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j2sea2002

6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment

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j2sea2002

I am currently researching my grandfather Private William Henry SMITH, S/379, 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, killed in action, Flanders France on about, 3rd July 1916 and wondered if if anyone had access to the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment war diaries for this date please?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

John 

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John Milner

Night of 1 July 1916 to trenches just west of Ovillers.

In action 3 July - A and C companies went forward at 0315 and under heavy machine gun fire reached German front line in front of the village.  B and D companies following also suffered heavy casualties and could not force through to second line, withdrew at 0700 and in evening to Bouzincourt.

 

Source:  British Battalions on the Somme, Ray Westlake.

 

John

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sdparker

In his book The Queen's Own Royal West Regiment, Captain Atkinson devotes several pages and sketches

to this action as outlined above by John. The bombardment had wrecked the German first line trenches, but

failed to cut the German barbed wire. Consequently large numbers of 6th Btn were shot down in front of the wire.

Those that got through into the German trench found that it gave them little protection from the fire from the

German second line trench. Enfilading machine gun fire also cut down men from B and D companies as they

followed up across no mans land. Losses were terrible- 617 officers and men had gone into action, 375 were

casualties.

Regards

Geoff

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David_Underdown

You can download (for a small fee) from http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14017518 - it should also be available from Ancestry which you may be able to access at a local library

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MaxD

It is worth also looking at the 37 Brigade diary WO 95/1858 (also on Ancestry) which has a more detailed account of the action submitted afterwards by CO 6 RWK.  There is another by CO 6 Queens who also took part in the attack which took place from the area to the east of Authille Wood towards the enemy line (red) running on the left of squares X 8 northwards to X 2.  Link to trench map and present day image:

 

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/side-by-side/#zoom=14&lat=50.0343&lon=2.6990&layers=101465251&right=BingHyb

 

Max

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Perth Digger

John

I have downloaded and saved the two relevant pages of the War Diary. I don't think I can put them up here, but if you message me, I'll send them to you. I'll do the account mentioned by Max if you are interested too.

 

Mike

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j2sea2002

Grateful thanks to Max, Mike, Geoff and John.

Edited by j2sea2002
Error correction

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MaxD

You are most welcome.

 

Max

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Blue Dragoon
Posted (edited)

Is the 6th Bn Queen's (RWS) war diary for 1918 on ancestry?  If it is could someone provide a link, can't seem to find it (got 37 Bde)

 

cheers

 

george

Edited by Blue Dragoon

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HannahFerguson

I feel fortunate to have found this conversation and wonder if anyone could help me. I'm writing a fictional book about France in WW1 (with loads of research), which I will be dedicating to my great-uncle Private Jack Westcott of the 6th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment (G/5489) who died on Monday 3 July 1916. On another website I found the same information as John states above that they were killed in Flanders but on the official British memorial site it says my great-uncle was killed in the Battle of Albert (battle of the Somme) which is in France and would clarify why he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Any suggestions what is correct? No more relatives alive that I can ask, alas.

 

I still have a photograph of my great-uncle in his uniform and would be ever so happy to get in touch with other relatives of his battalion and maybe find other photographs of him in France where he must have been fighting for about a year.

 

Kind greetings from Holland, Hannah Ferguson 

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kenf48
1 hour ago, HannahFerguson said:

I feel fortunate to have found this conversation and wonder if anyone could help me. I'm writing a fictional book about France in WW1 (with loads of research), which I will be dedicating to my great-uncle Private Jack Westcott of the 6th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment (G/5489) who died on Monday 3 July 1916. On another website I found the same information as John states above that they were killed in Flanders but on the official British memorial site it says my great-uncle was killed in the Battle of Albert (battle of the Somme) which is in France and would clarify why he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Any suggestions what is correct? 

 

 

Welcome to the forum,

 

As noted above the Battalion was in trenches in front of Ovilliers (map at post 5) which is clearly in the Somme Department, France.

 

Ken 

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HannahFerguson
59 minutes ago, kenf48 said:

 

Welcome to the forum,

 

As noted above the Battalion was in trenches in front of Ovilliers (map at post 5) which is clearly in the Somme Department, France.

 

Ken 

 

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HannahFerguson

Thank you so much, Ken! I've checked the map and it makes perfect sense now. I must have misunderstood John's mentioning of Flanders. If the weather is good, I intend to travel to the area on Friday to pay my respects. Hannah

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GraemeClarke

Hi Hannah,

 

The War Diary states,

 

2 July 1916 Waltney Street Trench.

Clearing the trench of wounded and dead. 3.10pm ordered to take over trenches from 6th Buffs and 7th east Surrey Regiment (support trenches). casualties during this relief 4 killed, 28 wounded. 2nd Lt. P.C. Hoyland severely wounded.

At 9pm ordered to resume our former positions prior to an attack at dawn on German trenches south of Ovillers La Boiselle.

 

3 July 1916 At 12.15am received orders for the attack, battalion left front battalion, 6th Buffs in support.

At 3.15am assaulted the German trenches A"A and "C" Companies in front who had to take the first line, "B" and "D" Companies behind to take the second German line. On bombardment ceasing "A" and "C" rushed the first line and took them with very little losses, "B" and "D" charged past them, but only a few elements of these two companies reached the second line. A counter attack by the Germans drove back the remnants of the battalion as the supporting battalion, who had lost direction, gave no assistance.

Casualties, 3 Captains killed, 11 subalterns wounded, 5 subalterns missing. Other ranks, killed, wounded and missing 375. Strength of battalion going into action 617.

Trench heavily shelled. Relieved by 7th East Surrey Regiment and marched to Bozincourt reserve trenches to rest and re-organise.

 

(It then names the officers concerned, I'm presuming your relative was not an officer.)

 

The History of the RWKents is here, if you want a look through it.

 

http://janetandrichardsgenealogy.co.uk/QORWK C T Atkinson.html

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

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