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Captain KILBY VC

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Martin Feledziak

Copied from JWK's thread - Germany : Fritz Limbach - letters from the front - 1915

 

On Saturday 2 October 1915, exactly one week after that fateful 25 September, Lieutenant Breunig writes a letter to Fritz's family :

 

Sehr geehrte familie Limbach,

 

As you may know already the English again tried to break through our lines. At our Regiment’s they tried to break through the iron wall of our brave Hacketäuers.

The 6.Kompagnie occupies , with one platoon, an extremely important forward trench. Your valued son was part of the crew of this trench, called the “Prellbock-Stellung”.

The enemy, who had been bombarding our lines with heavy artillery-fire for a few days already causing considerable damage, commenced the infantry attack on 25 September 0745 in the morning.

The attack, preceded by a gas attack, was repelled thanks to our brave Prellbock-platoon and our fortified trenches.

Unfortunately this brilliant defence against the attack, which almost came up to our barbed wire defences, could not be accomplished without sacrifices on our side.

The Kompagnie mourns the loss of 9 comrades. One of these heroes was your son, the Einjahrige Fritz Limbach.

Your son, who proved himself a real Hacketäuer in this battle, unfortunately had to sacrifice his life for our valued Fatherland.

He was killed instantly by a bullet to the head, and died without regaining consciousness.

All men in the Kompagnie, and also I, mourn very much the loss of such a brave soldier, who through his comradeship was very much loved throughout the Kompagnie.

Please accept the most heartfelt condolences from all his comrades.

On 27 September 1915 your son was buried with full military honours.

He found his last resting place, together with the other heroes of the Kompanie, in a mass grave on the Ehrenfriedhof in Douvrin.

A cross with inscription has been placed on his grave.

May it be a solace for you to know that your beloved son gave his young life for his beloved Fatherland as a hero.

This will, I hope, ease your pain and terrible loss.

In remembrance of our dear comrade, I am

Sincerely

(Was signed) Breunig

Leutnant der Reserve and Kompagnie commander.

 

1704560544_Prellbrock1.JPG.3ac7e36a8a835228f482a6e0ad75081c.JPG

Edited by Martin Feledziak
to add image - new page

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JWK

Feste Stammheim. The Stammheim Stronghold.

Maybe named after Stammheim, part of the district of Cologne-Mülheim, where IR 16 came from?

1954996731_Mlheim_Stadtteil_Stammheim.PNG.91a6901e7b620476f0638d7fabcc2123.PNG

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Martin Feledziak
42 minutes ago, JWK said:

Feste Stammheim

 

Thanks for that.

 

I am going to assume that at the time of the attack 6. Kompagnie occupied , with one platoon, that extremely important forward trench. " Feste Stammheim"

It is the most logical place for Fritz and his 9 comrades to have been.

 

Clearly 6 Kompagnie also had responsibility for the 'Indented' section of line up to Ziegel Kompagnie. 

 

That bit of marsh swamp the 'Indented section'  was described as such by both sides and was not an area for manoeuvring in.

The current topography shows that it is water filled now. 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak

Here is my theory - I have had this in mind for some time.

 

I should add that I am only suggesting that they were most likely to have been in close proximity.

 

There were also likely to be many more defenders stationed in the  " Feste Stammheim" as the attack coincided with relief.

Remember also that the defenders were well aware that an attack was imminent.

 

Guess.JPG.3b3d25a1595fd54808e002d6e1930501.JPG

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak

From the war diary of the 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment

 

From 6th July 1915 Major L B BOYD-MOSS commands the Battalion.

Captain A F G KILBY second in command.

 

779425045_6thJuly.JPG.d7250c43b471a7855d4b2c3592f3ae47.JPG

 

19th October 1915

Major General H S HORNE commanding the 2nd Division and Brigadier General A C DALY commanding the 6th Infantry Brigade visited the Battalion during training.

 

commanders.JPG.a77306797ccccd32df1853d23930433f.JPG

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Martin Feledziak

I have copied this from Roy Evans post from 2010.

 

 

operation Orders for the 2nd Battalion attack;

OPERATION ORDER

By Lieut. Col. C.S. DAVIDSON C.B. COMMDG. 2ND South Stafford. Regt.

Ref. Trench Map Sheet 36.c N.W. 22 September 1915.

Frontage of Battalion.

The Battalion will attack the German trenches on the frontage ‘A’ Brickstack to LA BASSEE CANAL.

Date and time to be notified later.

Order of Companies.

‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies, in order from the right, will be in the front line. ‘D’ Company, in support, will move up to dugouts occupied by ‘B’ Company as soon as they are vacated.

First points of Assault.

A Coy. – ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ brickstacks, then ‘D’ & ‘E’.

B Coy. – ‘F’, ‘G’ & ‘H’ do. Then ‘K’, ‘L’, ‘M’

C Coy. – EMBANKMENT REDOUBT.

Lines of Approach.

A Coy – No. 6 and No. 7 Saps.

B Coy. – No. 16 Sap.

C Coy. – Railway Embankment.

Touch with 1/Kings Regt.

A Coy. will be responsible for maintaining touch with 1/Kings Regt. on the right, and will detail special parties for this purpose throughout the advance.

Communications.

When ‘B’ Company has made good ‘K’, ‘L’ & ‘M’ brickstacks and ‘C’ Coy. is in possession of EMBANKMENT REDOUBT, touch will be established between these two companies at point 35 (N.E. brick stack). ‘B’ Coy will also establish touch with ‘A’ Coy on the right.

Advance to 1st Objective.

After taking D & E brickstacks and getting touch with ‘B’ Coy, ‘A’ Coy. will advance keeping its right on the German trench running from A, B & C brickstacks to point 66 on the LA BASSEE road, and then along the LA BASSEE road to Railway Crossing A.22.b.3.8. When this point is reached its left will be on the German trench cutting the TRIANGLE Embankment at A.16.d.3.1.

B Copy with its left at N.E. brick stack will advance with its right on A.16.d.3.1. and its left in touch with ‘C’ Coy. until the 1st Objective of the Battalion is reached i.e. S.E. face of TRIANGLE.

‘C’ Coy. will advance to this objective with its left on the CANAL and its right in touch with ‘B’ Coy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The below is 36C NW from NLS June 1916 - (Not the same as used to plan the attack.)

I have added rough start positions for the South Staffs Battalion.

 

I have also added the objectives. Again not marked on the 1916 map but are included on A44 1918 map.

 

The objectives were not accomplished and all units returned to their start positions BUT many a good man was lost.

 

1943960758_Martinmap.jpg.3dd1f739a703a9ead4055c9c135a121c.jpg 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Martin Feledziak

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Martin Feledziak

from the 2nd South Staffs war diary - which does not include 25th September 1915.

 

Here is an entry for 26th October 

" For king and Fatherland. in memory of Lieut KING and Lieut HALL and 8 men of the South Staffordshire Regiment who died like heroes"

Erected (? Buried ) by 6. S. P. A. R "

 

1992846575_Crossspar.jpg.f34f6c5cade2280867c51adb75f31a42.jpg

 

So now compare that entry with the below.

 

"Attempts over several nights failed to locate his body, but he was in fact buried by the enemy, together with one of his subalterns and thirteen men.   His Commanding Officer wrote to Kilby’s father:   “A cross which the Germans have erected on the tow-path just below the embankment redoubt…… has a big wreath of flowers, which partly obscures the inscription, but I am afraid there can be no doubt that it is meant for your son and Williams, who was also missing.  

 

About a week ago the Germans erected a big cross between brick stacks and the Canal, inscribed:  For King and Fatherland – Lieut. Kilby and Lieut. Hall, who died like heroes.   It is very gratifying to know that even our enemies recognise the superb heroism of that attack.   If ever men died like heroes, they did”.   The German regimental commander, whose position he had assaulted, also wrote in high appreciation of his valour.

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Martin Feledziak

As it stands the only true known facts:-

 

Captain - Arthur KILBY  was recovered from the canal tow path 1929

Lieutenant David WILLIAMS was recovered near to the canal tow path.

 

Second Lieutenant Charles KING - Missing

Lieutenant Bruce HALL - Missing

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