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7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment 27/10/1917


janosfy
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I am looking for (a relevant extract of) the Battalion Diary covering 27th October 1917, when the Bn was due to reach the Front Line Right near Reutel (SE of Polygon Wood). This is because 2/Lieut CHF Barrowcliff was killed on that day and his body apparently not recovered (listed at Tyne Cot).

The last entry in the manuscript war diary, started 1/10, is on 26/10, saying that 'the remaining portion of the October diary will be forwarded when the Bn comes out of the line.' On 26/10 the Relief Table shows them as leaving B Camp (Ch Segard) for Zillebeeke Reserve Railway Dugouts and thence via Hooge Crater to Front Line Right, relieving the 1st E Yorks.

A typed Summary of Operations for the period midnight 27/28 Oct to noon 31 Oct says that 'no active attack has been made', but mentions that 'his (the enemy's artillery) fire on the night of 27/28 Oct amounted to a continuous from 10.30pm to 7am along all his barrage lines.'

The Bn was supposed to reach the Front line on the evening of the 27th, so I assume Barrowcliff was killed by artillery fire when approaching or after arriving at the lines. I understand that officer casualties would normally be listed in the Bn War Diary, so it would be good to have this confirmed.

An online extract of Matthew Richardson's 'The Tigers' quotes on p 205 Sir David Kelly's description of Reutel village having been eradicated, and says that, although the 110th Brigade (of which the 7th Bn were part) 'took no further part in any major attack' after 1/2 Oct, it did go up to the front line at least twice and 'the casualties were significant'. The extract does not show pp 206&7, so more information may exist on those 2 pages.

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Pages 206 & 207 are 75% photographs.

Text is " On 15 Oct 1917 they were back in the front lines near Reutel , east of Polygon Wood , where they were to remain until 16 November ......... the stay in the Ypres sector had been an uneventful one. They had taken part in no major attacks and had experienced ony two really heavy days of fighting at the beginning of October. Yet the toll in casualties had still been significant."

Have you tried searching CWGC for 7th battn casualties for this period ?

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2nd Lt Cyril Herbert Ford Barrowcliff is shown on CWGC as serving with 6th battn Leics NOT 7th battn.

He was the only casualty of 6th or 7th battn that day .

Medal rolls show him as Cpl 14967 with 9th & 8th battns landed in France 29 Jul 1915 then commission to 1st battn 31 Jul 1917.

Forum member "Llew" is the man for Leics queries. He will no doubt be able to trace the war diary entry.

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Many thanks, Ellis1918. That might partly explain it. I was going by the Battalion listed on the Leicestershire Regiment website, which says that he moved from the 9th to the 7th when commissioned on 30/7/17, but the mistake / typo could be there. Ironic that he survived 2 years as a Private after arriving in France, but less than 3 months after being promoted to 'temporary gentleman'. He was my great-uncle. I'll hope Llew has more details. Have a nice evening.

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Actually, looking again at the Relief Table, it lists the 6th Bn as due to move on 28/10 from Brewery Camp to Reserve Railway dugouts at Zillebeke. In other words, they were nowhere near the front line on the 27th. Maybe it's the CWGC who made the typo....

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Janosfy :wacko: I have sent Llew a pm , he's not been online for a few days . I am sure he will be along soon to assist.

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Good evening,

No mention in either diary, and I only have the same for the 7th Battalion diary.

BARROWCLIFF, Cyril Herbert Ford *

2nd Lieutenant. 6th Bn. Leics. Regt. Kia 27/10/17. Age 20. BC. Tyne Cot Mem., Belgium. C. All Saint’s Church, Blaby, Leics. C. The Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys Mem., Leicester. B. 1897 in Loughborough, Leics. R. 13, Shirley Road, Nottingham. PD. He was the son of Herbert Barrowcliff JP., a retired Hosiery Manufacturer, born 1857 in Loughborough, Leicestershire and his wife Mary Ann, born 1858 in New Basford, Nottinghamshire. Cyril Herbert Ford Barrowcliff was born in 1897 in Loughborough, Leicestershire, his siblings were Dorothy, born 1893 in Loughborough, Leicestershire and Katharine, born 1906 in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. In April 1911 the family home was at Whetstone Road, Blaby, Leicestershire. The Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys published a Roll of Honour on the 31st January 1920 in which an entry appeared showing that he had been a pupil at the school between 1909 and 1913, it also recorded that he had been killed in action in France on the 3rd November 1917?

The War Diary entries for the period 27th to 31st October 1917 record. 27/10/17 IN THE FIELD. Day spent in organisation of Battalion ready for moving into the line. 28/10/17 IN THE FIELD. 2pm Battalion moved into reserve. RAILWAY EMBANKMENT, ZILLEBEKE. 29/10/17 IN THE FIELD. 2.30pm. Battalion moved up into support, relieving 8th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT. Two Companies C and D and HQ at CLAPHAM JUNCTION and two Companies A and B in close support in POLYGON WOOD. 30/10/17 IN THE FIELD. Still in support. Casualties reported Other Ranks. Killed one. Wounded eleven. 31/10/17 IN THE FIELD. The Battalion moved into the front line at REUTEL relieving 7th LEICESTERSHIRE REGT. Four Other Ranks reported wounded. Total casualties for the month. Killed in action Officers 2. Other Ranks 24. Died of wounds received in action Officers nil. Other Ranks 12. Wounded Officers 7. Other Ranks 169. Missing 3.

If anything else turns up I'll be in touch.

Regards.

Llew.

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Llew :thumbsup:

Is he mentioned in 1st battn diary ? Was 2nd Lt in 1st battn 31 Jul 1917 ?

SDGW shows "1st 2 battn "

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Hello Ellis,

The 1st Battalion diary lists officers serving with the battalion at the start of each month, but I'm afraid he's not there. I'll have a look through the newspaper articles I have to hand, and you never know, he might just turn up.

Regards.

Llew.

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If he is recorded anywhere Llew I'm confident you will find him :thumbsup:

"janosfy" seems to have gone awol :blush:

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Excellent stuff, Llew. I knew the dates & addresses from the Census, but not about the school & church - thanks. He was born in March 1897 & I've ordered his certificate.

The question of Battalion and, hence, date is confusing; I can only find him in 3 sources:

  1. www.royalleicestershireregiment.org.uk: this says he served in the 9th from July 1915, was commissioned on 30/7/17, then served in the 7th and was killed on 27/10/17. The 7th arrived at the Front Line nr Reutel on the evening of 27/10 and were met, from 10.30 pm, with a heavy barrage which lasted until 7 am.
  2. Medal Roll Index Card: I do not understand a lot of the codes, but the 3 dates mentioned are "Theatre of War served in (1) France; date of entry therein 29/7/15"; "Dis to Commission (2/Lieut) 31/7/17"; "K in A 27/10/17"
  3. CWGC: which has him in the 6th but also dying on 27/10/17. As you have identified from the War Diary of the 6th, they did not leave Brewery Camp until 28th, arriving to relieve the 7th on the evening of the 29th. Thus the Bn number is not consistent with being K-in-A on the 27th. Who made the typo: the CWGC, Leics Reg or Medal Roll?

Do you have access to the diary of the 7th for their period at the front from the evening of 27 to that of 29/10? I just have a typescript 'Summary of Operations' (by whom? Brigade?) for midnight 27/28 to 12 noon 31/10.

Is mention of the 1st a bit strange, since the 6th - 9th were all New Army Service Battalions comprising 110th Brigade, who tended to stay in the same theatre. If he moved Bn, is he likely to have shifted to (or from) the very different 1st?

His baby sister Katherine (11 when he died - his eldest brother was already 34 then) was my grandmother. The family, as far as I can trace them back (1795) were from N Leicestershire, although her (and CHF's) mother, Annie, was daughter of one John Parr Ford (d 1914), box-manufacturer, chairman of the late lamented (if you like Mild) Shipstone's Brewery (of New Basford, Nottingham) and sometime Sheriff of Nottingham. This is why CHF was actually called 'Ford' by his family and why my mother inherited a few shares in the companies that took over Shipstone's.

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Janosfy - Get a copy of Matthew Richardsons book " The Tigers" for full details of 110th Brigade in the Great War. You referred to it in an earlier post.

My grandfather & his brother both served with 7th battn Leics from Aug 1914 . My grandfather was awarded DCM at Epehy in March 1918 and discharged aged 23 due to wounds received , his brother served right through the conflict.

Or you can download the full battn war diaries for £3+

Also try I L Dick Read " Of those we loved " - title sounds like chic-lit but another detailed account of 110th brigade.

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Thanks for suggestions, Ellis.

I've bought the War Diaries for the 7th. There are no entries for the period 27/10-31/10/17, despite them having been at the front from the evening of 27th to that of 29th.

However, looking at the monthly summaries of who joined in July & August 1917, there is no mention of Barrowcliffe, who was promoted on 30 (or 31)/7/17, something which would surely have been reported. Maybe he never moved battalions and was still with the 9th, who moved up to the line together with the 7th. I don't think he could have been with the 6th, since their only officers killed in October were at the beginning of the month. I'll have a look at the 9th War Diary.

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Nope, not the 9th either. An officer was named wounded on the 27th, but none killed. The monthly summary gave 5 as killed, but only 4 were named in the diary. No mention of any promotion or departure in July / August. Poor devil - body never found and we don't know for sure how or when he died. Mind you, the O/Rs didn't even have names.

Wyggeston College kindly sent me photos of their war memorial and roll of honour. Nice people.

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Its unusual for a 2nd Lt not to be named in a battn diary as a casualty , either on day or in a summary at the end of a period in action.

If he is named anywhere in Leics records then I am confident "Llew" will find him.

He has magic powers I'm sure :blink:

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Good point, Ellis. Indeed, it strikes me, apart from the annoying absence of diary for 26-31/10/17, during which period the 7th were in the line, and also of the end-of-month summary for Oct, the other feature missing is the list of reinforcements. Until this point these were either mentioned in the text or summarised at month-end, together with date and, in the case of officers, their name. Before going into action on 1/10, the 7th had 19 officers & 400 men; in 2 days they lost 2 officers killed, 5 wounded, plus 170 O/Rs killed or wounded. Yet the only mention of reinforcements is 2 officers & 8 O/Rs joining on 3/10, only for 3 officers to be wounded on 5/10; no other reinforcements are mentioned in October.

A second feature is the role of the 9th Bn, in which Barrowcliff apparently started as a Private in July 1915. It generally seemed to move in tandem with the 7th, these Bns then alternating in the line with the 6th + 8th. However, after its CO was killed on 1/10, the 9th was temporarily amalgamated with the 8th on 4/10, and was subsequently wound down and disbanded in Feb 1918. Was it used as a reservoir to replace the losses in other battalions of the Brigade? If, as the CWGC records, Barrowcliff was a 2/Lieut in the 6th (having been discharged to commission on 30 or 31/7/17), is it possible that he was temporarily transferred to the 7th to make up for their above losses? This would explain the regiment's conflicting record of his being in the 7th, and also his being killed on the 27th, when the 7th were in the line but the 6th were not? This might have been confirmed by the missing pages of the War Diary.

Finally, a procedural question: when 'discharged to commission' as Barrowcliff was on 30 or 31/7/17, would he have received officer training, or would his 2 years as a Private have qualified him to step straight up? If so, would the training have taken place before or after the date in question, and for how long?

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As mentioned in my earlier post Matthew Richardsons book "The Tigers 110th Brigade " will give you a great insight into the actions the 6th , 7th , 8th & 9th battalions Leics were involved in - Bazentin Ridge , Morval , Bullecourt ,Polygon Wood , Epehy etc .

It will also answer your query on reinforcements and relief between the battalions.

I retraced my grandfathers route across France and Flanders in 2011 using the book and diaries kindly provided by "Llew".

The diaries are not always an exhaustive concise record .

Have you followed the link on "long long trail" - top right corner of the forum page ?

I believe Barrowcliff would have returned to UK for a short spell of training

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Had a quick look again at "Of those we loved" by I L Dick Read. His military service is virtually a mirror of Barrowcliff's . Enlisted Leics Aug 1914 service number 12819 landed in France Jul 1915 commission to 2nd Lt Apr/May 1917 with Royal Sussex.

Don't know which way your research is going but this book would be of interest.

post-84374-0-10445400-1417783104_thumb.j

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I've now also looked at the War Diary for the 6th. Two officers were named killed for October, so he cannot have been in this Bn. Also no mention of him joining or being promoted in July or August. I've ordered the Richardson book, but I doubt I will ever learn anything relevant to Barrowcliff while the records of his Bn no. remain contradictory. C'est la vie - et la mort.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Since the National, County and Regimental Archives all confirm that the War Diary of the 7th for 26-31/10/17 is missing in their hard copies, it seems that we never know how Ford Barrowcliff died. Yet it is strange that neither his commissioning nor his death should be mentioned at all in any War Diary, even if one accepts that he was a mere O/R statistic for his first 2 years' service.

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