Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

8th South Lancs

Guest art

Recommended Posts

I have just discovered these forums and am amazed by the breath and depth of knowledge being shared around. So I am hoping someone can help a bit with this one. The soldier below is a relative and I am trying to get some idea of where he might have served in France. We’re passing through the Somme area on holiday in a few weeks time, so any knowledge as to where he might have been will be very interesting. I’ll put down all of what I think I know, mainly trawled from the internet:

Percy Figg

Service no 31460


8th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment

Killed 21/10/16

From the date of death and the location of the grave (Grandcourt Road Cemetry), I guess he was killed in the action to take Regina Trench, near Thiepval – in the last phase of the Somme battles in 1916. He seems to be one of only a few killed there from the 8th battalion, but there are 20 or so from the 2nd battalion South Lancs, plus about the same from the 11th Royal Sussex and some from the 8th North Staffs, all killed on the same day and buried there. [Apparently, this action was one that JRR Tolkien took part in, as Battalion Signalling Officer (2nd Lieutenant) for 11th Lancashire Fusiliers.]

I believe that the Regina Trench action mostly involved the Canadian 4th Division, with British 18th and 25th Divisions. 2 South Lancs and 8 South Lancs were all in the 75th Brigade, 25th Division. 11 Lancs Fusiliers were in 74th Brigade, 25th Division, which all adds up. 11 Royal Sussex at that time were in 116 Brigade, 39th Division, and were involved in the attack on nearby Stuff Trench (and by coincidence they joined 75th Brigade in 1918). The 8th North Staffs were in 57th Brigade, 19th Division, who apparently relived the 25th division on Sunday 22 Oct, so how some came to be killed on 21 Oct I have no idea.

The preceding days would have seen successful actions against Schwaben Redoubt, Zollern Redoubt and Stuff Redoubt (early Oct 1916) and before that Thiepval Ridge (26/9/17), but which battalions took part I have no idea.

Before that, in another post on this forum I have read that on 1 July 1916 the 8 South Lancs had been held in reserve and not seen action. On 2 July, they left Hedauville and went into trenches south of Thiepval. They were to act in support of other battalions of the 75th Brigade who carried out an attack on the German line at 6.15am on 3rd July 1916, and they were stationed in Aveluy Wood. The idea was that they would be part of the "break-through" force once the German defences had been penetrated deeply enough. As it happened, this breakthrough didn't materialise, and so the 8th remained in Aveluy Wood, taking no part in the actions, until July 7th when it was necessary to involve more troops. However in another post I have read that 22 members of the Battalion were killed on the 3rd, so maybe they did see action then?

Also, from a post relating to the battalion war diary: Hedauville 7th Jul - The Bn moved to UNSA TARA trenches by day via Crucifix corner North of ALBERT arriving there about 5.30pm. The Bn stayed there until 11.30pm and then moved to take up postition for an attack on German line just SOUTH OF OVILLERS to the RIDGE SOUTH OF NASH VALLEY and NORTH OF LA BOISELLE. The Bn attacked about 4am and took the front line. Lt John Gill Appleby 8th South Lancs was killed on 13/14th July 1916 near Ovillers.

The 8 South Lancs was formed in Sept 1914 in Warrington as part of Kitchener’s 3rd army, so Percy was a volunteer. I guess they went over to France in late 1915.

That’s about all I know so far. I have ordered a copy of South Lancashire Regiment 1914-34, The: Ich Dien the Prince of Wales's Volunteers by H. Whalley-Kelly from Amazon, but I doubt it’ll arrive in time for the holiday (if at all!) so in the meantime if anyone can help with info or advice on:

(1) generally, where were the 8 South Lancs in summer/autumn 1916

(2) How to try to find out more about Percy e.g. which company was he in

That would be really appreciated.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

First welcome to the forum

The following is from British Battalions on the Somme and gives the movements of the Battalion that summer

1/7/16 Moved forward from Hedauville to reserve positions in Aveluy Wood.

3/7/16 In action south of Theipval.

7/7 To Tara Usna line

8/7 Attack towards Ovilliers at 4am, German front trench taken and consolidated

9/7 Attacked-C and D Companies suffered great losses from machine gun fire while attempting to take third line

10/7 Relieved from the Tara Usna line

12/7 In action during night, assisting 8th Borders and 2nd South Lancs at Ovilliers-2 companies reached northern outskirts but later forced to withdraw to centre of village and dig in. Positions held against strong counter attacks. Commanding Officer killed by a sniper during attack on strong point

17/7 Relieved and to Senlis

Later to Hedauville, Amplier, Acheux and Mailly-Maillet

31/7 To front line in Beaumont Hamel sector

5/8 Forceville and later to Varennes

30/8 To reserve positions at Aveluy Wood

27/8 To the front line at Leipzig Salient

28/8 Attacked Hindenburg Trench at 4pm strong resistance quickly drove assaulting companies back with great loss

3/9 In support during attack on Turk trench and then withdrew to Black Horse Bridge. Rested at Bouzincourt between tours of the front line.

7/9-30/9 To Cramont returned to Bouzincourt and frommthere to Zollern Redobt and Hessian Trench

21/10 Attcke on regina trench, bombers took positions in Stump Road. Objectives taken and consolidated

24/10 To Hem-Hardinval

28/10 Entrained at Doullens for Bailleul

That at least was their time at the Somme hopefully others can add some more


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...