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Remembered Today:

8th Bn., North Staffordshire Regiment.


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Do any pals please know what the 8th battalion North Staffordshire Regiment were up to on 5 November, 1918. Looking at the mother site it looks like they were involved Battle of the Selle, Passage of the Grand Honelle. Any help gratefully received.



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As luck has it was looking at this area this afternoon...

The 8th N Staffs were in the environs of the village of Wargnies Le Grand, Located SE of Valenciennes on the 5th November.

The previous day, the 4th they were in Reserve when the 9 Cheshires and 4 Shrops advanced east from their starting point along the Jenlain -Curgies road.

The objective was the high ground north of Wargnies Le Grand, with the 8 NStaffs passing through to become the leading Battalion when these objectives were taken.

On the 5th Nov they were 'passed through' at 6.45 am by the 4 Shrops L I who continued the advance towards Le Calotin.

For a more detailed description on the 4th and 5th Novembers activities, the NA have a copy of the '56th infantry Operation Order' at WO 95/2079

Hope this helps


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The Battalion War Diary reads (difficult handwriting):

"Nov 4: At 16.30 hours, A and D coys passed through B and C Coys and captured Wargnies le Grand - Bry road, a distance of 500 or 600 yards. For this encounter Coys had very few casualties. Capt A H Beech wounded and 2/Lieut Platt missing

Nov 5: Shropshires and Cheshires passed through and, assisted by barrage, captured ridge 1000 yards W of La Flamengerie.. Battn moved up in Artillery Formation in support (A and D in front). Capt F. C. Good (Adjutant) and Rev J. J. Wallace (Padre) wounded.

Battn, now occupying left front with Shropshires on the right, pushed on and captured ridge 300 yds east of Hogneau ??? B and C having become forward Coys. At this point enemy opened heavy artilleryand MG fire, inflicting a number of casualties, 2/Lieut B. T. Wilson being wounded. Total distance of Brigade advance approximately 7 (?) miles. Lieut Alcock goes on leave."

The History of the Battalion:

"On 5th November at 6am, the advance continued, the KSLI going on through us under a barrage, and our Battalion following later on their left as far as the outskirts of La Flangerie. Among the casualties were Capt F. C. Good and the Rev J. J. Wallace, the latter unfortunately mortally wounded. During the afternoon the enemy put down a heavy barrage of all calibres, including machine guns. Owing to this, the darkness and the heavy rain, it was not possible to capture the final objective. The night was very wet and cold, which did not add to the cheerfulness of the situation. The attack was continued at 6am the following morning and the objective taken with a few casualties. Two sections RFA and 8 Vickers guns were sent up in support and gallantly took up exposed positions on the ridge. Very heavy machine gun and artillery fire were encountered on reaching this line and the companies dug in, in depth, and sent patrols forward across the river. Every endeavour was made, but machine gun fire and snipers along the railway and in the woods behind made this impossible. Two posts were, however, established on the river, and, later in the afternoon, an NCO and 6 men of B Coy got across and established a post on the railway embankment. Rain fell in torrents all day , and the going was rendered very heavy. All ranks were by this time almost completely exhausted and wet to the skin. Rifles and Lewis guns had become caked with mud, which it was impossible to scrape off. Companies were much reduced in strength, especially in Officers and NCOs: D Coy was commanded by a 2nd Lieutenant lent from another Company, whilst his second in command was a Lance Corporal.

The shellling all day was very heavy, and never for one moment ceased. orders had been given for the advance to be continued across the river but half an hour before Zero hour this was cancelled and very thankful we were too, for those in a position to know the circumstances were of the opinion that, in the face of the opposition the enemy was putting up, the exhaustion of the men, the condition of the arms, the lateness of the orders, and the extremely difficult and wheeling advance we were being called on to make, with very few leaders, the operation would not have had a very large chance of success. Another and important reason was that by this time the rain had reduced all the Officers' maps to an unreadable pulp"

They were withdrawn during the night and not in action again. The Armistice was not greeted with enthusiasm. "Probably, if a census of opinion had been taken at the time, everyone would have voted solidly for going on with the struggle, in order... "to give him a bit of his own back".



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