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Derek Black

"Lions Led By Donkeys" Battle of the Somme (documentary 1985)

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Derek Black

Shown in 1985, this programme comprises of lots of old soldiers chatting to the camera about the first day of the Somme.
The constant war songs soundtrack does get annoying though.
 



Derek.

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Pat Atkins

Interesting to hear the veterans speak. Bill Hay (1459 Sgt William Hay, 9th Royal Scots) talks poignantly about his particular friend who was killed, Alec Wright. This was 1257 Pte Alexander Wright, aged 21, the son of William and Annie Wright of 16 Broughton Rd, Edinburgh, and the older brother of Mary and Thomas. His MIC gives an entry into theatre (1), France of 24th February 1915, which more or less coincides with the date of 26th Feb in LLT for the battalion's arrival in France; Bill Hay's MIC says the 24th, too. Alec Wright was killed in action on 5th September 1916, and is buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres. The battalion War Diary entry says, "Day quiet, except that about 4.30pm three large Minnenwerfer Bombs were fired into 'A' Company area - two men were killed." The other man was 1458 Pte Johnstone Latto Hood, aged 19.

 

Cheers, Pat.

 

Edit - just found this thread on Alec Wright, also mentions Johnstone Hood.

Edited by Pat Atkins
link to thread on GWF

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Neill Gilhooley

I suspect that the Alec Wright that Bill Hay talks about was Alexander George Wright (1607, 350234), killed 23 April 1917.

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Neill Gilhooley

Well, now I have a puzzle. Bill Hay, in the interview for 'Lions Led By Donkeys' (IWM audio catalogue 16455), twice says he thinks his friend Alec was killed at Arras. I noted this to probably be Wright killed 23.4.17. I am grateful to Pat for prompting me to look again. The description of the minenwerfer and second death does look like the death of Wright 5.9.16 from A Company.

The picture from the documentary, attached, shows a sgt (perhaps).

Wright.jpg.823a4c5ae3febd8c0cd428146f9f4bfd.jpg

Bill tells us he went on leave, he thinks after the Somme, and visited Alec's mother, comments on her marital status and says she worked at a confectioners. I can find these men on the 1901 census, I think, but of course am no nearer identifying the man. Would anyone care to compare photographs? The candidates, both 'originals' to France, are:

1. Alexander Wright Pte 1257 kia 5.9.16, 16 Broughton Rd, Edin.

2. Alexander George Wright Sgt 1607/350234 kia 23.4.17 (Roeux), 363 Easter Rd, Leith [newspaper cutting Edinburgh Evening Despatch 13.5.15]

AGWright.jpg

 

Edited by Neill Gilhooley

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ss002d6252
45 minutes ago, Neill Gilhooley said:

Well, now I have a puzzle. Bill Hay, in the interview for 'Lions Led By Donkeys' (IWM audio catalogue 16455), twice says he thinks his friend Alec was killed at Arras. I noted this to probably be Wright killed 23.4.17. I am grateful to Pat for prompting me to look again. The description of the minenwerfer and second death does look like the death of Wright 5.9.16 from A Company.

The picture from the documentary, attached, shows a sgt (perhaps).

Wright.jpg.823a4c5ae3febd8c0cd428146f9f4bfd.jpg

Bill tells us he went on leave, he thinks after the Somme, and visited Alec's mother, comments on her marital status and says she worked at a confectioners. I can find these men on the 1901 census, I think, but of course am no nearer identifying the man. Would anyone care to compare photographs? The candidates, both 'originals' to France, are:

1. Alexander Wright Pte 1257 kia 5.9.16, 16 Broughton Rd, Edin.

2. Alexander George Wright Sgt 1607/350234 kia 23.4.17 (Roeux), 363 Easter Rd, Leith [newspaper cutting Edinburgh Evening Despatch 13.5.15]

AGWright.jpg

 

To me the face looks very similar, a rotation of the head in the first picture would show that distinctive jaw line.

 

Craig

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ss002d6252

When the effects were paid in Feb 17 for #1257 Wright there's no direct reference to the mother whereas for for # 350234  his mother was the sole legatee of his will. I suspect the answer may be found in trying to see if the appropriate husband/wife was definitely deceased by Sep 1916 or not as that should then rule that party out.

Craig

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Neill Gilhooley
1 hour ago, ss002d6252 said:

To me the face looks very similar, a rotation of the head in the first picture would show that distinctive jaw line.

Thanks - I'm not very good at that game!

23 minutes ago, ss002d6252 said:

the answer may be found in trying to see if the appropriate husband/wife was definitely deceased by Sep 1916

Sadly we've not much to go on from Hay. He visited Alec's mother, but it would seem that the mothers of both candidates were alive. The 'parents' of #1257 inserted an in memoriam in 1922.

Edited by Neill Gilhooley

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Neill Gilhooley

Ah, I've just twigged that Hay was hospitalised at Vimy Ridge 9.4.17, so was probably not there with #350234, though he did return to the battalion from 18 Gen Hosp, Etaples.

Edited by Neill Gilhooley

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