Some Desperate Glory

Discussion in 'Geoff's Search Engine.' started by geoff501, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    The diary of a young officer, 1917 by Edwin Campion Vaughan.

    This was about the second WW1 book I read, some years ago now. I almost read it about 15 years earlier, but that's another story.
    I thought I would put the search engine to work and trace some of the Officers and Men mentioned in the diary. The book ends abruptly on 29th August 1917, just one day in The Battle of Langemarck, when his company was virtually wiped out. The war diary does not adequately describe the day's action, you really have to read the book. Highly recommended.

    From the 8th Royal Warwicks diary:

    August 27th 1917
    The morning gave promise of a fine day, but the ground was afforded no opportunity for drying, as several showers fell. The men remained concealed in their position apparently unobserved by the enemy, until 'Zero' (1.55 P.M.) The five Coys then attacked under cover of our artillery and M.G. Barrage, but owing to the activity of the enemy's M.G.s and to a much greater extent to the impassibility of the ground the final objective laid down in the operation order was not gained. SPRINGFIELD however was taken and positions consolidated to the E. of the WINNIPEG - SPRINGFIELD road. During the action Captains S.W. PEPPER and H. EWING became casualties, as did also C.S.M. Chalk of 'D' Coy. During the night the Batt was relieved by the 1/4th Royal BERKS.
     
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  2. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    From CWGC:

    Name: PEPPER, SYDNEY WHITELOCK
    Initials S W
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Captain
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text:8th Bn.
    Age: 25
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Additional information: Son of Edwin and Emma E. Pepper, of 4, Radnor Rd., Handsworth, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL


    Name: CHALK
    Initials: A
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Company Serjeant Major
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 305766
    Awards: M M
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: X. D. 14.
    Cemetery: TYNE COT CEMETERY
     
  3. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    In the book, he gives Sjt Wheeldon as having a Bar to both his DCM and MM, but no bar here. I could only trace the DCM and MM in the Gazette.

    Name: WHEELDON
    Initials: H H
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank: Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 29
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 305820
    Awards: D C M, M M
    Additional information: Husband of Mrs. L. Wheeldon, of 75, Little King St., Hockley, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: IX. B. 4.
    Cemetery: TYNE COT CEMETERY
     
  4. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    The Corporals, from CWGC:

    Name: HARRISON, WILLIAM JOHN HENRY
    Initials: W J H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 305223
    Additional information: Son of William and Sarah Harrison, of 23, Upper Sutton St., Aston, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

    Name: OLDHAM, HARRY
    Initials:H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 307667
    Additional information: Son of John and Martha Oldham, of Church St., St. Neots, Hunts.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

    Name: MUCKLOW, WILLIAM JAMES
    Initials: W J
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 19
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 306278
    Additional information: Son of William James and Emma Mucklow, of 20, Hollier St., Highgate, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL



    And the imperturbable McKay:

    Name: McKAY, HUGH
    Initials: H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 306827
    Awards: M M
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
     
  5. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    May 15th 1917
    ... Taylor is my black sheep. He is a Birmingham rough and is always in trouble, accompanied by Dawson who is his inseparable companion. They live, sleep, fight and get drunk together, and (I am certain) will die together. I have many times tried to get into Taylor's heart but he is as close as an oyster and sheers off whenever I talk to him. With Dawson however I have quite an understanding. I choke him off and punish him as firmly as necessary, but after it is over we are just as chummy.

    August 28th 1917
    ... My black sheep - Dawson and Taylor - had died together, and out of our happy band of 90 men, only 15 remained.



    Name: DAWSON, LEONARD
    Initials: L
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 19
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 266818
    Additional information: Son of Mrs. Christina Rose (formerly Dawson), of 7, Princess St., Coventry.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

    Name: TAYLOR, FREDERICK
    Initials: F
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 306805
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
     
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  6. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Geoff,
    Very interesting. Must try to get a copy of that.

    Mike
     
  7. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    August 27th 1917
    "A more terrible sound now reached my ears. From the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long sobbing moans of agony, and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell-holes, and now the water was rising about them and, powerless to move, they were slowly drowning. Horrible visions came to me with those cries - of Woods and Kent, Edge and Taylor, lying maimed out there trusting that their pals would find them, and now dying terribly, alone amongst the dead in the inky darkness. And we could do nothing to help them..."


    From the war diary:

    Tunnelling Camp, 30th August 1917
    Reorganisation and kit and rifle inspection under Coy arrangements. The casualties of the Batt during the action of the 27th were found to be 35 killed, 83 wounded, 54 missing. Captain Pepper killed and Captain Ewing wounded.

    (CWGC 27th August 1917: 68 killed)
     
  8. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    August 27th 1917
    Suddenly I heard a commotion at the doorway [of the captured SPRINGFIELD 'pill-box'] and two fellows crawled in dragging a stretcher which they hoisted on the wire bed in front of me. It was an officer of the 8th Worcesters who greeted me cheerily.'Where are you hit?' I asked. 'In the back near the spine. Could you lift my gas helmet from under me?' I cut away the satchel and dragged it out; then he asked for a cigarette. Dunham produced one and put it between his lips. I struck a match and held it across, but the cigarette had fallen on to his chest and he was dead.

    Two possibles, from CWGC:

    Name: HANCOCK, RALPH LONGHURST
    Initials: R L
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Worcestershire Regiment
    Unit Text: 8th Bn.
    Age: 24
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Additional information: Son of Sardius and Mary Jane Hancock, of Glenfield, Malvern: husband of Ada Dorothy Hancock, of 18, Church Rd., Malvern, Worcs.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 75 to 77.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL


    Name: HEMMING, JESSE CLIFFORD
    Initials: J C
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Second Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Worcestershire Regiment
    Unit Text:8th Bn.
    Age: 38
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Additional information: Son of William Edward Hemming, of 99, Middleton Hall Rd., King's Norton, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 75 to 77.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
     
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  9. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    August 16th 1917
    ...One gun was firing regularly onto a spot only a few yards in front of me.... I became aware of Private Bishop in the shell hole in front with a thick red stream running down his back. I shouted to him 'Are you hurt Bishop?' Turning round he said 'No sir' in surprise. So I leapt across the edge of the hole and found the stream proceeded from a shrapnel wound in a carton of jam in his haversack...
    ...I was following Corporal Breeze when a shell burst at his feet. As I was blown backwards I saw him thrown into the air to land at my feet, a crumpled heap of torn flesh...He was terribly mutilated , both feet had gone and and one arm, his legs and trunk were torn to ribbons and his face was dreadful.... His feeble hand touched my equipment, and then the light faded from his eyes....
    ... I called Corporal Benjamin to come to talk to me. He had just made some reference to poor Breeze, when there was a clang and he staggered back, his helmet flying off into the stream. A bullet had gone through it without touching him and his comical look of amazement and indignation as he retrieved it made me shriek with laughter.


    From CWGC:

    Name: BREESE, HAROLD
    Initials: H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 16/08/1917
    Service No: 305808
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Blimey, read that book 20+ years ago.
    Good bit of research to bring those passages to life & give them more meaning.
     
  11. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Geoff,
    Are you selecting pages to post here and presumably the book/diary have many more entries?
    The more I read this thread the more I want to see the book.
    The research into individuals named is brilliant - gives a real 'feel' into what might otherwise be just another (albeit fascinating) personal account.
    Look forward to more of the same.

    Mike
     
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  13. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    Think it's due for a reprint, but can't see anything on Pen and Sword.
     
  14. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    Geoff,
    Are you selecting pages to post here and presumably the book/diary have many more entries?
    The more I read this thread the more I want to see the book.
    The research into individuals named is brilliant - gives a real 'feel' into what might otherwise be just another (albeit fascinating) personal account.
    Look forward to more of the same.

    Mike
    Mike,
    It is a very detailed diary, covering, I think every day from early 1917 to those terrible August days in Third Ypres. Just picking out names that have some story to them when quoted in the diary. Very often he just mentions a name, that's all. There must be men mentioned on most pages.

    geoff
     
  15. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    21st May 1917
    After dark Dunham returned...He was accompanied by Berry and Cooper, both of 'B' Company. They have only come for accommodation I think. Cooper is a very young, childish-faced 2nd Lieut with a frequent mirthless laugh and idiotic conversation. He has already jarred my nerves by wandering about singing repeatedly 'Brown bread - well buttered', which are the only words he knows of some senseless song. Berry is a good-hearted chap but very foul-mouthed and loud-voiced.

    Vaughan does not comment on the loss of Cooper. Probably A and B companies were doing some raids and his company, D, were holding the line waiting to be relieved at dawn, so he may not have been aware of Cooper's fate at the time.

    1/8th Warwicks War Diary
    Outpost Line. 21st June 1917
    A Coy. 1 Officer wounded (Mr Cooper), 9 Other Ranks wounded.

    1/8th Warwicks War Diary
    Outpost Line. 22nd June 1917
    8.15am Mr Cooper died of wounds at field ambulance.

    From CWGC:

    Name: COOPER
    Initials: V T
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Second Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 20
    Date of Death: 22/06/1917
    Additional information: Son of George and Caroline Cooper, of Chapel Cottage, Corfe Castle, Dorset.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: I. C. 4.
    Cemetery: RED CROSS CORNER CEMETERY, BEUGNY
     
  16. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    July 11th - 25th 1917
    ...The second week of the rest was devoted to massed attack practices, sometimes by brigades and once the whole division took part and tanks and aeroplanes were engaged. These took us over the old Somme battlefields, and were very approximate to the true conditions. During one show, when I was a 'casualty', I kept Taylor, the black sheep of the platoon, with me in order to have one more shot at winning his confidence. He is always in trouble and I had never been able to get into the same terms with him as I was with the rest of the platoon. On this day however he seemed to be softened by the wonderful weather and the life of ease, and suddenly he became quite responsive and in a burst of confidence told me of his youth in the charge of a drunken aunt, his several spells in prison and his feeling now he was a dog with a bad name.
    Out of all this bitterness and despondency I grasped a silver thread. He betrayed an almost sacred respect for womanhood but passed that sex over as though he was too unclean even to aspire to a girl's affection. But I played upon that trait, and hinted at the different appearance he would present in Birmingham if he kept straight and returned, as he could, with his stripes up. Before we returned to Berles, he was quite cheery and had even smiled at some of my poor jokes. From that day on we were fast friends and he and his pal Dawson were two of my smartest men.
     
  17. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    August 27th 1917
    ...Then, standing on the road in front with drums of ammunition in each hand, I saw Lynch shaking and helpless with fear. I ran out and told him to go forward. 'Oh, I can't Sir, I can't,' he moaned. 'Don't be a fool' I said, 'you will be safer in the gunpits than you are here - right in the barrage.' 'Oh, I can't walk,' he cried, and I shook him. 'You know what your duty is,' I told him. 'Are you going to let Rogers and Osborne and the rest go forward while you stay here?' 'No Sir!' he said, and ran across the road. Before he had gone three yards he fell dead.

    Cannot find Lynch, or any name like it..

    From CWGC:

    Name: OSBORNE, HORACE
    Initials: H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 29366
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 23 to 28 and 163A.
    Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

    born Wilbraham, Cambs., residence Great Wilbraham, enlisted Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

    Name: ROGERS
    Initials: J
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 27/08/1917
    Service No: 305843
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: X. B. 10.
    Cemetery: TYNE COT CEMETERY

    James Rogers. enlisted Birmingham, residence Aston, Birmingham.
     
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  18. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    Some time later....

    Supplement To The London Gazette, 10 December 1919:


    The Military Cross.

    Lt. Edwin Stephen Campion Vaughan, 1/8th Bn., R. War. R., T.F.
    During the attack on Landrecies on 4th November, 1918, he displayed great courage and determination. In face of strong opposition he led his men forward to their objective, resulting in the capture of the bridge across the canal before the enemy could destroy it. Later, during the advance towards Maroilles on 5th/6th November he again did good work.

    (in the early morning of 4th November 1918, Wilfred Owen was killed whilst crossing the same canal by raft)
     
  19. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

  20. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit Patron

    March 12...
    Going into the cellar after Stand-down, I found Holmes making out a casualty report. When we had reached No 3 post, he had found Corporal Bennett dead, with three men; the other three men of the post were wounded. A few minutes after I had left them, a bomb had fallen amongst them. I told Holmes about Bennett's nervousness and sudden return to fatalism and we agreed he must have had a premonition.

    March 13....
    After a few minutes Browne returned, rather white in the face, saying he could not find the NCOs dugout. This was only 10 yards away and consisted of an unfinished shaft of a few steps leading to a tiny excavation in which there was just room for three or four men to sit. Holmes guessed that Browne was shaken up by the shelling, so he laughed and said 'come on then, I'll help you search for it, perhaps someone's pinched it.' And they set off together down the muddy trench....
    ...Brown came tumbling in moaning and laughing hysterically. He stared at me screaming 'Oh God! It is. It is.' Then we slung him in a chair and gave him a hot tot of rum, and ran off down the trench to the mine shaft which had been occupied by Sergeant Phillips, Sergeant Bennett, Corporal Everett and Corporal Hollins.
    The last of the shells had obviously burst inside the shaft, for the entrance was completely blocked, and the top of the shelter was lying across the trench


    March 13...
    First of all we wired off the casualties to Ansty in code, and then we went for the next senior NCOs of each platoon...These NCOs were very badly shaken by the news, and particularily by the deaths of two brothers Bennett in succeeding days; there is a third brother in the Company who is due back from leave tomorrow.


    1/8th Royal Warwickshires War Diary.
    BIANCHES 13.3.17
    Artillery. Our guns shelled enemy's front line at I33 to 55 at 2.30am - 5pm in response to call for retaliation from OC 'D' Coy against enemy's GRANATENWERFER active in that area. Hostile artillery was very active throught the day & night & considerable numbers of 5.9s were fired over Battns. area.
    Hostile aviation - nil
    Casualties - 4 killed (2 Sergeants & 2 Corporals) 'D' Coy. 1 Corpl wounded - 'A' Coy. Weather. Misty and wet, wind W-SW.

    WO/95/2756


    (I cannot trace Corporal Bennett from 12th March in CWGC. The Warwick's diary reports no casualties for the day).

    In 1901, St. Stephens EP, Birmingham:
    Henry Bennett 36
    Francis M. 30
    Alfred 6
    Harold 5
    Leonard 3

    There is a MIC entry for a Harold Bennett, R/Warks. 305700 - close number.


    From CWGC:

    Name: BENNETT, ALFRED HENRY
    Initials: A H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 22
    Date of Death: 13/03/1917
    Service No: 305681
    Additional information: Son of Henry and Frances Mary Bennett, of 30, Cuckoo Rd., Nechells, Birmingham.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 9 A 9 B and 10 B.
    Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

    Name: EVERITT
    Initials: P
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Date of Death: 13/03/1917
    Service No: 305684
    Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. C. 3.
    Cemetery: ASSEVILLERS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY


    Name: HOLLINS, HENRY
    Initials: H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Corporal
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 13/03/1917
    Service No: 305783
    Additional information: Son of John A. and Jane Hollins, of 36 Court, 5 House, Summer Lane, Birmingham.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. C. 3.
    Cemetery: ASSEVILLERS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY


    Name:PHILLIPS
    Initials: T
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank: Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Warwickshire Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/8th Bn.
    Age: 36
    Date of Death: 13/03/1917
    Service No: 305169
    Additional information: Husband of Leah Elizabeth Phillips, of 5, Talbryn Place, Nechells Place, Birmingham.
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. C. 5.
    Cemetery: ASSEVILLERS NEW BRITISH CEMETERY
     

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