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Remembered Today:

Pte John Thomas Mills


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All,

As well as military history I also devote a lot of time (and money) to family history.

On my mother's side I came across a great grandfather who I found later in the 1901 census. This gave me details of two more children. I thought the dob of one of them left him of an age whereby service in the Great War was a distinct possibility. I looked on CWGC with no luck. I then fed in the details of an older brother and hey presto there he was. He was in the above battalion, number 7273 and died on 15.5.15, age 34. He is on the Le Touret memorial.

From my books I have quickly recognised that he appears to have died at Festubert. I know little of the Worcesters in this battle, can anyone help? Secondly, can someone with access to SDGW let me know what his entry says and how many others from his battalion died in the battle? His number suggests to me that he may not have been a wartime volunteer, would I be right?

Many thanks,

Rob

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Rob, I am researching my local memorial in Worcestershire and one of the men was also KIA on 15/5/15 whilst serving with the 2nd Worcs, the details are:-

CHATTERTON Frederick George Pte 8184 2nd Bn Worcs Reg 5th Brig 2nd Div, KIA on 15/5/15, aged 30 years.

He was originally one of the one hundred and twenty-seven men of the 2nd Worcs reported as MIA on 15/5/15. He was confirmed as KIA on that date in November 1915. The 15/5/15 was the opening day of the Battle of Festubert. The 5th Brig were allocated a night time attack from the Rue Du Bois south of the Estaires to La Basse Road. 2nd Worcs and 2nd RInnisF were the leading units of 5th Brig. The orders were that the attacking units were to deploy in front of the British line, approach the German line in silence without a preliminary bombardment and then rush the German trenches. Unfortunately synchronisation of watches was a thing of the future and the 2nd Worcs officers watches were slow. To their right there was a great cheer as the 2nd RInnisF swept into the German trenches, the element of surprise was lost and the 2nd Worcs were still 200 yards from the German line, German flares light up the darkness, 2nd Worcs advanced but they were unable to find gaps in the German wire and they were driven into cover in no-mans-land. Very few reached the German trenches, C Coy in reserve were committed to assist but merely become embroiled in the confusion and the attack failed. Throughout the next day the 2nd Worcs were subjected to artillery fire and in the evening they were withdrawn into the reserve area. (see the entry for Pte Alfred Wall).

He has no known grave and is commerated on the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing.

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Thanks everyone. I knew I would get some help! As it was a night attack I am not surprised that the casualties are split over two days. Seventy deaths in one attack suggests a serious attack.

Chris...I hadn't but will do now!

Rob

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