In WWI my wife’s uncle and her father’s eldest brother (though they never met) was William. He died on the 20 Sep 1917 and was laid to rest in Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Ypres. I believe P090S117 is the location of his remains.
William was a private No.55834 in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers 9th Battalion, although he lived in Bath and I have seen a record somewhere that he joined up in Taunton. He was therefore part of Sir Douglas Haig’s Third Ypres battle, planned to breakthrough in Flanders.
Battle of the Menin Road Ridge
This battle started on 31 Jul 1917 and was sustained through a series of battles until 6 November 1917 when Passchendaele was finally taken. Lloyd George said Passchendaele was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war … No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign. Brigadier-General J. E. Edmonds put the official British casualties at 244,897 and estimated the German losses at 400,000, both probably underestimates.
Given the date of William’s death it would appear that he was involved in the battle of the Menin Road Ridge. This was the third British general attack of the third battle of Ypres. This attack used a new approach of ‘leap-frog’ where one wave would have an objective and consolidate on reaching it, the next wave would pass on beyond them to the next objective and so on. It proved no more effective and certainly was not a case of third time lucky for William.
William was just nineteen. His father Walter received his son’s ‘soldier’s effects’ two years later on 11 Jul 1919 – with the sum of £4 4s 9p.
Siegfried Sassoon wrote of this battle:
Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell—
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light…
Reginald Herbert (Bertie) Allen (1884-1957)
However, one of my wife Jane’s great uncles was Reginald Herbert Allen who as the picture below shows also served in WWI, and survived.
|Note on shorthand acronyms being used in the DFB:|
– GGF1 / GGM1 – means first great-grandfather /mother;
– GU11 / GA11 – means eleventh great-uncle / great-aunt;
– 1C3 – means first cousin three times removed