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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

David Ingleby

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I am looking at the record of a soldier, for whom all the records show was killed on June 6th 1918 as part of the 1st Worcestershires. He is named on the Soissons Memorial. Sadly his service record has not survived. His Medal Roll index Card, Medal Roll entry (War & Victory only), and also the "Soldiers' Effects Register" all confirm service in the !st Worcs.


The war diary for the relevant period is a bit confusing - and I'm easily confused! It states: "The Bn consisting of 3 officers and 70 ORs formed into 1st/ & 2nd/8th Composite Bns."


One war diary entry covers the 1st - 7th June 1918 and there is no mention of any casualties nor of any action/fighting. The Long Long Trail states that the 1st/8th Worcs was in Italy from Nov 1917 to Sep 1918. The 61st Division, of which the 2nd/8th formed part, was badly mauled in the German attacks in early 1918 and seemed to have spent some time rebuilding, before taking part in the advance to victory.


How does that comment of the 1st Worcs war diary fit in with all that? If there already was a 1st and 2nd/8th, how did two new composite battalions called the same be formed in June 1918?


Sorry if it's an obvious answer! Thanks for any help.

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1st Batt: Engaged on the Aisne since the last days of May, by now severely depleted and mixed up with other units, led by Colonel Grogan who won his Victoria Cross on 29th May, the Battalion faced what was effectively the end of the German Spring Offensives. Little more than a hundred, of all ranks, reunited on their withdrawal from the front line a few days later.


I think It means the same one... just that it been so badly depleted that they made it up to some sort of fighting strength with men of various units? 


Anything to keep themselves going I suppose



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Do the records for the soldier say killed or died?


Listing men of 1st Bn Worcestershire Regiment with date of death 6 Jun 1918 on CWGC produces 60 commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.  While I haven't checked all of them, the fair number I checked all have "died".  My thought is that these were men who went missing at the end of May for whom 6 Jun was subsequently adopted as the date of death.  One random sample in the Effects register does have "27/5 and 6 6 18 Presumed" as date of death.


The division continued to call the battalion 1 Worcs after the cobbling together of details from 2/8 and 1st into one battalion rather than "battalions" as in the highlighted quote above as John says.


Relative strengths of 1 Worcs 25 May -  37 and 803, 8 Jun -  6 and 243..



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Thank you John & Max for your responses. It is beginning to make sense - certainly the 1st Worcs were decimated by the end of the German Spring offensive and I can understand the cobbling together the surviving elements of different units into one more or less complete battalion.


Looking again at the war diary I have probably misinterpreted the comment - going on your comments it must be that the surviving elements of the 1st Bttn were merged with the surviving elements of the 2/8 Bttn and my initial impression of the 1/8 Bttn being involved was clearly wrong.


Given the entry for the 6th, my soldiers's death, although given as 6 June, could well have occurred earlier and with all the other fatalities, the paperwork was slow in catching up.


Thanks again!

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