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Remembered Today:

7/8 KOSB locations?

Mike C

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I'm really new at this so any help appreciated. My Grandad was with the 18th BN. CEF. On April 13, 1918 he joined the 18th in the field. He participated in the battle of Amiens on Aug. 8, 1918. He was moved up near Arras and was KIA on Aug. 26, 1918 on the first day of that battle. The connection to the KOSB's is illustrated in the wallet he carried and was subsequently sent home with his effects. On the outside of the wallet is his name, service number and home address. On the inside of the wallet is "Made at Villars Sir Simon" "D.P.Ellis Maker 7/8 KOSB's France". It appears to be have made of horsehide. It is still very soft and supple. A check with the KOSB's Regimental Museum reveals that D.P. Ellis's name does not appear on their Roll Of Honor, so it seems he survived the war. No other information is available. Would the 2 units, 18th CEF and 7/8 KOSB's have been in close proximity before the battle at Arras? Or somewhere else?

Thanks for any input.

Mike C

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  Would the 2 units, 18th CEF and 7/8 KOSB's have been in close proximity before the battle at Arras?  Or somewhere else?

Hi Mike,

From "The K.O.S.B. in the Great War" by Capt. Stair Gillon:

Jan-Mar 1918

At times the battalion lay astride the Scarpe, mostly south of the river. After a week's break in Arras the battn. returned to the Scarpe just before the German Spring offensive. The 15th (Scottish) Division held the area Pelves/Monchy/Cambrai road. The bttn. were at Tilloy from 16-22nd Mar, going forward on 21/22nd to take up a position on the N.E. slopes of Orange Hill; "....the safety of Arras was in the hands of them and their division. They were in what their C.C. [sir Charles Fergusson] called a post of honour, and he said [on 26th Mar] : "I am glad it is in the hands of a Scottish Division who, I know, will never let the enemy pass." The line was attacked on the 28th, but was held - the 7/8th Bn. getting off lightly compared to other units in the division.

Apr 1918

Sir Charles Fergusson's message has a note of thankfulness and allayed anxiety about it. "I knew you could be relied on to stick it out to the end. Well done! There are fresh troops in support of you now, but I want the honour of holding Arras to be yours alone." The 7/8th KOSB spent the next 10 days in the line until they were relieved on the 7th/8th Apr to caves near the suburb of St. Sauveur.

12/13th - in the line at Battery Valley

14th-approx.21st - Agnez-les-Duisans

approx.22/23rd - Arras

24th Apr-3rd May - Burbure near Lillers

May-July 1918

3rd May - returned to Arras

4th May- 12th July - took over the line from Canadian troops astride the Scarpe

Dates and details very vague - seems to be a quiet couple of months between the front lines and the "back area" of the sector, the N.E. suburbs of Arras.

I would suggest that it could well have been during this time that your grandfather acquired his wallet. I think that the Canadians had a large presence in the area at the time.

As a coincidence, the only officer listed on my village's memorial (S.W. Scotland), Lt. Donald Halliday Macartney, Princess Patricia's Canadain Light Infantry, was also killed in action on Aug 26th 1918, the first day of the Battle of the Scarpe.

As for D.P. Ellis, can't find anyone of that name with those initials in the KOSB. The only possible is Pte. Donald Ellis, 20541, but a check of the medal rolls at the NA would be required to determine if he was a 7/8th man or not.

Hope this is a help,


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Stuart: Found it finally. Thanks very much for the information. Researching the 18th Bn. (from their war diary) I find that they participated in the attack of Aug. 8, 1918 near Amiens, along the front Amiens-Chaulnes railway. After the battle, they were moved, first to the Etrun-Hermaville area on Aug. 21, thence to Neuville-Vitasse-Telegraph Hill area on Aug.22-24.

The KOSB's museum only had the information that D.P. Ellis must have survived the war as he was not on their list of honor. Will do some further checking on Donald Ellis.

Again, thanks for the help.

Mike C

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