command
-Major E H Kendrick – – 2nd in command
-Major W A Vignoles – Wounded
-Capt T Baker – Killed
-Hon. Major G L Bennett – Adjutant
-Capt C H Bellamy – Wounded
-Capt J F Worthington – Wounded
-Lieut H L Dent –
-Lieut R G Green – Wounded
-Lieut E Inman Missing
-Lieut R P Eason Wounded, died of wounds 1/7/16
-Lieut B G Anderson Wounded
-Lieut J K Murphy Wounded
-2nd Lieut L Cummins Killed
-2nd Lieut H W Bannister Wounded
-2nd Lieut H L Baines Killed
-2nd Lieut C H Jolin Wounded
-2nd Lieut R G Ingle Killed
-2nd Lieut J H Turnbull Wounded
-2nd Lieut J R Moore –
-2nd Lieut A Hartshorn –

The Commanding officer of the Battalion received the attached letter marked appendix 1 from Brigadier General R S Gore CMG Commanding 101st Infantry Brigade, the original of which is attached to this diary and a copy to the duplicate.

Owing to continuous machine gun and rifle fire just difficulty was experienced in recovering the wounded many of whom lay out in No Man’s Land for over 30 hours but through the constant executions of all ranks during the night of the 1st + 2nd and 2nd + 3rd July as far as could be ascertained all wounded belonging to the battalion had been brought in before leaving the fighting area. Any attempt to do this during daylight was immediately met with heavy machine gun + rifle fire from the enemy’s trenches and all our wounded where seen to move were at once fired upon by the German snipers.

4th July 1916 – Becourt
The 101st Brigade was relived this day the 10th Lincolns proceeding to billets in Albert for the night.

5th July 1916 – Albert
Moved to canvas camp at 8am in Long Valley near Albert

6th July 1916 – Albert
Moved to hutted camp at Henencourt Wood

7th July – 30th July 1916 – Henencourt.
During this period the Battalion received drafts of men from various units, Northampton Regt, North Staffs, South Staffs, Middlesex, Oxford L.I, Worcesters, Leicesters and a few Lincolns. A large proportion of these men were third line territorials + had in many cases only received about three months training. Training was carried out on the manoeuvre area near Bresle + the battalion was also occupied in wood fighting. Specialist training was carried on during the whole of this period.

Wilfred had survived the Battle of the Somme, we are not sure if he was wounded as there are no records available that shows him being wounded or appearing on any lists for Casualty Stations or Hospitals. The make up of the Battalion was now changed forever and the original ethos of the Chums and all Pals battalions was changed forever.

For Wilfred and the Battalion the war continued as can be seen in the list of battles they were involved in:-

31st July 1916 – Battle of Pozieres Ridge
15th September 1916 – Battle of Fleurs-Courcelette. Famous for being the first Battle that the British Army deployed their new weapon, the tank.
9th April 1917 – First Battle of the Scarpe (Battle of Arras)
23th April 1917 – Second Battle of the Scarpe (Battle of Arras)
28th April 1917 – Battle of Arleux

During July Wilfred was awarded 10 days leave from the 17th July. Afterward it was back to the hard fighting and the Arras area with the battle at Hargicourt before moving on to the Ypres Salient where the Battle of Paschendaele was well underway.

The Battalions first fighting on the salient was in October, arriving on the 9th October the Battalion, was involved on the attack on Poelkapelle and Paschendaele. The first wave of this battle on the 12th had not involved the Battalion but they later relieved the 4th Division west of Poelkepelle on the 13th October staying in the trenches until the 17th.

Eventually being relieved on the 23rd October the 34th Division suffered 1797 casualties during its time in Ypres, another 880 being evacuated sick. A memorial to the 34th Division is positioned off the Beekstraat, north of Langemark.

On the same day as Wilfred’s Division was being relieved, the 23rd October 1917, Wilfred’s brother, who was serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment was killed in action at Loos.

During 1918 the Battalion was to return to the Somme and were in situ at St Quentin where they carried out defensive battles to halt the German Spring Offensive and Operation Michael.

Wilfred can be found being given another 10 day leave between the 19th of March and the 2nd April 1918 before the Battalion was moved back towards the Belgian border being based at Erquinghem on the 9th April when the Enemy launched Operation Georgette as part of the Spring Offensive. The 34th Division was holding the line with the 101st Brigade including the 10th Lincolns in reserve. The Brigade did suffer a very high number of casualties from the intense artillery bombardment, especially from gas shells.
Over the two days the division was in such a precarious position that they received the order to withdraw across the Lys north of Armentieres and then eventually to fall back to a new defensive line north of Steenwerck.
The Battalion were then moved back to Bailleul and held a resistance of two days before the town fell to the enemy, Operation Georgette now seeing successes and eventually forcing the 34th Division back to take up reserve positions on the Ravelsberg Ridge.

On the 16th April the depleted 34th division was holding positions on the Ravelsberg Ridge but eventually the old brigades started to be reinforced with new and the 102 and 103 were able to withdraw leaving the 101st and the 10th Lincs holding a reserve line between Hille and Sint-Jans-Cappel.
The battalion diaries report 361 casualties during April.

This was to be the final actions for the 10th Lincolnshire Regiment and they were moved to Poperinghe and on the 18th may they were reduced to a training cadre with men being transferred to other battalions.

Wilfred was one of the men being transferred and by the 5th June he was back at the Base near Boulogne awaiting his next posting.

This posting came on the 3rd July when he was posted to the 2nd battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and he proceeded to Calais arriving at the 2nd Battalion’s base on the 20th July, three days later being posted to B Company 2nd Battalion.

Within a week or so Wilfred was then attached to the 175th Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers. Usually men for infantry Battalions could be attached to guard a tunnelling company. The 175th were to be used to build bridges in the Allied push out of the Somme later in 1918 in the final hundred days.

On the 20th August Wilfred re- joined the 2nd Battalion but it was to be a short service as we can see from the Battalion Diaries.

20th August 1918 – nr Auchonvillers
The disposition of the Battalion shows that B company and thus Wilfred were holding the left outpost on high ground along the Beaucourt- Serre Road in Q.6.d

6pm – The enemy held posts along the Battalion front about 300 yards away, and on right flank, where there was a strong Machine Gun post in Luminous Avenue to cover Beaucourt (Position of this post was in Q.12.b.9.4, about 150 yards from our right post.)
Orders received for 62nd Infantry Brigade to take part at dawn on the following ady in an attack on the enemy’s positions in conjunction with Brigade and Divisions on the flanks. The total frontage of the attack was to be about 9 miles.
The success of the initial attack in the 21st Divisional Sector and the possibility of carrying out further phases depend to a great extent on the capture of Beaucourt. This village was on the right flank of the outpost line held by the battalion, and its capture within half an hour of the battle enabled the remaining Battalions in the Brigade (1st Lincs, 12/13th Northumberland Fusiliers) to advance and reach their objectives.
9pm – Enemy made a determined but unsuccessful raid on the left picquet of “B ” Company. Enemy strength estimated at 50. The enemy attempted to rush both flanks, but was met by the steady fire from the post. A party sent out on the left flank under 2/Lieut A Fairmann caused the enemy at once to withdraw.

21st August 1918 – Luminous Avenue

12:.15am – The enemy opened up an intensive gas bombardment of the area occupied by the 2 support companies, A and D Companies and the communications leading to the front line. This lasted until 12.15am and considerably interfered with these two companies, while they were preparing to move forward. Several severe gas casualties were sustained, but the remainder of the men, although all were suffering from the effects of gas shelling, remained at duty.

2am- Battalion headquarters and “A” and “D” companies moved forward to positions of assembly ready for the assault. Battalion HQ moved to Luminous Avenue Q.12.b.4.7. A company formed up on a line running north east from Luminous Avenue with their right at Q.12.b.8.6. D company formed up on a line running south west from Luminous Avenue in prolongation of A Company. Both companies were on a frontage of 100 yards with 2 platoons in leading wave and 2 platoons in second wave, 25 yards between platoons. Each platoon had 2 sections in front with L.G. Section on flank immediately behind. A bombing party of C company formed up in Luminous Avenue between A and D companies.
The morning was ideal for the forming up, as a thick mist head all movement, and the smoke barrage arranged was consequently cancelled. The enemy post at Q.12.b.9.4. Apparently heard the men forming up and opened fire, but orders were given for a trench mortar to fire a few rounds at the post and no further hindrance was caused.

5.35am – the company is completed the form in up by 5:35 am.

5.45am – zero hour for the attack on Beaucourt was 5:45 am at which our 12 Stokes guns open the barrage on enemy post at Kew.12.18.9.4 and selected targets behind. This fire was well directed and kept the enemy from firing back as well as driving him into his deep dugouts. Stokes motor barrage lifted as the troops advanced, Final stop in at 5:53 am.
At 5:45 am a hurricane bombardment of light colour of the guns was put down for eight minutes onto Beaucourt ruins.
At zero hour exactly, A and D Companies, under cover of this bombardment, moved forward to the assault. The bombing party of the company and the 2nd Lieut R sharpe rushed the enemy post at Q.12.b.9.4., capturing eight prisoners and their machine gun. This allowed A&E companies to move forward without a check. So eager were the men that they were able to keep close up to the fast moving barrage.
A company advanced keeping Luminous Avenue on the right and met little opposition and to reaching the railway road where a machine-gun on the left flank proved troublesome; A Lewis Gun section was sent out so that flank can the enemy retired. A company then move forward to the railway which was then consolidated.
D company advanced, keeping aluminous Avenue on their left. The leading wave – the head and reach railway road with but little opposition; the two platoons following behind encountered the enemy coming out of the numerous the dugouts. These were bombed and many taken prisoner. A party of the enemy was seen on the right flank in Railway Road, and these, after being fired on by Lewis Guns, surrendered. The left leading platoon of the company lost direction on getting to railway road and proceeded to crossroads in Beaucourt at Q.7.d.3.8. This platoon as it turned out was most useful in guarding the left flank.
There was a short delay in the ruins of Beaucourt, while dugouts and small parties of the enemy were cleared up, and the two platoons then continued the advance to the railway. I then ordered A company to consolidate the line of the railway and D company to form a support line along railway road, paying attention into each case to the left flank. The total number of prisoners captured by the two companies was three officers and 90 other ranks, who belonged to the 68 RI regiment 16 R Division.

10am – by this time the mist cleared and considerable trouble was caused from machine-gun fire from Logging Support., South of the River Ancre, and throughout the afternoon the position was heavily shelled.

At 3:30 pm 12/13th Northumberland Fusiliers push trolls across to the south side of the River Ancre but made little progress owing to machine-gun fire from Thiepval Ridge.

At 8:45 pm the company were able to get in touch with 1st E. Yorks at R.8.A.45.35.

At 3 am on August 22 A + D companies were relieved by one company Northumberland Fusiliers (12/13th) and March to Acheux.
This was necessary I went to the large number of men who had been gassed.

2pm – the two companies holding the outpost line, B and C companies, were ordered to assemble and moved to the line reached by the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment in their advance. C company move forward on the right and B company on the left, both companies moving in artillery formation. On reaching the valley in R.1.B and D, the two companies passed through the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment and advanced to the sunk road in R.3.C.

This action continued non stop for the 2nd Battalion until the 26th, 4 days later, when they were relived and placed in Brigade Reserve. However for Wilfred Harris the damage had been done on the 21st.

The Battalion Diary for August reports that the casualties were:-
Killed, 1 Officer and 32 Ranks
Wounded, 2 officers and 132 Ranks
Missing, 1 Officer and 5 Ranks.
A large note in the margin states that this did not include men gassed.

The normal procedure for a wounded man would mean being taken to a Aid and Bearer (First aid) post close to the front line to be assessed by a medical officer. From here the route would be by stretcher bearers of the Field Ambulance back to an advanced dressing station to get further treatment before being evacuated to a casualty clearing station. At the casualty clearing station, typically a few miles behind the lines, he would once again be assessed and then arrangements made to place him on an ambulance train to take him back to the Base Hospital. At any stage he could be patched up and sent back to the line if he was still physically fighting fit.

For Wilfred he was taken to the 11th Field Ambulance and then moved down the line reaching the 34th Casualty Clearing Station at Fienvillers being admitted on the 30th August with the effects of Gas Mist.
After initial treatment he was then moved by 10th Ambulance train and arrived at the 7th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne on the 7th September 1918.

In total Wilfred would stay a total of 2 months in hospital, exactly where for the full period is unknown. Once discharged he reported to number 2 Infantry Command Depot, a military convalescent camp. Once there he was found to be an unsuitable case for a command depot as he was diagnosed with organic heart disease and proceeded on leave under act 1056/18 with instructions to report direct to the 3rd Battalion on expiration of the same. This meant in effect he was struck off strength of the depot on the 16th November 1918 and posted to the 3rd Battalion on the 24th November 1918.

On the 8th December 1918 Wilfred was discharged from Army service, being no longer physically fit or war service

The official Army Medical Report on a Soldier Boarded Prior to Discharge or Transfer reports that Wilfred was suffering from severe V.D.H. (Valvular Disease of the Heart) due to mustard gas poisoning in August 1918. No previous history of rheumatic fever. The patient complains of angina like pains in left shoulder and arm. There is a long list of medical terminology in the report written in very bad handwriting.
The medical officer’s verdict was a 70% disablement for 12 months. It also recommended that he should be discharged as permanently unfit.
This was signed by the medical officer Captain Chas Hannigan in Cork. The papers were stamped at Dublin on 8th December 1918.

After a service lasting four and a half years with two and a half years in France, having been present at all of the major battles that the 10th Battalion and then the 2nd went through, Private Wilfred Hart Harris was discharged from the Army on the 8th December 1918 and was awarded the silver war badge number B58015.

However unfortunately that is not the end of Wilfred’s story.

Grantham Journal Saturday 21st June 1919
HARRIS – In ever-loving memory of Wilfred Hart, the dearly beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. P. Harris, of Pointon, who died on June 14th, 1919, from the effects of gas poisoning received in France on August 21st, 1918.
We cannot yet realise his death,
It seems a hateful dream:
He died for all of us at home-
A sacrifice supreme.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris wish to thank all kind friends for sympathy shown to them in their sad bereavement and for flowers sent.

Wilfred is buried in a private grave in Sempringham Parish Church, Lincolnshire, a grave that also commemorated his brother killed at Loos.

Remembrance – Harry Briggs

Today we remember Thurlby Man, Harry Briggs, who was killed in action on 9th May 1915 whilst serving with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Aubers Ridge.

Harry was born in Gainsborough in october 1880 to Henry Simpson Briggs, born 1854 in Lincoln, and his Wife Sarah Priestley, born in Lincoln in 1857.

The couple were married in the Lincoln area in 1874 and their first child was born in 1875.
Lilian Briggs, 1875, Lincoln
Florence Briggs, 1878, Lincoln
Annie Briggs, 1879, Lincoln
Harry Briggs, 1880, Gainsborough.

The family lived in Lincoln where Henry worked as a boot repairer. Eventually they moved to Gainsborough where Sarah died in 1880 possibly in childbirth or shortly after.

In 1881 on census night, April 3rd, Harry was living with his siblings and widowed father on Church Street Gainsborough. Elizabeth Rowe, a 34 year old house keeper born in Thurlby was also in the house and listed as a servant. Unusually Elizabeth was listed above the children and immediately after the head of the house, Henry. It is usual for any servants to be listed after the family on census returns.

Henry was remarried in 1881, in Gainsborough, to Elizabeth Rowe, who already had a son James Henry, born in 1873, although they had no other children together.
By 1891 the family were living at 4 North Row, St George Hanover Square, London where Henry was working as a coffee House Keeper. The four children are all living with them, including Harry’s Step brother James.

The family then moved back to Elizabeth’s own village of Thurlby near Bourne, where in 1898 Elizabeth died. On the 1901 census Henry is now living alone on The Green in Thurlby.

In 1901 Harry cannot be found on any census return but by that time he had joined the Army and would have been serving in South Africa.

Henry, Harry’s Father, was married a third time to Lucy Gillham in 1902 the marriage being registered in the Bourne district.

Harry was already serving with the 4th Essex Regiment as well as working as a Barman when he, at the age of 18 years and 0 months, signed up for 12 years service on the 14th March 1898. This means he lied about his age as he would turn 18 in that October.
At that time the 12 years was made up of 7 years in regular service plus an extra 5 years in Army Reserve. The very same day he passed his, medical and was fit for service.

He was then posted as a regular to the Essex Regiment with a regimental number of 5081. This posting was on the 8th June 1898.
On the 15th August 1898 Harry was reported absent and then returned to duty on the 24th August 1898.

During the next 2 years. Harry’s pay records show that he was serving at home and this changed on 29th March 1900 when his records were changed to show overseas pay. This was because the 1st Battalion was sent out to South Africa where he stayed in South Africa until 14th August 1902.
The pay records fit with some of the Essex Regiment history as 1st and 2nd battalions served in the Second Boer War Notably, the regiment participated in the Relief of Kimberley and the Battle of Paardeberg. The four Volunteer Battalions contributed two Special Service Companies to assist the 1st Battalion and were also awarded the battle honour South Africa 1900–02.

The next posting in Harry’s records was on the 16th August 1902 when his battalion arrived in India. After the Boer War ended the 1st Battalion were transferred to Bangalore as part of the Madras Command. The strength of the Battalion that left Natal for India on the SS Ionian in August were 966 Officers and men.
There is a note in Harry medical records that just states Bangalore 6th September 1902, there are no notes or reason for this entry.
Harry undertook education whilst serving with the Battalion and on the 22nd December 1903 he passed his Certificate of Education 3rd Class.

Whilst serving with the 1st battalion Essex Regiment in India on the 18th March 1904 Harry was appointed Lance Corporal. The next month, on 7th April 1904 after 6 years service, Harry was found fit to be able to extend his service to 8 years.
It was a good start to the year and on the 20th June 1904 he went on to attain his Certificate of Education 2nd Class.

Training was very much a part of Army life and on the 16th September 1904 Harry passed his Mounted Infantry Certificate (Typically a 3 to 6 week course) although within days, Harry fell ill. On the 20th September 1904 Harry was admitted to hospital, possibly with a type of fever and remained there for 44 days, being discharged on the 2nd November.

Harry, now a long serving soldier was then awarded two Good Conduct Badges on 2nd June 1905. Later in the same year he had by then completed his 8 years service and on the 24th October 1905 Harry’s records note that “Extended service to complete 12 years with the colours”, thus his Army engagement was extended.
The next month, on the 28th November 1905, Harry was once again admitted to hospital this time with Malarial Fever and stayed there for 10 days, being discharged on the 7th December 1905.

The next entry for Harry in his medical sheet is on the 17th November 1906 when he is admitted to hospital for Impetigo that was said to have originated by a bite from an insect. On this occasion he stayed in hospital for 11 days and was discharged on the 27th November 1906.

Within a couple of weeks the Battalion received their next posting and on the 13th December 1906 their time in India ended and they were moved to Burma for a further 2 years.

Whilst in Mandalay, Harry’s records show a further 4 hospital stays, the first time 5 days for S.C. Fever (Nov 1907).
It would appear that training in other skills were on he agenda in Burma as whilst here in October 1907 he attended classes and was awarded certificates in both Butchery and Victualling on the 27th of that month.

Harry’s next hospital stay was 18 days for inflammation of the gums which resulted in the extraction of teeth to make way for dentures (Mar 1908). Plus a further 5 days in April 1908, and finally 29 days starting on 31st May 1908 for inflammation. Of Conn: Tissue.
During this time of ill health during 1908 Harry was promoted to Corporal on 13th April.

12th December 1908 saw the 1st battalion Essex Regiment being moved back to India.

Harry is re-engaged by the Army on 24th March 1909 when his extended service ran out and he passed a further medical examination. The note in his service record states that:
” Re-engaged for such a term as shall complete 21 years with the colours”
The last entry for the 1st Battalion is that on 13th August 1910 Harry ceases to draw service pay.
Harry is then posted to the 2nd Battalion on the 17th December 1910 and remains there until the 7th January 1911.
Officially his records show that his service overseas in India finished on the 6th January 1911. The records from the 7th January 1911 show that is service is now home service which at the time could have also include service in Ireland.

On the 1st July 1911 Harry is reverted “at his own request” to Private. The same day he is posted to the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment by the authority of 2nd Bn Ireland (A reference to 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment).
Harry is issued with a new regimental number 9181.
At the time the number range for the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment is consistent with 9181 being issued around July 1911.

On the pay book Harry’s home service only lasted until the 27th December 1911 when Harry and the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment were moved out to Gibraltar.

The next note in Harry’s medial file is that he was revaccinated whilst in Gibraltar on the 23rd March 1913.

On 7th January 1914, the 2nd battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Bunbury McAndrew, were posted to Bermuda and stationed at Prospect Camp, in Devonshire Parish, on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton (the colonial capital).
When war was declared on the 4th of August, the battalion was under orders to return to Britain. The Governor of Bermuda, Lieutenant-General Sir George Bullock, was temporarily abroad and Lieutenant-Colonel McAndrew filled his place, overseeing the placement of the colony onto a war footing.

The Battalion left Bermuda and headed for Canada as the first part of their leg home on 13th September 1914 heading to Halifax Nova Scotia on the SS Canada before embarking for Devonport on the 3rd October 1914.

Arriving back home on the 20th October the Battalion was moved to Hursley Park, Winchester to join the 25th Brigade, 8th Division. There they prepared for war and some men were given 48 hours leave before they were mobilised on the 5th November.
During this time Harry’s records show that he was deprived of 8 days pay for absence on 26th October 1914.

At 12 Noon on the 5th November the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment marched out of camp to join the British Expeditionary Force, arriving at Southampton at 5pm, they immediately embarked on SS Cestrian and sailed to France.
On arriving at Havre on the 6th November they marched to a reserve camp just outside of the city, three days later entraining for their eventual destination of Champiny, 10km South West of Armentieres. Here the Battalion entered trenches on the 14th November to see their first action of the Great War.

Private Harry Briggs was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 14th December 1914.

The Battalion remained in the Armentieres area until in March 1915 being moved up to be part of the Battle for Neuve-Chapelle which took place between the 10th and 13th March. During this battle the Battalion saw an artillery bombardment using 300 guns for over one hour and then the battalion were part of the main attack. During the 7 days before being relieved the battle has cost the Battalion 7 officers killed, 8 wounded, 298 men killed and wounded.

Harry Briggs was promoted to Acting Corporal on 23rd March 1915.

The Battalion remained in this sector, in and out of trenches for the rest of March 1915, providing working parties and burying the dead before moving back to billets at Bac St Maur by the end of the month. This was similar in April, some training was carried out in the second week when the Battalion were out of the trenches and in Divisional Reserve. They were given training, which included wire cutting and specific training for blocking party use.

On the 17th April the Battalion were addressed by the Commander in Chief on the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle and then they carried out practice attacks in readiness for the next planned attack. The rest of the month they went back to the usual pattern of three days in the trenches and then three days out in support. Eventually they found themselves moved into the Laventie section by the end of the month.
Another tour of the trenches was carried out at the beginning of May and on the 7th they received orders for an attack on Fromelles, which was to be carried out early on the 9th. At 11pm on the night of the 8th the Battalion left the Billets and marched down to the assembly trenches.

The northern part of the assault would involve the 25th infantry Brigade of the 8th division, which included the second Lincolnshire battalion’s four companies. By 2 am, the 25th Brigade was lined up in assembly trenches opposite a section of enemy line. At 5 am the artillery guns open fire, pounding German defences and blowing wire entanglements apart. The guns ceased at 5:40 am and two companies of the second Lincolns advanced towards the village of Rouge Bancs, close behind the Royal Irish rifles and the 2nd Rifle Brigade. German artillery opened fire on the advancing troops, and they were subjected to a storm of machine gun and rifle fire from both flanks. The two leading formations suffered heavy losses.
We can see in great details the actions of this day and the following extract has been taken from the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment for May 1915.

5th May 1915
2 pm –
Battalion moved into close billets south east of Sailly.

6th-7th May 1915
Orders for attack on Fromelles received and issued to companies.

8th May 1915
11pm –
Battalion left billets and marched down to assembly trenches near Rue Petillon where it formed up ready for attack on the following morning. The battalion was on the left flank of the second line. W and X companies in front with Y and Z immediately behind.

9th May 1915
5am –
Artillery began bombardment of enemies trenches and on lifting at 5:40 am the 1st Royal Irish Rifles in the front line commenced the attack with the battalion following close behind. The enemy at once opened a heavy artillery and rifle fire. The leading companies of the battalion were able to advance as far as the trenches immediately in front of our own fire parapet and there found further advance impossible, heavy flanking fire from rifles and machine guns being brought to bear on them. Before this position was reached 2/Lieut Ayres (3rd Dorsetshire regiment and Lieut Nisbet were killed and Lieuts Nind and Clifford, wounded.
The 1st Royal Irish Rifles who preceded the battalion were also unable to reach the German trench.
The two companies of the battalion in the second line had by this time reached our own parapet and as a further advance from this point was impossible the GOC 25th infantry Brigade issued orders for these two companies to endeavour to work down for sap leading towards the main crater on the left and after gaining possession of the German trench to work Westwood and join up with the left of the 2nd Rifle Brigade.
At this moment the Brigadier was killed and the command of the Brigade devolved on Major S. Fiby G. Cox, Major H.E.R Boxer assuming command of the battalion. Capt B. J. Thruston was sent forward with the left party.
He sent on first a blocking and bombing party under 2/Lieut E.O. Black who succeeded in gaining the German trench and clearing 300 to the west but running out of bombs could advance no further. The remainder of the party followed close behind, but came under an extremely heavy fire from the right and left front especially the latter. Capt Thruston seeing this gave instructions for the bombing party of the Scottish rifles to go forward and clear the trench to the east of the mine crater. This they did.
9am –
While this was going on men were being sent across to occupy and put in a state of defence the trenches so cleared. Heavy casualties were suffered and only a small proportion of the men reach their objective. Capt Thruston having located to machine guns which were firing from beyond the crater and causing many casualties, collected five machine guns and very quickly silenced them.
10.30am –
Capt Thruston reported that he was in possession of the German trench to the west of the mind crater and was awaiting further orders. Considerable difficulty was experienced in communicating with this party owing to the ground between the opposing trenches being swept by enfilade machine-gun fire from hostile trenches further north east which had not been touched by our guns.
4pm –
An order eventually reached Captain Thruston directing him to bring his party back.
8pm –
As this was impossible during daylight he waited until 8 pm at which hour he was attacked on both flanks and rear, the enemy bombing and rushing in from the crater on the left first. Sing the situation and having no machine gun war bonds and being so hard pressed Captain Thruston gave the order for the party to get back to their own parapet, which they did. On the way back second lieutenant Black became missing.
11pm –
Orders were received for the battalion to proceed to billets. The party under Captain French (formally Major boxer) with Drew to our own parapet under cover of darkness, having been throughout the day severely subjected to shell and rifle fire.

10th May – Bac St Maur
2am –
Battalion reached billets just south of back St Maur.

By 3am on the 10th May all surviving Allied troops had been withdrawn from the German lines. It would take three days for all of the wounded men to be moved from the battlefield to field hospitals. The Battalion Diary notes, that in the attack, from the other ranks alone , 28 killed or died of wounds, 172 wounded, 77 missing, this was in addition to the officers that were named in the diary.
Not only was Harry Briggs killed in this attack but also the Battalion lost Baston man Private Archer Cook.
It was for his actions during this attack that Corporal Charles Sharpe of Bourne was awarded the Victoria Cross, being in the lead of the bombing party that took the 300 yards of enemy trench mentioned in the diary, that being after all of his party had become casualties, missing or killed.

More than 11,000 British casualties were sustained on 9th May 1915, the vast majority within yards of their own front line. If you look at length of the front for the attack this was one of the highest loss rates of any attack of the war.

The British Commander in Chief Sir John French had complained about the shortage of artillery shells to Colonel Tim Repington, the military correspondent for the Times newspaper. An article published on the 14 May in the Times placed the failure of the attack on the government. “British soldiers died in vain on the Aubers Ridge…because more shells were needed.” The story resulted in a political crisis, the Shell Scandal, which contributed to the Liberals being forced to accept a coalition government on the 25 May 1915. The Shell Scandal also brought about the creation of the Ministry of Munitions headed by David Lloyd George.

Grantham Journal Saturday 22nd May 1915
THURLBY
FOUR MORE THURLBY MEN have enlisted this week, vis Messrs. Cole, C Brown, G Healey, and E Foyster, thus bringing the total number of recruits to 36
ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE WAR – On Monday Mr. H. Briggs received from the War Office the news that his son, Corpl. H. Briggs, of the 2nd Lincolns, had been killed in action in France. This is the first casualty amongst the village men.

The following is correspondence between the Army and Harry’s father after his death:-

In September1915, The war Office made a request that Harry’s Effects then held by the Infantry Records office in Litchfield return any articles of personal property they held for 9181 Acting Corporal Harry Briggs, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, be despatched to Mr H.S. Briggs, Thurlby, Bourne, Lincolnshire.
This was completed on the 16th September and a Watch, Disc, Purse and a German Coin were posted to Harry’s Father along with a form to sign for receipt and a stamped addressed envelope for its return.
Henry Briggs signed this on the 18th September and on the form wrote the following note:
I do not know if he deposited any thing with you at the records office but he led me to understand that his medals were in your charge and I should be pleased if you will forward them to me at your convenience.

In September 1915 the Infantry Office at Litchfield sent the medals that Harry had been entitled to for his pre-war service to his father. These medals were:
South Africa Medal, Queens 5 Clasp
South Africa Medal, King’s 2 Clasp

In 1919 the Army once again sent correspondence to Mr H S Briggs of Thurlby Bourne Lincs, requesting that he fill out the form stating the deceased soldier’s next of Kin. The response was:-
Father: Harry Simpson Briggs, Thurlby, Bourne, Lincs
Sisters:
Lilian Weaver age 42 address not known
Annie Graves age 38 address unknown
Florence Wade, age 40, High Street, Thurlby

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Corporal Harry Briggs, 9181, 2nd Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 9 May 1915 Age 34. Son of Henry Simpson Briggs, of Thurlby, Bourne, Lincs; husband of the late Sarah Briggs. Remembered with honour, Ploegsteert Memorial

Harry is also remembered on the Roll of Honour. In St Firmin’s Church, Thurlby.

Acknowledgements to Thurlby Village Web Site for the use of Harry’s Photograph.

Remembrance – Archer Cooke

Archer Cooke

Today we remembered local Baston, Lincolnshire man, Archer Cooke who was killed in action on the 9th May 1915, serving with the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

Archer “Archie” Cooke was born in the winter of 1889 to Alfred Cooke, a Groom and agricultural labourer born in Baston in 1848, and his wife Mary Adelaide Hill, Born in Baston in 1853.

The couple were married in Baston on the 25th November 1872. The couple remained in Baston where they had 15 children, Mary’s first son being born in 1871:-
• Randolph Hildebrand Hill, 1871, Baston (Half brother)
• Alfred William Cooke (aka William) 1873, Baston
• George Cooke, 1876, Baston
• Charles Cooke, 1877, Baston
• Joseph Ernest Cooke, 1879, Baston
• Arthur Cooke, 1882, Baston
• Matthew Cooke, 1884, Baston
• Alfred Cooke, 1885, Baston
• Elizabeth Skeath Cooke, 1886, Baston
• Christopher Cooke, 1888, Baston
• Archer Cooke, 1889, Baston
• Percy Cooke, 1892, Baston
• Hilda Cooke, 1893, Baston
• There were 3 more children whose names are unknown but are mentioned in the not survived column on the 1911 census.

In 1891 the 2 year old Archer is living with his parents in Main Street, Baston. By 1901 he is living with his father, a Garthman on a farm, his mother not being present on census night.
By 1911 Archer has already joined the Army and is serving with the 1st battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in Aden. He is listed on he 1911 Census in barracks, the location just being listed as Military, Overseas, Arabia, Cyprus, Gibraltar.
The family are still living in Baston and the census tells us hat Alfred and Mary have been married for 38 years and have had 16 children in total. Alfred now working as a warehouseman.

The Birth registers and 1891 census show that Archer’s full name was Archer Cooke although on the 1901 census returns and on all military documents he is Archie Cooke.

There are some parts of his Full Military Service records surviving but they are part of the Burnt Records that partially survived the warehouse fire in London in the Blitz that destroyed 60% of all WW1 records. The burnt records re a part that survived but the pages have some fire damage and hence some of the information is unclear or partially destroyed.

Archer attested to the Lincolnshire Regiment on 31st December 1907 and after passing his medical on 1st January 1908 was pronounced fit to serve. He had signed up for a 12 year period, that being 7 years active service and then 5 years on Military reserve.
On his enlistment form he declared that he was 18 years and 1 month old and also that he was serving with the 3rd Lincolnshire Regiment and previously served in the 2nd Militia. At the time his occupation was a farm servant. He was then enlisted and assigned the regimental number of 8318.

He was allotted to the 1st battalion on the 24th January 1908 and then sent to Portsmouth to serve.

Archer finds himself being posted to the 1st Battalion on the 7th February 1911 and by the 25th February he is with the Battalion in Aden.

A year on and on the 2nd January 1912 Archer is posted to the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and within days is posted out to Gibraltar on the 13th January.

On 7th January 1914, the 2nd battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel George Bunbury McAndrew, were posted to Bermuda and stationed at Prospect Camp, in Devonshire Parish, on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton (the colonial capital).
When war was declared on the 4th of August, the battalion was under orders to return to Britain. The Governor of Bermuda, Lieutenant-General Sir George Bullock, was temporarily abroad and Lieutenant-Colonel McAndrew filled his place, overseeing the placement of the colony onto a war footing.

The Battalion left Bermuda and headed for Canada as the first part of their leg home on 13th September 1914 heading to Halifax Nova Scotia on the SS Canada before embarking for Devonport on the 3rd October 1914.

Arriving back home on the 20th October the Battalion was moved to Hursley Park, Winchester to join the 25th Brigade, 8th Division. There they prepared for war and some men were given 48 hours leave before they were mobilised on the 5th November.

At 12 Noon on the 5th November the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment marched out of camp to join the British Expeditionary Force, arriving at Southampton at 5pm, they immediately embarked on SS Cestrian and sailed to France.
On arriving at Havre on the 6th November they marched to a reserve camp just outside of the city, three days later entraining for their eventual destination of Champiny, 10km South West of Armentieres. Here the Battalion entered trenches on the 14th November to see their first action of the Great War.

On the 29th December 1914 Archer is appointed as acting Corporal, in the field.

The Battalion remained in the Armentieres area until in March 1915 being moved up to be part of the Battle for Neuve-Chapelle which took place between the 10th and 13th March.
On the eve of the Battle of Neuve-Chappelle, the 10th March 1915, Archer was promoted to a full Corporal in the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.
During this battle the battalion saw an artillery bombardment using 300 guns for over one hour and then the battalion were part of the main attack. During the 7 days before being relieved the battle has cost the Battalion 7 officers killed, 8 wounded, 298 men killed and wounded.

The Battalion remained in this sector, in and out of trenches for the rest of March 1915, providing working parties and burying the dead before moving back to billets at Bac St Maur by the end of the month. This was similar in April, some training was carried out in the second week when the Battalion were out of the trenches and in Divisional Reserve. They were given training, which included wire cutting and specific training for blocking party use.

On the 17th April the Battalion were addressed by the Commander in Chief on the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle and then they carried out practice attacks in readiness for the next planned attack. The rest of the month they went back to the usual pattern of three days in the trenches and then three days out in support.
On 26th April 1915, Archer is admitted in to the 25th Field Ambulance for “alleged Fits”, 3 days later on the 29th April he is discharged and returns to his Battalion who at this time are in the Levantie Section of the Line near Fromelles.

Another tour of the trenches was carried out at the beginning of May and on the 7th they received orders for an attack on Fromelles, which was to be carried out early on the 9th. At 11pm on the night of the 8th the Battalion left the Billets and marched down to the assembly trenches.

The northern part of the assault would involve the 25th infantry Brigade of the 8th division, which included the second Lincolnshire battalion’s four companies. By 2 am, the 25th Brigade was lined up in assembly trenches opposite a section of enemy line. At 5 am the artillery guns open fire, pounding German defences and blowing wire entanglements apart. The guns ceased at 5:40 am and two companies of the second Lincolns advanced towards the village of Rouge Bancs, close behind the Royal Irish rifles and the 2nd Rifle Brigade. German artillery opened fire on the advancing troops, and they were subjected to a storm of machine gun and rifle fire from both flanks. The two leading formations suffered heavy losses.
We can see in great details the actions of this day and the following extract has been taken from the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment for May 1915.

5th May 1915
2 pm –
Battalion moved into close billets south east of Sailly.

6th-7th May 1915
Orders for attack on Fromelles received and issued to companies.

8th May 1915
11pm –
Battalion left billets and marched down to assembly trenches near Rue Petillon where it formed up ready for attack on the following morning. The battalion was on the left flank of the second line. W and X companies in front with Y and Z immediately behind.

9th May 1915
5am –
Artillery began bombardment of enemies trenches and on lifting at 5:40 am the 1st Royal Irish Rifles in the front line commenced the attack with the battalion following close behind. The enemy at once opened a heavy artillery and rifle fire. The leading companies of the battalion were able to advance as far as the trenches immediately in front of our own fire parapet and there found further advance impossible, heavy flanking fire from rifles and machine guns being brought to bear on them. Before this position was reached 2/Lieut Ayres (3rd Dorsetshire regiment and Lieut Nisbet were killed and Lieuts Nind and Clifford, wounded.
The 1st Royal Irish Rifles who preceded the battalion were also unable to reach the German trench.
The two companies of the battalion in the second line had by this time reached our own parapet and as a further advance from this point was impossible the GOC 25th infantry Brigade issued orders for these two companies to endeavour to work down for sap leading towards the main crater on the left and after gaining possession of the German trench to work Westwood and join up with the left of the 2nd Rifle Brigade.
At this moment the Brigadier was killed and the command of the Brigade devolved on Major S. Fiby G. Cox, Major H.E.R Boxer assuming command of the battalion. Capt B. J. Thruston was sent forward with the left party.
He sent on first a blocking and bombing party under 2/Lieut E.O. Black who succeeded in gaining the German trench and clearing 300 to the west but running out of bombs could advance no further. The remainder of the party followed close behind, but came under an extremely heavy fire from the right and left front especially the latter. Capt Thruston seeing this gave instructions for the bombing party of the Scottish rifles to go forward and clear the trench to the east of the mine crater. This they did.
9am –
While this was going on men were being sent across to occupy and put in a state of defence the trenches so cleared. Heavy casualties were suffered and only a small proportion of the men reach their objective. Capt Thruston having located to machine guns which were firing from beyond the crater and causing many casualties, collected five machine guns and very quickly silenced them.
10.30am –
Capt Thruston reported that he was in possession of the German trench to the west of the mind crater and was awaiting further orders. Considerable difficulty was experienced in communicating with this party owing to the ground between the opposing trenches being swept by enfilade machine-gun fire from hostile trenches further north east which had not been touched by our guns.
4pm –
An order eventually reached Captain Thruston directing him to bring his party back.
8pm –
As this was impossible during daylight he waited until 8 pm at which hour he was attacked on both flanks and rear, the enemy bombing and rushing in from the crater on the left first. Sing the situation and having no machine gun war bonds and being so hard pressed Captain Thruston gave the order for the party to get back to their own parapet, which they did. On the way back second lieutenant Black became missing.
11pm –
Orders were received for the battalion to proceed to billets. The party under Captain French (formally Major boxer) with Drew to our own parapet under cover of darkness, having been throughout the day severely subjected to shell and rifle fire.

10th May – Bac St Maur
2am –
Battalion reached billets just south of back St Maur.

By 3am on the 10th May all surviving Allied troops had been withdrawn from the German lines. It would take three days for all of the wounded men to be moved from the battlefield to field hospitals. The Battalion Diary notes, that in the attack, from the other ranks alone , 28 killed or died of wounds, 172 wounded, 77 missing, this was in addition to the officers that were named in the diary.

Archer Cooke was a casualty of this battle, like so many others killed in action on the 9th May 1915. Undoubtably Arher would have known Harry Briggs of Thurlby, who like him had served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment as a career soldier and was also killed in action on the 9th May 1915.
It was for his actions during this very same attack that Corporal Charles Sharpe of Bourne was awarded the Victoria Cross, being in the lead of the bombing party that took the 300 yards of enemy trench mentioned in the diary, that being after all of his party had become casualties, missing or killed.

More than 11,000 British casualties were sustained on 9th May 1915, the vast majority within yards of their own front line. If you look at length of the front for the attack this was one of the highest loss rates of any attack of the war.

The British Commander in Chief Sir John French had complained about the shortage of artillery shells to Colonel Tim Repington, the military correspondent for the Times newspaper. An article published on the 14 May in the Times placed the failure of the attack on the government. “British soldiers died in vain on the Aubers Ridge…because more shells were needed.” The story resulted in a political crisis, the Shell Scandal, which contributed to the Liberals being forced to accept a coalition government on the 25 May 1915. The Shell Scandal also brought about the creation of the Ministry of Munitions headed by David Lloyd George.

Lincolnshire Free Press – 21st May 1915
BASTON
Much sympathy has been shown to Mr and Mrs a Cooke and family on the loss of their son, Corporal A Cooke, of the 2nd Lincolns, who was killed in action in the recent severe fighting. Lance-Corp F.J. Dann of the same regiment, conveyed the sad tidings to Mr and Mrs Cooke in a letter received from him last Friday, in which he stated:- “I am very sorry to have to tell you that your beloved son fell in our last engagement on Sunday the ninth inst., about 10 am, being shot through the head. He died instantly. I am sure everyone in the company are in morning with you as he was so well liked and respected by all who knew him.” A memorial service to him and another Baston lad, Sydney Cole, of the 2nd Northamptons, killed at Neuve-Chappelle, was held in the church on Sunday evening, at which there was a large congregation. The vicar spoke very consolingly to the mourners, and a muffled peal was wrung on the church bells, the school flag was half mastered, both lads being former scholars. Another son of Mr and Mrs Cooke, who was wounded in the retreat from Mons, has recently been promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major in the Kings own Royal Lancashires. In the same engagement mentioned above another Baston lad, Lance Corporal W Featherstone, Second Lincolns, was wounded in the hand, though, fortunately, not very seriously. In addition to the two killed this is the third wounded young man from Baston, one case necessitating amputation of right leg.

Grantham Journal Saturday 12th June 1915
LINCOLNSHIRE REGIMENT CASUALTIES
The following casualties in the Expeditionary Force are reported from the Base under the dates given:-
May 21 – Killed – 2nd Battalion, Cooke 8318 Corpl. A.

We can see from a War Office form of the 14th September 1915, regarding posting of articles of property, the form has Mrs Mary Adelaide Cooke of Thetford Lane Baston struck through and a new address of Mr A Cooke, Cemetery Avenue Baston added. This looks like it was an amended instruction of the 11th August 1910.

On the 16th September Infantry Records at Litchfield sent Archer’s personal belongings (Effects) to his father and this was the sum total of one identity disc. The form was signed by Alfred Cooke and duly returned.

In November 1915 Mrs Mary Cooke of Cemetery Lane, Baston writes to the Infantry Records office stating that he would have had several things in his possession and could they give her any information of his small book as it might be of some interest to her.

In 1919 the Infantry Records office in Litchfield wrote to Mr Alfred Cook of Cemetery Lane Baston explaining that they wished to ‘dispose’ of the plaque and scroll in accordance with his Majesty’s wishes and that he would need to fill out a next of Kin form to progress these instructions. The form was duly signed by Alfred Cooke and he lists Archers’ family as, 10 brothers which he lists by initial and surname only, all living in Baston and one sister E Pask aged 30 also living in Baston. This he duly signed on the 31st May 1919.

On the 14th August 1919 a request was sent from the war office to the Infantry Records Office in Litchfield stating that any articles of personal property of Archer’s that were in their possession should be sent to Mr Alfred Cooke at Cemetery Avenue Baston.

The scroll and Plaque were then sent and a form acknowledging their receipt was sent back to the records signed by Alfred Cooke on the 29th November 1919.

In February 1922 Alfred Cooke received a further parcel for the Army and this time it contains The British War and Victory Medals of Corporal Cooke A, 8318, Lincolnshire Regiment. Albert signs the returns receipt slip on. 22nd February 1922, 7 years after his son’s death.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
In memory of Corporal Archie Cooke, 8318, 2nd Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 9 May 1915, Remembered with honour, Ploegsteert Memorial.

Archer Cooke is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in St John the Baptist Church, Baston.

https://southlincolnshirewarmemorials.org.uk/…/archer-…/

Acknowledgements to Baston Church and Diane for the photograph of Archer Cooke.

Remembrance – Ernest Robinson

Today we remember local Bourne man, Ernest Robinson who died this day (19th April) 1917 serving with the 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment.

Ernest was born in the summer of 1889 in Bourne to John Robinson born in 1853 in Bourne, a bricklayer, and his wife Susannah Barnes, born in 1850 inBillingborough.

The couple were married in 1877 in the Sleaford district.

Ernest was one of four children;
-Sarah Elizabeth Barnes, 1876, Sleaford (Half sister)
-Charles William Robinson, 1879, Bourne
-Herbert Robinson, 1885, Bourne
-Ernest Robinson, 1889, Bourne

The family lived at 31 Woodview Bourne and in 1911 Ernest is listed at home on census night and working as a Coal Porter at the gas works.

Ernest along with both his brothers joined the army during WW1 although Charles and Herbert both survived the war.
On Monday 31st August 1914, less that 4 weeks after war was declared, Ernest along with 14 other local men left Bourne station to join the Lincolnshire Regiment.

* Grantham Journal Saturday 5 September 1914

HEARTY SEND-OFF FOR RECRUITS:- On Monday morning, a company of fifteen left Bourne Station to join the Lincoln Regiment of Lord Kitchener’s Army. The company met at the recruiting station in West Street and were escorted to the station by the Bourne Brass Band and a large number of the residents of the town. The names were:- Arthur Mason, Fred W Savage, John Thos Baldock, Geo Sherwin, George Carver, Frank Baldock (married), H Cleary, W Herbert Bloodworth (married), Percy J Vickers, Walter Parker (married), Ernest Robinson, Harry Darnes (Bourne), Joe Smith, Walter Archer and Percy Cave (Witham-on-the-Hill, the latter three being the result of a meeting at Witham-on-the-Hill on Sunday evening, addressed by Lord Kesteven and Lieut K. R. G. Fenwick and presided over by Col C. Birch-Reynardson.

Ernest joined the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although his records are not available and it is assumed were destroyed in the warehouse fire in the Blitz during World War Two.

Ernest was awarded the 1915 star meaning that he saw action abroad in 1915. Other than this and the fact that he was listed in the 2nd Battalion on his effects register, not much is known about his exact movements from the official records.

The 6th Lincolnshire was formed in the first week of the war and stationed themselves at Belton Park near Grantham, ready to receive recruits. By the end of the month they had formed 4 companies of new recruits from the men that answered Kitchener’s call. It was noted that the physical standard of troops for the 6th Battalion was high due to the high numbers go agricultural workers that joined the Battalion.

The 11th Northern Division including the 6th battalion and  Ernest, stated to to move from their training camps to Salisbury Plain, the 6th battalion being sent into camp at Frensham in March 1915, where final training was carried out. On the 31st of May the division was inspected by king George V on Hankey Common before entraining to Liverpool and then embarking on the Empress of Britain for the Dardanelles.

They arrived in Alexandria on July 12th and once age embarked on the 16th eventually dropping anchor in Mudros Harbour on the 18th. After another 2 days at anchor the Battalion was transhipped by small river steamers to Cape Hellas and then by trawlers onto the River Clyde which was now stranded on the beach near Sedd el Bahr.

It was only after 6 weeks of heavy fighting, including Sulva Bay, Scimitar Hill and Chocolate Hill, that we find Ernest on the wounded list of the 3rd September. It was reported that, whilst serving with C company of the 6th Battalion, Ernest took a shrapnel wound to his right buttock and foot.
He was transferred by a sick convoy to the 19th General Hospital in Alexandria arriving on the 115th August and spent the next 20 days receiving treatment on Ward A.
On the 3rd September he was returned to England arriving from the convoy ship on the 13th September 1915 and being admitted to Queen Alexandra’s Hospital in Millbank London. He was discharged from hospital on the 18th February 1916, although another note says 10 days S.F(Bn). In other wounded cases we have seen soldiers receiving furlough immediately after leaving hospital. The only other piece of information is that in the observation column it notes Westminster.

– In a letter home published in the Grantham Journal 23rd October 1915;
Private F Hinson No2 B company, six platoon, 6th Lincolns is writing from the Dardanelles to his parents. Mr and Mrs Jabez Henson, Woodview, Bourne says:-

“We have been here a fortnight, I have just been talking to young Bloodworth from Bourne Gas House. We are in the same company. Of those who came from Bourne in this company only Bloodworth and Rooksby are left. The rest are killed or wounded. Among the wounded were Vickers, Ernest Robinson, Savage and Baldock (whose brother is missing). Young Wray (who was my pal in France) and I are together again.”

It is likely that by the time Ernest had convalesced he would have joined another Battalion or Regiment where he is most needed. We do know from his medal roll that he also served with the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, although no dates are given. We can only assume that at this point he embarks for France, possibly around the 28th February if he received 10 days furlough. On arriving in the camp in France it is likely he was reassigned to the 2nd Battalion rather than being shipped back to the 6th.

At some point  Ernest was promoted to acting corporal and this shows in the medal roll. The note appears between the 6th Battalion. and the 2nd Battalion notes.

Whilst Ernest was away from his Battalion, The 6th Lincs were evacuated from Sulva Bay, Gallipoli, on the night of the 20th and 21st December. They then fought in Egypt before moving to France on the 1st July 1916. The battalion entered the Battle of the Somme on the 15th July near Fleurs.

As we do not know exactly when Ernest was posted to the 2nd Battalion we will jump forward to April 1917 when we know that Ernest was killed. Of the two battalions the 2nd were certainly in the Arras area.

The 2nd Battalion started April 1917 at Fins on the Dessart Wood outpost line. The Battalion was then relieved and went into divisional support in Equancourt Wood and then at Fins ready for an attack on Gouzencourt Wood on the 4th April. Once the objectives were met the Battalion moved back to Fins, to be relieved on the 6th April and moving to Lieramont in divisional reserve.

From the 8th April the 2nd Battalion were in training, before moving to Nurlu on the 11th to provide working parties for road mending.

On the 16th April the Battalion moved into divisional support in trenches north east of Heudecourt. On the 17th they were in support trenches and working on them to create a defensive line.

The battalion relieved the Berkshire Regiment in the outpost line in front of Gonnelieu on the 18th. At 12 midnight 6 patrols attempted to enter Gonnelieu but were held up in the wire in front of the village and constantly fired upon by rifles & machine guns and were unable to press forward. This was carried out by A & C Companies. 1 officer killed, 2 officers wounded, 11 other ranks killed, 26 wounded, 7 missing.

The next day, 19th April, the battalion were in the outpost line, artillery and patrols were active on both sides.

Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson was killed in action on the 19th April 1917.

Grantham Journal Saturday 19 May 1917

LOCAL CASUALTIES. Corpl Jos Brown son of Mr and Mrs Brown of Eastgate, Bourne is in hospital at Hampton Court suffering from wounds in his back and right hand. He is one of six sons, five of whom are in the army. Pte G Sherwin, son of Mr and Mrs Luke Sherwin, Bourne who some months ago was officially notified as wounded and missing, is now reported dead. The official notification of Pte Sherwin’s death was received by his parents last week. A memorial service for Pte Sherwin and Pte W Needham was held on Sunday at the Abbey Church. Official notification has this week been received that Corpl E Robinson, son of Mr and Mrs John Robinson, Woodview, Bourne has been Killed in action. Corpl Robinson was attached to the Lincolns.

CWGC – In memory of Acting Corporal Ernest Robinson, 8570, 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment who died on 19 April 1917. Remembered with honour, Arras Memorial and on the Bourne war memorial.

We will remember them