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2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment 'Battle of Bazentin Ridge' 14/71916


Cliff
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Hi,

   I'm looking for information on my grandfather John William Boucher Leamington, Warwickshire.  Royal Warwickshire Regiment  2nd Battalion. Private. Service Number: 12722 . KIA 14/07/1916 . I understand form the Forces War Records  that his unit was at the the Battle of Bazentin Ridge the day he was killed. I have no photographs or information about him. My father never spoke of him because of his bitter resentment at his father volunteering to go to war at the age of 40 and also working in protected employment. It was two weeks after my father's 16 birthday he was told  of his father's death and never spoke about him thereafter. All my father's plans crashed and being the eldest child had to find work to support his large family. I am aware that my grandfather's name is on the memorial at Thiepval France but that's all. The war diaries are also pretty sketchy around the 14th July 1916. Any information would be gratefully received.

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Welcome to the forum. You may find a photo in the local newspapers, families did report casualties. Photos were not routinely taken of the recruit on attestation, but you might get lucky. 

Michelle 

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Good morning,

Pte. John William Boucher (12722) died in action on 14th July 1916. His Medal index card states 'K in A', and that he arrived in France on 16 December 1915. His 'soldiers' effects' entry (see below) states that he died 'in action' rather than from wounds:

 https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/60506/images/42511_6117462_0060-00296?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&pId=475450

There is a pensions document for him too on the Western Front association website that mentions his wife and children.

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid=61588&h=21327943&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=60506

Even if there was a list of named casualties for 14 July in the war diary it would not tell us any more. The war diary of 20 July 1916 records the large number of 'casualties during these operations': '219 ORs killed, 142 OR wounded, 62 ORs missing'. A 2nd Lt. Albert Purcell was killed on the 14th - CWGC.

14th July was the first day of The Battle of Bazentin Ridge (14–17 July 1916). The battalion's losses up to 20 July were greater than those in the attack on Ginchy on 3rd September 1916. There must be a detailed record of these actions in a battalion history?

The fact that he is listed on the Thiepval memorial indicates that his body was not recovered, or at least was unable to be identified.

He may lie in an 'unknown' grave. As Michelle has said you may find his death mentioned in a local newspaper.

 

Screen Shot 2020-11-11 at 09.44.15.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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2 Lt. Albert Purcell of 2nd RWR, who also died on 14 July 1916, does not have a known grave either:

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/1549738/ALBERT JOSEPH PURCELL/

Most of the 22 from 2nd RWR listed on the CWGC site for 14 July 1916 are listed among the missing on the Thiepval Memorial.

I only found one who has a known grave: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/556269/WILLIAM BIRCH/

There is a possibility that John Boucher may lie in a grave marked like this:

a-soldier-of-the-great-war-known-unto-god-delville-wood-cemetery-longueval_orig.jpg

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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So happens I am doing some research on the 2nd RWR and just downloaded their diary. Amazingly the last page on the one half of the computer file is for the 13th July and the first page of the second file starts up again on the 21st, but the text seems to cover the time period, with a casualty list at the end. As is usual only officers are named.

 

image.png.334d3ad634d439acbec520f49873f842.pngimage.png.04b2a7b8d963727354e516b7af13bf0c.png

image.png.5226f36c83663ea97cb6a763372131fe.png

 

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Yes. That's the entry for the 20th July that I referred to above. The pages for 14-19th may have been lost in the chaos of the action.

The other thread for the 2 RWR in September 1916 is closely connected to this one:

 https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/286311-royal-warwickshire-regiment-mm-winner/

I would be surprised if no MMs were awarded for the July 1916 action too.

 

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Hi,

    thank you to Michelle, Ivor and Sturgis for your responses and information. I will check with the local newspaper but was wondering if there was anywhere on the site that had a specific topic of sharing letters or photographs of the 2nd Battalion RWR around the time of my grandfather's service? Thank you again Cliff.

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You can do a search of the forum to see if this is the case. 

Michelle 

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Cliff

The WDs of 22 Infantry Brigade and 7 Div HQ General Staff contain narratives of the July Actions. I could not find a report from 2 RWR but there is a lot of information and maps.

On Ancestry under Browse - Various (Infantry Brigades 7 Div) and Divisional HQ - 7 Div.

Brian

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  • 10 months later...
On 11/11/2020 at 07:26, Cliff said:

My father never spoke of him because of his bitter resentment at his father volunteering to go to war at the age of 40 and also working in protected employment. It was two weeks after my father's 16 birthday he was told  of his father's death and never spoke about him thereafter. All my father's plans crashed and being the eldest child had to find work to support his large family.

 

On 11/11/2020 at 09:56, Ivor Anderson said:

There is a pensions document for him too on the Western Front association website that mentions his wife and children.

Cliff,

Ivor has offered a potentially interesting link for you including/especially regarding Christopher Roland Boucher

2145254320_BOUCHERJW12722.png.3d514f1688807e42084f254c41cf205c.png

Image courtesy of WFA/Fold3

This pension card records that Christopher Roland Boucher spent time on a Training Ship - Could that part of his life be news for you, or did you know about it before?

As a result 2/- [per week] allowance was not issuable for him to his mother for that time.

The N/N annotation [Noted for Novel - likely for special calculation] might perhaps be explained by a revised calculation resulting in the holding back of this allowance.

The fact that the claim became DEAD 1931 suggests that it ended after the youngest child had reached 16 [children's allowances normally ended when they reached 16] - this also suggest that his widow had either remarried or died and could no longer claim a widow's pension.  You are likely to know family circumstances.

Unfortunately the main awards file will probably be long lost having been deliberately destroyed once its use was ended.

:-) M

Edit: Training Ships appear to have originated in the C19th and had a strict regime, and life might be considered hard, so memories from that time might perhaps have not have been considered great ones.

If further interested it is worth looking for info on "Training Ships" and "Industrial Schools" [As well as for occupational training some of the original ones were reformatory for young boys convicted in the courts of mainly minor crimes - or as a hopefully preventative measure to stop this arising! See: Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1891 - Reformatory and Industrial Ships, etc.]  Regardless life aboard a TS was pretty spartan and certainly very regimented. Training ships continued long after the war.  There obviously was an interest in training boys for a career at sea but not all ended up there.

Edited by Matlock1418
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