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Remembered Today:

Fallen on the Somme


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Fallen on the Somme- The war diary of 2nd Lieutenant Harold Harding Linzell M.C.

-7th Border Regiment

ISBN 0 9507911 0 5

Harold Harding Linzell, from Finchley, London was the son of a rich entrepeneur, well educated, who joined the 5th London Regiment(London Bifle Brigade) on Sept 8th 1914, early in the war. He served in France, as a private soldier, from March - September 1915 and was then commissioned Temporary Second Lieutenant in the Border Regiment.

He was posted as a replacement to the depleted 7th(Service) Battalion Border Regiment late in 1915, after action in the Salient had reduced the Battalion to just over 400 officers and men. On December 14th 1915 he earned the Military Cross, with his new comrades, near Hooge, after a German mine had been blown and Linzell led the counter attack with ability, gallantry and leadership of the highest order. He became Battalion Bombing Officer.

His diary, which covers the period Jan 1st 1916 to June 30th 1916, starts in the Ypres Salient and culminates in a fateful entry just before the Big Push on the Somme. although, in reserve at Fricourt on July 1st, the 7th Borders were ordered in to action at Bottom Wood, on the 3rd july 1916. Lieutenant Linzell was killed in action with his battalion bombers, by machine gun fire, on the 3rd July 1916. He was 21 years old. His diary, in his belongings, was saved by a little note within the cover

NOTE- In the event of the owner losing this diary or of being "whizz banged, crumped, bombed, bayonetted or sniped" with fatal results to the said person, please forward(risking 'Base Censor' of course) to:-

Mrs. F.L. Linzell,

Corner House,

The Grove,

Finchley, London, N

The diary is different from many others I've read- mainly because the entries are short and to the point. I get the feeling he was making a series of notes for future reference- he expected to survive and them have these as memory joggers.

It is not the work of hindsight at all, more that of a busy officer who found it difficult to fit his diary into his day, but nevertheless felt he should.

What comes out is his bravery, his pride in his men, his patriotism and his ability as a soldier.The backdrop of the build up to the Somme makes it especially poignant- and, as the writer is killed there, sad.

The final section are letters sent to his parents after his death, showing the high regard his fellow soldiers had for him.

The whole book takes only 54 pages- but to read them seems to say so much more than the words written.

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I don't know how you came across the book, Spike, but I guess it's of extra interest seeing that 2nd Lt Linzell was in the Border Regt, although not the battalion you are closest to. I thought the letter by his batman was incredibly moving. He was just so inconsolable, particularly as it had happened while he was away from him for a few minutes.

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Found it it my local library Jon, and it was the Border Regiment part that drew me to it.

I found most of the letters moving- 2nd Lt.Linzell was a highly thought of officer.

It took a second read to fully appreciate the book as I hope it was intended. First time through I thought-" well he didn't say much in his diary, did he".

Then it struck me- I think he never expected to be killed- he hoped to use the diary to jog his memory.

He really thought a lot of his unit, and they of him.

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  • 1 year later...

Is there a chance of this book being available? I ask as I visited the Somme on July 1st this year (managing to miss the celebrations...), and visited some of the cemeteries.

By chance I was looking through the photographs I took and found the grave of Lt. Linzell - it was whilst searching for more information about him (and how he won the MC) that I came across this discussion. Thank you for posting all the information.

In case anyone doesn't know, he is buried in the Danzig Alley cemetery row 2H. There is a 2nd Lt. Crompton one grave over.

Nick Flynn

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I too would like to find this. My interests lie with the 17th Division.

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