Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Surrender statement


Recommended Posts

My GF (Lt W Pritchett 7th Sherwood Foresters) gave a description of his capture (21/3/18) in his POW diary, and again gave a statement to the WO as to the circumstances of his surrender after the war. In neither does he mention the name the officer who gave the order, or say that he gave it himself, or indeed mention that a specific order was given. Could it be that it wasn't the done thing to name names in the circumstances?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without seeing the statement it's very difficult to comment. Is it possible that he didn't actually know who gave the order?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair comment! Here are the details;

. 21/3/1918 - details from W. Pritchett’s diary.

After spending 6 days in support with A Company at Igaree Corner we took over on 3 Coy. Front - A in centre + B local support - from 5th S.F.s. This whole period was exceptionally quiet until the 5th morning in the line - THURSDAY MARCH 21. when at 5 a.m. the enemy put down a heavy gas barrage. This lasted about 1.5 hrs. and a destructive barrage commenced. At zero - about 9 a.m.- enemy attacked. The STAFFS BDE. were on our left of 59th DIV. The DIVNs. On flanks being 6th on right - 34th on left. Owing to devastating effect of barrage very little resistance could be offered in our forward positions. Word was passed down to Coy. H/Qtrs. that enemy were close at hand. With the few available men left A Coy (of which I was in command) moved back and reinforced B in the NOREUIL SWITCH. A good resistance was offered here but owing to enemy being further forward on flanks we had to retire by stages. Positions were occupied at DEWSBURY, IGAREE and SUNKEN ROAD. After moving back 200` from latter position we noticed troops in rear whom we took for reinforcements. When less than 100` from us we realised our mistake. These were real live Huns - who had practically surrounded us. We were at the mercy of our foe and had to drops our arms - resistance was scarcely considered.

Statement to WO

On the morning of the 21/3/18 at about 5 a.m. the enemy put down an exceptionally heavy barrage which lasted about 1 ½ hours. This was followed by a destructive barrage until about 9 a.m. During this period our artillery gave very poor support. By this time practically 2/3rds of my Company had become casualties and by the time the enemy attacked on the Battalion front only 30 men were available to hold up the enemy. The enemy advanced to our front shortly after 9 a.m. and owing to superiority in numbers beat us back from our front - line positions. Several times a very stubborn resistance was formed and numerous casualties were inflicted on the enemy by means of Lewis gun fire and sniping. The enemy evidently found very little resistance on our right flank and it was with the greatest difficulty that we avoided being cut off altogether. After about 2 hours fighting we had been forced back towards Noreuil. There the 2/5th Sherwood Foresters had taken up their positions as Reserve Battalion and I reported to Major French with the few men left. For over an hour very heavy fighting took place in this vicinity. This was still in progress when some 2 or 3 hundred reinforcements were observed approaching from our rear. Owing to slight mist everyone failed to recognise these as German troops. These troops had evidently broken through on our left flank and owing I. to breakdown of lateral communication II. and also the nature of the ground (our view on the left being limited to a few hundred yards) had worked round to our rear.

With overwhelming numbers of German troops closing in upon us, we were eventually forced to surrender.’


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

Thank you Daggerphil for posting this diary extract. My GF (2/7 Sherwood Foresters) was captured that day also.

Interestingly, the War Diary for 7th Sherwood Foresters March 2018 includes a copy of a letter dated 30 March 2018, signed TW Stansfeld at HQ who reports intermitment communication including a message from 2/5 Bttn at noon that c150 of the Foresters were still holding out at the SUNKEN ROAD but the enemy had taken DEWSBURY at that time (i.e. noon).

TW Stansfeld_1.jpg

TW Stansfeld_2.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
On 20/01/2018 at 19:47, daggerphil said:

Hi, who was your Grandad?

Thank you daggerphil for replying, sorry for not responding till now but I hadnt been back to the forum. My Grandad was Sampson Dolman, Pte 266351of the 2/7 Sherwood Foresters. From the entry in the German POW record, it appears he was in 'A' company, that was commanded by your grandfather, Lt W Pritchett. So the diary extract you posted is especially poignant, as if he was in the same Company, he may have been among those c150 men that fell back to the Sunken Road before being catpured after mid-day. I was told by my mother that my GF was a batman, but I dont know to what officer. I spent yesterday in Derbyshire to mark the centenary of this date. He was deployed to France in October 2015 so had served with the Battalion for 2 years 5 months before capture, and it's sobering to imagine what they went through in that time. I have no knowledge of what the conditions were like after that in the POW camp.

Edited by pte sampson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Hi Sampson.  Hey, maybe your GF was batman to my GF!   Things weren't too bad for my GF as a POW (relatively speaking), but things were a lot tougher for the Other Ranks.  Ive posted this map elsewhere on the forum you may have seen it, but in case not Ive attached it for you. If you've any questions about that day, 21/3/18 pls ask via mail - daggerphil@aol.com.   One day (how many times have I said that?) Ill go to France and Belgium and stand where he fought. I had to work on the centenary of that day - but I had chance to read a passage from my GFs prayer book in private.  Oh, how did you access the Geman POW records btw?

 Thanks for your reply,


Bye, Phil


William Pritchett POW Mainz mar to nov 18.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Phil,


1 hour ago, daggerphil said:

Oh, how did you access the Geman POW records btw?


 I think that he's referring to the Red Cross registers, which for your grandfather you can access by putting the 'PA' number into the search box from this screen - link. The column headings read as 


Column 1


Lfd. Nr. = Serial number/register entry number


Column 2

a. Familienname = Surname

b. Vorname (nur der Rufname) = Forename (only forename by which known)

c.  nur bei Russen vorname des Vaters = Russians only, forename of father


Column  3



Column 4

a/b. Truppenteil = Unit

c. Komp. = Company


Column 5

 a/b. Gefangennahme (Ort und Tag) = Taken prisoner (place & date)

c.  vorhergehender Aufenhaltsort = Previously at (location):


Column 6

a. Geburtstag und -Ort = Date & place of birth

b/c.  Adresse des nächsten Verwandten = Address of NOK


If you were to be interested, another Forum Pal was kind enough to do a look up for me for the surrender statement for one of the 470 FC RE officers that was taken at Noreuil on the same date. What they transcribed doesn't really say that much. Happy to  send it to you though if you'd like, but as their fate seems to be interlinked with the 7/SF it might give you some context as to the circumstances of the day.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for your reply Chris.  Ill have a look at those Red Cross records.  As for the surrender statement Ive already got a copy thanks.


All the best,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...