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Remembered Today:

Soldiers who fought at Bullecourt April - May 1917


Paul D Kendall
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My great grandfather Private William John Kendall was killed ninety one years ago today during an attack on the village of Bullecourt on 13th May 1917 while serving with the 22nd Manchester Regiment. He has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

I am carrying out some research on the Battles of Bullecourt which took place during April to May 1917 and I am keen to contact the descendants of the brave soldiers from Britain and Australia who took part in this battle. If you have any information, photos, written testimonies, diaries, letters or newspaper articles please contact me at paul.kendall193@btinternet.com

I have some photos of Bullecourt and the Arras Memorial so if descendant are unable to visit these sacred places I can send to you by email some images.

I look forward to any responses.

Kind regards

Paul Kendall

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Dear Paul

It sounds a very interesting project. I don't know whether it is of use to you, but I can provide you with some information on the 2/5th York and Lancasters who fought at Bullecourt, taken from the War Diary. As you probably know the 2/5th attacked on the 3rd May, but were compelled to fall back. Lt.Col. Hart concluded that the Battalion's attack had failed due to the following causes: 1.) Darkness 2.) Enemy shelling of our troops on forming up line causing advance to start late, resulting in hurried pace to the attack which lost direction 3.) Smoke and dust from our own barrage made control and communication difficult 4) enemy first line was unrecognizable 5) mingling of units delayed the advance and the barrage was lost. According to the War Diary the 2/5th lost 4 officers and 26 men killed, 3 officers and 84 other ranks wounded, 39 other ranks wounded and missing, 1 officer and 102 other ranks missing, total casualties 8 officers and 251 other ranks. Capt T.B. Phillips and Capt. A.C. Lancaster were recommended for gallant conduct, as were 17 men, 12 of whom were awarded the M.M. the Barnsley Chronicle (28.7.17) gave the citations for some of them - 240791 Sgt. James Robinson was awarded the M.M. 'He did fine work in collecting bombers and Lewis gunners to maintain his Company's exposed flank, and himself worked a Lewis gun until it was struck by a bomb and was blown out of his hands. He did useful work with a patrol on the night of the 5/6 May, bringing back from the vicinity of the enemy line three men who had been missing since the morning of May 3rd.' 241704 Pte. Harold Corbett, 241047 Pte. Robert Cartledge, and 241768 Pte. Benjamin Shepherd 'showed the greatest courage by repeatedly going out to collect wounded under fire from shells, machine-guns, and snipers, and although they had many narrow escapes never hesitated to go out again with a great coolness and disregard of the risks they would meet.' They were all awarded the M.M. Another MM went to 241363 Sergeant Joseph William Cutler for gallantry on the 23/4 May 1917 'At 7.30 pm Corporal Cutler - he has since been promoted sergeant - took out a patrol in daylight to reconnoitre the front Hindenburg lineto find out whether the trench system to his front was occupied by the enemy. He advanced a considerable way down the German trench until his progress was stopped by the enemy. He then skilfully withdrew his patrol having obtained valuable information. All this reconaissance was accomplished in daylight. The following day Corporal Cutler again went out with a patrol of a southern regiment in the endeavour to establish a post in the enemy's trench which he had reconnoitred the previous day. This N.C.O. throughout showed the greatest courage and initiative and carried through a most difficult and dangerous daylight reconaissance'. Joseph Cutler was from Wombwell, near Barnsley, and had enlisted on the 19th April 1915, a 28 year old married man with 3 young children, the youngest of whom was only 7 months old. He was a miner. Hope this helps a bit, and good luck with the research.

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Dear Welshridge,

Many thanks for the information provided. I have all the Australian War Diaries and intend obtaining all the British unit war diaries relating to Bullecourt from the National Archives. I will be trying to contact the descendents of those men mentioned in these diaries in the hope that a photo and further information exists.

Thank you for your support.

Kind regards

Paul

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