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gikkalan

6th Bn Nothamptonshire regiment

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gikkalan

My Great Uncle Sidney Harrison was killed on 22nd March 1918. At the time he wa serving with the 6th Bn Nothamptonshire regiment, does anyone know what this battalion was doing around this date ?

Thanks Gill and Alan

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Stebie9173

The battalion was caught in the German Spring offensive that commenced on 21st March 1918. Though not in the front line at the start of the assault on the 21st, they were rushed into the battle.

This battalion is the focus of my research as my own great-uncle fought with them.

I'll add more later.

Steve.

P.S. Soldiers died in the Great War lists him as born Scropton, Derbyshire. Enlisted at Uttoxeter, Staffs. Formerly numbered 32938 in the North Staffordshire Regiment (probably only served with the North Staffs in England). He is listed as Died, which is rather curious.

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themonsstar

Hi

40473, Pte Sydney Harrison, born Scropton, Derbyshire. DOW 22/3/18. 6th Batt, was part of 54 Bde counter-attacked at dusk across the Crozat Canal, only to be ordered to form a rearguard to cover the withdrawal of 14th Div. The next day (23rd) 2/Lt Herring Won the Batt second VC. This is from 'Four VCs in Forty Months'

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Stebie9173

21st and 22nd March 1918 from the 54th Brigade History:

post-6536-1165522371.jpg

54th_Bde_March_1918_130_131.jpg

Steve.

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steve fuller

Hi Gill & Alan

Like Stebie I have a strong personal interest in the battle as my Gt Gramdfather fell the following day in the 7th Beds who were intermingled with the 6th Northants during the ferocious defence of the Canal. Their War Diary reads:

"21 March 1918 10.30am – Battalion left CAILLOUEL 10.30 and embussed BETHANCOURT. In position WOOD E of JUSSY-FAILLOUEL road.

4pm. Moved forward at 4pm to take over Switch Line in front of LY-FONTAINE on the right and GIBERCOURT on the left.

10.30pm. Withdrew west of ST-QUENTIN CANAL at LA MONTAGNE BRIDGE and took up a position on railway embankment about M.22.d. in {?} with 7th Bedfords on the right and the 11th RF on the left.

22 March 1918. Map Sheet 66c. 5.30am SE of JUSSY. Bridge at LA MONTAGNE was to be blown up but this was only partially successful. The Bn. was to hold back in readiness to counter attack in case the enemy crossed the canal. Enemy aircraft was very active during the afternoon and a heavy bombardment was made against our position and the enemy made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the canal but was repulsed. The line was consolidated, our sector running from the bridge over the canal at M.23.a.8.9. to 200 yards S.E. of MONTAGNE BRIDGE.

23 March 1918 – 7.30am. The enemy attacked against the 7th Bedfords and simultaneously against the Royal Fusiliers, pushing back both flanks.

9.30am. We held on to our positions and the 2 bridges which were the 2 most intense [?] points on the Brigade front and continued to do so until ordered by the Brigadier to withdraw at about [?].

10.30am S JUSSY. Reinforcements of STRATHCOMA’S HORSE arrived but were immediately withdrawn.

12 noon. The Battn withdrew to BOIS DE FRERES where the enemy violently shelled us from REMIGNY and simultaneously enfiladed us from W of FAILLOUEL.

3pm. The Battn withdrew through VILLEQUIER-AUMONT and marched onto billets at CAILOUEL."

Although I may be a little "romantic" here, it would be interesting to think that Sidney was one of the men killed in the Northamptons and Bedfords' counter attack on La Montagne Bridge during which Lt Herring won his VC. What a story that woudl make for your family history!! Hard to prove 100% but food for thought nonetheless. Alternatively, he could have easily fallen during the intense shelling as he and his comrades waited to be called forward in the woods west of the canal though. Having no known grave, he is probably buried in Savy Cemetery along with many of his comrades.

At the end of 23-3-1918 after two days of hard fighting, only around 200 Northamptons, 200 Bedfords and 26 Fusiliers survived out of the 6-800 starting strength of the 54th Brigade - a heavy price to pay whatever way you look at it.

I have trench maps and photos from the area he was killed in if you want that kind of info as I have walked it more than once! Too many to include on here and I wuld need to email them to you so get in touch if they woudl be any use. The below is a quick area snap of the remains of the bridge

post-1637-1165533584.jpg

Best of luck to you

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gikkalan

Dear Steve,

Thankyou very much for this information. We very much appreciate it and it has helped enormously. Thankyou for taking the time.

Our family has preserved all of his letters and they cover the entire time from when he was conscripted into the army, right through his training and service overseas to just a few days before he was killed. He mentioned a few names in his letters and we find ourselves wondering if our 2 great-uncles might have known one another? What was your uncle's name please?

Great-Uncle Sid's parents were kept guessing about what had happened to him until after the war ended, when a POW came home who had been an eyewitness. He gave only scanty details, though, so we were very pleased to read the account in the Brigade's History.

When we've studied the material you've sent in fine detail we'll let you know if any of Unlce Sid's documents tell us anything that might interest you.

Thanks again,

Alan & Gill

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Stebie9173

Alan & Gill,

My great-uncle was Walter Stephen Beeby. His Army Records didn't survive, so I don't know that much about his service. He joined the Northamptonshire Regiment in early 1915, and went overseas in July 1915 with the initial 1,000 men of the battalion. From there I really don't know exactly what happened to him until he appears in the Royal Engineers in early 1917 (per his brother's obituary) and then he won the M.M. in mid-1918 with the 12th Divisional Signal Company R.E. (in a different Division to the 6th Northamptons).

I don't really know if he went straight to the 12th Division in 1917, or served some time with the 18th Division (or any other Division for that matter), nor whether he served for more than five minutes with the 6th Northamptons in France (though I suspect he was with them through most of 1916).

All this research is to build a picture of the possibilities, and perhaps find a reference or two here and there...

So if he gets a mention.... ^_^

I would be interested to see what names get a mention, regardless of whether my great-uncle's name is among them.

If you want to e-mail me then the 18th Divisions history gives both a longer narrative and a broader picture of the events of the time.

Steve.

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