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Remembered Today:

5th Battalion Northants Regt


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My grandfather , Joseph Charles Kupferroth 47366 enlisted on 20/2/1917.

Joined 44th Training Reserve Battalion on 21/2 1917.

Embarked Folkstone on 4/12/1917. Were 5th Battalion involved at Cambrai

Bapaume and Arras?

Many Thanks

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5th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)

Formed at Northampton, August 1914, as part of K1.

August 1914 : attached as Army Troops to 12th (Eastern) Division, becoming Divisional Pioneer Bn January 1915.


The 12th (Eastern) Division were involved at Cambrai, Bapaume 1918 and the First Battle of Arras 1918.


12th Eastern Division were involved in the initial attack at Cambrai and then faced the German counter-attack on the 30th November 1917 and took a bit of a mauling. The Germans tried out the infiltration tactics that would initially prove so successful in the Spring Offensives of 1918, (including Bapaume and First Arras 1918), so that even troops in the rear could find themselves under attack.

There was a forum post a little while back that touches briefly on the battalion in the Cambrai action.


Hope that helps.


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Hi choppers.

Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you may have already got his service record from Ancestry or Findmypast. If you have access to Ancestry you can get the battalion war diary here. Alternatively you can download it for £3.30 from the National Archives. On a day by day basis it will show where the battalion was, and a brief description of events.



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The 5th Northamptons did take part in the Cambrai operations. There were two parts to the battalions role. As a Pioneer battalion rather than an ordinary Infantry battalion their role on 20 November 1917 during the British attack was to dig communication trenches - trenches out through No Man's Land to join up the British front line with newly taken German trenches, usually with NML still under artillery fire. Once in new trenches, the British converted those trenches to face the other way and then helped upgrade a road behind the front line to aid in bringing up artillery and supplies. Later they were caught up in the counter attack by the Germans on 30 November 1917 making a fighting withdrawal from the area around Villers Guislain. By 2 December 1917 the British line had been pushed back most of the way back to the starting positions on 20 November and the remains of the battalion along with a group of other Divisional troops defended Revlon Farm and Chapel Hill near ............... They were withdrawn from the line on 5 December 1917, and it would have been shortly afterwards that Joseph Kupferroth joined the battalion.

During the German offensive of March 1918 the 12th Division, and 5th Northamptons with them, were near Fleurbaix on the French/Belgian border and were sent down to reinforce the British line at Albert on the Somme. They arrived on 24 March 1918 with Albert already full of German. Initially they were designated as Divisional Reserve and held positions just east of Bouzincourt, a mile behind the front line. They went into the front line near the railway line at Aveluy just north-west of Albert on the 26th March reinforcing both the 7th Suffolks and 7th Norfolks with different companies of the 5th Battalion. The Germans attacked again on the 26th but the combined force held on stopped the German advance in that area. The 5th Battalion were withdrawn on the 28th.


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