Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Harry Williams 282479 2nd/7th Btn Lancashire Fusiliers


Guest JuliaBee

Recommended Posts

Guest JuliaBee

Hello

I have finally tracked down my great uncle's service number and know that he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. I was wondering is there was any further info on the "Soldiers Died" cd rom that I have heard mentioned here. I am in Canada so won't be able to pop over to Kew anytime soon. I would love to know when he volunteered and what battles, apart from Passchendaele he would have been part of.

My Sincere Thanks in Advance

Julia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Julia,

This link will help you see at what the options are for you:

http://www.1914-1918.net/grandad/grandad.htm

If you haven't done so already download his Medal Index Card from the National Archives site:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documen...p;resultcount=1

This is the basis for you to work on as it will help the forum members to gauge when he went to war. We can then advise you as to where he fought etc.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is his SDGW listing.

HWilliams.gif

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Julia,

The 2/7th Lancashire Fusiliers were part of the 197th Brigade which was in the 66th Division. For a brief history of the division as mentioned earlier you can refer to the Long Long Trail website, see link top left hand corner of this page. In the meantime you find this info helpful. The 66th Division moved to France in late February/Early March of 1917, initially they served in the area of La Basse Canal, then they moved North to Nieuport in July of 1917. From July 1917 to early October 1917 they manned the line on the Belguim coast at Nieuport. Early October saw them moved South to Passchendaele, just in time for the big push on the 9th of October. Here is a descripiton of the events in October. As mentioned before, the key here is to establish when your relative joined the battalion.

As the guns prepared to move forward the infantry of the 66th Division moved into the line. The Infantry of the 66th Division moving forward on the 8th of October was nightmarish, they had just endured 4 days of severe trench warfare conditions and now they had to make a move at night in the terrible muddy conditions, here is a description of their move forward that night.

The nightmare began on 8 October. 197 and 198 Brigades assembled in the vicinity of the FREZENBERG RIDGE at 6 p.m. and were subjected to very heavy shelling even as they assembled. Only one track was allocated for each brigade and these were already torn up by pack animals. The troops were subjected to constant shelling as they filed along the tracks in the inky darkness. Frequent stops were made to save those who had been blown of the tracks into the quagmire. By 12:30 a.m. on 9 October it was clear that troops would not be in position on time unless they got a move on. The order went out – they were not to stop for any reason.. The troops marched on desperately trying to ignore the screams of their fallen comrades who were drowning in the liquid mud. 2 ½ miles before the jump off point the tracks ended and the men struggled on through driving rain in knee deep mud. Despite Herculean efforts they arrived late. In the case of 197 Brigade the head of the 3/5 Lancashire Fusiliers was at the start line. The 2/8 LF’s still 400 yards behind the start, whilst the 2/7 and 2/8 LF’s were still some 6-800 yards in the rear. Anticipating this problem 199 Brigade was put on alerts and the 2/5 and 2/7 Manchesters who fully expected to be cheering their chums on suddenly found themselves ordered into the attack..

The opening barrage was feeble and most troops could not even see it let alone follow it. What followed rapidly descended into tragic chaos.

The attack began next morning at 5.20am. 330th Brigade Royal Field artillery brought forward 25 guns to take part in the battle. ( This is my Great Grandfathers unit) The infantry of the 66th Division went over the top and began moving forward. The conditions however hampered their efforts greatly. The mud stuck to their thighs, making walking almost impossible. The German machine gunners used this to their advantage and fired directly on to the stricken infantry. The machine guns swept along the advancing lines, mowing them down. The men could not take cover on the water filled craters. There was nothing else for it but to just keep on going and prey the bullets and shrapnel by some miracle missed you.

Diary entry of 330th artillery Brigade for 9th October 1917 reads.

9th 25 Guns were brought into action in full view of the enemy, but were not fired on. The attack was launched at 5.20am – 66th Divs Infantry participated in the attack (see Barrage map App XI attached) Heavy rain fell throughout the day. Casualties 1 OR rank wounded 330 Brigade, 2 OR wounded 331st Brigade.

The rain fell throughout the day making the conditions even worse. Men were suffering from the cold and morale was extremely low. The men of the 66th however did not give up and they battled on. Below is a description of the action taken by the 66th Division on the 9th of October.

66th Division was part of II ANZAC Corps. They came into the line on 5th October, relieving the 3rd Australian Division.

On 9th October, they took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle:

'The Division attacked at 5.20 am, zero hour, with two brigades.

198 Brigade attacked with the 2/9th Manchesters and the 2/4th East Lancs; the 2/5th East Lancs were in support and the 2/10th Manchesters in reserve. The assaulting troops immediately came under severe artillery and machine-gun fire. The 2/5th East Lancs came under heavy fire from Hamburg Redoubt, which they attacked without success.

By midday it became apparent that the Brigade had only reached the first objective. Consolidation was begun. The remnants of the 2/5th were pulled back to form a line behind the two front-line battalions in anticipation of counter-attacks.

At dusk the enemy launched a counter-attack, which was repulsed by artillery and small-arms fire, the 2/5th East Lancs being usefully employed.

197 Brigade, comprising four battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers, attacked with the 3/5th Lancashire Fusiliers. The attack was then taken over by the 2/6th and 2/8th, with the 2/7th in reserve. The Brigade advanced in dribs and drabs owing to the state of the ground.

The 3/5th Lancashire Fusiliers advanced with their right on the Roulers railway and took the Red Line. They linked with the 2/6th at about 9.30 am and joined 198 Brigade in Augustus Wood on the right.

Meanwhile the 2/8th and part of the 3/5th were pushing on towards the Blue Line, which they reached by 9.30 am and started to consolidate. Patrols were sent out and some reached the outskirts of Passchendaele itself. Bodies of the men from these two battalions were found when the village fell on 6 November.

The Germans launched two counter-attacks in the morning but were driven off with small-arms fire. A defensive flank was formed on the left but troops of the 66th Division, seeing the defensive withdrawal, mistook it for a general withdrawal and they fell back to the Red Line at about 1.30 pm.

The Red Line was firmly held by the 3/5th, 2/8th and 2/6th Lancs. Orders were received to retake the Blue Line but they were later abandoned.

The Division was in touch with the 2nd Australian Division and the 49th Division on their flanks.'

On the 10th October, the Division repulsed a counter-attack. That night it was relieved by the 3rd Australian Division.

This was the major action that the 66th Division saw at Passchendaele, they continued holding the trenches and taking thire turn in and out of the kine. I hope you find the above info helpful.

regards Aaron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...