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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

1/8th BN West Yorkshire Regiment July 1917


Judge

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I am looking for any information on the movements of the 1/8th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own) during July 1917.

My Uncle Rifleman James Judge, 307437, date of death is recorded as 25 July 1917. He is buried in Adinkerke Churchyard Extension West-Val Belgium.

It was always said that he died as a result of the "first mustard gas attack". I have found reference to this attack being in July 1917 in the area of Neiuport.

Has anyone got any information from war diaries or regimental history on the regiment's activities in this area at this time and whether there is any mention of a mustard gas attack? I would like if possible to try and locate a more specific area where he died rather than just "Flanders".

Any help will be very welcome.

Eugene judge

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Has anyone got any information from war diaries or regimental history on the regiment's activities in this area at this time and whether there is any mention of a mustard gas attack?

Yes. It gets a mention :)

(3 posts)....

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2.....

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3....

Dave.

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The 1/8th West Yorks,were in support at Nieuport when "on the night of the 21/22nd Nieuport was subjected to severs bombardment of gas shells mixed with HE. The bombardment took place at 9pm and 11pm on the 21st, and again at 2am on the 22nd, each bombardment lasting for half an hour. The wind was about 3 miles per hour, warm and ideal for gas shells. On each occasion the gas shells were mixed with HE thus causing the gas shells to be mistaken for "duds" in the first bombardment. After the first bombardment the effect of the gas seemed very slight. About midnight many men became sick and started vomiting, and in consequence could not keep their box respirators on. Undoubtedly many casualties were caused by the mixture of HE with the gas shells,, the latter being mistaken for "duds", and by the smell being unfamiliar. The main syptoms were intense pain in the eyes and conjunctivitis, vomiting of the sea-sick type, sometimes Diarrhoea and abdominal pain, skin - Erythema. Later on it was found that bronchitis developed in a number of cases turning in some instances to Broncho-pneumonia. The shells appear to have been of the77mm type with single copper driving band, shoulder painted a drab yellow, body painted blue with a small drab cross. The smell of the gas was that of mustard and slightly of garlic. About 7am on the 22nd the men's eyes became so affected that blindness came on. Every officer and man with the battalion in Nieuport was affected and with the exception of 4 officers and 40 men had to be sent to hospital on the 22nd. The total casualties of the the battalion up to the night of 22.7.17 were 18 officers and 662 other ranks" The officers are then listed by name. Both the O.C. Lt.Col.Hudson and his deputy Major Brook were amongst those hospitalised. (transcribed from 1/8 West Yorkshire Regt. War Diary)

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  • 7 years later...

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