Category Archives: Puzzles

On this day 24th July 1916

24.7.1916 BELLACOURT: A patrol of 2/Lts E KERSHAW & FR OLIVER & 2 OR penetrated gap in TALUS are they lay on bank. Whilst there they were challenged by a German patrol who fired, severely wounding 2/Lieut OLIVER. Pte Webb missing. Others got back with valuable information.

War Diary [WO/95/2694]

25th: Trenches again. A party of 2 Offs & 2 men went out on patrol & apparently walked into German trench. 1 Off & 1 Man missing. Officer was hit (& probably killed – 2/Lt Oliver.

[Lieutenant Josiah Taylor]

3151 Webb

Army Service Record for 3158 Pte Frank Webb, a hairdresser from Stow-on-the-Wold who enlisted in October 1914, which records his death as a Prisoner of War. Frank had only arrived in France with the 11th Reinforcement in June 1916.

Frank’s body was not recovered after the War and he is now Commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL.

oliver FR

2nd Lieutenant Frederick Richard Oliver (above) was Commissioned (from the 1/5th Battalion) in December 1915 and joined the 1/6th Battalion on the 6th June 1916. Frank’s body was not recovered after the War and he is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.

A little puzzle #1……….

It’s not clear why Frank Webb and Frederick Oliver are Commemorated on different Memorials to the Missing; despite being wounded and captured at the same time.

  • Frank Webb’s Casualty Form – Active Service records that he died on the 26th July; two days after being captured. This is confirmed by the CWGC entry, the SDGW record and the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects [National Army Museum, Chelsea, London].3152 Webb effects
The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918,
  • Frederick Richard Oliver’s MIC records that he was deceased (missing) on the 23rd July 1916, whilst SDGW incorrectly records the 1st July 1916. The CWGC entry has the correct date of 24th July.
The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.

Perhaps because Frank Webb was initially a wounded POW and buried somewhere in the rear area means that he doesn’t officially belong to the ‘Missing of the Somme’ ?

24th: A quite day. During the night a patrol reached a point close to the SW corner of the TALUS but none of the enemy were seen.

1 Officer and 1 OR wounded.

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

A little puzzle #2……….

Also on this day 3044 Pte Thomas Richard Seymour of the 1/8th Battn was killed in action. At this time the 1/8th Battn were holding the front line trenches of the RIGHT SECTOR. Thomas is now buried in GOMMECOURT WOOD NEW CEMETERY at FONCQUEVILLERS (Plot IV, Row C Grave 7).

However, he was the only man of the 139th Infantry Brigade to be originally buried in a small soldiers cemetery just behind the front line.Seymour burial returnBurial Return from the No 19 Graves Registration Unit dated September 1920 and recording the exhumation and reburial of 10 men who had originally been buried at Bretencourt Military Cemetery located at 51. R. 27. d. 1. 4. (see below)bretencourt cemetery

BRETENCOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY on the West side of the bridge between Bretencourt and Blamont Mill, in the commune of RIVIERE. Here were buried 233 French soldiers and 38 from the United Kingdom; three men of the Indian Labour Corps; and one German prisoner.

August 1915 – 2014

War Diary August 1915August 2014

Once again many thanks for visiting – July was a record with 3667 page views and 661 visitors – I am amazed at so much interest!

Some new content added this past month:-

  • Added a page on ‘1917’ – Gommecourt Advance.
  • Added a new page on ‘5th Battn’ – 1578 Percy Wildsmith.
  • ‘Nominal Role’ – D Company (Bakewell).
  • Added the names of 976 N.C.O.s and men that sailed to France in 1915 – see end of ‘1915’
  • Updated the Officers pages.
  • Revised the ‘Regimental Band’ page.
  • Completely revised ‘Regimental Histories and Downloads’.
  • Added a list of Officer Casualties to the ‘2/6th Battn’ page.
  • A few new pictures added to ‘1860’s-1907′, ‘1908’ and ‘1909’.

Whats next:-

  • Will start to work on ‘1916’ – Lost Cemeteries of Gommecourt (although I seem to have misplaced some of my old research)
  • The ‘North Midland Division’
  • ‘1917’ – Lens, Leiven & Fosse 3 etc.

AND FINALLY, still trying to identify these two Senior N.C.O.sUnkonwn SergeantsThe man on the left is wearing the Egypt Medal (1882-1889) and The Khedive Star (1882 issue) – suggesting that he had previously served with the 2nd Battalion Derbyshire Regiment.

The man on the right is often seen with the Regimental Pet from c1908-1911.

An Incredible Military Cap Badge Find

Superb find! Links 1917 to 2014
Thanks for posting
History of 21st Battalion here

Walton Tales

The recent loss of sand from our beaches has uncovered a remarkable piece of military history, albeit a rather small one.

Former Walton lifeboatman, Keith Richardson, picked up this remnant of an army cap badge while searching among the stones and rocks around Sloper’s Nose at Southcliff.


It is only the name part of the cap badge which is made of brass.

The remainder of the badge which was formed in an inferior metal has not survived.

This is what the full cap badge would have originally looked like.


Keith kindly showed me his find as he wondered if this same badge appeared on the military group photo which I posted here back in November last year.

Subsequent information from military historians can be seen here.

The 29th Provisional Battalion of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment became the 21st Sherwood Forresters on 1st January 1917 and was based initially…

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Mystery #1 solved !

Thanks to BRONNO we now know that the Officer is Henry NEWTON.

Henry Newton

  • 2nd Lieut. 1st Volunteer Battalion The Sherwood Foresters, 28.4.1906.
  • Lieutenant 5th Battalion, 18.9.1909 and Captain 17.11.1912.
  • Lieut-Colonel and O.C. II Army R.E. Workshops 1915-17.

Confirming that this is a picture of the 5th (Derby) Battalion, Machine Gun Section taken in 1912.

Henry Newton MIC

A little mystery to solve #1

19121) Picture taken by A Heath from Clay Cross at the 1912 Abermaide Camp and showing the Machine Gun Section.Vickers

Man2) Clearly the 5th (Derby) or 6th (Derbyshire) Battalion Notts & Derby – note the 5-Tier Territorial Force shoulder badge – T-#-NOTTS-AND-DERBY.

Officer MG3) The Officer holds the key – I don’t recognise him as being in the 6th Battalion. In 1911 the Machine Gun Section was under the Command of Lieut. Arthur Cuthbert Brooke-Taylor and that is not him. By 1913 Lieutenant Francis Bradbury Robinson was in charge of the Machine Gun Section and went on a course in Chelsea.