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Remembered Today:

111 Machine Gun Company, 37th Div


tonyforrest
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2nd Lt. Filmer Blake SPICER was born in 1892 in Pimlico, London. He died on 6.10.16 and is buried in Barlin Communal Cemetary Extension between Bethune and Arras. He was educated in South London and both his widow and parents were connected with London and the South Coast.

He was commissioned into 3rd Bttn The Buffs and later attached to 111 Machine Gun Coy. His Company was brigaded in 111Bde, 37th Division and found itself in France in March ’16. The Division is recorded as present for the Diversion at Gommecourt on 1.7.16 but must have been in Reserve as it does not seem to have seen action. 111 Bde was subsequently loaned to 34 Div on the Somme until August ’16, returned to 37 Div and fought with them in the Battle of the Ancre at the end of the Somme campaign. All the indications are that 111 Bde were on the Somme throughout this period.

What then was this MGC officer doing being treated miles away in 6th Casualty Clearing Station (which used Barlin from March ’16 to November ’17)?

Does any have particular knowledge of this (admittedly rather obscure) unit?

The Divisional record is ‘The Golden Horseshoe’ published immediately after the War, access to a copy has until now proved impossible. It may however hold a clue. Does anyone have access?

The Battalions forming 111Bde were:

10th (Service) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers

13th (Service) Bn, the Royal Fusiliers

13th (Service) Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps

13th (Service) Bn, the Rifle Brigade)

111th Trench Mortar Battery

So far as I can, I have searched amongst their records for a clue No joy.

Why? Well, 2Lt Spicer is recorded in the tiny Saxon church of Little Bardfield (near Thaxted) in Essex and also (on a supplementary plaque) in the church at Aldham also in Essex a few miles West of Colchester. I am researching the Lt. Bardfield memorial and can find no hint of a connection with the parish (or with Aldham). Which just adds to the mystery

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Tony

37th Division were holding the line north of Loos during earlySeptember/ October 1916. Your man was no doubt wounded in the line there and then transported back along the road back to Bethune and thence to Barlina few miles south west of Bethune.

This does make sense I think.

Stephen

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Thank you so much for that. Absolutely nothing that I had seen so far indicated that 37th Div were off the Somme during the 1916 campaign.

My very best wishes.

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Tony,

His picture appears in the Dulwich College War Record 1914-1919.

2nd Lieutenant Filmer Blake Spencer (1904-7) 3rd Battalion The Buffs

Born 1st February 1892. He obtained a commission in the Special Reserve of The Buffs in September, 1915, but afterwards was attached to the Machine Gun Corps. He died of wounds received in action on 6th October, 1916. He leaves a widow.

Andy

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Andy

Thanks for that. I was aware that he had been a boarding pupil at Emmanuel School on Wandsworth Common in 1901. (At boarding school at the age of nine - poor little devil). But had lost him after that. The Dulwich School record gives a possible lead to the Little Bardfield conection - so I may have to thank you twice over!

Tony

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