Cite St Auguste in November 1917
4th November 1917 and raid on Cite St Auguste
Gardyne Keith Kilgour Maughan
The raiding parties (under Captain GKK MAUGHAN) assembled in the QUARRY in H.32.d. by 6.15pm and after being checked were put in dug-outs in the QUARRY until 7.30pm when they moved out to their assembly positions in front of our wire 150 yards from the German trenches.
The assembly positions had been marked out with tapes and notice boards were put up to show each party their exact position on the tape line. The raiding parties were in position by 8.15pm. The assembly was done very quietly and not flares were sent up. It was not observed by the enemy.
At 8.40pm the Artillery barrage commenced and all parties moved forward, keeping well together. The whole party crept close up to the barrage, in fact a few men were wounded by getting too close. There was some rifle fire on the right but no machine gun fire. The first Artillery lift took place at Zero plus 3′, the second lift at Zero plus 6′.
Account of Party “A” (right)
Cecil George Radford
Party “A” under Lieut C RADFORD went through and over the concertina wire in front of the NEW TRENCH and into the trench. Finding no occupants there they proceeded as previously arranged over the top towards HERCULES TRENCH keeping just on the north side of HUNT TRENCH.
They entered HERCULES TRENCH about H.33.c.02.68. There was a dug-out at about H.32.d.98.75 from which 2 Germans were taken. Two more emerged from the dug-out – one was shot and killed, the other escaped down HERCULES TRENCH; a mobile charge was thrown down the dug-out but failed to explode.
Near the junction of HUNT and HERCULES, probably in the latter, was another dug-out; one German was shot at the top but fell down the entrance – another was wounded but got down the dug-out; bombs were thrown after them.
One other prisoner was taken near junction of HUNT and HERCULES, but on account of him proving awkward on the return journey was killed in the German wire.
Lieut. RADFORD, though wounded by a bullet in the abdomen before reaching the German wire, remained in Command of his party and took his final objective in the German line. He captured 4 prisoners – 2 of whom were killed on the way home on account of their reluctance to pass through their own barrage. In addition to this, he helped to get his Platoon Sergeant’s body back to our lines and returned with his whole party.
The Sergeant was John Edward Stevenson
Account of Party “B” (Centre)
Walter Lee Cooper
The Centre Party, Party “B” under Lieut. WL COOPER entered the trench about H.32.d.8.7. They found no one here and proceeded down the new trench to its junction with HERCULES. In HERCULES just north of the junction was a dug-out. Near the dug-out was a German Post from which one prisoner was taken.
Account of Party “C” (Left)
The Left Party, Party “C” under 2/Lieut HS PINK instead of entering HERCULES south of the junction NEW trench and HERCULES trench went through a gap a little north of the junction about H.32.d.75.96. They reached HERCULES trench and owing to its bad condition mistook it for NEW trench. They therefore crossed it and pushed on.
They later found themselves amongst the houses in CITE ST AUGUSTE where they naturally encountered our own barrage. Here they had several casualties and it is thought that possibly the missing men may have penetrated the barrage further than the others and possibly may have been killed. On finding out their mistake they joined Party “B” in HERCULES trench.
The return of the raiding party
At Zero plus 30′ the Recall Signal, which consisted of two Thermite Bombs and two Golden Rain Rockets, were fired from our Reserve Line and the party at once commenced the withdrawal. The bodies of two other ranks who had been killed were brought back.
Men killed on the raid and buried in Philosophe British Cemetery in Mazingarbe
- 2496/240604 L/Sergeant John Edward Stevenson aged 31 and son of Edward and Mary Stevenson of 6 Smiths Yard, Union St., Ashbourne in Derbyshire.
- 2238/242626 Pte Royal Murray aged 36 and the adopted son of the late Mrs A Lineker. Previously served with the 1/8th Battalion.
Died of wounds
- 242507 L/Cpl Harrop Wycliffe Bingham from Tibshelf and buried in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery
Missing in action
- 3797/241224 Pte George Harry Barber Simpson aged 26 and the son of George Goddard Simpson and Annie Simpson, of “Stoneleigh,” Hayfield Rd. in Chapel-en-Le-Frith. George was wounded during the raid and died of his wounds in a German Field Hospital; He was a Postman from Chapel.
George’s body was later recovered from a grave behind the German front line along with the bodies of three other British Soldiers. The Germans initial mis-recored him as serving with the 5th Reserve Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (which he may have done whilst in England).
By 1921 the Imperial War Graves Commision had correctly identified his body
- 3074/240880 Pte William Henry Brailsford was born in 1892 and was a resident of Clay Cross. He was a collier by trade and enlisted into the 2/6th Battalion in October 1914. He arrived in France on the 11th June 1916 as part of the 11th Reinforcement to the 1/6th Battalion.
- 2106/240416 Pte Charles Louis Metcalfe aged 20 and the son of Mrs A Metcalfe of 3 Werneth Avenue, Hyde, Cheshire.
- 1832/240291 Sergeant Moses Salt aged 20 and the son of Mr and Mrs Daniel Salt of Spring Bank, Peakdale, Derbyshire.
- 4499/241542 Pte Charles Albert Ormerod from Macclesfield.
Charles Ormerod died of his wounds and was buried by the Germans
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