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Remembered Today:

Battle of Arras 1917


armourersergeant

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Have checked mother site no real info up yet and the web seems to be devoid of good imformation aswell, but if any Pals could help with what they know and or sources they know of. In particular i am looking for actions involving 7th Corps and its performance during this. As Chris says it was an important battle but thier is very little info on it around, anybody know why?

Thanks in advance

Arm.

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Paul the reason i am aftter info on the Arras offensive is that i am researching for my own benefit General Sir Thomas D'oyly Snow commander of 7th Corps and Arras is the last big battle i need info on.

If poss and not giving away anything from your future publication could you tell me if the handling of the Corps and Snows generalship were good bad or indifferent. I have studied all sorts of sources regarding Snow and there is not much,though there are some records at the IWM i have yet to see, and i am coming to the conclusion that he was not that bad a general, as i had at first thought.

Thanks

Arm.

Ps whats the format of your book?...oops just seen ya site its a battleground series i suspect.

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Guest Simon Bull

Hi Armourer,

You are presumably aware of Jon Nicholls excellent book on the Battle of Arras "Cheerful Sacrifice"? Forgive me if I am stating the obvious.

Simon Bull

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The battles are of the main site is the one that will take me longest to develop. I might get to Arras in time for the centenary!

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Simon i am blissfully aware of nothing, it is an area i have not studied to date so your recommendation comes as a welcome lead

Arm

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Hi Arm

I can confirm that Jon Nicholls' "Cheerful Sacrifice" is excellent. The Official History of the War, France and Belgium, 1917 Vol. I, that covers the Battle of Arras is heavy going but as to be a must for any research evan though it misses a lot out.

Regards

Annette

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Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves were at Arras in 1917 with the (2nd?) Welch Regiment, and their story is well covered in Vol. 1 (2002) of Jean Moorcroft Wilson's biography of Sassoon, or there's a Pen & Sword covering the same period. Might be useful.

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Graves was wounded at Bazentin (Somme) with 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers (as opposed to Welsh Regt) in July 1916 and never returned to the front - so missed Arras.

Sassoon transferred from 1st RWF to 2nd Bn and was wounded near Tunnel Trench at Arras in late April 1917; both the sources you mention give a good account of this, as does his own Memoirs of an Infantry Officer .

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Sorry about all that rubbish, Paul - I was depending on my head rather than the books this morning - never a good idea!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Armourer

I quite agree with everybody that this is very little on this series of battles anywhere. When you consider that the daily casualty rate was higher than that of any of the other great offensives, why has so little been written about it?

My great-uncle Harry won his MM on 14th April 1917 and I am lucky enough to have a paragraph in the Vic's history that describes that action. The battles also get a mention in the 56th Divisional history.

I found the spot where his action took place last year but wish that a lot more could be written about Arras.

Good luck with the project and I look forward to Paul's book being published.

Regards

Andy

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  • 1 year later...

I have just received a copy of "Cheerful Sacrifice: The Battle of Arras 1917" by

Jonathon Nicholls whom I heard speak at our local WFA meeting. And it's signed by the author, too. Look-up requests welcome.

Robbie :)

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Robbie,

Anything on VII corps commander and his competance, General Sir T D O Snow.

regards

Arm.

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Yes, he is mentioned on about 6 different pages. A couple of extracts from letters to his wife and his diary. Tone of them is one of unrealistic optimism to say the least..always stating that things were good/ or will get better because it is St Georges' Day..

would you like me to photocopy the relevant sections? The first part in which he is mentioned is a short Chapter on the Hindenburg Line and another "the Defeated Enemy".

Robbie

Just let me know and i'll copy and post to you if you'd like it.

Robbie

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Evening all.

Have look at this site.

Can't do a hyperlink,but the web address is WWW.imperialservices.org.uk.

Loads of stuff on it,reference WW1,and i think there is a section on Arras.

All the best.

Simon.

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Yes, he is mentioned on about 6 different pages. A couple of extracts from letters to his wife and his diary. Tone of them is one of unrealistic optimism to say the least..always stating that things were good/ or will get better because it is St Georges' Day..

would you like me to photocopy the relevant sections? The first part in which he is mentioned is a short Chapter on the Hindenburg Line and another "the Defeated Enemy".

Robbie

Just let me know and i'll copy and post to you if you'd like it.

Robbie

Robbie,

His diary for 1916-18 is held at the IWM, and hard reading it makes, I have tried to read it on several occasions. I do not recall anything about Arras, but there must have been something.

I do recall that his diary was very much a letters to wife type of diary. It struck me not as optomistic, but more his safety valve. I

When we are in Ypres in April I'll bore you senseless with what i know about him. Also get Jon going on how good Haig was and we could be in for a cracking night. ;)

I'll PM my address if thats ok.

regards

Arm.

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One of lifes great mysteries is why Arras has been so neglected for so long.

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One of lifes great mysteries is why Arras has been so neglected for so long.

Yes, Derek. That is exactly the message that Nicholls gave us throughout his talk.

Robbie :unsure:

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Look-up requests welcome.

Hi Robbie,

Could I trouble you for some help on Arras - I've been reading this thread with interest and agreement regarding lack of interest in Arras. Whilst I've gleaned what I can from this site and other places, I have essentially been chasing round in circles beyond basic info.

I am interested in anything related to the 2nd Duke of Wellington's Regiment, part of the 4th Division. They went over the top on the 9th April - I think they actually went into action around 12:30, leapfrogging another unit, before getting to Fampoux.

I have been lucky enough to read the war diary for this unit at the time, but this was when I embarked upon my research, so I did not really get much out of it beyond stunned fascination - and this just reading the build up. The 9th April entry is just 05:30 "ATTACK". Then very little until about the end of April, when they came out of the line - as far as I can tell.

Is there anything on their exploits during the battle? Did they merely advance to Fampoux and hold, or did they have to fight hard? Once there, did they suffer counter attacks. Also, was this battle known for gas attacks by either side?

Sorry if its all a bit general, but my here knowledge is vague - the basis of my look-up request is:

"Anything on the 2nd Dukes at Arras?"

with thanks

regards

doogal

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Hi Doogal,

The is no mention of the 2nd Dukes in the index, however there is a full page map of "The Attack of the 9th and 4th Divisions, 9 April, 1917. The positions of various Brigades are shown on this map. (p. 124). The relevant chapter is Chapter 13, Forcing the Gap.

If you'd like me to copy this for you please ask.

Robbie :P

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Don't know if this helps

From the History of the 8th Royal Scots(Pioneers to the 51st Highland Division)

Battle of Arras

"From 31st January to 31st May,the Battalion was continuosly in the line at Roclincourt,north-west of Arras,and subsequently at Roeux.Before the Division came into the line in February they were attached to the 12th Division and during the time the Division was out,they were attached to the 4th Division.During February and March, the Battalion reconstructed the communication trenches and support lines,dug new trenches and the "jumping off" trenches for the Division,and made dug-outs.Following up the attack on 9th April 1917,the Battalion constructed strong points,and put forward roads in repair.During the subsequent fighting round Roeux and the Chemical Works,the Battalion did some of its best work.It dug and maintained practically all the new front,support lines, and communication trenches,including"Crow","Crook","Cash","Crete","Corona","Ceylon","Camel",etc.

This work,however, was only effected at considerable loss.Four Officers,18 other ranks were killed,and 6 officers and 72 other ranks wounded,while 8 were missing"

George

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Hi Robbie,

If I could take you up on your kind offer - I think this will help a great deal with my understanding. I've seen a few maps, but they seem to concentrate on Vimy Ridge and the Canadians to the expense of other units.

The Dukes were in the 12th Brigade of the 4th Division.

I did a quick search on "Cheerful Sacrifice" - and after a fascinating digression into a thread about the uses of the bayonet in the war (such is the nature of the forum!!) - I have decided this will be my next Great War book purchase.

Here are some notes from the war diary - I think I have some for earlier in the month also. I shall have a look for them and post them if I have them.

regards

doogal

23-27th April 1917

Liencourt

Apparently in reserve of some sort as they were doing specialist classes.

Also noted "7:15-7:45am Physical"

- would this be physical exercise or physical check-up on the condition of the troops?

28th April 1917

Haut Avesness (sp?)

29th April 1917

G17, east of St Nichouts (sp?)

30th April 1917

trenches NE of Fampoux

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I realise I am butting in here, but... mention of Arras reminded me that a drinking friend's father is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to the missing (I kid you not - I hope I will be that sprightly at half his age!).

His details are:

BRADFORD, WILLIAM ELIJAH

Initials: W E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Royal Fusiliers

Unit Text: 8th Bn.

Age: 26

Date of Death: 02/07/1917

Service No: 48170

Additional information: Son of Arthur and Ellen Bradford, of Great Wratting, Haverhill, Essex; husband of Ethel Bradford, of Little Sampford, Braintree, Essex.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 3.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

I believe, although I don't have the info to hand, that SDGW records him as died of wounds. Any offers on where and what the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers were doing then - or sources I can look for, can't beat a good read...

Adrian

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Hi Robbie,

If I could take you up on your kind offer - I think this will help a great deal with my understanding. I've seen a few maps, but they seem to concentrate on Vimy Ridge and the Canadians to the expense of other units.

The Dukes were in the 12th Brigade of the 4th Division.

I did a quick search on "Cheerful Sacrifice" - and after a fascinating digression into a thread about the uses of the bayonet in the war (such is the nature of the forum!!) -  I have decided this will be my next Great War book purchase.

Here are some notes from the war diary - I think I have some for earlier in the month also. I shall have a look for them and post them if I have them.

regards

doogal

23-27th April 1917

Liencourt

Apparently in reserve of some sort as they were doing specialist classes.

Also noted "7:15-7:45am Physical"

- would this be physical exercise or physical check-up on the condition of the troops?

28th April 1917

Haut Avesness (sp?)

29th April 1917

G17, east of St Nichouts (sp?)

30th April 1917

trenches NE of Fampoux

Hi Doogal,

So you'd like me to copy that chapter? If, so could you email or pm me your address please? I will be copying tomottow for Arm as well. Arm I haven't forgotten. ANd Roop I plan to upload the photos tonight..been a busy week.

Robbie

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