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52450 David James Charles Lancashire Fusiliers KIA 22nd August 1918


Robuk88
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Hello,

I am visiting the Somme all been well next week and i am doing some research on soldier David James Charles who was killed serving as 52450 in the Lancashire Fusiliers according to the CWGC death page they produce he served in the 1st/5th Battalion. I always get confused when i see these numbers what exactly do they mean? Was he with the 1st or the 5th or there also a 1st/5th Battalion that was just separate?

I found out he was initially 33191 in the Kings (Liverpool Regiment) and wounded in 1917 but i can't see when he would have landed in the theatre of war as it's missing on his Medal Index Card. 

I did come across a war diary for the Lancashire Fusiliers 1st Battalion for the 22nd August 1918 but it said the day was quiet.

Any help would be appreciated gents thank you.

Rob

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He was with the 5th Battalion, which was a Territorial Battalion. Those types of Battalions raised a number of so-called Lines. The first line was termed 1/5th, the second 2/5th etc.

So he was with the 1st Line of the 5th Battalion.

Regards

Russ

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6 minutes ago, RussT said:

He was with the 5th Battalion, which was a Territorial Battalion. Those types of Battalions raised a number of so-called Lines. The first line was termed 1/5th, the second 2/5th etc.

So he was with the 1st Line of the 5th Battalion.

Regards

Russ

Thank you Russ. If I am searching for war diaries would they be the 5th battalion or would they still need be 1/5th?

 

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As Russ has explained this was the 1/5 Battalion  the war diary is on Ancestry here

There is a full explanation of first line etc. on the LLT here  https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/the-territorial-force/

The link I have posted to the diary begins on the 9th April 1918 as your man is in the draft of 141 other ranks "A4 men" who arrived on the 11th.

These were posted from the 3rd or Depot Bn of the KLR to France on the 6th April 1918 following the losses of March 21st.  On the 9th April they were transferred to the 1/5 LF at the Infantry Base Depot and rushed out to the front as reinforcements. They were men previously wounded, or recovering from wounds/sickness, swiftly regraded for active service at the Front.

The diary can be found at TNA https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354440

Currently free if you register also worth downloading the Brigade diary https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354439

as that will contain maps operation orders etc. He was killed during the attack on Hill 140 Second Battle of the Somme.

The Brigade diary is on Ancestry but wrongly indexed.

 

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My grandfather, Norman Hall, was also in the 1/5th (first fifth) Lancashire Fusiliers, from June 1917 to July 1918. Although not directly involved, in his diary he describes the battle in March/April 1918 which led to the 1/5th’s desperate need for reinforcements.

He was invalided out of the 1/5th back to England at the end of July 1918 as a result of having broken his ankle in a riding accident when on his way to collect beer for the men to celebrate Minden Day on 1 August 1918 (I feel sure he would like me to stress that this was before he had collected the beer!) so he was no longer with the 1/5th by the time of the battle of Hill 140 when David Charles was killed.

in case it is of any interest I will have a look at my complete transcript of his diary to see what he says about the intervening period between April and July 1918.

Do you know which unit of the KLR David Charles was with when he was wounded?

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1 hour ago, kenf48 said:

As Russ has explained this was the 1/5 Battalion  the war diary is on Ancestry here

There is a full explanation of first line etc. on the LLT here  https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/the-territorial-force/

The link I have posted to the diary begins on the 9th April 1918 as your man is in the draft of 141 other ranks "A4 men" who arrived on the 11th.

These were posted from the 3rd or Depot Bn of the KLR to France on the 6th April 1918 following the losses of March 21st.  On the 9th April they were transferred to the 1/5 LF at the Infantry Base Depot and rushed out to the front as reinforcements. They were men previously wounded, or recovering from wounds/sickness, swiftly regraded for active service at the Front.

The diary can be found at TNA https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354440

Currently free if you register also worth downloading the Brigade diary https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354439

as that will contain maps operation orders etc. He was killed during the attack on Hill 140 Second Battle of the Somme.

The Brigade diary is on Ancestry but wrongly indexed.

 

Wow thank you so much i've downloaded them and will go through them.  Very interesting and just what i was hoping for. It's very much appreciated.

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1 hour ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

My grandfather, Norman Hall, was also in the 1/5th (first fifth) Lancashire Fusiliers, from June 1917 to July 1918. Although not directly involved, in his diary he describes the battle in March/April 1918 which led to the 1/5th’s desperate need for reinforcements.

He was invalided out of the 1/5th back to England at the end of July 1918 as a result of having broken his ankle in a riding accident when on his way to collect beer for the men to celebrate Minden Day on 1 August 1918 (I feel sure he would like me to stress that this was before he had collected the beer!) so he was no longer with the 1/5th by the time of the battle of Hill 140 when David Charles was killed.

in case it is of any interest I will have a look at my complete transcript of his diary to see what he says about the intervening period between April and July 1918.

Do you know which unit of the KLR David Charles was with when he was wounded?

I hope he managed to at least get a beer despite the breaking of his ankle ouch! 

I don't know which KLR he was serving with but he did serve with 20th KLR and the 2/7th KLR according to his medal roll.

Anything you can find out from his Diary would certainly be interesting.

41629_636897_10967-00064.jpg

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We can be fairly certain that my grandad didn’t get any beer for Minden Day as he was taken straight to No 3 Canadian Hospital at Doullens and then to No 2 British Red.Cross Hospital at Rouen. More to the point - and, to be fair to my grandad, I think he would have considered this more important as well- let us hope someone else was able to collect the men’s beer in his place …

I am having IT problems at the moment, so can’t immediately check the transcript of his diary. It won’t mention David Charles by name, but if there is anything of general interest over and above what is in the official War Diary I will let you know. Is David Charles a relative of yours?

it looks as though David Charles would have been wounded with the 2/7th KLR, perhaps also with the 20th Battalion KLR, neither of which were in the same Divisions my grandfather earlier in the war (he had been in the 51st and 55th Division, while the 20th and 2/7th KLR were with the 30th and 57th Divisions respectively).

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24 minutes ago, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

We can be fairly certain that my grandad didn’t get any beer for Minden Day as he was taken straight to No 3 Canadian Hospital at Doullens and then to No 2 British Red.Cross Hospital at Rouen. More to the point - and, to be fair to my grandad, I think he would have considered this more important as well- let us hope someone else was able to collect the men’s beer in his place …

I am having IT problems at the moment, so can’t immediately check the transcript of his diary. It won’t mention David Charles by name, but if there is anything of general interest over and above what is in the official War Diary I will let you know. Is David Charles a relative of yours?

it looks as though David Charles would have been wounded with the 2/7th KLR, perhaps also with the 20th Battalion KLR, neither of which were in the same Divisions my grandfather earlier in the war (he had been in the 51st and 55th Division, while the 20th and 2/7th KLR were with the 30th and 57th Divisions respectively).

No rush he’s not a relative but I’ve bought his medals to take with me a I’ve visited the cemetery where he rests and it’s one of my favourites to visit if that’s the right phrase. So with me going back it just give me chance to learn and pay my respects.

 

i do enjoy the research but I’m a total novice and there’s no great guides to follow on how so I’m trying to get the experience so I can learn more as the Great War and individual soldiers when visiting the cemeteries it seems to have taken over my life haha.

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7 hours ago, Robuk88 said:

Hello,

I am visiting the Somme all been well next week and i am doing some research on soldier David James Charles who was killed serving as 52450 in the Lancashire Fusiliers according to the CWGC death page they produce he served in the 1st/5th Battalion. I always get confused when i see these numbers what exactly do they mean? Was he with the 1st or the 5th or there also a 1st/5th Battalion that was just separate?

I found out he was initially 33191 in the Kings (Liverpool Regiment) and wounded in 1917 but i can't see when he would have landed in the theatre of war as it's missing on his Medal Index Card. 

I did come across a war diary for the Lancashire Fusiliers 1st Battalion for the 22nd August 1918 but it said the day was quiet.

Any help would be appreciated gents thank you.

Rob

Hello Rob, where is he buried as I cannot find him on CWGC, but I am clueless in that respect,Ian.

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1 hour ago, EAST YORKSHIRE said:

Hello Rob, where is he buried as I cannot find him on CWGC, but I am clueless in that respect,Ian.

Hi Ian,

I’ve attached the CWGC picture

 

Rob

575F269C-53DE-4A34-92A3-559E09541EA6.jpeg

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Hi Rob,

Interestingly, his Soldiers Effects record indicates that his outstanding pay seems to have been divided between his mother and an Eva Linley 

image.png.20fc1d97d6e5aef30a48835a648a7b67.png
Image sourced from Ancestry

However, by the time of the payment of the War Gratuity, it seems to have been paid in its entirety to his mother, as the 'Res[idual??] Leg[atee]. The associated will is available (search link) for a modest fee. It may not tell you very much at all.

image.png.601f56ff68ba826cdf5515fc4dc19c88.png

Regards
Chris

 

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12 minutes ago, clk said:

Hi Rob,

Interestingly, his Soldiers Effects record indicates that his outstanding pay seems to have been divided between his mother and an Eva Linley 

image.png.20fc1d97d6e5aef30a48835a648a7b67.png
Image sourced from Ancestry

However, by the time of the payment of the War Gratuity, it seems to have been paid in its entirety to his mother, as the 'Res[idual??] Leg[atee]. The associated will is available (search link) for a modest fee. It may not tell you very much at all.

image.png.601f56ff68ba826cdf5515fc4dc19c88.png

Regards
Chris

 

That’s unusual I don’t think ever come across that before. I’ve only ever seen them left to the mother or parents. I did try to find a pension record on fold3 but had no luck.

 

Rob

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19 hours ago, Robuk88 said:

Hi Ian,

I’ve attached the CWGC picture

 

Rob

575F269C-53DE-4A34-92A3-559E09541EA6.jpeg

Thanks Rob, will go and pay him a visit when I am there in May,Ian.

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Thank you for all those who took the time to respond. Today I visited David’s grave to pay my respects and took along with me his medals. To those who responded thank you for helping keep his memory alive. Lest we forget.

08AFD1C5-B168-4425-A81C-21B8BBAAE5DE.jpeg

FD1BB670-9082-4263-A581-7081BD0EFE57.jpeg

4F341ED1-5439-4B10-A1A7-2C43A5FC84B2.jpeg

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2 hours ago, EAST YORKSHIRE said:

Looked like a nice day to be on the Somme Rob.

It’s been a good week buddy luckily. Warm and dry perfect for walking the battlefields.

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14 hours ago, Robuk88 said:

It’s been a good week buddy luckily. Warm and dry perfect for walking the battlefields.

Good Rob, I'm there for a week commencing 7th May, hope you have not used up all the good weather! Ian.

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I now again have access to my typed transcript of my grandfather’s diary, and see that the periods when my grandfather’s time with the 1/5th LF overlapped with David Charles’ time with that unit are 10 or 11 April 1918 to 10 May 1918, and 10 to 29 July 1918.

My grandfather has actually mentioned in his diary the joining of the 141 reinforcements which included David Charles, though he has the date as 10 April rather than 11 April 1918. At that time he was acting as Adjutant to the battalion, and continued in that position until 10 May 1918 when he was taken to hospital suffering from PUO [Pyrexia of Unknown Origin] or trench fever, and did not return until 10 July 1918. 19 days after his return he again left the battalion, this time as a result of having broken his ankle in a riding accident, and was invalided back to England where he spent the rest of the war.

I have reminded myself that the official War Diary of the 1/5th LF is in places even more difficult to read than most as it is very faint.

Sadly my grandfather’s account of this period is not as vivid and detailed as the earlier part of his diary, perhaps because he was writing it several years later, perhaps because he felt more engaged in the earlier part of the war when he was learning the ropes, and was forging close relationships with the fellow soldiers with whom he had grown up with militarily, as it were, and also was in good health himself, and not yet jaded by the experience of war. For this reason I have not included in the published version of the diary his full account of the later period of the war, but have summarised it in an Afterword, with only selected passages quoted in their entirety.

With that warning, I could, if you wished, Robuk88, send you by PM some detailed extracts of his account of April/May and July 1918. The main things that would have resonated with David Charles’ experience are his comments on the weather, mention of training exercises, and the frequency (or otherwise) with which they were shelled when at the front. My grandfather was actually present when the German prisoner was captured (referred to in the War Diary entry for 25 April 1918, though my grandfather has it as 25 April 1918), and he also gives a fair bit of detail about attacks on La Signy Farm on 22/23 July 1918, which David Charles might have participated in.

Although my grandfather’s war came to an end at the end of July 1918, it is clear that he felt that his diary would be incomplete without detailing the actions of the 1/5th after he left them, as he has added an account of their doings from August 1918 onwards right at the end. This account certainly wasn’t first hand, I am not sure where he got it from, but possibly the Lancashire Fusiliers’ Annual, as he has mentioned this from time to time. It doesn’t read to me as if he has written down a first hand account given by one of his comrades.

His account of the period from 20 to 23 August reads as follows:

SERRE

During the closing days of July 1918, constant patrolling resulted in No Man’s Land becoming ours. These patrols cost the Battalion 1 officer 2/LT Stott killed. The morale of the men was never higher and the success of the French and our own 4th Army filled everyone with high spirits again.

Aug 20th

“The 3rd Army (Byng) was ordered to press the enemy back towards BAPAUME without delay and to make every effort to prevent the enemy from destroying bridges and roads”. The Great and Final British offensive had begun.

The IV Corps consisted of the 42nd (right) New Zealand (centre) 37th (left).

The attack was fixed for August 21st – by which time the enemy had been pushed over SERRE RIDGE and from Serre village.

Aug 21st

The 125th Inf Bde were to attack on the left of the Two brigade front planned by the 42nd division.

The Lozenge

The objective of the 1/5th Lan Fus was Hill 140 and a strong point – The Lozenge, which was the key to the position. At zero – 4.55am – the guns opened, a thick mist prevailed, which favoured surprise, the creeping barrage – lifted ant an average rate of 100yds every 4 mins. The mist, although serving as a screen, increased the difficulty of keeping touch.

1/5th LF were disposed D Coy (Capt Page M.C.); A Coy (2/LT Riley); C Coy (Capt Haywood M.C.) in front line; B Coy (Capt C.R. Hartley) in Support. The operations worked according to plan and the first objective soon taken. “B” Coy yhen passed through at 7 am and by determination succeeded in taking their 2nd objective – The Lozenge, and the positions were held and consolidated through the day. In the last attack outstanding valour and prowess by shown by L/Sgt Edward Smith D.C.M.

This NCO, whilst in command of a platoon personally took a M.G. post, rushing the garrison with rifle and bayonet. The enemy scattered to throw hand grenades at him. He killed at least six of the enemy. Collecting his men he mopped up two other M.G. posts. Later he showed determination and leadership by organising an attack on an enemy post holding up another platoon, captured the objective, and causing many casualties.

Again on the 22nd his personal example and leadership resulted in the retaking of a section of line.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

MIRAUMONT

The capture of this high ground dominated the Ancre Valley. Many guns, M.G.s and prisoners were taken.

Aug 22nd

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On 01/05/2022 at 22:08, A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy said:

I now again have access to my typed transcript of my grandfather’s diary, and see that the periods when my grandfather’s time with the 1/5th LF overlapped with David Charles’ time with that unit are 10 or 11 April 1918 to 10 May 1918, and 10 to 29 July 1918.

My grandfather has actually mentioned in his diary the joining of the 141 reinforcements which included David Charles, though he has the date as 10 April rather than 11 April 1918. At that time he was acting as Adjutant to the battalion, and continued in that position until 10 May 1918 when he was taken to hospital suffering from PUO [Pyrexia of Unknown Origin] or trench fever, and did not return until 10 July 1918. 19 days after his return he again left the battalion, this time as a result of having broken his ankle in a riding accident, and was invalided back to England where he spent the rest of the war.

I have reminded myself that the official War Diary of the 1/5th LF is in places even more difficult to read than most as it is very faint.

Sadly my grandfather’s account of this period is not as vivid and detailed as the earlier part of his diary, perhaps because he was writing it several years later, perhaps because he felt more engaged in the earlier part of the war when he was learning the ropes, and was forging close relationships with the fellow soldiers with whom he had grown up with militarily, as it were, and also was in good health himself, and not yet jaded by the experience of war. For this reason I have not included in the published version of the diary his full account of the later period of the war, but have summarised it in an Afterword, with only selected passages quoted in their entirety.

With that warning, I could, if you wished, Robuk88, send you by PM some detailed extracts of his account of April/May and July 1918. The main things that would have resonated with David Charles’ experience are his comments on the weather, mention of training exercises, and the frequency (or otherwise) with which they were shelled when at the front. My grandfather was actually present when the German prisoner was captured (referred to in the War Diary entry for 25 April 1918, though my grandfather has it as 25 April 1918), and he also gives a fair bit of detail about attacks on La Signy Farm on 22/23 July 1918, which David Charles might have participated in.

Although my grandfather’s war came to an end at the end of July 1918, it is clear that he felt that his diary would be incomplete without detailing the actions of the 1/5th after he left them, as he has added an account of their doings from August 1918 onwards right at the end. This account certainly wasn’t first hand, I am not sure where he got it from, but possibly the Lancashire Fusiliers’ Annual, as he has mentioned this from time to time. It doesn’t read to me as if he has written down a first hand account given by one of his comrades.

His account of the period from 20 to 23 August reads as follows:

SERRE

During the closing days of July 1918, constant patrolling resulted in No Man’s Land becoming ours. These patrols cost the Battalion 1 officer 2/LT Stott killed. The morale of the men was never higher and the success of the French and our own 4th Army filled everyone with high spirits again.

Aug 20th

“The 3rd Army (Byng) was ordered to press the enemy back towards BAPAUME without delay and to make every effort to prevent the enemy from destroying bridges and roads”. The Great and Final British offensive had begun.

The IV Corps consisted of the 42nd (right) New Zealand (centre) 37th (left).

The attack was fixed for August 21st – by which time the enemy had been pushed over SERRE RIDGE and from Serre village.

Aug 21st

The 125th Inf Bde were to attack on the left of the Two brigade front planned by the 42nd division.

The Lozenge

The objective of the 1/5th Lan Fus was Hill 140 and a strong point – The Lozenge, which was the key to the position. At zero – 4.55am – the guns opened, a thick mist prevailed, which favoured surprise, the creeping barrage – lifted ant an average rate of 100yds every 4 mins. The mist, although serving as a screen, increased the difficulty of keeping touch.

1/5th LF were disposed D Coy (Capt Page M.C.); A Coy (2/LT Riley); C Coy (Capt Haywood M.C.) in front line; B Coy (Capt C.R. Hartley) in Support. The operations worked according to plan and the first objective soon taken. “B” Coy yhen passed through at 7 am and by determination succeeded in taking their 2nd objective – The Lozenge, and the positions were held and consolidated through the day. In the last attack outstanding valour and prowess by shown by L/Sgt Edward Smith D.C.M.

This NCO, whilst in command of a platoon personally took a M.G. post, rushing the garrison with rifle and bayonet. The enemy scattered to throw hand grenades at him. He killed at least six of the enemy. Collecting his men he mopped up two other M.G. posts. Later he showed determination and leadership by organising an attack on an enemy post holding up another platoon, captured the objective, and causing many casualties.

Again on the 22nd his personal example and leadership resulted in the retaking of a section of line.

He was awarded the Victoria Cross.

MIRAUMONT

The capture of this high ground dominated the Ancre Valley. Many guns, M.G.s and prisoners were taken.

Aug 22nd

Thank you so much for sharing these. Yes by all means drop me a pm with the extracts they will certainly no doubt be an interesting read. 

Rob

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On 09/05/2022 at 09:51, Robuk88 said:

Thank you so much for sharing these. Yes by all means drop me a pm with the extracts they will certainly no doubt be an interesting read. 

Now done.

Tricia

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