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SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE 2ND REGIMENT


andrew.gillsfc
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Hi

I require assistance in locating a relative who served in the South Staffordshire 2nd Battalion, called Private John Arnold Mitchell (regiment No. 32421).

Son of John and Mary Jane Mitchell, of Howarth, husband of Martha Myra Mitchell, of 30, Mytholmes Lane, Haworth, Keighley, Yorks.

The advice I would like to find out is where this battalion were on 12 March 1917 when he died.

Thanks

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Andrew

According to the 2nd S Staffs war diary the battalion were in the area of Wolfe Huts on the 12th.

'11 Moved to WOLFE HUTS on the Brigade going into the line. Working party to GREVILLERS LINE.

12 Working party to QUARRY on AQUEDUCT ROAD for purpose of laying track.

13 Warning of short notice to move arrived 8.30 am before the return of the above working party ....'

Presumably your man was struck by a shell and killed; possibly his body as not recoverable as a result and he was commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing, otherwise he may have been buried but his body was lost in later fighting.

I'm unsure exactly where WOLFE HUTS or the Quarry were. Hopefully someone will know.

Kind regards

Colin

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The quarry on Aqueduct Road is here (Trench Map from TNA CD from N and M Press)

Roger

post-42671-0-17836900-1335782597.jpg

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Thank you very much for your assistance. Strange to think that the amount of time I have been near that location, not knowing what happened there.

What were the Wolfe Huts?

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Wolfe Huts don't get a mention on my trench map CD. Perhaps a camp? Anyway, here is Grevillers Line:

Roger

post-42671-0-61291600-1335795674.jpg

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Having done further research, apparently the Wolfe Huts are to the west of Poizieres on the Albert-Bapaume road. Does this appear on the trench map in this location?

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Sorry, can't see anything.

Roger

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  • 6 months later...

Can anyone please help I am trying to find more information on a great uncle.

Pte. Ernest Clarence PHILLIPS, No. 9176 2nd Bn S.Staffs.

died 10 Mar 1915, no grave. Memorial in Le Touret Cemetery, Panels 21 and 22.

This might indicate it could have been the Battle of Gevenchy?

A story told many years ago and might be distorted now is that he was either killed on the wire or was blown up.

Bob

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Hi

He was killed during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle when his battalion were given the task of taking the German trenches north east of Givenchy. The attack commenced at 8.45am on the day of his death and almost immediately the battalion suffered heavy losses for little or no gain. The enemy had sited two machine guns to cross fire the 80 yards the battalion had to cover to reach their trenches. The German wire remained intact so a second bombardment was ordered in an attempt to provide a passage through.

Following this, at 2.45pm, the battalion again charged the German lines but, again, the enemy wire remained intact. The battalion was cut down by the accurate machine gun fire and suffered the loss of 4 officers and 24 other ranks killed, 2 officers and 74 other ranks wounded and 1 officer and 33 other ranks missing. The attack ground to a halt with no gain being made in the enemy trenches.

The War Diary (in part) records,

“10 March 1915 - At 8.10am “B” Company advanced against the enemy’s trenches in front of Duck’s Bill just east of Givenchy. As soon as the men left the shelter of our parapet they were subjected to a very severe cross fire from machine guns (2) in the German trench which at this point was 80 yards distant from our own. A certain number of men reached the German trench but were unable to remain there…

Eventually the attack ceased and the right column was ordered to reform. About 1pm orders were received that a fresh bombardment would take place at 2.15pm followed by a fresh assault at 2.45pm. “C” Company was told to lead the assault supported by “A” Company. “B” Company, which had suffered very heavily in the morning, being withdrawn.

The bombardment commenced at 2.15pm and at 2.45pm the leading sections advanced only to be mown down by machine gun fire, as soon as they had surmounted our parapet. The German wire not having been cut and their trenches having apparently suffered very slightly from the preliminary bombardment, it was decided not to press the assault further.

About 4pm orders were received to repair the trenches and to collect all wounded and their equipment.”

Regards,

Graeme

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  • 8 years later...

this was the same battle that my great grandfather john smith died i believe he would have been in the lead as he was a l/cpl  in the 2nd staffords 6250 . thanks for the information.

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Hi johnbod,

Welcome to the forum.

If you don't already have it, his DCM citation (London Gazette 16.1.1915);

image.png.8bc9566844fac6ff3c4e6352b8582b24.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

After a straight forward registration, the Battalion war diary for that time is available as a free download from here, and the Brigade HQ diary from here.

Regards
Chris

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thank you so much, a lot i knew but theres new stuff there that i didnt completely know. thanks again:D

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1 hour ago, clk said:

Hi johnbod,

Welcome to the forum.

If you don't already have it, his DCM citation (London Gazette 16.1.1915);

image.png.8bc9566844fac6ff3c4e6352b8582b24.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

After a straight forward registration, the Battalion war diary for that time is available as a free download from here, and the Brigade HQ diary from here.

Regards
Chris

cheers ive searched the gazette but had no dates of the citation.

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6 hours ago, johnbod said:

my great grandfather john smith died i believe he would have been in the lead as he was a l/cpl  in the 2nd staffords 6250

 

37 minutes ago, johnbod said:

a lot i knew but theres new stuff there that i didnt completely know

Welcome to GWF

Have you found these? = Several pension index cards under/with Smith, 6250, at Western Front Association / Fold3 - various family members and addresses etc.

:-) M

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pension cards?? ive seen his dcm /medal card but didnt mention that. as with many who died their families suffered badly and i didnt want to push it too much. i have to say , the response has been brilliant. thanks

1 hour ago, johnbod said:

cheers ive searched the gazette but had no dates of the citation.

ive looked for that gazette but cant find a gaztette for that date.?

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https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29024/supplement/13 SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 1 JANUARY, 1915 ... War Office, 1st January, 1915. His Majesty the KING has been pleased to approve of the grant of the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field to the undermentioned Warrant Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men, for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty. The actions for which they were commended by the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief the Expeditionary Force will be published in the Gazette on an early date ... 6250 Lance-Corporal Smith, J., South Staffordshire Regiment.

And the Citation in the EDINBURGH GAZETTE https://www.thegazette.co.uk/Edinburgh/issue/12763/page/128

:-) M

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oh wonderful it was a supplement so i suppose i needed to check that too. i think john smith was a bit gung ho but did his bit. thanks again for your help , its much appreciated.

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On 25/07/2021 at 21:13, Matlock1418 said:

 

Welcome to GWF

Have you found these? = Several pension index cards under/with Smith, 6250, at Western Front Association / Fold3 - various family members and addresses etc.

:-) M

ive now seen the pension cards . now  i know john smiths children were in care earlier than we thought they were. his widows name is crossed out and "STET" is put in its place.

they were placed in care with the sisters of mercy in handsworth. any idea what "STET" means , is it an acronym??  thanks anyway for the info.

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11 minutes ago, johnbod said:

any idea what "STET" means ,

It means ignore the crossing out, it was an error

Wikipedia gives you

Stet is an obelism, used by proofreaders and editors to instruct the typesetter or writer to disregard a change the editor or proofreader had previously marked. It is a form of the Latin verb sto.[1] This usage of the verb, known as the "jussive subjunctive",[2] derives from the active-voiced third-person subjunctive singular present and is typically translated as "Let it stand"[3] or "As you were"

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1 hour ago, johnbod said:

now  i know john smiths children were in care earlier than we thought they were. his widows name is crossed out and "STET" is put in its place.

Obviously I am not privy to family stories and/or don't know the true circumstances.

When and why do you think "in care earlier than we thought"?

Worth double-checking I think - given that corisande has explained STET, as I would, as the reversal of the strike-through of Mary, his widow/their mother on the main initial widow's claim card - there seems to be a squeezed in address for her of Darnford, Cottages nr. Lichfield [possibly/likely a later one? - she doesn't seem to be dead to me] and one for Sister Francis, St Mary's Convent, Hunters Row, Birmingham [possibly earlier?] - the order is not wholly clear to me from the card.  I post for others to also view/evaluate.

380439178_SMITHJ_6250.png.4a83739e34b22576c70166ef4c4d130f.png

Image courtesy of WFA/Fold3

The Noted for Novel indicates that the claim for some reason required special treatment [a bit complicated!? - but situation is not indicated - sadly the main pension file is long lost/destroyed when its use was ended]

The claim was considered DEAD 4/9/30 - had Mary by then perhaps died?

The reverse of one of the other cards with Mary Smith's name on it has Darnford Cottages, Near Lichfield - Noted 11.3.30 - this card and annotation is likely to have shortly followed the youngest daughter reaching 16 [when her child's allowance would have stopped] I think it indicates that Mary was still alive at that date - From this I would hazard that Mary continued to claim a widow's pension later into 1930 ???

Of course this doesn't necessarily mean the children weren't in care in the meantime - and perhaps from an early date [perhaps in/from 1915?]

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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no mary was still alive, which is why i thought STET had a differnt meaning than the obvious. they went into care and only saw mary (there mother ) once afterwards. i know that my nan (fanny) frances went from the convent orphanage into service without ever living with her mother again.  it looks as if the award of 20/6d went to the convent that were rearing the children. mary didnt die till the fifties from TB and she remarried. thanks for the info though. now to get the catholic church records.

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29 minutes ago, johnbod said:

no mary was still alive, which is why i thought STET had a differnt meaning than the obvious. they went into care and only saw mary (there mother ) once afterwards. i know that my nan (fanny) frances went from the convent orphanage into service without ever living with her mother again. 

A very sad story.

 

30 minutes ago, johnbod said:

it looks as if the award of 20/6d went to the convent that were rearing the children

I don't think the convent will have got all of it - just the children's allowances

Typically at that date:

Widow/Mother = 10/-

1st child = 5/-

2nd child = 3/6

3rd child [and, if appropriate, subsequent child(ren)] = 2/-

:-) M

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