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Remembered Today:

2/10th Manchester Regiment


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Hi everyone

I'm trying to reconcile some information on Private Frank Elliott.  First he was in the 21st Manchester Regiment (25733) was wounded and sent back to England.  After recovering he was posted with of 2/10th Manchester Regt, 66th Division (377747) and returned to France .

According to a family record he was wounded in Cambrai and died of his injuries in January 1918.  The family posted a notice to this effect on the “The National Roll of the Great War” .

However I have a CWGC record & Headstone photo that confirms he was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium on 6 Feb 1918.  

My problem is that this is a relatively long way from Cambrai and in any case did the 2/10 Manchesters ever fight there in this period? From a War Diary http://www.cottontown.org/page.cfm?pageid=...mp;language=eng and the Manchester Regiment pages http://www.themanchesters.org/2-10th%20batt.htm it seems that 2/10 Bn moved to France in early March 1917 then were first engaged near Locon & La Bassée until about 4 July 1917; next to Oostedunquerque/Niuewpoort, Belgium from 13 July- 3 Oct 1917; then to action around Passchendaele from early Oct 1917 to mid Feb 1918.  Thus I would have thought it is most likely that Private Frank Elliott was wounded and died here.

The one piece of information that really confuses me is this in the Manchester Regiment pages:

"An advance party was sent to France in February but the main arrived in France in March 1917, landing at Boulogne and marching to St Martins Camp, then on to Calonne sur Lys, then to La Basse. Where the 2/10th remained in reserve at Le Quesnoy. They went into the front line in mid March and immediately started taking casualties. In June the battalion moved out of the front line to Bray".

Where was the front line that is referred to in the above passage? The only Le Quesnoy I can find is about 90 km away east of Cambrai. Is this Bray the one near Arras?

I love to know what some of you experts think.  What is the most probable scenario?




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I think you can take it that the National Roll entry is inaccurate. The battalion was around Ypres in early 1918, entirely consistent with a wounded man dying at a casaulty clearing station at Poperinge.


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Looking at Bill Mitchison's "Amateur Soldiers", I assume there's a Le Quesnoy somewhere in the Le Bassee sector.

Bray is on the Channel coast - usually appearing in documents of the time as Bray Dunes.

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This is from the BWM & VM roll

377747 Pte Frank Elliott

22nd Bn 25733 Manch Regt .

21st Bn 25733 same as .

3rd Bn 25733 same as .

2/10th Bn 377747 Manch Regt.

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Hi Dennis,

I have researched the movements of the 66th Division as my Great Grandfather was in the Divisions artillery. Here is a basic run down of the locations and actions of the Division. 2/10th Manchesters were part of the 198th Infantry brigade.

Late February paraded at Colchester in front of the King

March 1917 Moved to France.

March 1917 to July 1917

Moved to area around Bethune and La Basse Canal.

During this period several raids were made on German trenches, bear in mind 3rd Ypres Battle commenced further North. The purpose of these raids was to keep German troops bogged down in there area and not be sent to reinforce at Ypres.

July to October 1917.

Belguim Coast Neiuport. The 66th Division was earmarked as one of the Divisions to take part in the planned attack Operation Hush ( I know sounds like its straight out of Blackadder but true !) However, due to lack of progress at 3rd Ypres the operation never got underway. The 66th Division arrived just at the end of the German offensive in this area called Operation Strandfest.

October 1917 to February 1918.

3rd Battle of Ypres - On the 9th of October 1917 66th Division attacked in the Battle of Poecapelle. 198th Brigade attacked, the 2/10 Manchesters were held back in reserve, and just as well as the Brigade was severey mauled during ths attack. ON the 8th of OCtober the infantry had a horrendous march through the night to reach the jumping off positions for the planned attack. The Battalions had a high number of casualties even before the attack started.

February to April 1918.

Somme - The 66th Division was caught up in the German Spring offensive of March 21st 1918. Casualties were so high that the division no longer existed after this battle, somehow, my great Grandfather survived. It wasnt until Sptember of 1918 did the 66th Division rejoin the war effort.

Hope the above has proved helpful to you.

regards Aaron from NZ.

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Thanks Aaron

Great stuff. That's the kind of detail I hoped to get. Sadly my relative didn't make it through the 3rd Ypres.



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Pleasure providing that info, here is a description of the march on the evening of 8th October 1917.

The nightmare began on 8 October. 197 and 198 Brigades assembled in the vicinity of the FREZENBERG RIDGE at 6 p.m. and were subjected to very heavy shelling even as they assembled. Only one track was allocated for each brigade and these were already torn up by pack animals. The troops were subjected to constant shelling as they filed along the tracks in the inky darkness. Frequent stops were made to save those who had been blown of the tracks into the quagmire. By 12:30 a.m. on 9 October it was clear that troops would not be in position on time unless they got a move on. The order went out – they were not to stop for any reason.. The troops marched on desperately trying to ignore the screams of their fallen comrades who were drowning in the liquid mud. 2 ½ miles before the jump off point the tracks ended and the men struggled on through driving rain in knee deep mud. Despite Herculean efforts they arrived late. In the case of 197 Brigade the head of the 3/5 Lancashire Fusiliers was at the start line. The 2/8 LF’s still 400 yards behind the start, whilst the 2/7 and 2/8 LF’s were still some 6-800 yards in the rear. Anticipating this problem 199 Brigade was put on alerts and the 2/5 and 2/7 Manchesters who fully expected to be cheering their chums on suddenly found themselves ordered into the attack..

The opening barrage was feeble and most troops could not even see it let alone follow it. What followed rapidly descended into tragic chaos.

And a description of the battle itself.

On 9th October, they took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle:

'The Division attacked at 5.20 am, zero hour, with two brigades.

198 Brigade attacked with the 2/9th Manchesters and the 2/4th East Lancs; the 2/5th East Lancs were in support and the 2/10th Manchesters in reserve. The assaulting troops immediately came under severe artillery and machine-gun fire. The 2/5th East Lancs came under heavy fire from Hamburg Redoubt, which they attacked without success.

By midday it became apparent that the Brigade had only reached the first objective. Consolidation was begun. The remnants of the 2/5th were pulled back to form a line behind the two front-line battalions in anticipation of counter-attacks.

At dusk the enemy launched a counter-attack, which was repulsed by artillery and small-arms fire, the 2/5th East Lancs being usefully employed.

197 Brigade, comprising four battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers, attacked with the 3/5th Lancashire Fusiliers. The attack was then taken over by the 2/6th and 2/8th, with the 2/7th in reserve. The Brigade advanced in dribs and drabs owing to the state of the ground.

The 3/5th Lancashire Fusiliers advanced with their right on the Roulers railway and took the Red Line. They linked with the 2/6th at about 9.30 am and joined 198 Brigade in Augustus Wood on the right.

Meanwhile the 2/8th and part of the 3/5th were pushing on towards the Blue Line, which they reached by 9.30 am and started to consolidate. Patrols were sent out and some reached the outskirts of Passchendaele itself. Bodies of the men from these two battalions were found when the village fell on 6 November.

The Germans launched two counter-attacks in the morning but were driven off with small-arms fire. A defensive flank was formed on the left but troops of the 66th Division, seeing the defensive withdrawal, mistook it for a general withdrawal and they fell back to the Red Line at about 1.30 pm.

The Red Line was firmly held by the 3/5th, 2/8th and 2/6th Lancs. Orders were received to retake the Blue Line but they were later abandoned.

The Division was in touch with the 2nd Australian Division and the 49th Division on their flanks.'

On the 10th October, the Division repulsed a counter-attack. That night it was relieved by the 3rd Australian Division.

The 2/10 Manchesters lost 50 men killed in action on over those two days.

Cheers Aaron.

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