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Remembered Today:

23560 Sidney Smith 4Bn Grenadier Guards


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Dear All,


I am looking for any further information on my Gt Grandfather

Sidney Smith, killed 25th September 1916, during the battle of The Somme.

Born Hitchin, Herts. 1887.

Regiment number 23560,  4th battalion Grenadier Guards.


I believe that he was killed during an engagement at Bernafy Wood.

As far as I know he has no known grave but his body was found after the action.

He is commemorated on Pier 8D at the Thiepval memorial.


If anyone could fill in some blanks as to what actually happened at Bernafy Wood and any additional information on my Grandfather I would be most grateful.


Kind regards,


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Julie, your Great Grandfather's Battalion (4GG) was part of the 3rd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division. There were 4 battalions in a Brigade, and the other battalions in the 3rd Guards Brigade were 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, 2nd Bn Scots Guards and the 1st Bn Welsh Guards. Each battalion had about 1000 men, although they were often under strength due to casualties. There were 3 Brigades in the Division.


In September 1916 the Guards Division was engaged on the Somme and from the 10th September the 3rd Guards Brigade were based in Bernafay Wood and surrounding area, along with most of the other elements of the Guards Division  From there they took part in various operations and fatigues in the build up to the attack on Ginchy on 15th September, which was the opening day of the Battle of Flers-Courcellette. Bernafay Wood was within range of enemy artillery.


On the 15th the 3rd Guards Brigade were in the Divisional Reserve, ready to reinforce the 1st and 2nd Brigades if required or to provide additional manpower to exploit any successes. About 1800 hrs on the 15th 2nd Bn Scots Guards and 4th Bn Grenadier Guards were called on to go up to assist 3rd Bn Coldstream Guards (1st Guards Brigade) on the left of the attack, on the Ginchy-Lesboeufs road. Just as they arrived the Germans launched a counter-attack which was decisively defeated.


On 20th September the 3rd Guards Brigade relieved 59th Brigade of the 20th Division in the Flers (front) line trenches. The 4GG and 2SG shared Battalion Headquarters. Their next objective would be the village of Lesboeufs, which was untaken on the 15th and remained in German hands. The operation to take the village had been planned to take place on the 23rd, but was postponed until 25th on account of bad weather. 


The plan for the attack on Lesboeufs had the 1st Guards Brigade on the right and the 3rd Guards Brigade on the left, with 2SG being the right forward battalion and your Great Grandfather's battalion (4GG) the left forward. Their objective was the German trenches north of Lesboeufs. Getting the men of these battalions and Brigades into position from their positions in the rear, in poor weather, with treacherous muddy conditions underfoot, in the dark and under artillery bombardment was no mean feat. Many men were lost or became casualties during these movements and it may be that your Great Grandfather was one of them. We will probably never know for sure.


The attack by the Guards Division on 25th September 1916 was a success and Lesbouefs was captured.


'The Grenadier Guards in the Great War' by Sir Frederick Ponsonby is a 3 volume history of the Regiment. Volume II covers the period of the Somme and it is available to read online Here


I hope this is of some use to you.





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Welcome to the Forum. To support 2SGs post above I will add the 4th GG War Diary for September:

02.09.16 Ville

Captain E G Spencer CHURCHILL arrived on Thursday evening and joined the Bn. Bn employed yesterday on Coy training under 2nd in Command. No area available today. Coy training in billets. Fine weather.

04.09.16 Ville

Bn attended Divine Service yesterday. In the afternoon selected parties of men from each Bn in the Division paraded to ascertain the best way of carrying on the man all the various articles now necessary in the attack. The Major General subsequently lectured Commanding Officers on the present and probable future situation.

Wet weather interferes with training today. Lecture by CO to Coy Comdrs.

05.09.16 Ville

Bn Field Day. Inter Bn Regimental Boxing yesterday. All Bns represented. All 4 COs and 8 other officers of each Bn dined together. Brigadier General CORKRAN and Lieut Colonel W Murray THRIEPLAND attended – also HRH.


The Brigade is ordered to be ready to move at 4 hours notice. We hear the French have got through on a huge scale and that the enemy are on the run. Two 17” guns and a Kite balloon are reported captured.

08.09.16 Carnoy

At 12:30am yesterday the Bn received orders to move at 8am in buses to neighbourhood of CARNOY to repair a road running from there to WEDGE WOOD. This work was found to have been done the night before and 200 men completed the work in 3 hours. The Bn is bivouacked near TALUS BOISE in shelters. We are about 2½ miles W of LEUZE WOOD.  Incessant artillery fire continues day and night. Weather fine but rather cold.

Lieut H G Wiggins joined the Bn on Wednesday and is posted to No 1 Coy.

09.09.16 Carnoy

The Bn will relieve the 47th Brigade tonight after the 47th Brigade have attacked and captured the trenches in and around GINCHY. Order of Relief No 1, 2, 3 and 4. After relief is complete Nos 1 and 2 will be in the front line trench, No 3 in Support and No 4 in Reserve. Bn HQ will be in a deep dug out in the 1st captured German line.

Captain MITCHELL left today by order of Major General to take up duties of Instructor at CentralTraining School, HAVRE and hands over his Coy to Captain E G CHURCHILL. Welsh Guards support the 48th Brigade on our left and take over their trenches after attack.

13.09.16 Camp in HAPPY VALLEY near FRICOURT

The Bn moved from bivouacs near CARNOY about 9:30pm on Saturday night and moved EAST for ¾ mile when it was halted and told to wait till further orders. The 48th Brigade attack had succeeded and they had attained all their objectives including GINCHY and the Welsh Guards went forward to relieve them. The 47th Brigade attack had failed and the troops, after very heavy losses, were all back in the original lines from where they started. The Brigade on the RIGHT of the 47th Brigade had succeeded in attaining their objectives; thus the LEFT of the 167th Brigade and RIGHT of the Welsh Guards were in the air and separated by a distance of about 600 yards; the LEFT of the Welsh Guards was also in the air owing to the attack on its LEFT having also failed. At 11:45pm OC 4th Bn Grenadier Guards, who had been at Brigade HQ 47th Brigade during the attack, arrived with orders for the Bn to relieve all troops of the 47th Brigade and take over their trenches. The Bn moved off, No 1 Coy leading, under a light shell fire across country, leaving GUILLEMONT immediately on its LEFT and heading direct for GINCHY. The advance was necessarily very slow and it was 3am before the leading Coys arrived in trenches and took over from the remnants of the 47th Brigade. No 1 Coy on the RIGHT got into immediate touch with the supporting troops of the 167th Brigade. No 2 Coy in the centre linked up with Nos 1 and 3 Coys. No 3 Coy had its RIGHT on No 2 and its LEFT stretching NORTH towards GINCHY. After a considerable time No 3 Coy got into touch with some very exhausted Munsters. No 4 Coy and Bn HQ established themselves in an old German trench 500 yards to the EAST of GUILLEMONT and 600 yards behind No 2 Coy. Connection to ANGLE WOOD COPSE was established by relay posts and telephone communication from there to Brigade HQ. An attempt to connect up with Coy HQ by telephone failed owing to shell fire. At 5am the 10th relief was complete though the situation as regards the enemy was very obscure. Patrols at once went out and got into touch but the thick early morning mist and general confusion in the trenches, the condition of which was indescribable, bring filled with killed, dying and wounded, rendered it impossible for OC Coys to render a clear report of the situation. Enemy shell fire at this time was accurate and heavy. The enemy Infantry in our immediate front was very active sniping and patrols from both sides continually met in NO MAN’S LAND [which varied from 80 to 200 yards] frequently not knowing whether they were friends or enemies. The situation remained the same all Sunday the 10th, heavy shell and rifle fire on both sides being continuous. On Sunday evening Captain GRAHAM and No 2 Coy 1st Bn moved up in support and No 3 Coy extended NORTH, No 4 Coy taking its place in the line. OC No 3 Coy [Captain STEWART] found the situation on the LEFT very obscure, whole trenches being obliterated while constant sniping and shell fire made any movement almost impossible. He at least got close touch with a Coy of 2nd Bn Scots Guards who had been sent up to support Welsh Guards. Some Coy of 1st Bn Grenadiers were also supporting Welsh Guards who were heavily attacked in front and rear and both flanks. On Monday the 11th shelling of our line increased and frequent barrages were put on us throughout the day. At 4:30pm Captain GRAHAM, 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, received orders to make a bombing attack across the gap which still existed between the RIGHT of the Welsh Guards and troops on my RIGHT. This took place at 1am Tuesday and was successful though Captain GRAHAM and Lieut ARMAR CORRY were both killed and the Company had heavy casualties. Lieuts LLEWELLYN and SHELLEY, both of this Coy, had previously been wounded. At 1:30am Tuesday the ? Bn Suffolk Regt arrived at Bn HQ to relieve us and by 4am all Coys were clear of trenches. Nos 2 and 4 Coys were placed at the disposal of OC Welsh Guards and sent to TRONES WOOD. Nos 1 and 3 Coys and Bn HQ to BERNAFAY WOOD, arriving at 5:30am. At 9am No 3 Coy was sent forward at disposal of OC 1st Bn and was used to establish connection between units in the line. ½ No 1 Coy were ordered up as a carrying party. At 10pm the Bn was relieved by the 1st Bn Scots Guards, Nos 1 and 4 Coys and Bn HQ arrived at this Camp at 1:30am. No 2 Coy arrived at 1:30am and No 3 Coy at 3:30am. 2/Lieut R F TOMPSON was killed on the night 10/11th by shell fire and Captain C GOSCHEN wounded. Our casualties from 9th to 12th were 1 officer killed, 2 wounded, Other Ranks 16 killed, 75 wounded [8 still at duty] and 5 missing. Lieut R Y T KENDALL was wounded yesterday when No 2 Coy was sent up in support of the 1st Bn.

14.09.16 Camp in HAPPY VALLEY

All officers and senior NCOs attended the funeral yesterday of Captain GRAHAM and Lieut CORRY 1st Bn Grenadier Guards. Brigade Conference yesterday at which the objectives and dispositions of the next commencing tomorrow morning was given. The 1st and 2nd Guards Brigades attack supported by the 3rd Guards Brigade. 6th Division is on our RIGHT and 14th Division is on our LEFT. Bn moves up to CARNOY tonight.

18.09.16 CARNOY

The Bn moved to CARNOY at 5:30pm on Thursday and halted till 10pm when we moved to TRONES WOOD, arriving about 1am and lay down for the night. At 6:20am Friday the attack started. Heavy armoured “tanks” were used for the first time and though useful at first soon got stuck in the mud and shell holes and were no further use. The attack on the 1st Objective was successful and the 3rd Guards Brigade were moved up NE of GINCHY, 4th Bn Grenadiers on the RIGHT and 2nd Bn Scots Guards on the LEFT. At 5pm 4th Bn were ordered to reinforce and support the attack on the RIGHT and 2nd Bn Scots Guards on the LEFT. No 3 Coy [Captain STEWART] was sent to support the front line and became attached to the 2nd Bn Grenadiers. No 4 Coy [Captain CHURCHILL] made good the RIGHT flank and suffered a good deal from snipers lying out in the open. Nos 1 and 2 Coys and Bn HQ remained in the open and dug in, being heavily shelled at intervals. On Saturday morning the 3rd Guards Brigade were ordered to pass through the 1st and 2nd Guards Brigade and carry on the attack, which had come to a standstill. This was ordered to commence at 9:25am but, owing to the distance, bad ground, wet weather etc, the actual attack did not commence till 1:15pm. Three Coys, 1st Bn Grenadiers and 3 Coys Welsh Guards made the attack across the open and lost incredibly few till enemy machine guns were reached when casualties became heavy. Nos 2 and 3 Coys, 4th Bn Grenadiers were pushed up in support and No 3 Coy carried forward the attack on the RIGHT. At 5pm the Brigade ordered all troops to dig in where they were, which was done. The Division was relieved late on Friday night – last 2 Coys of the 4th Bn got out at 5am and reached Camp at CARNOY about 7am.

Brigade is bivouacked in the open – a wet day and very cold.

Our casualties were 1 officer killed [2/Lieut GAULT] 1 officer wounded [2/Lieut ABEL SMITH] and 85 OR killed and wounded.  The casualties of the Guards Division are rumoured to be about 150 officers and 5,000 OR.

19.09.16 CARNOY

Bn remained in bivouacs all yesterday in pouring rain which lasted all night. Bn moves up to the line tonight. The Guards Division takes over from the 20th Division and attack LESBOEUFS. Orders for attack are not yet out.


Order to move yesterday was cancelled. The Brigade relieves the 59th Infantry Brigade tonight and attacks LESBOEUFS on Friday morning; 3rd Guards Brigade on the LEFT, 1st Guards Brigade on the RIGHT each with 1 Bn of the 2nd Guards Brigade in support and remaining 2 Bns of 2nd Guards Brigade in Divisional reserve.


Bn left CARNOY at 7pm yesterday. Had a very bad relief owing to roads being badly congested by traffic and did not get relief complete till 3am.

24.09.16 TRONES WOOD

The attack was postponed and on Thursday the Bn was relieved by the Welsh Guards, two companies remaining close up in support trenches and two being taken back to TRONES WOOD. On Thursday night Lieut Hon E W TENNANT was killed by a sniper and Captain E G SPENCER CHURCHILL wounded by a shell splinter. 2/Lieut CONSTABLE then took charge of No 4 Coy. On Friday night and Saturday night the Bn was employed in digging a new communication trench and had a good many casualties while doing it.

Orders for attack tomorrow have been received. The 1st and 3rd Guards Brigades attack LESBOEUFS, 1st Guards Brigade on the RIGHT of the 3rd Guards Brigade, the 2nd Bn Scots Guards attack on the RIGHT and 4th Bn Grenadier Guards on the LEFT, Scots Guards directing. The Bn has by far the hardest job as we have two lines of German Trenches to cross before reaching our 1st Objective, then there is to be a pause for reforming and at a given time the attack on the 2nd Objective will commence.

The 2nd Objective being taken, the two Bns will consolidate on that line and the 1st Bn Grenadiers will pass through and attack the 3rd Objective, which is high ground to the NE of LESBOEUFS.

The Bn will attack in 2 lines of 2 Companies each. No 4 and No 2 in the 1st line [No 4 on the RIGHT]. Nos 1 and 3 in the 2nd line [No 1 on the RIGHT]. The Bn moves to its battle position tonight, taking over trenches from the Welsh Guards who are in Brigade Reserve.


Monday 11pm. The Bn took over its battle position last night. 2/Lieut MAINE hit in the foot. A lot of shelling and bombing. The artillery bombarded the two lines in front of the Bn from 10am to 12 noon but Captain BRITTEN, in a message which reached Bn HQ at 12:20pm, reported that the fire was weak and inaccurate. At 12:35pm the line advanced to the attack preceded by a creeping barrage 150 yards in advance which moved at the rate of 50 yards a minute and a stationary barrage on the 2nd Objective. The Bn was met by a terrific machine and rifle fire which caused very heavy casualties but failed to stop them. The two LEFT Coys got into the German trench and killed every man there, numbering from 100 to 150; the two RIGHT Coys who had not met with such heavy opposition passed right on to the 1st Objective, where later they were joined by the remnants of the two LEFT Coys. At 1:35pm the attack on the 2nd Objective commenced; the Brigade on our LEFT had failed to reach the 1st Objective and our LEFT was totally in the air. Consequently the RIGHT of the attack got forward and attained the 2nd Objective while the LEFT only partially got forward. Each unit then dug itself in facing the nearest enemy. At 2:35pm the 1st Bn Grenadiers, who had gradually been closed up on the leading line, passed through and attacked the 3rd Objective. As the LEFT flank was totally exposed the result was exactly the same; the RIGHT got forward and attained its Objective; the LEFT was echeloned back and dug in. The Welsh Guards now moved up and filled up gaps forming a continuous line facing NORTH and NORTH EAST and gradually all units became linked up. 1st Bn Grenadiers on the RIGHT, on the 3rd Objective facing EAST, 2nd Bn Scots Guards in the Centre facing EAST AND NORTH EAST and Welsh Guards and 4th Bn Grenadier Guards on the LEFT facing NORTH. The enemy made several half-hearted counter attacks which were easily repulsed. The 1st Guards Brigade got into and through LESBOEUFS and were in touch with the 1st Bn.

The officer casualties, all of which occurred in the 1st attack are:

         Killed: Captain GOSCHEN                                 Wounded:     Captain BRITTEN

                   Captain STEWART                                                     2/Lieut ELLICE

                   Lieut PAYNE GALLWEY

                   2/Lieut FLOWER

                   Lieut JOICEY CECIL

                   2/Lieut CONSTABLE

The only officers who took part in the fight and are unwounded are 2/Lieut KEITH, 2/Lieut SELBY LOWNDES and Lieut FARQUHAR.


Thursday 8pm. The night was comparatively quiet and was spent in consolidating, getting up supplies of SAA, water, rations etc, and getting wounded away and getting all parts of the line linked up.

At 6am a Tank appeared and moved slowly along GIRD Trench, which was strongly held by the Germans, firing into it as it moved along; 300 of the enemy surrendered and the Durham LI moved up and occupied the trench getting into touch on our LEFT; the Leicesters continued the line to the LEFT towards GUEUDECOURT.  At noon several hundred Germans left their trenches between GUEUDECOURT and TRANSLOY and retired across the open in great disorder, apparently leaving their rifles behind them. The guns got on to them and inflicted heavy casualties. A squadron of Cavalry rode up to GUEUDECOURT and passed through it. Large bodies of our troops could be seen advancing to the N and NE of GUEUDECOURT. Enemy artillery kept up a fairly heavy barrage throughout on our front and support troops and we suffered considerably throughout the day from small bodies of enemy snipers concealed in shell holes and old trenches, many of whom were taken single handed by our men and shot. At 10pm the Bn was relieved by the 2nd Guards Brigade and marched to bivouacs near CARNOY arriving at 3am.

All ranks of the Bn carried out their orders to the letter and behaved magnificently. 2/Lieut KEITH, Lieut FARQUHAR and 2/Lieut SELBY LOWNDES worked unceasingly from Monday morning to Tuesday night, reorganising their Coys and set a very great example of endurance and self sacrifice which was of the utmost value and without which the position on the LEFT would probably have fallen. Captain and Adjutant R S LAMBERT was invaluable and it was entirely due to his arrangements and energy that touch from Bn HQ to the Coys was never lost and that it was possible to get up supplies to the Coys.

28.09.16 CARNOY

Yesterday was spent resting and reorganising. Our casualties as at present ascertained are:

          6 Officers killed                                     444 OR killed and wounded

          3 Officers wounded

The Major General Commanding the Guards Division addressed the Bn on parade at 10:15am and paid a great tribute to their share in the fight.

Captain BRITTEN and 2/Lieut ELLICE are lying seriously wounded at GROVE LODGE. Both behaved with the greatest gallantry and are a great loss to the Bn.

Major PILCHER, 2/Lieuts NEWEY, BURMAN, PATON and Transport Officer INGLEBY were left behind as first reinforcements by order of the Brigade and rejoined on Tuesday night.

29.09.16 CARNOY

All NCO promotion made up to date. Cpl VIRGO, No 1 Coy, promoted full Sergeant for gallantry in the field and acting unpaid L/Sgt GARLICK promoted paid L/Sgt for a similar reason. All recommendations [3 of] for immediate award sent in to the Brigade Deficiencies in kits made up. Rifles inspected by Armourer Sgt. Bn moves to MEAULTE tomorrow. A wet, foggy day.


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Thanks so much for all of the information, I will spend some time going through all you have sent me.

Sorry I didnt reply sooner, but was having trouble with my computer.

Kind regards


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  • spof changed the title to 23560 Sidney Smith 4Bn Grenadier Guards

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