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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

South Staffs 2nd Battalion Feb 17


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Good afternoon all

New member, so apologies if I have missed any protocols by posting my first item here. I am researching a great uncle who died in February 1917, named Stephen Parker. According to Commonwealth War Graves site, his service number was 23639 and he served with the South Staffs 2nd Btn. He was killed on 17 February 1917 and is buried in the Adanac Cemetery in Miraumont.

My research so far indicates that he was probably involved in an attack on the German salient south of Pys and just north of the Regina trench. To be honest, I'm really overwhelmed by the amount of information available on various sites, so I wondered whether I could ask for help in answering the following questions please?

- can anyone add anything further to what I have already found please?

- am I likely to further narrow down the area in which he was killed?

- what is the best source(s) of information to use to further my knowledge, especially given that I am new to this?

- if the area where he died is as detailed above, is it accessible still? I am planning a visit next year and whilst I will certainly head for the Adanac Cemetery, I would like to explore further if possible.

Many thanks


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He was killed during an attack on German positions at Baillescourt Farm south of the villages of Miraumont and Pys, which, if won, would give 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.”



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