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Remembered Today:

John Ehrhardt 1st Batt. Tank Corps


abbrover

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I am trying to find out about John Ehrhardt who was killed on 26 March 1918. The local paper says he was educated at King Edward's School from 1910 and previous to that Heidelberg College. He joined the army in 1916. Any suggestions please on where I might find out more about him. I know his family changed their name after the war to Hereward.

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He was a 2nd Lt in the First Battn. of the Tank Corps, has no known grave, and is commemmorated on the Pozieres Memorial.

Bruce

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From SDGW:

Regiment, Corps etc.: Tank Corps

Battalion etc.: 1st Battalion

Last name: Ehrhardt

First name(s): John Albert

Initials: J A

Decoration:

Rank: 2/LT (TP)

Date died: 26 March 1918

How died: Killed in action

Grant

Ps Where is he local to ?

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Presumably his officers file at the National Archives:

WO 339/72788 EHRHARDT J [1914-1922]

Steve.

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There is a John Ehrhardt (no middle name shown) born in 1890 in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, son of John Ehrhardt, born approx. 1858 in Wurttemburg, Germany on the various Censuses...

He is however listed on Bromborough War Memorial (Cheshire):

http://www.carlscam.com/warmem/bromborough.htm

(But Judith already knows that!)

Steve.

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I am researching all 28 men listed on the Bromborough Memorial, one of which is John Ehrhardt. Thanks for your help, I will contact the National Archives and see if that is the same man. He is not the one born in Barrow. The father of this one was Dr Ernest Ehrhardt who was the manager of the Mersey Chemical Works. The local paper says he went to school in Birmingham from 1910, I think he is on the 1911 census as Eksharot, its the right age and area but I need more credits to get the full details. I can't find a trace of his father in 1911. I was curious to find out how someone of German origin came to be in the British army when they had only arrived in this country shortly before the war.

I presume he will be on the Tank Corps monument at Pozieres?

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Hi Judith.

According to the Tank Corps Honours and Awards he was a resident of Birmingham thats all I can find.Regards Andy

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Hi Again Judith.

His was J,A,Ehrhardt Rank of 2nd Lieut.Hope this is you fella.

Regards Andy

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Some more information:

In late June/July 1917 he commanded a Mark I tank, number 717, that I strongly suspect was a tender (i.e. a supply tank) of 12th Section 3rd Coy A Battalion, Tank Corps. This tank was crew number A59 and bore the name "Alligator".

On 4 October 1917 he commanded Mark IV Male tank number 2032 of 3rd Company A Battalion, Tank Corps, crew number A59. The tank was ditched, flooded with water up to its flywheel and with a fault in one of the 6 pounder gun's firing mechanism. The tank was abandoned. There is a copy of the Battle History Sheet (BHS) for this tank on this date in WO95/101 at The National Archives.

On 30 November 1917 he commanded Mark IV Female tank number 4586, which had been crew number A59 of 12th Section 3rd Company A Battalion Tank Corps although by this date in the Battle of Cambrai it was probably acting as a part of a composite unit. This tank carried the name "Ambrosia II". The tank rallied after the action. The BHS for this tank/date is held in the A/1st Battalion Formal Papers box at The Tank Museum, Bovington.

It seems I have not yet identified the tank in which he fought, and sadly died, in March 1918. I must admit I thought I had done, so I'll have to look into that.

Accounts of the actions of October and November 1917 can be found in WO95/109 at Kew.

Hope this helps.

Gwyn

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Thanks Gwyn, that's great.

I am really grateful for all the help I am getting on this forum, everyone is so helpful and it is much appreciated.

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It seems I have not yet identified the tank in which he fought, and sadly died, in March 1918.
Gwyn, it is quite possible that John Ehrhardt was not in a tank when he was killed. Assuming that he was killed in action on the 26th March, his death occurred 5 days after the opening of Operation Michael. By then, many tank crews were operating as dismounted Lewis gun detachments that were attached to infantry formations in an ad hoc fashion. By 24th March, the BOH describes only about a 'half-dozen' tanks still in action from 1st, 4th and 5th Battalions, Tank Corps.

On 26th March, however, nine tanks from 1st Battalion were 'hurried up as reinforcement, and they brought a temporary respite. Later these tanks covered the retreat with success, the enemy's infantry not venturing to come near them'. This action was fought to cover elements of VII Corps, which was holding the line Bray - Albert.

Robert

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KenS

Thank you for that information, I really am confused now!

The report of John's death appears in the Birkenhead News on April 6th 1918 and refers to Dr Ernest Ehrhardt of 'Sylvandale' Bromborough. That would suggest he arrived here sometime between 1916 and 1918, could they get out of Germany to come to the UK then? How common was it for a German to serve in our forces while his family was still in Germany. In 1920 a Ruth Muriel Ehrhardt of Sylvandale and a Herbert William Ehrhardt of 'Westholme' Bromborough changed their name to Hereward, I assume the whole family came over. I will check our local directories and see what I can find.

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Gwyn, it is quite possible that John Ehrhardt was not in a tank when he was killed. Assuming that he was killed in action on the 26th March, his death occurred 5 days after the opening of Operation Michael. By then, many tank crews were operating as dismounted Lewis gun detachments that were attached to infantry formations in an ad hoc fashion. By 24th March, the BOH describes only about a 'half-dozen' tanks still in action from 1st, 4th and 5th Battalions, Tank Corps.

On 26th March, however, nine tanks from 1st Battalion were 'hurried up as reinforcement, and they brought a temporary respite. Later these tanks covered the retreat with success, the enemy's infantry not venturing to come near them'. This action was fought to cover elements of VII Corps, which was holding the line Bray - Albert.

Robert

Agreed - but my recollection was that that I had associated him with a tank at this time. However my memory could be playing tricks and my databases don't support my memory on this occasion. That said I'm in the midst of a major update of the databases based on a recent visit to Kew, so I might have something in my new information that supports the bell that's sounding in the back of my mind.

Gwyn

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Just to add to the confusion there is a William Hereward Ehrhardt whose commission has cancelled in 1914:

The appointment to temporary Second Lieutenancies1 of the undermentioned which appeared in the London Gazette as stated is cancelled: —

William Hereward Ehrhardt. 23rd November, 1914.

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/28992/pages/10197

A note of Dr. Ernest Ehrhardt's death:

Dr. ERNEST FRANCIS EHRHARDT, Deceased.

Pursuant to the Trustee Act, 1925. ALL persons having claims against the estate of Ernest Francis Ehrhardt, late of St. Ardrews, Caterham, Surrey, and of 70 & 72, Chancery-lane, London, W.G. 2, Doctor of Science, Fellow of the Chemical Society, Chartered Patent Agent, deceased (who died on the 20th day of April, 1929, and whose will, with one codicil thereto, was proved in the Birmingham District Probate Registry on. the 28th day of June, 1929, by Herbert Wilfrid Hereward and Percy Octavius Hereward), are required to send particulars thereof to us, the undersigned, before the 15th day of November, 1929, after which date the estate will be distributed, having regard only to the claims of which the said executors shall then have had notice.—Dated this 6th day of September, 1929. PINSENT and CO., 6, Bennett's-hill, Birmingham, Solicitors for the said Executors.

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/33532/pages/5823

Various Deed Poll name changes also appear:

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/190...ereward/start=1

Steve.

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KenS

Thank you for that information, I really am confused now!

The report of John's death appears in the Birkenhead News on April 6th 1918 and refers to Dr Ernest Ehrhardt of 'Sylvandale' Bromborough. That would suggest he arrived here sometime between 1916 and 1918, could they get out of Germany to come to the UK then? How common was it for a German to serve in our forces while his family was still in Germany. In 1920 a Ruth Muriel Ehrhardt of Sylvandale and a Herbert William Ehrhardt of 'Westholme' Bromborough changed their name to Hereward, I assume the whole family came over. I will check our local directories and see what I can find.

As a matter of fact, he does not appear in the 1917 address book or the one for 1919 (there wasn't one for 1918).

I'm wondering whether BASF would still have employee records from this time and whether it's accessible to the public:

http://www.basf.com/group/corporate/en/contact

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Thanks Kens I've sent an e-mail, hopefully they will tell me something. I'll try and check the local directories on Monday.

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from http://www.familysearch.org

Ernest EHRHARDT Household

Male

Other Information:

Birth Year <1866>

Birthplace Handsworth, Stafford, England

Age 15

Occupation Scholar

Marital Status U <Unmarried>

Head of Household William EHRHARDT

Relation Son

Disability

Source Information:

Dwelling Richmond Hill Road (The Crest)

Census Place Edgbaston, Warwick, England

Family History Library Film 1341707

Public Records Office Reference RG11

Piece / Folio 2954 / 108

Page Number 36

from http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl

Births Mar 1866 (>99%)

EHRHARDT Ernest F W Bromwich 6b 681 Scan available - click to view

Ehrhardt Ernest F W. Bromwich 6b 684 Scan available - click to view

Marriages Sep 1891 (>99%)

Ehrhardt Ernest Francis Braintree 4a 899 Scan available - click to view

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You will have to forgive me, but its been a few years since I wrote about the Ehrhardt family from Birmingham. I have a bit about the family in my book Birmingham Pals. I only have one copy and a nephew has borrowed it so I cannot read through and get the info.

The eldest brother, was William, he went to Heidleberg College and also King Edward's High School, Birmingham. He was commissioned into the 1st Birmingham Battalion when it was raised in October 1914. In April, 1916, he was in No Man's Land in charge of a wiring party and was seriously wounded by a German sniper. He was discharged but never recovered properly from his wounds and had a series of operations over the next few years. He had one last operation to kill or cure him... and he died of blood poisoning. He had married and had one daughter who became a missionary in Africa.

Before the War started the Ehrhardt family were visiting relatives in Germany and just about managed to return to England as War was declared. However, the father was put under house arrest back in Germany but a friend in the American Consul managed to put some paperwork together that looked like an official pass and he managed to cross over the border to Switzerland.

There is an engineering firm in Birmingham that still has connections to the family it is Ehrhardt & Hereward. Years ago when I was researching the Birmingham Pals I met a member of the family who gave me all the info.

Sorry, I have nothing on the younger brother John. But I can get you a picture of William.

Regards

Terry

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Once again a big thank you to everyone. I wrongly assumed that as he was educated in Germany with a German surname that he had benn born there but I was clearly totally wrong, it goes to show you should assume nothing until you see it in writing!

Terry, I can get a copy of your book from Ellesmere Port library, it is on loan at the moment but I have ordered it, if the picture of William is in that I will wait until I get it but if it isn't I would be very grateful if you could pm me a copy.

I will keep searching and hopefully find out where John was killed.

I think Ernest, John's father, spent some time in America as I have found what I think is him, on a number of passenger lists from New York to Liverpool and Southampton in the 1890's and 1900's

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I e-mailed the tank museum and received the following back today:

I have reproduced the account from the 1st Battalion’s War Histories and War Experiences which includes the action in which Lt. Ehrhardt was killed. Basically, the Germans launch their offensive on 21st March (Michael) and tank crews were generally detached from their tanks and formed into Lewis gun teams to provide an adhoc machine gun defence to stem the German advance. This was the situation that Lt. Ehrhardt and the rest of 1st Battalion were confronting when he was killed.

“On the 26th the enemy broke through at Maricourt and Bray and all available spare Crews were immediately organised into Lewis Gun posts, and took up positions behind the Bois de Tailles. The enemy then attacked heavily, and for 4 hours were held in check by the gun teams, who succeeded in inflicting heavy casualties on the attacking Infantry. During this attack the gun teams were absolutely without support of any kind. A very fine example was set by one gun team consisting of Captain F.S. Hunnikin, Lieut. J.A. Ehrhardt, and Sergeant Scott who continued to fire their gun till it burst, succeeding in putting 400 rounds into the enemy at point blank range. Lieut. Ehrhardt was unfortunately killed, and the other two made an escape which was nothing short of miraculous, being as they were hemmed in on three sides by the enemy.”

I have also checked the local directories and his father was listed at Sylvandale in 1920 but not 1918, by 1923 he was in Manchester

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  • 4 years later...

Thank you so much for putting on the photo of his death plaque. My research is still on going! I am also looking for photos of the family home, I don't suppose by any chance you have a photo of Sylvandale where they lived in Bromborough?

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