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Details needed about a Royal warwicks Officer


Alec McCudden

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Hi chaps

I am trying to research Captain Alfred Charles Bratt KIA 4th October 1917. He was in the 1/5th Royal Warwicks.

Family myth has it that he was killed by a sniper. If anyone can furnish me with any details about his life, death or the activities of his Battalion, I would be very grateful.

Alec

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Alec

1st/5th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Territorial), 143rd Brigade, 48th Division, XVIII Corps, 5th Army.

Reference source: "The Story of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment" by C.L. Kingsford:

Page 218, Appendix V, Roll of Honour

"1/5 Bratt, Capt., A.C. 4/10/17"

I cannot find any other mention of Captain Bratt in this book, however I have extracted and edited the following text which you may find useful.

Extracted and edited from Chapter XXI - The Great War : The British Offensive 1917

"The 48th Division had arrived in the Ypres area at the end of July. In the great attack on July 31, when much ground was gained in the salient from St. Julien to Zillebeke, ( besides smaller gains along the whole line as far south as La Basse Ville, and also by the French to the north of St. Julien ), they did not take part. It was not till the middle of August that the weather permitted the renewal of the offensive. Then when the attack was made on Langemarck on August 16 the 143rd Brigade was in support. But on August 19 one company of the 1/5th Royal Warwickshire shared in a successful attack on Hillock Farm. In the general attack three days later the same battalion gained its objective, on the right after pro-tracted fighting, and on the left without serious opposition. But the Tanks were bogged and unable to get on, and when the Germans counter-attacked our men were driven back. The gun-pits which had been taken on the right were recovered, but only to be lost again the day after. The 1/7th had a similar experience on August 22, when they attacked the blockhouses at Spot Farm and Springfield Farm; here also the Tanks which were to have assisted were ditched in bad ground. The delay enabled the enemy to recover, and in consequence the attack failed, and all that could be accomplished was to establish posts in shell-holes near the blockhouses. Springfield Farm was eventually captured five days later. On August 26 two companies of the 1/7th and three companies of the 1/8th occupied a position on the outposts, where they dug in as well as the appalling weather permitted. Heavy rain during the night made the ground more and more difficult, and showers on the following day prevented it from drying. So when the five companies, which had lain in water-logged shell-holes since dawn, attacked under cover of a barrage at two o'clock they found in the impassability of the ground their greatest obstacle. Though in consequence they could not reach their final objective, they captured and consolidated Springfield Farm. After this the brigade was withdrawn, from the fighting line, and the whole of the next month was spent in training.

On October 4 the 48th Division attacked before St. Julien, forcing their way across the valley of the Stroombeek towards the south-east of Poelcapelle. In the 143rd Brigade the 5th Royal Warwickshire were on the right, the 6th in the centre and the 7th on the left, with the 8th in support. The 5th captured Vale House, Winzig and Albatross Farm, joining up with the New Zealanders on their right at Kronprinz Farm. The 6th were also extremely successful at Wellington Farm, capturing all their main objectives, together with 350 prisoners and 10 machine-guns. The 7th had for its objective Tweed House. " C " Company on the right had much difficulty owing to bad ground, and coming under heavy fire had many casualties, including its commander, Captain Croall. Second-Lieut. Nicholls then formed a defensive flank on his left, whilst his right attacked a machine-gun post and after half an hour's fight captured it. " D " Company had advanced without much opposition till they reached Tweed House, where a machine-gun post had to be captured, after which they pushed on and consolidated a line, joining up with " C " on the right and the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers on the left.

The other two companies of the 7th had kept well up in support. "B" Company on the right pushed on to the far side of the cemetery, but had to withdraw to a position where it could link up with the 6th Royal Warwickshire. On the left "A" Company captured Terrier Farm. As they continued their advance all the officers and non-commissioned officers in No. 2 Platoon were shot down. Then Private Arthur Hutt took command and led forward the platoon. He was held up by a strong post on his right, but immediately ran forward alone, shot the officer and three men in the post, and so caused between forty and fifty others to surrender. Presently, realising that he had pushed too far, Hutt withdrew his party. He personally covered the withdrawal, sniping the enemy and killing a number of them. Then he carried back a comrade, who had been badly wounded, and put him under shelter. After he had organised and consolidated his new position, he learnt that some wounded men still lay out in the open, where they were likely to be taken prisoners. As no stretcher-bearers were available, Hutt went out himself and carried in four men under heavy fire. For such exploits there could be no other reward than the Victoria Cross.

" A " Company of the 7th, after falling back, had linked up with the Lancashire Fusiliers on the left and "B " Company on the right. In the position which they had thus secured both battalions successfully repelled the counter-attack of the enemy. Meantime the 8th had sent forward two companies to assist the 6th in a further attack on Burns and Vacker Farms. When this proved unsuccessful as many men as possible were collected from the three battalions and again attacked at five o'clock; but the positions were too strongly held and the downfall of rain and night rendered any further advance impossible. As a whole the operations had, however, been completely successful. The casualties had been heavy; altogether in the four battalions 12 officers were killed and 15 wounded, whilst 1 was missing; in other ranks the total was 765. The brigade held its advanced position for three cold and rainy days, and when it was relieved, was transferred to the Arras area."

A map of this battle can be found here:

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/the...ps/ypres17c.jpg

Regards

Richard

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