Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
stiletto_33853

47th London Division

Recommended Posts

Guest NZMel

Hi Ali, we have his medal index card and also he was on the "Soldiers died in the Great War CD" and CWWG's site. His nephew would love to reunite his medals with his death penny.

I can't tell from the medal index card if they were collected, there were no engraving marks :X:

Mel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Mel,

Sorry for the delay, I have been away from my books.

The 47th Divisional History for this period says the following:-

On May 9th, and again on May 15th to 18th 1915, great attcks were made by the First Army, and heavy fighting took place at and north of Festubert on the immediate left of our Division, but the attacks in each case failed to break through.

Our 7th Battalion was ordered to support the right of the 7th Division on May 15th, and for several days fighting was under the orders of the G.O.C., 2nd Infantry Brigade. The London front was heavily shelled by the Germans, and for three days, May 16th to 18th, we suffered three hundred and twenty casualties in killed and wounded.

On May 11th the name 2nd London Division, which, to avoid confusion with the 2nd Division, had already been changed to "London Division", was changed again to 47th (London) Division. The 4th, 5th and 6th London Infantry Brigades became the 140th, 141st and 142nd Infantry Brigades.

I am afraid that covers this period in time, hope it helps a little.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest NZMel

Hello Andy, thankyou for checking that out for me. We had no idea what happened to him but probably it was the shelling. Thankyou Mel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Mel,

You are welcome, just checking the book through a bit more as it is disjointed in places.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B

Andy.

I wonder if you could help me with information about the part played by the 19th London Regiment on the 15th Sept. 1916 and the attack on High Wood and other objectives. I have been reading the other post in this thread, but the 19th London is not one the battalions that has been asked about before.

You did mention that the 19th and 20th were give secondary objectives, but as the initial attack in the morning failed I wondered if these battalions were part of the later second attack.

I'm interested in this man's fate WO2 Arthur F Ridout, this CWGC entry is:

RIDOUT, ARTHUR FREDERICK

Initials: A F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Regimental Serjeant Major

Regiment: London Regiment

Unit Text: 19th Bn.

Date of Death: 15/09/1916

Service No: 2624

Additional information: Son of Frederick and Elizabeth Ridout, of Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorsetshire; husband of Ella Ridout, of 14, Balham Park Rd., Balham, London.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: 1A.A.11.

Cemetery: LONDON CEMETERY AND EXTENSION, LONGUEVAL

His medal index card entry has this:

Medal card of Ridout, Arthur F

CorpsRegiment NoRank

London Regiment 2624 Lance Corporal

London Regiment 2624 Transport Warrant Officer Class 2

As an OR I suppose it is unlikely that he should be named, but you never know.

The SDGW shows 94 men of the 19th KIA that day, but I suspect the actual figure is much higher, the 94 seems to contain a good many senior NCOs. Perhaps this suggests high losses amonst officers that day.

Regards,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
westkent78
Andy.

I wonder if you could help me with information about the part played by the 19th London Regiment on the 15th Sept. 1916 and the attack on High Wood and other objectives. I have been reading the other post in this thread, but the 19th London is not one the battalions that has been asked about before.

You did mention that the 19th and 20th were give secondary objectives, but as the initial attack in the morning failed I wondered if these battalions were part of the later second attack.

I'm interested in this man's fate WO2 Arthur F Ridout, this CWGC entry is:

RIDOUT, ARTHUR FREDERICK

Initials:  A F

Nationality:  United Kingdom

Rank:  Regimental Serjeant Major

Regiment:  London Regiment

Unit Text:  19th Bn.

Date of Death:  15/09/1916

Service No:  2624

Additional information: Son of Frederick and Elizabeth Ridout, of Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorsetshire; husband of Ella Ridout, of 14, Balham Park Rd., Balham, London.

Casualty Type:  Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:  1A.A.11.

Cemetery:  LONDON CEMETERY AND EXTENSION, LONGUEVAL

His medal index card entry has this:

Medal card of Ridout, Arthur F

CorpsRegiment NoRank

London Regiment 2624 Lance Corporal

London Regiment 2624 Transport Warrant Officer Class 2

As an OR I suppose it is unlikely that he should be named, but you never know.

The SDGW shows 94 men of the 19th KIA that day, but I suspect the actual figure is much higher, the 94 seems to contain a good many senior NCOs. Perhaps this suggests high losses amonst officers that day.

Regards,

Chris.

Hello Chris,

I'll let Andy see what he can come up with for the 47th Div history.

I have the 1/19th war diary for the September attack.

Pm me your email address if you want a copy.

It gives a pretty good blow by blow account of the day's events, and names all the officers concerned. (I wish the 1/23rd's diary for the following day did too!)

Gives casualties for 15th September:

10 Officers KIA, 2 WIA - 1 mortally. O/Rs: 66 KIA, 211 WIA- 5 mortally, 16 missing. This was the initial assessment.

On the 17th they found another 1 KIA, 5 WIA and 5 MIA.

The C.O. of the battalion was killed trying to restore order when he stepped out of a communication trench- perhaps the Regimental Sergeant Major was beside him?

Your man isn't mentioned by name or rank.

Regards,

Matthew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B

Matthew,

Many thanks for the information and I've sent you a PM with my email address.

It will be interesting to see waht the regimental history adds.

Regards,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Hi Chris,

The 47th for September 1916 reads as follows:-

Between September 10th and 12th we relieved the 1st Division in the High Wood sector. We walked into a new world of war. We passed through Albert for the first time, under the virgin, holding out her child, not to heaven but to the endless procession below. Fricourt, where the line had stood for so long, was now out of range of any but long range guns, and we could see freshly devastated country without being in the battle. AQll round the slopes were covered with transport of all kinds, and whole divisions of cavalry waiting their opportunity. Further forward in Caterpillar Valley heavy howitzers stood in the open, lobbing their shells over at a target miles away. Up near the line by Flat Iron Copse and the Bazentins the ground was alive with field guns, many of them hidden by the roadside and startling the unwary.

All these things, later the commonplace of a successful push, were new. But we never saw anything quite like High Wood. It had been attacked by the 7th Division on July 14th - just two months before our arrival - and had indeed on that day been entered by a party of cavalry. But it had been an insuperable obstacle on subsequent attacks, and the trench which we took over ran through the centre of it, leaving more than half still in boche hands. As for the wood, it was only a wood in name - ragged stumps sticking out of churned up earth, poisoned with fumes of high explosives, the whole mass of corruption. But there was life enough in the trenches and below ground. Outside the wood the country was a featureless wilderness. Here is a description written at the time: "Imagine Hampstead Heath made of cocoa-powder, and the natural surface folds further complicated by countless shell-holes, each deep enough to hold a man, and everywhere meandering crevices where men lived below thesurface of the ground, and you will get some idea of the terrain of the attack."

The absence of natural landmarks must always be borne in mind, for it explains what might seem to be instances of confusion and bad map reading in the progress of the operations.

The attack of September 15th was conceived on a grand scale.It was hoped that the breaking of the German third line, which was then holding us up, would constitute a decisive victory after the costly and indecisive fighting of the previous month. Many fresh divisions, of which we were one, were brought up for the occasio, and great hopes were placed on the effet of the novelty of the Tanks. Three corps were engaged, of which our own, the IIIrd Corps, was on the left flank. The function of the IIIrd Corps was to form a defensive flank on the forward side of the ridge on which Martinpuich and High Wood stand, to cover the advance northwards of XIVth and XVth Corps on our right. The 47th Division was on the right of the IIIrd Corps, thus linking the north-easterly movement of the IIIrd Corps with the north easterly moveent of the XVth Corps. It will be seen how the obstacle of High Wood, which delayed our advance for a time, while it went forward on both sides, made this task particularly difficult. The Division attacked on a two brigade front. On the right was Lord Hampden's 140th Brigade, with the 7th Battalion clear of High Wood and joining the New Zealand Division, and next on the left, attacking up the east side of the wood, with two companies clear of it came the 15th battalion.

More to come.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

The 141st Brigade, under Brigadier-General McDougall, with the 17th Battalion on the right and the 18th Battalion on the left, was faced by the wood all along its front. On the left came the50th Division. Our attack had three objectives: First, a line clear of High Wood; Second, the Starfish Line, down the forward slope; Third, on the right the strong Flers Line, where the 140th Brigade wereto join up with the New Zealanders, falling back to join the 141st Brigade in a communication Trench, Drop Alley, whence the fianl objective was prolonged westwards along Prue Trench in the valley. On the right the 8th Battalion were to pass through the 7th and 15th and capture the Starfish Line, and the 6th Battalion to pass through them again to The Flers Line. On the left the 19th and 20th Battalions were to capture and consolidate the second and third objectives. The 142nd Brigade under Brigadier-General Lewis, was in rserve about Mametz Wood, ready to move forward at zero to Bazentin-le-Grand, where it would be immediately in support of the attacking brigades.

Zero was set at 0620 am. The troops attacking High Wood were at once engaged in heavy fighting. Four tanks accompanied the attack, but could make no headway over the broken tree stumps and deeply pitted ground and were stuck before they could give the help expected of them. The infantry, thus disappointed of the Tanks assistance, were also deprived of the support of the guns, which were afraid to fire near the Tanks. The 17th and 18th Battalions and half the 15th Battalion had a desperate fight for every foot of their advance. The enemy met them with bombs and rifle-fire from his trenches, and machine guns from concrete emplacements, still undamaged, mowed them down. With the second wave of the attack the 19th and 20th Battalions and part of the 8th joined the fight, and during the morning five Battalions were at once engaged in the wood. Casualties were very heavy. Among many others fell Lieut.-Col. A.P. Hamilton, of the 19th Battalion, who called all available men to follow him, and went up into the wood to try and restore order to the confused fighting. A little later Major J.R. Trinder, of the 18th, was killed. At eleven o'clock General McDougall arranged with Lieut.-Col. A.C. Lowe, R.F.A., for a new bombardment of the wood. At the same time the 140th Trench Mortar Battery succeeded in beating its previous record of concentrated fire. Its efforts finally demoralised the German garrison, who began to surrender in batches, and before one o'clock High Wood was reported clear of the enemy.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

On the flanks, meanwhile, our progress had been faster. Tanks had been a great success with the Division on our right, causing dismay to the garrison in Flers, and on our own right flanks had gone forward with the New Zealanders - the 7th Battalion fighting their way to the first objective, a part of the 8th Battalion to the Starfish Line, and the 6th Battalion beyond this again. Some few got as far as the Flers Line, though this could not be held, and it was found later that their forward positions were in the Cough Drop, a group of trenches in a valley west of Flers. As these units of the 140th brigade went forward, they suffered more heavily from the exposure of their left flank, and the 6th Battalion especially lost many men from enfilade machine gun fire, and there were only two officers and about one hundred other ranks of the attackers left to occupy the Cough Drop.. On the left, similarly, the 50th Division went forward and occupied their second objective, but their right flank was exposed, and they could not hold their ground.

On the afternoon of the 15th our situation was that High Wood was captured after desperate fighting in which the 141st Brigade had become so much disorganised from loss of leaders that it was temporarily formed into a composite battalion under Lieut.-Col. Norman of the 17th. The work of establishing a line on the first objective clear of High Wood was started by a mixed party under Captain H.S. Read, of the 20th Battalion. On both flanks, meanwhile, the attack wasgoing ahead, but was endangered by the gap opposite High Wood. Three battalions of the 142nd Brigade had been sent forward during the morning and placed at the disposal of the attacking brigades; only one battalion therefore - the 22nd - remained as Divisional reserve, and nearly all that was engaged in the necessary work of carrying up ammunition. The capture of the Starfish Line, however, was considered essential, and at about 6pm the 21st and 24th Battalions attacked with this object, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Kennedy. On the right the 21st Battalion at a great cost attacked the Starfish Line, and captured the Starfish Redoubt itself,but their attempt to get on farther to the Cough Drop did not succeed. The 24th Battalion, attacking from the wood, met such heavy fire that they did not get to the Starfish Line, but dug themselves in about 200 yards in front of the first objective of the 141st Brigade. Only perfunctory artillery preparation could be arranged for this attack, and the assaulting troops suffered fearfully, the 21st Battalion having only two officers and 60 other ranks left unwounded out of seventeen officers and 550 other ranks who attacked. The night was spent in consolidating the gorund along the divisional front.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

During the afternoon some of the battaeries began to move up in support, the first being the 19th London Battery, under Major Lord Gorell, who brought his battery up into the shell-hole area immediately behind High Wood.

Accopanied by Major Marshall, of the 18th Battery, Lord Gorell made a brilliant reconnaissance of the Divisional front, and was able to report the line actually held that night by our troops, together with much other valuable information. For these distinguished services Lord Gorell was awarded the D.S.O..

From here the account goes into the action the following day, let em know if this is of use to you.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

From my 19th London database I have very little on him. This is it:

RIDOUT, Arthur Frederick, WO1 (RSM)

number: 2624

enlistment date: 05/09/1914

arrived in France with 1/19th as a L/Cpl on 10/03/1915

[sources: 19th London medal rolls (1914/15 Star and BW&VM) and roll of honour in Memories, the Journal of the 19th London OCA.]

From his enlistment date he would appear to have been an original enlistment into the 2/19th (which was being raised from 1 Sept). However, he must have been transferred relatively quickly into the 1/19th to have gone to France with them. He probably signed the Imperial Service Obligation on enlistment.

I have been meaning to and find his service record as he is one of the more important characters of the battalion. I have often wondered at his remarkable rise to be the top man, as he appears to have leapfrogged some very capable senior NCOs. I wonder whether he had had any pre-war TF or even regular experience.

There is no 1/19th battalion history (I'm working on it but dont holdyour breath) and his obituary does not appear anywhere in the pages of the OCA journal.

The battalion lost all four company commanders, as well as the CO Lt-Col AP Hamilton, Queens Regt and the RSM. Several of the officers and ORs are buried in the first few rows in London Cemetery by High Wood.

My grandfather (see my signature) was 2i/c of the bn. His first letter written after the battle reads:

"19th September, 1916

Dear Dad,

I haven't time to describe the battle of 15th September properly.  I am all right, but Col. Hamilton was killed.   I feel as if I had lost a brother, we have been so constantly side by side in every sort of corner for nearly eleven months. 

I was not allowed to come up to the very front line till he was hit, as all 2nd-in-command officers were kept back in case of casualties to the C.O.'s.  He was rallying all men of all Battalions after the first direct attack on the wood had failed and, as he led them over the top, a machine-gun bullet killed him.  It was just like him to dash in like that but it was not really his job and we feel that he has thrown himself away. 

              (phrase in classical Greek)

Of all the soldiers I have ever known out here he was the finest and he was one of the most absolutely lovable men I have ever come across  -  of the same type as Leslie Woodroffe.

We lost heavily in officers killed and I lost my servant  -  Prewer.  The last thing he ever did was to bring me (unasked) some supper.  The Regiment did simply magnificently and were really worthy of Hamilton and his training.  It has thrown a very heavy responsibility on me but we are getting along all right at present.  Today we hope to go right back for a few days' rest, but the Hun must be kept on the run if possible.

Too busy for more.   Love to all"

My grandfather also commented on Edmonds draft of the relevant chapter in the OH. It is in the PRO in CAB 45/133 and reads:

Haileybury College,

Hertford.

May 15th 1935

Dear General Edmonds,

     I am much obliged to you for letting me see the enclosed draft concerning the operations in and around 'High Wood' Sept 15-16 1916.  I do not know if I can add very much.  I was at the time second-in-command to Lt-Col A.P. Hamilton (The Queen's) who was commanding the 1/19th London Regt.  When he was killed during the morning of 15th, I was sent forward to take command by Brig-Gen R. McDouall (141st Brigade).  The situation was still obscure.  I took some Lewis guns through the wood and posted them on the N.E. side in old German trenches as a precaution against immediate counter attack.  Units were hopelessly mixed in the wood and just outside it.  We gradually got them disentangled during the next 24 hours.

It has always seemed to me that the confusion and heavy casualties were largely due to the formation laid down for us by which each company of each battalion in each of the two assaulting brigades of the 47th Division were to advance in a series of waves.  No local reserves were kept in hand, with the result that after the first check in the wood, every minute brought fresh troops into the front line with no possibility of exploiting success on the flanks, so as to 'pinch out' the wood itself.

In all the period of well over two years which I spent with an infantry battalion in France and Belgium, I never saw such gruesome scenes as in and around High Wood.  I went round it with Gen McDouall on the morning of Sept 16th and it seemed that every infantry unit of both armies (German and English) was represented by the dead, some of whom had been lying there since July 14th.

My own battalion lost eleven officers killed or died of wounds to one wounded.  A proportion of deaths which I never heard equalled at any time.

I know that both Lt-Col Hamilton and Gen McDouall protested against the formation as ordered, and I have often wondered since if that was the reason why Major-General Sir Charles Barter ceased to command the 47th Division a few days later.

Yours sincerely,

C.H. Fair."

Charles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B

Andy and Charles,

First I want to thank you both for the time you've taken in posting so much detail about the events of the 15th Sept. at High Wood and the part played by the 19th London.

Another member, Matthew, has kindly sent me a copy of the extract for the War Diary for that day. But the entries are quite terse. Just two tanks ae mentioned (no surprise at first use). As far as Arthur F Ridout is concerned, there is no specific mention.

But the War Diary does say on 17.9.17 that "Officers and NCO's left at the Transport lines rejoined".

Arthur F Ridout , accoridng to his MIC was a Transport WO2, whether he was invovled directly in the assualt or not is speculation, but he could have been killed in the Transport lines, which no doubt would have been heavily shelled.

Charles,

It's fascinating to read your Grandfather's letters regarding the action at High Wood. But no menton of Tank support and a plan which had no prelimary bombardment I believe. I have read eslewhere that Major-General Sir Charles Barter's dismisal for "wanton wastage of men" was rather unfair and he was a scapegoat for his superior officer's poor planning. This had a disastrous effect on the 50th Divison who attacked on the 47th left flank that day only to come under heavy enfilade fire from their right flank as High Wood remained in enemy hands until late in the day.

As far as Arthur F Ridout is concerned, my interest in him is that apart from being possibly commemorated on a local war memorial, he was a near neighbour of my Grandfather at some time. His address was 10 Lyveden Road in 1901 were he was at the age of 17 before he married and gave his occupation as Railway Clerk. Lyveden Road is close to Tooting Junction. According to the SDGW he was still living in Tooting Junction when he enlisted. My Grandfather Albert Burge was 10 in 1901 and his family lived at 67 Lyveden Road and for many years after.

Arthur Ridout could well have risen to a more senoir position on the Railway by 1914 and he was definitely of an age where he could have had some military experience prior to the War. In anycase, the skills associated with his occupation would have easily transferred to the logistic requirements of the Army.

As his CWGC entry suggests, Arthur F Ridout was not originally a Londoner, he was born in Dorest (then Dorsetshire) in 1883. His birth was registered in Sturminster.

Births Jun 1883

RIDOUT Arthur Frederick Sturminster 5a250

I have not found a record of his marriage to his wife Ella yet, nor any possible children.

If you ever do find his service record I would be really interested to know more about him.

Unfortunately poor health prevents me from getting to the NA at Kew myself.

Regards,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Chris,

I suppose that you have read Terry Norman's book "The Hell They Called High Wood."

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B
Chris,

I suppose that you have read Terry Norman's book "The Hell They Called High Wood."

Andy

Andy,

No I haven't read that particular book, but did know of its existence. But I'll keep an eye out for a cheap copy, or it may even be in my local library.

Regards,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Chris,

Its a fine book on the actions at High Wood and quite a gripping read, strongly suggest getting a copy.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

ISBN 1-85260-250-3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair
But the War Diary does say on 17.9.17 that "Officers and NCO's left at the Transport lines rejoined".

Arthur F Ridout , accoridng to his MIC was a Transport WO2, whether he was invovled directly in the assualt or not is speculation, but he could have been killed in the Transport lines, which no doubt would have been heavily shelled.

......

If you ever do find his service record I would be really interested to know more about him.

Chris, many thanks for the extra details, that is a lot more for the database. I will send you anything if i find his service record. He is now at the top of the list.

One other snippet. He is in the roll of honour "Railwaymen died in the GW" which gives 18,000 men killed also details of the memorial service st St Pauls. I think this book can be obtained in repro from N&MP.

He is listed as a Clerk under the Railway Clearing House. The RCH was the building at the back of Euston St where the paperwork between the rail cos was tied up. If you go left and left again out of Euston and head N to Camden you will see one of the surviving RCH buildings on the left of the rd just past the church. According to the history of the 2/19th about a company's worth of clerks from the RCH all joined the 2/19th when it was raised in early Sept 1914. Thats c 120 men (under the 8 coy organisation) from this one workplace alone.

I am sure that he was at least acting RSM WO1. The battalion had another WO1 as RQMS whose name esapes me who was responsible for the echelon. this would have been back at Bazentin, or possibly further back at Flatiron Copse or Caterpillar Valley. The fact that he is buried in London Cem makes its almost certain that he would have been up front with Bn tactical HQ.

Charles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair

The surviving Railway Clearing House building reffed above is on Eversholt St NW1. Click here for a map.

The Railway Clearing House. This is the most complex of all clearing houses. It determines the amount due each one of the many connecting railroads of Great Britain and Ireland for its part of the through freight and passenger business. It is independent of each company, but under the control of all. There are four main departments: merchandise; passengers and parcels; mileage of rolling stock; lost luggage. Employés at each station forward every week to the railway clearing house at London the through passenger tickets taken up, and every month make reports of the weight, destination and payment of through freight. At every railroad junction the clearing house has its agents, who make weekly reports of the number, condition and destination of every car that passes from one line to another. All these returns and the passenger tickets forwarded are cleared by the clearing house, which ascertains the balance due by or to each company. Balances on passenger business are payable within 5 days, and balances on freight business within 23 days after the receipt of the clearing house advices. These are sent out monthly to the companies. The railway clearing house arbitrates between the companies on claims for damages to rolling stock, or in cases of disputed liability on freight or passenger business. The processes of the railway clearing house are simple, but the vast amount of detail to be attended to requires the employment of a large central staff to check accounts, determine balances, and settle them. There are two railway clearing houses in Great Britain and Ireland, formed under the provisions of the railway clearing act of 1850. Ninety-three English and Scotch railways clear in London, in a building in Seymour street, near Euston station. The Irish railways have a clearing house in Dublin.

Source: Editor: Lalor, John J. "Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States by the Best American and European Writers" Pub: New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co., 1899

There is probably loads more on the RCH out there but it is not something that i have had time to follow up so far.

Charles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B

Charles,

Thanks for all the additional details regarding the "Railway Clearing House", SDGW has Arthur enlisting in CAMDEN which of course fits. From the description of the RCH, Arthur Ridout would have had to have been good on detail, if nothing else.

I take your point about his burial at London Cem, and him being up front. Another member suggested he may have been close to the CO when he was killed, but I wouldn't like to say.

It's odd to think I worked in offices in Eversholt Street nearly twenty years ago, that was for BT not the Railways, both of course being people's favourite punch bags. But then I had no specific interest in the Great War, just those unforgettable images from the BBC's classic TV series which I had first seen when it was repeated in the 1970's, and my Grandad's Victory medal. And a vague idea that one day I just might get to know my Grandad's story. A somewhat different situation to your own I'd guess.

I should say that the name on the memorial is "RIDOUT A."

There appers to have been an "Alfred Ridout" born in 1892 whose birth was registered in Croydon in March and could be this man:

RIDOUT

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: East Surrey Regiment

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Age: 24

Date of Death: 03/11/1915

Service No: 10182

Additional information: Nephew of Mrs. A. Rose, of 12, Marlborough Hill Place, Kingsdown, Bristol.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: II. J. 1.

Cemetery: CERISY-GAILLY MILITARY CEMETERY

I have failed to find enough about him to eliminate him as a possibility, and there is the slight descrepancy in age.

But that makes no difference to my interest in Arthur Ridout's story. So it's good to know he is at the top of your list.

Regards,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Charles Fair
I take your point about his burial at London Cem, and him being up front. Another member suggested he may have been close to the CO when he was killed, but I wouldn't like to say.

The CO had already been killed at a trench called the Circus which was back behind the Bazentins. This was probably c 8 or 9 am. He was buried there before being reinterred in Flatiron Copse.

The RSM would have been in the advanced tactical HQ with the CO, adjutant, various runners and signallers etc. (The immediate succession of command in case of casualties could have gone CO, adjutant, RSM until one of the company commanders could have got to Bn HQ to take over as CO. Normally the rear company OCs would have taken over in order because it would be difficult for the leading company OCs to extricate themselves from fire. My guess is that one of these OCs took over and took the battalion forward from the Bazentins up until the trenches in front of the Wood. Eventually the 2i/c my grandfather came forward at c 12 noon to take over as CO.)

There is an article my grandfather wrote for the OCA journal on Hellfire Corner Click here which describes his visit to High Wood in 1920.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
westkent78

Charles,

Thank you very much for sharing your grandfather's letters and comments. Very moving and evocative indeed.

Chris,

I was reading Charles' grandfather's description of his 1920 visit to High Wood, and there is a mention of R.S.M. Ridout's grave as one of the original burials of London Cemetery.

Matthew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Charles,

As Matt says, thank you for sharing your grandfathers letters, great stuff.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_B

Andy,

Yet another question for you...

Do you have info on disposition of 23rd London Regiment on and around 03/01/1916.?

OR casaulty died of wounds , only one shown in first week on 1916 on SDGW.

Many Thanks,

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stiletto_33853

Hi Chris,

OK the Divisional History is a little patchy but will give you what it has got, but it was in the Loo's sector.

At tea time on December the 30th, the Hairpin was blown up, and with it we lost many of Captain Woolley's "B" Company of the 22nd Battalion, and most of the bombing platoon. A number of men, fortunately, were not buried by the explosion, but were cut off and became prisoners. At the same moment the enemy opened a remarkably heavy bombardment on our front line, causing many casualties to te garrison, knocking in trenches, and levelling with the ground the local communication trench. Throughout this anxious half hour the 22nd and neighbouring battalions maintained a steady rifle and machine gun fire in the new craters, and no Boche Infantry attack developed. A party of seamen from the Grand Fleet on a visit to the front were in the line with the brigade. They showed suprise to find that the sea has no monopoly of mines.

They also showed us that sailors can fight on land as well as at sea, and did useful work manning a machine gun, the crew of which had been knocked out. The support battalion was hurried forward to relieve the 22nd, and everyone worked to clear the battered trenches. In the morning the high mounds of chalk were seen to command our front lone, and the Boche was occupying the new trench across the hairpin whioch we had so conveniently dug for him. Three days later the dismounted division relieved us, and we moved south to take our old Loos sector from the French.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...