20.7.1916 BELLACOURT: Very heavy bombardment of trenches by enemy. “A” Company under Capt VO Robinson moved up to reinforce within 1 minute of receiving order from OC 5th Battn. Lt CEV CREE & 3 OR killed & 15 wounded.
Lieutenant Charles Edward Victor Cree
July 20: Huns woke up & were unpleasant but not as bad as we were. Lieut Cree killed by a shell in the early morning. I lived in cellar for a long time with telephone down there. I attended funeral of Victor.
[Lieutenant Josiah Taylor]
“News has been received by his sisters, Mrs. McGough and Mrs. Lynch, Schofield’s Yard, New Square, Chesterfield, on the death in action of their brother, Pte. Edward Churchill, Sherwood Foresters.”
“He was killed almost instantly by a shell which burst and killed our officer and other two poor fellows. His comrades take it very hard as he was a good and brave soldier, who died doing his duty, and gave all for his King and Country.”
“Private Churchill was 24 years of age and worked at Grassmoor Colliery before the War. He leaves a widow and three children.”
[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, AUGUST, 5th, 1916]
“Mrs French, 53, Wharf Lane, Stonegravels, Chesterfield. Has received information that two soldiers who were billeted with her, while stationed in the town have been wounded, while a chum of theirs was killed. Her Son-in-law writing from the Front says:
“Just a line to let you know that H Maycock has got wounded in the leg, and a bad wound too. We dropped in for it, not half. J. Crompton has been killed and Vero Wounded. When I saw The Derbyshire Times I could have cried to see my only pal’s photo in it. We have to smile to save us from crying. It would open people’ eyes when they saw The Times, but someone has to fight, the duty must be done.”
Pte. Tom Vero is also in the Sherwoods and lived with his brother, lately deceased, in Chatsworth Road. He is 19 years of age and worked at Grassmoor Colliery.”
[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, JULY, 29th, 1916]
20: About 12-45 am the enemy started to bombard on our whole front, concentrating on trenches 146, 147 & 148. The bombardment on these trenches was particularly severe & on CHURCH & BELLACOURT STREETS. The latter was completely flattened out for over 100 yards between the Support & front lines.
About 2 am there was a lift & the enemy in two small parties raided SAPS 14 & 15. In the former (SAP 14) there was a dugout with the entrance blown in, in which there were 3 men imprisoned. There was a small hole through which the Germans threw a grenade, which only wounded one of the men.
In SAP 15 there was only one man left alive & he was buried up to the waist. He feigned being dead & the enemy cut off his shoulder strap & took his steel helmet & also his gas helmet. They did not proceed beyond this point. As the man had no shoulder badge no identifications were obtained.
From the Bombardment our casualties were:
- 5th Sherwoods. Other Ranks 6 killed, 2 missing, 17 wounded.
- 6th Sherwoods. 1 Officer Killed, 3 Other Ranks killed, 13 wounded, 1 Other Rank missing.
The enemy were very quit for the rest of the day.
We carried out a small bombardment of the enemies trenches (especially the BLOCKHOUSE) at 6.30 pm & 9.30 pm.
139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]
The men killed were or died of wounds were:-
- 4388 Pte James Carr
- 4783 Pte Alfred Clarke
- 4176 Pte Alfred Freeman
- 2123 L/Cpl Edwin George Hemm
- 2641 Pte Joseph Maiden
- 1486 L/Cpl Walter Henry Phillips
- 2704 Pte Ernest Pike
- Lieutenant Charles Edward Victor Cree
- 3768 Pte John Henry Crompton
- 3399 Pte Francis Melbourne
- 4519 Pte Edward Churchill
- 4505 Pte James Carney
- 4105 Pte Tom Vero
- 3889 Pte William Poyser
Location of these Trench Burials on a contemporary trench map dated 1916.
Edward Victor Cree, Edward Churchill, John Crompton and Francis Melbourne are buried next to each other in Plot I, Row G, Graves 5-8.
Amongst the wounded men were:-
- 2802 Pte. Wilfred Buxton a bricklayer from Ashbourne.
- 3628 Pte. Samuel Charlesworth who returned to England and discharged.
- 3782 Pte. Thomas Goodwin.
- 3397 Pte. James Griffiths a colliery pony driver from Bolsover.
- 4108 Pte. Henry Maycock, a labourer from Brampton who was severely wounded in the foot and transferred to England.
- 1714 Pte. John McTigh from Chesterfield who was transferred to England and discharged.
- 2309 Pte. Sam Nadin, a quarryman from Chapel-en-le-Frith, who suffered a GSW in left and right thigh and was transferred to England.
- 4470 Pte. George Platts, a core maker from Newbold, who suffered a GSW in the left side and was transferred to England.
- 2769 Pte. Albert Rivett a miner from Hasland.
- 4460 Pte. Joseph Williamson, a miner from Whitehaven, who suffered multiple shell wounds and was transferred to England and discharged.
- 1679 Pte Charles Smith, a coal miner from Chesterfield suffered a GSW in left leg and shoulder and returned to England and discharged.
- 2185 Pte George Batterson, a coal miner from Tibshelf, suffered a GSW in the back and returned to England and discharged.