Chesterfield Sherwoods on the Somme

 

1st July - 18th November 1916

 

 

"The Men from the Greenwood"

11th (Service) Battalion, Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment 

(Sherwood Foresters)

 

 

 70th Brigade, 8th and 23rd Divisions, III Corps, 4th Army

 

"It was as a result of the first appeal to the men of Britain by Lord Kitchener that the 11th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters was formed at Derby on the 17th September, 1914, and the men who were enlisted were largely miners of Nottingham and Derby."

[The Men from the Greenwood . . . . Being the War History of the . . . . 11th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters, by Percy Fryer]

 

 

index to page:-

The attack on Leipzig Salient (1st July)

In Divisional Reserve (2nd - 23rd July)

The Battle of Pozieres (23rd July - 3rd September)

The Battle of Morval (25th - 28th September)

The Battle of Le Transloy (1st - 18th October)

 

 

 

1st Day of the Somme; the attack on Leipzig Salient

 

The history of the 11th Sherwood Foresters on the first day of the Somme offensive mirrors that of many of the 'New Army' battalions; uncut wire, German machine guns and confusion !

The 11th Btn Sherwood Foresters moved from Bouzincourt on the 30th June and up to the assembly trenches in 'Glasgow Road', 'Lower Horwich Street', 'Quarry Post' and 'Bamberbridge Street', prior to their attack on the 1st July. The 11th Sherwood Foresters, along with the 9th Yorks & Lancs, were in support of the two attacking Battalions; the 8th Yorks & Lancs and the 8th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

 

 Somme 2.jpg (59672 bytes)  

Map of the attack on Ovilliers and La Bioselle, 1st July 1916

 

In the assembly trenches in Authuille Wood, which formed part of 'Blighty Valley', they came under heavy German bombardment and began to suffer the first of their many casualties. 

"At 7.45 a.m. a message was received that the German first line had been taken and the Battalion moved into the front line by Companies, along pre-arranged routes under a fairly heavy shrapnel fire."

[11th Battalion History]

 The Nab.jpg (110636 bytes)

Authuille Wood and the Nab in June 1916

 

1. German front line Nab valley.jpg (81150 bytes)  2. Nab valley 2.jpg (92739 bytes)

The Nab in June 2002

 

1. A view from the north east corner of Authuile wood just in front of the British front line looking towards the German front line on the ridge opposite. The chalk marks clearly show the position of the German trenches.

2. Another view of the Nab. The German fortification 'Nordwerk' is 500 yards directly ahead.

 

"When we moved up for our attack we found that many of these [trenches] had been hit by German shells, killing or wounding the men inside. That place was full of dead men, torn-off limbs and badly wounded who begged for help, but we dared not stop. The communication trench almost ran with blood that morning. While we were waiting in our front line to go over, a German machine-gun was spraying the top of the trench, flicking up dirt from the parapet." 

[Pte. F.W.A. Turner from Bilsthorpe, Nottinghamshire10]

 

The leading waves of the 8th Y & L and 8th KOYLI initially made good progress and entered the German first line, the subsequent waves however were caught by machine gun fire in No Man's Land. Even then the attack was pushed through to the German second line where heavy fighting took place. Eventually however, due to the heavy losses the attack was finally halted and the survivors withdrew to the British line during the afternoon.

 

The story is taken up by Corporal J. R. Whitehead (KOYLI) in a letter sent to his wife in Brimington:-

"After we got out over all the trenches we came to No man's Land. The Germans had gone to a hiding place somewhere, but they must have have had a machine gun to every man. They simply swept the earth with bullets, and some of the latter didn't whistle very comfortably either. We kept going until we got to ................ and then I got bowled over with a bullet that must have had my name on. But it wasn't the getting wounded; it was the getting back again. The Germans always like to kill the wounded off, and they shelled us, besides using their machine guns on us. There were a good many killed after they got wounded, but I managed out all night."

[Cpl. JR Whitehead from Brimington]

 

Pte Walter Dilkes from North Wingfield was also involved in the attack at Ovillers Spur and sent the following report to Mr Lilley of the "Three Horse Shoes":-

"We were the first over the parapet and were met with a hellish machine gun fire. They were dropping all round me, but I came through all right. I got my own back and a bit for my brother**. I caught about eight Germans in a dug-out and I out the daylight out of them. I had about ten bombs with me. They are a good thing to carry. A few thrown about and they will shift them. When we were advancing all together it did look well."

[Pte. Walter Dilkes from North Wingfield, **his brother, John Wilkes was killed in action with the 1st Battn on 4th February 1915]

 

Both of the attacking Battalions, the 8th Y & L and the 8th KOYLI, suffered severe casualties (635 and 573 respectively), with many of the wounded and dead left in the jumping off trenches. 

"The persistent clacking of machine guns and the number of casualties who were crowding into the line made it evident that all was not going well. It had been arranged that the first wave of the left Company was to file out of a sap and occupy a bank about 70 yards in front of our own front line. The difficulty of carrying out this plan grew every moment, as the sap was thronged with wounded and congestion grew minute by minute."

[11th Battalion History]

 

The 11th Battalion were ordered forward but faced withering German machine gun fire as soon as the attacking waves left the trenches. The Battalion C.O. (Lt. Col. Watson) was wounded while trying to rally his men and push forward the attack.

"We were one of the first battalions to go over, and there were not many that who got back safe. I think the Germans must have had hundreds of machine guns, as nearly all our Officers were either killed or wounded before they had gone far. But we did not funk it, we kept going on until there was hardly anyone left. I got my wound about ten yards from the German trenches and I had to crawl back as well as I could. Let me know of anyone else who has got done. . . . . .He [Lieut. Short] went over the parapet just before me. He is only young but very brave. He was our machine gun officer. . .you might think I am swanking when I say that every man kept going towards the German lines in spite of the deadly machine gun fire, but it is true. I never saw a man waver and chums were being shot down at our side, it was awful."

[Pte. Percy Williams from Hasland]

 

 

"At nine o'clock our time had come. At last the words came - "Sherwoods over!" We were soon over but not a man out of my platoon got over 60 yards. Nothing could live in it. We were enfiladed by machine gun fire on both sides, also on our front. I think I was the last one on my pins in our lot; I got one in the right elbow, and went down close to one of our officers, who had the calf of his leg blown away. I crawled into a shell hole and began to remove the pack as best I could. I dared not show myself much, as Hun snipers were about, and I could hear the crack, crack of the explosive bullets as they were picking off our wounded as they tried to crawl back to our lines"

[Pte. Frank Carroll from Hucknall. For a full account of Frank Carroll’s experiences on the first day of the Somme see the East Midlands Branch of the Western Front Association]

 

German machine gun position; typical of those that decimated the attacking waves of the 70th Brigade

 

The second wave, which was led by Major Bernal, met the same fate as the leading waves and men were cut down in their dozens, but the Companies continued to crawl forward using what little cover there was. 

"I had one foot on the step waiting for the words "GO OVER", when I received a terrible whack on the back of my neck. I turned round to see who had done it but no one was to be seen. I went a bit funny and sat down, but I was getting soaked with blood. I made an effort to dress it. . . . . . I don't know what's become of our Officer. The last time I saw him he was going over the parapet and I shouted to him "GOOD LUCK"

[Pte Alf Turner of Chatsworth Road, Brampton]

 

Lieut. Colonel Watson then led the assault himself, walking diagonally across the front line he urged his men along, however this attack also failed before it reached the German front line and Col. Watson himself was shot in the chest.

"I am very sorry to tell you that no news has come to the battalion of your husband since the attack on July 1st. He was seen to be hit, and it was almost certain that he was killed, so that he is reported as missing believed killed. The Commanding Officer was wounded as well as many other officers and men otherwise you would have heard before. The fact that our Brigadier after reaching the German lines had to retire to our own trenches has made it difficult to obtain exact particulars of all who have fallen." 

[Rev. G. G. N. Hitchcock, chaplain to the 70th Brigade]

 

A final attack was attempted by Captain Hudson with 50 men using a sunken road on the right flank, which ran from the British Front line towards the German lines on top of 'The Nab'. Although this attack proved more successful and the attacking troops managed to advance within 80 yards of the German second line, they were eventually halted as a result of heavy enemy machine gun fire, some of which was coming from Thiepval spur to the North.

 

 

Following the attack and throughout the rest of the day the survivors gradually made their way back to the relative safety of the British Trenches. Pte A Reynolds and some of his pals found themselves caught out in No Mans Lands and had to crawl past their wounded comrades :-

"Our Battalion got cut up very badly. As soon as we got on top of the parapet they began to drop like rabbits; we were caught by crossfire from machine guns. There would be ten times as many wounded as killed. I had to bandage myself up as best I could and then creep back to the dressing station. We crept past many who were dead or dying. When we got to the dressing station we were taken away by the red cross ambulance. I can tell you it was awful, and I never witnessed anything like it before."

[Pte A Reynolds from Clowne. Information kindly supplied by his grandson Roy Reynolds]

 

The 11th Sherwood Foresters suffered 518 casualties (killed, wounded and missing) during the attack and were relieved that night. 

 

Many of the dead from the 1st July have no known grave an are commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL while others are buried in BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, which is located in Authuille Wood.  The 9th Y & L suffered similar casualties (581) and total casualties for the 70th Brigade on the 1st July were 2307. 

 

Blighty Valley.jpg (74555 bytes) 

Unknown BV.jpg (291795 bytes)

Many of those killed that were from Chesterfield and the surrounding districts of North Derbyshire. There is hardly a memorial in Derbyshire that does not mention the name of a 11th Sherwood Forester killed in action during the Battle of the Somme. Included amongst the wounded are:

Pte W Randles, Pte Frank Bennett

 

AMOS, GEORGE.

Private, 16407, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 22.

b. Bolsover, Derbyshire; e. Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire; r. Bolsover.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Bolsover War Memorial [8]

 

 

BACON, ALFRED ERNEST.

Private, 22615, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 20.

b. Sheffield; e. Sheffield; r. Halfway, Sheffield.

"Son of Jonathan and Naoimi Bacon, of 9, Station Rd., Halfway, Sheffield."

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Alfred Bacon was reported missing following the attack of 1st July, however by the middle of October his parents still had no definite news of his fate. Alfred enlisted in January 1915 and arrived in France in July of that year. He was a single man aged 20.

 

BAILEY, JOSEPH EDWARD.

Private, 16364, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Derby; e. Mansfield; r. Mansfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Although Joseph Bailey lived in Mansfield, he worked at Langwith Colliery, which explains his inclusion here. He enlisted in September 1914 and had been in France for over a year.

 

BARNETT, WALTER.

Private, 19468, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Castleford, Nottinghamshire; e. Chesterfield; r. Brampton.

SERRE ROAD CEMETERY No. 2, Somme, France - VI.A.9.

Brampton Memorial

Barnett.jpg (64946 bytes)

Walter Barnett's Grave and Death Plaque - a small tribute to a brave man

[Courtesy of Kevin Dallyn]

 

 

BRUNTON, HAROLD.

Private, 13465, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 25.

b. Dronfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Dronfield.

"Son of John William Brunton, of 'The Moorlands', Dronfield, Sheffield"

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

‘Mr W. J. Brunton has this week heard that his eldest son, Private Harold Brunton, of the Sherwood Foresters is reported missing. The officer in his letter reporting the fact states that he was reported missing "after the action of July 1st". Owing to the mix up it is quite probable that he is in hospital. Pte. Brunton enlisted on August 10th, 1914, and was in the Sulva Bay campaign. In November last he was invalided home with frostbite and dysentery. Soon after Easter he went to France’ 

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, ??, 1916]

 

CONNAUGHTON, JOHN.

[Left panel, photograph courtesy of Maureen Thorneycroft, John Connaughton's great granddaughter; right panel, a South African Campaign Medal similar to that awarded to John Connaughton]
 

Sergeant, 7039, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Chesterfield; e. Derby; r. Chesterfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Church of the Annunciation Memorial

‘A rumour has been current in Chesterfield for some time that Sergeant John Connaughton (42) Sherwood Foresters, whose wife and nine children live at 14 Ward’s Yard had been killed. It was not until Wednesday that the anxious wife received any news, and the two letters which came did not state definitely what his fate had been. The Rev. G. G. N. Hitchcock, chaplain to the –-- Brigade, wrote under date July 10th. 

"I am very sorry to tell you that no news has come to the battalion of your husband since the attack on July 1st. He was seen to be hit, and it was almost certain that he was killed, so that he is reported as missing believed killed. The Commanding Officer was wounded as well as many other officers and men otherwise you would have heard before. The fact that our Brigadier after reaching the German lines had to retire to our own trenches has made it difficult to obtain exact particulars of all who have fallen. I know that if the Colonel were still with us he would have written to tell you how valuable Sergeant Connaughton’s services had been to the battalion". 

Another chaplain the Rev. R.J. McClement, has written a letter of sympathy, in which he paid tribute to the missing Sergeant, remarking that "he was one of the best". Sergeant Connaughton was through the South African war, being awarded the Queen’s and King’s Medals, and he mobilised on the outbreak of the present war. He had been specially commended for his bravery. A miner working at Bond’s Main, he was for three years steward at the Workingmen’s Club in Hipper Street, Chesterfield. Mrs. Connaughton has asked us to say that she would be much obliged to anyone who would forward definite news as to her husband.' 

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 22, 1916]

'Official news has now been received by Mrs. John Connaughton of 14, Ward's Yard, Chesterfield that her husband, Sergeant John Connaughton, was killed on the 1st July 1916...........In our issue of July 22nd we announced that Sergeant Connaughton was believed to be killed and that his wife and his nine children would be glad to hear particulars of his death. Mrs. Connaughton has received the following letter from Private B. Dyer, of the Sherwoods :- 

"Dear Mrs. Connaughton, - I saw the photo of Jack in the The Derbyshire Times and your request for definite news. I am sorry to inform you that it is only too true. he was killed in action at _______ on July 1st, about 8.30 a.m. We had a very bad time and lost a great many of our comrades before getting half way across No Mans Land. The officer of your husbands platoon was Mr. Brittain of Chesterfield and he was wounded as soon as ever we went over the top. Your dear husband immediately took command, and led his men up to the German barbed wire, where he was shot. He died a soldiers death, and I consider him one of the bravest men of the day. I have known Jack for a number of years, and the finish up of his life was a hero's death."

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1916]

 

 

DOHERTY, RICHARD.

Lance Corporal, 19155, 11th Btn., k. in a. ‘A Coy’, 01/07/1916, aged 22.

b. Calver; e. Buxton; r. Calver.

"Son of Mrs. Ellen Doherty, of Newburgh Terrace, Claver, Sheffield."

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Calver Memorial

 

 

DOVE, WILLIAM H.

Lance Corporal, 21811, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 19.

b. Chesterfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Brampton, Chesterfield.

"Son of Mrs. Sarah Dove, of 48, Hector St., Brampton, Chesterfield."

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Brampton Memorial

Prior to enlisting in 1915, William Dove was a tailor at Messrs J.K. Swallow and Sons on Burlington Street in Chesterfield. Shortly after arriving in France he was wounded in the the face and hands by shrapnel. A letter from his comrade, L/Cpl E.L. Lowe, to William's mother describes how he was killed on the 1st July:-

"I was wounded just as the advance started. Lance-Corpl. Dove took my equipment off to save me, and when he was getting up again he was shot through the head and killed. His body lay there until I was fetched in by four R.E. men about 1.30 in the morning."

Pte. William Dove's body was never recovered and he his now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

 

 

FLETCHER, LEVI.

Private, 16026, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Grassmoor, Derbyshire; e. Chesterfield; r. Chesterfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Brampton Memorial, The Village Memorial in Grassmoor and North Wingfield Memorial

'Mrs. Levi Fletcher, of East Street, Grassmoor, has received news that her husband, Private Levi Fletcher, of the Sherwood Foresters, was missing. In a letter to her, the Chaplain says:- 

"I am sorry to tell you that your husband, Private L. Fletcher, is reported missing, believed killed. His Battalion lost heavily in the attack, and the fact that after entering the German trenches we had to retire to our own lines again makes it impossible to obtain exact information of those who have not come back. But it is better to believe the worst than to remain is suspense, and I am sure it will add to your peace of mind to be told the truth as far as we know it." 

Since the above letter was received Mrs. Fletcher has received notification from the War Office that her husband had been killed in action on July 1st. Private Fletcher was the second son of Mr and Mrs Levi Fletcher of Lings Row, North Wingfield. Prior to enlisting he worked in the Black Shale Pit of the Grassmoor Colliery Company.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 29, 1916]

 

GIBSON, WALTER.

Private, 18194, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 39.

b. Melton, Derbyshire, e. Chesterfield; r. Calow, Chesterfield.

"Son of William and Mary Gibson, of Whissendine, Rutland; Husband of Elizabeth Gibson, of Gate House, The Green, Calow, Chesterfield."

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD, Somme, France - V.A.13.

Commemorated on Calow Memorial

'Mrs Gibson, of Railway Cottages, Calow Green, has just received the sad news of her husband's death in France. Pte. Walter Gibson was formerly sub-ganger on the Great Central Railway, and enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters in October 1914. He had been in France just a year when he was killed on July 1st. From an account sent by his friend Pte. Geo Beers, of Arkwright Town, who enlisted with him, to Mrs Gibson, it appears that during the advance he was shot in the hand. He then made an attempt to crawl back to his lines, but the enemy's machine guns completely riddled him with bullets from their position on the parapets.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 22, 1916]

 

HALL, GEORGE Richard Baker.

Private, 16346, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 23.

"Son of William and Mary Hall, of 6, New Yard, Crow Hill, Pleasley Hill, Mansfield, Notts."

b. Hucknall; e. Mansfield; r. Mansfield.

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY - V.E.28.

St Barnbabas' Church War Memorial, Pleasley Hill

'A letter from the Chaplain to Mr and Mrs W. Hall of 87 Mansfield Road, informs them of the loss of another son on July 1st.'

"I am sorry to have to tell you that your son was killed during the attack near _______ on July 1st. Captain H ____, to whom he was orderly, saw him killed, whilst behaving with great gallantry at his side. I can in some part feel with you in the loss of your dear son, whom I personally knew as one of the nicest and most conscientious lads in the whole battalion."

[Derbyshire Times, Saturday, July 22nd, 1916]

Drummer George Hall enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters in on September 5th 1914. He was a member of the Bugle band and St John's Ambulance Class. His Brother was killed in France the previous year.

 

HERBERT, JOSEPH.

Private, 15333, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Alfreton; e. Sheffield; r. Alfreton.

AVELUY COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, Somme, France - F.24.

 

HEWITT, CLARENCE EDWARD.

Private, 16267, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Sheffield; e. Chesterfield; r. Chesterfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Old Whittington Memorial and Bushes Memorial

 

HOWARTH, HENRY.

Lance Corporal, 18185, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 40.

b. Chesterfield; e. Killamarsh; r. Dronfield.

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD, Somme, France - ??

'News has been received of the death in action of Lance-Corpl. Henry Howarth, Sherwood Foresters, whose wife and three children live at 8 Madin Street, Chesterfield, and his parents at the Blue Stoops Inn, Dronfield. Letters to hand state that he had just got over the parapet of his trench to dash to the attack with the rest of his platoon, when he was hit in the throat and died instantaneously. A comrade in a letter to his parents says he was greatly respected by his officers and comrades. He was always willing to do anything that came along, and his unfailing cheery disposition kept up the spirits of the platoon. Lance-Corpl. Howarth was 40 years old and before enlisting worked at Walesbar Colliery.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 22, 1916]

 

JONES, ENOCH.

Private, 16125, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Sheffield; e. MosborougH; r. Sheffield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

JONES, WILLIAM.

Private, 19031, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Portsmouth; e. Mansfield; r. Shirebrook.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Commemorative Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Shirebrook

‘News of the death in action of another Shirebrook soldier, Private W. F. Jones reached the town this week in the following letter sent to his sister: - 

"July 20. Dear Friend, _ I got your letter which you sent to your brother, and it is with deep regret I have to inform you that he was killed in action on July 1st. He was with his officer, Lieut. Martin, who was also wounded by the same shell that killed William. I have also had a letter from his officer, who thought a great deal about of him, and said that he was a real good lad. I feel his death keen myself as he was always cheerful and a very good worker. In my letter from Willie’s officer he says: "I am upset about Jones. I had him for nearly two years and he would anything on earth for me. . . . . '

 

JOHNSON, ALFRED.

Private, 21076, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 18.

b. Cresswell; e. Worksop; r. Creswell.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Creswell Village War Memorial [8] and Bolsover War Memorial [8]

'Private Alfred Johnson, Sherwood Foresters, son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas Johnson, New Village, Creswell, has, according to an unofficial report, been killed. Private E. Broomhall, in a letter to the deceased's sister-in-law states:-

"It is with sincere regret that I have to tell you that your brother-in-law was seriously wounded in action on July 1st, so seriously that he succumbed to wounds on the following day." 

Private Johnson, who would be 19 on August 30th, was a fine type of British Soldier, standing over 6ft, and turning the scales at 12 stone. He enlisted in December 1914. He worked at the Creswell Colliery, and was formerly a bugler in the Creswell Boys' Brigade. His brother, Private William Johnson has been in France over twelve months.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, AUGUST 12, 1916]

 

LONGHURST, SEAWARD.

2nd Lieutenant, 11th Btn., 01/07/1916.

2/Lt Longhurst was gazetted in in May 1915 and was reported missing July 1st. He was reported killed in action in October 1916.

 

LYNCH, JOHN WILLIAM.

Private, 16203, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Chesterfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Chesterfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Church of the Annunciation Memorial

'Signaller John Wm. Lynch, son of Mr. and Mrs J. Lynch, Schofield's Yard, New Square, Chesterfield, is among those reported killed. A letter from a Clay Cross comrade says:-

"He has died with the greatest honour anyone could wish to win, the honour of doing his duty bravely and nobly for his King and country and comrades. He was one of the best and always bright and cheery in many happy times we had together. You have need to be proud of one of the best lads and parents could wish for. He was one of the best in the battalion" 

Signaller Lynch was 20 years of age, and before joining the Sherwood Foresters on the out break of war was employed at Bond's Main Colliery.' 

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 29, 1916]

See also Edward Churchill of the 6th Battalion, who was William Lynch's cousin

 

MADDISON, TOM.

Private, 19597, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Chesterfield, e. Ilkeston; r. Grassmoor.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

MORRIS, G. W.

Private, 28364, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. New Barlborough; Chesterfield; r. Bolsover.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Bolsover War Memorial  

 

NICHOLSON, EWART.

Lance Corporal, 15407, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Eckington; e. Sheffield; r. Ridgeway.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

PERCIVAL, JOHN CLARENCE.

Lance Corporal, 16237, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 20.

"Son of Joseph Walter Percival, of 12, Lewis Square, Rancliffe St., Nottingham, and the late Mary Percival. Enlisted Aug., 1914."

b. Bulwell; e. Mansfield; r. Nottingham.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

John Percival was 18 years of age when he enlisted at Mansfield Town Hall on September 14th 1914. Prior to enlisting he worked at Crown Farm Colliery.

 

RADFORD, THOMAS.

Private, 21797, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Buxton; e. Buxton; r. Fairfield, Buxton.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Buxton Memorial

Pte Thomas Radford was reported missing on the 1st July, but the news that he had been killed in action was not received by his family until November. Prior to enlisting Tom had been employed as one of the staff at the Grove Hotel. Two of his brothers also served with the Colours; Sapper S Radford (Royal Engineers) and Pte W Radford (3rd Manchesters).

 

ROBINSON, HAROLD.

Private, 28598, 11th Btn., 01/07/1916, aged 27.

b. Long Eaton; e Matlock; r. Long Eaton.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Great Longstone Memorial

"Mrs Robinson of the Old Post Office, Longstone, is anxious for news of her son, Pte. Harold Robinson of the Sherwood Foresters, who has been missing since July 1st. The last message from him was dated June 20th."

[Derbyshire Times, Saturday, September 16th, 1916]

Prior to enlisting Harold Robinson was a signalman on the Midland Railway at Bamford Station. His brother Leonard served with the 10th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. [For further information on the Robinson Family see "A Legacy of Living in Great Longstone in the 1930's" by Geoffrey Nicholson]

 

SHELDON, JAMES.

Private, 16106, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Tideswall; e. Chesterfield; r. Ashford.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Ashford Memorial 

Reported as missing;  THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, 12th AUGUST, 1916

 

SMITH, HAROLD.

Private, 13963, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Matlock; e, Derby; r. Matlock.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Matlock Memorial

 

SUTTON, JAMES.

Private, 18953, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916, aged 23.

b. Clay Cross; e. Chesterfield; r. Clay Cross.

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD, Somme, France – V.H.37

Village Memorial at The Church of St Bartholomew in Clay Cross

James Sutton was aged 22, a resident of Clay Cross and employed as a miner at Clay Cross Co.'s No. 2 Pit. His father was a locomotive driver.

 

SWINSCOE, JAMES.

Private, 17338, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Belper; e. Derby; r. South Normanton.

James Swinscoe enlisted in September 1914 and went to France in June 1915. He left a widow and three children. 

 

TOMLINSON, CHARLES VALENTINE.

2nd Lieutenant, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD, Somme, France – II.I.8.

 

TURNER, FREDERICK.

Private, 32795, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Netherton, Worcestershire; e. Chesterfield; r. Alfreton.

BLIGHTY VALLEY CEMETERY, AUTHUILE WOOD, Somme, France – V.I.7.

 

WARDMAN, SAMUEL.

Private, 23610, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916.

b. Wirksworth; e. Derby; r. Wirksworth.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Commemorative Plaque, St Mary's Church, Wirksworth and Wirksworth Memorial Park

 

 

And why did this attack fail? In a letter from Hospital to Colonel Wylly, Colonel Watson recounts the attack by the 11th Sherwood Foresters;

"The leading Battalions advanced with some opposition to the 2nd German line and were completely held up at the 3rd line by terribly heavy machine gun fire. They were reinforced by the supporting Battalion which had suffered quite heavily crossing 'no-man's land,' My Battalion had some difficulty in taking its place in our front line of trenches when the time came for its advance, owing to the number of wounded men returning and blocking the communication trenches. The first wave of the Battalion got away well under a heavy fire, and in the majority of cases got into the German front line; some even penetrated to the 2nd line. About 9.45 a.m. it became apparent that the Germans had returned to their first line, and I received orders to take and consolidate it with my second wave. This I endeavoured to do; but owing to the machine gun fire, which was terribly heavy from both flanks as well as from in front, hardly a man reached the trench. D Company on the left suffered very heavily, as a large number of the men advanced from a sap which was marked down by the machine guns. . . .

. . . . . I personally was wounded about 100 yards from the German line about 10.30 a.m., and a very large number of our men lay dead close to our wire. Most of the wounded crawled back to to safety after dark. I was carried in by three unwounded men of the Battalion, Ptes. 17953 H. Moakin, 17949 F. Sadler and 17764 A. Tolley of D Company at about 11 p.m. . . . . . .

. . . . .The Brigade who suffered very heavily was relieved from the trenches that night. . . . . 

. . . . . I put the casualties among the rank and file to be fully 500 men out of 600 who went over the parapet, but this is rather a guess, as I have no means of checking lists, and is probably less than the total."

[Lieut. Col. H. F. Watson, Officer Commanding 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters]

 

 

In Divisional Reserve

2nd - 23rd July

 

The strength of the Battalion on their entering the trenches on the 26th June had been 27 Officers and 710 other ranks. At the end of the day the number of Officers was 6 and the men were 202 strong. Many of the casualties lay out during the day and under the cover night managed to crawl back to the British front line. Following relief on the evening of the 1st July, the battalion marched to Brauy via Dernancourt. Following the Battle many of the casualties were removed to the casualty clearing stations, particularly the 3rd and 44th casualty clearing stations at Puchevillers, the III Corps main dressing station at Millencourt or Hospitals at Boulogne. Several gallantry awards were made to men of the 11th Battn for their actions on the 1st July. These included 18351 Pte JJ Scott (DCM) and 16423 Pte E Smith (MM).

 

 

FISHER, GEORGE HENRY.

Private, 14914, 11th Btn., d. of w. 02/07/1916, aged 20.

"Son of Richard and Emma Fisher, of 53, Saunders Terrace, Hasland, Chesterfield."

b. Chesterfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Hasland, Chesterfield.

PUCHEVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY - I. C. 46.

Hasland Village Memorial

'Doubt exists as to the fate that has befallen Private George Henry Fisher, eldest son of Mr and Mrs R Fisher, ----, Hasland. Reports have been received by the parents that he died on July 2nd from wounds received in action and that he is wounded and still in hospital. He used to work at Sheepbridge as a moulder. A few months ago, when sick in hospital, his N.C.O Sergt. A.B. Barnsworth, wrote to his parents stating how they missed his cheeriness, and he said he was the most courageous lad in the Company. . . . . Whilst in training he was the crack shot of his platoon and won a silver match box in a competition.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 29, 1916]

 

 

FOWLES, WILLIAM.

Sergeant, 16987, 11th Btn., d. of w. 02/07/1916, aged 32.

"Son of William and Mabel Fowles, of Wolverhampton; husband of Fanny Fowles, of 9, St. James Street, Buxton, Derbyshire."

b. Wolverhampton; e. Buxton; r. Buxton.

PUCHEVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY - I. B. 6.

Buxton and Burbage Memorials and St Gile's Parish Church Role of Honour

William Fowles joined the Army in September 1914 and was formerly barman at the King's Head Hotel. he left a widow and three children.

'We greatly deplore the loss of so valuable a soldier and NCO from the Battalion'

[2nd Lieut R Turner - Platoon Commander]

'All his platoon thought a lot about him because he was such a fine fellow, not always bullying the lads about. I never heard anyone give him a bad name'

[Pte Green, William Fowles' brother-in-law]

 

 

TREECE, FRANK.

Private, 18376, 11th Btn., d. of w. 02/07/1916, aged 21.

"Son of Annie Tubb (formerly Treece), of Cottam Terrace, Barlborough, Chesterfield, and the late William Henry Treece."

b. Chesterfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Barlborough.

MILLENCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN - A. 17.

'Another Barlboro' soldier who has been killed is Private Frank Treece, Notts and Derby, Cottam Terrace. The official notification says that he died of wounds. Deceased, who was 21 years of age, and single, enlisted shortly after the war broke out, and he had been in France since last September. Prior to enlisting he worked at the Barlboro' No. 2 pit.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 22, 1916]

 

 

CARTER, SYDNEY CHATTERTON.

2nd Lieutenant, 11th Btn., d. of w. 03/07/1916.

CORBIE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION - Plot I. Row B. Grave 22.

 

 

PINNICK, ALFRED.

Private, 15982, 11th Btn., d. of w. 03/07/1916, aged 19.

b. Langwith; e. Mansfield; r. Mansfield.

RIBEMONT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, Somme - II. J. 10.

Whaley Thorns (St Luke's) Rerodos Roll of Honour [8]

 

 

ROSE, NORMAN.

Private, 16216, ‘B Coy’,11th Btn., d. of w. 05/07/1916, aged 21.

"Son of Charles and Mary Rose, of New Whittington, nr. Chesterfield, Derbyshire."

b. Staveley, Derbyshire; e. Chesterfield; r. New Whittington, Chesterfield.

PUCHEVILLERS BRITISH CEMETERY - I. C. 26.

'A War Office communication was received last week-end by the parents of Pte. Norman Rose, Station Road, New Whittington, announcing the death of their son from wounds received in action. Pte. Rose was 21 years of age, and joined the Sherwood Foresters nearly two years ago. He received the greater part of his training at Farnham, and has been in France just eleven months. A little while ago he was slightly wounded, and was laid up in a base hospital for a short time, but returned to the fighting line. Full details of his death are not available but it is known that he died on the 5th of July, while it is also believed that he received his injuries in going to the aid of his officer, Lieut. W.H.V. Nelson, who also died and of whom he was very fond. Before enlisting, deceased worked in the Staveley Company's Ireland Colliery.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 1916]

 

 

MASSEY, JAMES WILLIAM

Lance Corporal, 16304, 11th Btn., d. of w. 08/07/1916, aged 20.

b. Newton, Nottinghamshire; e. Mansfield; r. Leamington, Warwickshire.

"Brother of E. A. Massey, of Fenny Compton, nr. Leamington."

WARLOY-BAILLON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN - III. C. 18.

St Barnbabas' Church War Memorial, Pleasley Hill

'An intimation from the chaplain was received by his sister on Saturday that Corpl. J.W. Massey, of the Sherwood Foresters' Machine Gun Section, was killed in action on July 6th. Corpl. Massey, who resided at the "Old Spot", Pleasley Hill was 20 years of age and worked at the Pleasley Colliery prior to his enlistment on August 5th 1914.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY 22, 1916]

 

 

NELSON, WILLIAM HORACE VERE.

Lieutenant, 11th Btn., 08/07/1916, aged 20.

"King George's Coronation Medal (1911). Son of P. W. and Gertrude Nelson, of "West-Minster", Hindhead, Surrey. Joined the Army on the 5th August, 1914, and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant on the 17th Sept., 1914. Native of Hoddesdon, Herts."

HEILLY STATION CEMETERY, MERICOURT-L'ABBE - I. A. 16.

 

 

SHIPMAN, WILLIAM THOMAS.

Private, 27011, 11th Btn., d. of w. 09/07/1916.

b. Alfreton, Derbyshire; e. Derby; r. Alfreton.

BOULOGNE EASTERN CEMETERY - VIII. C. 116.

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Pozieres

23rd July - 3rd September 1916

 

During time in the front line trenches, Signaller A.H. Eyre of Bennett Street, Buxton was awarded the Military Medal:-

'Near Bazentin le Petit on July 16th, for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. While in the front line trenches, communication by telephone was continually broken by heavy artillery fire. Eyre and Lc. -Cp Bailey volunteered to repair the line, but owing to the repeated breakages, they were eventually forced to lay a new line of wire over 400 yards of country under extremely heavy shell fire. They were on duty of 6½ hours'

 [The Buxton Advertiser, Saturday October 21st]

On the 29th July the Battalion took over front line trenches to the North of Bazentin Le Point, which had seen heavy fighting the previous week.

 

LOWE, THOMAS C.

Private, 18164, 11th Btn., 26/07/1916.

b. Whitwell; e. Worksop; r. Whitwell

Whitwell Village War Memorial [8]

Thomas Lowe was born and lived in Bakestone Moor, Whitwell. A well known Whitwell Family, his brother Harry was captain of Liverpool FC in the 1920's and his other brother Charlie played cricket for Derbyshire before and after the Great War.

[Many thanks to Cliff Hobson for supplying this information. Chris has recently compiled a Roll of Honour Book for Whitwell which he placed in Whitwell Parish Church under the auspices of the Royal British Legion]

 

HAMILTON, WALTER.

Private, 15749, 11th Btn., k. in a. 28/07/1916, aged 30.

b. Matlock; e. Derby; r. Bakewell.

"Son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Hamilton, of Baslow Rd., Bakewell, Derbyshire"

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

‘Private Walter Hamilton, son of Mr B Hamilton, an employee of Messrs. Orme and Co., Bakewell, has been killed in action in France. Private Hamilton, who was 30 years of age, joined the Sherwoods at Alfreton, where he was employed as a labourer, in September 1914. His brother Private Charles Hamilton, West Yorks., served in the Gallipoli Campaign and is now in the trenches in France.’

[CHARLES EDWARD HAMILTON Serjeant, 10794, 9th Bn., West Yorkshire Regt. (Prince of Wales's Own), who died on Monday, 27th August 1917. Age 28. Son of Bernard and Sarah Ann Hamilton, of Baslow Rd., Bakewell, Derbyshire. TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium]

 

 

ROWLAND, HENRY.

Private, 35876, 11th Btn., k. in a. 29/07/1916.

b. Bonsall, Derbyshire; e. Matlock, Derbyshire; r. Bonsall.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Bonsall Village Memorial

 

 

UNWIN, GEORGE STUART.

2nd Lieutenant, 11th Btn., k. in a. 29/07/1916.

Hathersage

BECOURT MILITARY CEMETERY, BECORDEL-BECOURT - I. U. 16.

Reported as killed in THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, 12th AUGUST, 1916

 

 

WATERFIELD, JOHN HENRY.

Private, 15868, ‘A Coy’, 11th Btn., d. of w 30/07/1916, aged 21.

"Son of Nathaniel and Jane Waterfield, of 108, Bole Hill, Wirksworth, Derbyshire."

b. Wirksworth, Derbyshire; e. Derby; r. Wirksworth.

DAOURS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION - I. C. 43.

Commemorative Plaque, St Mary's Church, Wirksworth  and Wirksworth Memorial Park

 

 

OWEN, BENJAMIN.

Private, 6969, 11th Btn., k. in a. 30/07/1916, aged 44.

b. Dawley, Salop; e. Derby; r. North Wingfield, Chesterfield.

"Husband of Mrs. Lucy Owen, of 9, Church Lane, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, Derbyshire."

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

North Winfield Memorial

‘Three more residents of North Wingfield have been killed. The painful duty of informing Mrs B Owen, of….. North Wingfield that her husband had been killed in action was carried out by the Rector of the Parish. She is left with eleven children, the youngest whom is hardly yet walking. Her husband was aged 43 years, and being a Volunteer, enlisted shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in the Sherwood Foresters, prior to which he was employed as a miner at the Holmwood Colliery of the Hardwick Company. Private Owen had been at the front over twelve months and during that time had several narrow escapes from death, he being eventually killed by a shell explosion whilst in the front line trenches. From the Rev. A. E. N. Hitchock, Chaplain to the Forces, Mrs Owen on Monday received the following communication: - 

"I am sorry to write to you of the death of your husband, Pte. Ben Owen…………. I have known him since he came out with Battalion nearly a year ago. He was killed by shell in the front line trenches, and I was able yesterday to take a short service over his grave in the presence of the Commanding Officer and a few of his comrades. The Battalion have set up a wooden cross as a mark of sympathy……. I remember him telling me what a large family he had. Tell them to be brave, as their father was, and grow up useful and happy to cheer up their mother in her great loss"

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, ?? ??, 1916]

 

 

HOPKINSON, WILLIAM.

Sergeant, 7407, 11th Btn., d. of w. 31/07/1916.

b. Brampton; e. Derby; r. Brampton.

"Husband of M. A. Hopkinson"

ALBERT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN - I. L. 44.

Brampton Memorial

‘ A fortnight after he had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. William Hopkinson (45), Sherwoods, of 15 Charles Street, Brampton had the misfortune to be killed. The distressing news was contained in a letter written by the Company Quartermaster Sergt. G. Clayton, while Pte. Wain, of 31 Spa Lane, Chesterfield, his brother-in-law, has written home to the same effect. Sergt. Hopkinson was a fine soldier, he having served 25 years in the Volunteers and Territorials. Sergt. Hopkinson leaves six children.

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY ??, 1916]

 

 

Between the 2nd and 8th August the Battalion were in support trenches at Mametz Wood during which time they entrenched and re-wired the front line. During this period the Battalion suffered about 200 casualties resulting from German counter attacks and artillery bombardments. Following relief they marched into billets at Franvillers.

 

 

 APPLEYARD, RICHARD.

Lieutenant, 14th Bn. attd. 11th Bn., 04/08/1916.

PEAKE WOOD CEMETERY, FRICOURT - B. 26.

 

 

DUMAS, CHARLES DERRICK.

Private, 31246, 11th Btn., d. of w. 06/08/1916, aged 19.

b. Birmingham; e. Brocklesby, Lincolnshire; r. Hackney, Matlock.

"Son of Edward Derrick Dumas and Adeline Heath Dumas, of 'Westholme', Farley Hill, Hackney, Matlock, Derbyshire."

ALBERT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN, Somme, France - I. M. 28.

Matlock Memorial

 

 

REDFERN, FRANCIS.

Corporal, 21804, 11th Btn., d. of w. 09/08/1916, aged 27.

b. Cromford; e. Chesterfield; r (Newbold), Chesterfield.

NEWBOLD (ST. JOHN) CHURCHYARD, Derbyshire - F. 5. 3.

 

 

FOY, JOHN Lawrence.

Private, 25062, 11th Btn., k. in a. 25/08/1916.

b. Chesterfield; e. Chesterfield; r. Chesterfield

Church of the Annunciation Memorial

Shot whilst on sentry duty on August 24th. Son of Mrs Dunn of 27 Brown's Yard, Low Pavement. He enlisted in April 1915 when only 18 years of age. Prior to enlisting he worked at Holmwood Colliery.

 

 

SHIPLEY, RICHARD.

Private, 23339, 11th Btn., d. of w. 17/09/1916.

b. Whittington Moor; e. Chesterfield; r. Newbold/Whittington Moor, Chesterfield.

NEWBOLD (ST. JOHN) CHURCHYARD, Derbyshire - B. 5. 14.

Newbold Memorial

'Pte. R. Shipley, Sherwood Foresters, whose home is at 28 Devonshire Street, Newbold Moor, is lying in the Borough Hospital, Birkenhead, suffering form severe shell wounds received in France on the 2nd July. He was in a  critical condition and Mrs. Shipley was summoned by telegram to visit him. He has rallied a little however and since Mrs. Shipley's return home she has received news from the hospital that he is a little better. Pte. Shipley joined the Sherwood Foresters in February 1915, and went out to France in the May of this year. He had only been been in France six weeks when he received his wounds. Prior to enlisting he was employed at the Glapwell Colliery.'

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY ??, 1916]

 

 

On the 18th September the Battalion returned to the Somme Front and were engaged in salvage work on the old battlefields. It was during these clearances on 21st September that the bodies of 2nd Lieut. W.A. Davies (B Company), 2nd Lieut. Longhurst (D Company), 7039 Sgt. J. Connaughton (A Company), 16748 Lc.-Sergt. Millington and those of 16 other men were identified where they had fallen. Later on the 25th the bodies of 2nd Lieut. C.B. Tomlinson and 19 men, and again on the 29th September those of 7146 Sgt. Ford and 6 others were all identified. These men were reburied in front of Authuille Wood.

[2/Lieuts Davies and Tomlinson are buried in Blighty Valley Cemetery, Longhurst in Martinsart. The bodies of Sergts. Connaughton, Millington and Ford could not be identified after the War and they are commemorated on Thiepval Memorial]

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Morval

25th - 28th September 1916

 

On the 26th September the battalion relieved the 13th Durham Light Infantry under an intensive artillery bombardment and occupied trenches between Push Alley and Prue Trench at Martinpuich. The left of the Battalion rested on the Le Sars-Bapaume Road. The relief was completed by 11 p.m. but resulted in one killed, 16 wounded and 1 missing.

On the 27th September "C" Company commanded by Captain Hudson occupied 26th Avenue Trench (red arrow), with the capture of one prisoner. Later in the day Lieuts. E.O.P. Swain and R.D. Trevor-Roper and 5 other ranks were killed and 13 wounded.

  Les Sars 27-9-1916a.jpg (207259 bytes)Les Sars 27-9-1916b.jpg (216811 bytes)

Les Sars 27-9-1916c.jpg (176239 bytes)Les Sars 27-9-1916d.jpg (99896 bytes)

Les Sars 27-9-1916e.jpg (257259 bytes)Les Sars 27-9-1916f.jpg (262149 bytes)

 

Position of the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters on the 27th September 1916

 

During the night of the 27-28th September a patrol was sent out to Destremont farm and reported that it was strongly held by the Germans. A patrol led by 2nd Lieut. J.W. Benton was sent out from 26th Trench to make contact with the 30th Brigade on the right of the line held by the 11th S/F. The enemy was alerted and fired on the patrol killing John Benton and three other men, whilst 19 other men who were in various patrols in No Mans Land were wounded.

 

BENTON, JOHN WALFORD.

2nd Lieutenant, 19th Bn. attd. 11th Bn., 28/09/1916.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

BOSTOCK, ALBERT.

Private, 70553, 11th Btn., k. in a. 28/09/1916.

b. Renshaw, Derbyshire; e. Eckington, Yorkshire; r. Renshaw.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

In the evening Capt A.E. Parlow and "B" Company attempted to take Destremont Farm but this attack failed. 2nd Lieuts H.W. Lomas and L. Drake were wounded. The Battalion then handed the line over to the 8th Battn York and Lancs and retired to the support line.

 

Whilst in the support line in front of Authuile Wood the Battalion identified and buried the bodies of Sgt. Ford and 6 other ranks. 

[FORD, GEORGE HENRY, Sergeant, 7146, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/07/1916. b. Derby; e. Derby; r. Derby and commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL]

 

 

The Battle of Le Transloy

1st - 18th October 1916

 

At the beginning of October the Battalion was involved in the final push to capture the Flers-Le Sars line. The attack was made on a front of over a mile and involved the 23rd Division on the left and the 50th Division on the right. The 11th S/F formed the right Battalion of the 70th Bde. with the 8th KOYLI on their left and the 50th Division on their right.   

Two Companies of the Battalion, "A" (left flank) and "D" (right flank) were involved in the attack on Flers Trench and Flers support near Le Sars. 

At 9.15 a.m. "A" and "D" Companies moved from Tangle Trench to Destremont Trench, whilst "B" and "C" Companies were in a second trench 50 yards behind. 

At 3.15 p.m. "A" and "D" Companies advanced in two waves under a barrage of artillery, with "C" Company in support and "D" Company in reserve. After advancing 400 yards the Germans began an artillery barrage which fell harmlessly on the assembly trenches. The attacking waves passed over and consolidated the first and second objectives and the occupying troops fought off three counter attacks during the evening. 

Le Sars -01-10-1916a.jpg (198542 bytes)Le Sars -01-10-1916b.jpg (173095 bytes)

Le Sars -01-10-1916c.jpg (155639 bytes)Le Sars -01-10-1916d.jpg (173626 bytes)

Le Sars -01-10-1916e.jpg (229005 bytes)Le Sars -01-10-1916f.jpg (213079 bytes)

Position of the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters after the attack on 1st October 1916

 

Battalion casualties were:

Officer killed - Captain R.J. Nicholls, and Lieuts. D.J. Thornton and F.L. Henley.

Officers wounded - Captain R.A. Butt and 2nd Lieut E.A. Bassano (who later died of his wounds).

Other Ranks - 12 killed, 137 wounded (some of whom later died of their wounds) and 13 missing.

 

 

BASSANO, EDWARD ARTHUR.

2nd Lt, 13th Bn. attd. 11th Bn., 01/10/1916.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

 

BRASSINGTON, FRANCIS JOHN.

Private, 19306, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/10/1916.

b. Somershall, Derbyshire; e. Burton-on-Trent; r. Doveridge, Derbyshire.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

 

BROOKS, THOMAS A.

Private, 17700, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/10/1916, aged 28.

b. Clay Cross; e. Ripley; r. Pinxton, Derbyshire.

"Son of Charles and Mary Jane Brooks, of 77, Park Lane, Pinxton, Nottingham"

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

 

COLLIER, JOSEPH WILLIAM.

Private, 20145, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/10/1916, aged 34.

b. Rugeley; e. Mansfield; r. Shirebrook.

"Son of Joseph and Sarah Ann Collier, of 45, Prospect Drive, Shirebrook; husband of Emma Bradbury (formerly Collier), of 64, Vale Drive, Shirebrook, Derbyshire"

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Commemorative Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Shirebrook

Formerly a miner at Shirebrook Colliery, Joseph Collier left a widow and six children.

 

 

O'BRIEN, DANIEL.

Private, 19403, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/10/1916, aged 28.

b. Hanley; e. Mansfield; r. Shirebrook.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

Shirebrook Roll Of Honour - Remembrance Sunday [8]

 

 

WILLIAMS, WILFRED GORDON.

Private, 7026, 11th Btn., k. in a. 01/10/1916.

b. Northampton; e. Derby; r. Chesterfield.

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

 

VARDY, WILLIAM.

Private, 16028, 11th Btn., d. of w. 02/10/1916, aged 28.

b. Barrow Hill; e. Chesterfield; r. Barrow Hill.

"Son of Jonathan and Georgiana Vardy, of 25, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield"

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France - Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A.

 

 

TODD, ERNEST.

Lance Corporal, 16191, 11th Btn., d. of w. 03/10/1916, aged 22

b. Hucknall; e. Sutton-in-Ashfield; r. Alfreton.

DERNANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN - III. D. 4.

Tibshelf Memorial and Roll of Honour

Ernest was born in Hucknall on the 3rd October 1893. His parents lived at Waverly Street in Tibshelf and like his father he was employed as a miner at Tibshelf Colliery. Ernest enlisted in Sutton-in-Ashfield on 8th September 1914. He arrived in France in April 1915 and served in the trenches for 18 months before being mortally wounded on the 25th September during the battle for Transloy Ridge. He died in Hospital when a cold caused complications and heart failure at 6pm on October 3rd. Ernest was buried on his 23rd birthday.

[Information courtesy of Andrew Hesketh]

 

 

ALLEN, JAMES.

Private, 6239, 11th Btn., d. of w. 03/10/1916.

b. Clay Cross; e. Clay Cross; r. Clay Cross.

DERNANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN - III. E. 48.

 

 

BELLAMY, JOHN HOLLAND.

2nd Lieutenant, (13th Battn) 11th Btn., 04/10/1916, aged 23.

DERNANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN  - III. E. 21.

Joined the Sherwoods two months previous

 

 

DRAKE, LEONARD.

2nd Lieutenant, , 11th Btn., 04/10/1916, aged 26.

DERNANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTN  - III. E. 25.

 

MOSS, ARTHUR.

Lance Corporal, 18994, 11th Btn., d. of w. 23/10/1916, aged 26. 

b. Burbage; e. Buxton; r. Burbage

BURBAGE (CHRIST CHURCH) CHURCHYARD, Derbyshire.

Buxton and Burbage Memorials

On Monday, October 23rd,  news was received that L/Cpl Author Moss had died of wounds in a Military Hospital in Glasgow. He was the son of Mrs and Mr J Moss of the Green and enlisted in November 1914. He was buried in Burbage Churchyard on Thursday 26th October. 

 

On the 4th October the following letter was addressed to the Officers Commanding the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters:-

"Will you please tell all ranks of your Battalion how very pleased I am at their behaviour on October 1st. I congratulate them most heartily on their complete success which was due to their gallantry and the true spirit they showed. Good luck to you all."

 

Thus ended the Battle of the Somme for the 11th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters. Three times they went into action and on all three occasions they suffered heavy casualties, perhaps the Battalion History should have the final word:-

"Yet after this day, it is felt that things will never be quite the same again; many of those who shared the first days of stirring enthusiasm are dead and the wounds of many others will prevent them taking up service anymore. It is the end of the old order, and as this vanishes yielding to the new, much vanishes with it. Old associations are broken; almost twelve months after leaving England as a vanguard of the great army, the vanguard is scattered."

 

For a full list of the 161 men of the 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, who were killed during the Battle of the Somme, click here

 

Gallantry Awards

 

L/Cpl Sidney Bailey (18440), awarded MM for gallantry during the attack on Flers Le Sars on 1st October [L.G. 9-12-16].

 

 

 

Sources of information

1) Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-19; Part 49. The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). Published by J. B. Haywood & Son, Suffolk, 1989.

2) The Derbyshire Times, Chesterfield Edition.

3) Sherwood Forester Roll of Honour. Western Front Association; East Midland Branch.

4) British Battalions on the Somme by Ray Westlake. Published by Leo Cooper, 1998.

5) Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

6) Brave Sons of Shirebrook by Trevor Skirrey. Published by Derbyshire County Council, Libraries and Heritage Department, 2000.

7) The Men of the Greenwood . . . . Being the War History of the 11th Service Battalion Sherwood Foresters . . . .  by Percy Fryer. Published by Cresswell and Oaksford, date unknown.

8) Personal communication from William Bryan

9) War Dairy, 1ith Btn Sherwood Foresters, WO 95/2187.

10) The First Day of the Somme by Martin Middlebrook. Published by Penguin Books 1971.

11) High Peak News.

12) Buxton Advertiser.