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Chris_B

6th East Kent (Buffs) - 03/05/1917

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Chris_B

Three men on a local memorial were all killed in action on the 3.5.1917 whilst serving in the 6th Bn. East Kent Regt. (The Buffs). SDGW shows battalion suffered badly that day.

Date corresponds to "Third Battle of the Scarpe - 3rd - 4th May 1917", what's their story?

Regards,

Chris.

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Jonathan Saunders

Chris,

Try "Michael" for an answer. He is the resident expert on The Buffs and he has a specific interest in 6 Bttn.

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CROONAERT

Chris.

If you don't get any answer by tonight , I'll scan and post the relevant pages from the Buffs' regimental history for you. (Can't do it right now as I'm away from home at the moment).

dave.

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the gunners dream

From the Historical Records of the Buffs:

On the 3rd May 1917 Haig attacked the enemy with 3rd and 1st Armies from Fresnoy to Fontaine Lez Croiselles, while the 5th Army assaulted the Hindenburg Line about Bullecourt, and together these forces fought what is known as the 3rd battle of the Scarpe.

To quote the CinC's despatches:

'Along practically the whole of this front our troops broke into the enemy's position. Australian troops carried the Hindenburg Line east of Bullecourt. Eastren County battalions took Cherisy. Other English troops entered Roeux and captured the German trenches south of Fresnoy full of German troops assembled for a hostile attack, which was to have been delivered at a late hour. After hard fighting, in which the enemy lost heavily, the Canadians carried the village, thereby completing an unbroken series of successes.'

It is necessary to remember that the 6th Battalion the Buffs on this date at Monchy, and the 7th opposite Cherisy.

In this battle our 6th Battalion was very far from being fortunate, and it is not easy to obtain a correct description of its doings, owing to abnormal casualties and great difficulty, if not impossibility, of those in the foremost fighting line communicating with with their commanding officer in the rear. The chief cause of this difficulty was the darkness, for the zero hour was fixed at 3.45 a.m. The battalion was, during the preceding night in shell holes, A being on the right, B on the left, C supporting, and D being behind B. Punctually on our time the guns fired our men went off into the darkness, too many of them never to see the sun rise again. Every effort was made to keep communication with them, 2nd Lt Mc Auley, the signalling officer, with two signallers and two orderlies, went forward to establish an advanced HQ in what was known as Devil's Trench, but returned at 4.30, no communication being possible. 2 prisoners were sent down and apparently the battalion was advancing satisfactorily, but nothing definite could be ascertained. Even later on, when daylight came, gunfire and snipers made it hard to get any news of how matters were proceeding; but at dusk it was discovered that the Buffs had suffered much and that the line in their front was practically as before. It would seem a pity that the ground was quite unknown to the battalion which had not held the same position previously and that the orders to attack came so late that there was no time for systematic reconaissance.

The continuous loss of officers at this time was so serious the 2nd Lts Seago and Sowter were sent for from the detail camp and, arriving about 10 p.m. were sent forward to reorganize what was left of the Battalion. A bright episode occurred to lighten the what must otherwise be considered as a gloomy day for the regiment, although it was a costly act of gallantry. Part of the objective allotted the Buffs in the morning had been a spot called Keeling Copse, and it was found after the battalion had taken stock of its losses, that 2nd Lts Cockeram and Gunther with about 40 men and a lewis gun had actually got there, only to discover that they were completely isolated, the enemy having reformed his line behind them, and both sides being their original trenches. Thus 3 lines of Germans intervened between this handful of men and their comrades. Nothing daunted, however, they held their own all day, accounted for many of the enemy and then, when night fell and they had expended every cartridge and bomb they possessed, they gallantly fought their way back again, breaking through one line after another, until at last the 2 subalterns and thirteen of their stout lads were enabled to report themselves to battalion HQ. Cockeram and Gunther both received the MC for their gallant conduct on this occasion. It is sad to have to add that Gunther was killed shortly afterwards within half a mile of Keeling Copse gallantly defending a trench the German was attacking. Cockeram lived to do good and gallant work later in the RFC. The casualties in this terrible action were 2nd lts J H Dinsmore and H V Hardey-Mason killed, and Capt J B Kitchin died of wounds; Capt McDermott and 2nd Lts Willaims and Nesbitt wounded; 2nd Lts C Warnington, A Kirkpatrick, H W Evans and R L F Forster, Lts K L James, Grant, King and Wills missing of whom the first five were found to have been killed; 25 other ranks killed, 128 wounded and 207 missing.

About 2 a.m. on the 4th the remant was relieved and got back and, next day was reorganized into 2 companies each of only 2 platoons. No 1 Company. 2nd Lt Stevens in command, with Sowter, Seago and Sankey under him; No 2 Company, under Captain Carter, 2nd Lts Gunther and Cockeram. It was only rested in Arras for 48 hours and then underwent another 10 ten days in the trenches before being relieved on the 17th, on which day it went to Duisans.

As a footnote the officers mentioned are:

Name: GUNTHER, NORMAN OTTO FREDERICK

Initials: N O F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: Royal East Kent Yeomanry

Secondary Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Secondary Unit Text: attd. 6th Bn.

Age: 19

Date of Death: 12/07/1917

Awards: MC

Additional information: Son of Mr. C. E. Gunther, of 59, Princes Gate, London.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 1.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Name: DINSMORE, JOHN HASTINGS

Initials: J H

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 3rd Bn. attd. 6th Bn.

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Name: HARDEY MASON, HAROLD VICTOR

Initials: H V

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 4th Bn.

Age: 19

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Additional information: Son of George and Margaret L. Hardey Mason, of "Sunny Side," Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. Born at Oporto, Portugal.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: VI. A. 12.

Cemetery: DURY CRUCIFIX CEMETERY

Name: KITCHIN, JOHN BUCHANAN

Initials: J B

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Captain

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 6th Bn.

Age: 21

Date of Death: 05/05/1917

Additional information: Son of Alexander and Jessie Kitchin, of Burnbrae, Brooke St., Tonbridge, Kent.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: III. K. 12.

Cemetery: DUISANS BRITISH CEMETERY, ETRUN

Name: WARNINGTON, CHARLES

Initials: C

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 6th Bn.

Age: 21

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Additional information: Son of Charles Carew Warnington and Fanny Warnington, of 4, Camden Park, Tunbridge Wells.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Name: KIRKPATRICK, ATHOL

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 3rd Bn. attd. 6th Bn.

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Name: EVANS, HUBERT WILLIAM

Initials: H W

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 6th Bn.

Age: 19

Date of Death: 24/05/1917

Additional information: Youngest son of William George and Maria Evans, of Mitcham, Surrey.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: XVII. A. 20.

Cemetery: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY

Name: FORSTER, RALPH LOUIS FRANCIS

Initials: R L F

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Age: 18

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Additional information: Son of Ralph George Elliott Forster and Louise Forster.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 15 to 19.

Cemetery: LOOS MEMORIAL

Name: JAMES, KENNETH LISTER

Initials: K L

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 4th Bn. attd. 6th Bn.

Age: 28

Date of Death: 03/05/1917

Additional information: Son of the Rev. Charles Lister James and Clare James, of Fosseway, Winsham, Chard, Somerset.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2.

Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL

Steve

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Chris_B

Jonathan & Dave,

I'll wait to see what turns up then.

Thanks,

Chris.

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Chris_B

Steve,

A simultanoeus posting with my last! Just trying absorb what was a black day for the battalion. Other contributions still most welcome.

Thanks,

Chris.

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the gunners dream

Chris,

As you can see I've edited the post, after my fingers recovered from the typing! :D

Steve

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Chris_B
Chris,

As you can see I've edited the post, after my fingers recovered from the typing!  :D

Steve

Steve I'm impressed. The three men I spoke of are:

MARTINNE, RICHARD A, Private 19024, "D" Coy. 6th Bn. The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Died 03/05/1917, aged 29. Husband of Rose S. Martinne, of 24, Carshalton Rd., Mitcham, Surrey. Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: III. B. 9. Cemetery: VIS-EN-ARTOIS BRITISH CEMETERY, HAUCOURT.

Born Westminster, Enlisted Wimbledon, Resident Mitcham

SULSH, Charles Walter, Private S/11083, 6th Bn. The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Died 03/05/1917, aged 20. Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2. Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL.

Born Wansdworth, Enlisted in Kingston, Resident Streatham.

WYATT, William George, Private G/2849, 6th Bn. The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). Died 03/05/1917, aged 25. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt, of 14, Allen's Cottages, Lonesome, Streatham; London. Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Bay 2. Cemetery: ARRAS MEMORIAL.

Born Lonesome, Enlisted Lambeth, Resident Lonesome

There are three other men on the same memorial from the 6th who died in 1917 and 1918 and six others in other battalions of the Buffs. More posts to follow (?). And of course, as you listed yourself, there is 2nd Lt. Hubert William Evans, another Mitcham man, wounded 3/5/17, died 24/5/17, aged just 19. Twenty one days of agony, I sincerely hope not.

Regards,

Chris.

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CROONAERT
Jonathan & Dave,

I'll wait to see what turns up then.

Thanks,

Chris.

Chris.

Steve's typed out what I was going to scan. I don't think I've got anything to add to it.

Dave.

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the gunners dream

Chris,

No probs, it's always interesting to hear about the Buffs, my Great Grandfather served in the both the 7th and 8th.

That's about all I have, unless the war diary for the 6th can provide anything else, however the Buff's history came from the diary entries.

As Jonathan said, there is a guy called Michael who is very well versed in the Buffs history and he might be able to help you further.

Steve

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Chris_B

Dave & Steve,

Thanks. I'll try to get in touch with the "Michael" you mentioned. Owing to my own incompetence I posted the wrong WYATT earlier. I've edited now. Steve, I actaully have three casualties in the 7th and two in the eight to find more about.

Thanks again,

Chris.

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Michael

Chris

I'm a bit busy at the moment but I will have a look at this for you soon

Mick

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Michael

Richard Martinne. A post 1/1/1916 arrival in France. Although SDGW states that he previously served in the Middlesex Regt there is no mention of this in his medal roll. The roll only mentions the 6th Battalion which suggests that he transferred into the Buffs before he went overseas (or the rolls are wrong).

Charles Sulsh. Previously served with the 2nd, 9th and 12th Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment with number 7094 (or 4/7094). He went overseas with the 2nd E Surreys on 9/2/1915 to France and Flanders.

William Wyatt. Went overseas with the original 7th Buffs on 28/7/1915 and transferred at some stage to the 6th Battalion.

I hope this helps. I look forward to seeing your other guys

Mick Mills

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ianw

Some of these attacks were really "rock and hard place affairs". What a gallant body of men. It's so sad that the casualties were so severe that the events of the day become so difficult to establish

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Chris_B
Richard Martinne. A post 1/1/1916 arrival in France. Although SDGW states that he previously served in the Middlesex Regt there is no mention of this in his medal roll. The roll only mentions the 6th Battalion which suggests that he transferred into the Buffs before he went overseas (or the rolls are wrong).

Charles Sulsh. Previously served with the 2nd, 9th and 12th Battalions of the East Surrey Regiment with number 7094 (or 4/7094). He went overseas with the 2nd E Surreys on 9/2/1915 to France and Flanders.

William Wyatt. Went overseas with the original 7th Buffs on 28/7/1915 and transferred at some stage to the 6th Battalion.

I hope this helps. I look forward to seeing your other guys

Mick Mills

Mick,

Just catching up with this morning's posts and gathering my thoughts. The detail you've added is invaluable, and as IanW says elsewhere - "gallant men". So Charles Sulsh served in the 2nd East Surreys at the same time as my grandfather Albert's cousins, brothers Samuel (KIA) and Reuben Burge (Survived) in early 1915.

Regards,

Chris.

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rotorjack

03/05/1917 6th Buffs, my uncle Thomas known as Ernest Thomas Atkinson won the MM for as he described it "a bit of work he did that day". I more or less know the action that day but would like to know if I can find out what he did?

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