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Remembered Today:

10th Queen's West Surrey Casualties

PBI Friday

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Hello forum pals,

Whilst looking on the CWGC website, I came across a large number of casualties (38) from The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment buried at Bertenacre, all killed on the same day. There is brief mention on CWGC of 42 soldiers having been killed in an enemy air raid on the 18th August 1917, and for a smallish cemetary the casualties from this one incident stand out somewhat. I followed up with a quick look on the web for more information, but nothing was forthcoming.

Purely out of interest, does anybody know what happened there? Was it a Zeppelin raid, a strafing or bomb-run by a plane, or something else? I would have thought that an incident of this scale must have been written up somewhere.

Over to you experts!



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The regimental history does mention the incident as follows:-

"On the 7th of August Acting Lt Col F. Hayley-Baell took over command and a few days later the battalion was sent to the Thieushoek area and there disposed in tents and billets. Here a great misfortune overtook the 10th Queens; on the evening of the 18th a hotile aeroplane dropped a bomb in the middle of the camp, which was a very crowded owing to the need for saving the small amount of the land which was under cultivation by the French peasantry, amd three companies of the Battalion were camped in a very small space, with the result that one bomb dropped caused no fewer than 107 casualties, including 1 officer wounded and 45 other ranks being killed or dying of their injuries."

Hope this answers your query

All the best Hambo

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Night time 'nuisance' raids over the back areas behind the Allied Fronts by German aircraft were very common in the last two years of the War. Although, the raiders more or less tried to concentrate on railheads, ammunition dumps, aerodromes and the like, precise bombing was impossible with the equipment of the time.

One of the workhorses of the German Bombengeschwaderen was the AEG G.II, one of which is shown below.




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Result!!! Once again the forum and its pals prevail!!!

Hambo and Dolphin, thanks for your input on this one; it did have me wondering!!

Hambo, it must have been a nasty shock for the new CO of the regiment so soon after taking command, and what a blow to morale.

Gareth, I'm vaguely familiar with the old wires and levers mechanisms for bomb release on WWI era aeroplanes.... and know that bombs were often just chucked over the side having been primed whilst in the air or even before take off!!! Still, as regards accuracy, and I'm assuming the West Surrey's encampment was deliberately targetted, this tragedy would seem to reflect a great deal of skill on the part of the bomber pilot. The bomb must have dropped right in the middle of the Surrey's and, with the encampment being so tightly packed together as per Hambo's description, it's effects were obviously devastating!!!!

Thanks again guys for your swift and detailed responses to my post,


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  • 2 years later...
Guest johnbell


Thanks for your posting on the subject as those helpful replies gave me a better understanding of the event.

There was one outstanding act of heroism on that day that resulted in the Posthumous award of the Military Medal to Pte George Victor Skeet Reg. No 12732 ( my Grandfather). From what I can gather he was a Sniper but, due to injuries caused by a trench collapse he was re-assigned as a stretcher bearer. When the Germans straffed the camp site the gunner was killed and Pte Skeet then, while under fire, manned the gun. He lost his life when the bomb was dropped directly on to the gun site. In a letter to my Grandmother his commanding officer is said to have stated that it was the bravest thing that he had seen. Unfortunately this letter and other details were accidently destroyed when the family was en-route to Australia in about 1922.


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