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  • keithmroberts

    How NOT to use blogs

    By keithmroberts

    This area is not for queries but for ongoing blogs. if you want to ask for help, please go to the appropriate sub-forum in the main part of the GWF. You have been asked to make your first post in a specified location. Once you have done that, your query can be raised in the various sections of the forum. If you previously posted a request for help or information in this area, it is likely to be deleted at some point in the next few weeks or months. So if you have a reply, please make a note o

Our community blogs


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    Recent Entries

    This area is not for queries but for ongoing blogs. if you want to ask for help, please go to the appropriate sub-forum in the main part of the GWF.

    You have been asked to make your first post in a specified location. Once you have done that, your query can be raised in the various sections of the forum.

    If you previously posted a request for help or information in this area, it is likely to be deleted at some point in the next few weeks or months. So if you have a reply, please make a note of it, If not, can you re-post it in the appropriate part of the forum, which is likely to get you a quick response.

    Keith Roberts

    for the GWF team

  2. Reading an article on Forces News Ireland On Stage – The 1916 Easter Rising it outlined that "a four-gun battery of field artillery pieces" formed part of the British response to the uprising. I wondered which unit the guns came from and what actions they took during the six days of the Easter Rising.


    One interesting snippet outlined  ‘Field’ artillery is the key here though, since gunners soon found that, without the traction found on grass or mud, firing their guns on the smoothly-pebbled streets was like shooting them on ice. The recoil sent them flying backwards, after which they’d need re-aiming. This must have led to a frustrating drop in their rate of fire.'


    This tweet from 3RHA on a Quick Action shows what the Gunners would have experienced when firing from roads.



    On the morning of Easter Monday 1916 (24 April) , Irish Volunteers began occupying buildings in Dublin, seizing the GPO at mid-day. At 12:45 Patrick Pearse, the Irish Volunteers nominated President of the Provisional Government, read out the Proclamation of the Republic outside Dublin General Post Office. The Irish Tricolour and a green flag bearing the words 'Irish Republic' were raised on the building, signalling the start of the Easter Rising.



    Patrick Pearse posts the  Proclamation of the Republic outside Dublin GPO




    There were rebel attacks on a British ammunition column, the Magazine Fort in Phoenix Park, and soldiers came under fire from the South Dublin Union, an unarmed constable was killed in Dublin Castle. The British response began at 12:30 when the 6th Reserve Cavalry were deployed, and three battalions of the Dublin Garrison sent to defend Dublin Castle. Fighting intensified as the rebellion spread and the Irish Volunteers looked to form a cordon around the city centre, casualties mounting on both sides. A British mobile column seized Kingsbridge Station at 16.00 and  British re-enforcements from the Curragh began arriving by train.  [1]


    The despatches of Commander the Chief Forces in Ireland recorded "The situation at midnight was that we held the Magazine, Phoenix Park, the Castle and the Ship Street entrance to it, the Royal Hospital, all Barracks, the Kingsbridge, Amiens Street, and North Wall railway stations, the Dublin telephone exchange in Crown Alley, the Electric Power Station at Pigeon House Fort, Trinity College, Mountjoy Prison, and Kingstown Harbour.


    The Sinn Feiners held Sackville Street and blocks of buildings on each side of this, including Liberty Hall, with their headquarters at the General Post Office, the Four Courts, Jacobs’ biscuit factory, South Dublin Union, St. Stephen’s Green, all the approaches to the Castle except the Ship Street entrance, and many houses all over the city, especially about Balls Bridge and Beggar’s Bush." [2]





    British forces in Dublin on the eve of the 24th numbered nearly 5,000 troops [3] and on the 25th April two more battalions arrived during the day as well as a battery of four 18-pounders from the Reserve Artillery Brigade base in Athlone. [4]



    British Artillery route into Dublin from NW


    The Guns were from 5A Reserve Brigade Royal Artillery and were the only guns in Ireland. [5]



    18 pounder field artillery gun used by the British Army in Dublin in 1916.


     To the north of Dublin city centre artillery fire was used to destroy barricades in the Phibsborough area assisting in the establishment of a northern cordon  of the city centre, and the clearing of Broadstone Railway Station of Irish Volunteers. [6]  An 18 pounder located on the south bank of the River Liffey shelled Liberty Hall.  In the evening the Armed Auxiliary Patrol Yacht Helga sailed up the River Liffey using her 12 pounder gun to shell Liberty Hall.  [7]



    Bombardment of Liberty Hall - 25th April 1916



    Armed Auxiliary Patrol Yacht Helga





    Bombardment of Liberty Hall - 25th April 1916


    Two infantry Brigades (176th / 178th) arrived from mainland Britain to further reinforce the troops in Dublin.  During the afternoon of Wednesday 26th April, the British had their bloodiest confrontation at Mount Street Bridge on Northumberland Road,  when Irish Volunteers inflicted 234 casualties killed or wounded [8] (2/3 of the total casualties during the Easter Rising)


    Guns located at Trinity College guns fired at rebel positions, first at Boland's Mill and then in Sackville Street (O'Connell Street). [9]


    By the afternoon of the 26th April artillery positions had been established around Sackville Street shelling the main rebel strongholds, including the GPO. Shelling continued on Thursday and at 10:00 on the artillery fire ignited rolls of newsprint in the Irish Times building and the fire quickly spread. With fighting in progress, the Dublin Fire Brigade were unable to attend, resulting in the fires going out of control. [10]





    The shelling of the Sackville Street area continued unabated on the Friday destroying much of the area, the GPO in particular being targeted [11]

    Sergeant Major Samuel Lomas, an infantry soldier deployed to Dublin, records in his diary " APRIL 28th Noon One 18-pounder arrived and laid facing down Moore Street in the direction of the G.P.O. Four shells were fired which caused the rebels to quake, as for some considerable time, the rifle fire was silent, with the exception of a few snipers". [12]



    British Guns shell the Dublin GPO



    British Guns shell the Dublin GPO


    By Friday 28th April 18,000 to 20,000 British troops had been amassed in Dublin vastly outnumbering the 1,600 rebels, and parts of the city lay in ruins. [13]






    Dublin Ruins April Easter 1916


    That evening with the GPO on fire, the rebels began to break out from the building and at 21:50 the walls collapsed leaving only a shell of the structure. [14]



    Fire raging in Dublin GPO April 28th 1916



    Fire raging in Dublin GPO April 28th 1916


    With superior numbers of the British , plus the heavy fire power from machine guns and artillery, the pressure on the Irish Volunteers mounted. British Troops breached rebel barricades in North King Street. In the Four Courts area, Artillery commanded by Major Hill targeted buildings held by the rebels and infantry conducted clearing operations. [15]



    Dublin Easter Rising 1916 Artillery in action



    Dublin Easter Rising 1916 Explosions in Four Courts area


    The artillery fire would ultimately bring about the surrender of the Irish Volunteers. A Red Cross nurse was despatched by Patrick Pearse to ask for surrender terms, and at 14:00 29th April 1916 Pearse surrendered himself unconditionally. [16]




    The effect of the Artillery fire proved to be a decisive  factor in the British suppressing the Irish Rebellion.


    British Artillery Targeting Dublin Easter Rising 1916


    In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, Charles Townshend assessed "Automatic weapons made a significant difference but the decisive weapon in 1916 was artillery" [17].


    Sergeant Major Samuel Lomas, the infantry soldier deployed to Dublin recorded in his diary "The artillery proved most useful, & were in my opinion mainly the cause of the surrender of the rebels"  [18]


    General JG Maxwell, Commander in Chief Forces in Ireland in his despatches outlined  that artillery had set the conditions for the decisive moment;

    "the infantry being greatly assisted by a battery of Field Artillery commanded by Major Hill, who used his guns against the buildings held by the rebels with such good effect that a Red Cross Nurse brought in a message from the Rebel leader, P. H. Pearse, asking for terms" [19]












    [1] https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/chronology-of-the-easter-rising

    [2] Despatches from Ireland - CinC Forces in Ireland, Irish Command Dublin, 25 May 1916.  para 4

    [3] ibid para 7

    [4] ibid para 9

    [5] 5A Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Home) - Soldiers and their units - Great War Forum

    [6] Despatches from Ireland - CinC Forces in Ireland, Irish Command Dublin, 25 May 1916. para 9

    [7] ibid para 11

    [8] ibid para 10

    [9] Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend page 79

    [10] https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/chronology-of-the-easter-rising

    [11] ibid

    [12] https://ireland-calling.com/lifestyle/extracts-of-a-british-soldiers-dairy-during-the-easter-rising/

    [13] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35873316

    [14] https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/chronology-of-the-easter-rising

    [15] Despatches from Ireland - CinC Forces in Ireland, Irish Command Dublin, 25 May 1916 para 14

    [16] ibid

    [17] Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend p 191

     [18] https://ireland-calling.com/lifestyle/extracts-of-a-british-soldiers-dairy-during-the-easter-rising/

    [19] Despatches from Ireland - CinC Forces in Ireland, Irish Command Dublin, 25 May 1916 para 14

  3. Muerrisch
    Latest Entry

    By Muerrisch,

    I recently opened my fat box-file entitled: Miscellaneous.

    It had not been touched these last few years, and contains material that I harvested as scans, from Cambridge University Library and from various military magazines such as Soldier and Military Modelling.


    The focus is on the period 1900 to 1920.


    I will concentrate on facts and quote references: there is too much waffle regarding "this is the way it would have been 110 years ago" The truth is out there: the Victorians and Edwardians were meticulous book-keepers. The Blog is dedicated to the memory of a fact-finder par excellence, the late Martin Gillott.


    • I am currently working on the grey area of Good Conduct Badges for young soldiers, and can at last believe that I understand the matter. This will be the first offering on the blog.
    • Next in line will be the changes in extra pay in the period 1900 to 1910: Service Pay, Proficiency Pay, and extras for signalling and musketry prowess. I have, for example, the flow diagram [algorithm in modern terms] to help pay clerks decide who got what.
    • Engineer Pay is a very difficult subject: the rules appear to have reached us having been translated through Polish and Mandarin. These I will write a simplified guide to.
  4. It's been an interest of mine, when time allows, to research the men listed upon the 1914 and 1914-15 star medal roll for the Black Watch.
    Here i will share the statistical breakdown of these results, so far. These will be updated as more research is done.


    1914 Star


    The 1st, 2nd and 5th battalions of the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) reached France and Belgium in the qualifying period for the awarding of the 1914 Star, between 5th August and midnight on the 22nd of November 1914.


    Composition of the men.


    90% of the other ranks, with known places of birth, were Scottish born. English born men made up almost 7% of the remainder, with a sprinkling of Irish, welsh and dominion born men making up the rest.


    The average age of a soldier that died was 24. The youngest being two 16 year olds and the oldest a 48 year old.

    Previous war service.

    About 400 men of the regular battalions have service numbers that indicate they may have served in the 2nd Boer War, that's 14% of the other ranks listed in the 1914 star roll. A handful of the territorials had been in South Africa also as regulars with the Black Watch, other regiments or with the local volunteer units that volunteered to go.
    Of the officers of the regular battalions, 28 saw active service in South Africa. Therefore over 3,500 of the Black Watch soldiers who qualified for the 1914 Star had no experience of soldiering in wartime.


    Fatal Casualties.


    Black Watch 1914 Stars awarded (1st, 2nd & 5th Bns) - 3699
    Deceased - 1321 (35%)


    The territorials were used as lines of communication troops when they arrived in late Autumn, so they did not have the same experience of open warfare the regulars had in 1914.
    So taking only the two regular battalions as a whole, the 1914 casualties present a slightly different overall picture of a 40% fatality rate.

    1st Btn

    The initial cohort of the 1st battalion: 33 officers and 1,153 other ranks (slightly different numbers are given by other sources, but these are the star roll numbers) arrived on the continent on the 13th of August, 1914.

    The 1st battalion were never at Mons. The first time they engaged the Germans, aside form the odd Uhlan scout and being lightly shelled on their march, was on the 8th of September at the Marne. This is where the battalion suffered its first fatal casualties.

    The most recently enlisted soldier to go with this first contingent, whose date of enlistment is known,  joined on the 27th of June, 1914, only 6 weeks before departure.
    There were 4 large reinforcement drafts made up almost exclusively of reservists and special reservists consisting of 32 further officers and 722 other ranks.


    1st Btn 1914 Star - 1939 awarded – 777 dead - 40%

    Officers – 65
    Deceased – 31 (48%)

    Year - deaths - % of total dead

    1914 – 22 (71%)
    1915 – 5 (16%)
    1916 – 2 (7%)
    1917 – 0
    1918 – 1 (3%)
    1919 – 0
    1920 – 0
    1921 – 1 (3%)

    Other Ranks - 1874
    Deceased – 746 (40%)

    Year - deaths - % of dead
    1914 – 352 - (47%)
    1915 – 246 - (33%)
    1916 – 70 - (9%)
    1917 – 30 - (4%)
    1918 – 42 - (6%)
    1919 – 5 - (0.6%)
    1920 – 1 - (0.1%)


    2nd Btn

    The 2nd Btn arrived from India, landing at Boulogne, on the 12th of October, 1914. Almost all depot reinforcements were fed into the 1st battalion, only a few, other than those who arrived from India, are on the roll.


    The 2nd btn missed out on the open warfare of 1914, but once in the line at the end of October, they did suffer considerable casualties throughout November and December, the flooded shallow trenches providing little protection.


    2nd Btn 1914 Star - 944 awarded – 379 dead - 40%

    Officers - 21
    Deceased – 13 (62%)

    Year - deaths - % of dead

    1914 – 1 (7%)

    1915 – 7 (54%)

    1916 – 4 (32%)

    1917 – 1 (7%)

    Other Ranks - 923
    Deceased – 366 (40%)

    Year - deaths - % of dead
    1914 – 57 - (15%)
    1915 – 182 - (50%)
    1916 – 84 - (23%)
    1917 – 18 - (5%)
    1918 – 20 - (5%)
    1919 – 5 - (1%)

    1920 - 4 - (1%)

    5th Btn


    The Territorials of the 5th (Angus & Dundee) Black Watch left for France on the 1st of November 1914, landing at Le Havre in the early hours of the 2nd.
    It wasn't until the 17th they were engaged in trench digging work, about a mile behind the firing line. In letters home they complained of the lack of excitement of the work!
    The first casualties occurred in early December, by which time they were engaged in night time trench digging parties, under Royal Engineer instruction, at the front.


    5th Btn 1914 Star – 816 awarded – 166 dead (20%)

    Officers - 29

    Deceased – 3 (10%)


    1915 - 1 - (33%)

    1916 - 2 - (66%)

    other ranks. - 787

    Deceased – 163 (21%)


    1914 - 5 - (3%)

    1915 - 61 - (37%)

    1916 - 46 - (28%)

    1917 - 28 - (17%)

    1918 - 25 - (15%)

    1919 - 1 - (1%)

    1914-15 Star (other ranks only)


    The numbers (so far) show that for 7,000 entries - Dead = 2,787 - 39.8%


    It's interesting to see the lethality of service throughout the war for 1914-15 star men is the same as that of the 1914 star men (the 5th btn aside). This however may be a skewed figure, as many slightly wounded, but medically downgraded men, would be transferred to support arms such as the Labour Corps or Army Service Corps and be listed upon their 1914-15 star medal roll, these have yet to be included.


    Approximately 11,500 men may be listed in the 1914-15 star roll for the Black Watch. This will include those who initially served abroad with the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, (4th/5th), 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th and 14th Battalions. Unfortunately does not include an unknown number who initially served with the regiment before transferring out, who are now subsequently listed upon their later regiments roll.

    * 4 men who went abroad in 1914, qualifying for the 1914-15, but not the 1914 star, died before the end of 1914.
    * There are two men, in different battalions, with the same name, rank, army number and embarkation date.

    While Perth and Perthshire are the historical home of the regiment, there's no doubt Dundee was the beating heart of the Black Watch. Men born or residing in the city make up by far the largest contingent, across all regular and service battalions.

    (Once all the 1914-15 star roll is transcribed and researched, with as many as possible of the transferred out men on other regiments rolls added, then more statistics can be looked at. I may add more analysis on the 1914 star men at a later date also)


  5. A unique A-Z revealing how hundreds of members of one Devon family fought and died at war has just been completed.

    It gives a detailed insight into more than 350 men and women of the Roberts family who served in the two world wars and the Second Boer War.

    They are all connected to me – either as direct ancestors or through marriage to members of my family.

    Fifteen years ago, I only knew of one ancestor who had gone to war – my grandfather George Burnett Roberts.

    As a boy, I was given a picture of him – taken just after he had enlisted in the Army Service Corps – and a dozen brass buttons from his uniform.

    A chance discovery revealed that he was one of a record 30 grandsons of Witheridge farm worker John Roberts who served in the Great War.

    John’s remarkable story – told in two editions of the book History Maker – provided the inspiration for this new research project.

    The Great War Forum has played a key role in turning the A-Z into reality.

    Many 'mystery soldiers' have been identified - and their war service revealed - thanks to help from members of this brilliant forum.

    The A-Z shows how 75 members of my family lost their lives – 50 in the First World War, 24 in the Second World War and one in the Second Boer War.

    Of those who died, the vast majority were killed in infantry attacks on the front line or died from wounds sustained in action.

    One soldier lost his life as a prisoner of war. Three succumbed to sickness. Six died at sea – in warship and submarine attacks. One was killed in a flying accident.

    Five – including a mother and her two daughters – were killed in Blitz and ‘Doodlebug’ attacks on London and Portsmouth.

    The youngest who went to war was Frederick ‘Fred’ Facey, who was just 14 when he served as a bugler in South Africa.

    Many who fought and died served in the New Zealand, Australian, Canadian and United States Army and Navy.

    Of the women who went to war, many served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and Auxiliary Territorial Service. One was attached to a secret operations unit at Westward Ho!

    The stories of the many who did not make it home – and of those who survived, some with horrific injuries – are highlighted in a series of special features.

    They reveal:

    ·        How five members of the Roberts family fought together on a remote battlefield on the darkest day in the history of the 16th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment

    ·        How a young soldier died in the worst maritime disaster in British History

    ·        The men decorated for their extraordinary courage in the First and Second World Wars

    ·        The eight men held as prisoners of war in Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan

    ·        How a soldier turned out to be alive and well when his ‘death’ in the Great War was announced in his local newspaper

    The A-Z is now available on a special custom-made USB flash drive. Any proceeds from sales will go to hospice charities.

    The picture shows 24 members of the Roberts family who fought in - and in many cases - died in the two world wars.

    Paul Roberts

    Roberts A-Z poster jpeg.jpg

  6. Monday 24th July 1916.

    Tyler invited me up to his observation post, we had a pleasant walk there and reached it without entering the trenches except the last 50 yards. The enemy had shelled immediately round it the day before with their 8-inch howitzer and there was a very nice unexploded shell lying there. I measured it - 24 inches from end to end and just about as many inches in circumference.

    I had a good look at the bad men's lines through the glasses, things were quiet and there was little to be seen. The trenches there were very deserted and extraordinarily beautiful with most luxuriant growths of white Mayweed, blue Cornflowers and scarlet Poppies. All these growing side by side- red, white and blue - a most striking sight.


    Saturday 29th ADS.

    In a drunken brawl one of our men struck  another man on the chin, he fell down backwards on the pavement - result cerebral haemorrhage and death. The prisoner is up for manslaughter.


    Russians capture Brody and 9000 men. We have got Delville woods.


    *81534 Pte Cunningham. Joseph. Age 31. RAMC died at 33CCS 28th July result of being struck by Private Cullen. J. RAMC. Court martial documents sent to ADMS re manslaughter charge against Private Cullen. Private Cullen was acquitted manslaughter charges.* (7th ESR war diary)


    *Private Cunningham Bethune town cemetery*

    *Private Cullen. J. Age 40. Died 20-07-1920. Grangegorman military cemetery. Dublin.*


    All material produced or reproduced here and throughout this blog is the sole copyright of the holder of the diaries Reginald Hannay Fothergill.


  7. Diary of a Dispatch Rider

    Latest Entry

    Continuing the diary of Corporal John Sangway, dispatch rider with XVII Corps.


    30th Oct

    Came into hospital with “special” flu a week ago, 23rd. Damnable. If this is typical of hospitals out here, Florence Nightingale never finished her job. I have seen disinfectant once. I have had my medicine half the times ordered. I have slept on the floor all the time in verminous and dirty blankets. There is no ventilation at night & it stinks. People play horribly on pianos outside your door. The latrine arrangements are foul & frightfully inadequate & there is no water at night to wet your parched tongue. Can’t think of any more horrors at the moment. And yet I am feeling better. God knows why!


    Nov 1

    Left hospital, God be thanked. When shall I get free of vermin!

  8. cawood__dorothy.JPG.104e8111ec767ede3430a6afd96e5c85.JPG

    Sister Cawood has for four years faced the perils of the deep and the dangers of field hospitals near to the firing-line, and has shown by her gallantry, heroism and self-sacrifice that she is worthy of the great honor and distinction which I am proud to know has been conferred upon her.  We diggers all say, “God bless her and all the other brave Australian sisters who gave up everything to assist us when we badly required help.”  We won’t forget them.

    [Michael Adams, 1919 – late Pte 1129, 20th Bn, AIF]


    The great honour and distinction that Michael Adams was referring to was the Military Medal awarded to Dorothy Cawood in 1917.  He personally would never forget her, as it was she who nursed him back to health in 1915, and he clung to the belief that it was solely due to her untiring efforts that he had survived.


    Dorothy had trained in general nursing at the Coast Hospital in Sydney from 1909, and together with colleague Clarice Dickson passed her exam for membership of the Australasian Trained Nurses’ Association in December 1912.  Both ladies were still nursing at the Coast Hospital when they enlisted for war service in 1914.  Having been accepted for overseas service with the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), they embarked in Sydney and sailed for Egypt on the 28th of November 1914 on the hospital ship Kyarra, as Staff Nurses with the 2nd Australian General Hospital (2AGH).


    The Kyarra arrived at Alexandria on the 14th of January 1915, and the following morning Dorothy and Clarice were among a party of Doctors and Nurses who took a day trip to the Mena House Hospital in Cairo, arriving just before lunch.  In the afternoon Major (Dr) Reginald Millard, also a former Coast Hospital colleague, who was temporarily in charge at Mena, took them for a ‘walk round the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid ending at the First Field Ambulance for afternoon tea’.


    The party having returned to the Kyarra, it was some days later during the 19th and 20th that the entire personnel of the 2nd AGH and all their equipment arrived at Mena House to take over the hospital.  Before finally handing over and leaving to return to the 1st Field Ambulance on the 26th, Major Millard received a wire requesting 10 nursing Sisters be sent the following day to join the Stationary Hospital at Ismailia.  Dorothy and Clarice were delighted to be among those selected, and had a most interesting time nursing the English wounded, while coming under fire during the attack on the Canal.  The campaign over and all their patients moved to Cairo, they returned to Mena House on the 27th of February.  [Note: Bessie Pocock was also among the 10]

    Following the commencement of the Gallipoli Campaign in April the 2nd AGH also took over the Ghezireh Palace hotel in Cairo, leaving Mena as an auxiliary hospital until finally abandoning it on the 7th of June 1915.  [Note: Mena House was reopened again in July as a Convalescent Hospital]

    While still at Ghezireh Dorothy and Clarice received a couple of visits from Major Millard during August.


    Then at the end of August, the entire nursing staff of the hospital ship Assaye, under Matron Bessie Pocock, was sent ashore and replaced, and once again Dorothy and Clarice found themselves among the 9 new nurses selected to join the ship.  They embarked at Alexandria on the 3rd of September, and the Assaye set sail for Mudros, (Lemnos Island) on the afternoon of the 5th.  On the 8th they were taking on sick and wounded from Imbros Island and that night Matron Pocock noted in her diary: “Everybody worked well & happy all together such a difference from the last lot of nurses’ we had.”


    Following the disembarkation of their patients at Alexandria, they experienced some rough weather on the return to Mudros, and on their arrival on the 17th of September Dorothy was one of 2 nurses feeling a little under the weather.  As they had no patients and not a lot to do, they were sent to bed for the day, and Dorothy had recovered by the following day.


    Having survived the torpedoing of the Southland on the 2nd of the month on the voyage to Gallipoli, Major Millard was encamped at Anzac on the 21st when a messenger arrived from Suvla, where the Assaye was taking on patients.  He had with him 2 sacks of red cross goods that Matron Pocock, Dorothy and Clarice had put together for Major Millard to distribute amongst the men, which he carried out the following day throughout the Dressing Stations.

    The Assaye was stationed off Anzac on the 3rd of October when they sent another sack of goods ashore.


    One of the soldiers taken on board from Anzac on the evening of the 6th of October was the previously mentioned Private Michael Adams of the 20th Battalion.  He was a Scot who had emigrated to Australia and was living with his family in Granville, NSW, before enlisting.  Suffering from shock and a shrapnel wound to the head, he awoke the following morning to a cheery “How are you this morning?”  After establishing that the nurse who was removing his bandages was not only also from the Sydney area, but from a neighbouring suburb to his home, he asked her name.  Recognising the name Cawood as his daughter’s teacher’s name, it was soon realised that Nessie’s teacher was none other than Dorothy’s sister Muriel.


    No doubt the two of them had plenty to talk about over the following weeks as the Assaye slowly made its way to England, and while under Dorothy’s care and attention Pte Adams’ health and strength gradually improved.  Invalided home early in 1916, one of the first things Pte Adams did was visit Dorothy’s family, and her father was overjoyed to meet a ‘Digger’ whom his daughter had nursed at Gallipoli.  John Cawood ‘was one of the pioneers of the Australian citizen forces and the two soldiers yarned for hours.’


    Arriving at Southampton on the 20th of October, the nurses had shore leave while the ship went into dry dock for repairs, and it wasn’t until the 9th of November that they departed once more.  Experiencing bad weather as they crossed out, everybody was sick for the first 4 days.  Stopping first at Malta where they picked up 59 Canadian Sisters, they disembarked them at Salonika before returning to Mudros, and then onto Cape Helles on the 24th of November.


    Having completed their year of service both Dorothy and Clarice received their promotion from Staff Nurses to Sisters on the 1st of December 1915.


    After a few more trips between Gallipoli, Malta and Egypt in the December, they arrived back in Alexandria for the final time on the 7th of January 1916.  Waiting it out in the harbour, it wasn’t until the 18th that orders came through advising that the ship was going to Bombay without any nurses.  Leaving the ship on the morning of the 20th, Dorothy, Clarice and Matron Pocock returned to the 2nd AGH at the Ghezireh Hospital in Cairo.


    Matron Pocock noted in her diary: “Everybody very sorry to say ‘Goodbye’ to us, they say, all said we had worked hard and peacefully and were a great help. Want all back again if ever ship is refitted up for British soldiers.”


    She also wrote home in regard to her nurses: “They were awfully nice girls and worked hard, devoted to their patients.  No one on board ship ever went to bed or off duty till every man had been washed, fed, and his dressings all done; no one felt for themselves until everything was done;….”

    In February, Bessie Pocock was serving back at Mena House, when Dorothy and Clarice visited her on the 19th, staying for afternoon tea and dinner.  Dorothy visited again on the 29th and they went for a camel ride around the pyramids and had their photo taken.


    Leaving Egypt on the 26th of March 1916 the staff of the 2nd AGH sailed on the Braemar Castle to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France.  Arriving at Marseilles on the 1st of April, the nursing staff disembarked on the 5th and caught a train to the Moussot Hospital, where they remained for some time before heading further north in small groups.


    Dorothy and Clarice proceeded to Boulogne on 17th of June, arriving for duty at the 8th Stationary Hospital, Wimereux on the 22nd.  The pair were finally separated when on the 11th of July Dorothy and a few other nurses were transferred to the Australian Voluntary Hospital.  However, on arrival it was discovered that they weren’t actually needed and they returned to the 2nd AGH the following day, which by this stage had established their hospital at Boulogne.  Clarice didn’t return to the 2nd AGH until the 1st of October, and only 2 weeks later she was transferred to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) at Trois Arbres.


    Following 2 weeks of UK Leave from the 13th to the 29th of December 1916, Dorothy was reunited with Clarice on the 31st when she too was attached to the 2nd ACCS, where once again they were serving under Bessie Pocock.  In the new year Clarice had a lucky escape when on the 21st of January 1917 her dress caught on fire while standing with her back to an open fireplace.  Apart from the damage to her dress, initial shock and a scorched hand while trying to extinguish it, she was okay.  However, it was only a few days later that she was transferred to A.I.F. Headquarters in London, and the two friends would follow separate paths for the next 2 years.


    On her arrival Dorothy had been put on duty in ward A1, and it was noted that on the 17th of February she had finished her period of night duty.  Some enjoyment was had on the 6th March when together with a couple of the other nurses she attended a concert at one of the nearby Clearing Stations.


    The 2nd ACCS consisted of both huts and tents, but even those nurses lucky enough to be accommodated in huts still suffered from the bitterly cold winter, with no insulation and fuel hard to come by.  Duckboards ran throughout the complex saving them from tramping through mud, but they still had to contend with wind, rain and snow as they went on and off duty.


    Being so close to the front line they were subjected to the terrific din of intense bombardments that lit up the countryside for miles around, and night alarms for bomb and gas attacks often had them scrambling from their beds for the safety of the dugouts. An Observation balloon situated nearby attracted constant attention from enemy aircraft, and the fallout from the British anti-aircraft fire often dropped within the grounds, occasionally penetrating their huts.


    Bessie Pocock had been relieved by Ethel Davidson in April, and she in turn had been relieved by Louisa Stobo as Sister-in-charge on the 12th of July.  On the 17th Sister Stobo noted that there were 10 Sisters besides herself at the hospital, and it was only 5 days later that 4 of those nurses would become the first members of the AANS to be awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.  One of those nurses of course being Dorothy.  Of the other 3, Mary Derrer had joined the Unit with Dorothy, Clare Deacon early in June, and Alice Ross-King had only arrived on the 17th.


    It was the night of the 22nd of July 1917 when the hospital was hit by an enemy air raid.

    Lieutenant Colonel J Ramsay Webb noted in his report:

    “On the 22nd inst at about 10.25 pm an enemy aeroplane flying low over the Station dropped two bombs.

    The first fell at the rear of ward C.5 blowing a hole in the ground about 15ft in diameter and 6ft deep in the centre.  Ward C.5 was made up of 4 small hospital marquees arranged in a square.  Of these one was completely destroyed and the three others rendered unfit for service.  Some equipment was destroyed.  The mortuary also was wrecked, the roof and two sides being blown out.

    Two patients and two orderlies were killed and many of the men in the ward were wounded.

    The second bomb dropped outside the southern boundary of the Camp near the Cemetery.

    The total casualties were 4 killed and 15 wounded – 1 seriously.”



    Refusing to seek shelter during the raid, Dorothy and her 3 nursing colleagues remained on duty together with some of the other medical staff and worked through the dark and destruction to calm the patients and attend to those newly wounded.

    The following month each of them received a letter of congratulations from Lieutenant-General William Birdwood and Miss Maud McCarthy, Matron-in-Chief of the B.E.F., the latter including a piece of ribbon for the Military Medal.


    At the end of July Dorothy was transferred to the 38th Stationary Hospital (SH) at Calais, and reported for duty on the 1st of August.  Upon leaving the 2nd ACCS, Ethel Davidson had been sent as Matron to this hospital, which was still being established when Dorothy arrived.  Although still under construction they had taken on patients, and both patients and staff were accommodated in tents while huts were being erected.  Unfortunately, problems with the water-tightness of the huts was endless, and they were only just beginning to become operational in the second half of October, when it was decided at the end of that month to close the hospital site down.


    Dorothy had been on leave for the first two weeks of October, and when the hospital was closed many of the other nurses were sent on leave, while Dorothy reported for temporary duty at the 6th General Hospital on the 7th of November.  On this date she also received a “Mention in Despatches” (MID) in Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatches, for distinguished and gallant service in the field between the period 26/2/1917 to 26/9/1917.


    On the 11th of November 1917 the Matron-in-Chief (BEF) was notified that the 38th Stationary Hospital (together with the 11th General Hospital) was to proceed to Italy.  With Ethel Davidson in charge of 27 nurses, including as many of the original staff as possible, they were to establish a hospital of 400 beds.  Together with as many of the nurses that could be gathered at such short notice, Dorothy was collected at the Nurses Home in Abbeville on the 15th and transported by the 21st Ambulance Train to their destination.  On arrival in Genoa they were billeted in a hotel, from where they travelled by ambulance to and from the hospital which was established in one of the cities large schools; reporting for duty on the 19th of that month.


    On the last day of January 1918, Dorothy was admitted to the 11th General Hospital with Tonsilitis, and Ethel Davidson wrote the following letter to her mother:

    “Dear Mrs Cawood, – You may have received a notification from the Defence Department that your daughter, Dorothy, is sick in hospital; so I am writing to tell you not to worry – it’s nothing serious – just tonsillitis.  I hope to have her back on duty long before this letter reaches you.  I want to take this opportunity, Mrs Cawood, of congratulating you upon having such a good daughter as Dorothy.  She is a most excellent nurse – one of the very best Australia has sent out.  When I told my O.C. that I had sent Dorothy to the Sisters’ hospital, he said, ‘I’m sorry; I like that little girl.  She does her work well, and gives no trouble to anyone.’  I will take care of her for you, and not let her work too hard.  Kindest regards.  Yours sincerely, ETHEL S. DAVIDSON, Matron, A.A.N.S., 38 Stationary Hospital.”



    Two weeks later on the 13th of February Dorothy was discharged back to duty and continued her service in Italy with the 38th Stationary Hospital until early the following year.  During this time she was granted UK Leave from the 11th of August to the 13th of September, as well as 10 days in Rome from the 14th to the 24th of December 1918.


    With the war over, Dorothy and her nursing colleagues were eventually returned to the UK, arriving at Southampton on the 22nd of January 1919, and Dorothy was attached to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford the following day.  From there she was transferred to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Southall on the 8th of February, where once again she caught up with her old friend Clarice Dickson.  During her time in England Dorothy was presented with her Military Medal by his Majesty the King at Buckingham Palace.


    The first of the two friends to be repatriated, Dorothy began her journey home on the HT Soudan, embarking at Devonport on the 12th of May and arriving in Sydney on the 3rd of July.  Returning home to Parramatta by train it was noted in the local paper that:

    Mayor Simpson welcomed Sister Cawood as she came out of the southern portal of the station, with her father and mother and other members and friends of the family.  They were given the attendance informally of a guard of honour of returned soldiers and others of the military, the officials of the welcome-home committee …, a number of the splendid, hard-working V.A.D. girls (in uniform), and ladies of the Red Cross and War Chest and other patriotic societies.  After the Mayor had briefly and appropriately expressed the town’s heartfelt gratification at seeing back again with them Sister Cawood, the brave little lady (apparently the most retiring of all the personalities for many yards around) got into Mr Muston’s gaily-decorated cars with penons gaily streaming from them in the breeze; and the gay cortege was whirled through the town and round the park.  At the gate of the neat cottage in Hunter street, at which the cars at last pulled up, Sister Cawood was given an enthusiastic and hearty welcome by a large number of relatives and friends, who assembled to meet her at the residence of her parents, Mr and Mrs John Cawood, Hunter-street.  “Genugen” was prettily and profusely decorated with a liberal supply of flags, and across the verandah was displayed in large letters the words “Welcome home.”



    She received her official discharge on the 1st of September 1919.




    Dorothy Gwendolen, also known as Dora, had been born on the 9th of December 1884 in Parramatta, NSW.  She was the second youngest of the 8 children of John CAWOOD and Sarah Travis GARNET, who had married in Parramatta in 1874.  The family were living in Sorrell Street at the time of her birth, and she was baptized later that month in the local Anglican Church of St John.  Educated at Granville North Public School, Dorothy was amongst those receiving the highest marks in her class in 1899; and winning first prize, a silver medal, in Cookery in 1900.


    Her father John, a Carpenter by trade, died at the family home “Genugen,” 39 Hunter Street, Parramatta on the 27/6/1928, aged 78, and her mother Sarah also died at their home in Hunter Street on the 27/8/1944.


    Following the war, Dorothy continued to nurse and was appointed Sub-Matron of the Liverpool State Hospital and Asylum from the 1/11/1922 to the 3/9/1925, at which time she took over as Matron of the David Berry Hospital, Berry, following the resignation of Matron Williams.  She remained Matron of the David Berry Hospital until her retirement in 1944.


    Following her retirement she returned to the family home in Hunter Street, where she remained for the rest of her life.  Dorothy died on the 16th of February 1962 at a private hospital, aged 78, and was privately cremated and interred in the Rookwood General Cemetery 3 days later.


  9. Test Blog

    Andy - can you see if you can add a completely new Blog Entry to this Blog, or whether you can only add a Comment to one of my existing Blog Entries.





  10. I have put together a digital talk for the Petersfield Museum to mark 100 years since the death of Lt-Col Gerard Leachman on August 12th.

    Available free on YouTube for one night only,  but you will need to register via the museum website. Lots of photographs and maybe some controversial viewpoints. 😀 


  11. Don Hedger

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    Recent Entries

    Any one seen a library card for CEF troops WWI that reads University of Vimy Ridge ~ somewhere in France this was used to educate Canadian Troops while engaged in combat.

    This is most interesting however there is simply no data that I have seen ~ although these library cards did exist 

    More info is required on this unknown subject 



    Bertrancourt Military Cemetery. Bertrancourt is a village in the Department of the Somme. The cemetery was used by field ambulances in 1916 and 1917 and again by corps and divisional burial parties in the critical months of June, July and August 1918, when German advances brought the front line to within 8 kilometres of Bertrancourt. There are 419 burials of soldiers of the Great War who fell in the fighting in the Somme sector. Of these, 388 were British, 2 Canadian, 26 New Zealand, and 3 German. Many of the graves are of Yorkshire or Lancashire regiments. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

  13. Le Treport Miscellaneous depots and camps
    No 3 General Hospital (opened Dec 1914).
    No 16 General Hospital (opened Feb 1915).
    No 2 Canadian General Hospital (opened Feb 1915).
    No 3 Convalescent Depot (opened June 1915).
    No 16 General Hospital (Isolation Division) (opened Dec 1915).
    No 7 Canadian Hospital (opened 1916).
    No 47 British General Hospital (opened 1916).
    No 10 BRC Hospital
    VAD Camp (opened May 1917)
    RE Workshops & Stores (Mar 1915).
    Horse Rest Camp (EU) (opened Mar 1917).
    Horse Rest Camp (MERS) (opened 1917).
    Tanks Camp (opened Sep 1917)
    POW Camp (Pont et Marais) (opened 1917).
    Army Ordnance Camp (Mers) (opened Oct 1917).
    Rifle Range (opened 1918).
    Chinese Labour Camp (Mers) (opened Jan 1918).
    Chinese Labour Camp (Criel) (opened Jan 1918).
    PoW Compound, Isolation Hospital (opened 1918).
    PoW Compound (Le Treport) (opened 1918).
    No 2 E F Canteens
    No 2 YMCA Recreation Huts
    No 1 YMCA Cinema
    No 1 Canadian RCS Recreation Hut
    No 1 Salvation Army Hut
    No 1 BRCS Recreation Hut
    No 1 Church Army Hut
    No 1 RC Church Hut
    No 4 Base Supply Depot (MT)
    Ammunition Wharf

  14. These are the categories that I have on my computer in bookmarks. I will update this page on a regular basis, particularly during the early phase of the "sorting into categories".


    These are ONLY for the British cases here on the GWF. They do not include any of the cases on the CEFSG (here).


    I was initially posting this information for the benefit of GWF PALS that wanted to investigate the case further and possibly take it to the reporting stage. I was not familiar enough with the Regiments and did not have access to the UK War Diaries, so I could not finish the case. With the assistance of the Long, Long Trail and now with Ance$try Worldwide, I am able to proceed. There are a number of these cases still listed in the final category below ("Other Cases Posted") and I am now in the process of working through these to move them to the other categories. Many may end up in the "Abandon or Hold" category, which I have now split. If you have looked at a report and believe it is in the wrong category, let me know.


    Changes to this blog include:

    • 23 November 2019 the details of acceptance or rejection during the Approvals Process have now been added, which are generally emails from the CWGC. Any team response or report updates are then uploaded to the site. This information, on how the process works, may be of benefit to other researchers.
    • 12 February 2019 the topic lists that have multiple nationalities have been sorted and classified as to their nationality
    • 25 January 2018 addition for "Short Listed Candidates". Those are the cases where is there is more than one person that fits the characteristics for the grave but the list is very short. The reason for this category is for FAMILY who may be researching an UNKNOWN, so they now know it may be their relative in that grave - but it is not a positive identification. This category has also been used where one or more of the candidates has been identified elsewhere, thus shortening the list.
    • 5 July 2018 addition of "CWGC Reports to be Submitted / Possibly Incorrect Identifications". It appears that the named person is "clearly" (not a minor question) in that grave. This has not been applied yet to cases where a recent submission (post 2000) may have misidentified an UNKNOWN (i.e. Kipling Case).
    • 8 July 2018 added "A member is looking for this soldier".
    • 22 July 2018 added "The Approvals Process", in concert with the 1st "Phase I" Approval.
    • 27 October 2018 added "Abandon or Hold / Accounted for by Special Memorial(s)" - men are listed missing but may be on a Special Memorial within a cemetery


    The cases are now also posted to TWITTER as:


    As always, I appreciate the assistance of any member who wishes to participate in these investigations. If a draft report is prepared, any member is welcome to review the document and provide comments, corrections or criticisms. If the report goes to the Submission Stage, any member that participated in the process can have their name added to the report. For that I need your Real Name, Affiliation (can be as simple as "Private Researcher") and your email address (so the CWGC can contact you directly if they wish).


    A list of both the Canadian and Commonwealth reports that I have submitted can be found here, with download links:


    The difference between the Canadian and Commonwealth reports is that initially the Canadian reports were submitted to the CWGC Canadian Agency in Ottawa for review first. If acceptable to Ottawa, they then were forwarded to the Maidenhead CWGC Office. This process was modified in January 2019 so that now all cases go directly to the CWGC Maidenhead.


    As cases move through the process, their place on the list below is modified. A topic might go from "New Cases" to "Reports Submitted" and then up to the "Approvals Process". There it might stay for a considerable length of time, before being marked as "Approved" or "Rejected". Once in that part of the process, additional information is added, such as a direct link to the report or review documents received from the approvals authorities (including rejections). Under the new process, a "Commonwealth Case" must make it through all three (3) phases of the approvals process. There is no information at present to indicate a "Canadian Case" would move through the process in the UK or if it would then be sent back to Ottawa.




    Corporal Martin Carroll #55818, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Plot 6 Row D Grave 3

    2nd Division, 4th Infantry Brigade, 19th Infantry Battalion


    Killed in Action of 8 August 1918

    Reported Found 29 May 2015

    Rededication Service 1 December 2016

  15. Australian nurses

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    Looking for a reference book on Australian nurses in WW1? I recommend this book


    'More than Bombs and Bandages - Australian Army nurses at work in World War I' (Big Sky, Newport NSW, 2011).


    A review from a Queensland RN, Rev’d Dr Barbara Oudt:


    What I enjoyed most about Dr Kirsty Harris’s book is her ability to reflect those nurses voices in a way that was so real – one could be there, the settings were so well understood from her research and the language kind of made a time warp in the reading. Very satisfying. As you know I have that Peter Rees book, but I could not get into it after reading the historical one. It was like comparing a great documentary to Face Book trivia!!!


    Available from all good book shops, online via the publisher at http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/…/more-than-bombs-and-b…/, (at a very reasonable price for a hard back) or read or order for your local library.

  16. In December 1918 the Class Z system was introduced by the army.  This system, which released huge numbers of men very quickly, created a reserve of soldiers who would be recalled quickly to the army if the armistice was to break down.


    Many of the men who were discharged to the Class Z reserve had claims to pensions for disability - presumably an assessment was made that this disability would not prevent the man being useful to the army again in future.


    The Class Z system lead to a new pension numbering format being used for these cases.

    Class Z

    The reference under the Class Z system was in the format of Z / Corps or Regiment / Sequential Number of claim from Corps or Regiment / Surname Split.


    For example,



  17. I have finally written up the story for my 3 x great grand father John Edwin Barnes, thanks again for everyone's help on here that have helped make this possible, cheers everyone.



    One of my “Heroes” and Favourite Ancestors the fourth in my series of blogs about my 8 great-grandparents The Life and Times of John Edwin Barnes




  18. pjwmacro
    Latest Entry

    During the night of 30/31 July 1919, a relief column of 3rd Guides Infantry marched the 20+ miles from Parachinar to Sadda. Nearly 300 men strong, the column was based on B and D companies of 3rd Guides, supported by guns from 28th Mountain Battery and 40 additional mounted infantry from the Kurram Militia. The column was commanded by OC B Company Capt John Henry Jameson DSO. 

    The column reached Sadda on the morning of 31 July and, supported by machine guns from 22 Battery, went into action at around midday. Picquets were established on the high ground, the engine from the crashed Bristol Fighter was salvaged and the body of Lance Daffadar Miru Mian was recovered.

    By the evening, reports indicated that the tribesmen were dispersing.


  19. A few have asked to be kept informed as to the publication of my diary, so here you are. It is available from Amazon as an ebook as well as in paperback format. It can be bought from Waterstones in Newcastle upon Tyne, Morpeth and Hexham, also at Cogito Books in Hexham or direct from broomfieldpublications@gmail.com for £6.99 + p&p. It is available in the Newcastle City Library, The Newcastle University Library, and the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle. So far it is being read in the US, Germany, Australia, Spain, and France. It has yet to have any major review, but all individual reviews by private individuals are very positive indeed. Many thanks for any interest shown to date and in the future.

  20. 100 YEARS AGO TODAY: The March to the Rhine - Day 21.


    King George V and General William Birdwood visit the graves of several notable soldiers including, the temporary grave of Prince Maurice of Battenburg, the King's one-time equerry Major Lord Charles Mercer-Nairne, Brigadier General Francis Aylmer Maxwell VC, CSI, DSO & Bar, and Major the Hon. William George Sidney Cadogan, the equerry to the Prince of Wales. Presentation of baton of the Marshal of France to Philippe Petain at Metz, 8 December 1918. Marshal Petain, Marshal Joseph Joffre, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, General Maxime Weygand (France), Field Marshal Douglas Haig (Britain), General John Pershing (USA), General Cyriaque Gillain (Belgium), General Alberico Albricci (Italy) and General Józef Haller (Poland) awaiting the arrival of French President Raymond Poincare.


    General Staff - 1st Canadian Division, C.E.F.


    13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada)


    14th Battalion (The Royal Montreal Regiment)


    15th Battlion (48th Highlanders of Canada), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.


    16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), 3rd Inf. Bde, C.E.F.


    5th Canadian Divisional Artillery, C.E.F.


    14th Brigade C.F.A., C.E.F.


    61st Field Battery, C.F.A., 5th C.D.A., C.E.F.


    Lt Abner Virtue - 6st Fld Bty


    60th Field Battery, C.F.A., 5th C.D.A., C.E.F.



    Outside Recht, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Recht, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Marcard, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Railway Bridge Bonn and Kirke, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Dedenburg & Bonn Railway Bridge, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Outside Amel, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Amel, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Moderscheid, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Outside Moderscheid, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Bullingen, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Outside Bullingen, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Outside Wirtzfeld, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Wirtzfeld, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Outside Krinkelt, Photo: Edward Walshe



    Krinkelt, Photo: Edward Walshe









    Click here for the video.

    Object description
    The competition between Army Forestry Companies from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand at the Forestry Camp at Pont-Remy, France, 15th September 1918.


    Full description
    The soldiers watch several forms of contest. A pillow fight between two men sitting astride a log suspended over water. A tree-stump felling contest, in which the four representatives each have to cut down a stump about three metres high. A similar competition to cut through a short log lying on the ground, won by the Australian whose fellows rush forward to cheer him. He poses in his shirt, shorts and bush hat with his axe beside the trunk. A third contest, including New Zealand Maoris, in chopping down medium-sized trees. Finally a 'log rolling' contest for men keeping balance standing on a log on the river, which they cross by rolling the log forward.


    Production date
    Place made
    whole: Number Of Items/reels/tapes 1

    Catalogue number
    IWM 319

  22. Obituary for my Grand Father Company Sergeant Major Fred Seaman No.5572, Of The 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards


  23. It's been a long time since my last post in this blog, so here is one interesting article.



    The Romanian 2nd Army's success at Marasti forced the Central Powers to revise their plans. The offensive planned in the Namoloasa area was abandoned and the bulk of the forces were moved in the Focsani area. The new offensive was going to be launched west of the Siret River, on the Focsani – Marasesti – Adjud direction, with the German 9th Army (general Johannes von Eben) and on the Oituz Valley with the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army (Archduke Joseph). The objective was to encircle and destroy the 2nd Army.


    On the other side, the Romanian General Headquarters decided to cancel its attack in the Namoloasa area. The Russian 4th Army had to be pulled out from the front in southern Moldavia and moved north, where it could threaten the flank of the Austro-German forces advancing in Galicia. The Romanian 1st Army was going to replace the Russian troops departing the area.

    For the offensive, the German 9th Army was strengthened with units brought from the French (the Alpine Corps, which arrived on 6 August) or Italian fronts. General von Eben decided to deliver the main blow with the German 1st Corps (6 divisions), while to its left the German 18th Reserve Corps (3 divisions) had to pin down the Entente troops opposite it. The right wing of the 9th Army was manned by the Ramnic Group (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one German and one Austro-Hungarian divisions and the Alpine Corps, which arrived in the area during the first day of the battle. The German forces in the attack sector were 102 infantry battalions, 10 cavalry squadrons, 24 pioneer companies, 2 armored cars, 1,135 machine-guns, 356 mortars, 223 field guns and 122 heavy guns and howitzers.


    Opposite the German 1st Corps was the Russian 4th Army, which had in contact with the enemy only two corps: on the right the 8th (3 divisions) and on the left the 7th (2 divisions). The reserve was made up of one infantry and one cavalry divisions. These totaled 84 infantry battalions, 52 cavalry squadrons, 280 field guns and 36 heavy guns. The bulk of the Romanian 1st Army was at Tecuci and was getting to cross the Siret River and replace the Russians.

    The German 9th Army's offensive was preceded by a powerful artillery preparation, which began at 0430 hours on 6 August 1917. At 0730 hours the 1st Corps (general Kurt von Morgen) started the attack, with the 12th Bavarian, 76th and 89th Infantry Divisions in the first line and with another two divisions in the second echelon. The front defended by the Russian 13th and 34th Infantry Divisions was broken and 10 km breach was created. The Russians started a disorderly retreat east of the Siret River. At the request of the Russian command, general Constantin Christescu, CO of the 1st Army, ordered maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, CO of the Romanian 6th Corps, to intervene west of the Siret with the 5th Infantry Division and with the 9th Infantry Division to defend the river's eastern bank. The 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea and the 8th Dorobanti Regiment Buzau counterattacked and stopped the Central Powers offensive on the line Moara Alba – Doaga – Furceni.


    Seeing that the chances to force the crossing over the river are minimal, in the morning of 7 August, the German command redirected the offensive to the north, with four divisions. The effort was concentrated against the Romanian 5th Infantry Division, but the assault was repulsed. However, a bulge was created at the junction with the Russian troops, but the situation was saved by the counterattack of two battalions from the division's reserve. At noon, after a short artillery preparation, the enemy renewed the attack enjoying a 3 to 1 numerical superiority. The 3rd Vanatori Regiment held out in the Doaga village against an entire German division. The same thing happened in the sector of the 32nd Dorobanti Regiment Mircea. The soldiers in this unit made several bayonet charges only in their shirts, because of the suffocating heat, managing to push back the Germans to their positions. In the evening, the 1st Corps attacked and broke through the front of the Russian division on the right flank of the Romanian 5th Division. Threatened with the encirclement, the 32nd Regiment retreated to the Cosmesti Bridge. To fill the gap created, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division was introduced west of the Siret River. It was continuously attacked. In the evening of 7 August, under the cover of darkness, a German group approached and assaulted the 9th Division's flank, engaging into hand-to-hand fights. The Romanians abandoned Doaga and retreated to the outskirts of the Prisaca Forest, where a new defensive line was established. That day the 5th Division lost 44 officers and 1,770 soldiers (dead, wounded and missing). The front moved back 2-3 km.

    On 8 August, general von Eben changed the attack sector to the west, on the front held by Russian units. In the evening, during the second assault, they were forced to retreat. A Russian regiment was almost completely destroyed. The Romanian front was bombarded and the attack on the 5th and 9th Infantry Divisions resumed the following day. On 9 August 1917, the German effort was increased. The assault started at 1900 hours, after a powerful artillery preparation, which caused many casualties to the 9th Division. Its troops were only able to dig foxholes, because the ground was very dry and hard to dig. The Germans again took heavy casualties because of the Romanian and Russian artillery situated on the eastern bank of the Siret River, which was firing directing into the attackers' flank. However, the first line of the Romanian defense was pierced in several spots, but reserves intervened and repulsed them after some very violent fighting. The 34th Regiment, which faced the 12th Bavarian Division, held out against three consecutive assaults. Only the 2nd Battalion, under the command of Major Gheorghe Mihail, the future Chief of the General Staff in 1940 and 1944, remained in the first line. It counterattacked and captured 62 prisoners and two machine-guns. The unit's battle flag was decorated later with Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The same award was bestowed upon the regiment's CO, colonel Virgiliu Dumbrava, as well the 2nd Battalion's CO. But the casualties were heavy: 35 officers and 1,551 soldiers. The 36th Regiment lost 36 officers and 954 soldiers. Also, the 7th and 32nd Dorobanti Regiments suffered many casualties. During the night, at 0200 hours, another assault took place and the Germans managed to push back for several hundred meters the 9th Division and the right wing of the 5th Division. The neighboring Russian division was also forced to retreat, but the Russian 4th Army counterattacked and captured 2,500 prisoners and recovered the lost ground.

    The last failures had weakened the German 9th Army. Thus, general von Eben strengthened the 1st Corps with a new division and the 18th Reserve Corps with the Alpine Corps.


    On 10 August, it was the Entente's turn to attack. General Christescu and general Ragoza, the CO of the Russian 4th Army, decided to strike each with a corps of two divisions the bulge in the German line. During the morning, the 9th Army attacked the Russian sector, but gained little ground. At 1700 hours, the allied infantry started the assault, after a long artillery preparation. The 9th Infantry Division took the first German trenches, but because of the losses it had to abandon them. Reinforced with a regiment form the Romanian 13th Infantry Division, it resumed the attack, but again without success. The 5th Infantry Division and a regiment of the 14th Infantry Division managed to get inside the German positions, but could keep them. The 8th Dorobanti and 3rd Vanatori Regiments managed to enter the Doaga village, but were repulsed. The situation was similar in the sector of the Russian 4th Army. However the offensive had reduced the combat potential of the German 76th, 89th and 115th Infantry Divisions, which had suffered the brunt of the assault. These were already exhausted after several days of failed attacks. The report of general von Eben to the Army Group CO, marshal von Mackensen, mentions the fact that the 216th Infantry Division had suffered many casualties because of the flank bombardment of the Romanian artillery yon the eastern bank of the Siret.

    For the following day, general Christescu imposed a limited objective to the 6th Corps: the Doaga – Susita Valley. The Russian 4th Army had decided to remain on the defensive. The Germans attacked in its sector at 1600 hours, after a three hour artillery preparation, and again forced the Russian troops to retreat. At 1630 hours, the Romanian 9th Infantry Division began the assault without knowing the situation in the neighboring sector. After the Russian retreat the flank was exposed. The division's CO sent a battalion to extend the line. The Germans were advancing on Marasesti and the situation became extremely dangerous for the Entente.

    The 9th Vanatori Regiment, which was in the division's reserve, was quickly brought in and set up positions in the factory north of the town. It managed to stop the German troops that were threatening to encircle the 9th Infantry Division. For this action, lt. col. Gheorghe Rasoviceanu, the regiment's CO, was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. A regiment of the 13th Infantry Division, from the 6th Crops' reserve, established the link with the Russians. The 5th Infantry Division attacked in the Doaga area, but the 7th and 8th Dorobanti Regiments failed to enter the village. The same day, maj. general Eremia Grigorescu was named at the command of the 1st Army.

    Noticing that the troops of the German 1st Corps were exhausted, general von Eben decided to assign the main strike to the 18th Reserve Corps of maj. gen. Kurt von Wenniger, which had suffered fewer losses and was less tired. Thus, on 12 August, the 9th German Army attacked with small forces the 5th Infantry Division, in order to pin it down, and concentrated its forces against the Russian 4th Army, taking Panciu. Following this failure, general Ragoza wanted to retreat the Russian-Romanian front north of Marasesti., but abandoned the idea at maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu's pleas. Lt. gen. Constantin Prezan, the Chief of the General Staff, decided to replace the Russian 7th Corps with the Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 13th Infantry Divisions) and to put the Russian 8th Corps under the command of the Romanian 1st Army. The staff of the Russian 4th Army was retreated to Bacau from where it was reassigned to another front.


    On 13 August, the 18th Reserve Corps attacked the Russian troops north of Panciu, but failed to make any breakthrough. The following day, general von Eben ordered the 1st Corps to eliminate the Romanian bulge in the area of the Prisaca Forest and take the bridge over the Siret River at Cozmesti. In the same time, the 18th Reserve Corps had to attack on the Zabraut Valley. After powerful artillery preparation commenced the assault on the Russian 8th Corps' positions. Brig. gen. Henri Cihoski, CO of the 10th Infantry Division, sent the 10th Vanatori Regiment as help. It surprised the Alpine Corps and caused it important casualties, some in vicious hand-to-hand combat.


    The vanatori managed to take Hill 334, but were forced to retreat following a powerful artillery bombardment. The 38th Infantry Regiment Neagoe Basarab also intervened and its CO, col. Gheorghe Cornescu, received the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class for the counterattack that stopped the German offensive, which threatened to penetrate in the Susita Valley, behind the Romanian 2nd Army. The Russian 8th Corps was forced to pull back north of Iresti and Straoani.


    The 5th Infantry Division, at the other end of the front, had been reduced to one third of its initial size during the last days of fighting. The positions in the Prisaca Forest were heavily bombarded by German artillery. At 1700 hours the assault began with two divisions and forced the Romanian troops to retreat. The division's reserves, as well as a regiment form the 14th Infantry Division, in the army's reserve, intervened and stopped the German advance north of the Prisaca Forest. The bridge at Cozmesti was blown up, as the Romanian engineers had built another two to the north. The exhausted 5th Infantry Division was pulled out of the first line.


    On 15 August, the 18th Reserve Corps continued the offensive and managed to create a breach at the junction between the 10th Infantry Division and the Russian division to its right. The 10th Vanatori Regiment, supported by 10 Romanian and 3 Russian batteries, counterattacked and reestablished the situation. However, with its left wing, the 18th Corps took Muncel, forcing theRussians to pull back. Thus the link between the two Romanian armies was threatened. The 2ndArmy attacked with the "Colonel Alexiu" Detachment made up of 2 vanatori battalions, 2 infantry battalions and 3 artillery batteries, which, together with a Russian cavalry division, retook control of the village. The following day, the Germans occupiued half of Muncel, but were again forced to retreat after the assault of col. Alexandru Alexiu's men.


    The days of 17 and 18 August were calm. The losses suffered by both sides, forced the commanders to reorganize their units. Maj. gen. Eremia Grigorescu replaced the 14th Infantry Division, which was deployed east of the Siret River, with the 1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades and the hard pressed 5th Infantry Division with the 2nd Cavalry Division. The latter and the two brigades formed the Cavalry Corps. The 14th Infantry Division was moved on the northern bank of the Siret River in the Cozmestii de Vale area. Also, the army's heavy artillery was redeployed so that it could better cover the sector of the 5th Corps (10th, 13th and 9th Infantry Divisions). The 1st Army's reserve was made up of the 15th Infantry Division and of the 5th Infantry Division, under reorganization. On the other side, at the intervention of marshal von Mackensen, general von Eben grouped 7 infantry divisions under the command of the German 1st Corps and subordinated almost all the heavy artillery of the 9th Army to it. These forces totalized 55 battalions and 95 batteries.


    On 19 August, the Germans resumed the offensive, attacking with the 1st Corps towards Marasesti and with 18th Reserve Corps on the Panciu-Muncel direction. The main effort was concentrated in the sector between Marasesti and the Razoare Forest, defended by the Romanian 9th and 13th Infantry Divisions, the latter being assaulted by three enemy divisions. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours in the area of the trenches of the 47/72nd, 51/52nd and 50/64th Infantry Regiments, from the first line of the 13th Infantry Division, and at the western outskirts of Marasesti, where the 9th Vanatori Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division was located. It lasted for two hours and was the most violent artillery bombardment of the entire battle. At 0900 hours the first assaults small scale began and were easily repulsed. After 1100 hours a very powerful attack started. The main blow was delivered north of the Razoare Forest, at the junction of the 13th and 10th Infantry Divisions. The 10th Infantry Division was attacked by the 13th Austro-Hungarian Division, which failed to breakthrough the Romanian lines.


    The 13th Infantry Division, commanded by brig. gen. Ioan Popescu, was the Romanian unit that saw the most action that day. It occupied a front 6 km wide, with the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment at the south-western edge of the Razoare Forest, the 50/64th Infantry Regiment in the Negroponte Vineyards and the 51/52nd Infantry Regiment in the middle. The reserve was made up of one battalion of the 50/64th Regiment and the 48/49th Regiment. 15 Romanian and 15 Russian batteries provided artillery support.


    The attack started at 0900 hours. In the sector of the 47/72nd Infantry Regiment, the German assaults failed one after another. The 1st Battalion was situated on the left wing, south of the Razoare Forest. It was attacked by the 28th Bavarian Infantry Regiment (from the 12th Bavarian Division) and by units of the German 89th and 115th Divisions. The 2nd Battalion, on the right wing, was assaulted by the Austro-Hungarian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion was kept in reserve. The regiment's CO, lt. col. Radu Rosetti, the former chief of the Operations Bureau of the General Staff in 1916, was wounded at a leg during the fighting. At the center, the 51/52nd Regiment was situated in an open position ands was also powerfully attacked. It had to pull back. The Germans tried to use the momentum and infiltrate behind the positions of the two regiments on the flanks of the Romanian 13th Infantry Division. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment, under the command of maj. Draganescu counterattacked and stopped their advance. The reserves of the 51/52nd Regiment joined the fight directed by the unit's CO, lt. col. Ioan Cristofor, buying time for the reinforcements sent by the division to arrive. The 1st Machine-gun Company commanded by cpt. Grigore Ignat, stubbornly held its position, being almost totally destroyed. Its CO was posthumously awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. However, the Germans advanced towards Hill 100, behind which the allied artillery was situated. The 50/64th Regiment had to pull back its right wing, because of the enemy advance in the sector of the 51/52nd Regiment. Lt. col. Diamandi Genuneanu, the 50/64th Regiment's CO, organized the defense south of Hill 100 and managed to hold out against two Bavarian regiments for two hours.

    General Popescu organized the counterattack against the German forces closing in on Hill 100. The 2 battalions in reserve, together with the 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Regiment and other units attacked from several different directions the German 115th Infantry Division, which had infiltrated between the Razoare Forest and the Negroponte Vineyards. The artillery of the 10th Infantry Division also intervened in the fighting at that moment, at the orders of the army's CO. The 1st Battalion/50/64th Regiment, commanded by cpt. Nicolae Miclescu, emerged from the Negroponte Vineyards and surprised the German infantry in the area and pushed it back to towards the Razoare Forest. Cpt. Miclescu was wounded during the action. He was later awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The 3rd Battalion/47/72nd Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Battalion/48/49th Infantry Regiment joined the battle. The resistance at the edge of the Razoare Forest was broken following a violent bayonet charge. The Germans started a disorderly retreat. The entire 47/72nd Infantry Regiment started a counterattack, followed soon by the 39th Infantry Regiment (from 10th Infantry Division). The German troops retreated towards the Susita Valley, dragging along the units of the Austro-Hungarian 13th Division. The Romanians captured the first line of the enemy positions, but the advanced was stopped by maj. general Eremia Grigorescu, because von Eben had already started to deploy his reserves.


    The 10th Division and, especially, the 13th Division had achieved a great victory. The commanders of the two divisions, as well as the commanders of the 47/72nd, 50/64th and 51/52nd Regiments were awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. Another 7 officers received this high distinction for the fighting on 19 August. The 39th Infantry Regiment Petru Rares captured 376 POWs and 7 machine-guns and advanced 500 m on a 4 km wide front. The 47/72nd Infantry Regiment took 209 POWs and 4 machine-guns. But the losses were high. The same regiment lost 880 men (99 killed, 300 wounded and 481 missing). The regiment's flag, as well as those of the other hard pressed units on 19 August were also decorated with the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class.

    The same day, the Germans attacked the sector of the 9th Infantry Division, situated south of the 13th Division. It had been reduced to 4,500 men in the previous days of hard fighting. In the first line were the 9th Vanatori Regiment on the right wing and the 40th Infantry Regiment Calugareni on the left wing. After a powerful artillery preparation, two German infantry divisions started their attack. Following some heavy fighting in the ruins of the factory north of Marasesti, the 9th Vanatori Regiment was forced to fall back towards the city. The 40th Infantry Regiment also abandoned its first positions. The 9th Division reformed the front on the line south Negroponte Vineyards – Marasesti Railroad Station – south Marasesti, which it held against the enemy assaults, with the help of the artillery of the 14th Infantry Division from the eastern bank of the Siret River, firing directly in the German flank.


    Because of the failure of its army to take the objectives on 19 August, general von Eben decided that the continuation of the offensive was no longer possible. A week of pause followed, which both sides used for reorganizing. The 9th Army again changed the attack sector. The 18th Reserve Corps was strengthened with 3 divisions and the entire heavy artillery at the army's disposal. The Romanian 1st Army received the 11th Infantry Divison. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu redeployed his forces. Thus, the Russian 8th Corps formed the army's right wing in the Muncelul area. It had two divisions in the first line and another two reforming in the back. The Romanian 5th Corps (10th and 15th Infantry Divisions) held the front all the way to Marasesti Railroad Station, where it linked up with the 3rd Corps (14th Infantry Division), situated between Marasesti and the Siret River. East of the river was the Cavalry Corps (1st and 6th Rosiori Brigades, 2nd Cavalry Division and one brigade of the 5th Infantry Division). The army's reserve was made up of the 9th, 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions and the other brigade of the 5th Division.


    The offensive of the 18th Corps started in the sector of the Russian 8th Corps on 28 August. At 0900 hours the German troops infiltrated between the two Russian divisions and forced them to retreat. Two regiments of the Romanian 3rd Infantry Division from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the German advance together with the Russian reserves. The following day, general Grigorescu prepared an attack in the Muncelul area, aimed at eliminating the bulge created by the Germans. He put at the disposal of the Russian 8th Corps another Russian division, as well as the Romanian 9th Infantry Division, a regiment from the 13th and another from the 15th Division. The two regiments from the 2nd Army were also supposed to participate in this action.


    The assault started at 0800 hours, from the north and west, but found the Germans ready for an attack of their own and it was repulsed. The second one, around 1700 hours, was also repulsed. The Germans forced the right wing of the Russian 124th Division to pull back. Two battalions from the 2nd Army intervened and managed to stop the enemy advance during the night. The 11th and 13th Infantry Divisions were brought behind the threatened areas. The 5th Division crossed to on the western bank of the Siret River. On 30 August, the German 18th Reserve Corps resumed the attack and its troops managed to get between the 18th Dorobanti Regiment Gorj and the 2nd Vanatori Regiment of the 2nd Army. The 34th Infantry Regiment Constanta, belonging to the 9th Division from the 1st Army, counterattacked and plucked in the breach.


    The Russian 8th Corps was strengthened with the 13th Infantry Division on 31 August, when, because of the weather, there was no fighting. General Eremia Grigorescu subordinated the 9th Infantry Division and a Russian division to the CO of the 13th Division, brig. general Ioan Popescu. This group attacked on 1 September. The artillery preparation started at 0600 hours, with all the artillery available to the group, as well as with the artillery of the other two Russian divisions and the army's heavy artillery. After one hour, the 9th and 13th Divisions attacked from the west and the 3rd Infantry Division (belonging to the 2nd Army), commanded by brig. general Alexandru Margineanu, from the north. After some heavy fighting, the 13th Division advanced up t o200 m of Muncelul. The 18th Corps counterattacked in the sector of the 3rd Infantry Division, but was repulsed. The following day, the same 3rd Division suffered the brunt of the 9th Army's strike. The main objective was the Porcului Hill, defended by the 30th Dorobanti Regiment Muscel. It lost the positions, but they were retaken following the counterattack of the division's reserves and of a Russian regiment. It was the last major operation of the German 9th Army in the Marasesti sector.


    The offensive of the 1st Army in the Muncelul area was resumed on 3 September. The 11th Infantry Division was subordinated to the General Popescu Group, entering the first line beside the 9th and 13th Divisions. The Russian division and the regiments of the 2nd Army formed the reserve. The plan was to attack frontally with the 9th Division and a brigade of the 11th, while the 13th Division and the other brigade of the 11th Division were going to attack the Muncelul village, threatening the enemy flank. The artillery preparation started at 0630 hours and at 0800 hours the 13th Infantry Division started the assault, but could not make any progress. The same happened in the sector of the 9th Division. A second artillery preparation, which lasted for an hour and a half, and some violent hand-to-hand fighting were necessary for the 13th Infantry Division to occupy the eastern edge of the Muncelul village. But the Romanian losses that day were heavy: about 2,700 men.


    This was the last day of the battle of Marasesti, both sides deciding to adopt a defensive attitude on the entire front. The Romanian 1st Army had lost 610 officers and 26,800 NCOs and soldiers, while the German 9th Army had lost about 47,000. Forty Mihai Viteazul Orders 3rd class were awarded for deeds accomplished during the fighting around Marasesti. Maj. general Eremia Grigorescu received the Mihai Viteazul 2nd class. Also, the flags of no less than 9 regiments were decorated with the Mihai Viteazul 3rd class. The fighting continued with little intensity the following days, with local attacks and counterattacks. In one of these clashes, on the Secuiului Hill on 5 September, the volunteer Ecaterina Teodoroiu was killed by machine-gun fire, while leading her platoon. On the other side, on 8 September, maj. general Kurt von Wenniger, CO of the German 18th Reserve Corps, was killed by an artillery shell in the Muncelul area.

  24. gmac101
    Latest Entry


    Robert Romanis was stationed near Ypres in Belgium when the Kaiser Slacht started but his Division, the 35th received orders on the 22nd of March to reinforce the British line south near the Somme.  The Division was taken the 100 miles or south to Heilly station on trains. Each of the 9 battalions on a separate train.  The trains consisted of 1 carriage for the officers, 17 flat wagons for carts and stores and 40 covered wagons which would either contain Soldiers or Horses.  The 12th Highland Light Infantry (HLI) Roberts Battalion left Proven at around 9pm on train No. 7 and arrived at their destination at about 1 pm the next day. A 16 hour trip.  They were then bussed 10 miles or so to Bray sur Somme where they marched to the village of Maricourt arriving in the early morning  of the 25th and took up position along the D197 north from Maricourt as far as a Brickworks near Bernafay Wood (the brickworks is gone but it’s location is marked by patch of rough ground alongside the road which can be seen on google maps).  The Germans attacked from the east at 7:45am on the 25th and at multiple times during the day using artillery, rifle and machine gun fire.  The attacks finally ceased at 8pm but the 12th HLI had suffered a number of casualties including Robert.  His body was never identified and he is remembered on the Poziere memorial but at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemetery in Maricourt there are over 150 graves of unknown soldiers – one of these may well be the grave of Robert Romanis

    Robert Hope served in the Highland Light Infantry as well as Robert Romanis but he was in the 2nd Battalion which was part of the 2nd Division and stationed further North near Baupame. He started the battle in reserve but by the 22nd of March was in the front line just to the south of where Gordon Tait and George Frier were serving.  His unit then began a long retreat to maintain the British line.  On the night of the 24th they were allowed 2 hours sleep in the village of Ligny Thilloy.  They continued to retreat the next day over the old Somme battlefield, the shell holes covered in long grass did not make for easy going.  During the retreat they formed the rearguard and came under enemy fire just North of Le Sars and it likely that this is where Robert was killed, his unit then continued their retreat.  He left a wife in Edinburgh who was paid a war gratuity of £8 10shillings

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