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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Soldier of Royal Fusiliers CofL Rgt, 8th Bn late 1st Bn, Attack on OVILLERS.

Tom Westhead

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Good day all,


I am interested in a soldier of 8th Bn Royal Fusiliers, L/10611 PTE Harry Halls who was KIA 7.7.1916 in the assault on OVILLERS.

On September 20th 1914 Harry arrived in France with his Bn, 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers as per the MIC, the War Medal and Victory Medal roll also show 8th R.FUS below 1st R.FUS in that same column. The MIC shows 1/R.FUS and line below that is scribed out.

So when Harry was KIA he was with 8th Bn Royal Fusiliers as per CWGC, remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

I am trying to workout why when 1st Bn and 8th Bn were in completely different Infantry Brigades and Divisions why this move occured from 1st to 8th.

Was there a need to bolster the numbers of 8th Bn ? Maybe they moved small contingents of soldiers from various RF Bns and added them to 8th Bn ?


I guess one way to find out would be to see how many men KIA that day with 8th Bn were formally 1st Bn men, any thoughts on if this is possible? I have been trying to no positive outcome.


Many thanks and any advice gratefully received.



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Likely to have been wounded or sick at some point and returned to active service in a different Bn.

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Hi John,


Many thanks for the reply, I thought that could be the case.


Looked up on Ancestry and FMP but nothing on there I'm afraid.


Guess I will never know.




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  • Admin

Soldiers Died In The Great War ( I think this is on Ancestry) should be searchable to see how many were formerly 

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Hi Michelle,


Thanks for that I am on Ancestry so will try to see if there is a way to sift this kind of information out and find if more former 1Bn boys were moved in a block of soldiers to maybe bolster 8Bn.


I have searched in vain and cannot find any casualty information on Harry as being wounded/casualty which often lead to a soldier then being placed in a different battalion on recovery and returning to the front.


Any other thoughts would be purely guessing so may have to leave it at that.






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  • 1 month later...

Hello Tom, my relative Albert Clayton was drafted and joined with the 8th Bn. RF arriving just after the time that Harry Halls would have been killed in action. I recently published his memoir. Here is a relevent extract where he describes his arrival at the front line camp around the15th July 1916 and may provide some clues:


"Low huts constructed of earth-filled sandbags, with walls about three feet high supporting a peaked roof of tarpaulin painted in those jazz patterns that are supposed to deceive enemy airmen. Lounging idly in the huts, which were destined to be our homes for a little while, were a few hundred men, the sole remaining remnants of the 8th and 9th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers.
On the First of July, 1916, the battle of the Somme had opened in thunder and in pain, killing ninety thousand British alone in the first fortnight. And these before us were some of the lucky survivors... We had come to reinforce them.

Ducking our heads to enter one of the low huts on our first arrival, we were greeted by catcalls and a sanguinary flow of outspoken comment from the rudely awakened inhabitants.
“Blimey!” guffawed the heroes of Ypres and the Somme, “‘Ere come these bleed’ng schoolboys!” And then, in a mock Oxford accent: “How did you leave the mater, old boy? In the pink?” It was a gag of which they never grew tired for many a long day, until the “schoolboys” themselves became automatically “old sweats” by the ultimate arrival of a still newer draft."

For a more factual accoutn there is also the 8th Bn War Diary for this period - 2 pages below but you can download the full diary from the National Archives and you may find an earlier entry which details reinforcements from the 1st Bn.





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  • 1 month later...

Hi MJ,


Great description of the new arrivals and also too you for creating the memoir of Alberts exploits that definitely deserves a good pat on the back.


I have been through 8 Bn RFs War Diary and was not able to find anything relating to Harry and others transferring from 1Bn to 8 Bn Royal Fusiliers, City of London Regiment.


I will look through it again to refresh my memory it's been a while since reading that War Diary.


My thought is Harry may well have been wounded/poorly and maybe sent back to blighty, then on recovery would have returned to the depot and then allocated to 8 Bn RFs.


At this point though I have not found him in a casualty list. 


If something bad at home happened how likely was it that a PTE Soldier would get compassionate leave back to England ?


As currently no casualty listings it may have been a deed of compassion that allowed him to leave 1 Bn.


Am I right in understanding that 1 Bn and 8 Bn RFs were operating in different sectors ? In the period of July 1916 So making it unlikely that a quick transfer from 1Bn to strengthen 8Bn.


I know that on the front companies could be allocated to other units in an instant if the need arose.


Many thanks,



Edited by Tom Westhead
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