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Kings (Liverpool) Regiment


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LtColSki USMC0302

Dave,

I am interested in any further information on a Lieutenant William Stanley Hutton, 1/6th King's Liverpool Regiment.

Lt Hutton was born 14 September 1898 and was an Architecture student when he enlisted in October of 1916. He enlisted in the 28th Battalion London Regiment (Artist's Rifles), attended OTC and was commissioned in the 1/6th King's Liverpool Regiment on 24 September 1917. He was wounded (burns/gas) on 09 April 1918 at Givinchy, apparently during the opening bombardment of the German Spring Offensive. Sent back to England for convalescence, he subsequently applied to the Indian Army in October 1918 but it does not appear that he was successful.

I have been kindly provided with the War Diary entry which mentions the wound by Ken Lees and a short discussion of Hutton can be found on this thread:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...30619&hl=hutton

Anything further would be greatly appreciated, especially if you could help pin down his exact dates of service in F/F and tell me of any significant events the battalion (and Hutton) would have been involved in during that time..

Cheers,

~Dan

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liverpool annie
Annie,

It wouldn't be recorded in the War Diary, it will be listed in the Silver War Badge Rolls at the National Archives, Kew. The reason is usually only abbreviated to which paragraph of the King's Regulations he was discharged under and in the majority of cases it is noted as either (s) sickness, or (w) wounds.

Regards,

Ken

Hi Ken!

I wondered if it would be possible the next time you go to the Museum - if you could see if there is anything at all about me Granddad there ?

James William Howarth enlisted in 4 KLR as No 49428 on 4/1/15 and subsequently also served with 17 KLR and 2/7 KLR before being discharged from the Army on 4/4/19 aged 36. He would have received the BW and Victory medals together with Silver War Badge No 495734.

I would really appreciate anything you could give me!

Thanking you in advance

Annie

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Annie,

The Museum of Liverpool Life (incorporating the King's Liverpool Regt museum) doesn't hold any more information on individuals beyond that given to you by 'Promenade'.

As you have a few dates there, it might be worth trying the National Archives for the War Diaries of the battalions he served in to give you an idea of where he might have been at various times. However, the key to that would be to know when he moved between battalions. Have you confirmed the existence, or otherwise, of his service record at the National Archives?

Regards,

Ken

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone know specifically where 1st Bn KLR was on September 2, 1916, when my great uncle (Pvte Hamlet Bagguley) was killed at the Somme? (at least that is the date on he Thiepval memorial, his body was never found). I know the following day, 12th Bn. captured Guillemont.

Dave Arsenault

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Anyone know specifically where 1st Bn KLR was on September 2, 1916, when my great uncle (Pvte Hamlet Bagguley) was killed at the Somme? (at least that is the date on he Thiepval memorial, his body was never found).  I know the following day, 12th Bn. captured Guillemont.

Dave Arsenault

Dave,

The war diary shows the 1st Kings Liverpool's were at Couin, training, on the 1st and 2nd of September. I have also checked soldiers died which confirms 26439 Pte.H.Bagguley was killed in actrion on the date you have stated. I can only assume your great uncle may have been killed accidently. Have you checked the Wigan papers for details?

Regards,

Bill

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  • 1 month later...
I've just taken delivery of the regimental history for The King's Regiment (Liverpool) between 1914 and 1919.

Any look-ups required, just ask.

Dave.

I have been trying to find more information about William George Lawson, who served in 2/10 Btn 'Liverpool Scottish' from 1916 to April 1918. Information obtained from the Liverpool Scottish Museum indicates that he was in France and Flanders, in the Bois Grenier and Erquinghem Lys area and was involved in the Dicky's Dash trench raid in June 1917, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. I am also trying to find out what happened to him after his discharge as no one in the family can shed any light on this. The original details that I had come from a copy of a postcard which he sent to a relative, showing him dressed in full uniform, and giving details of the battalion and regiment on the reverse.

Any help will be much appreciated.

K Lawson.

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  • 2 weeks later...
AthollHighlander

Can you or anyone shed any light on whether there was in existence an 8th Scottish Volunteer Battalion? I believe the 8th is recorded as an Irish Territorial Battalion but I've seen a cap badge for a Scottish 8th! the Kings (Liverpool Regiment) Scottish VB at my local Car Boot sale today.

I'e looked in the "Military Badges of the British Empire 1914-18" but no trace. I'd have expected it to be in this book if it was a batalion raised during the Great War!!

Atholl

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The 8th Volunteer Battalion was title of the pre-1907 Liverpool Scottish. on formation of the Territorial Force in 1907 the battalion was renamed/renumbered as the 10th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment. Same battalion at different times.

There seem to be rather a lot of the 8th VB badges around on ebay - I can't imagine why!

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Atholl,

Try this website of the Liverpool Scottish for details of the 8th Scottish Volunteer Battalion.

www.liverpoolscottish.org.uk

This is the Battalion that Ken mentions in his reply.

Blueblood (Phil)

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AthollHighlander

Ken/Blueblood

Didn't realise VBs were pre 1907 so worthwhile exercise in itself just to learn a bit more about the history of the cap badges and the VBs themselves. I'd assumed VBs were as a result of the Great War so my ignorance has been lifted.. if I spot an interesting badge I go home and look it up.. and learn a little..

I'll go back and have another look this sunday if its still there ... a strike purchased online or an original.... thats the problem being a novice... you're never quite sure.. I'll stick to window shopping for the meantime I think until I gain a bit more knowledge..

learning a bit more about the chronology of events with the various reforms down through the years is a good starting point I think.

addictive stuff

Thanks guys

Atholl

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  • 6 months later...

Hi All,

No heroes in my family! My grandad, Edward Abernethy was an engine driver on the Liverpool docks (MD&HB) and was 'combed out' to join the 1/5th battalion of the KLR. As far as I can tell, he saw one day of active service on the first day of 'Third Ypres' when he was shot in the right hand, leading to his discharge in that he was unable to pull a trigger! I can't imagine that such a distinguished career would get a mention in the war diary but I would like to know a little of what the 1/5th KLR were doing on 1/7/17. I think they were in the region of where Oxford Road cemetery now is but any further info would be gratefully received.

Ian

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  • 2 months later...
Guest flybynight78

hi, i am looking into the history of pte james burrows of the 13th batalion kings liverpool regiment.

i have a few details about him including the fact that the was awarded the MM, however i am uable to find why he was awarded it.

the details i do know are

Private James Burrows MM

19582 13th Bn., The King's (Liverpool Regiment)

Killed in action 16th August 1916

Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial Pier and face 1D 8B and 8C

Born Manchester

Enlisted Manchester

Residence Manchester

so idealy i would like to know if there are any details surrounding that date, ie the week or so leading up to it.

tahnk you in advance for your help.

flybynight

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Stephen Nulty

James Burows MM was gazetted on 14th November 1916, see here for details.

Generally speaking, citations for Military Medals have not survived.

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I've just taken delivery of the regimental history for The King's Regiment (Liverpool) between 1914 and 1919.

Any look-ups required, just ask.

Dave.

Dave

does 2nd Lieutenant Austin F Forshaw (battalion unknown) get a mention in the index. He transferred from the RGA has no Star so enlisted post-1915 and was born and brought up in Liverpool. He's my first cousin twice removed and appears to have survived the war.

thanks very much

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've just taken delivery of the regimental history for The King's Regiment (Liverpool) between 1914 and 1919.

Any look-ups required, just ask.

Dave.

Dave,

Ive only recently registered just need some guidance,

Do you know when or if the South Lancs Regiment merged into the King's Regiment (Liverpool) as my family seem to think thats where he was during the war.

His name was Augustine David Mogg private 43579 and was gassed so I assume by his medal card that he was then posted to the Labour Corp 651301

No entry on the Star line so again assuming this was all after the beginning of 1916

Can you shed any light

Regards

Don

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Don,

The South Lancs didn't merge with the King's at any time, WW1 or otherwise. However, some Territorial battalions of the South Lancs served in the same Divisions as the King's Territorials for the majority of the War, 1916 onwards. These were the 55th & 57th Divisions.

Ken

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Manstirr

I'm trying to research the history of my great uncle private Joseph Stirrup 3381 who served with 1/9th Battalion The Kings Liverpool Regiment.

Joseph was killed aged 21 on 5th September 1916 during the push for Lueze Wood and the battle of Guillemont, with I believe the 164th Brigade.

Little or nothing has been known about Joe, for much of the history of his short life has been lost as relatives have passed on. Certainly for the past 40 years the only physical reminder for his descendents has been the "family penny". This has only recently been passed down to me, although I do have vivid recollections of it from my childhood (mainly used as a pretend steering wheel or frisbie)..

This, I believe, was the posthumous award for honour for those that fell without trace. It features a brass relief of Britannia standing alongside a lion with his name inscribed on the right hand side.

I have managed to retrieve his medal card on which I discovered that he was awarded the 1915 medal, the victory medal and the British medal. I do not know if these medals were ever claimed (although I believe they must have been hence the family penny) but I would like to know if, as his direct descendant, I could claim replacements for those that have been lost or destroyed.

The information I have so far has been put together from the CWGC site and the records at Kew. I would be extremely grateful if anybody could offer any information into either my great uncle's army movements or personal knowledge of the theatre that he served in which took away his young life.

I have to add that I am extremely impressed with the research resources available to mere amateurs like myself, I have to say that I found it quite emotional when I came across his name on the CWGC site and seen his medal card. For the first time in my life it came home to me that Joseph exisited far beyond that tarnished and chipped old penny.

This is keeping alive the memory of those young men who never came back. Well done to all those who continue this.

Best regards,

Alan Stirrup.

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Alan,

You do not say whether you have a photo of Pte Stirrup - although not perfect this may be the only one of him remaining in existence - it will be on the site only a day or so and then it will be deleted.

Pte Stirrup enlisted on 12/1/15 and crossed to France 7/8/15.

Ken Lees who has a keen interest in the 9th Kings will be able to add more. I will scout around my material here to see what else I can find.

Regards

Promenade

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Alan,

As you may already know, James was killed during the Battle of the Somme.

The Battalion war diary for the 5th September states simply: "Weather wet. 2/Lt H.R. MANSERGH rejoined the Battalion from Hospital. Work carried out making trenches defensible. Casualties 1. O.R. killed, 1 O.R. wounded."

The following account is taken from "The Story of the 9th King's in France", written just after the war by one their officers, E.H.G. Roberts:

THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME.

About the 20th July the Battalion left Gouy en Artois for the scene of battle. To begin with this meant a three days' march to the entraining locality. The first day the Battalion got to Sus St. Leger where the night was spent, and by the end of the second day the Battalion was at Halloy. On the third day, after a long tiring march in hot weather along dusty roads, the Regiment marched into Autheux. After a few days here the Battalion entrained late one evening for the front, and next morning it detrained at Mericourt. The first sight that the men beheld on quitting the train was a prisoners' camp, in which were many Germans, living evidence of the activity a few miles in front. The Battalion was billeted in Mericourt for two days. Here there was every indication of activity. Having been on a quiet front for several months the men were not used to the whir of a busy railhead. All manner of vehicles, guns, and other impedimenta of war were in evidence, and everyone was surprised to see some of Merryweather's fire engines, which were probably required for pumping purposes.

On the 29th the Battalion left Mericourt for what was known as "The Happy Valley," outside Bray. During the march the soldiers saw a mile or two away an enormous column of smoke ascend. Something terrible had taken place. An ammunition dump must surely have been blown up. It was not a very pleasant prospect for those who were new to that kind of thing. The mystery of the column of smoke was never clearly elucidated. The Happy Valley was scarcely correctly named. The weather was exceedingly hot, there were no billets, and consequently the men had to bivouac. The Valley had one great drawback; there were no wells in the vicinity from which water could be drawn. Owing to this shortage, the watermen had a very onerous task as water was obtainable only at Bray, and thither the water carts had to go, making as many journeys as possible during the day, to obtain water for the thirsty troops. The Battalion in this locality was in touch with the French, from whom the officers managed to secure some of the French ration wine which proved very acceptable.

On the 30th the Battalion moved to a place by Fricourt, and pitched a camp which it left two days later for a bivouac area by Bronfay Farm, near Carnoy. From this place the officers went forward on reconnaissance. They saw for the first time Bernafay and Trones Woods, which then had achieved great notoriety. To the neighbourhood of these woods the Battalion sent forward night working parties. Only with the greatest difficulty did these parties get to their rendezvous, and little work was done on account of the intensity of the enemy shell fire.

In the evening of the 3rd August the Battalion paraded and marched towards the fighting, leaving behind a small percentage to form a nucleus should all its fighting personnel perish. The march was wearying. The enemy guns were active, the weather hot, and packs heavy. After a long trudge the Briqueterie was reached, a dangerous and dreaded spot, for it was periodically swept with shell fire. At last the companies got to their allotted stations in the reserve trenches. Many had not yet experienced the terrors of heavy shell fire, which by its very nature was intended to produce an unnerving effect. The next day started fairly quietly. On the right the men could see what was known as Death Valley. This was rightly so called. Being obscured from the enemy's view, it was a covered means of approach to the infantry positions in front, and afforded at the same time cover for the guns. On this account it was never free from shell fire, and was littered with corpses of men and horses.

In the afternoon the Battalion had to take over the front line in the neighbourhood of Arrow Head Copse in front of Guillemont. Passing along Death Valley the Battalion got caught in heavy shell fire, and sixty casualties took place almost immediately. It required a stout heart to march cheerfully forward when seeing one’s companions who had gone a little in front coming back on stretchers, or lying dead alongside the path.

When the two leading companies arrived at Arrow Head Copse they manned trenches varying in depth from a few inches to three feet, which afforded little protection against shell fire. The dead, many of whom belonged to the Liverpool Pals Brigade were visible lying stark and numerous on the battlefield. The weary desolation, and the unmitigated waste of equipment, clothing, and life passes all description. This was the Somme battlefield, of which one had heard so much. To those who had seen much of the war, the thought came that nothing could be worse than this.

The next day was a day of incessant shell fire on both sides. On the British side it was the bombardment prior to the attack on Guillemont. The fire was terrific. The terrible concussions of the high explosive shells assailed both ears and nerves, and kept up a pall of dust over the trenches. The whizzing and swirling of the shells was incessant. Some whined, others moaned, and others roared like express trains. Light shells passed with an unearthly shriek. It was useless taking any notice of the lighter shells. They had come and burst before one realised what had happened. The heavier shells, particularly those that were timed to burst in the air, were very trying, and when they burst over Trones Wood the noise reverberated through what remained of the trees, and so became extraordinarily intensified. To expect the explosions of the shells knowing they were on their way and to hear them coming, not knowing whether they would be fatal or not, was the worst part of the ordeal. Such a condition of turmoil and torment must have been meant by the words of Dante in his description of Hell.

"La bufera infernal che mai non resta."

Every now and then a man was hit. Those killed outright were perhaps spared much agony, and the wounded were lucky if they reached the aid post alive. Many got shell shock which affected men in different ways. One would be struck dumb, another would gibber like a maniac, while a third would retain possession of his reason but lose control of his limbs.

For two days in the sultry heat the Battalion endured the terrible strain of this awful shell fire, the men receiving no proper food and water being unprocurable. Then the Battalion was relieved and taken into support, where three or four days were spent, and on the 10th two companies moved to the Maltz Horn position. The next night the two remaining companies moved up. The devastation in the neighbourhood of Cockrane Alley was worse than at Guillemont. Here the men witnessed the full terrors of the stricken field. Living men dwelt among the unburied dead. Booted feet of killed soldiers protruded from the side of the trench. Here and there a face or a hand was visible. Corpses of dead soldiers with blackening faces covered with flies were rotting in the sun, and the reek of putrefying flesh was nauseating. Added to this the heat was overpowering, the artillery was firing short, and there was little or no water obtainable.

The Battalion was in touch with the French, and there were a few Frenchmen in the trenches with the men. On the 12th August the French attacked with great success and captured the village of Maurepas.

Between the two armies there was a wide broken?in trench running from the Allied towards the German lines. For some time before zero the Allied artillery kept up an incessant barrage on the German lines. The shells fired by the French were noticeable by a much sharper report. At zero the French attacked on the right of Cockrane Alley, advancing at a run in small groups of from eight to twelve men, and they got a good distance without any casualties. Then one by one the Frenchmen commenced to fall, and on reaching the enemy line the French company immediately on the right of the Battalion met with strong resistance. None came back and it is thought that almost every man perished. Meanwhile the two companies of the Battalion attacked in waves on the left of Cockrane Alley. They got eighty or ninety yards without difficulty, when the enemy opened a heavy machine gun fire, and the ground being convex the attackers formed a good target. The Commander of the right company who led his company from the right so as to be in touch with the bombers in Cockrane Alley, though twice wounded, still continued the advance until he was shot dead. His example was emulated by the Company Sergeant Major who perished in similar circumstances. Meanwhile the bombers were endeavouring to work their way down Cockrane Alley. The trench became shallower, and on reaching a road it disappeared. As the bombers emerged on to the road they were shot down one by one. The enemy then turned their machine guns on to Cockrane Alley, and raked it with fire until it became a shambles. Most of the men of the two companies were casualties, and many were killed. A few stragglers who were able to take cover in shell craters managed to return later under cover of darkness.

What became of the wounded lying out between the lines was never known, as any attempt at rescue was impossible. As most of the stretcher bearers with the companies were themselves incapacitated through wounds the rapid evacuation of the wounded even in the trenches was impossible, and moreover the aid post at Headquarters was under heavy artillery fire, so that it was only at great risk to the bearers that the wounded could be cleared at all from the trenches.

For the French the day had been very successful. They had captured Maurepas, but for the Battalion it was a total failure. However, the work done earned for the Battalion the praise of the Corps Commander, expressed in an order published the next day, which was as follows:-

“The Corps Commander wishes you to express to the Companies engaged last night his admiration, and that of the French who saw them, for the gallant and strenuous fight they put up.

Had the ravine been captured by the French, there is no doubt our objective could have been realised. 13th August, 1916.”

On the 13th the Battalion was relieved and the men, tired out, slowly wended their way down Death Valley to Maricourt, passing many corpses, and then to the bivouac area near Bronfay Farm they had left about ten days before. Many who had marched away in the fullness of their health and strength did not return. The next day a short move was made to Ville?sur?Ancre, one of the few villages which contained a shop. Shortly afterwards the Battalion moved by train to Ramburelles, not far from the coast. Of all the villages the Battalion had ever visited, this was perhaps the most insanitary. The men lived in barns almost on top of manure heaps, and in consequence of the heat the number of flies was great. Baths of late had been very few and consequently the men suffered considerably from lice.

Arduous training was the order of the day. Seven or eight hours each day were devoted to work, while what the men most needed was rest. They were exhausted after their late experience, and they were overworked by the excessive training. Many were further weakened by the fact that septic sores were very prevalent owing to the insanitary conditions among which the men lived.

At this period the Battalion routine orders, which were supposed to be issued early in the afternoon were, for some unknown reason, always received very late in the day and sometimes after ten o'clock at night. As the Company Commanders had then to issue orders it meant that much unnecessary waiting and work was caused.

At Ramburelles so as to evade the heat of the day the Battalion paraded at 7 a.m. for a four?hours' parade, and then left off until late in the afternoon. This scheme worked well only in theory. A lot had to be done out of parade hours, which meant that the officers and men were very much overworked. Sunday brought no respite. The Sunday previous to leaving the place, the men were engaged on a work of supererogation until 8?30 p.m., digging bombing trenches which were never used.

While at Ramburelles seaside leave was granted to some of the officers, who were able to spend two or three days away from the Battalion and enjoy for a while the comforts of a seaside town. One or two, acting in the belief that the Battalion would not return to the fight for some time, postponed their trip, and on the very day that they arrived at Delville Wood they remembered that that was the day they should have been basking in the sun at Le Treport. Such is the folly of procrastination. On the 28th August the command devolved on Major P. G. A. Lederer, M.C., as the Commanding Officer had been evacuated sick. On the 30th August the Battalion marched by a tortuous route to Pont Remy, where it entrained and arrived next day at Mericourt. It eventually was installed in close billets at Dernancourt for a few days.

On the 4th September the Battalion marched to Montauban. On the march Major H. K. S. Woodhouse took over the command, and the officers were introduced to him during the dinner halt. Montauban was not a very pleasant place, particularly as the weather was rainy, and as the companies were distributed among the field guns they came in for considerable shell fire.

On the 7th September the Battalion moved up to the front positions between Delville Wood and High Wood. The shell fire in this area was terrific. The enemy guns never stopped firing day or night at the means of approach to the Battalion's position along the side of Delville Wood. At night the Battalion had to send working parties into the neutral ground between the lines to dig what were somewhat incorrectly known as strong points. When these were finished they were garrisoned by a platoon in each case. The small garrisons of these strong points were quite cut off during the day as no movement was possible on account of snipers. Food and water could only be brought up at night, and were a man wounded he would have to remain without attention until darkness. A prisoner was taken belonging to the 5th Bavarian Regiment, which showed that the Bavarians were in line opposite.

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Guest Manstirr
Alan,

As you may already know, James was killed during the Battle of the Somme.

The Battalion war diary for the 5th September states simply: "Weather wet. 2/Lt H.R. MANSERGH rejoined the Battalion from Hospital. Work carried out making trenches defensible. Casualties 1. O.R. killed, 1 O.R. wounded."

The following account is taken from "The Story of the 9th King's in France", written just after the war by one their officers, E.H.G. Roberts:

THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME.

About the 20th July the Battalion left Gouy en Artois for the scene of battle. To begin with this meant a three days' march to the entraining locality. The first day the Battalion got to Sus St. Leger where the night was spent, and by the end of the second day the Battalion was at Halloy. On the third day, after a long tiring march in hot weather along dusty roads, the Regiment marched into Autheux. After a few days here the Battalion entrained late one evening for the front, and next morning it detrained at Mericourt. The first sight that the men beheld on quitting the train was a prisoners' camp, in which were many Germans, living evidence of the activity a few miles in front. The Battalion was billeted in Mericourt for two days. Here there was every indication of activity. Having been on a quiet front for several months the men were not used to the whir of a busy railhead. All manner of vehicles, guns, and other impedimenta of war were in evidence, and everyone was surprised to see some of Merryweather's fire engines, which were probably required for pumping purposes.

On the 29th the Battalion left Mericourt for what was known as "The Happy Valley," outside Bray. During the march the soldiers saw a mile or two away an enormous column of smoke ascend. Something terrible had taken place. An ammunition dump must surely have been blown up. It was not a very pleasant prospect for those who were new to that kind of thing. The mystery of the column of smoke was never clearly elucidated. The Happy Valley was scarcely correctly named. The weather was exceedingly hot, there were no billets, and consequently the men had to bivouac. The Valley had one great drawback; there were no wells in the vicinity from which water could be drawn. Owing to this shortage, the watermen had a very onerous task as water was obtainable only at Bray, and thither the water carts had to go, making as many journeys as possible during the day, to obtain water for the thirsty troops. The Battalion in this locality was in touch with the French, from whom the officers managed to secure some of the French ration wine which proved very acceptable.

On the 30th the Battalion moved to a place by Fricourt, and pitched a camp which it left two days later for a bivouac area by Bronfay Farm, near Carnoy. From this place the officers went forward on reconnaissance. They saw for the first time Bernafay and Trones Woods, which then had achieved great notoriety. To the neighbourhood of these woods the Battalion sent forward night working parties. Only with the greatest difficulty did these parties get to their rendezvous, and little work was done on account of the intensity of the enemy shell fire.

In the evening of the 3rd August the Battalion paraded and marched towards the fighting, leaving behind a small percentage to form a nucleus should all its fighting personnel perish. The march was wearying. The enemy guns were active, the weather hot, and packs heavy. After a long trudge the Briqueterie was reached, a dangerous and dreaded spot, for it was periodically swept with shell fire. At last the companies got to their allotted stations in the reserve trenches. Many had not yet experienced the terrors of heavy shell fire, which by its very nature was intended to produce an unnerving effect. The next day started fairly quietly. On the right the men could see what was known as Death Valley. This was rightly so called. Being obscured from the enemy's view, it was a covered means of approach to the infantry positions in front, and afforded at the same time cover for the guns. On this account it was never free from shell fire, and was littered with corpses of men and horses.

In the afternoon the Battalion had to take over the front line in the neighbourhood of Arrow Head Copse in front of Guillemont. Passing along Death Valley the Battalion got caught in heavy shell fire, and sixty casualties took place almost immediately. It required a stout heart to march cheerfully forward when seeing one’s companions who had gone a little in front coming back on stretchers, or lying dead alongside the path.

When the two leading companies arrived at Arrow Head Copse they manned trenches varying in depth from a few inches to three feet, which afforded little protection against shell fire. The dead, many of whom belonged to the Liverpool Pals Brigade were visible lying stark and numerous on the battlefield. The weary desolation, and the unmitigated waste of equipment, clothing, and life passes all description. This was the Somme battlefield, of which one had heard so much. To those who had seen much of the war, the thought came that nothing could be worse than this.

The next day was a day of incessant shell fire on both sides. On the British side it was the bombardment prior to the attack on Guillemont. The fire was terrific. The terrible concussions of the high explosive shells assailed both ears and nerves, and kept up a pall of dust over the trenches. The whizzing and swirling of the shells was incessant. Some whined, others moaned, and others roared like express trains. Light shells passed with an unearthly shriek. It was useless taking any notice of the lighter shells. They had come and burst before one realised what had happened. The heavier shells, particularly those that were timed to burst in the air, were very trying, and when they burst over Trones Wood the noise reverberated through what remained of the trees, and so became extraordinarily intensified. To expect the explosions of the shells knowing they were on their way and to hear them coming, not knowing whether they would be fatal or not, was the worst part of the ordeal. Such a condition of turmoil and torment must have been meant by the words of Dante in his description of Hell.

"La bufera infernal che mai non resta."

Every now and then a man was hit. Those killed outright were perhaps spared much agony, and the wounded were lucky if they reached the aid post alive. Many got shell shock which affected men in different ways. One would be struck dumb, another would gibber like a maniac, while a third would retain possession of his reason but lose control of his limbs.

For two days in the sultry heat the Battalion endured the terrible strain of this awful shell fire, the men receiving no proper food and water being unprocurable. Then the Battalion was relieved and taken into support, where three or four days were spent, and on the 10th two companies moved to the Maltz Horn position. The next night the two remaining companies moved up. The devastation in the neighbourhood of Cockrane Alley was worse than at Guillemont. Here the men witnessed the full terrors of the stricken field. Living men dwelt among the unburied dead. Booted feet of killed soldiers protruded from the side of the trench. Here and there a face or a hand was visible. Corpses of dead soldiers with blackening faces covered with flies were rotting in the sun, and the reek of putrefying flesh was nauseating. Added to this the heat was overpowering, the artillery was firing short, and there was little or no water obtainable.

The Battalion was in touch with the French, and there were a few Frenchmen in the trenches with the men. On the 12th August the French attacked with great success and captured the village of Maurepas.

Between the two armies there was a wide broken?in trench running from the Allied towards the German lines. For some time before zero the Allied artillery kept up an incessant barrage on the German lines. The shells fired by the French were noticeable by a much sharper report. At zero the French attacked on the right of Cockrane Alley, advancing at a run in small groups of from eight to twelve men, and they got a good distance without any casualties. Then one by one the Frenchmen commenced to fall, and on reaching the enemy line the French company immediately on the right of the Battalion met with strong resistance. None came back and it is thought that almost every man perished. Meanwhile the two companies of the Battalion attacked in waves on the left of Cockrane Alley. They got eighty or ninety yards without difficulty, when the enemy opened a heavy machine gun fire, and the ground being convex the attackers formed a good target. The Commander of the right company who led his company from the right so as to be in touch with the bombers in Cockrane Alley, though twice wounded, still continued the advance until he was shot dead. His example was emulated by the Company Sergeant Major who perished in similar circumstances. Meanwhile the bombers were endeavouring to work their way down Cockrane Alley. The trench became shallower, and on reaching a road it disappeared. As the bombers emerged on to the road they were shot down one by one. The enemy then turned their machine guns on to Cockrane Alley, and raked it with fire until it became a shambles. Most of the men of the two companies were casualties, and many were killed. A few stragglers who were able to take cover in shell craters managed to return later under cover of darkness.

What became of the wounded lying out between the lines was never known, as any attempt at rescue was impossible. As most of the stretcher bearers with the companies were themselves incapacitated through wounds the rapid evacuation of the wounded even in the trenches was impossible, and moreover the aid post at Headquarters was under heavy artillery fire, so that it was only at great risk to the bearers that the wounded could be cleared at all from the trenches.

For the French the day had been very successful. They had captured Maurepas, but for the Battalion it was a total failure. However, the work done earned for the Battalion the praise of the Corps Commander, expressed in an order published the next day, which was as follows:-

“The Corps Commander wishes you to express to the Companies engaged last night his admiration, and that of the French who saw them, for the gallant and strenuous fight they put up.

Had the ravine been captured by the French, there is no doubt our objective could have been realised. 13th August, 1916.”

On the 13th the Battalion was relieved and the men, tired out, slowly wended their way down Death Valley to Maricourt, passing many corpses, and then to the bivouac area near Bronfay Farm they had left about ten days before. Many who had marched away in the fullness of their health and strength did not return. The next day a short move was made to Ville?sur?Ancre, one of the few villages which contained a shop. Shortly afterwards the Battalion moved by train to Ramburelles, not far from the coast. Of all the villages the Battalion had ever visited, this was perhaps the most insanitary. The men lived in barns almost on top of manure heaps, and in consequence of the heat the number of flies was great. Baths of late had been very few and consequently the men suffered considerably from lice.

Arduous training was the order of the day. Seven or eight hours each day were devoted to work, while what the men most needed was rest. They were exhausted after their late experience, and they were overworked by the excessive training. Many were further weakened by the fact that septic sores were very prevalent owing to the insanitary conditions among which the men lived.

At this period the Battalion routine orders, which were supposed to be issued early in the afternoon were, for some unknown reason, always received very late in the day and sometimes after ten o'clock at night. As the Company Commanders had then to issue orders it meant that much unnecessary waiting and work was caused.

At Ramburelles so as to evade the heat of the day the Battalion paraded at 7 a.m. for a four?hours' parade, and then left off until late in the afternoon. This scheme worked well only in theory. A lot had to be done out of parade hours, which meant that the officers and men were very much overworked. Sunday brought no respite. The Sunday previous to leaving the place, the men were engaged on a work of supererogation until 8?30 p.m., digging bombing trenches which were never used.

While at Ramburelles seaside leave was granted to some of the officers, who were able to spend two or three days away from the Battalion and enjoy for a while the comforts of a seaside town. One or two, acting in the belief that the Battalion would not return to the fight for some time, postponed their trip, and on the very day that they arrived at Delville Wood they remembered that that was the day they should have been basking in the sun at Le Treport. Such is the folly of procrastination. On the 28th August the command devolved on Major P. G. A. Lederer, M.C., as the Commanding Officer had been evacuated sick. On the 30th August the Battalion marched by a tortuous route to Pont Remy, where it entrained and arrived next day at Mericourt. It eventually was installed in close billets at Dernancourt for a few days.

On the 4th September the Battalion marched to Montauban. On the march Major H. K. S. Woodhouse took over the command, and the officers were introduced to him during the dinner halt. Montauban was not a very pleasant place, particularly as the weather was rainy, and as the companies were distributed among the field guns they came in for considerable shell fire.

On the 7th September the Battalion moved up to the front positions between Delville Wood and High Wood. The shell fire in this area was terrific. The enemy guns never stopped firing day or night at the means of approach to the Battalion's position along the side of Delville Wood. At night the Battalion had to send working parties into the neutral ground between the lines to dig what were somewhat incorrectly known as strong points. When these were finished they were garrisoned by a platoon in each case. The small garrisons of these strong points were quite cut off during the day as no movement was possible on account of snipers. Food and water could only be brought up at night, and were a man wounded he would have to remain without attention until darkness. A prisoner was taken belonging to the 5th Bavarian Regiment, which showed that the Bavarians were in line opposite.

Hello Ken,

Can I convey my sincere thanks for your reply. Once again I am overwhelmed by the response I have received from this site.

I now have a pretty concise idea of the atrocities that Joseph Stirrup and his contemporaries endured and whilst all life is sacred, what these men must have experienced and endured on those fields, death was undoubtedly cathartic - the only relief foreseeable from their unimaginable torment.

I am obliged to you Ken for your correction to the Brigade in which Joseph Stirrup served. I can now amend the records that I have.

Once again thank you for invaluable help.

Best regards,

Alan Stirrup.

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Thanks to information given to me by members of this forum I am putting together a profile of my granduncle a member of the 1/8th Kings Liverpool Regiment who died on 8th August, 1916.

I have his date of arrival in France 03.05.1915 ; became 154 Brig 51 Div on 12.05.1915 and 07.01.1916 165 Br. 55th Div.

Does anybody have information on the 8th Battalion actiivities from May, 1915 to August, 1916?

I am trying to figure out if he might have been in other battles before Guilliemont in August, 1916, or where he might have been stationed from May, 1915.

I will be happy to share the information I have gathered with anybody interested in the 8th KLR.

regards, Patricia.

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liverpool annie

Hi Ken !

After many many years of looking for my Granddad's Armed Forces history - you and Promenade have both been terrific and given me the information set down here ...

James William Howarth enlisted in 4 KLR as No 49428 on 4/1/15 and subsequently also served with 17 KLR and 2/7 KLR before being discharged from the Army on 4/4/19 aged 36. He would have received the BW and Victory medals together with Silver War Badge No 495734

Apparently there are no service records at Kew for him - and as you know I got in touch with the Museum ...... I tried again in the middle of July but somebody told me it was closing down ..... so now I'm at a stand still .... do you know of anywhere else I can try ? or should I just be content with what I have ?

Thanks again for your help !

Annie

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