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James Roy, Pt 202382 5th/6th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)


Fattyowls

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I'm researching James Roy as part of a project to commemorate the players of the Everton football clubs who served in the Great War. James joined Everton in 1913 from Broxburn FC for an initial fee of £60 rising to £85 if he was retained (how inflation has bitten in the world of football). He was kept on and was a reserve for the championship winning side of 1914-15; the Everton board minutes of 20/06/1917 record his death as a former player. The information I have suggests he originally joined the Royal Scots and had number 4358; however he was a private in the 5/6th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) no. 202382 when he was killed on 24/04/1917. He has no known grave and is named on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg d'Amiens.

I believe the location was between Fontaine and Bullecourt attacking a feature in the Hindenberg Line known as the Hump as part of the 2nd battle of the Scarpe. I have a map of the area which allowed me to visit the Hump last September; this was taken from a history of the Worcesters if I remember correctly. I also have an extract from Conan-Doyle's 'The Great War' which describes the action of the 33rd Division to which the 5/6th belonged as part of 19th Brigade. The map is a general situation during the battle of Arras and Conan-Doyle does not mention the Cameronians by name so I was hoping that someone could confirm that the map is a reasonably accurate guide to where James Roy fell. Equally I have found a medal card but no service record on Ancestry; this might be down to me and I was wondering where the information about the transfer from the Royal Scots to the Cameronians came about.

Any asistance will be very gratefully received.

Pete.

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Pete

I can't help with the maps but the war diary suggests he actually died on the 23rd although recorded until the next day.

23/4/17
At about 9am orders were received to move up and report at Headquartrs 98 INFANTRY BRIGADE.

On the way to the HINDEBURG LINE bombs, rifle grenades and trench mortar bombs were picked up and carried up. The Battalion then filed into the tunnel which runs underneath the HINDENBURG SUPPORT LINE and awaited further orders. The situation appeared to be that the 4 SUFFOLK REGIMENT had bombed up a front and support lines of the HINDENBURG LINE for about 10000 yards, had taken about 700 prisoners and were then driven back to their original position, with the exception of 2 companies in the front line who appeared to be surrounded.

The 2 ARGYLL AND SUTHERLNAD HIGHLANDERS had made some progress but the 1 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT had been held up.

At about 11.30am C Company 5 SCOTTISH RIFLES (under CAPTAIN LRM MALLOCH) was sent up under the orders of the CO of 4 SUFFOLK REGIMENT to the HINDENBURG LINE. This Company advanced beyond the original block then came in touch with the enemy. With the help of some ROYAL ENGINEERS a new block was built.

About 1.30pm B Company (under 2 LT N CLARK) was ordered up to support C Company who had repelled a certain amount of bombing on the part of the enemy.

About 4.25pm orders were received from 98 INFANTRY BRIGADE verbally, afterwards in writing to make a bombing attack down the trench at 6.24pm. As one Company was employed policing the tunnel and two were under the orders of 4 SSUFFOLK REGIMENT only 1 Company was available. All available men of 4 KING'S (LIVERPOOL REGIMENT) and the remnants of 4 SUFFOLK REGIMENT were placed under the orders of LT COL ER CLAYTON DSO. After a hasty reconnaissance of the block and survey of the resources in the way of bombs, rifle grenades etc., D Company (under 2 LT DA RIGBY) was formed up ready for the attack. Covering fire of the Lewis guns and rifle grenades was arranged for with a Company of 2 ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS and an officer of 11 FIELD COMPANY ROYAL ENGINEERS was detailed to be ready to construct a block. At 6.24pm after a discharge of rifle grenades, bombing squads of D Company rushed over the block and round a few traverses . They encountered a heavy discharge of bombs and were held up by wire. They were driven back. The block was still held however.

At 6.35pm a message was received stating that the 2 ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS had been unable to get forward. D Company was then ordered to remain were it was.
About 8pm the enemy put on a heavy barrage of artillery, rifle grenades and bombs. whether they actually attacked or not is not definite, but considerable confusion resulted, rumours came back stating htey had rushed the block. 2 LT RIGBY was seriously wounded at the opening of hte barrage and most of the NCOs were killed or owunded, in consequence of which some of the men fell back. The block was held by a small party of 2 ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS and 2 men of 5 SCOTTISH RIFLES.
the shelling died down about 10.30pm, and nothing further was attempted by either side. C and D Companies in the meantime had suffered fairly severe casualties by the enemy's shelling. At about 5.30pm the two Companies of 4 SUFFOLK REGIMENT which had been surrounded by the enemy managed to get back to the main trench.

24/4/1917
The Battalion was relieved by Companies of 1 SCOTTISH RIFLES about 7am. The Companies moved back to support trenches.
About 8.30am information was received that the enemy had evacuated his position. This was confirmed. The 1 SCOTTISH RIFLES pushed up the HINDENBURG LINE meeting no opposition and the 20 ROYAL FUSILIERS pushed patrols over the crest of the hill which had been the first objective on the 14th April.

Glen

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Someone was researching him in a previous thread - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=189657

I was surprised not to find more in the British Newspaper Archives. I could only find a mention of him in January 1915 in a list of Everton and Liverpool players who had agreed to join if required.

It's interesting to note that your transfer budget is more or less the same a century later.

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I can't help with the maps but the war diary suggests he actually died on the 23rd although recorded until the next day.

Glen

Glen, that is just brilliant. Everything I could have hoped for, thank you.

Pete.

Someone was researching him in a previous thread - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=189657

I was surprised not to find more in the British Newspaper Archives. I could only find a mention of him in January 1915 in a list of Everton and Liverpool players who had agreed to join if required.

It's interesting to note that your transfer budget is more or less the same a century later.

IPT. I'm sure I'd done a search for Roy but clearly not. I mean, it's not the sort of name that you can easily mispell misspell get wrong. Thank you for the link; there is a lot of traffic in the club's board minutes about the signing up mullarky. Lord Derby himself was involved.

Pete.

P.S. Harsh but true about the transfer budget. The Everton players who won the championship in 1915 were involved in Europe but not in a good way.

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Pete

I'd re-emphasise my previous points - the battlefield was cleared after a German withdrawal on the night 23rd-24th April and he likely died on the 23rd attacking over the trench block in the Hindenburg Front Line and was left on the battlefield or was buried and his grave lost. There is the possibility he was killed in an attack on the 14th but his remains weren't recovered until later and were lost.

Kind regards

Colin

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Pete

I'd re-emphasise my previous points - the battlefield was cleared after a German withdrawal on the night 23rd-24th April and he likely died on the 23rd attacking over the trench block in the Hindenburg Front Line and was left on the battlefield or was buried and his grave lost. There is the possibility he was killed in an attack on the 14th but his remains weren't recovered until later and were lost.

Kind regards

Colin

Thanks Colin, between this and the earlier post I've got a real picture of what happened to add to the picture below which is the area of the Hump on a sunny afternoon last September. Bullecourt would be visible from the top of the rise.

Pete.

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Pete

Neither action - 14th or 23rd April - took place at the Hump; this was the scene of the 20th May fighting. The approximate scene of fighting for 23 April is the wind turbine on the Heninel-Croisilles road. I can send you a picture this evening.

Kind regards

Colin

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Colin

Thanks for this; I can add Fontaine-les-Croiselles to the sorry litany of locations where I'm not quite in the right place when pressing the camera shutter. I've been looking at my photos and I can see a group of three wind turbines west of the Hump area and a single one further away towards Heninel and Wancourt. Exhibit A:

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And Exhibit B, the turbine is on the horizon just to the right of the clump of trees. The river runs across the photo in the middle distance and the track runs down to Fontaine which is out of shot to the right.

I've also been in McMaster Uni's trench map collection but can find only March '17 and September '17 examples which don't give me the detail to link to the war diary entries I was hoping for. I usually have to visit a site twice before I get the definitive photograph. At least one of mine was useful as it showed the exact spot where Corporal Amarias Jones of the Sherwood Foresters was killed on 13th March 1918 which helped my friend Sheila.

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Pete

Neither action - 14th or 23rd April - took place at the Hump; this was the scene of the 20th May fighting. The approximate scene of fighting for 23 April is the wind turbine on the Heninel-Croisilles road. I can send you a picture this evening.

Kind regards

Colin

Colin

Any luck with the picture? Don't worry if not. I suddenly had a vision of you leaping onto the Eurostar, changing at Lille for Arras and hotfooting it out to Croiselles to get a photograph on my behalf. I am becoming more and more interested in the Arras battlefield and I will try to get to the site myself later this year. I've read the Barton and Banning book on Arras; have you any recommendations for further reading?

Regards,

Pete.

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Pete

Apologies for the delay - I've had a few things on the go recently.

I've attached a map which shows the rough location of the trench block that was attacked on the evening of the 23rd April during which he may have been killed. The alternative is that he was killed by shellfire around this time somewhere in the trenches in this area further to the west.

The photo shows the view to the north I took during a recent recce for a walk I was planning to conduct - the cemetery is Heninel-Croisilles Road Cemy. I regret I didn't get a photo looking southwards. Google streetview and maps don't show the wind turbines but I think the shadow is visible in the photo on the right. This is, if memory serves, the right hand wind turbine in Photo A.

I hope this helps

Kind regards

Colin

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Colin

Absolutely no need to apologise; I assumed you were busy and felt slightly churlish bumping the thread up. I really appreciate your efforts, it's great to be able to call on such knowledge and expertise.

Pete.

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