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Remembered Today:

Lt Christopher Francis VERRALL, MiD, 2nd Royal Sussex


Jim Hastings
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This day one hundred years ago, Lt Charles Verrall, MiD, of the 2nd Royal Sussex was killed in trenches near Festubert after the battalion on their left had been forced back and the enemy had infiltrated the leftward ends of the Sussex's front and support trenches. Barricades were put up in these trenches and the Germans and Sussex bombed one another across them. Conditions were so atrocious in these trenches that some members of the Bn were reportedly up to their waist in water. Lt Verrall was killed in this action

The action continued overnight, the Sussex losing 2nd Lts Hardy and Le Gallais wounded, and 28 ORs killed (8 later confirmed), wounded or missing.

All remembered this evening

:poppy:

Jim

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Jim,

Thank you for posting this. Although I have a personal interest (via grandfather) in the 2 RSR, and have read their WD backwards and forwards, it is all too easy to forget all of the men and when they were lost. Your postings elevate the discussions above the impersonal numbers involved, and help me to relate to them on a more personal level, even though I never knew them.

C.F. Verrall was commissioned as a 2/Lt. on 20-Apr-10; he was promoted to Lt. on 10-Nov-12, and disembarked in France on 12-Aug-14. R.I.P.

With very best wishes,

JMB

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Remembering them all Jim, may they rest in peace :poppy:

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Thanks Jim for this - they are remembered :poppy:

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Was Lt Verrall from Lewes by any chance?

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SeaJane,

Christopher F. Verrall's birth was registered in Brighton, Q1 1889

fdfLLg6.jpg?1

The photo shows Lt. Verrall (centre) flanked by Lt. V.E.C. Dashwood (his RHS; survived) and Lt. E.H. Preston (his LHS; survived).

Regards,

JMB

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Thanks all,

There is a map of the action in the WD (number 11, JMB, in that collection of maps that also cover Priez; Aisne, and Coalbox/Chateau Wood), and marks where Verrall fell. From the newspaper reports I've read so far he was very well regarded by the men in the Bn.

Dashwood, likewise, made a good name for himself, as Bn MG Officer, esp. on the Aisne

I, where possible, read each day's WD entry on the corresponding date in 2014 - it has made me realise what a slog the Aisne battle was, bombardment after bombardment, and how confusing 1st Ypres was, and although the 1914 battles are seen sometimes by us in hindsight, as we consider the whole war period, as gone in a flash, it seems such a long time ago that I stood at Priez on 10th September on the anniversary of the Bn's first action.

Although on one hour's notice-to-move to relieve the 6th Bde at Cambrin, the 2nd Sussex had a quiet Christmas, and Santa brought them a new CO on the 25th, Major Terry

(who was the seventh officer to assume the command since the Bn landed on 12th August:

Lt Col Montressor KIA 14th September Aisne

Major Green assumes command, until 23rd October

Lt Col Crispin (from N Fus) 23rd-30th Oct KIA 1st Ypres

Major Green assumes again (wounded 1st Nov, 1st Ypres)

Captain Villiers assumes command, 1st-23rd Nov

Captain Cameron assumes command 23rd Nov until 25th Dec when Major Terry takes over.

New Years Eve was not to be as quiet ...

What stories your GF could have told us, eh JMB?!

Best wishes to all, and seasons greetings pals, across the fields and across the oceans

Jim

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Just checked some of the newspaper articles I copied from the RO and looks like Lt Verrall was the victim of a sniper, although the statement is accompanied with the 'standard' "was killed instantly", so must be treated with some caution. It looks like the trenches were very, very close: on the Sussex left measured in yards (newspaper report suggest 5yds!) and stretching to 120yds wide as the Sussex line progressed right. The Sussex had to rely on 'home-made' bombs of jam pots, guncotton and nails.

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JMB, thanks - I was intrigued, as there was a Verrall family in Lewes in the early 19th cent.

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Tharkin56,

Thanks for posting the photo of Lt. C.F. Verrall that does him justice !!

Regards,

JMB

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I bet the fight was harder for the British having to rely on the homemade bombs vs the Germans' grenades! I've always heard the jam tin bombs were at best unreliable & wet weather would not help with lighting fuses ether. Not to mention early detonations. A hard fight in very bad conditions.

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