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Household Battalion


Mechanic

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Trooper, Matthew Kiddie, 3244, 1st Household Battalion was KIA "in the field of france C/1422" according to his Service Record.

Can anyone help with the whereabouts of his battalion between 10/11/17 and 29/12/17?

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Hi, and welcome to the forum.

The CWGC site says that Matthew Kiddie is buried at Monchy-le-Preux, near Arras, so that gives us an idea of what part of France he was in when he met his death. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of the Household Battalion. I don't think that there was any actual fighting going on in Monchy itself at that time but the troops defending it would have been subject to general shelling, sniping and machine gun fire.

Hope this helps a little.

Ian

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The 4th Division, including the Household Battalion, were attacking west of Poelcappelle on the 12th October, 1917. Matthew must have survived this.

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I have a copy of the book on the Household Battalion's war. BUT my son has it at the moment!! Will see him at the weekend and try to get it back! Also have the diary my avatar Trooper John Joseph kept until his death at Paschendale...again my son has it! PM me if you are interested

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Getting there - the Household Battalion were engaged in the defence of Bourlon Wood from 30th November, 1917 to the 3rd December, 1917.

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Just been playing around with this and there is a Tpr Fullerton of the Household Battalion who also died on the same day as Matthew (19.12.17.) buried at Happy Valley (Fampoux).

Also at Monchy, Household Battalion casualties are:

Tpr EV Adams (14.12,17.)

Tpr JW Redman (14.12.17)

Tpr W Aspin (22.12.17)

Tpr J Ruthven (29.1.18.)

Tpr JW Taylor (29.1.18.)

Cpl HE Taylor (29.1.18.)

Tpr RJM Dewar (31.12.18.)

These appear to me to be the sort of casualty figures one might expect from a battalion defensively holding a position rather than one engaged in raiding or an attack.

Cheers,

Ian

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On the 10th they were moving up to the front line and were shelled in a sunken lane 40 men killed amongst them John Joseph. The ensuing battle decimated the Battalion and it was disbanded sometime after the battle of Paschendale ended.

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The 4th Division, including the Household Battalion, were attacking west of Poelcappelle on the 12th October, 1917. Matthew must have survived this.

I believe this was part of 31st July - 10 November 1917 - The Third Battle of Ypres which is a fair way north of Arras.

And I've just found out that Matthew joined the battalion in the field on the 14th november so would have missed this action.

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Getting there - the Household Battalion were engaged in the defence of Bourlon Wood from 30th November, 1917 to the 3rd December, 1917.

Tanks IanA - Where are you getting your information? I can't find any details of the Household Battalion being involved here.

It is in the right area though.

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Just doing my best with the accumulated knowledge that I have and checking useful websites. Edorc's book should give you the definitive answer but I am pretty confident that I'm on the right track.

Battalions moved all over France & Flanders but if he didn't join the battalion until 14.11.17. (not in your original post!) then, obviously, he would not have been at Passchendaele.

Check the following sites -

http://www.maxwall.co.uk/army/history.htm

http://www.inmemories.com/index.htm

Ian

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These appear to me to be the sort of casualty figures one might expect from a battalion defensively holding a position rather than one engaged in raiding or an attack.

My thoughts are this as there were no offences that I know of at this time. I would have thought that the battalion would have been rested after the Ypres action returning to the front line end of november early december but I am not sure where or when.

Sorry for the earlier confusion, I was sent the embarkation details today so I now know Matthew was with the battalion from the 14/11/17 to the 19/12/17, so I have narrowed my search further.

All your help so far is appreciated!!!

Jason

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Just doing my best with the accumulated knowledge that I have and checking useful websites. Edorc's book should give you the definitive answer but I am pretty confident that I'm on the right track.

Battalions moved all over France & Flanders but if he didn't join the battalion until 14.11.17. (not in your original post!) then, obviously, he would not have been at Passchendaele.

Check the following sites -

http://www.maxwall.co.uk/army/history.htm

http://www.inmemories.com/index.htm

Ian

Helpful links there thanks

"There was a withdrawal along the whole sector of the Poelcappelle - Passchendaele Front. The reckoning for The Household Battalion was a loss of over 400 men for a temporary gain of 600 yards. In rest at Arras, The Household Battalion received its last draft of 500 new faces from Windsor in late October."

Looks like Matthew joined them here. Would the whole battalion be involved in all the actions?

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Would the whole battalion be involved in all the actions?

It depends on what you mean by 'action'. When a battalion was involved in an assault on enemy trenches they would usually leave (later in the war) a small proportion in back positions so that, in case of a battalion being savaged, it could be rebuilt again from the nucleus left. When Matthew was killed the battalion seems to have been holding well-prepared positions and, in my opinion, the whole battalion would have been involved.

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Also have the diary my avatar Trooper John Joseph kept until his death at Paschendale...
edorc, did Trooper Joseph describe any of his experiences during training? Robert
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These are the details of the book mentioned above. It is called The Diary Of A Forgotten Battalion by Gerald William Harvey. ISBN 0-9544903-0-4

He can be contacted at Shalford Publishing, 22 Meadowfield, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. BA15 1PL.

He is also contatctable on the phone (Try 192.com)

I have found both him and the book on the Household Battalion very helpful as it contains details of the battles, casualties and other vital information.

Hope that helps for the moment.

John

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Hi Mechanic,

from the book THE DISTANT DRUM by F.E. NOAKES

(NOAKES came out with a draft on 28/10/17 and joined the Household Battn at ARRAS)

They went into the line in front of ARRAS beginning of November- names mentioned are Fosse Farm, Cambrai rd, Happy Vally, Monchy Village))

The following extract from page 66-67, will give you an idea what happened the period that Kiddie died.

" The short period of Field training came to an end on December 10th, and we went back into the line, in front of Monchy but a litle further to the north than before. We entered the line by a communication trench which ran through the outskirts of the village and was somewhat exposed as it wound down the hill-side towards the front line, and a few shells greeted us as we proceeded, but they were only part of the "evening hate" and I do not think the enemy could have seen us in the darkness. Our new post was on ground which sloped towards the North-east, and over the parapet at dawn next morning we had a wide view of the ground towards the German Lines, with the village of Hancourt plainly visible on our right front. There was litle in the early morning panorama to indicate war, and it was only as the light increased that one realised that the buildings which seemingly nested among trees were only roof-less shells and that the poplars lining the road in the distance were bare and splintered stumps. As the daylight grew we caught sight of a number of Germans scuttling across the open ground below us towards their own lines, from a mine crater which they had occupied during the night.; it was the first time in this underground warfare on which I had actually seen the enemy "in his wild state," and we were all much to interested to remember to fire at them until it was too late.

The next fortnight was an alternation of spells in the front line and in Support line; it was one of those periods to which I referred earlier in this chapter, during which I have many vivid memories of incidents and conditions, but in general am now unable to arrange them in order of their happening. I cannot, therefore claim that this part of my story is chronologically accurate, though all the incidents described occured during our "tour of duty."

For two or three days after we "took over" things were a good deal more lively than they had been during our previous spell. There was a good deal of hostile shelling on our rear, especially towards Happy Vally and Monchy village, and trench mortar bombs exploded at intervals among the barbed wire entangelements in No-Man's-land, necessitating wiring parties at night to repair the damage. Once or twice volleys of Rifle-grenades were sent over, but failed to reach our trench. One evening, soon after dark- I think it was our second day in- there was a raid on part of the Brigade's sector, and although the post at which I was stationed was outside the area attacked, we came in for a heavy dose of " Minnies"- in some ways the most unpleasant form of bombardment. The trench was blown in on both sides of us, and we lost two men killed and one wounded. "

Regards

KOYLI

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Very informative post, thanks. Seems to fit IanA's earlier thoughts

"These appear to me to be the sort of casualty figures one might expect from a battalion defensively holding a position rather than one engaged in raiding or an attack"

Looks like I need to buy a couple of books and search out the war diaries, are they stored at Kew?

Thanks

Jason

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I had a wee look at the on-line war diaries at Kew and couldn't see them but I think they are probably there for personal inspection.

Ian

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edorc, did Trooper Joseph describe any of his experiences during training? Robert

Sadly no. he begins his diary with embarkation to France. Though he continually recounts the route marches they made when "resting" out of the trenches!!

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I had a wee look at the on-line war diaries at Kew and couldn't see them but I think they are probably there for personal inspection.

Ian

Think I have located the war diaries at Kew Ref: WO 95/1481

Looks like trip to Kew may be needed!!

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