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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

CO of 8th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Nick Thornicroft

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Does anyone know who the CO of the 8th KOYLI was on July 1st, 1916, & why he did not lead the attack? A Captain K.E. Poyser is credited with leading the men into action, & was wounded - the most junior officer of all the casualties amongst British battalion commanders on July 1st. Taking nothing away from Poyser, it seems strange a more senior officer was not able to assume command.

Many thanks

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Nick, according to the History of the 8th Divn (70 Bde were part of that Divn on 1st July), the CO was Col H E Trevor, DSO, but by the time the 70th Bde returned to 23rd Divn (around the 14th July), he had been replaced by Lt Col C H M Imbert-Terry. Trevor was appointed GOC of 103 Bde on 4th July, vice N J G Cameron, who had been wounded on 1st July.

On the basis that a cadre was left behind when going into action, it is possible that trevor had been selected as the senior rank to stay behind; if Capt Poyser was considered an able deputy, then no reason why he should not command the attack.

The fact that trevor was promoted 2 days later indicates that he was not de-gommed or unstuck!

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  • 8 years later...
Guest letayl

I have been doing some research into Capt. K E Poyser, because he is my wife's late grandfather. We recently visited the site of the attack by 8th KOYLI. Two other threads on this forum, both relating to 8th KOYLI on the first day of the Somme, mention Capt. Poyser. One suggests he was put in command because the three senior officers, a lieutenant-colonel and two majors, both happened to report sick on the day of the attack. The other contains a transcription of a handwritten account from a private in the batallion. This does not contain any information about why the senior officers failed to appear but corroborates the information that they were indeed absent.

The fact that Col Trevor was promoted does indeed suggest that his absence was not regarded as an issue.

Capt. Poyser having been thrust into command became the youngest and most junior batallion commander to attack on July 1st. He was wounded but survived and was later awarded the DSO.

Poyser is mentioned in Martin Middlebrook's account of July 1st. His report describes Lt. Col. Bastard leading back the Lincolns in good order after the unsuccessful assault.


If anyone has any further information on Capt. Poyser or the 8th KOYLI I would be very glad to receive it.

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