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Desmond7

Unique soldier

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Desmond7

Today, I did another family history day. It was in village of Cullybackey, Co. Antrim. Great success.

However, here's my point, can anyone tell me what was ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE about this first world war soldier.

The clue is 16th Btn Royal Irish Rifles. What makes him (I believe) unique.

And what would a full length photo portrait of him plus his death plaque be worth? Let the detective work/guessing begin.

post-1582-1159652544.jpg

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HarryBettsMCDCM

He is the only 16th Bn RIR Casualty for 1/7/16

His plaque & Medals would command an extremely high price,unfortunately unless absolute provenance could be made in respect of a solitaire plaque to a William Brown;attributing such a common name to a particular casualty,would not be easy

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enoch beard

over 250 men named william brown were killed in the war, so it would be hard to value the plaque unless the owner has his medals or something else connected to him

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Desmond7

Harry Betts is right on ... more info and pics to follow. Used a snail cam - have to get digitised.

Does anyone know of any other Btn. which saw action on 1st July 1916 which had only ONE fatality on that day?

I know that 16th did have men DoE and KIA on the following days but old William here is pretty unique in my book.

The reason why I know the plaque etc is genuine is that it was handed down through family and is now in possession of a very able and informed (and of whom I am VERY jealous) collector.

The man and his son put on a brilliant display of memor.; sweet heart brooches; cap badges; various Volunteer corps badges; and a magnif selection of North Irish Horse stuff.

And they also had some wonderful stuff, including Indian mutiny medals to Bernard Diamond VC Bengal Artillery. Smashing.

Anyway here's Brown's obit:-

Rfn. William Brown

Rfn. William Brown (pioneer) Newferry whose wife and young daughter reside at Culnafay has been killed in

action on July 1. He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. William Brown of Newferry. He had emigrated to America

three years ago and returned in Christmas 1914, joining the army in the early spring of 1915 and went to the front

with the Ulster Division (16th Btn R.I.Rifles).

Rfn. Brown is the only recorded fatal casualty of the 16th (Pioneer) Battalion on July 1. However, the unit

was to remain in action well after the remainder of the Division were relieved on July 3.

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auchonvillerssomme

was he the only casualty of the 16th Bn?

What about:

Philip Egerton WEDGWOOD

Second Lieutenant

16th Bn Royal Irish Rifles

KIA 01/07/1916

IV. A. 4. MILL ROAD CEMETERY, THIEPVAL

Mick

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HarryBettsMCDCM

Perhaps I should have qualified the statement as being the only OR Casualty of the 16th Bn RIR.

There are others with singular O/R casualties on 1/7/16:~

York & Lancs 202188 John Webster 1/4th Bn.

North Staffs. 12512 Thomas Wm Craddock 8th Bn.

Manchester 15328 Austin Finnegan L/Sgt. 24th Bn.

Dorsetshire 14490 Henry ReaderLambert 6th Bn.

Gloucesershire 2136 Holcoop Wm James 1/4th Bn.

Lancashire Fusiliers William Edwards 10064 10th Bn.

Leicestershire 4319 George Ellis 1/4th Bn.{DoW}

East Yorkshire 10/341 William Hy Dalton 10th Bn.

East Yorkshire 11/1432 Thomas Dixon 11th Bn.

West Yorkshire 21/25 George Arthur Chadwick 21st Bn.

Lincolnshire 32511 Harry Gill 1/5th Bn.

Liverpool {King's} 15765 John Pearson 17th Bn. {DoW}

Warwickshire 6297 Walter Flintham 2nd Bn.

Warwickshire 1826 Charles Day 1/5th Bn.

King's{Royal Lancs} 2274 John Wadsworth 7th Bn.

There are a number of Battalions with just two to ten casualties.

Officers are grouped together by Regiment,{Bn Numbers follow name}in Bell's Soldiers Killed On The First Day Of The Somme,so I expect there are other examples of Officers being the only Battalion Officer KiA/DoW on that day.

Other units not in action on the Somme; that day must have also had some casualties,I know there is a single 1/1st Cambridgeshire Rgt. casualty of that day.

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PhilB

Is it possible that others in the 16th were KIA 1/7/16 but recorded as 2/7/16 etc? Phil B

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auchonvillerssomme

i thought of that and cross referenced them to CWGC, so both SDGW and CWGC agree, there were only 7 between 1st and 2nd July.

Mick

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Desmond7

Nice one - never knew about the officer!

I am actually very surprised at the number of Btns with only one KIA recorded for that day!

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auchonvillerssomme
I am actually very surprised at the number of Btns with only one KIA recorded for that day!

Why surprised? not all batallions went into action on the 1st July.

Of the Battalions mentioned by HarrybettsDCM the only one I'm surprised about was the 24th Bn Manchester Regiment.

Mick

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Desmond7

I did, of course, refer to Battalions which had been in action on July 1. Why did you think otherwise?

Hence in my post in reply to Harry Betts I asked :

Does anyone know of any other Btn. which SAW ACTION on 1st July 1916 which had only ONE fatality on that day?

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auchonvillerssomme

Aplogies.

My mistake, I didnt think the 16th RIR went into action on the 1st July. I thought they were digging communication trenches in Thiepval Wood and employed in the bringing in of wounded and carrying supplies. I will revisit my notes.

Mick

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HarryBettsMCDCM

All those I listed are those credited in Bells Book,as they were either actually in action,or in reserve,to consolidate any advance,from the 220 Battalions of the 17 Divisions that launched the attack,some would obviously have been on the peripheries of the main attack,indeed some of the Battalions he lists have no casualties @ all.

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Desmond7

They were tasked with trying to dig 'crawl trenches' - for want of a better expression - across NML in the afternoon. Not surprisingly they were under a lot of fire! I will try to find the reference.

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Desmond7

Just to clarify - I note Fall's history mentions parties of 16th R Ir Rifles trying to take rations,water and ammo across on July2. Haven't been able to verify the attempt to dig shallow crawl trenches on July 1 yet ... but I'm sure it is out there somewhere?

Blame it on my memory if I am wrong.

However, given the weight of fire which was descending on Thiepval Wood on 1st July, surely the very presence of 16th Rifles in these trenches whether they were bringing in wounded, carrying parties or whatever would qualify them to be 'in action' on 1st July?

Des

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auchonvillerssomme

The reason I mentioned the 24th Manchesters was that they are recorded as taking part in the attack on Mametz (Westlake).

Did you rely on Bell for casualties? I'm in the middle of some work regarding that.

8th Bn North Staffs Although moved to trenches at 7.30am they were moved back through Albert to the Tara-Usna line at 4.pm.

6th Bn Dorsetshire. Held reserve positions. 2 casualties Henry Lambert 14490 and Albert Lane 15205

1/4th Bn Gloucestershire. Were in reserve at Mailly-Maillet

10th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. Had 2 casualties William Edwards 10064 and James Rostron 10338

1/4th Bn Leicestershire In reserve during attack at Gommecourt

1/4th Y&L were in reserve in Aveluy Wood

10th Bn East Yorkshire were in reserve at Serre and didnt go into action. 2 casualties William Dalton 10/341 and Reginald Jones 10/621

11th Bn East Yorkshire remained in support trenches. 3 casualties Thomas Dixon 11/1432 John marchant 11/1186 Joesph Mason 11/799

21st Bn West Yorkshire. Had 2 casualties 21/25 George Arthur Chadwick and Reginald Dean 21/185

1/5th Bn.Lincolnshire. Weren't in action til Midnight on 1st July.

17th Bn Kings (Liverpool Regt) 2 casualties John pearson 15765 James Riding 15470

2nd Bn Warwickshire. 2 casualties Arthur Hammond 9943 and Walter Flintham 6297

1/5th Bn Warwickshire. 2 casualties Charles Day 1826 and Reginald Elton 3039.

7th Bn King's{Royal Lancs} Were in Support at Ovillers.

Mick

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auchonvillerssomme

I agree, the lack of casualties was miraculous considering the proximity to the front line and return fire.

But I think sometimes we concentrate to much on the 1st July when looking at casualty numbers.

Mick

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Footsore Private
was he the only casualty of the 16th Bn?

What about:

Philip Egerton WEDGWOOD

Second Lieutenant

16th Bn Royal Irish Rifles

KIA 01/07/1916

IV. A. 4. MILL ROAD CEMETERY, THIEPVAL

Mick

Apparently, PE Wedgwood had a brother also KIA on 1 July 1916. This article titled "Brothers in arms died side by side in battle" claims GC Wedgwood of the 109th Machine Gun Company was this brother.

In Memory of

Lieutenant GILBERT COLCLOUGH WEDGWOOD

109th Coy., Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)

who died age 22

on 01 July 1916

Son of Elizabeth Wedgwood, of "Egerton," 76, North Rd., Bloomfield, Belfast, and the late Rev. George Ryles Wedgwood.

Remembered with honour

THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

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Footsore Private
Just to clarify - I note Fall's history mentions parties of 16th R Ir Rifles trying to take rations,water and ammo across on July2. Haven't been able to verify the attempt to dig shallow crawl trenches on July 1 yet ... but I'm sure it is out there somewhere?

Blame it on my memory if I am wrong.

However, given the weight of fire which was descending on Thiepval Wood on 1st July, surely the very presence of 16th Rifles in these trenches whether they were bringing in wounded, carrying parties or whatever would qualify them to be 'in action' on 1st July?

Des

Hi Desmond,

This topic is old and may have been answered but there is a video on

that says the 16th was carrying supplies to the southern part of the Schwaben Redoubt on 2 July 1916.

Regards.

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Desmond7

Thanks Footsore ... never knew about the officer's brother.

Des

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Footsore Private

Regarding  2nd Lt. Philip Egerton Wedgwood  he was 16th RIR attached to the 14th RIR on 1 July 1916.  The CWGC has updated its accounts of him sometime in the last 14 years or so!

 

He is also mentioned in the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Bowen 14th Royal Irish Rifles:

"10:35 Am Lt Wedgewood (misspelled) killed. Boche barrage still down on the edge of the wood."

Source: The Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers' own Words and Photographs  By Richard Van Emden. Page 125

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