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Remembered Today:

4harry

23rd March 1918

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4harry

Remembering Private Harry Forrest of the South Staffordshire Regiment, who died on this day, aged 19 yrs. My Great Uncle, died so young, like so many brave young men.

We should never forget their sacrifice.

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Interested

His sacrifice was not in vain.

 

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andrew pugh

Hi 4harry

What South Staffs Battalion did he belong to?

Regards

Andy

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4harry

Andy

The information I have says 4th Battalion. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, Bay 6, so I assume his body was not found. I have been unable to discover where he was when killed, only that he was killed in action. I don't think his sister, my paternal Grandmother, ever got over his loss. He was the youngest sibling of the family.

Regards

Jean 

Scan9.jpg.6c0a57c414c1c0c1c8d50e073532ee3a.jpg

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clk

Hi Jean,

 

There appears to be a bit of uncertainty between his CWGC record (link) which records his death as being on 24th March 1918, and his Soldiers' Effects record (Ancestry link) which gives a date range of 21st March to 3rd April 1918. May I ask how you know that he died on 23rd March 1918.

 

1 hour ago, 4harry said:

I have been unable to discover where he was when killed

 

If we can firm up his date of death, then Battalion and Brigade war diaries should tell us where he probably was when he was killed. Though at the time, the Germans were involved in the initial days of their massive Spring offensive, which resulted in many units withdrawing/moving position.

 

Regards

Chris

Edited by clk

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4harry

Hi Andy

I don't really have much to go on, except a silk ribbon with his name and date of death (23rd March) which I assume the family would have had printed at the time (?). I had noticed the discrepancy with the dates, the CWGC stating 24th March, but not having access to the Ancestry details, I was unaware of such a wide date range. 

Regards

Jean

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lee5243

Hi Jean,

 

45623 Pte Harry Forrest 4th (Exra Reserve) Battalion South Staffordshire regiment. This is confirmed on the medal roll. He was entitled to the British war medal and Victory medal pair only.

I have a copy of these documents if you like me to forward them to you?

 

Checking the war diary for the 4th S/Staffs between the dates of the 23rd March and 4th April 1918. Unfortunately this regiment never kept a daily account of those injured or killed like in some other regiments (i'm used to reading the Seaforth Highlander war diarys and they document each day how many men were killed or wounded etc). So there is no mention in the 4th battalion of when he died.

Saying that however I have roughly transcribed the war diary for you - 

 

March 1-12: In No2 Camp

March 12 to 21: Battalion marched to Ritz camp. Achiet Le Grand

March 21 Noon: The battalion under command of Lt Col C.W.Blackall marched to Fremicourt: "B" Team remained behind and proceeded to Corpsreinforcement camp at Achiet Le Petit.

March 21 11:30pm: Battalion went up and dug in behind the Army line on left of the road between Beugny and Fremicourt.

March 22: Remained in the line during the day.

March 23 3pm: "C" and "D" Companies formed a defensive flank on the left, "A" and "B" remained in their position. At night "C" and "D" Companies returned to support "A" and "B" who were still in the Army Line which has now become the front line.

March 24 2am: Relieved by a battalion of the 62nd Division: retired to a position between Fremicourt and Beugnatre, and dug in there.

March 24 3pm: Reorganised in Sunken Road just N of Railway Line.

March 24 6pm: Took up position in Trench W of Bapaume - Arras Road and just S of Monument.

March 24 8pm: Retired across main road and dug in 400 yards due E of Biefvillers?

March 25 9am: Lt Col. C.W. Blackall Killed. Battalion retired to a line between Grevillers and Biefvillers. retired in afternoon to line which was being dug by 7th Infantry Brigade.

March 25 10pm: Marched back to BucQuoy

March 26 2am: Marched to Gommecourt

March 26 9am: Took up position in Gommecourt Wood facing Hebuterne

March 26 6pm: Took up position near La Brayelle Farm.

March 27 1am: Marched to Coigneux.

March 27 2pm: Marched to Birchvillers.

March 28 8am: Left the Prisoner of War camp and marched to Heilloy near Enaples? Stayed there 2 days.

March 30 1130pm: Marched to Doullens.

March 31 10am: Entrained and travelled to Godevaersvelde. By lorries to Shankshill Camp at Neuve Eglise.

April 1 + 2: Inspection of 7th Infantry Brigade by Gen. Plumer? at 5pm. Battalion moved into the line at Ploegstreet Wood in support of the 10th Cheshires on right and 1st Wiltshires on left of Battaion frontage in front line.

 

The diary is difficult to read from here but as you can see by the dates in bold. The 4th were in the line from 21st march to 25th so I suspect this is when Harry died. After some travelling they again go back into the line at the start of April. I will see what the 7th brigade diary says and if it will shed more light.

 

Here is a good link to the Long Long trail webopage which has a wealth of info. It describes the 25th Division (7th Inf Bde - which S/Staffs was a part).

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/25th-division/

 

I have a copy of all these documents if you would like a copy send me your email address and I'll send them over.

 

I have also found on Ancestry that someone has done a family tree and Harry is part of this. (Knight Family tree).

 

Hope this helps a bit more with the story of your Great Uncle.

All the best

 

Lee

 

 

Edited by lee5243

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