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Thomas Highgate


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Can anyone help please....

What were the Royal West Kents doing around the 6th Sept 1914?

In the line?

Combat? that week up to the 6th

The record states that they were in close proximity to the enemy and I just wanted to get that confirmed as to what they were doing

many thanks

John

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1st Bn. R. West. Kent. Regt. 13th. Bde., 5th. Div.

Notes taken from Ray Westlake's British Batallions in France & Belgium 1914. and Maj. A. F. Becke's Order of Battle of Divisions Pt.1.

August

31st Crepy

September

Engagement at Crepy en Valois 1st.

1st. Crepy, enemy attacked 09:30 hrs. and withdrawal ordered. Moved

back to Silly-le-Long.

2nd. To Cuisy.

3rd. Coulommes.

4th. Tournan.

Battle of the Marne 6th-9th.

6th. Began advance, marching to Villeneuve then Dammartin.

7th. via Coulommiers to Boissey-le-Chatel.

8th. St. Cyr to bivouacs near Noisement.

9th. Saacy.

Arthur

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From the war diary of the 1st Bn. I hope this helps

5 Sept 1914

Battalion paraded and marched to Tournant. The first reinforcement (LT HJ Vicat and 84 other ranks) Lieut Palmer, who had not joined the Battalion since being employed as RTO at Valenciennes on August the 21st was passed halted at the side of the road ear Villeneuve. A [ineligible] ground about one mile south of Tournan was reached. The brigade was allotted an open stubble field. The weather was extremely hot but the men were able to get some shade and a wash at a stream nearby.

4.0 pm. First reinforcement (strength as above)arrived at the [ineligble]. This reinforcement had mobilised at Dublin with the battalion and sailed for Havre about a week after the battalion did. Orders were received that the 5th division would advance on the following day.

6 Sept 1914

Battalion paraded at 6pm [ the previous day] forming part of the advanced guard to the division in the march on Villeneuve. A&B Coys under Major Buckle forming the main guard. Head of the main guard passed through the outpost line of the 14th Inf Brigade (E Surrey Regt). The Divisional cyclists who had been out in front of the outpost line during the night reported all clear of enemy to the northward. The Battalion took up its allotted outpost line A & B Coys being the outpost coys with C & D Coys in support at u in Villeneuve [i’m guessing that this means at the u in Villeneuve on a map].

12.0 md. Sir Charles Ferguson brought the news that the enemy’s corps had been whisking eastwards, that French corps had massed against them on the east and west that a big battle was probably impending, at which the point of the British force would be keep close the gap between the French southern and western forces.

2.0 pm. The brigade advanced further eastward and bivouacked at Courty at 8.0 pm. Half rations were issued today

Regards Michael. The square brackets are mine

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I'd be interested in any later materials relating to this unit, especially their service at Guillemont on the Somme - my great grandfather (details below) was with the 13th Bde when he was fatally injured in August 1916.

Simon

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Andrew Marshall

Simon

The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1914 - 1919 by C.T. Atkinson

Page 204

25th August

When the Fifth Division returned to the line after its rest it was put in on the extreme British right S.W. and S. of Guillemont and next to the French. The 1st R.W.K., who were in the centre of the Divisional front, had to prepare new assembly trenches 400 yards in front of the existing line. This work, of course, could only be undertaken at night, and to cover it patrols had to be thrust out further ahead, which led to a good many brushes with the enemy and not a few casualties, the battalion having over 60 before it was drawn back into reserve on the night of August 29th. But it carried out its task, an excellent trench had been dug and the preparations carried so far forward that on September 3rd the Falfmont Farm position could be assaulted. The task was entrusted to the 13th Brigade, who had the K.O.S.B.'s on the right and the 14th R. Warwicks supported by the R.W.K. on the left. At 9 a.m. the K.O.S.B.'s attacked, but though they went forward magnificently they were unable to capture the Farm, and when at noon the 14th Warwicks and the 95th Brigade on their left delivered the main assault the Warwicks were checked by enfilade fire from the right. However, the 95th Brigade got on well, and in a renewed attack the Warwicks secured some gun pits which B Company assisted them to consolidate. Meanwhile orders were received for the battalion to advance, but they were soon cancelled, not befor D Company, which was some way to the left rear of the rest of the battalion, had come under very heavy fire, losing both its officers. Evening, therefore, found the battalion still in support and Falfemont Farm untaken, though Wege Wood and the trenches N.W. of it had been secured.

Hope this helps

Regards

Andrew

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Andrew

Thomas Highgate was in the Royal West Kent regt (1st Bn. R. West. Kent. Regt. 13th. Bde., 5th. Div.)

John

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That's really useful - thanks Andrew.

Simon

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Rosemary Clarke

Hello Michael,

Do you have also have war diary entries for 1 Batt Royal West Kents for 7 and 8 September 1914, please?

Many thanks

Rosemary

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Michael

It might be useful to have access to them as well if I may as it covers the last few days of Thomas Highgate's life

Thanks

John

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