Gommecourt 1st July 1916

“Thus perished the first two companies of two fine battalions, and few survivors ever found their way back to the British lines”

[“The Robin Hoods” 1/7th, 2/7th & 3/7th Battns. Sherwood Foresters]

46 DivisionDuring the attack on the heavily fortified Gommecourt salient Companies of the 6th Sherwood Foresters were to act as support to the main assault by the 5th and 7th Sherwood Foresters. Perhaps the Officers and Men of the Battalion were disappointed not to be in the leading waves to storm the German trenches, or maybe they had come to realise the impossible task that was allotted to the 46th Division.

The Germans had arrived in Gommecourt in 1914 and since that time they had heavily fortified the Village and surrounding woodlands. The 46th Division were to attack from the west of the salient whilst the 56th London Division were to attack from the south, with the two Divisions linking up beyond the centre of the village.

Gommecourt Map 1916The 46th Division frontage extended from the sunken road between Gommecourt and Fonquevillers up to a point beyond the end of Gommecourt Wood at a German position known as the “Z”. The 139th Brigade was positioned on the left of the Division frontage, with the 137th Brigade to their right and closest to the 56th Division.

The Germans had built a number of Fortified Redoubts within the boundaries of the Village, which included the Maze and Kern Redoubt surrounding the church, and the Schweiben Nest to the north of Gommecourt Wood that comprised “The Z” and “Little Z” machine gun positions (see picture and corresponding map below).

Schweiben Nest

Schweiben nest map

Schwiben nest aerialThis trench system and fortified machine gun positions were on the left flank of the 46th Division and provided the Germans with enfilading machine gun fire across the very ground that the 137th and 139th Brigades were to advance.

Z 2013The remains of the Schweiben Nest are still clearly visible nearly 100 years later in the small copse that now hides the remains of German trenches.

The ZGommecourt relics

On the Western edge of Gommecourt Wood, and facing the 46th Division, the Germans had dug two parallel trenches linked by over a dozen communication trenches.

Immediately behind the wood was a second line of trenches which were served by a small railway. A similar defensive line faced the 56th Division to the south of the Village and both of these lines were joined by the 1st Switch Line, an arcing Communication Trench.

On the 46th Division frontage the 6th South Staffordshire and 6th North Staffordshire Battalions of the 137th Brigade were ordered to attack FOOLERY, FOUNT and FOLLY trenches, whilst the 5th and 7th Sherwood Foresters were ordered to attack FOOL, FORK and FOOD trenches (see below).

Attack 1st July

Fool and Fount trenchesArial photograph of FOOL and FOUNT trenches in front of GOMMECOURT WOOD.

By the early hours of Saturday 1st July it was clear that not all was going to plan because the incessant rain of the past few days had made the trenches almost impassable and the men had to spend a cold night in the support trenches.

“Personally I have come off lucky. We were sent in the trenches the night before the charge, and we had three bags of bombs to carry, a pair of wire cutters, 200 rounds of bullets, a shovel or pick and we were standing in the trenches all night up to the knees in water. The rum we had did us good, for it was a cold night.”

[Pte. John Bates, “A” Coy, from Chesterfield]

For several days the British artillery had been bombarding the German lines and fortified positions in an unprecedented barrage. As the time for the attack grew gradually nearer the Germans, perhaps aware that the attack was planned for dawn, began to shell the British front line and support trenches. These trenches, packed as they were with men from the attacking and support Companies of the Brigade, became lethal killing grounds. The men were denied the shelter that the Germans soldiers no doubt enjoyed in their carefully prepared positions.

“July 1st .- The most terrible day I have ever had. At 1.30 a.m. moved into headquarters dug-out. Our bombardment had been going on for five days, and was now getting intense. The Huns had kept quite, but were now dropping big stuff about us.”

[Extract from the Personal Diary of an unknown Officer from Buxton]

“About five o’clock in the morning our guns opened up, and then the German guns replied, but you could hear which was the bigger side for guns. It was like being in hell, for the sky was full of smoke and it was all colours. The shells were bursting all around us, and they were killing some and wounding others in great numbers. I was hit several times with little pieces of shells: it was awful, but we were sending twice as many shells as Fritz, and he suffered the worse.”

[Pte. John Bates]

In his official report to the Headquarters of the 139th Infantry Brigade, Col. Goodman wrote the following description of the attack on the 1st July : –

“Owing to the muddy state of the trenches it took considerably longer than had been expected to get this wave [“A” and “B” Coys.] into position and it was not completed before 3.15 a.m.”

 “At 5.45 a.m. I moved to LEFT ADVANCED HEAD QRS (7th Battn). About 7 a.m. Mjor Hind, his Adjutant and Medical Officer left. He stated he was going to new front trench to watch the waves out and then go himself.”

“At 7.45 a.m. I and my Adjutant went along GREEN STREET towards REGENT STREET to watch my leading Companies advance and to follow. I found GREEN STREET congested and waited a long time trying to get men forward but found it impossible as the front line was blocked. During this time the enemy’s bombardment was very heavy with shrapnel and H.E., the latter being distributed round advance Headquarters of both Battalions. My Adjutant was wounded beside me…… Capt Robinson, Commanding my right (“A”) Coy had a report from his runners that the 5th Battalion Carrying Company was moving. He led his Company forward but was checked by the 5th Carrying Coy who said they were checked by the 4th wave who had not cleared. It was 8.45 a.m. before the head of my “A” Coy was in the old front line trench and partially ready to move. . . . . . . by that time the smoke had almost gone.

[Colonel Goodman]

It was clear by now that the intense German shelling and heavy machine gun fire from the carefully sited strong points such as The Z and Little Z was decimating the attacking waves of the 5th and 7th Battalions and delaying the deployment of the supporting Companies of the 6th Sherwood Foresters. Furthermore, the British front line was in chaos with dead and dying men blocking the communication and old front line trenches.

In an attempt to reach the jumping off trenches several of the platoon Officers led their men out of the trenches and over the ground. This action whilst achieving its aim, resulted in the loss of many men.

“I had to lead my men up the trench, but it was blocked with men, and we could only move along at about a foot a minute. I got out and ran along the top and reported state of trenches. Saw the first of many horrible sights; men buried and badly cut up, appealing to be dug out, but no time to help them. I got back to my party and brought them over the way I had come. We then went on, trying to avoid stepping on the wounded at every step. Eventually I got to the front and found eight men with me. Of these five were wounded, fortunately not very badly.”

[Extract from the Personal Diary of an Officer from Buxton]

Advance of Lieut. Wheatcroft’s left platoon of “A” Coy;

Sergt Richard Wagg wins the DCM

(8.45 a.m.)

Once in position an attempt was made by “A” Company to link up with the attacking Companies now believed to be in the German front line trenches.

“The trenches were so muddy and so crowded with wounded men that I had great difficulty in deploying my four platoons, but eventually they were ready. My own C.O. came up ten minutes before the attack was due to start and watched the smoke screen and bombardment, which were quite inadequate. Just before we were due to go over he ordered me to cancel the attack. I sent runners off, at once, to the four platoons; only three managed to deliver their messages on time. The other platoon attacked but every man except one, the platoon sergeant, was hit.”

[Capt. V. O. Robinson, M.C., “A” Coy, from Holymoorside, Chesterfield]

Capt Robinson reported the block to Major CHECKLAND who pushed on 5th Carrying Company. By this time the smoke had almost gone. The left platoon of “A” Coy (or most of them) then got over the parapet under Lt R.D. WHEATCROFT and the right of the Company endeavoured to advance up No 3 sap and “C” C.T.

At 8.45 a.m. Lieut Wheatcroft at head of his platoon crossed our wire. All but Sgt Wagg being hit, and withdrew to old sap. The Barrage was very heavy and Lt Wheatcroft was almost at once badly wounded. There were many casualties and the men withdrew for shelter to the saps and other trenches.”

[Colonel Goodman]

6 attack 2

6 attack

The story is best told by Private John Bates:-

“Then the Sherwoods had to mount the top on to No Mans’ land to make the way across, and the Germans were ready for us, but we made them retire into their support line. Our platoon officer, Lieut. Wheatcroft, was leading us down into an advanced trench, when he found it blocked as a result of the havoc wrought by the shells. I was the sixth man from the Lieutenant. The Officer got on top, about 300 yards away from the Germans, and he had gone about 50 yards when he discovered that the barbed wire was not out. He started cutting a way through, when he was hit by a bullet and a piece of shell. He fell onto the wire, and the next to take his place was Private Shaw, of Chesterfield. He was struck by a nose-cap of a shell and fell about 10 yards from the Lieutenant. The next one was a sergeant of our platoon, junior to Sergt. Wagg, of Chesterfield, and he mounted the top, when he was hit with a bullet in the back, but he was able to get back down into the trench again. Following him was Private Green of Whittington Moor. He got a long way when he was struck by pieces of shell. Then came Private Bennett, of Chesterfield. There were no N.C.O.’s to lead us, and we did not know which way to go, so Sergt. Wagg came up the trench from the rear of the platoon, which was his place. Looking over the top he saw the Lieutenant, and went out under heavy shell fire, extracted him from the wire, and pulled him into the trench again. The Lieutenant was covered with blood, and he said ‘Fetch Shaw’, which he did, and pulled him in. Lieut. Wheatcroft then ordered Sergt. Wagg to send us back again into our lines, and he went for Green under heavy shell fire. Private Bennett received his wound from the shell just as the Sergeant had got back to the trench. I was covered with earth, almost buried. The sergeant said it was the ‘rummest’ corner we’ve ever been in. He shouted ‘Come on, John,’ and we did our best for the Lieutenant and the boys. We carried them back to the dressing post.”  


1680 Richard Wagg

For bringing wounded men from in front of the German wire 1680 Sergeant Richard Wagg was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry. Dick Wagg was 20 years old when he won the D.C.M. He was educated at St Helen’s Street School and prior to enlisting he was a miner at Ireland Colliery. After the War the Wheatcroft Family presented Dick with a Gold Half Hunter watch in gratitude for his actions in trying to save their son that day. After the War he worked at as a ‘papermaker’ at the Robinson’s Wheatbridge Works until he retired. He died in September 1964.

Wagg DCM

[London Gazette, 22nd September 1916]

“Three weeks ago we announced that Sergt. Clarence (Dick) Wagg; whose wife lives in St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield had been recommended for the D.C.M. This week Mrs. Wagg has received a letter from her husband stating that he has been awarded the coveted decoration. During heavy fighting, Sergt. Wagg gallantly brought in to the British trenches Lieut. Wheatcroft, of Wirksworth, Pte. Chas Shaw, Stonegravels, Chesterfield, and another soldier, who had all been wounded. Unfortunately, Lieut. Wheatcroft and Pte. Shaw afterwards succumbed to their injuries. Sergt. Wagg has received a warm letter from Lieut. Wheatcroft’s father, Mr. G. H. Wheatcroft, expressing gratitude at the gallant act and hoping that he may have the opportunity some day of personally thanking Sergt. Wagg.” 


There were many other individual acts of gallantry during that day, in particular:-

  • 2353 Sergt. Thomas Shirt and 1658 Sergt. William Booth were both mentioned in despatches for clearing the wounded from an exposed positioned whilst under fire.
  • 1790 Pte Samuel Dawes and 2617 Pte Edward Mills acted as Company runners conveying messages up and down the crowded communication trenches.
  • 1766 Sergt Joseph Clarke led men to the front line trenches. 

Advance of Capt FM Dick’s “B” Company

(8.45 a.m.)


“At 8.45 a.m. the right of the Company [“A” Coy] endeavoured to advance up No 3 sap and “C” C.T. The Barrage was very heavy . . . . . . there were many casualties and the men withdrew for shelter to the saps and other trenches. The same thing happened on my left when my “B” Coy was kept back by the 7th Carrying party. Capt F.M. Dick Commanding my Company was hit in the leg as soon as he got over the parapet and his Coy Sergt Major [158 C.S.M Goddard] was killed at his side. The survivors accordingly took cover.”

Captain Frank Mackenzie Dick was warded the Military Cross for leading his men across into No Man’s Land that morning:-

Dick FMDick FM July 1916

[London Gazette 4.6.17] 

The attack continues;

Captain Green wins the Victoria Cross

(mid morning)

Green VC

“Although wounded himself, he went to the assistance of an Officer who had been wounded and was hung up on the enemy’s wire entanglements, and succeeded in dragging him to a shell hole, where he dressed his wounds, not withstanding that bombs and rifle grenades were thrown at him the whole time. Captain Green then endeavoured to bring the wounded officer into safe cover, and had nearly succeeded in doing so when he himself was killed.”

[London Gazette, August 4th 1916]


The wounded Officer he attempted to save was Captain Robinson, the Brigade Machine Gun Officer. John Green’s body was not recovered until the spring of 1917 and he is interned in Foncquevillers Cemetery amongst the men of the Sherwood Foresters that he bravely served as Medical Officer.

“For assisting the late Captain F. B. Robinson, of Chesterfield, when mortally wounded, official information has been received from the Major-General commanding the N.M.D. that Sergt. J. F. Smith (Machine Gun Section) of Derby Road, Ripley, has been recommended by the Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander for conspicuous bravery. Writing home he states he is lucky to be alive. When they rushed over the parapets and quickly advanced within three or four yards of the Huns’ trenches, Captain F. B. Robinson of Chesterfield was hit in the stomach. Although bombed by the Germans, Smith managed to get his Captain away. He says that Captain Robinson whilst being carried out was once again hit by the enemy, this time fatally. “He was a gentleman,” adds the Ripley lad. Smith went out with the Territorials in February 1915, but after a time transferred to the Machine Gun Section, quickly gaining promotion to Corporal, and afterwards being made Sergeant.”  

[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, AUGUST 19, 1916]1067 Smith1067 Sergeant John F Smith was later awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty.

“When I found it was impossible to get my men forward owing to the congestion I returned to left HEADQUARTERS about 9.30 a.m. and reported by telephone to Brigade. I sent messages to Coy Commanders to organise men in old front trench and retrenchments. At 9.45 a.m. received telegraphic message from Brig Genl that Naylor of 5th in German Front line trench required help. I sent message to Capt Robinson to organise advance from new front line trench and went to No 3 sap where I conferred with Capts Kerr & Robinson who said Naylor was back and advance impossible. At my request the Assistant Adjutant 7th Battn went to the new front line trench for information and I received a verbal message from Capt SCOTT. M.O., 7th Battn that he was in that trench with a good many men. I understand he remained there all day taking charge in the absence of a combatant officer and attending the wounded. The enemy’s fire (chiefly rifle) on that (new front) trench was very heavy and accurate. No 3 Sap (to which I went) was covered by the enemy’s rifle fire. 

Postponement of the afternoon attack

(12.30 p.m – 3.30 p.m.)

After the failure of the leading waves (1/5th and 1/7th Battalions Sherwood Foresters) to break through the German lines, it was decided that the 1/6th Sherwood For. should launch a second attack at 12.15pm. This was first postponed to 1.30pm, but then finally they were given the order to attack at 3.30pm. The preliminary bombardment, which was supplemented with a smoke screen, proved totally inadequate and at the last moment the orders for an attack were cancelled. Unfortunately this message was not received in time by one platoon, which advanced towards Gommecourt Wood, only to suffer severe casualties.

“About 12.30 p.m. I received orders to attack with two Companies of my Battalion at 1.15 p.m. under cover of smoke. There was no smoke however and I did not attack.

Another attack was ordered for 2.30 p.m. also under cover of smoke which however was not ready, and orders were received to the effect that the smoke would be at 3.30 p.m. and I was to advance at 3.35 pm. 1,200 men of the 137 Bde were also attacking.

A Stafford Officer came to confer and I settled that my right should advance on ORKNEY, my left on OUSE C.T.’s. A small carrying party was organised and bombers collected.

About 3.30 p.m. a small film of smoke appeared but in no way interfered with the view of the enemy trenches. I accordingly at 3.35 p.m. ordered the men not to go over the parapet. There was a very heavy and extremely accurate barrage and also considerable rifle fire. I was and am, quite satisfied that there was no possible chance of reaching the objective and no result could have been achieved. As a matter of fact, owing to a mistake a party of 20 did leave the trench most of them were struck down at once.”

During the afternoon the British Soldiers in the front line trenches continued to come under heavy artillery fire:-

“I came through the bombardment all right till about 4.30 in the afternoon, then the shell came which did for me. I shall never forget it as long as I live, only God knows how I came through it.”

1936 Smith1936 L/Cpl. Vernon Smith from Birdholme, who was later awarded the Military Medal.

But what of the German perspective? the following report gives an idea of the progress of the Sherwood Foresters during the morning of the battle:-

“7.30 a.m. The enemy’s fire lifted. The enemy’s attack which was made under the cover of gas bombs, was perceived. . . . the shell holes were occupied exactly at the right moment, and the attackers were received with hand grenades. The barrage fire which had been celled for began at once. 

7.40 a.m. Strong hostile skirmishing lines deployed . . . . . they were at once met by heavy machine gun and infantry fire. . . . . the enemy built up his firing line and attempted to press forward with bombers and flame projectors, but was repulsed everywhere.”

“9.30 a.m. The fine spirit of the troops of the 2nd and 4th Companies succeeded their stubborn resistance in annihilating the thick charging waves of the English. The ground was covered with numbers of dead, and in front of our trench lay quantities of English arms and equipment.”

[War Diary, 55th Reserve Infantry Regiment]

Following the disastrous attack the remnants of the 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions were relived by the 8th Battalion

“At 6.10 p.m. we received instructions to take over the original front line and advanced trenches from the 6th, and the remnants of the 5th and 7th Battalions, who were there, and this was done. Later, however, the 5th Lincolns took over the line as they had been ordered to carry out another attack at midnight. . . . this attack however was not pressed and finally A Company of our Battalion were given the melancholy task of scouring No Man’s Land to find the dead and wounded.”

[The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914-1919; the 1/8th Battalion by Capt. W.C.C. Wheetman, M.C.]

And why did the attack fail ? Col. Goodman had his own views on this, which he quickly communicated to Brigade HQ :-

From :- O.C. 6th Sherwood Foresters.
To :- H.Q., 139th Infantry Brigade.
"I should like to add to my report of this morning a statement with regard to the smoke and state of our trenches on the 1st inst."
"I was waiting in Green Street for my carrying party to move up [when] I found a small party of Lincolns with an Officer [Smoke Party] coming down the trench. They said they had orders to go back. I ordered them back to continue the smoke, and they complied but I believe there was not much material left. All reports agree that the smoke had practically gone when the 4th wave was about to start.
"The greatest difficulty was the mud in the trenches. The C.T.'s were even more difficult to pass then on preceding days as the water was subsiding and thick mud being formed." 
3.7.16 3.15 p.m.        /sd/G.D. Goodman, Lt-Colonel, Comdg. 6th Battn Sherwood Foresters.

Despite the failure to secure any of the objectives, the attack at Gommecourt was non-the-less deemed a success, as indicated by the communication from 46th Division Headquarters’ :-

Despite the failure to secure any of the objectives, the attack at Gommecourt was non-the-less deemed a success, as indicated by the communication from 46th Division Headquarters’ :-

“The G.O.C. has great pleasure in publishing the following Communication from the Chief of the General Staff dated 13th July 1916.”

"The commander in Chief . . . . . conveys his appreciation of the gallant efforts made at Gommecourt on the 1st and 2nd July by the 46th & 56th Divisions of the VII Corps. While deeply deploring the losses suffered by these Divisions he is glad to be able to assure them that their vigorous and well sustained attack proved material assistance in the success of the general plan of operations."

The entry for the battalion War diary echoed these sentiments :-

"1.7.16 - .............greater part of the 5th and 7th Bn. carrying companies could not get away before smoke lifted, and all attempts to advance by these and 6th A & B Coys. were met by heavy artillery and machine gun Barrage. The attack (as also that of 137th Bde. against Gommecourt Wood) therefore failed with heavy losses to assaulting battns., but the main effect was achieved of containing enemy forces near Gommecourt"

War Diary 1st July

The following men of the 6/Sherwood Foresters were awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty on 1st July during the attack on Gommecourt:-

  • 570                 C.S.M.           George William Dakin                    (later 240048 WO Class 2)
  • 71                   Sergt.            William. Hopkins                             (240006)
  • 2339               Sergt             William Gordon                               (later Royal Engineers)
  • 1464               Sergt.            Wilfred Bernard Longson              (later 2/Lt)
  • 2388               Sergt             Thomas Hunter                               (240557)
  • 1786               Sergt.            Samuel Mycock                               (240266; 2/Lt k/a 7/SF)
  • 401                 Sergt.             John Alfred Waterhouse
  • 1450               Sergt.            Charles William Wooley                 (240124; d/w 23.4.17)
  • 2323               Cpl.                Arthur Stroyan                                (240520)
  • 1936               L/Cpl             Vernon Samuel Smith                    (Driver 240331)
  • 1373               A/Cpl             Ernest Jordan
  • 1790               Pte.                Samuel Dawes                                (Company Runner)
  • 2317               Pte.                Edward Raper
  • 1644               Drummer     James Chatterton                           (Cpl 240197; MM 14.5.19)

In addition the following men were Mentioned in Dispatches:-

  • 4508 Sgt. Major Henry Jackman
  • 939 Pte. James Hamer
  • Lieut FW Hipkins (Btn Bombing Officer) was later to win the MC (awarded posthumously) in part for his actions on the 1st July
  • 240420 Pte GW Nadin served as a stretcher bearer and was later to receive the D.C.M for devotion to duty [Feb 1915 – Oct 1918]

Casualties from the 1st July 1916

Colonel Goodman recored the following casualties in the Battalion War Diary.


  • Officers:- LIEUT E. M. JELLICOE
  • Other Ranks:- No. 158 C.S.M. GODDARD, 1443 L/Sgt/ ALLCOCK, 2206 L/Sgt S. SHARMAN and 17 others


  • CAPT F.B. ROBINSON (att 139th Bde M.G. Coy), died of wounds 3.7.16
  • LIEUT R.D. WHEATCROFT, died of wounds 2.7.16
  • 2nd Lt H. SIMPSON, dies of wounds
  • 2nd Lt F.R. OLIVER (at duty)
  • 2nd Lt F.W.A. STUBBS
  • 2nd Lt J.E. BARKER
  • Other Ranks, 140

Total casualties 170.

In fact the War Diary does not record that a number of men were still ‘missing’ after the failed attack and it would be several months before it was accepted that they had died on or after the 1st July 1916.

Eleven men that had been ‘killed in action’ and whose bodies could be recovered where moved to the small cemetery in Fonquevillers and they are all buried in Row L (between graves 9 – 46).


In total 122 men of the 46th North Midland Division are buried in the 60 graves that comprise Row L confirming that this was a mass grave dug shortly after the battle, although there are also the graves of several men killed in action during the last days of June.FonquevillersA copy of the Graves Registration Report Form for Foncquevillers Military Cemetery and dated June 1921.


It is recorded that Reverend Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy, who was Padre to the 137th Brigade, performed some of these burials.

Fonquvilllers Cemetery


Missing‘ or ‘killed in action in the field

1443 Tom Allcock1443 Cpl TOM ALLCOCK, aged 25 and a lime drawer from Peak Dale, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 20). Tom enlisted in June 1911 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. He suffered a GSW in the left hand and shoulder and was transferred to England in August 1915. He returned to France with the 10th Reinforcement in May 1916 and rejoined the Battalion on 6th June. Tom was the son of the late William and Mary Ann Allcock of Dove Holes and Husband of Louise Allcock of 4 New St., Upper End, Peak Dale. Mrs Allcock received the news from her youngest son Stanley that his elder brother Tom had been killed in action. 3528/241111 Pte. Stanley Alcock died of wounds on 10th March 1917. Tom and Stanley are commemorated with Honour on the Dove Holes and Peak Dale Memorials.

1443 Allcock

2192 Pte. LEONARD ALLEN, aged 19 and a collier from Clay Cross, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 46). Leonard enlisted in April 1914 and arrived in France with the III Reinforcement in August 1915. He was the Son of Edward and Sarah Jane Allen of King St., Clay Cross, Chesterfield.

“I have heard from my son, Captain H.H. Jackson, who says: “I am writing to tell you all I can about poor Len Allen. I am sorry I did not write to his mother, but I could not ascertain her address. Allen was killed with two other bombers, who were altogether under bombing Officer Lieut. Hipkins. Our party of bombers were in front of these, and the shell killed three of them, putting most of the others out of action. Allen was killed at once, and I am afraid I cannot give any more particulars, as I was not with him. He was a very good soldier and a very brave man, which I hope will be a little comfort to his mother. He used to be in my platoon, and came out with the first reinforcements. He really was splendidly brave.” 2192 Allen

1804 Samuel Bagshaw

1804 L/Cpl. SAMUEL HARRY BAGSHAW, aged 24 and a stoneman from Matlock, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 23). Samuel enlisted in March 1915 and arrived in France with V Reinforcement in November 1915. He was the son of a veteran footballer of Matlock, Samuel and his wife Ellen Bagshaw of Kelvin Side, Dimple, Matlock. His brother John was killed with the Lancashire Fusiliers in Gallipoli on 5th September 1915 and he had formerly been with the Sherwood Foresters. In total 40 members of the Bagshaw family served with the Forces during the War.

1804 Bagshaw

3976 Berridge

3976 Pte. WILLIAM BERRIDGE aged 23 and a plater from Brampton. William enlisted into the 2/6th Battn in February 1915 and was part of the 7th Reinforcement that arrived in France on 19th March 1916. His body was either not recovered at the time or his grave was lost after the War and he is now Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. He left a wife and young child is Commemorated with Honour on the Brampton Memorial.

“Reference was made in a letter which Private Walter Wright of the Sherwoods wrote home to his wife at 447 Chatsworth Road, Brampton, Chesterfield, that his friend William Berridge had been killed. Private Berridge is the only son of Mrs. Berridge, 7 Stone Row, Brampton, and he was only married a year ago, he never having seen his baby. Twenty-three years of age last May, he enlisted in the Sherwoods in February 1915. Prior to that he worked at Plowright’s.”

3976 Berridge

240691 (2690) Pte. ERNEST BRADDER, aged 21 and a labourer, was the son of Mrs Mary Ann Bradder of Egstow, Clay Cross, Chesterfield. Ernest enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the 1st Reserve Reinforcement in June 1915. He was transferred to the 139th Bde Machine Gun Company in February 1916 and was recored as ‘missing in action’. He is Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL and also on the Village Memorial at The Church of St Bartholomew in Clay Cross. His death was no accepted for official purposes until May 1917 so he was automatically issued with a 6-digit number in March 1917.

2690 Bradder

3985 Pte. ALFRED BRADY aged 19 and a miner from Brampton. He enlisted in February 1915 and arrived in France with the 7th Reinforcement in March 1916. Alfred’s body was either not recovered at the time or his grave was lost after the War and he is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL and on the Brampton Memorial. Alfred had previously been wounded in May 1916.

“Private Alfred Brady, second son of Mr. and Mrs. William Brady, 12 Shaw’s Row, Brampton, Chesterfield, was killed in action on July 1st. In a letter of sympathy Sergt. T. Shirt :-  “I can honestly state that your son was a good soldier, was always ready to do his duty, and that he is greatly missed by all ranks of my platoon. I was near him when he was killed and his death was instantaneous.”  Private Brady joined the Sherwoods in February 1915 and would have been 20 years of age on September 11th. He worked at Ashgate Colliery”.

250-carline-2240022 (250) Sergt. WILLIAM CARLINE from Chesterfield who was initially posted as missing and is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL and Brampton Memorials. William was a pre-War Territorial who enlisted in April 1908 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. His death was not accepted for official purposes until May 1917 and he was automatically issued with a 6-digit number in March 1917.

4465 Pte. WILLIAM CARTER, aged 21 and a farm labourer from Darley Dale, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 33.). William enlisted in February 1915 and arrived in France with the 7th Reinforcement in March 1916. William’s brother George was wounded in France earlier in the year.

4465 Carter

4308 Pte. HARRY FAIRBROTHER aged 22 and a miner from South Normanton. Harry enlisted in one 1915 and arrived in France with the 6th Reinforcement in March 1916. He was initially posted as missing and is now commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. His death was not accepted for official purposes until May 1917 but he was not issued with a 6-digit number in March 1917.

4308 Fairbrother

3293 Leonard Ford

3293 Pte. LEONARD FORD aged 24 and buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 29). He was the Son of George and Patience Eliza Ford of Hemp Yard, Kirk Ireton, Derbyshire.

Leonard enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the III Reinforcement in August 1915. Leonard was the first man from Kirk Ireton to be killed during the War and was shot by a bullet. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a timber feller by Messrs Allen and Orr of Chesterfield.

2251 L/Cpl. GEORGE FLETCHER GIBBONS aged 24 and a stores porter from Chesterfield. George enlisted in August 1914 and arrived with the 46th Division in February 1915. George was originally listed as missing before his death was accepted in March 1917.

At some time he was found “buried in trenches between Fonquevillers and Gommecourt” and was reburied in GOMMECOURT WOOD NEW CEMETERY (II. E. 26). He is the only man of the 1/6th Battalion known to be buried in this cemetery, although it does contain the graves of several hundred men of the 46th Division who were unidentified at the time of reburial.

2251 Gibbons

158 William Goodard

158 Sergt.-Major WILLIAM GOODARD, aged 33 and shoemaker from Stoney Middleton, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 14). The son of James and Maria Goddard, of Stoney Middleton; husband of Gertrude Goddard, of Vicarage Rd., Stoney Middleton, Sheffield. William enlisted in April 1908 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in France 1915. He was awarded Military Medal (announced in the London Gazette on 19th February 1917 and awarded posthumously). Commemorated on the Village Memorial, Parish Church of St Martin in Stoney Middleton.

158 Goodard

4426 Pte. PHILLIP J. REPTON HARRISON aged 20 and a gardener from Wirksworth. Phillip enlisted into the 3/6th Battn in July 1915 and arrived in France with the 6th Reinforcement in March 1916. Although he is recored as ‘killed in action’ his body was either not recovered at the time or his grave was lost after the War and he is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. A resident of Wirksworth he is also included on the Carsington Roll of Honour in The Derbyshire Times, Saturday, July 22nd, 1916. Commemorated in the Wirksworth Memorial Park and on the Commemorative Plaque in St Mary’s Church.

4426 Harrison

2732 Pte. HERBERT HEALEY, aged 21 and a labourer from Chesterfield, he was the son of Mrs. Sophia Healey, of 403 Chatsworth Rd., Brampton. Herbert enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. Although he is recored as ‘killed in action’ his body was either not recovered at the time or his grave was lost after the War and he is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL and BRAMPTON MEMORIALS

News of a disturbing nature has been received by Mrs. Healey, of 403, Chatsworth Road, Brampton, Chesterfield, respecting her youngest son, Herbert, who is a private in the Sherwood Foresters. It came from his pal in the same regiment, Private Tom Carline, of 48, New Hall Road, Brampton. He wrote:-

“It is with deep regret that I write these few lines relating to the death of your son, which I suppose you will have heard of by now. I am heart broken but any sorrow will be little compared to yours. Herbert was a good soldier and he died doing his duty. I can not give you any details, because I was slightly wounded myself and had to leave the trenches. When I enquired about him they told me what had happened. We made a charge, and poor old Herbert, who was a machine gunner, was done in like more of his pals”. 

Private Healey was the youngest son of Mrs. Healey and the late Geo. Healey, being 21 years of age last January. He was a crane driver in the employ of Messrs. Allen and Orr, timber merchants, Chesterfield. In October, 1914, he enlisted, and had been at the front a year and eight months  without having a furlough.’ 

2732 Healy


241040 (3370) Pte.  JOHN WILLIAM HOOK aged 26 and a miner from Shirebrook. John enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the 1st Reserve Reinforcement in June 1915. He was transferred to the 139th Bde Machine Gun Company in February 1916 and was recored as ‘missing in action’ and is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL and also on the Commemorative Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Shirebrook.  His death was not accepted for official purposes until May 1917 and he was automatically issued with a 6-digit number in March 1917.

3370 Hook

3918 Pte. HARRY Jackson aged 22 and a carter from Chesterfield. Harry was originally recored as ‘missing’ and is now commemorated on the THIEPVAL and Brampton Memorials.

“Private Jack Bannister, Sherwoods, writing to his brother, Mr. T. Bannister, 20, New Hall Road, Brampton, Chesterfield, says that Pte. Harry Jackson (‘Toby’) has been blown to pieces. Jackson and a soldier from Creswell were left in charge of an ammunition store, which was blown up, and they had not been seen since. He was pleased to say the British were now giving the Germans ‘Jerry’ all along the line. Private Jackson was the eldest son of Mr. Hy. Jackson, 6, South Place, Barker Lane, Brampton. He was 22 years of age, and before enlisting on February 12th, 1915, worked at the Pump Mill, belonging to Messrs. Robinson and Sons.”

3918 Jackson

Jellicoe 4Jellicoe 2Lieutenant ERIC MAITLAND JELLICOE, aged 20 and buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. B. 21). The Son of James T. Jellicoe and Lilian his wife. See here.

240060 (760) Cpl. LUTHER JOHNSON, aged 24 and a fitter from Brimington. Luther enlisted in April 1908 and arrived in France with the 7th Reinforcement in March 1916. He was originally recored as missing and his death was not accepted for official purposes until August 1917. He was employed at the Clowne Colliery and left a widow and three young children. Commemorated on THIEPVAL and Brimington War Memorial, St Michael and All Angels Church.

760 Johnson

3204 Pte. WILLIAM LEVERTON, aged 19 and a miner from Cresswell. William enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the 6th Reinforcement in March 1916. He was originally posted as missing but his death was accepted on 10th July 1916. Although his personal effects were returned to his mother his body was never recovered and he is now commemorated on THIEPVAL and Creswell Village War Memorial.

3204 Leverton

1405 Pte. GEORGE F. PHILLIPS NADEN, a lime worker from Dove Holes, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 9). George enlisted in May 1911 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915.

1405 Naden 1

He was wounded in action during the attack on Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915 and transferred to hospital in England. He returned to France with the 10th Reinforcement in May 1916 and rejoined the Battalion on 6th June.1405 Nadin

He was the Son of Richard and Hannah Naden, of Homestead Cottages, Meadow Lane, Dove Holes, Stockport and is commemorated on the Dove Holes Memorial.


4626 Pte. WILLIAM HERBERT PEARSON, aged 31 and buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 36). The son of George and Hannah Pearson of 24 North Street, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire. Prior to enlisting William Pearson and his brother Samuel worked at Masson Mills in Cromford and he was a popular local footballer. Twice Medical boards rejected him until finally being accepted on the third attempt in November 1915. He arrived in France with the 10th Reinforcement in March 1916 and joined the Battalion from the 8th Entrenching Battalion in June 1916. William was originally posted as ‘missing’ before being accepted as ‘killed in action’ when he was buried by Reverend Studdert-Kennedy of the 137th Brigade.

4626 PearsonHis brother Samuel was killed in action with the 10th Battalion on the 9th August 1916. Commemorated on the Cromford Memorial and Roll of Honour in The Derbyshire Times on July 22nd 1916.

“July 5. Dear Mrs Pearson.- I now write to you with deepest sympathy to inform you that your son, William, is missing since July 1st. I opened his letter to get your address and I now enclose it to you again. . . . . My home is at West Bank, Matlock Bath and as I knew him before the War I thought I would write to you. He was in the same Company as me and he will be greatly missed by me and the other men of the Company. . . . . “

[L/Cpl G Collis and Pte W.L. Cooper from Matlock]

1713 Pte. GEORGE RAYMOND PRATLEY, aged 23 and an engine cleaner from Darley Dale. Although recorded as killed in action his body was not recovered and he is now Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. George enlisted in June 1912 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. He was a resident of Matlock and the son of Mark and Elisha Pratley. Roll of Honour (Darley Dale) in The Derbyshire Times, Saturday, July 15th, 1916.

1713 Pratley

2206 L/Sergt. SYDNEY SHARMAN, aged 21 and a collier from Stonebroom. Although recorded as ‘killed in action’ his body was not recovered and he is now Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. A resident of Stonebroom he was the husband of Sarah Annie Allsop (formerly Sharman) of 4113, Sun St. West, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Sydney enlisted in May 1914 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. Previously wounded in August 1915 and rejoined Battalion in September 1915. Commemorated on the Stonebroom (St Peters Church) and Tibshelf Memorials.

2206 Sharman

3643 Pte. WILLIAM SHAW, aged 21 and was a pony driver from Cresswell. Although recorded as ‘killed in action’ his body was not recovered and he is now Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. William enlisted in January 1915 and arrived in France with 10th Reinforcement in May 1916 and joined the Battalion in June. He was the Son of William and Lois Shaw of 66 Model Village, Creswell.

“One of the victims of the great push on the Western Front was Drummer William Shaw, Sherwood Foresters, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Shaw, 66 New Village, Creswell, who was killed on July 1st during a bombardment of the British Trenches by the Germans. The Official notification was sgnd. by Lieut. Col. G.D. Goodman, commanding the _____Sherwoods, while details of how the deceased met his death were forwarded by Lance Corpl. Ball, a friend of Drummer Shaw, who stated that they were in the trenches when the Germans started shelling them and  “poor old Bill was killed.” He did not see him afterwards, but one of the sergeants told him he was killed instantly, a shell burying him all but his head – A letter of sympathy with the parents was sent by the following Creswell Soldiers serving in the same regiment;- Ptes. F. Johnson, T. Drabble, C. Webster, W. Buxton, J.H. Bellamy, F. Bambridge, and A. Marples. The letter stated; 

“He was a good soldier and one of our best chums.” 

“Drummer Shaw, who was only 20 years of age, enlisted about eleven months ago, and had only been in France a few weeks. He was formerly a member of the Creswell Boys Brigade, an organisation which has furnished many excellent recruits for the Army. Before enlisting he worked at the Creswell Colliery. Another brother, Pte. James Shaw, Sherwood Foresters, is also in France, having enlisted at the outbreak of war.” 

3643 Shaw


3581 Pte. FRANK SHELDON from Bonsall and buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 25). Frank enlisted in November 1914 and arrived in France with 10th Reinforcement in May 1916 and joined the Battalion in June. Prior to the War he worked at the Bonsall Wood Basalt Quarries. His brother served with the 16th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, and after being wounded in 1916, he returned to France where he was killed on the 8th October 1916. Both brothers are commemorated on the Memorial in Bonsall Village.

3581 Sheldon

2010 Sidebottom

2010 Pte. TOM SIDEBOTTOM, a stone worker from Peak Dale, is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 42). Tom enlisted in June 1913 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. His brother Henry was also wounded in the battle of the Somme. Commemorated on the Peak Dale Memorial.

2010 Tom S

, aged 25 and limestone quarryman from Dove Holes. His body was not recovered and he is now Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. James enlisted in October 1914 and arrived in France with the II Reinforcement in June 1916. He was the son of William and Ann Spencer, of Carlow Lane, Dove Holes, Stockport.  James was 6ft 1¼in and the tallest soldier from the village. He played centre-half for the Doles Holes football team. Commemorated on the Dove Holes Memorial.

3842 Pte. WILLIAM TOMLINSON, aged 32 and a foundry man from Clay Cross is buried in FONCQUEVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY (I. L. 32).  William enlisted in February 1915 and arrived in France with the 8th Reinforcement in March 1916. Commemorated on the Village Memorial at The Church of St Bartholomew in Clay Cross.

3842 Tomlinson

Officers and men who ‘Died of wounds

The Officers and men of the 1/6th Battalion who were wounded on the 1st July were admitted to the following:-

  • The 20th or 41st Casualty Clearing Stations at WARLINCOURT (6 men)
  • St Sever Hospital at Rouen (1 man)
  • 2nd Canadian and 7th General Hospitals at Le Treport (3 men)
  • 1st General Hospital at Etreat (1 man)
  • In their home village following transfer to a Hospital in England (2 men)



Wheatcroft rd

Lieutenant RONALD DUNCAN WHEATCROFT, aged 26 and buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY (I. F. 14). The son of George Hanson Wheatcroft and Ada Maria Wheatcroft, of Waltham House, Wirksworth. Derbyshire. Commemorated in Wirksworth Parish Church. See here.

Wheatcroft RD crop

Wheatcroft brothersIn loving memory of the two youngest sons of GEORGE HANSON and ADA WHEATCROFT

GEORGE HANSON WHEATCROFT of Rugby and Trinity College Cambridge, 2nd Lieut. l6th Heavy Battery R.G.A. who was killed in action near Mailly-Maillet in France on the 11th August 1915 in his twenty seventh year and was buried in the communal Cemetery at Beaussart near Mailly-Maillet.

RONALD DUNCAN WHEATCROFT of Rugby and New College Oxford. Lieut. 6th Battalion the Sherwood Foresters who died in France on the 2nd July 1916 in his twenty seventh year of wounds received the previous day in the attack on Gommecourt and was buried in the Military Cemetery at Warlincourt Halte on the Arras Doullens road.

“They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death they were not divided”

Simpson2nd Lieutenant HERBERT SIMPSON, aged 30 and buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY (A. 3. 6). Only son of John William Bramhall Simpson and Julia Simpson of “South Dene,” Ashgate Rd., Chesterfield. Enlisting shortly after the outbreak of the War in the 12th Yorks and Lancs (Sheffield City Battalion) he received his commission towards the end of 1915 and was gazetted to the Sherwood Foresters, whom he joined on May 8th. An old boy of Chesterfield School he was chief clerk to the Chesterfield Gas and Water Board. Commemorated on the Brampton, Old Brampton and ‘Old Cesterfeldian’ Memorials.


Amid their personnel grief, Mr and Mrs J. W. B. Simpson of Smithdene, Ashgate Road, Chesterfield, have every reason to be proud of their gallant son, second Lieutenant Herbert Simpson, for, as he lay on the battlefield mortally wounded, he spurned his men on to victory. “Don’t worry,” he remarked, “I am only slightly hit.” Thus he veiled the terrible news that his left arm was completely shattered, that he was mauled all down the left side from shoulder to his foot, and that his right hand was smashed. Under the withering cross fire of the opposing forces he lay in the open from early morn till dawn, shells burst round about him, and when he could stand the pain no longer he propelled his maimed body, bit by bit, until he reached the British lines. His wounds were dressed, and in the course of time he was admitted to No. 2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen. Here he made a gallant fight for life, but an imperative operation, delayed until the last moment, brought the end near, and he died in the presence of his mother; his father, whom the War Office would not permit to make the journey till Thursday afternoon, arriving just too late to see his only son alive.

[The Derbyshire Times, Saturday, July 15, 1916]

1681 Pte. GEORGE BYFLEET, aged 21 and a moulder from Whittington Moor, is buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY in SAULTY (VI. B. 15). George enlisted in April 1914 and arrived in  France with the 46th Division in February 1915. He had previously been taken sick with dyspepsia in June 1915 and wounded in the hand in August 1915.

“News has been received of the death in action of Private George Byfleet, Sherwood Foresters, whose father lives in Chapel Street, Whittington Moor. In a letter to Pte. Byfleets’s fiancé, Miss Leach, Hardwick Street, Chesterfield, a chum named Pte. F. Huckerly writes that Byfleet was wounded and taken to hospital where death occurred. 

“A piece of shrapnel hit him on the shoulder and must have penetrated his lungs. He told me when he got the wound that it had taken the use out of his left arm, so I told him to drop his bombs and get back to the Red Cross as the guns were blinding us with all sorts of shells, You have the sincere sympathy of his platoon.” 

Pte. Byfleet was 21 years of age, and in civil life was a moulder at Sheepbridge Works. He had been a Territorial for five years and was called up on the outbreak of War. He was one of the bomb throwers for his battalion. He was home on leave two months ago.” 


1681 Byfleet

2052 Pte. WALTER MURPHY, aged 20 and a wine worker from Bugsworth, is buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY (I. G. 11). Walter enlisted in october 1913 and arrived in France with the III Reinforcement in August 1915. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Murphy of Clough Head, Bugsworth nr Chapel-en-le-Frith.

2052 Murphy








2315 Charles Pell2315 Cpl. CHARLES RICHARD PELL, aged 20 and a machinist from Bakewell is buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY, SAULTY (I. F. 11). Charles enlisted in September 1914 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915.  He was the son of Charles Richard and Caroline Pell of Market St., Chapel-en-le-Frith, Stockport. Charles Pell was unofficially reported wounded in the chest on the 7th July by two of his friends. This was the second time that Charles Pell had been wounded. Commemorated on the Roll of Honour (Great Longstone) – The Derbyshire Times, Saturday, July 22nd, 1916.

2315 Pell

20th Casualty Clearing Station
July 11 1916

My dear Madam
A letter is but a poor means (though the only means I have) of conveying the deep sympathy I feel for you on the loss of your son, Cpl. C.R. Pell of the 6th Sherwoods.  Everything possible was done for him in this Hospital, but he died of wounds in the morning of Monday July 3.  He was buried in our little Cemetery here later in the day, and it will be a small consolation to you to know that your dear one received orderly and Christian burial.  A neat wooden cross has already been erected on the grave and you can rest assured that the grave will be well cared for.

If at a later date you desire a photograph of the grave you may be able to obtain one by writing to the Chaplain, 20th C.C.S. France.

Again assuring you of my very real sympathy in your great loss.

Yours sincerely

J. N. Swift C.F
Chaplain 20th C.C.S.

Robinson_FBCaptain FRANCIS BRADBURY ROBINSON, aged 23 and buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY (I. F. 6). The son of William Bradbury Robinson and Margaret Robinson, of Elm Lodge, Chesterfield.

‘Widespread sympathy is felt with Major and Mrs. W.B. Robinson, Elm Lodge, Brampton, Chesterfield, in the death of their only son, Capt. Frank B. Robinson, who is reported to have died of wounds on Monday last. The sad news reached Elm Lodge on Tuesday, when a telegram was received from the Territorial Records’ Office. Lichfield, as follows – “Regret to inform you that Captain Robinson, Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds on 3rd July. The Prime Minister expresses his sympathy.”

‘Captain Robinson had only just attained his 23rd birthday, and had been connected with the Territorials since he was 19. On receiving his Commission he took up the work with great sympathy, and passed at Hythe and Chelsea . . . . Immediately, Lieut. Robinson, as he was then, returned home and joined his unit, being placed in command of the machine gun section. He proceeded to France with his battalion, and when the machine guns were drawn from the various units and formed into a separate body at the end of last year, he was given command of the gun brigade, which included eight officers and 170 men. His promotion to a captaincy was dated October 15th, 1915.’ 

‘A near relative of the deceased officer, Captain Victor Robinson, of Chesterfield, is also serving with Sherwood Foresters, and was recently awarded the Military Cross.’  


2383 depledge2383 Pte. CHARLES DEPLEDGE, aged 36 and a cotton bleacher from Whaley Bridge is buried in WARLINCOURT HALTE BRITISH CEMETERY (XII. C. 16). Charles had previously served with the 2 Volunteer Battalion in the Boar War and re-enlisted in September 1914; arriving with the 46th Division in February 1915. He survived the attacks of the 1st July, but was fatally wounded later in the week. The son of Richard and Hannah Depledge; Husband of Dinah Depledge of 8 Johnson St., Whaley Bridge. He left a widow and four children, the eldest being only eight years old. The news of Charles’ death was conveyed by Tom Depledge.

WarlincourtGraves Registration Report recording that Charles Delpedge’s body was exhumed from La Herliere Military Cemetery and reinterred after the War.

4644 WALTER GREEN, aged 19 and a coal miner is buried in LE TREPORT MILITARY CEMETERY (Plot 2. Row L. Grave 3c). Walter enlisted in December 1915 and arrived in France with the 8th Reinforcement in March 1916. He joined the 6th Battalion from the 8th Entrenching Battalion on 27th May and suffered a GSW to the chest on the 1st July. He was initially admitted to the 20th CCS and then transferred to the Canadian General Hospital in Le Treport where he finally succumbed to his wounds on the 5th July. Walter was the son of Emily and William Booker (stepfather) and a resident of Newbold. He is Commemorated on the Newbold Village Memorial.

Pte. Walter Green, 20, Arundel Road, Newbold Moor, is the second brother to lose his life in the present struggle. Another brother is severely wounded. Pte. Green joined the Sherwoods early in the war, and has seen some severe fighting. The first intimation of his being wounded was received from the chaplain in the No. 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport, France on July 3rd, who wrote that he was shot through both lungs. This was followed by the official intimation from the authorities, and on the 11th another notice with the sympathy of the King and Queen was received informing Mrs Green that Pte. Green had succumbed to his injuries on the 5th.’ 


4644 Green

4535 Pte.  JOSEPH HARRY HAYES, aged 22 and a millhand from Ashover is buried in LE TREPORT MILITARY CEMETERY (Plot 2. Row O. Grave 2B). Joseph enlisted in September 1915 and arrived in France with the 8th Reinforcement in March 1916. He joined the 6th Battalion from the 8th Entrenching Battalion on 27th May and suffered a GSW to the legs on the 1st July. He was initially admitted to the 20th CCS and then transferred to the Canadian General Hospital in Le Treport where he finally succumbed to his wounds on the 6th July. He was the son of Frederick and Eliza Hayes, of Lime Tree Road, Matlock, Derbyshire.

4534 Hayes

1853 Pte. CHARLES GORDON SHAW, aged 22 and a joiner from Chesterfield is buried in CHESTERFIELD (CHRIST CHURCH) CHURCHYARDCharles enlisted in April 1913 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. He was admitted to the 12 CCS with diarrhoea in September 1915 and transferred to England by Hospital Ship. He returned to France with the V Reinforcement and following a short spell with the 9th Entrenching Battalion he returned to the 6th Battalion on 12th December 1915. He suffered GSW to the right thigh and was admitted to the 41 CCS before being transferred to Hoole Bank Military Hospital in Chester, where he died of his wounds on 7th August.

“Among the many Stonegravels soldiers who have given their lives for their country in France is Pte. Charles Gordon Shaw, Sherwood Foresters, the adopted son of Mr. W.H. Taylor, 1 Hardwick Street. He had been twice wounded in the earlier stages of the war, and on July 1st he again fell a victim of the enemy’s fire. He was removed to hospital at Chester, arriving there on the 4th inst. His injuries were of a serious nature, however, and soon proved fatal. The deceased was only 22 years of age, and before the war was a joiner in the employ of Mr. J Wright, Rutland Road. He was a prominent member of the Marsden Street U.M. Church and was a member of the Bible Class and Choir. The corpse was removed from Chester to Chesterfield on Saturday and the internment took place in Christ Churchyard on Tuesday. The coffin was wrapped in the Union Jack and was borne to the grave by soldier-bearers. The Grammar School Cadets also attended, and at the close of the burial service, read by the Rev. J Ducker, the ‘Last Post’ was sounded.”


1853 Shaw

1853 Shaw 21853 Shaw

2183 Pte. WILLIAM LEOPOLD BARKER, aged 30 and a nurseryman from Darley Dale, is buried in ETRETAT CHURCHYARD (II. D. 11A). William enlisted in April 1914 and arrived in France with the 46th Division in February 1915. He suffered a GSw wound to the arm in July 1915 and fever in November 1915 but on both occasions rejoined the 1/6th Battalion. He suffered a GSW to the head on 1st July and was transferred to the 1st General Hospital in Etreat where he died of his wounds on the 10th July. William was the son of William and Salome Eliza Barker, of 7, Hazel View, Two Dales, Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire. Commemorated in the Roll of Honour – The Derbyshire Times, July 22nd, 1916.

2183 Barker

4498 Pte. JAMES HALL, aged 34 and a loom over looker, is buried in MONT HUON MILITARY CEMETERY, LE TREPORT (I. G. I). James enlisted in August 1915 and arrived in France with the 8th Reinforcement in March 1916 and after posting to the 8th Entrenching Battalion joined the 1/6th Battalion. He suffered a GSW in the right leg and was transferred to the 7 General Hospital where he died of his wounds at 8.15 am on the 13th July. He was the husband of Harriett Hall of Bings in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire. 

4498 Hall

The End

3 thoughts on “Gommecourt 1st July 1916

  1. Pingback: On this day 1st July 1916 | Derbyshire Territorials in the Great War

  2. Helen

    As great granddaughter of Sargent William Hopkins MM – I have a photo of him on the battlefield on horseback and a photo of his grave in the UK. He died in 1920 after returning home.

    1. Chris Price

      Hi Helen,
      I am currently writing a dissertation on the derbyshire territorials and Sherwood foresters at Gommecourt in 1916. The thesis is about ‘offensive spirit’ (morale) on the battlefield. recipients such as your G Grandfather show through the award of the MM that courage, morale and offensive spirit was good at Gommecourt in 1916. I would love to use the photo in my (unpublished) dissertation with his MM citation. would this be possible at all?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s