On this day 25th March 1916

12.25 a.m. mine explosionMine March 1916

At 12.25 a.m. the enemy exploded a mine in front of the junction between P74 and P75, blowing in a portion of our advanced trench at this point & immediately occupied the crater & part of the trench on each side. A protracted grenade dual took place resulting in our re-occupation of trench on each side of the crater. The crater itself was occupied by the enemy.

[War Diary 1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, WO/95/2695]

25th: At 12.25 AM the enemy blew up a mine in front of BIRKIN Communication Trench blowing in about 25 yards of the parapet. The 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters occupied the part of the line. Some 6 or 8 casualties were occasioned.

139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]

On the 25th March I was the Officer on duty between 12 mdnt and 3 a.m. in the trenches then occupied by “A” Company near NEUVILLE-St-VAAST. The right hand sentry post was then occupied by three men whose names I did not know then. I visited the right listening post and saw there No 2875 Pte D Males, No 2952 Pte A Allsopp & a third man whose name I did not know. About 12-30 a.m. I was standing at the corner of GRANGE CT & the fire trench when I heard an explosion which proved to be a mine. I went straight towards the sound & found that the right sentry post had been blown up.

[2/Lieut. Edwin Francis Ann, 1/5th Sherwood Foresters]

On the 25th March I was in charge of No 3 Platoon holding that part of the line in which the crater appeared. At about 12-5 a.m.m I posted threes men viz:- No 4009 Pte Whitmore, No 2560 Pte F Corden and No 4040 Pte T Swain at the Right Sentry Post. A few minutes later I posted three men, viz 2952 Pte A Allsopp, No 2875 Pte D Males and another at the Right Listening Post and 2486 L/Cpl W Greensmith took charge of both posts.

short barbed wire knife rests

I returned to the Retrenchment Line. About 12-30 a.m. I heard an explosion. I was unable to visit the two Posts until about 5 a.m. I went first to the Listening Post and found that one of the short barbed wire knife rests had been swung round thereby making a way into the Post from the enemy’s side. – & footprints in the snow showed that somebody had entered the Listening Post by sliding down the bank from the left side and had apparently proceeded to the dead end of the Post & left the same way by climbing over the shelter using a grenade box as a step.

I found the third man originally posted there lying dead about seven yards from his post. The other two men (Privates D MALES & A ALLSOPP) were not there. Then I went towards the right sentry post and found it covered by earth thrown up from the mine & presumably the men who had occupied the post were buried there – I concluded that Privates Males and Allsopp were taken prisoner

[4171 L/Sergt T Henson “A” Coy 1/5th Sherwood Foresters]

On the 26th March I was in charge of the Right Sentry Post & the Right Listening Post in the trenches occupied by my Company. I was on my way between these two Posts about 12.30 a.m. when an explosion occurred & looking round I saw that a mine had been sprung close to the Right Sentry Post, burying it with earth – A few moments before I had seen the three men (Privates F CORDON, W WHITMORE & F SWAIN) at the post. There was no doubt in my mind that all three were buried there. I visited the Listening Post shortly after Sgt HENSON had been there & found things as stated by Sgt HENSON in his evidence which I have heard.

[2486 Cpl W Greensmith, “A” Coy 1/5th Sherwood Foresters]

8 p.m. Counter Attack

A counter attack was made at 8 p.m. on the crater, which gained its objective but was subsequently bombed out of its position before it had consolidated.

[War Diary 1/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, WO/95/2695]

The 5th Battalion S. F. counter attacked at 8 p.m. and gained the near lip of the Crater but were a gained driven out by bombs losing about 50 Casualties. Later in the evening it was intended to attack again with 2 Companies of 6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters under Lieut. Col. GOODMAN. However, it was found that there was not enough time to complete all arrangements so the attack was postponed till the evening.

139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]

The men killed and captured

Missing presumed killed and Commemorated on the Arras Memorial:-

  • 2121 Pte Frederick William Rainbow
  • 1944 Pte Arthur Compton
  • 2560 Pte Frederick Corden
  • 592 L/Cpl Nathan Earl
  • 4040 Pte Thomas Swain
  • 4009 Pte William Whitmore
592 Earl

Service record of 592 L/Cpl Nathan Earl recording that he was missing believed killed on the 25th March 1916

Captured by the Germans:-

  • 2875 Pte Dolah Males
  • 2952 Pte Arthur Allsopp2875 Males

Red Cross Record confirming the capture of Dolah Males near St Eloi on the 25th March 1916

Killed in the counter attack:-Aldous

  • Captain Stewart John Aldous aged 38 and eldest son of the Rev. John Clement Primrose Aldous and Alicia Mary Aldous of St. Ann’s Vicarage in Nottingham.
  • 4003 Pte Alfred Brown from Heanor.
  • 4700 Pte Albert Dean aged 29 and son of William and Mary Ann Dean of Clay Cross in Derbyshire.
  • 2997 Sergeant William Hyde a Pre-War Territorial who re-enlisted in October 1914.
  • 3372 Pte Jack Edward Orme aged 19 and the son of George Henry and Louisa Orme of 74 Walbrook Rd. in Derby.
  • 3931 Pte Harry Smith aged 33 and the son of Elizabeth Smith of 42 Ranby Rd. in Sheffield.
  • 3252 Pte Thomas Albert Kniverton aged 19 and son of Thomas and Jessie Elizabeth Kniveton of Derby.
3373 Orme

Ecoivres Military Cemetery near Mont St EloyEcoivresMarch 1916 gravesEcoivres March 1916

Sherwood Foresters killed during the counter attack on the mine crater

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