Archive for December, 2009

Hilary Gresford Evan-Jones, KIA 16 February 1915

Lieutenant Evan-Jones

Joining the Welch Regiment in October 1910 and promoted to Lieutenant in November 1911 Evan-Jones served with the 1st Battalion in England,The Mediterranean and India. He fought at the front with his battalion from January 1915 and was killed in action near Ypres on 16 February 1915. He had greatly distinguished himself as a bomb thrower. Writing home to his family in a letter before he was killed he gave this account:

“I made 2 expeditions by myself with some bombs,which I dropped into the German trenches. During my first one,I met a German gentleman,apparently on the same job as myself.My revolver accounted for him all right. We were only about 2 feet apart.I think,if anything,I am rather enjoying myself. Cold feet are the worst part of the show,but my men are such rippers,it makes up for lots.I hate having them hit,though otherwise its quite cheery.I had a singsong in my trench the other evening,which rather annoyed the Germans.I have been favourably reported for going out and throwing those bombs.It was really quite a simple thing to do,and I think people are making rather an unnecessary fuss about it all. ”

Hilary Gresford Evan-Jones’ name is listed on Panel 37 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

Menin Gate Memorial,February 2009

Private Smith

From the regimental history of the DCLI:

“Life in the trenches during March was horrible. The weather did its best to make things utterly miserable – frost,rain,sleet and snow coming alternately.After heavy snow had fallen,the sun would come out and melt it,filling the trenches with snow water.The enemy was also extremely active…As an instance of the damage done bu his shellfire,a machine gun and its whole team – with the exception of an NCO, who is reported to have wandered “dazed and wounded” into the lines of another unit ,was buried by the burst of a shell on 10 March”.

Harold James Smith,a 23 year old factory worker from Birmingham,lies entombed in the muddy fields of The Ypres Salient.His name is recorded on Panel 20 of The Menin Gate Memorial. 


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Menin Gate Memorial at night,February 2009

Private Riley

The 10th Battalion of The Sherwood Foresters left their billets in the Ramparts on the 13th of February 1916 when it moved to positions north-east of the Ypres Commines Canal.On the 14th of February the Germans shelled these positions and at 1740 hours exactly they detonated a mine under trench 31.

Sam Riley was killed instantly by the explosion but his body was recovered by his friend Private Charlesworth;sadly it was lost in later fighting and Sam’s name is now upon Panels 39 and 41 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

Private Miles

From “Rutland and the Great War”:

Alfred Miles,son of Mr and Mrs Harry LE Miles of Belmisthorpe,he was born at Selston,Notts on 30 June 1893. The family came to Belmisthorpe in 1900 and he was educated at Ryhall and the Stamford Endowed Schools. He was apprenticed in June 1909 to Messrs Blackstone of Stamford as an ironmonger and completed his apprenticeship on 30 June 1914. He enlisted on 4th September, a month after the war broke out,and trained at Tulworth Bovington,in Dorset,and in Winchester. He went to the front on July 14tb 1915 and took part in the trench warfare then being carried on. He was killed on the 15th of Ferbruary 1916 under the following circumstances as narrated by Lieut. AWS Cowie,formerly classic master at Stamford Grammar School,who performed one of the unrecorded acts of bravery in trying to assist Pte Miles after he received his mortal wound,and was himself shot in the shoulder whilst with him,but managed to get to a dressing station. The 7th Lincolnshires had been holding what was known as International Trench,and were relieved by another regiment. A few hours later the trench was captured by the Germans,mainly through the explosion of mines,and the 7th Lincolnshires were recalled to retake the trench. After fierce fighting they were so reduced in number that it was necessary to call for reinforcements, and Pte Miles was sent with a message to headquarters. In order to get there as quickly as possible,it was necessary to go along a trench which was dominated by enemy snipers posted on a high embankment called The Bluff,on which were a number of snipers who could fire straight in the trench.Pte Miles kept steadily on his way until he came to a part of the trench which had been blown in by the terrific bombardment,and it was whilst climbing over the debris which filled the trench that he was shot,dying later that day.Beyond the attempt of Lt Cowie,his comrades were unable to render any assistance owing to the sniper’s fire. When a party could eventually recover the body,they had to bury him in the trench where he fell.

Sadly,Alfred Miles’ body was lost forever and his name is listed on Panel 21 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

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Menin Gate Memorial,February 2009

Lieutenant Addyman

The Palingbeek Nature Reserve is now located in the area of The Bluff where there was a stretch of trench known as International Trench.This was so named because of the the many different nationalities of soldiers who lay rotting in the trench walls or were beneath its duckboard floor.The 1st East Yorks were ordered to take this position but before the attack even started a shell plunged into C Coy HQ,killing Oscar Haddyman and also Captain Wilkinson.

Oscar James Addyman was buried nearby but after the war his body could not be located so his name is now on Panels 21 and 31 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

Private W Nunn

Private Nunn has the unfortunate distinction of being the first battle casualty suffered by the 1st Suffolks during the Great War. He had the back of his head shot out by a sniper at Verbrandenmolen while he was making breakfast.His name is listed on Panel 21 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

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Wreaths at The Menin Gate Memorial,Feb 09

Private BH Blackburn

The circumstances of Private Blackburn’s death are so unknown that the date of his death is recorded as 1 – 28 February 1915. This is despite the best efforts agencies such as the Red Cross, the Grave Registration Unit and that of the battalion itself to find out what happened to missing soldiers . Benjamin Homes Blackburn died during February 1915 and his name is now recorded on Panel 5 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

Sergeant FS Brown

Sgt Brown of Quebec was killed in the trenches near St Eloi on the 3rd of February 1915. He was the son of an Anglican vicar and the District Scoutmaster for Quebec. He was also known as the “Poet of the Pats” and author of “Contingent Ditties”.frank Smith Brown has no known grave and his name is listed on Panel 10 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

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Menin Gate Memorial,Feb 2009

Second Lieutenant G Hartley of the 2nd/5th Fusiliers lead a patrol on the 8th of January 1917 to locate a German machine gun position. The patrol was spotted and the gun opened fire at close range,wounding 2 of the men and also Hartley himself. Hartley helped one of the men back to their own lines and also received treatment for the nasty head injury he had sustained.

Realising that the other wounded man had not returned Hartley set off in search for him.He scoured No Man’s Land for an hour and a half but no trace was ever found of his missing comrade – Richard Wolstencroft of Manchester who’s name is listed on Panel 33 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

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Menin Gate Memorial,2009

On New Year’s Day 1915 the British commenced a heavy bombardment of the German positions near Wulvergem.Within moments the Germans replied with retaliatory shelling.

A large shell blew in a dug-out manned by A Coy of the East Surreys,burying 5 men.Private Charles Owen and another man began to dig these men out but as they did, another shell landed nearby and the other man withdrew to cover.Private Owen continued digging and was just pulling a man free when a shell exploded killing him instantly.

Charles Owen was nominated for a medal for his selfless gallantry but for some unexplained reason this was turned down.Charles Owen was also denied a decent burial as his body was never found;his name is listed on Panel 34 of the Menin Gate Memorial.

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Indian Army Memorial, 22 August 09

This Memorial is situated near to the Menin Gate Memorial on the way to Ramparts Cemetery.

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