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Remembered Today:


andiday
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Hi,

I'm new, so please be gentle! My mother in law and I are hoping to go to France this year to pay our respects to her grand dad - Private Charles Herbert Ward - 12486, He died on the 15th September 1916 aged 30. He was in the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards and died near Ginchy. We will hopefully be visiting this area and also The Thiepval Memorial, where his name is. I have searched the internet and this website for 'Ginchy','Grenadier Guards', etc, and haven't really come up with much, although the 4th Battalion was mentioned.

I'm just after any information regarding the battalion, the battle or the place where he died. Any info given will be gratefully received, and can I thank anyone in advance who replies.

Regards - Andi Day

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Hi Andi. Whatever makes you think we might be anything less than gentle? :hypocrite:

I recommend you buy or get out of the library 'The Grenadier Guards in the Great War' by Ponsonby (3 volumes, but vol 2 is the one you want). I was going to copy it out for you but the passage goes on for 14 or 15 pages. During the 13th to the 15th 108 were killed or died of wounds.

I hope you get to Ginchy. I have walked around it a few times. Nice little place.

Ian

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Narrative of events from Sept 13th – 17th, 1916

On 13th Sept the Bn was holding the Northern Sector of the GINCHY Line. Orders were received that we were to straighten the Line by an attack that night in order to form a good jumping off place for the big attack on 15th. No 4 Company was detailed for this and No 2 Company were ordered to protect their left flank and join up with them. The operation was a difficult one as the left of the attack had to advance further than the right in order to form a line facing NE; there was also a bright moon which showed up our attacking party very plainly. Thirty or forty shrapnel were fired at the German trench just north of the Orchard but did very little good and the Germans were on the alert and met No 4 Company under 2/Lieut T W MINCHIN with heavy rifle and machine gun fire causing some casualties. The party cleared the Orchard killing some Germans who were in shell holes and dug in, a line to the edge of the Orchard, after a fruitless attempt to push on. They were shot at heavily the whole time but completed their trench before morning.

On 14th the whole of the Bn Front was bombarded all day by 4.5 and 5.9 shells and the Line was much knocked about and the Companies all rather shaken. We were relieved that night by 2nd and 3rd Bns Coldstream Guards and went into bivouac in shell holes a few hundred yards behind GINCHY where rations were given out and rum issued. A bitterly cold night and no great coats.

At 6:20am on 15th our bombardment began and we moved off in two lines of platoon blobs. The German barrage dropped before we reached GINCHY and we went through the middle of it, on the whole losing extraordinarily few men, considering the intensity of the fire. At about 6:40am we halted in GINCHY, luckily the bulk of the barrage was on the south edge but we lost a good many men and Captain M K A LLOYD.

About twenty minutes later we decided to push on out and clear of GINCHY and remain for a short time in shell holes. We saw nothing of the Coldstream Bns. At 7:20am we moved on towards our objective with our right on the Sunken Road. We came at once under machine gun fire from our left front and after a while rifle fire from our right and a good many men went down including several officers. The left Companies were held up by rifle fire from the GREEN LINE which appeared to be held strongly from about T.8.d.3.8 to T.8.a.8.4. The right Companies pushed on into the GREEN LINE and our right was in touch with some of the 3rd Bn Grenadier Guards, 2nd Guards Brigade who were attempting to stop the Germans from turning their right flank. One platoon of No 1 Company and a machine gun was rushed over and succeeded in forming a defensive flank and preventing the Germans, of whom there were a considerable number, from working up behind us. The Division on our right had apparently failed and the Germans were very thick in their trenches and were shooting hard at us. We lost the bulk of our casualties during this period. The centre of the Bn then rushed a part of the GREEN LINE and bayoneted all Germans they found. The left were unable to get on. Almost as soon as the centre got in the Germans began bombing down the trench very strongly, having three or four men throwing, our bombers could not stop them and Company Sgt Major J NORTON, who was lying out by the wire with some men, rushed them and stopped the attack for the time. All available bombs were then collected and a party began to work up the trench but was met by a furious bomb attack and driven back some way, most of the bombers being knocked out. We were forced back some way and to relieve the pressure, as the men were rather overwhelmed by the shower of bombs, and all British Bombs had been finished, Captain G C F HARCOURT-VERNON organised and led a bayonet charge over the top, killing the bombing party and driving the remainder back, 40 or 50 of whom surrendered.

Our bombing party worked north along the trench until the Germans broke and ran across the open towards the BLUE LINE. Having cleared the trench for some way we began to consolidate. Two small parties of Germans tried to enter the trench on the left but were dealt with by our Lewis Guns.

During the evening our troops retired from the BLUE LINE across our front followed at not more than a hundred yards by a large body of Germans. They were shot at and lay down in the grass. As it was getting dark it was difficult to see them and fire was ordered to be withheld in the hopes that they would attack as they were being continually reinforced. Nothing happened, however, during the night.

On 16th we were very heavily shelled for most of the day from the front and direct enfilade from the left. We were shot at continuously from our right rear but this eased after our snipers had killed a good many.

We were relieved on 17th about 2am by 15th KRR.

19/9/16

[sd] C de CRESPIGNY

Lieutenant Colonel

Commanding 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards

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  • 3 years later...

Hi andiday - came across your post by chance and realise it is from quite some time ago.  I am great grandson of Charles, and have a little information on him if you are interested.  My Mother (Charle's granddaughter) and I visited Thiepval on the 100th Anniversary of his death.

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