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Fattyowls

Three Attacks on the Somme: How Common was it?

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Fattyowls

Chums

 

I'm doing a little project for the family of Joe Mercer, the former Everton, Arsenal and England player, and manager of Manchester City and England. Joe's father, Joe senior served with the 17th Middlesex, and they were involved in holding part of Delville Wood with the 2nd South Staffs at the end of July, attacked between the wood and Guillemont with the 1st King's Liverpool on 8th August, and attacked in support of the 2nd South Staffs on the Redan Ridge near the Quadrilateral on 13th November. I have a sense that to be involved three times was nothing out of the ordinary on the Somme in 1916; would anyone care to comment on my hunch?

 

Pete.

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PJS

I have just started to look at the 11th Royal Scots and I know that they were engaged at least three times at the Somme in 1916:

 

Somme: Battle of Albert, (1 – 13 Jul, 1916)

The 11th Royal Scots were in the reserve line moving up at 8pm on the 2nd to relieve the front line troops which was achieved by 3am on the 3rd. They remained in the front line suffering casualties every day from intense enemy shelling. Trenches were consolidated and patrols sent out until July 8th when they moved to Bivouac in the rear to rest and refit.

 

Somme: Battle of Bazentin, (14 – 17 Jul, 1916)

The 11th Royal Scots were in the front line and attacked the German line in the early hours of July 14th. They quickly achieved their first objective, capturing 63 German prisoners in the process, but their success came with a high cost of casualties.  More frontal attacks of the German lines were undertaken by the 11th Royal Scots on the following days, as the 9th Division attempted to secure all their objectives of the initial attack.  The Battalion was relieved from their front line duties at 8pm on the 17th July.

 

Somme: High Wood

On the 18th October, the 11th were back in the Somme front lines again, involved in actions to secure the feature known as The Butte de Warlencourt. The attack was undertaken under extremely difficult conditions of heavy rain, mud and intense cold, leading to large numbers suffering from exposure and trench foot in addition to considerable losses in action.

 

The 12th Royal Scots were at least equally involved as part of the same Brigade.

 

 

Peter

 

 

 

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Fattyowls

Thanks Peter; that's just what I was hoping for. It looks like a very similar experience to the 17th Middlesex.

 

Pete.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
2 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

I'm doing a little project for the family of Joe Mercer, the former Everton, Arsenal and England player, and manager of Manchester City

That's great.

His time at Manchester City was a golden era for English football in general, and he had the knack (along with Malcolm Allison) of turning fairly ordinary players into excellent team players.

And a gent.

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IPT

Sadly, after the war, Joe Sr played briefly for Tranmere before becoming a bricklayer.

 

No-one should have to play for Tranmere.

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nigelcave

Take 110 Brigade as another example. In reserve in 37th Div on 1 July (north of Gomemcourt), the brigade transferred to the 21st Div (and stayed with it until the end of the war). At Bazentin for 14th July and then involved in post Flers Courcelette in attacks from Flers against Gueudecourt in late September. It follows from this that the other brigades in the 21st Div were involved in the latter two attacks and, memorably, on 1st July.

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Fattyowls
9 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

That's great.

His time at Manchester City was a golden era for English football in general, and he had the knack (along with Malcolm Allison) of turning fairly ordinary players into excellent team players.

And a gent.

 

He was a lovely man by all accounts, and the family are just the same although we haven't met in person yet. Gary, Joe junior's biographer called his book 'Football With A Smile'. Joe senior was a very good, if rather 'robust' centre half before being wounded and captured at Oppy Wood. Tim Coleman, who played inside forward for Everton, Arsenal, Manchester Utd and England was a team mate at Nottingham Forest and for the battalion. He wrote that with Joe in the team there would be another 'big push'. The family knew very little about him but I'm hoping to look through some of the stuff they might have. The work I'm doing is also of interest to the family of Jack Borthwick, who served and played alongside Joe senior. Jack's has an enigmatic quote chiselled into the memorial to the 17th and 23rd Middlesex at Longueval.

 

Pete.

636993469_FootballersMemorialQuote.JPG.8510b38e721b6abbab7aceb845e6c482.JPG

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Fattyowls
1 hour ago, nigelcave said:

Take 110 Brigade as another example. In reserve in 37th Div on 1 July (north of Gomemcourt), the brigade transferred to the 21st Div (and stayed with it until the end of the war). At Bazentin for 14th July and then involved in post Flers Courcelette in attacks from Flers against Gueudecourt in late September. It follows from this that the other brigades in the 21st Div were involved in the latter two attacks and, memorably, on 1st July.

 

That's great Nigel, thank you. I have two other interests, Donald Sloan and Leigh Roose, both goalkeepers, and they were involved twice which made me wonder.

 

Pete.

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Ellis1918
1 hour ago, nigelcave said:

Take 110 Brigade as another example. In reserve in 37th Div on 1 July (north of Gomemcourt), the brigade transferred to the 21st Div (and stayed with it until the end of the war). At Bazentin for 14th July and then involved in post Flers Courcelette in attacks from Flers against Gueudecourt in late September. It follows from this that the other brigades in the 21st Div were involved in the latter two attacks and, memorably, on 1st July.

On 29th June 1916 7th battn Leicesters (110th brigade then part of 37th division) raided German trenches near Bailleulmont as a diversionary attack. Accounting for 60 Germans but suffering light casualties of their own.  

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
54 minutes ago, Fattyowls said:

 

That's great Nigel, thank you. I have two other interests, Donald Sloan and Leigh Roose,

 

How many volumes will your Roose work consist of? Even by the standards of the day, Roose was a bit 'odd'.

Even though he was Welsh...

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Fattyowls
1 hour ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

 

How many volumes will your Roose work consist of? Even by the standards of the day, Roose was a bit 'odd'.

Even though he was Welsh...

 

He is an amazing subject, and has been described as the first footballing playboy. As for a work on Roose, I would refer the honourable gentleman to Spencer Vignes' 'Lost In France'. Spencer is a really nice guy even though I am not entirely in accord with some of his interpretations of WW1. As for being Welsh that he undoubtedly was, even though he was born very close to the English border. Holt, and Farndon just across the Dee are well worth a visit.

 

Pete.

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Don Regiano
3 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

 

He was a lovely man by all accounts, and the family are just the same although we haven't met in person yet. Gary, Joe junior's biographer called his book 'Football With A Smile'. Joe senior was a very good, if rather 'robust' centre half before being wounded and captured at Oppy Wood. Tim Coleman, who played inside forward for Everton, Arsenal, Manchester Utd and England was a team mate at Nottingham Forest and for the battalion. He wrote that with Joe in the team there would be another 'big push'. The family knew very little about him but I'm hoping to look through some of the stuff they might have. The work I'm doing is also of interest to the family of Jack Borthwick, who served and played alongside Joe senior. Jack's has an enigmatic quote chiselled into the memorial to the 17th and 23rd Middlesex at Longueval.

 

Pete.

636993469_FootballersMemorialQuote.JPG.8510b38e721b6abbab7aceb845e6c482.JPG

 

Pete.

 

I was just looking at the Footballers' memorial this morning as I went past to and from Bapaume.  If I'd known, Iwould have photographed it for you.

 

I had the privilege of meeting Joe Mercer in a hospitality lounge at Goodison when I was my mate's guest (he was running the line) and can confirm the comments about Joe being a real gentleman.  The meeting confirmed my view of him.  For some reason, I always thought he was smaller/slighter than he actually was..

 

Reg

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Fattyowls
2 hours ago, Don Regiano said:

 

Pete.

 

I was just looking at the Footballers' memorial this morning as I went past to and from Bapaume.  If I'd known, Iwould have photographed it for you.

 

I had the privilege of meeting Joe Mercer in a hospitality lounge at Goodison when I was my mate's guest (he was running the line) and can confirm the comments about Joe being a real gentleman.  The meeting confirmed my view of him.  For some reason, I always thought he was smaller/slighter than he actually was..

 

Reg

 

I'll tell Sue that Reg, she'll be pleased (about him being a gentleman). There are two photos of Joe junior as a half back for England with his Everton team mate Cliff Britton and Wolves' Stan Cullis, who if I remember rightly went to school with Joe. I think Joe is the same height as Stan, but I could be wrong. I've got the odd photo of the memorial, it's a favourite of mine, but I appreciate the offer. .

 

Pete.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

What a half back line!

Bentham, T.G., and Mercer.

No wonder they held the Football League Championship trophy for 7 seasons:thumbsup:

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Fattyowls

A little known statistic Dai, well remembered. And also a good shout* out for the underrated Stan Bentham. Thanks also to Ellis for the info on the raid south of Arras by the 7th Leicesters; I knew about the Boar's Head disaster the following day but that one is new to me.

 

Pete.

 

*as young people used to say before old people like me realised what it meant and started using it.

 

Edited by Fattyowls

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daggers

Ellesmere Port deserves a mention in this context, if no other, I think.

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Fattyowls

There are many contexts that merit a mention of Ellesmere Port; good call Dags.

 

Pete.

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IPT
33 minutes ago, daggers said:

Ellesmere Port deserves a mention in this context, if no other, I think.

 

Joe Senior was born in Bebington, and was, therefore, a good Wirral lad. :D

 

Sadly, Joe Junior was born in Ellesmere Port, (although I see his birth was registered in the Wirral), which is probably why he wasn't 6' 2" like his dad.

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daggers

Stan C also born in E.P.

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Fattyowls

Thanks to all; I'm just describing 13th November 1916 at the Quadrilateral near Serre so I'll be able to say going into action a third time was common. All I need is a photo of dense fog.

 

Pete.

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nigelcave
10 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

Thanks to all; I'm just describing 13th November 1916 at the Quadrilateral near Serre so I'll be able to say going into action a third time was common. All I need is a photo of dense fog.

 

Pete.

You should have asked last week - on Tuesday you could barely see fifteen metres at Beaumont-Hamel until about 10 am.

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Fattyowls
13 hours ago, nigelcave said:

You should have asked last week - on Tuesday you could barely see fifteen metres at Beaumont-Hamel until about 10 am.

 

How good would that be; I could send the picture to Dave and Sue and say this is authentic Somme fog taken a mile or so from where Sue's great great grandfather attacked, certified as such by the editor of the Battleground Europe series of WW1 histories. They might start to think that I know what I'm talking about. I could of course cheat and send any old picture of a pea souper.......

 

Pete.

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BillyH
On 05/12/2018 at 22:03, Fattyowls said:

I'm doing a little project for the family of Joe Mercer, the former Everton, Arsenal and England player, and manager of Manchester City and England.

gwf1.jpg.beef3c9c98005c15f1dc2544f3cbfff1.jpg

gwf2.jpg.7cd350b2fae0e3aa2e3abeb960a20a49.jpg

 

BillyH.

 

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Fattyowls

Brilliant Billy, what's the source of the text and photo if you don't mind me asking? I'm sure the family will be interested. I've got an 11 year old Joe senior at 5 Falkener Sq. in Higher Bebington in 1901, I don't think I could find him in 1891.

 

Pete.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
5 hours ago, Fattyowls said:

Brilliant Billy, what's the source of the text and photo if you don't mind me asking? I'm sure the family will be interested. I've got an 11 year old Joe senior at 5 Falkener Sq. in Higher Bebington in 1901, I don't think I could find him in 1891.

 

Pete.

Maybe he hadn't quite been born then Pete?

Just thinking:

Marriages of Samuel Mercer & Sarah in that era suggests a Sarah Jones, with a marriage date of Dec. Qtr 1891.

The census would have been in April  that year.

 

Surname First name(s)  District Vol Page 

Marriages Dec 1891   (>99%)

Jones Mary Elizabeth  Liverpool 8b204  

Jones Sarah  Liverpool 8b204  

Mercer Samuel  Liverpool 8b204  

Williams Robert  Liverpool 8b204  

 

Having said that, I can't see a birth for a Joseph Mercer in the Wirral in  or after this date (or before... if you get my drift).

 

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

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