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Remembered Today:

George Holland 174th Tunnellers

Beagle Boy

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Hi everyone. I searching for a few details. 

Iv found most of the info needed about my great grandfather so far. 


I know he was assigned to help the 174th Tunnlling company when he was killed in a sap trench on 11th July 1915. 


Id like to know where the company was working around this date and what project/tunnels he was working on. 


His service number is: 12429


From: 8th Battalions Royal Fusiliers, Staffordshire  


Many thanks. 

James Holland




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The 7th Norfolks were in the 35th Brigade in the same Division and they too provided some men to support the sapping efforts. On the 10th July they were relieved from the front line, (Trenches 113 to 120 + Fort Boyd) by the 5th Royal Berkshires and moved into the reserve line running from Touquet Berth Farm to Strand, in front of Ploegsteert village. Prior to this their diaries makes references on the 7th and 9th to mines being blown by the "Royal Canadians" on their left.


I believe that was actually the Royal Montreal Regiment (14th Canadian Battalion). There is quite a detailed day by day blog for that unit - the one for the 10th July 1915 quite tellingly has the title "British Engineers beat Germans at Mining Trench". May not specifically be the 174th Tunnelling Company but certainly gives some local colour.


Particularly telling is a personal piece from a Captain in the 14th Battalion that they had a "Kitchener Army" unit on their right, who were in the front line to gain experience. (The 12th Division had only gone into the front line for the first time on the 23rd June). This unit had become "excited", firing off their rifles and calling down artillery support fearing they were under a non-existent attack. The excitement spread to newly arrived reinforcements of the 14th Battalion. Reading between the lines sounds like the Captain gave them a right rollicking :-)


The 5th Royal Berks War Diary for the 10th can be read here - not surprisingly no mention of the above event, but again references the same front line trenches as the Norfolks.


Their entry for the 11th can be seen here.



The 14th Canadian Battalion were also relieved by the 11th July, although when they returned on the 18th they co-operated in a local action with men of the "Berkshire Regiment". Relevant War Diary pages can be seen here:-





They were relieved by the 13th Battalion. Their war diary for the 9th records that the mines were exploded by Engineers "under Corps Orders".



Finally one last piece of local colour comes from the blog entry for the 14th Battalion for the 5th July when they took over the front line.


“On the way forward to the “Plug Street” trenches the men of the Battalion, passing through Ploegsteert Wood, were much interested in the board walks bearing the names of London streets; in field batteries hidden in attractive surroundings; and in Headquarters huts, which reminded them of log cabins in the sugar bushes at home.  On taking over the trenches from the 4th Battalion, Nos. 1, 2 and 4 Companies of the 14th moved into the front line, with No. 3 Coy. in support.  The positions occupied by all companies were clean and comfortable, except for the presence in dugouts of an abnormal number of huge rats.


The right of the front was not entirely in a pleasant spot, however, as underneath a knoll, held by No. 4 Company, the Germans were supposed to have dug a mine.  Some compensation for the tension of living over a potential volcano was supplied at this point by the presence of a great catapult, similar to those used in the days when Caesar’s legions were over-running Gaul.  Bombs were fired at intervals from this dangerous contraption, also a few tins of bully beef.  Probably the enemy regarded the beef as some particularly obnoxious Canadian poison.  As ammunition the tins would otherwise fail to impress him.”



Hope that's not too many red herrings.





Edit - oh, and welcome to the forum :-)

Edited by PRC
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The War Diary of 8 RFs records that the Bn was at Le Bizet (south of Bois de Ploegsteert just inside Belgium) in July and from 7th to 10th found working parties at night of 400 men to dig a subsidiary line in the rear of trenches 91 to 94. The Bn was stood to at one point to expect an attack which never came. There is no mention of casualties on 11th, the Bn was back in reserve by then. There is no further info in the WD of 36 Infantry Brigade. I also checked the other Bns of 36 IB. 9 RFs provided between 600 and 650 men to the RE over the same period. There are some interesting Daily Intelligence Summaries in the July WD of 12 Division HQ General Staff which may shed more light on the non existent attack. There is also a good one about a brown paper kite found in the 36 IB area (Ancestry p 99/568). It may be that the WD of 174 TC may have more info about his death but the Bn and Brigade WDs can not confirm it, there is no record of men going on a permanent transfer. Soldiers Died Great War and the Register of Soldier's Effects confirm that he was killed in action and did not die of wounds.


Edited by brianmorris547
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone for all the info. It has been very useful. I feel like I’m Finally getting closer to finding out what happen in my great grandfathers final hours and where. 

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