1915 - Flanders & France - [July-December 1915]

- Corporal George Robert Bolton
- Sergeant Henry Allison
- Private Joseph Samuel Young
- Private John Edgar Young
- Temporary Captain Humphrey Worthington Wilson
- Private John Robert Insall
- Sergeant Robert Leppington
- Private Joseph Dawson Kay
- Private Walter Borrows
- Lance Corporal Frank Bryce
- Lance Sergeant George Garton

Amongst the many so called ‘Service’ Battalions of infantry that had been formed at the beginning of the war that would form the backbone of Britain’s ‘New Armies’ until the Armistice, the 7TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment had been considered amongst the finest. Raised at Richmond North Yorkshire during September 1914,the Battalion had initially been commanded by Scarborough born [1867] Lieutenant Colonel Ronald D’Arcy Fife and an indication of the type of men under his command can be gathered from the words of an unnamed author writing in ‘The Green Howards Gazette of December 1914:

‘We are all very proud of our 7TH Battalion. Most of the men must have enlisted during the time that the standard of height was temporarily increased, for we have a splendid lot of fellows, and they are the type of recruit from which good soldiers are made. They are very keen on their work, their only grievance being that they cannot be sent to the front at once’…

The men’s wishes had soon come to fruition, when during July 1915 the 7TH Battalion had been considered fit for service with the British Expeditionary Force, the battalion, consisting of thirty officers and nine hundred and thirty seven men embarking for France on the 13TH of July the unit setting foot on French soil at Boulogne during the following day.

Attached to the 50TH Brigade of the 17TH [Northern] Division, 7TH Yorkshire had initially been sent for trench warfare training purposes to Steenvoorde in Belgium, where the unit had been attached to the units of the veteran British 3RD Division. For a few days the 7TH Battalion had remained unharmed, however, during the 23RD of July the unit had suffered its first casualties, Lieutenant Wilson having been wounded whilst leading a party of men into the trenches for instruction, whilst later in the day, two soldiers had been killed by shellfire and another officer and a further eight men having been wounded.

Considered to have been ‘sufficiently blooded’ by the beginning of August, during the night of second and third of the month the Battalion had taken over a section of the front line from the 1ST Wiltshire Regiment near the battle-ruined village of Voormezeele. One man had been wounded during the process. The Battalion’s ‘War Diary’ reports the unit had experienced ‘a fairly quiet’ first night in the trenches, however, during the following day the Germans had heavily shelled the 7TH Yorkshire’s positions, a shell landing squarely in a trench occupied by ‘C’ Company that had killed Australian born [1876] Captain Loftus Edward Perceval Jones along with Privates George Moore and Albert Ernest Wills and wounded a further seventeen men. Amongst these had been:

3/9098 Corporal George Robert Bolton. Born at Hull during 1878, George had been the son of Annie Maw [formally Ramsbottom] and John Bolton and although not a native of Scarborough had lived for most of his life in the town. Married at Scarborough during 1903 to Miss Annie Hesp, the couple had subsequently resided at No.52 Seaton Terrace where their two daughters, Una Lilian, and Doris Maw Bolton had eventually been born [1905 and 1906 respectively, Una had, however, passed away at the age of three years during 1908]. Employed in Scarborough by Auctioneer Edward Harland & Sons by the outbreak of war, George had enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment at the Regimental Depot located at Richmond during September 1914 and had initially served with the Regiment’s 3RD [Reserve] Battalion until being transferred to the newly formed 7TH Battalion on the 11TH of September 1914.

Mortally wounded by shrapnel during the bombardment of the 3RD of August George had reportedly suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull which had seen him being evacuated to a Base Hospital located in the French town of Etaples, where Bolton had survived for nineteen days until he had died from the effects of his wounds during Sunday the 22ND of August 1915.

The news of Corporal Bolton’s death had eventually been included in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 27TH of August 1915, and his name had also been included in that newspaper’s ‘Births, Marriages, and Deaths column:

‘Bolton—on the 22ND of August, George Robert Bolton, the dearly beloved husband of Annie Bolton, 52 Seaton Terrace. Died of wounds received in action, aged 36 years’…

The remains of George Bolton had eventually been interred in a burial ground that is now known as Etaples Military Cemetery. Located some twenty seven kilometres to the south of Boulogne, this Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in France, and contains the graves of over 10,000 casualties of the First World War, the majority, like Corporal Bolton having died in the numerous hospitals that had been based at Etaples during the war. George’s final resting place is located in Section 1V, Row C, Grave 1.

Not included amongst the names of Scarborough’s fallen that had been commemorated on the original bronze panels of the Oliver’s Mount War Memorial, the name of George Robert Bolton had eventually been included amongst those of a number of other men’s name that had been added to the memorial after its unveiling during the afternoon of Wednesday the 26TH of September1923 that can be found on the lower south side of the memorial. Elsewhere in Scarborough George Bolton’s name had been included on a ‘Roll of Honour’ that had once been located in Falsgrave’s All Saints Church. Containing the names of forty former members of the Church that had lost their lives during the Great War of 1914-1919, the All Saints War Memorial had been unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Legard [the Commanding Officer of the Scarborough based 5TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment] whilst the dedication of this reputedly once fine Memorial had been carried out by the Bishop of Hull before a packed congregation during the evening of Wednesday the 27TH of July 1921, sadly, following the demise of this church during the 1980’s this memorial had disappeared and its whereabouts is not known

Born at Malton during 1877, Annie Bolton had returned to the town during the post war years, her last known address, according to the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, had been Flowers Yard, Market Place, Malton.

Shortly after Corporal Bolton had been wounded the 7TH Battalion had moved to the St. Eloi Sector of Belgium, where on the 9TH of August the Battalion had played a part in its first major operation on the Western Front. During that day the 7TH Yorkshire along with other infantry units, had fired on the opposing enemy positions with a view to diverting his attention from an attack that was to be made that day on a few piles of bricks and broken masonry that had once been a village named Hooge, where yet another former member of All Saints Church had lost his life.

Located five kilometres to the east of Ypres and at the tip of the Salient had once been the village of Hooge. However, by the onset of July 1915 very little had remained to remind one there had once been civilised people living and working there. Badly mauled during the Second Battle of Ypres the shell torn village had been considered by all the soldiers who had survived the carnage for any length of time as the most miserable, desolate, and dangerous area of the Western Front.

There had also once been a graceful Château at Hooge. Badly damaged during the recently ended ‘Second Battle of Ypres’, the final vestiges of grandeur had been blown away during the evening of the 19TH of July 1915 when the Royal Engineers had detonated nearly three tons of ammonal underneath the former British position which had been turned by the Germans into two strong points that had formed part of their front line which had ran through the grounds of the near vanished château.

The mine had gone off with an explosion the like of which had never been heard before, the ground had literally shaken, and the blast form the explosion had shattered windows miles away. Debris had been blown two hundred feet into the air and the resulting shower of earth, steel girders, and concrete had accidentally burying some twenty men of the Manchester Regiment who had reportedly been some distance away. In addition, the explosion had left a massive crater with a lip standing fifteen feet above ground level, twenty feet deep, and a hundred and twenty in diameter.

Close on the heels of the explosion the 4TH Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment had stormed the crater supported by an artillery barrage. The Middlesex had met with little resistance at first, however, as had been demonstrated on innumerable occasions before the ‘Boche’ were quick off the mark in counter attacking their lost position. Hell bent on recovering their lost ground they had thrown everything they could at the British soldiers during the ensuing terrible few days, artillery shells, rifle and machine gun fire, in such intensity that one soldier had felt that…‘every German gun in Belgium was pouring fire on this one small corner of the Salient’…

The crater had eventually been lost during the early hours of the 30TH of July when the Germans had subjected the residents of the crater, the unseasoned 8TH Battalion of the Rifle Brigade to an attack by flamethrowers, one of the few survivors of the onslaught would later recall;

‘A sudden hissing sound and a bright crimson glare over the crater turned the whole scene red. As I looked I saw three or four distinct jets of flame- like a line of powerful fire hoses spraying fire instead of water shoot across my fire trench. The men caught in the blast of the fire were never seen again’…

Supported by artillery and trench mortar fire the assault had of course been a terrifying experience one which had caused great confusion and panic amongst the recently arrived ‘Kitcheners Men’, small wonder that the British line had eventually been driven back to the edge of Zouave Wood. The Germans had also attacked the communication trenches leading into the crater and the three hundred yards of ground between the front line and the support trenches, which had been in the nearby Zouave and Sanctuary Woods.

Outraged by the loss of valuable ground, the British High Command, despite the protests of the brigade commanders on the spot had ordered a counter attack to be made using remnants of the 8TH Rifle Brigade, in company with the 7TH Rifle Brigade and 9TH King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

The already exhausted men had advanced into a hurricane of machine gun and rifle fire and despite great gallantry had failed to retake the lost positions, suffering appalling losses for nothing [by the end of the day the 8TH Rifle Brigade had suffered some 500 casualties, the 7TH Battalion over 400].

News of the catastrophe at Hooge had quickly spread and the British High Command had wasted little time in rushing reinforcements to the area in an attempt to hold back the enemy. Amongst them had been the Territorials of the 1ST/7TH Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. Popularly known as ‘The Robin Hood’s’, Lieutenant Colonel A.W. Brewill who had just taken command of the Battalion [the Battalions original O.C. Lieut. Col. C.W. Birkin had been wounded earlier in the day] and had received orders to move towards Hooge during the evening of the thirtieth of July, whilst they had been in reserve in the nearby ‘Maple Copse’ and had subsequently moved into the most northerly point of a trench known as ‘B 8’ from where the four companies of the battalion had extended across the northern edge of ‘Sanctuary Wood’ where they had barricaded themselves into the end of the trench nearest Hooge, the enemy had apparently been in the trenches on the other side of the barricade. Under continuous and heavy artillery fire the position of the ‘Robin Hood’s’ had been, ‘very uncomfortable’, and the unit’s C.O. had eventually received permission to move his men:

’This he did about 70 yards further inside the wood, ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies worked beyond all praise, and dug themselves in, making a trench about three feet deep, when the artillery fire became so terrific that nothing could be done for an hour and a half until it ceased. After this the men started work again and in the course the next twelve hours made a good practical trench, which, when they obtained sandbags, they made into a good fire trench’. [1]

The German attack had continued throughout the next day and had succeeded in taking for a time a section of the British front line running near Zouave Wood, this assault had however been beaten off, the ‘Robin Hoods’ contributing by, ‘opening a very heavy fire and protecting very largely the left flank of our position’. That same day, once the firing had died down the War Diary reports:

‘A number of the ‘Robin Hoods’ conspicuously distinguished themselves by fetching in both dead and wounded over ground swept by artillery and rifle fire. They brought in about thirty wounded during the two days and about thirty dead. They also buried a large number of the dead who were immediately in front of the new trench which we had dug’…

Little had changed by the beginning of August incessantly pounded by rain and German artillery, the ‘Robin Hood’s’ had grimly held on to their positions. Few had slept for more than twenty-four hours in the past eight days and all of them had been sodden by the continual Flanders rain. Despite these hardships the work of maintaining the line had gone on. Working in the worst of conditions the men had tried to consolidate their new positions no sooner had they sandbagged a breach in the line than another had been created by an enemy shell. Their valuable work had not gone un noticed, on the First of August the battalion had received a communiqué from the Commander of Second Army, [to which they had been attached] General Sir Herbert Plumer; ‘The Army Commander is glad to receive such a satisfactory report this morning, please convey to all troops engaged, his appreciation of the way in which they have held their ground and improved their position’…

On Wednesday the fourth of August two of the 7TH Battalion’s four companies had still been in the ‘New Trench’ they had begun digging two days earlier, whilst the other two, ‘C’ and ‘D’ had been in support in Sanctuary Wood. Conditions for the men in support had been little better than the front line and inevitably men had fallen victim to the constant enemy shell fire and sniping. Amongst the Robin Hood’s that had been killed during that day had been; 926 Sergeant Henry Allison.

Born in Scarborough at No 4 Belle Vue Street during 1883, Henry had been the only son of Mary Hannah and ‘Plasterer’ John Henry Allison. In 1887 at the age of five Allison had begun his education in the infant department the Central Board School, which had been located in Scarborough on the corner of Trafalgar Street West and Melrose Street, and had left the establishment at the customary age of twelve years to begin an apprenticeship with plumber John Maynard, who had lived in nearby Gordon Street.

Henry had qualified as a plumber in 1904 [by which time the Allison family had been living at No 32 Belle Vue Street] when he had reached the age of twenty one and had continued to work in Scarborough until 1906, when Allison had moved to Nottingham, where he had been employed as a gas fitter by the city council. Henry had eventually enlisted into the recently formed Territorial Force1ST/ 7TH Battalion of the Notts & Derby Regiment at their Drill Hall in Derby Road, Nottingham on the 3RD of March 1909 and had served with the battalion thorough the rest of his life. Promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on the 28TH of July 1911, and full Corporal on the 12TH of September 1914, by this time Allison and the remainder of his battalion had signed Army Form E. 624, which, in effect had been an agreement that had been made by every officer and soldier of the Territorial Force subjecting himself to liability to serve in any place outside the United Kingdom in the event of a national emergency.

The ‘Robin Hood’s’ had ‘mobilised’ for war on the fourth of August 1914 at their Headquarters in Nottingham as part of the Notts and Derby Infantry Brigade of the North Midland Division, the unit shortly afterwards moving to Harpenden in Hertfordshire where they had been incorporated into the 139TH Infantry Brigade of the 46TH Division. During November the division had moved near to Braintree in Essex, where they had remained until February 1915. Composed of units from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire the 46TH Division had been the first Territorial Force Division to be considered fit for duty on the Western Front and had duly received its marching orders for service abroad towards the end of the month.

On Thursday the twenty fifth of August the ‘Robin Hood’s’ had boarded trains that had taken them to Southampton, where half of the unit had boarded the ‘S.S. Empire Queen’ had sailed the same day for France. The remainder of the battalion had not been so fortunate. After boarding the ‘S.S. Glenarm Head’, this ship had steamed out into Southampton Water only to be ordered to anchor and await fresh orders due to the threat of an enemy submarine attack. At the same time it had also been discovered that the ship had been overloaded and a hundred and seventy two men had consequently been offloaded and returned to Southampton. The Glenarm Head had eventually sailed during the evening of the 27TH of August and had landed her troops the following morning at Le Havre. The hundred and seventy-two men who had been left behind had eventually boarded the S.S. Trafford Hall the same day and had arrived later in the following day at Havre. The unit had eventually been posted to the dreaded Ypres Sector where they had served for the next seven months in the mud of Flanders.

During a lull in the fighting the bodies of the Robin Hood’s fallen, including that of Sergeant Allison, had been collected from the battlefield at Hooge to be taken to a cemetery located at the western end of Sanctuary Wood, where, after a simple ceremony conducted by the battalion’s chaplain they had been buried in Section Two. Virtually destroyed during subsequent fighting in 1916, parts of this section of the cemetery had fortunately been found after the war to form the nucleus of the present day Commonwealth War Graves Commission managed ‘Sanctuary Wood Cemetery’ Located some five kilometres to the east of the city of Ypres this cemetery contains the graves and memorials of almost two thousand casualties [1,353 of which are unidentified] of the Great War Henry and Sergeant Henry Allison’s final resting place can be located in Section 2, Row D, Grave 22.

[Interestingly, Sergeant Allison’s grave is flanked by a double burial [Grave D 23/24] that contains the remains of two other ‘Robin Hoods’; nineteen years old 2833 George Joseph Ball, and twenty years old; 2747 Private Frank Henson, both of whom had been killed in action at the same time as Henry Allison [4/8/15 and 3/8/15 respectively].

The telegram telling of his son’s death had reached his recently widowed father [Mary Hannah had died on March 25TH 1915 at the age of 57years] by late August 1915, by which time John Henry Allison had also been residing in Nottingham, at No. 5 Norman Place, Alfred Street. Word had eventually reached Scarborough during September, the tidings featuring in an article that had appeared in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 17TH of September 1915, which had also incorrectly reported that his father and not his mother had been deceased:

‘Former Scarboro’ resident killed in action - News has reached his relatives that Sergt. H. Allison, 7TH Sherwood Foresters [Robin Hoods] Notts and Derby Regiment, son of Mrs. And the late Mr. H. Allison, 5, Norman Place, Alfred Street, Nottingham, and late of Belle Vue Street Scarborough, has been killed at Ypres. Sergt. Allison was just over 30, and many will sympathise with those bereaved. They, however, have the consolation of knowing that his sacrifice was made in a great crisis’…

In Scarborough Henry Allison’s name, in addition to the Oliver’s Mount War Memorial and the now missing All Saints Church War Memorial, had also been commemorated on a ‘Roll of Honour’ that can be located on the north wall of St Mary’s Parish Church in Castle Road [where he had been baptised on the 8TH of April 1883], and on a now fallen gravestone in the town’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section K. Row 5. Grave 32] which also bears the names of his Norwich born mother Mary Hannah [formally Pullan] who had died at the family home in Belle Vue Street on Tuesday March 23RD 1915, and Cayton born John Henry Allison who had passed away at the age of seventy five years on Tuesday December 2ND 1930 at No 27 Beaconsfield Street, the home of his only daughter Fanny [born in Scarborough during 1880] and her husband, William Palmer. This gravestone also bears an appropriate epitaph to a soldier son who had died so very far from home:

‘He sleeps not in his native land but neath a foreign sky, far from us who loved him best in a hero’s grave he lies’…

The Robin Hood’s had eventually been relieved of their trenches in Sanctuary Wood by the Fifth Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters on the eleventh of August, the weary and depleted battalion making their way to the relative comfort of rest billets in the village of Busseboom, where on the thirteenth the unit had been visited by the Commander in Chief of the B.E.F. Field Marshal Sir John French. As it had been raining hard that day French had not asked for the battalion to be paraded, he had instead asked the C.O. of the battalion to convey to all ranks his high appreciation of the services rendered by the Robin Hood’s on the evening of the 30/31st of July and successive days near Hooge and said that; ‘by their behaviour they had practically saved the situation at a critical time’…

There are many memorials to the missing of the Western Front. The Menin Gate at Ypres, Tyne Cot at Zonnebeke, the Arras Memorial and inevitably, the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme. Another stands near the French Flanders mining village of Loos-en-Gohelle. Forming the side and back walls of ‘Dud Corner’ Cemetery [where 1,700 officers and men are buried] the memorial commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who had lost their lives in the area between Saturday September 25TH 1915 and the Armistice who have ‘no known graves’.

Many of the men who are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial’s white Portland stone tablets had lost their lives during the Battle of Loos, which had raged in the nearby countryside between the 25TH of September and the 18TH of October 1915. The fate of those thousands of lost souls had been sealed during a series of meetings of the allied Commander in Chiefs during July 1915 where it had been agreed that there should be a major offensive on the Western Front. Understandably with the Germans still in possession of a large chunk of French soil, the French C.in C. the unimaginative and rigid Field Marshal Joseph Jacques Joffre had been adamant that the British had had to take a more active role in driving the enemy out of France for once and for all.

The French leader had subsequently put forward the plan of a two pronged offensive. French troops were to attack the Germans in the Artois around Vimy Ridge supported by the B.E.F. to the north, while another assault would be made by the French in the Champagne region, if successful the two advances would converge thereby threatening the flanks of the salient between the river’s Somme and Aisne.

Joffre had been anxious for the British to attack on his immediate left, around the coal-mining town of Loos. Haig had initially been in favour of the assault, believing the sector ideal for an attack, however, he had later changed his mind and had reported his misgivings to his superior, the sixty three years old Field Marshal Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, stating;

‘The ground was hopeless, the Germans were securely dug into an industrial landscape of mining suburbs, slag heaps and pitheads’…

In this part of the line the Germans had held the ‘Hohenzollen Redoubt’, a strongly fortified hillock that was to play a key role in the drama about to unfold. The redoubt had been linked to two other strong points, the ‘Dump’ and ‘Fosse’ trenches by two trenches that the British had named ‘Big Willie’ and ‘Little Willie’ [the nicknames of the Kaiser and Crown Prince]. ‘Big Willie’ linked the position to a strongpoint known as ‘The Quarries’. The small villages behind the front line had also to some extent been fortified by the Germans and this may also have caused serious problems in the event of a large breakthrough.

The opposing trenches lay between two hundred and four hundred yards apart but overall the Germans had the advantage as regards observation. This was mainly because the area was used for coal mining. Principal mines were known as ‘Fosses’, and auxiliary shafts as ‘Puits’. Each had winding gear, towers rising to one hundred feet, which were invaluable for observation. Even more of a problem was the ‘Crassiers’, or dumps of mine waste. These could, and were hollowed out to make caves and formidable strongholds. One of these had been to the south west of Loos and had been known as the ‘Double Crassier’, to the south of the town had been the ‘Loos Crassier’, both of whom would become notorious killing grounds in the coming battle.

French had duly visited the proposed battlefront and following this short visit he had communicated with Joffre that he would not be prepared to commit his forces to the planned offensive. The French General had been furious at the apparent lack of commitment from the British and had side stepped French to meet with Kitchener, the British Secretary for War on the 16TH of August 1915. Although there are no records of what had been said the pair had eventually struck a deal and Kitchener had interceded on Joffres behalf informing Sir John that; ‘We have decided that we must act to do our utmost and help the French, even though by doing so we suffer very heavy losses indeed’…

Kitchener’s words were clear enough; the Battle of Loos would take place. Reluctantly French had wrote to Joffre agreeing to an offensive he did not believe in, he was to state to a member of his staff; ‘Everyone who knows the ground is sure that success is impossible’.

Faced with an explicit order, General Headquarters and First Army had begun making their plans for battle. Short of heavy artillery and shells Haig had decided to use gas in the initial attack, however if the wind speed had been insufficient for the deployment of the gas the assault troops would have been extremely vulnerable. Recognising his dependence on the weather the General had prepared two plans of attack. With gas First Army were to attack with six divisions of infantry from First and Fourth Corps. Eleventh Corps with three infantry divisions was to be held in readiness to exploit the breakthrough. Four divisions of cavalry were to deliver the final blow.

Meanwhile, the Third and Indian Corps were to carry out subsidiary attacks north of the La Bassee Canal. In addition the plan had been for the Second Army under General Sir Herbert Plumer to attack in Flanders in the hope of pinning down German reserves. Without gas the plan had called for First Army to attack with only two divisions on the first day. Fifteen [Scottish] Division of Fourth Corps were to seize two redoubts in the German line, [the Loos and Lens Road Redoubts], whilst the Ninth [Scottish] Division from First Corps were to capture the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and Fosse8. Haig was then to monitor the weather for the ensuing forty-eight hours, launching the full weight of his force as soon as the wind had turned in his favour. ‘Zero Hour’ for the beginning of the infantry assault had eventually been set for six thirty in the morning of Saturday the twenty fifth of September.

Throughout August roads and railways had been packed with thousands of troops heading towards the front. The men who would be bearing the brunt of the first day had been the remains of the Regular Army who had landed in France during the balmy days of August 1914 mixed with Territorials who had arrived on the continent during the early part of 1915, some 75,000 men all told. Also to play a part in the battle had been the first of Kitcheners New Armies, the newly arrived unseasoned and untried in battle, 21ST and 24TH Divisions, they were to be part of the reserve Eleventh Corps. Also held in reserve had been the recently formed Guards Division, they were to be held until the very last, after the Guards had been expended there were no more reserves.

Also making their way to the front had been the trains carrying 5,100 chlorine gas cylinders, or ‘accessory number one’s’. Weighing up to a hundred and sixty pounds each the containers holding a hundred and forty tons of the deadly gas had eventually been carried manually to the front line by a fatigue party consisting of eight thousand men. A ‘Special Brigade’ from the Royal Engineers was to oversee the installation of the cylinders in especially dug trenches in front of the British front line and eventually the launch of the gas.

As many of the troops as possible who would be in the first wave of the assault had been relieved from duties and rested for at least three days prior to the battle. The day before they had moved into their assembly points most had made their final personal preparations. Padres had been issued with burial registration books; green envelopes had been issued to the men to enable them to send last letters to relatives and loved ones without censorship. Extra rations, ammunition, and equipment were issued; rifles and the men’s feet were inspected, last minute instructions doled out.

The preliminary artillery bombardment had begun during the morning of the 21ST of September the heavy artillery had concentrated their fire on strong points and artillery positions whilst the field artillery had directed their fire at the enemy’s deep barbed wire entanglements, by Zero Hour over a quarter of a million shells had been fired.

By the early hours of the twenty fifth the seventy five thousand men who would be taking part in the initial assault had been crammed into seven miles of front line trenches waiting out the last few minutes before going over the top. Each man had received an issue of rum All of them had been wearing full equipment and in addition each had been carrying extra ammunition and rations plus three empty sand bags. Some of the men would also be carrying picks, shovels, wire cutters, and grenades. Also in the men’s kit had been a claustrophobic respirator, known as ‘the goggle eye bugger with a tit’, consisting of a cloth hood soaked in chemicals with two large eyepieces and a rubber mouthpiece that fitted completely over their heads and tucked into the necks of their tunics. With no air to be had inside the gas mask the wearer had felt as though he were suffocating, to add to discomfort of the wearer the eyepieces very soon misted over leaving the soldier blind.

The men had snatched what sleep they could during the previous night despite the earth beneath them reverberating with the rhythm of the bombardment and a thunderstorm that had eventually given way to a heavy downpour of rain, to add to the unease by 5am the fitful and precious wind had dropped. An anxious Haig had subsequently written in his diary;

‘I went out at 5am, almost calm. Alan Fletcher [Haig’s Aide de Campe] lit a cigarette and the smoke drifted in puffs towards the N.E. Staff Officers of Corps were ordered to stand by in case it was necessary to counter order to attack. At one time, owing to the calm, I feared that the gas might simply hang about our trenches. However, at 5.15am, I said ‘carry on’. I went on top of our wooden lookout tower. The wind came gently from S.W. and by 5.40 had increased slightly. The leaves of the poplar trees gently rustled, this seemed satisfactory, but what a risk I must run of gas blowing back upon our own dense mass of troops’…

Precisely at ten minutes to six the gas taps had been turned on. Clearly visible in the rain, a greenish yellow cloud had wafted towards the German lines. In the southern sector of the battlefield the gas had been effective and had killed seven hundred German troops, many more had abandoned their positions. In the Northern Sector however the gas had at first done as expected but a sudden change in wind direction had pushed the deadly cloud back into the British line eventually to cause over two thousand gas casualties [of these only seven men had died].

Forty minutes later the whistles heralding the largest British offensive of the war thus far had been blown and the British front line had erupted as seventy five thousand infantrymen had gone over the top.

The fortunes of the units who had taken part in the initial assault had varied depending into which sector they had advanced. For Fourth Corps in the southern sector the battle had gone well. The Territorials of the 47TH [London] Division had kicked a football into No Man’s Land and had dribbled it all the way to capture the ‘Double Crassier’ and the ‘Loos Crassier’ to the south of Loos [albeit at a cost of 1,200 casualties]. On the left of the Londoners another Territorial division, the 15TH Scottish, had advanced four miles and had poured through Loos itself and had advanced on Hill 70 encouraged by the skirl of the pipes as several pipers risked the gas to play their comrades into battle.

In the northern sector on the north bank of the La Bassee Canal the attack by First Corps Second Division on trenches between the villages of Chapelle St Roche and Canteleux had completely failed in the face of a withering defence by the enemy. Further south 9th [Scottish] Division [the first of Kitchener’s ‘New Armies’ to land on foreign soil] had had the unenviable task of seizing the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Badly affected by gas in the opening stages of the battle and despite being almost annihilated during the assault elements of the division had nonetheless carried the redoubt, and in addition the strongly fortified Fosse 8 coal mine and it’s attendant slag heap, ‘the Dump’.

During the night of the 25TH/26TH the exhausted 73RD Brigade, belonging to the reserve 24TH Division had gone forward under heavy machine gun fire in an attempt to relieve the equally exhausted and sorely pressed 26TH Brigade of the 9th Division that had been in possession of Fosse 8, and during the early hours of the 26TH the two units had successfully driven off a fierce German counter attack. However the following day a fresh attack had driven the men, who had not eaten or slept for forty eight hours, back from the coal mine to the Hohenzollern Redoubt which by then had been nothing more than a collection of joined up shell holes, over the ensuing few days some of the most ferocious fighting of the battle of Loos were to take place to keep possession of the position.

By the onset of night on the 26TH of September it had become only too apparent that the reserves allocated to First Army had not been enough. The 21ST and 24TH Divisions composed of totally unfit for battle Kitchener’s volunteers had been slaughtered en masse by German machine gun fire in a suicidal attack in the southern sector across the Lens to La Bassee road near the Bois Hugo during the afternoon and plans were being drawn up for the Guards Division to be brought into action the following day. With precious little British reserves to be had and the French Army fully committed to the south of Lens the decision had been taken to bring the 28TH Division into the fray.

The 28TH Division had formed at the end of 1914 in the Winchester area with twelve regular army battalions recently recalled from India, Egypt, and Singapore, plus two battalions from the Territorial Force. The division had been divided into the customary three brigades, the 83RD, 84TH, and 85TH .The first two had consisting of five battalions of infantry each whilst the 85TH had numbered four. In addition the unit had had four artillery batteries, and two field companies of the Royal Engineers.

The formation had eventually arrived in France at the beginning of 1915 and had eventually been sent to the Ypres Sector where they had manned the eastern face of the salient at the time of the gas attack of 22ND of April. The division had stayed in the line throughout the following five weeks of hell that had later become known as the Second Battle of Ypres. Many of the once proud infantry battalions had been virtually annihilated during the latter stages of the battle and by the end of May the division had suffered some 15,500 casualties.

During September the worn out 28TH had been taken out of the line at Ypres and sent to Second Army Reserve near the town of Bailleul, the men of the division eventually going into billets at a village named Rouge Croix, midway between Bailleul and Hazebrouck, where they had hoped to find some well earned rest and await the arrival of much needed reinforcements.

Amongst the battalions of the 28TH Division that had landed on French soil nine months before had been the Pre War Regular Army 2nd Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. Belonging to the 84TH Brigade, prior to the war the twenty-five officers and nine hundred and seventy men of the formation had been comfortably ensconced in garrison duties a Sabathu in the Indian Punjab. Mobilised for war during August 1914, the battalion had eventually bid farewell to India on the twentieth of November when the unit had sailed from Karachi in a transport bound for Britain, the battalion had subsequently landed at Plymouth on the twenty second of December.

The battalion had been virtually annihilated on the 24TH of May 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres and by September very few of the battalions original ‘old sweats’ had remained, the formation that had arrived at Rouge Croix had consisted mostly of reservists and men drafted in from other regiments, the majority of whom had never been in combat before.

By the morning of the twenty seventh of September a so-called ‘fog of war’ had descended over the Loos battlefield. Due largely to a breakdown in communications little idea of what had actually been taking place at the front had been gathered by General Headquarters:

‘The close and desperate fighting on this day and those that were to follow can be taken as an outstanding example of trench warfare methods, which before the war had formed no part of the training of the British Army, and for which the Germans at this date were far better equipped than their adversaries. The enemy’s bombs were both more plentiful and more effective than the British, and his more numerous machine guns gave him a further advantage. It may be said here, too, that it was a type of warfare, which makes any accurate description of the battle well nigh impossible. In the close, almost hand to hand fighting which it involved, the local situation, by dint of attack and counterattack, was changed momentarily’… [3]

The first formation of 28TH Division to be drawn into the Loos battle had been the 85TH Brigade, which had arrived at Vermelles during the afternoon of the twenty seventh. The brigades commander Brigadier General Cecil Pereira had been ordered to move the brigade forward to take over the defence of the Dump and Fosse 8, however before the order had been acted on the news of the fall of the coal mine and slag heap had been received therefore the Generals orders had been revised, his men were to proceed to the defence of the Hohenzollern Redoubt before it too had fallen into German hands.

The brigade had eventually become involved in a terrific firefight for possession of the redoubt and by nightfall the depleted battalions had had a very feeble grasp of ‘Dump’ and ‘Big Willie’ Trenches. Glimpses of the appalling conditions are to be seen in an entry in the ‘War Diary’ of the Second Battalion of The Buffs [The Royal East Kent Regiment]:

‘As night fell the rain commenced again and never ceased. Shell and rifle fire slackened but the bomb throwing was stronger than ever. Our bomb throwers were either all killed or wounded and others were borrowed from neighbouring units. Owing to the rain the fuses were damp, matches gave out, and the only way to light the fuses was by means of keeping cigarettes alight. The organisation of the enemy bomb throwers was astounding. He threw at least five bombs to our one and of a much more powerful description. During the night every endeavour had been made to bring in the wounded. Neither rations nor water were obtainable. Attempts were made to dig in but the mud rendered it a slow and laborious task. Dawn showed no cessation in the bomb throwing’… [3]

The Division’s 84TH Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Tom Pearse, had received their orders to move forward shortly after the 85TH had set off for the front. Amongst the units that had begun the march to hell had been the Second Northumberland Fusiliers who had boarded busses at a village ironically named Paradis that had taken them to the town of Bethune, from where the men had marched the two and a half miles to the village of Sailly Labourse, some three and a half miles of the slaughter at Fosse 8.

Fighting had continued relentlessly throughout the 29TH of September, The trenches at the Hohenzollern had by this time been pounded by artillery so much that they were barely recognisable. The Germans had attacked the eighty fifth brigade time and again with bombs, nonetheless the men had grimly held on to their positions.

During the afternoon the 2ND Northumberland’s [with the remainder of 84TH Brigade] had moved nearer to the battle and had spent the night in the village of Annequin. The following day orders had been received to relieve the exhausted 85TH before dawn on Friday the first of October. The portion to be taken over by the battalion had been ‘Big Willie Trench’.

With the narrow trenches clogged with wounded and leaderless men and in addition hampered by a lack of guides the relief of 85TH Brigade had not gone as planned as many of the relieving companies had lost direction. On the right of the brigade, by first light the 2ND Northumberland’s had still been in the process of taking over ‘Big Willie’ from the remnants of the First York and Lancaster Regiment. German observers had watched every move from the summit of The Dump and had been alerted when some of the York and Lancs eager to get back to the rear had climbed out of the trench and ran towards safety.

Shortly afterwards, before the battalion had had a chance to survey their surroundings, German bombers had crept down a position known as ‘South Face Trench’,

Reaching the junction of ‘Big Willie’ and a trench named ‘West Face’ the attacking force had divided into two. One had worked its way to the west driving the men of ‘D’ Company back along ‘West Face’. The second party of bombers had worked their way eastwards down ‘Big Willie’ and had subsequently taken a hundred yards of territory from ‘C’ Company. Despite a desperate firefight the bombers had been stopped and barricades had been built to contain them.

With the four companies of Fusiliers effectively split in two and with no communication between the two halves Brigade Headquarters had immediately ordered a counter attack to retake the lost ground ‘at all costs’, a task easier said than done. Throughout the day the beleaguered ‘C’and ‘D’ Companies had attempted to push the enemy out of ‘Big Willie’, the battalion’s commanding officer Major Charles Armstrong and several officers had been killed during the ferocious fighting, so too had many ‘other ranks, their bodies littering the by then smashed position. At dusk however, with the help of bombers from the 2ND Cheshire’s some progress had been made and some fifty yards of trench had been retaken.

Meanwhile, the struggle for the possession of the Hohenzollern Redoubt and ‘Little Willie Trench’ had continued remorselessly throughout the second and third of October;

‘No improvement was affected in the situation of ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies, between whom the Germans stubbornly clung to the position they had captured, though their efforts to extend their hold on the trench were as vain as ours to drive them from it…. Desperate attempts by ‘D’ Company after dark on the second resulted only in further casualties; from the several attacks that were made few returned, and those for the most part grievously wounded. By the morning of the third every officer with ‘D’ Company had been killed or wounded’… [3]

Later in the day a determined enemy had launched a surprise attack on the left flank of the Brigade, which had been in ‘Little Willie Trench’. The assault had been preceded by a trench mortar bombardment, the effects of this devastating weapon in the shallow trenches is summarised in the War Diary of the First Battalion of the Welch Regiment:

‘The enemy then opened with Minenwerfer shell--this is what soldiers call ‘Sausage Up’. The shell having reached the distance that it is regulated for drops perpendicularly down and can be seen all the way down and can be dodged. The men were now so congested that it was impossible to get out of the way. When one lands in the trench six men in the vicinity disappear’…The Germans had then launched an infantry attack that had swept all before them, the First Welch had been virtually annihilated, shortly afterwards, so had the Second Cheshire’s. The enemy had subsequently pounced on the sorely tried ‘D’ Company of the Fusiliers, after the assault; ‘Those of the company who still remained were forced back under a storm of bombs against their barrier and only twenty six survived, to escape death by withdrawing across the open to the shelter of a support trench in rear’…

The Germans had continued on through the redoubt killing all that had stood in their path. The enemy’s flight had eventually come to an end at C’ Company’s barrier, where all their desperate efforts to break into ‘Big Willie Trench’ had been beaten off. In a very little time the Hohenzollern had fallen and the only trench still in British hands had been the section of ‘Big Willie that had been held by ‘C’ Company, who had held fast to their position until they had been relieved by a unit from 85THBrigade that afternoon.

The remnants of the exhausted Second Battalion had subsequently been withdrawn from the line and placed in reserve at their former campsite at Annequin, where the Battalion had called the customary roll that had disclosed that between the first and fourth of October the Battalion had suffered two hundred and fifty three casualties, which had broken down as five officers including the battalion’s commanding officer [Lieutenant Colonel C.A. Armstrong] killed, ten officers wounded. Of the ‘other ranks’, twenty-three had been killed, one hundred and fifteen were wounded, and a further one hundred were posted as missing [believed killed]. Amongst these had been; 21480 Private Joseph Samuel Young.

Born in the Wiltshire market town of Marlborough during 1879, Joe had been the only son of Ruth Elizabeth and ‘general labourer’ James Young. Living in Scarborough by the turn of the century at No.16a Castlegate Joe had also been employed as a ‘general labourer by this time, and had been married at the age of twenty one years in Scarborough’s Register Office on the third of June 1905 to twenty four years old Elizabeth Waugh, the Scarborough born eldest daughter of Sarah and fisherman William Waugh. By the outbreak of war Joe had been the father of four children, Annie [born 1906], William [1908], Rose [1910] and Frances [1913], the family living in Scarborough at No15 Potter’s Yard, Potter lane, where during late October 1915 Elizabeth Young had first received the news that her husband had been reported as ‘missing in action’.

A photograph of the moustachioed Joseph Young had subsequently appeared in ‘The Scarborough Pictorial’ of Wednesday December 1ST 1915, the caption accompanying it announcing he had been missing since the fourth of October. Nothing more had been heard until a year later regarding her missing husband, by which time Elizabeth Young and her children had been living at No 22 Castlegate, where the soldier’s unfortunate wife had received the customary buff envelope from the War Office informing her that as no more news of her husband was forthcoming it must be assumed that he had been killed in action the previous year. The tidings had eventually reached the pages of the local newspaper. ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 6TH of October 1916 had transmitted the news of yet another local soldier’s death to its readers:

‘Assumed to be dead - Mrs. Young, who lives at 22 Castlegate, has received official information that it must now be assumed that her husband, Private Joseph Young, Northumberland Fusiliers, who has been missing since Oct. 1915, is dead. Mrs. Young has four children’…

A labourer until his enlistment into the Army at Scarborough in January 1915, Joseph Young had originally opted to serve with the West Yorkshire Regiment and had eventually been posted to the 3RD [Reserve] Battalion of the Regiment, which at the time had been stationed at Whitley Bay, in Northumberland. Issued with the Service Number 3/18535, after a three months course of infantry training Young had been sent to France with a draft of replacements for battle casualties Landing on French soil on the 13TH of July, instead of joining a battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment Joe had been posted to the Second Northumberland, joining the battalion at ‘Shipmann’s Farm’ near Herzeele in Western Flanders on the 15TH of July 1915 with a large intake of replacements for the Battalion’s losses in the recent fighting of May.

Commeorated amongst the names included on Panels 20-22 of the Loos Memorial, located near the village of Loos-en-Gohelle in France, in Scarborough, apart from the war memorial on Oliver’s Mount, Joseph Young is commemorated on a ‘Roll of Honour’ that had ocne belonged to the town’s St Thomas’s Church, which is now located on the north interior wall of St. Mary’s Parish Church. Joe’s name can also be found on a gravestone in the town’s Dean Road Cemetery [Section C, Row13, Grave5] which also bears the names of two of his children, Rose, who had died aged nine years on the 11th of March 1919, and son William who had passed away on November 4th 1919 aged 11 years and eight months who had been amongst the fifty million people that had died as a result of contracting the so called ‘Spanish Flu’that had been ravaging the world during 1919.

The date of Joseph Young’s death varies. He is officially recorded as being killed in action on Friday the first of October 1915, however, the date reported by the ‘Scarborough Mercury’, and that recorded on the Dean Road gravestone are reported as Monday the fourth of October. The explanation for this may be perhaps the latter had been the day when it had been reported that he was missing in action.

On the fifth anniversary of her husband’s death, Elizabeth Young had placed an epitaph in the ‘Birth’s, Marriage’s, and Death’s’ column of ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 8TH of October 1920:

‘In loving memory of my dear husband, Private Joseph Young, who was killed at Loos, October 4TH 1915. Upright and just in all his ways. Faithful and true to the end of his days. Forgotten to the world by some he may be. But true to our memory he ever will be’. - From his loving wife and two daughters, of 22, Castlegate’…

Elizabeth Young had continue to live in Scarborough at No 22 Castlegate until 1927 when her name had no longer appeared on the town’s ‘Electoral Rolls’, whether she had left the town is not known, she is not buried in any of Scarborough’s cemeteries under the name of Young.

[One of two ‘Young’s’ commemorated on Scarborough’s War Memorial, the Memorial also includes the name of; 3/9967 Private John Edgar Young. Born in Leeds during 1879, John had been the son of William Thomas, and Mary Young. A house painter by trade, Young had lived in Scarborough for many years in St Thomas’s Walk; however, at the time of his enlistment in the town during 1915 he had been residing at No 16 Hoxton Road. Serving in the Somme Sector of France with the 12TH Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own [West Yorkshire Regiment], John Young had been reported as wounded in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 11TH of July 1916, and had eventually died from the effects of those wounds received in action, on the 24TH of July 1916. His remains are interred ‘on the Somme’, in Section 2, Row A, Grave 34, in ‘Dive Copse British Cemetery’, located near to the village of Sailly-le-Sec].

With the Hohezollern and ‘Little Willie’ back in enemy hands, the 28TH Division had for the most part been pushed back into the old British front line. The division’s Commanding Officer, Major General E.S. Bulfin determined to retake the lost ground had within hours of their loss issued orders for a counter attack designed to take ‘Little Willie’ and the whole of the redoubt. This impossible task had been given to the division’s 83RD Brigade which had only just taken over the front following four days in the line between ‘The Dump’ and the ‘Hulluch Quarries’. The ill conceived plan had called for three battalions of infantry, 1ST King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 2ND East Yorkshire, and 2ND King’s Own to make a conventional ‘over the top’ attack early in the morning of Monday the fourth of October. Using darkness as a cover, the objective for the KOYLI and East Yorks had been the capture of the Hohenzollern whilst that of the King’s Own had been the taking and consolidation of ‘Little Willie’.

Many officers on the spot had had deep reservations regarding the proposed assault, there had been no time to reconnoitre the ground, and neither had there been time to prepare ‘jumping off’ positions. The men would in effect be advancing blind into a maze of fiercely contested positions. Even so the attacking units had prepared as best as they could and had spent the hours of darkness taking over the line from the expended 84TH Brigade.

The Second East Yorkshire’s had relieved the Second battalions of the Cheshire and Suffolk Regiments in trenches immediately south of the Hohenzollern, completing the relief by seven in the evening of the third. An hour later the unit had received its orders for the attack to take place in a few hours time, ‘Zero Hour’ being set for a quarter to five during the following morning, in the wake of an artillery bombardment that should have commence half an hour earlier.

Denied the promised artillery barrage, at twenty minutes past four on the morning of the fourth the one hundred and sixty officers and men comprising ‘B’ Company of the East Yorkshire’s had got out of their assembly trench and moved forward about fifty yards into ‘No Man’s Land. Heavy machine gun and rifle fire had met the company as they had cleared the trench. From the outset these men had been faced with a veritable hail of bullets and it had proved impossible to make good all the ground that had been designated as the starting point of the attack. Therefore, the men had been ordered to lie down and wait for the order to attack. Precisely at a quarter to five the remnants of ‘B’ Company had once again risen to their feet and charged forward;

‘In the face of a merciless fire a gallant attempt was made to reach the hostile line, but the men were mown down. ‘D’ Company, ordered to follow ‘B,’ was unable to move, owing to the congestion in the trenches consequent on the latter Company not being able to ground. The attack had been a failure’… [4]

Two minutes after the assault had begun ‘B’ Company had been virtually wiped out. During that short space of time the unit had suffered over a hundred and twenty casualties, amongst them had been the thirty nine years old Commanding Officer of the ill fated Company; Temporary Captain Humphrey Worthington Wilson D.C.M.

Born in the town of Carlow, in County Wicklow, Eire, on the 19TH of March 1876, Humphrey was the son of Sergeant James Wilson formerly of the 89TH Foot [later the Royal Irish Fusiliers] and the volunteer Carlow Rifles. Humphrey had enlisted into the army at the age of seventeen on the first of June 1893 and had soon afterwards joined the Second Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment as Private No 4157. A natural born soldier, promotion had come quickly and by the 22ND of September the following he had been bestowed with the rank of Corporal. Promoted to Sergeant on the 10TH of January 1898 in time for service during the Boer War, he had mobilised for the South African campaign at Aldershot during October 1899, joining the Yorkshire Section, Northern Company, of the 2ND Mounted Infantry.

Between 1899 and 1902 Humphrey Wilson’s service in South Africa had included the Relief of Kimberley, actions at Klip Drift, Paardeburg, Drienfontein, and Sanna’s Post. In addition he had been involved in operations near Thabanchu, and at Hout’s Nek, Welkon Kopjes, Diamond Hill, the pursuit of De Wet, and the Relief of Eland’s River.

Between October 1900 and July 1901 the soldier had also taken part in operations in the Western Transvaal, including action at Nooigedacht. By the end of the war the following year Humphrey had been mentioned in despatches, and decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal, the Queen’s Medal with six clasps, and the King’s Medal with two clasps. At the end of the war Wilson had returned to the Second Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment with whom he had been promoted to the rank of Colour Sergeant on the 25TH of April 1903.

Wilson had begun his affiliation with Scarborough during 1913 when he had arrived in the town to take up the mantle of Sergeant Major with the Territorial Force Fifth Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment, their Headquarters at the time being in a former Temperance Hall in North Street.

The Sergeant Major had been serving with the ‘Saturday Night Soldiers’ as the first rumours of war had been whispered throughout Europe during July 1914. At the time the Battalion had been enjoying their annual summer camp at Dagenwy in North Wales, however by the time that Britain had declared war on Germany on the fourth of August the unit had been making preparations to return to Scarborough to ‘await further orders’. The Fifth York’s had eventually been ‘embodied’ for war on the fourth.

Wilson had remained with the battalion until April 1915, by which time the unit, a part of the York and Durham Brigade of the Fiftieth [Northumbrian] Division had been stationed at Hummersknott Park at Darlington, County Durham. Whilst the Fifth York’s had been there Humphrey had returned to Scarborough to marry on Saturday April 3RD, Emily, the youngest [born at Scarborough January 1886] daughter of the late William, and Mary Ann Fairbank, who had been living at the time at No13 Pavilion Square in Scarborough.

The Northumbrian Division had eventually received their orders to proceed abroad and on the 17TH of April the first units had begun to leave Newcastle for France. Humphrey Wilson had not been amongst the ranks of the Fifth Yorkshire’s as they had made their way to the front, on the 8TH of the month he had been ‘Gazetted’ with the rank of Second Lieutenant and sent to the regiments depot at Richmond in North Yorkshire to await a posting to a battalion. He had eventually been assigned to his old battalion, the Second, and had joined them in the Ypres sector where they had been serving with the 21ST Brigade of the 7TH Division.

Heavy casualties sustained by the Second Yorks during the Second Battle of Ypres had spelt rapid promotion for Wilson, during June he had been promoted to Lieutenant, thence to Temporary Captain during August. By late September 1915 he had received orders to transfer temporarily to the Second East Yorkshire’s and had joined the battalion near Baileul in Flanders, where he had assumed command of ‘B’ Company.

Married for barely seven months, Emily Wi

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