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Alan Abbott

Soldier's In Famous Somme Film/photo

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Alan Abbott

I remember a thread on the old WFA forum about the soldiers involved in the famous IWM photograph and movie film (Battle of the Somme Film ?) of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade along a trench towards the camera.

Details were given before of the wounded man, who I believe died thirty minutes later, but no details of the other soldier were mentioned.

Does anyone know any more about this incident ?

Names, fates, unit/s, etc ?

Regards,

Alan.

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Ski

I just thought i would bring this thread back to life as my dad and I were just talking about this very subject.

I may be totally wrong, but i'm sure i remember something about this man being the RSM of the Battalion and being awarded the DCM for bringing in the wounded man as well as others? :huh:

I wonder if anybody can give us an answer this time round?

Ski

:)

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Simon Furnell

Evening all.

I have seen the film that you mention,and the still photo.

As far as i have read,the wounded man died 30 minutes after the film was taken.

The thing that stuck in my mind,was the look on the face of the man that was carrying him.

He had seen a lot that day.

During most of the documentries,on the 1st of July,that i have seen,this image is always shown.

It would be great,to put names to these faces,that we know so well.

All the best.

Simon.

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museumtom

I remember a few fellow Fingalians having this very discussion and it seems that the soldier who was carrying the wounded man either was born in or lived in Finglas after the War........Finglas is on the North side of Dublin.

Tom Burnell...........now in Tipperary.

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burlington

They seem to always show this shot. I have even seen it tinted.

I have also read of his name but, despite much burrowing after Alan's orginal posting, can I find it? Can I heck!

I wonder whether it was on one of the internet archives rather than in a book.

This sort of thing drives me mad. :(

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stiletto_33853

Hi,

If it is the Clip I am thinking off, The Daily Mail made a postcard of it during the war and the Gentleman carrying the injured man out of the trench is Rifleman Thomas Joseph Osborn, Number 7324, 2nd Essex Regiment. The soldier being carried did indeed die a little later. Rifleman Osborn was from the Southend District in Essex and was himself killed 4th July 1916. Soldiers died give his address as soho but he actually lived at 102 South Avenue, Southend and was the son of a congretional minister.

The official note to the photograph stated that he had brought in twenty wounded that morning.

Andy

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stiletto_33853

whoa there, got this a bit wrong looking at too many pieces of paper, the bio was correct and is covered in a book called "The Southend & District Roll of Honour" by Jeffrey Jarvis, limited to 100 copies i am afraid.

The gentleman carrying was indeed Rifleman Thomas Joseph Osborn, his number was P/1504 of the 16th Rifle Brigade.

A photograph and article about Rifleman Osborn appeared in the Southend Standard on 20-7-16.

Sorry for the blooper on earlier reply.

Andy

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stiletto_33853

Photograph and article is also covered in The Great War....I was there, part 17.

A very harrowing picture i am sure you will agree. If i could manage to get my avatar to work would post the article from the book.

If any member would like to see the article and bio on the man if you send me you e mail address will gladly send it to you.

Andy

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stu

Andy,

Sorry for this being off topic but does your book Southend and District Roll of Honour cover Canvey Island,and does it only contain details on casualties?

Thanks

Stu.

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stiletto_33853

Hi Stu,

Yes it does cover Canvey but only casualties, need any look ups??

Andy

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stiletto_33853

To the people i have sent the details and pic of this man too, gather this is the article you are talking about, on every 1st July video i have seen this man always features.

Am Awaiting the actual postcard that i purchased from e bay to arrive, will send copies out to all when it arrives also trying to get a better scan for you all.

Andy

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Paul Reed
The gentleman carrying was indeed Rifleman Thomas Joseph Osborn, his number was P/1504 of the 16th Rifle Brigade.

A photograph and article about Rifleman Osborn appeared in the Southend Standard on 20-7-16.

The only problem with this is that if this man was 16th Rifle Bde and the film was taken on 1st July 1916, then it cannot be on the Somme... it must be near Richebourg as that's where the unit was at the time. In fact, I don't think they were in the line at this time, and were certainly not involved in the fighting around the Boar's Head at Richebourg on 30th June.

They did not reach the Somme until late August 1916.

The film came from stock taken by one of two cameraman operating on 1st July; this one film near Mametz and Montauban, if I remember correctly.

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.

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stiletto_33853

Paul,

The IWM says it was taken at Beaumont Hamel and that the person carrying was killed in action on 4th July. Not an expert but i suppose the pic could have been taken elasewhere and edited for various reasons. Will gladly send the bio and pic to you so that you can have a look as i do not seem to be able to load it on the forum page.

Bio definetely states 16th Rifle Brigade.

Andy

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AndrewThornton

Martin Middlebrook in "First Day on the Somme" identifies the soldier carrying the casualty as a member of the 21st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment. I think it may have been the RSM (perhaps someone can check) and was identified by his daughter, although this may again be at fault. However, the casualty he is carrying wears the triangle divisional sign of 29th Division, which can be seen on his upper arm. 29th Division and 4th Division (in which 21st West Yorks served as the Pioneer Battalion) were in VIII Corps on 1st July 1916 and in neighbouring sectors. Also, Geoffrey Malins was filming in this sector on 1st July with 29th Division, making it unlikely that the chap was in the 16th Rifle Brigade, who were in a completely different sector.

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stiletto_33853

Hi Andrew,

Can only tell you and everyone what my local papers and his bio says.

Andrew

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stu

Hi Andy,

Sorry for my delay in replying to your offer,my man survived so I don't need a look up.

Thanks anyway.

Stu.

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stiletto_33853

ah ha,

See now where the confusion is, this is the man i was refering too also in somme videos taking comrades out of trenches

post-1-1076800068.jpg

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stiletto_33853

bio, sorry for the size cant seem to get it smaller

post-1-1076800270.jpg

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Paul Reed

I'm sorry, but the facts don't fit on this one. It is nice speculation, but the man in the obituary above would never have served on the Somme. His unit only landed in France in March 1916, and he served only in the area between Armentieres and La Bassee.

The official photo shows a soldier of the 29th Division, taken in the White City area on 1st July 1916. Rfn Osborn was in the 39th Division, and some 30+ miles north on this day, where there were no photographers operating.

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Desmond7

I too was confused. I was thinking of the 'Battle of the Somme' moving picture which caused so much consternation when released. Specifically of the obviously traumatised man carrying a comrade along a trench - chilling when he looks into the camera.

I have to say I have never seen this picture before and at the risk of red-face my first impression was that he was an officer. Is he wearing a tie? The V-shadow at the top of his tunic-battledress looks very officer-cut

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stiletto_33853

Paul

Agreed thats why i posted the pics, the official IWM picture on this man says sunken Road Beaumont Hamel, yet he died a couple of days after and is buried in Bethune.

Andy

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Clive Maier

I think this is the image that we all had in mind.

post-1-1076886938.jpg

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salientpoints

And in colour...

008C3996.JPG

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ttd0

stiletto_33853

Any chance that you could please do a look up for me in the Southend and District Roll of Honour.

17539 Sjt Ernest Walter Piper MM Royal Field Artillery KIA 13/10/1918

of 1, Belle Vue Place, Southend

Would be grateful for any info

Thanks

Tim

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Guest Roger Smither

I have just been alerted to this particular thread, which I have found very interesting.

As the body responsible for the preservation of the film 'Battle of the Somme' and for the release of both moving image and still reproductions from it, the Imperial War Museum is frequently contacted by people asking about the identity of the "Somme Rescuer" (an image which we use on the Film and Video Archive page on the Museum's website - http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/film.htm).

Many of our correspondents have their own suggestions to make about the rescuer's identity, but none of these suggestions has so far come with irrefutable evidence. The identification picked up by Middlebrook was an early example, but has also not been substantiated. As far as we are concerned, the question remains open.

There are no official records about the taking of this particular shot. The most detailed account is the published reminiscences of the cameraman who took the film - 'How I Filmed the War' by Geoffrey Malins (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1920; reprinted with an introduction by Nicholas Hiley by the Imperial War Museum, in association with the Battery Press, 1993).

Malins is not always a wholly reliable source, but his account of his movements on the morning of 1 July 1916 can often be confirmed either by the evidence of the film itself or by third-parties. In the White City / Jacob's Ladder / Sunken Road area opposite Beaumont Hamel, he was towards the northern end of 29th Division, and, as noted in an earlier posting, it is generally agreed that the man being rescued - as opposed to the rescuer, who has no visible insignia - is wearing a 29th Div shoulder flash.

Malins's account of the rescue can be found on pages 167-168. It is atmospheric, but not very helpful: Malins describes the man behind the rescue as a "trench mortar man" but gives no other details; he mentions a second volunteer accompanying the first without giving any details at all; and does not even say which of the two actually carried the casualty up the trench.

Now that I have found it, I shall try to keep up with further postings on this topic on this forum. I should be delighted to hear from anyone with some more solid information.

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