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13th Essex


Roy Evans
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I'm looking for detailed info/maps for the 13th Essex at Oppy on 28th of April '17.

Can anyone help please?

Roy

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Roy

If you care to PM me your e-mail - I have the 13th Essex War Diary on my laptop at home.

Will get it to you later.

Regards

Glyn

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Many thanks Glyn.

PM on way.

I'm putting together a pack for thr forthcoming South Staffs Pals Grand Tour 2007 and one Company of the 2nd South Staffs were attached to the 13th Essex for the attack on 28.04.17.

Roy

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Roy

e-mail sent, hope it proves useful

Cheers

Glyn

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Roy

e-mail sent, hope it proves useful

Cheers

Glyn

Glyn,

My Christmas just came early! Thank you soooooo much.

I'm doing the research for the South Staffs Pals Grand Tour of Arras in September next year. If you want to come along .......... :)

Roy

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Roy.

probably not as much use as the diary, but here's the relevant extract from Burrows' History....

post-357-1166645878.jpg

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Roy.

probably not as much use as the diary, but here's the relevant extract from Burrows' History....

Cheers mate, as always, much appreciated - everything helps. :)

Now, if only I knew someone who had more details of the 17th Middlesex on the same day........ :D

Roy

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Now, if only I knew someone who had more details of the 17th Middlesex on the same day........ :D

Roy

If only Roy If only.........

From the Battalion War Diary for the period 27th-28th April 1917. On this day, the 17th Middlesex suffered its heaviest casualties of the entire war.

April 27th- 28th 1917

Bn marched from ROCLINCOURT on the evening of 27th and formed up in its battle formation on the front allotted to Bn, opposite wood & village of Oppy. The forming up was carried out without hitch and in perfect silence in spite of the heavy shelling of the front area. The attached 2nd South Staffs Coy formed up also in their respective places either as Moppers Up or Strong Point Parties and the carrying parties also provided by the 2nd South Staffs formed up in rear. Touch was established with the 13th Essex Right and 2 HLI on the left. Bn was formed up on a 4 Coy front and in 3 waves, each wave having its own Moppers up immediately behind it. The 5 Vickers guns attached to the Bn took posts, 2 behind the right flank and 3 behind the left flank of the last wave. These guns were allotted duties of covering the flanks during the advance until they should have reached the strong points which they were destined to garrison. The two Stokes mortars had instructions to move up behind the right flank. The order of Coys from right to left was D C A B.

At 4:25am our barrage came down and at 4:33am the leading wave entered the enemy front line trench. Wire found to be perfectly cut and the trench practically empty. Bn pressed forward behind the creeping barrage and 1st objective was reached with only a few casualties. Shortly after the advance commenced the OC A Coy on the left noticed that the Bn on our left had either lost touch or had been unable to make progress. He therefore placed a Lewis gun section and some bombers in the enemy front line trench with instructions to block the trench and prevent any movement by the enemy against the left flank. The right flank during the advance to the 1st objective appears to have kept well in touch with the 13th Essex. Fighting became much heavier on reaching the line of the 1st objective, very heavy machine gun & rifle fire being opened from the houses in the village. Capt PARFITTof D Coy had been specially charged with the consolidation of the 1st objective and this was taken in hand by the 1st wave, while remainder pressed on to the 2nd objective. Very heavy fighting now ensued on the right flank, but on the left the German trench running North – South was reached. The fighting had now become so serious that both the 2nd and 3rd waves were fully involved in the struggle for the 2nd objective while the 1st objective was still being consolidated. Up to this juncture reports from wounded men and reports by runner had been received confirming the capture of the 1st objective and of the struggle for the 2nd objective, but owing to the hostile shelling all reports were somewhat late in making in reaching Bn HQ and the situation on the left did not seem clear as although A Coy were known to have gained ground, a report came in from the HLI on our left to the effect that they were hung up by fire in the Sunken Rd in the neighbourhood of the Crucifix. A senior officer was now sent from Bn HQ to clear up the situation on the left and to locate a suitable forward postion for Bn HQ to move to. It was now nearly 8’o’clock and a few minutes later a report came in from the OC A Coy, the left Coy, to say that the enemy was working round both his flanks. The only available reserve inside the Bn, viz the Moppers Up of the 1st objective ( who had reported the completion of this task) had already been sent forward to strengthen the right in the hope that the 2nd objective might still be reached. Capt Edwards, the officer, who had been sent out to clear up the situation found that the enemy had pressed down in strength from the North both down the German front line trench and by the Crucifix Rd on the flank of our two left Coys, and had driven them back through the wood to the enemy front trench. Here these two Coys were making a stand, but had by now maintained very heavy losses. The enemy also appears to have counter attacked against the front & right flank as well and had succeeded in re-entering the wood and getting in between the troops consolidating on the 1st objective and those who had been driven back to the Oppy trench. The enemy had also worked up the Oppy trench from the south and were bombing up from that direction also. All communication with the remnants of the troops in the 1st Objective was now cut off and runners who attempted to get through to the troops still holding the Oppy trench were either killed or wounded.

Lt Col Martin, 13th Essex Regt commanding, sent forward a Coy of 1st Royal Berks to endeavour to relieve the situation, but they could not get beyond the OB line. The remnants of the 2 Coys still holding onto Oppy trench finally exhausted all their bombs and when reduced to about 10 men all told made a dash for the OB line. 1 officer and 3 men succeeded in getting through. The troops on the f1st objective were not heard of again until a wounded officer succeeded in making his way back during the night. His evidence made it clear that these troops had fought till they were practically exterminated by the superior pressure of the enemy; the few survivors surrendered. The few remaining men of the Bn with some of the Staffs carrying party remained for the rest of the day. In the O. B. line until relieved at night by the 23rd RF.

Of the troops who went over the top in the morning 1 officer and 41 unwounded men eventually found their way back. 3 wounded officers and 106 wounded Ors were able to get back in the early stages of the fight.

Had the flanks remained secure it is believed that the 1st objective could have been held against counter attack and possibly the 2nd objective would have been gained in its entirety, although in view of the strength of the enemy in the village, this may be doubtful.

As it was, the sudden onrush of the enemy from both flanks which enabled them to re-occupy the wood, combined with their vigorous counter-attacks, was disastrous; and in the confused nature of the fighting it was impossible to know where to ask for fresh artillery barrages to be placed.

Please note the above was given to me by fellow forum pal AGWR.

Glyn

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Glyn,

As before, very many thanks (also to AGWR).

Roy

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Hello Roy

Fascinating thread - the Essex book extract briefly mentions Lt-Col Carter returning to England for training - connections all over the place here!

Carter joined the 2nd SS in 1899 and was Sgt by the out-break of war - subsequent promotion was rapid to say the least. He was a Wton man and returned after the war getting emploment a motor-cycle mechanic and steel erector. As well as being CO of 13th Essex he was also in 17th Middlesex at some stage.

Following thread gives more detail

 

PS 4 Tipton 2nd SS men killed on this day including Wm Perkes who had aleardy witnessed two of his brothers being killed on the same day at Gallipoli - none of the 3 have known grave

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Thanks Andy,

Actually, I came across him yesterday whilst doing a Google on '17th Middlesex'! He gets 11 mentions in the 2nd South Staffs war diary - happy to post them if anyone wishes.

Roy

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Now, if only I knew someone who had more details of the 17th Middlesex on the same day........ :D

from "Die-Hards in the Great War"...

post-357-1166820439.jpg

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...and...

post-357-1166820677.jpg

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Roy

I for one would like to see the 2nd SS War Diary extracts about Carter. I know someone who is very interested in Carter. There can't be too many who rose from Private to Brigadier-General (post-war in Germany) and then back to being a motor-cycle mechanic!

Cheers

Andy

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from "Die-Hards in the Great War"...

Dave,

Many thanks as ever. I'm not going to have time for Christmas!

Glyn,

Excellent stuff on your e-mail, thank you again.

Andy,

I'll scan and post when I get the chance.

Roy

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  • 4 years later...

Hi,

Does anyone have a copy of 2nd South Staffs diary for 28th April 1917? My great grand father was in D company, I think they were attached to 17th Middlesex? He was taken prisoner on this date at Oppy im trying to find any details of what happened if anyone can help.

Regards

Lydon

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