Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

1st Bn. East Surrey Regt.


Ferguson73uk
 Share

Recommended Posts

I wonder if fellow Pals could enlighten me as to the role that the 1st Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment played in the fighting around Passchendaele during the fortnight leading up to the 6th November 1917.

I am researching Pte L. L. Sampson 35964 1st Bn. who died of wounds aged 19 on 6th November and is buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery. I believe there was a CCS nearby?

Any assistance gratefully received!

Thanks,

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan.

I suspect someone will reply before Saturday but, if not, I am going to Croydon and will have a look at the History of the East Surrey Regiment in the library there.

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The History of the East Surrey Regiment is rather brief about this time saying

On the 25th October the 5th Division was again ordered to the front, and

the 95th Brigade moved to Ridge Wood to act as Divisional Reserve in a third attack by the 5th Division on the Polder hoek Spur, the attack being made, in conjunction with .an attack on Gheluvelt by the 7th Division, as subsidiary operations of the Second Battle of Passchendaele. The attack was carried out by the 13th Brigade and started at 5.20 a.m. on October 26th. At first all went well, and all the objectives of the 5th Division, including the chateau, were captured. Later in the morning, however, the chateau was recaptured by a German counter-attack, and by the evening both the 5th and 7th Divisions were back on their original line. The incessant rain and the resulting mud, which pre­vented the free use of Lewis guns and rifles aaginst the German counter-attack,

were to a great extent the cause of the failure of the operation.

The 95th Brigade remained in Divisional Reserve at Ridge Wood until the

afternoon of the 28th October, when it moved up, via Sanctuary Wood, to the front line north of the Menin road and east of Veldhoek. The 1st Battn. East Surrey occupied the right sector of the Brigade front and extended southwards from. the Scherriaheek: on its right was a battalion of the 39th Division which had, recently relieved the 7th Division. Owing to the comparatively dry state of the ground and the moonlight, the relief was fairly easy and was completed by 10pm. The men worked throughout the night, which was quiet except for intermittent machine-gun fire, and by dawn had much improved their cover. This was fortunate as on the right of the Battalion the opposing lines, here­ about 100 yards apart, bent back to the south-west, so that a German machine gun. on the Menin road was able to enfilade the front trenches and sweep the ground in rear, rendering movement in advance of Battalion Headquarters im

possible during daylight. During the last three days of the month the Battalion was fully occupied in further improving its defences, and the War Diary of the 29th contains the following record: " Our stretcher parties were allowed to pass down the Menin road from Battalion Headquarters unmolested, although in full view of the enemy's machine gunners some 400 yards away." The German regi­ment which behaved in this civilized manner was the 49th of the 15th Division.

"The Battalion was relieved during the night of November 1st and withdrew

to Ridige Wood, escaping during the movement with slight loss, though harassed by many gas shells in Sanctuary Wood and Plumer's road.

Yet another attempt to take the Polderhoek Spur was to be made by the

5th. Division Before the close of the Second Battle of Passchendale . On this occaision the D.C.L.I. was the attacking battalion, supported by the Devons andtwo East Surrey companies, with the Gloucesters in reserve.

During the evening of November 5th the 1st Battn. East Surrey moved up from Ridge Wood to the position assigned to it for the coming attack, being guided across the latter part of its march across country by tape and the flash of a lamp.

Next morning at six o'clock the fourth attack on the chateau commenced and met with no more success than the previous attempts. Later in the morning the two East Surrey companies moved foreward and took over the front line.

The Flanders offensive of 1917 was now nearing its conclusion, and the 5th division was under orders for a rest area. Accordingly, on the 7th November the 1st Battn. East Surrey assembled at Bedford House, known in 1915 as the White Chateau, now a mere heap of bricks and rubble.

Ken

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan.

I won't be able to add anything to Ken's comprehensive reply but if I go to Lijssenthoek in October I will try and take a picture of his grave if you don't already have one.

Neil

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...