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ukrulebritannia

2nd batallion South staffordshire regiment

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ukrulebritannia

Hi all this is my first post in this forum...or any forum come to think of it! I have a relative buried in Ovillers military cemetery France. I am trying to find out just how he ended up there and it is proving trickier than I had thought.

Not much family history to go on unfortuantely. His name george Henry Bull, born 1888 or 1879. in Derby. killed in action 17/02/1917 service number: 10382.

I have a copy of his MIC (which is impossible to interpret) which lists the regiment possibly as number as 202551 or 187324.

I have only just statred my quest so don't have much info yet hence the cry for help. there are also a couple of chaps of the same name listed in the national archives to add to my bewilderment. If there are any details in the diaries or if any one can sugest other lines of inquiry for me to follow then I will be eternally greatful, Thanks for your help Antony

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GraemeClarke

Antony

He was drafted to France on 18 May 1915 and killed during an attack on German positions at Baillescourt Farm south of the villages of Miraumont and Pys, which, if won, would have given the British command of the western approaches.

The attack began at 5.45am with no preliminary bombardment (although the War Diary disagrees) to achieve surprise. It is now known, however, that the enemy were aware of the imminent attack and had fortified the area with machine guns. As the battalion left their trenches they were swept with a hail of fire, the survivors being forced to return to their own lines. One company did reach the objectives but without support had to retire. In total the battalion lost over 100 men in the attack.

The War Diary records the attack thus,

15 February 1917 - parties went into the line to lay direction tapes and cut our own wire. At this time a thaw set in.

16-17 February 1917 - went into the line in the evening via the Albert-Bapaume road; very muddy and slippy. Heavy shelling. Cloudy weather and dark morning. At 5.45am our own barrage opened; the assembly lines crawled forward and met heavy machine gun fire. It transpired that the Germans had advance notice of the attack and had reinforced with men and machine guns. Casualties were heavy; 9 out of 10 officers were killed or wounded.

18 February 1917 - Relieved by 1/Kings Regiment.

Soldiers Died in the Great War records

born Derby

enlsted Derby

resided Alvarston, Derby

Hope this helps.

Graeme

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talismanic

Hi Antony again - I have checked the service records in Ancestry (and the Pensions Records which occasionally turn up trumps) and it would seem that no service record still exists for your man. (Most of them were destroyed in WW1).

John

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Doug Lewis

Antony

Information taken from "A History of the South Staffordshire Regiment" by Jones

"February 17th was fixed for an attack on Baillescourt Farm, which, if won, would give us the command of the Western approaches to Miraumont. The Battalion left their billets

in the evening of the 16th for the front line. The cloudy weather resulted in a pitch dark night, and the thaw made going very difficult. The Germans evidently expected an attack, and their artillery shelled the front and forming-up places continuously, so that the carrying parties were late in arriving. About 5.45 a.m. our barrage opened, and the assaulting lines began to crawl forward to get to their position in I. Trench. For some time the position was rather obscure. The Battalion had gained its objective, but was subjected to the German machine gun fire and casualties were heavy. Afterwards, it was discovered that the attack had been given away and the German line strongly reinforced with men and machine guns."

Regards Doug

Graeme beat me to it while I was typing.

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ukrulebritannia
Hi Antony again - I have checked the service records in Ancestry (and the Pensions Records which occasionally turn up trumps) and it would seem that no service record still exists for your man. (Most of them were destroyed in WW1).

John

Hi John thanks for the info, that is a different card image to the two I had downloaded and appears to be the right man as the numbers indeed do match, it seems I had got details of two different George Henry Bulls. On the parchement that accompanies his death plaque he is recorded as being Lance corporal though pehaps this rank was given to him quite late on in his army career. I would like to find out more of his movements in England and his passage to the front, are these the kind of records that have been lost? Again thank you for your super fast response Antony

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Doug Lewis
are these the kind of records that have been lost?

Yes.

Doug.

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ukrulebritannia
Antony

He was drafted to France on 18 May 1915 and killed during an attack on German positions at Baillescourt Farm south of the villages of Miraumont and Pys, which, if won, would have given the British command of the western approaches.

The attack began at 5.45am with no preliminary bombardment (although the War Diary disagrees) to achieve surprise. It is now known, however, that the enemy were aware of the imminent attack and had fortified the area with machine guns. As the battalion left their trenches they were swept with a hail of fire, the survivors being forced to return to their own lines. One company did reach the objectives but without support had to retire. In total the battalion lost over 100 men in the attack.

The War Diary records the attack thus,

15 February 1917 - parties went into the line to lay direction tapes and cut our own wire. At this time a thaw set in.

16-17 February 1917 - went into the line in the evening via the Albert-Bapaume road; very muddy and slippy. Heavy shelling. Cloudy weather and dark morning. At 5.45am our own barrage opened; the assembly lines crawled forward and met heavy machine gun fire. It transpired that the Germans had advance notice of the attack and had reinforced with men and machine guns. Casualties were heavy; 9 out of 10 officers were killed or wounded.

18 February 1917 - Relieved by 1/Kings Regiment.

Soldiers Died in the Great War records

born Derby

enlsted Derby

resided Alvarston, Derby

Hope this helps.

Graeme

Greame, I am astounded by your fast response it really knocked my socks to read such a detailed account of proceedings especially when I had come up with so little. I was a little worried that you might have an account of another george Henry bull as I found one serving in the south Staffordshire at almost the same time, but My man indeed did reside in Hall street Alvaston in Derby. I would like to know if I could find out more of his time in England after leaving his job as an iron founder, signing up and his transition to France and the front line, ie. did he go directly to The Somme theatre or elswhere first. Again Iam so thrilled to have had such a detailed response his plaque and parchement have been in my possession for some time and now it is if they have so much more meaning.

I have spent time over the last three years visiting the Ypres Salient around the time the Armistice ceremonies and on last years trip took a trip over the area in a light aircraft. I am no photographer but the flight was calm and the light superb so if yourself or any others would like some of the images I would happily share them with you. (not sure of the protocol involved though)

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ukrulebritannia
Yes.

Doug.

Hi Doug thanks also for the info regarding My man, it seems I should find a copy and have a look at the Jones book. I have a map from 1927 of the area it sadly doesn't show the lines of the allied forces or the farm you mentioned. the attack is near to Oviellers where the poor fellow ended up. I can see a pilgrimage coming up in the near future. As I mentioned in a post to Greame if you would like to see some of the images of Flanders i took from the air last November I would be happy to send them onto you they really do show the lie of the land, it had been the driest Autumns for quite a time but was still heavy with surface water.

I again thank you for the information I need now to put a face to the name as all family documentation seems to have dissapeared, I had thought of visiting the regiment museumn, cheers Antony

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Doug Lewis

Antony

I have looked at his medal roll which records his rank as Private and that he was serving with the 1st Btn South Staffords.

Doug.

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ukrulebritannia
Antony

I have looked at his medal roll which records his rank as Private and that he was serving with the 1st Btn South Staffords when he was killed.

Doug.

Ok thats interesting, I wonder why he chose the Staffordshires over the Notts and Derby Regiment, again I have absolutley nothing family wise to go on sadly, but we are searching to uncover his movements. Thanks for your help Antony

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Doug Lewis

Apologies I've got that wrong he served with the 1st Btn originally then the 2nd Btn.

Regards Doug

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ukrulebritannia
Apologies I've got that wrong he served with the 1st Btn originally then the 2nd Btn.

Regards Doug

No probs. Thanks any way for that every little peice of information helps. Whilst looking for maps of the area I came accross an account of the battle ( I pressume it is the same one), at this site: http://www.royalnavaldivision.co.uk/mir1.htm

your thoughts

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OttoHeldreich

Hello, I'm a 2nd great grandson of George Henry Bull and I've got quite a bit of stuff about him. He was actually in the Boer War (South Staffordshire Regiment) which explains I think why he stuck with them. I've got his Boer War service records, his birth certificate (he was born in 1879, son of Samuel Bull), some genealogical details, and newspaper cuttings from WW1. Let me know if you're still looking and I'll gladly send it along.

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