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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

17537 Pte H.J.Maker Ox & Bucks L.I.


Martin Felstead

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Thought I 'd share a few pics of my great uncle Harold. He enlisted in late 1914/early 1915 and on 1st October he landed in France to join his battalion 5th Ox & Bucks.

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He suffered from Trench Foot during the terrible winter of 1915 and was invalided home.

This pic shows him seated. With him are Cpl Hallam Yorks & Lancs and Driver Higgins A.S.C (or so it says on the back of the pic). They wear their gretacoats over their hospital blues and Harold is sporting a Machine Gunner badge on his sleeve.

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While I fialed to find his service record at the NA, I have other documents which indicate that he was back in France in late 1916 in time to take part in the battle of the Somme, though I don't know if this was still with the 5th Bn or possibly the 1/4th. He was wounded and again found himself in a UK hospital.

Unfortunately no names of the other chaps this time. Harold is seated right.

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In January he was at Cosham and after some leave he left for France on 1st February 1917. This pic was probably taken before he left. He has a Good Conduct Chevron, wound stripe and a Lewis Gunners "LG" on his left sleeve. He joined his battalion, the 1/4th and was in Cpl Collier's section of 13 Platoon, D Company. In March the battalion took part in the fighting to the east of Peronne. On 19th April D Company mounted an evening attack on the German line at Gillemont Farm, a fortified position. Led by Lt Fortescue D Company's four platoons attacked two up and two in support. They quickly became pinned down by MG fire. Three of the four Platoon Commanders were casualties and after the German artillery fire started to come down it was clear that the attack by a single unsupported company was not going to succeed. Harold was wounded and died later on 21st April. D Company lost 1 Officer and 18 men killed, and 1 Officer and 43 men wounded; a significant percentage of the total company strength for no gain whatsoever.

17537 Pte Harold John Maker is buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension

On his gravestone "May his reward be as great as his sacrifice - Mother". He was 19 years old.

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