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Remembered Today:

33rd Brigade RFA at Langemarck August 1917


Ancre1917
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I've been asked by a colleague to help with finding out about a gunner who died of wounds on 17/8/1917. He is a teacher and is taking part in the government organised visits to the western front. He is taking two students from the school. Part of the project involves identifying a local soldier and researching his background in order to make a presentation back at school. The man concerned was Gunner 100932 George Frederick Brown born in Silverdale, Newcastle u Lyme and now buried at Lijssenthoek military cemetery. The students will visit the cemetery and place a wreath on the grave.

Can anyone help by providing some background on what the 32nd battery was doing on 16 August when Gunner Brown received his wounds?

I've checked the Find My Past site for his records with no success. I'm going to the local library tomorrow to look him up on Ancestry. If anyone can give me any more background or information, it will help the students with this research. Thanks in advance.

Richard

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Richard

The book 8th Division by Boraston & Bax shows 8th Division returned to the line 12/13th & 13/14th relieved 25th Division in the left sector of the 2 Corps front between Westhoek and the Ypres-Roules railway........The attack began at 4.45 am "Punctually at 4.45 am the Artillery barrage fell. It came down with admirable intensity and precision" the book goes on to explain the attack on the Westhoek Ridge on the 16th August which started with great success but ended in a return to status quo.

Regards

Paul

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After enlistment (SDGW might tell you where this was) he was sent to No. 5 Depot RFA, Athlone, for training around September 23, 1915. He went overseas anytime from January 1916 as he has no 1914-15 Star. You should find the 33rd Brigade War Diary on Ancestry if the library subscription will allow it.

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Richard

SDGW has him as died of wounds probably as a result of the offensive on the 16th although 33Bde had a few casualties in the run up to that date

13/08/17 - 3 Killed in action 1 died of wounds

14/08/17 - 3 killed in action

15/08/17 - 1 killed in action 2 died of wounds

16/08/17 - 5 killed in action 1 died of wounds , 2 of these kia were 32 Battery

Lijessentook was a reasonable distance from the front line and had Casualty clearing stations, I am not familiar with these but I am sure someone else is.

Regards

Paul

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Unfortunately the pages for July and August 1917 are missing from the war diary of 33rd Brigade, RFA.

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Unfortunately the pages for July and August 1917 are missing from the war diary of 33rd Brigade, RFA.

This seems common throughout 8 Div Arty, maybe CRA 8 Div

Regards

Paul

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Might be worth quick look in the official history of the 8th Division - it is available on eBay/Amazon.

Eighth Division at War: 1914-1918 by J. H. Boraston.

My Great Grand Uncle was in 36 Battery 33 Brigade and was killed on 21 July 1917.

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Paul

Do Boraston & Bax say anything more about the part the RFA played in the battle? If so, could you send me a few quotes?

Richard

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Might be worth quick look in the official history of the 8th Division - it is available on eBay/Amazon.

Eighth Division at War: 1914-1918 by J. H. Boraston.

My Great Grand Uncle was in 36 Battery 33 Brigade and was killed on 21 July 1917.

Boraston & Bax only mention Infantry Bde actions apart from what is in post#2

Is your Great Grand Uncle Gunner Percy Fuller MM? I have the casualty list for 33rd Bde.

Regards

Paul

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Paul

Do Boraston & Bax say anything more about the part the RFA played in the battle? If so, could you send me a few quotes?

Richard

Chapter 9 June 1917

The general plan of the Flanders offensive of 1917 was to drive forward eastwards from Ypres, until we had gained and consolidated the line of the ridge which runs in a north-easterly from Wytschaete to Passchendaaele and Staden.

pg123. Traffic up and down between Zillebeke Lake and the Ramparts met with great difficulties even from our own batteries. So closely were the guns packed that arrangements had to be made for the northern half of our massed artillery to fire during one portion of the night and the southern half during another; otherwise it would have been impossible for traffic to have got through.

pg124. zero hour was fixed for 1 am on the 11th July and punctually the barrage fell. Its exact position had been carefully demonstrated beforehand to all the officers of the raiding party by Maj Duncan RFA and the excellent co-operation between artillery and infantry contributed greatly to the success of the operation.

pg126. 26 July, Our own guns were by this time hard at work on a methodical and comprehensive programme of bombardment and wire cutting. The artillery supporting the attack of the 8th Division alone comprised, in addition to the divisional artillery......XXXIII Brigade RFA Lt Col T. St ABL Nevinson ........All had regular programmes of targets and systematically bombarded every yard of ground within the German positions... The swelling discord of the guns, persisting both by day and by night, heralded the imminent approach of "zero". It was a time of great trial for all the troops and not least for the artillery.

More to follow

Regards

Paul

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pg142 16th July 17

"Zero" hour on the 16th was fixed for 4.45 am and the attack of the Fifth British Army, on a front extending from Inverness Copse to St Janshoek, was to be supported as on the 31st July, by a similar attack by the First French Army on the British left. The method of attack was once more an advance by stages, the intention to keep the infantry well under the protection of our guns..............

pg144

The attack was again provided with powerful artillery support, six brigades of field artillery, organized in three groups of two brigades each under general command of Brig-General HG Lloyd DSO, being allotted to the 8th Division's front. Ninety 18 pounders were detailed to form the creeping barrage, and thirty six 4.5 inch howitzers and eighteen 18 pounders to form the standing barrage..................Punctually at 4.45 am the artillery barrage fell. It came down with admirable intensity and precision and the attacking battalions, moving forward in splendid fashion close behind it, made good progress all along the line of the division.............The 1 West Yorks found two German machine guns in Hanebeek Wood still hot from firing, with their detachments lying about near them killed or wounded by our barrage........

more to follow

Regards

Paul

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Hi Paul

Yes Percy (Bertie) Fuller was my Great Grand Uncle - a local newspaper report recorded his MM award.

‘Mr and Mrs Fuller of High Street, Marshfield have received news that their son, Gunner B. Fuller, of the R.F.A. has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in attending wounded under heavy shell fire. Mr and Mrs Fuller have three sons serving with the colours, Gunner B. Fuller being the youngest. He has seen two years active service in France.’

(Western Daily Press – July 14 1917).

Recent research by the RBL suggests he was killed when a shell burst through the building in which he and his battery were preparing/sheltering. Also KIA that day were:

  • Act Bmdr A Wills (No. 44694)
  • Gnr H Griffiths (No. 11607)
  • Gnr A Darling (No. 42296)
  • GNR B Sheppard (No. 65194)
  • GNR W Leverington (No. 37764)

One of my next projects is to investigate the service of these five men who served and were killed with Bertie - I would be grateful for any information you may have. I have some other information on Bertie including details of the memorial service held for him in Marshfield which I am more than happy to share if useful to you.

Mark

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Here is some more information on the circumstances surrounding George's death.

George's brother kept a diary, which is held by the Brampton museum in Newcastle under Lyme. In it he describes what he knows about his brother's death.

George's brother says in his diary that on 19th November "I received news of our George getting wounded in the right arm, right elbow, left arm, left thigh and upper extremities."

It is until later,, when he is back in England with shrapnel wounds in his leg and head, that he hears about his brother's death. He says that George had not been back in France a week following draft leave where he had got married and overstayed his leave- the consequences of which he was put straight back on draft and sent "straight up the line" again. But instead of going as a signaller, he went as a gunner because he thought it was less dangerous!

He says George was "sent up to Ypres right into the battle .... as there was not either trenches or gun pits and by reports the whole ground was one huge mud pond".

"A chap who lived at Keele who was in the same battery stated that the gun that George was on got a direct hit on it and wiped the whole detachment out and poor George was smashed up around the centre of the body and died the next day in the 3rd Canadian Clearing station. His battery was in action on the Menim road near Paschendale."

Richard

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Hi Paul

Yes Percy (Bertie) Fuller was my Great Grand Uncle - a local newspaper report recorded his MM award.

‘Mr and Mrs Fuller of High Street, Marshfield have received news that their son, Gunner B. Fuller, of the R.F.A. has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in attending wounded under heavy shell fire. Mr and Mrs Fuller have three sons serving with the colours, Gunner B. Fuller being the youngest. He has seen two years active service in France.’

(Western Daily Press – July 14 1917).

Recent research by the RBL suggests he was killed when a shell burst through the building in which he and his battery were preparing/sheltering. Also KIA that day were:

  • Act Bmdr A Wills (No. 44694)
  • Gnr H Griffiths (No. 11607)
  • Gnr A Darling (No. 42296)
  • GNR B Sheppard (No. 65194)
  • GNR W Leverington (No. 37764)

One of my next projects is to investigate the service of these five men who served and were killed with Bertie - I would be grateful for any information you may have. I have some other information on Bertie including details of the memorial service held for him in Marshfield which I am more than happy to share if useful to you.

Mark

Mark

Some years ago I started a database for all RFA men and had a collection of 24,000 names with various information gleaned from a number of sources including lots of personal data from GWF member like yourself. Unfortunately this database is currently with IT experts in a recovery operation. but 33 Bde I have a separate spreadsheet. It seems I have no further information for Percy Fuller but there were other fatalities that day, killed in action

Gunner Thomas Patrick Boggan 57998. 36 Bty also at Vlamertinghe

Gunner William Fernie 47903, 36 Bty also at Vlamertinghe

Any information you have would be added to my database linked to this source

Regards

Paul

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Here is some more information on the circumstances surrounding George's death.

George's brother kept a diary, which is held by the Brampton museum in Newcastle under Lyme. In it he describes what he knows about his brother's death.

George's brother says in his diary that on 19th November "I received news of our George getting wounded in the right arm, right elbow, left arm, left thigh and upper extremities."

It is until later,, when he is back in England with shrapnel wounds in his leg and head, that he hears about his brother's death. He says that George had not been back in France a week following draft leave where he had got married and overstayed his leave- the consequences of which he was put straight back on draft and sent "straight up the line" again. But instead of going as a signaller, he went as a gunner because he thought it was less dangerous!

He says George was "sent up to Ypres right into the battle .... as there was not either trenches or gun pits and by reports the whole ground was one huge mud pond".

"A chap who lived at Keele who was in the same battery stated that the gun that George was on got a direct hit on it and wiped the whole detachment out and poor George was smashed up around the centre of the body and died the next day in the 3rd Canadian Clearing station. His battery was in action on the Menim road near Paschendale."

Richard

Richard

It was a dangerous job as a signaller and although field guns were priority targets, signallers found themselves repairing lines to being with the observation posts far closer to the front line.

The 8th Division guns were indeed astride the Menin Road and very tightly packed together and I hope that there is some diaries available or the missing pages are one day found.

6 other members of the battery were killed in action that day

Regards

Paul

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Thanks Paul - I'll update you as I find more out.

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  • 2 years later...

 

On ‎10‎/‎08‎/‎2015 at 16:49, spyinthesky2 said:

Richard

SDGW has him as died of wounds probably as a result of the offensive on the 16th although 33Bde had a few casualties in the run up to that date

13/08/17 - 3 Killed in action 1 died of wounds

14/08/17 - 3 killed in action

15/08/17 - 1 killed in action 2 died of wounds

16/08/17 - 5 killed in action 1 died of wounds , 2 of these kia were 32 Battery

Lijessentook was a reasonable distance from the front line and had Casualty clearing stations, I am not familiar with these but I am sure someone else is.

Regards

Paul

Hi, first post from me,

I hope this topic is still active.

looking for info on a Gunner John Cokell of the same unit. died at Ypres 13/08/17

hes one of the 3 shown above, apparently laying telephone cable and was shot by a sniper. any other info, locations etc would be appreciated. visiting Ypres this weekend so hopefully will get photos

 

thanks

Mark

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