On this day 17th February 1917

No record in the 1/6th Battalion War Diary [WO/95/2694]

16th/17th: On three occasions the enemy bombarded the village of Foncquevillers and the left sub sector, particularly Lincoln Lane, the Calvaire Road, Green Street and Snipers Square. In the later area a considerable quantity of gas shell was used, mostly from 75mm trench mortars.

Several deaths occurred in cases where men were unable to put on their respirators in time, while several more men who without knowing it had been affected died in billets next morning.

Total casualties (including about 40 or 50 men who were evacuated on suspicion) were nearly 100. 8th battn shell attach 1917

1/8th Battalion War Diary

17th: A quite day. Fonquevillers shelled between 10 and 11pm, a few gas shells being used and causing one or two casualties.

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

Sniper's SquareAbout 1am working parties of Sherwoods and 2/11th London Regiment were shelled with gas shells in FONQUEVILLERS near SNIPERS SQUARE on their way back from the front line trenches. Five cases of shell gas poisoning were treated at ADS FONQUEVILLERS about 2am.

At 8.30am more cases began to arrive until twenty in all had been brought in.

At 9.30am a message was received at ADS FONQUEVILLERS asking for a Medical Officer to go to CHATEAU LA HAIE to see a sergeant who was not feeling well. On arriving there at 10.20am Capt FOSTER RAMC (TF) found three men dying from the effects of the gas and fifty nine others more or less seriously gassed.

The chief symptoms noted were cyanosis in some patients in some patients, but not in all, there being marked pallor in the worth cases. Pulse feeble and rapid cough present in most cases. The patients after a time began to cough up small amounts of frothy tenacious mucus. Many of the patients complained of pain in the stomach.

Treatment. Oxygen administered for ten minutes at a time through a nitrous oxide inhaler gave distinct relief. Ammonium Carbonate ampules proved useless. Hypodermic injections of strychnine g 1/30th and administration of hot drinks containing brandy caused considerable improvement in the pulse. Blankets, hot bottles and hot bricks were applied and all cases evacuated as speedily as possible to 20 CCS. The evacuation was accomplished without difficulties as the day was foggy and motor ambulances were able to proceed right up to FONQUEVILLERS and CHATEAU LA HAIE.

In all, nine men died for the effects of the gas and eighty one were evacuated to 20 CCS. The nine bodies were also sent to 20 CCS for post mortem examination.

The delayed effect of the gas was well shown by the cases which occurred at CHATEAU LA HAIE; many of these men had attended the ordinary parade in the morning and did not complain of feeling ill till afterwards. All these men had a march of about two miles after being gassed.

Both Captains MANFIELD and FOSTER describe the or dour of the gas as resembling this of hydrochloric acid.

1/2 North Midland Field Ambulance [WO2680/2]

Casualties of the Gas Attack

The men were all buried at Warlincourt and includes 1/5th, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters and 2/11 London Regiment (under instruction)

“The two NCOs in command felt too sick to eat supper, but some of the men had a good supper – all went to sleep and at 5.25 am Sergeant F HUNT, 5th Sherwood Foresters woke up Corporal HIGGINS [possibly 2709/200662 Alfred James Higgins], who informed me the Sergeant looked very pale, was breathing hard, and complained of pain in the chest and stomach. Corporal HIGGINS stayed with him until 7.30am when he become so bad, the Corporal woke up his Officer, and got him to send a message to FONQUEVILLERS for a Medical Officer. Sergeant HUNT died shortly after 9.0am [however his death  is recored as the 16th February].

[Colonel W Beevor, ADMS 46th North Midland Division]200351 Hunt

200351 L/Sergeant Frederick Hunt


Warlincourt feb 1917“C’ Company 1/8th Battalion

  • 305742 L/Cpl Edgar Slack aged 22 son of Thomas and Hannah Slack of 34 Rosemary St., in Mansfield.
  • 306168 Pte G Addison aged 23 and son of William and Alara Addison of Low Barlings; husband of Maud Mary Addison of Low Barlings in Lincoln.
  • 307040 Pte F Makin.
  • 328024 Pte John William Sharman aged 30 and son of George and Rosetta Sharman of Nottingham.

2590 Pte Robert Henry Chadwick

A 36 year old quarryman from Bakewell died in the 1st North Midland Field Ambulance of cardiac failure due to fatigue and exposure.2590 chadwick

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