Archive for September, 2011

Richard Saggerson Guest

On the 29th of April 1918 the Germans were hoping to make the most of their capture of Mount Kemmel. The 2nd South Lancs were ordered to capture a vital position halfway between Kemmel and La Clytte but as they advanced they discovered that supporting units on their flanks had not moved forward. This caused the Lancs to retire to their starting point. The next day they attacked again and once again their prmised support had not arrived. Being raked mercilessly with machine gun fire the Lancs,by now angry and disappointed, were again forced to withdraw. As their regimental history recorded “Needless to say this second relinquishment of an objective twice taken successfully on the same day caused much heart-burning, which was only appeased in some degree by a message from the Divisional Commander which read as follows “GOC Division deepply sympathises with you in your bad luck and thinks you did magnificently. He has arranged that artillery barrage remains 300 yards beyond your objective to enable you to get in your wounded.” The 2nd South Lancashires managed this but unfortunately their dead had to be left behind. Onf of them was 2O year old Richard Guest, now remembered on  Panel 92 & 93 and 162A of the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Unexploded ordnance in Flanders, June 2011

Ernest Henry Fortescue Abbott

Commissioned into the 4th Bn, The Sherwood Foresters in October 1915, Ernest Abbott was attached to the 2nd Bn shortly afterwards. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions at Ginchy in September 1916. Following a promotion to Lieutenant in July 1917 he was transferred to the 9th Bn and wounded on the 7th of October 1917. He went back to the 2nd Bn after promotion to Captain on 18th April 1918, while they were serving at Ypres. He led a succesful rain on German trenches near Dickebush on the 9th of July 1918. All the occupants of an enemy trench were killed and a machine gun captured but tragically Capt Abbott MC was killed while carrying the machine gun back to British lines. He was never found and his name is commemorated on Panels 99 to 102 and 162 – 162A of the Tyne Cot Memorial.


Ernest Gays

Ernie Gays hailed from Leicester and was a member of his local cycling club. It was natural that he should join the Cyclist Corps, and in 1917 on the Ypres Salient this band of fit young men were employed in supply working parties. His close friend Jim Smith takes up the story: ” We were billeted in Spoilbank Tunnels – a terrible place,damp and full of gas. We were up on Hill 60 digging cable trenches for the Royal Engineers and the Jerries were shelling hard. It was only when we got back to base I learnt that Ernie had gone. He was my best pal and I felt very bad about it, but it was worse the next night when the sergeant detailed me to “bury Gays”. In those awful conditions you got very callous, but when its your best pal it really got through to you.” His pals buried Ernie on the edge of the big crater on Hill 60 and drew a sketch of the exact spot but afterwards he could never be found. Ernest Gays is now remembered on Panel 154 of the Tyne Cot Memorial.


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