Third Wipers - World War One

In Remembrance of
- Second Lieutenant Hugh Colborne Graham
- Private William Ernest Foster
- Private James Goodill
- Private Louis Edward Normanton
- Corporal George Ernest Adams
- Gunner Frederick Hunter
- Second Lieutenant John Henry Raymond Salter
- Lieutenant Geoffrey Charles Taylor Salter
- Corporal Nicholas Sheader
- Sergeant William Albert Megginson
- Private John Megginson
- Corporal Frederick Wellburn Watson
- Corporal George William Wynne
- Private Wilfred Dowse Rawling

Apparently overjoyed by the ‘great success’ of the twentieth of September, Haig had immediately issued Plumer and Gough with instructions for the continuance of the assault upon the Gheluvelt Plateu, adding the seemingly nonsensical, ‘the attack is to be carried out on as wide a front as possible to obtain the advantages of attacking on a wide front’…Whilst the two Army commanders had pondered the wisdom of their master’s order, Haig had delivered a map to them on which he had sketched out the projected stages of the forthcoming offensive, which had basically called for the capture of Polygon Wood and the village of Zonnebeke on the 26TH of September. Later, around the 4TH of October, the remainder of the Plateau including the village of Broodseinde would be taken, along with Poelcappelle to the north.

The operation, later dubbed ‘the Battle of Polygon Wood’, had begun at Zero Hour

[5-40am] on Wednesday the 26TH of September and by midday Second and Fifth Armies had been on the verge of capturing all their objectives, albeit at the usual high price. For the meagre three and a half square miles of territory captured, by the time that the operation had officially been closed down on the third of October, the two armies had suffered over fifteen thousand casualties, which had represented around four and a half thousand killed wounded and missing for each square mile gained, fifty per cent more casualties more casualties than the Menin Road battle. The two campaigns in September had together cost over 36,000 casualties for an advance of 2,750 yards. The final objective, Passchendaele Ridge had still lay over 4,500 yards away.

The Ninth Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment had entered the battle during the night of Sunday the thirtieth of September, when the formation had taken over a section of the British front line which had included a position known as ‘Cameron Covert’, which had been located to the south of Polygon Wood.

During the early hours of the following day the Germans had launched a series of determined counter attacks aimed at dislodging the British from their newly won positions. The whole area about the battalion’s positions had been struck by a devastating artillery barrage with had evidently caused chaos amongst the line…’It was tolerably evident from the intensity of the fire and the activity of the enemy aircraft that an attack was imminent, and by this time all means of communication between the front line and Battalion Headquarter, visible or other, had been severed, so that every endeavour was made to re-establish touch by runners, while officers went up to the front to try and clear up the situation. By now, however, the enemy, in addition to his barrages, was placing very heavy vertical barrages [bombing?] along the northern bank of the Reutelbeek and in the area south of Black Watch Corner, so that it was found almost impossible to get forward. It was not until 1pm that the first pair of runners came back with the news that the three right companies had successfully held their ground’ [1]

The Battalion’s ‘C’ Company had not been so fortunate….’about 5am the enemy opened an exceedingly intense barrage on the line running through Cameron Covert; the company holding this front ‘stood to’ and prepared to receive an attack, and half an hour later the enemy was seen advancing against the front in successive waves, when rifle and Lewis gun fire was at once brought to bear. Two of the Lewis guns were, however, almost at once put out of action, one by a shell and the other by a rifle bullet, and the officer in charge of the left platoon Second Lieutenant Wilton, was killed. About five minutes later it was noticed that the battalion on the left had been driven from its front line and that the Germans were following it up closely. For about ten minutes longer the left posts kept up a continuous fire on the enemy, while another Lewis gun was brought into action in place of the two which had been damaged; but by this time the enemy had advanced past the left flank and was well in rear of the position, and in consequence of this the forward posts were withdrawn in a south westerly direction about fifty yards in the vicinity of company headquarters; here the men were reorganized under Lieutenant Bennison, the company commander, and Lieutenant Gibson of the 69TH Trench Mortar Battery, there after going forward to counter attack. During this advance both of these officers had become casualties, and a fresh enemy attack compelled a retirement to a position about one hundred and fifty yards in rear of the old front line…here a determined stand had been made’[1]

Throughout the remainder of the day the remnants of the Battalion had fought off numerous determined enemy counter attacks, and despite incurring many casualties to the intense shell fire and ground strafing aircraft the unit had managed to hold out.

The 9TH Battalion had remained in the vicinity of ‘Cameron Covert’ until the night of the seventeenth of October, when the remains of the four companies had been relieved, the surviving officers and men moving back into reserve at ‘Clapham Junction, where the customary post battle roll call had revealed the battalion had suffered some seventy one casualties whilst stationed at ‘Cameron Covert’ [Overall during the period the period September to October the 9th Yorkshire Regiment had lost four hundred and thirty one all ranks, killed, wounded, and missing]. Amongst the Battalion’s fifteen officer casualties had been ‘B’ Company’s twenty nine years old; Second Lieutenant Hugh Colborne Graham.

Born at Hull during 1888, at No.165 Beverley Road, Hugh had been the second of three children of Mary Johnstone [formerly Bremner] and Christopher Colborne Graham, a technical chemist and secretary for the Hull based paint, colour, and varnish manufacturing firm of Blundell, Spence & Co Ltd, which had been located in the city’s Beverley Road [the company had also refined and boiled oil at their factory at Hull’s ‘Bank Side’].

By the beginning of the twentieth century the Graham family had been residing at a house named ‘Highmoor’, near the Wharfedale town of Ilkley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The fourteen years old Hugh, had however, been residing in Scarborough’s Filey Road, having been a pupil of Mr. Samuel Servington Savoury’s ‘Bramcote’ Preparatory School. Very little is known of Graham’s time at ‘Bramcote’, the school register merely recording his name and the solitary year that the fourteen years old had remained at the School [1900 –01]. After leaving Bramcote at the end of the Summer Term [July] of 1901, Graham had gone on to Giggleswick School, located near to the North Yorkshire market town of Settle. Hugh had remained at this picturesque school until the summer of 1904, when at the age of eighteen he had ‘gone up’ to Leeds University where he had eventually received a B.Sc. Degree in Science during 1906.

The Graham’s had begun their long association with Scarborough and it’s people during 1905, when Christopher Graham had moved his family to the town to reside at ‘Oriel House’, in Oriel Crescent, located in the affluent South Cliff area of Scarborough. By this time retired, the fifty years old Christopher had soon nonetheless become immersed in the business of running the town, and by November 1911 he had become a Justice of the Peace and eventually the town’s Mayor, a post he would hold for the next six years.

By the outbreak of war Hugh Graham had been in business in Hull. During September 1914 despite being comfortably well heeled and settled into the social life of the city he had enlisted into the army as a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps [Regimental Number 1608] and as such had served in England and on the Western Front until January 1917 when he had been gazetted as a Second Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment. Graham had subsequently been posted to the 9TH Battalion of the Regiment during June 1917, and had joined the unit with a draft of replacements for the two hundred and sixty five casualties that the battalion had sustained around Hill 60 and Mount Sorrel during the Messines Ridge Operations of the 7TH of June 1917.

Allocated to Captain Maude’s ‘B’Company, throughout the remainder of the summer of 1917 Lieutenant Graham had been stationed with his unit in the Dickebusch area of Flanders, where he had undergone the customary round training programmes and stints in the trenches which had been the lot of the British soldier in the days leading up to Third Wipers. During the first half of August the 9TH Battalion had been camped around the village of Moulle in the Tilques area of Flanders, where the unit had been taking part in ‘special' training in musketry, and open warfare in preparation for the forthcoming offensive.

By mid September Graham and the remainder of his battalion had been billeted in ‘MicMac’ Camp near to Steenvoorde, from where on the 18th the unit had moved to ‘Railway Dugouts’. Here Headquarters, together with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies, had remained for the night, whilst ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies had made their way to Sanctuary Wood where throughout the night these two units had been heavily shelled with High Explosives and gas shells. During the early hours of the twentieth the Battalion had moved up into their assembly positions at ‘Stirling Castle’ and ‘Sanctuary Wood’ before they had finally gone to their assault positions ready for the attack on Inverness Copse which had killed Privates Perryman and Cappleman.

Officially recorded as having been killed in action on Monday the 1ST of October 1917, Christopher Graham had learnt of his son’s death eight days later. That same day, Tuesday the 9TH, the ‘Hull Daily Mail’ had reported;

‘Lieut. H.C. Graham killed - The Mayor of Scarborough [Mr C.C. Graham] who is well known in Hull, today received news that his youngest son, Sec. Lieut. Hugh Colborne Graham, Yorkshire Regiment, was killed at the front on Oct. 1ST. Deceased was educated at Giggleswick, and obtained his B. Sc. Degree at Leeds University. He was in business in Hull at the outbreak of the war, and at once joined up as a private. He only got his commission at the beginning of the year’

In Scarborough, the news of Hugh Graham’s death had appeared in the local press three days later. Considering he had been the son of the town’s most prominent citizen, very little had been said;

‘The Mayor’s second son killed - The Mayor has received the sad news that his second son, Second Lieut. Hugh Colborne Graham, Yorkshire Regiment, was killed on October 1ST. He was educated at Leeds University, where he took his B.Sc. Prior to enlisting as a private in the R.A.M.C. He was in business in Hull. He was eventually offered a commission.’

Apart from the appearance of a short entry in the ‘Mercury’s ‘Births, Marriages, and Deaths’ section reproduced that same day, nothing more had been said of the departed officer. There are rumours of a rift existing between father and son, there is, however, as far as it is known, no evidence to support this theory.

The remains of Hugh Graham had been buried close to where he had fallen, the grave marked with a cross. By the end of the war the grave marker had disappeared amongst the detritus of the Ypres battlefield. His final resting place had never been located and his name had eventually been included with those of fellow Yorkshiremen, Privates Perryman and Cappleman, on Panels 52 to 54, and 162A of the ‘Tyne Cot’ Memorial to the Missing at Zonnebeke. In Scarborough, apart from the town’s War Memorial Hugh Colborne Graham’s name had been commemorated on a ‘Roll of Honour’, which had been erected on the south interior wall of Holy Trinity Church, in Trinity Road. The church has by now [2005] been turned into flats, the whereabouts of the memorial, commemorating twenty eight of the church’s former congregation who had lost their lives during the ‘Great War’ is not known.

Hugh Graham’s name can also be found on a broken and alas, very neglected monument in the town’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section G, Terrace, Grave12/13], which also commemorates the officer’s Hull born mother, Mary Johnstone Graham who had passed away at Oriel House on Saturday the 22ND of October 1910 at the age of 48 years. The memorial also contains the name of Hugh’s London born [Herne Hill] father, Christopher Colborne Graham, who had died at his home in Oriel Crescent on Monday the 22ND of November 1943 at the age of eighty six years.

Three days after the death of Lieutenant Graham the British had launched their so-called ‘Third Step’ offensive, the capture of piles of rubble, which had once been the village of Broodseinde. Taking centre stage in this part of the Flanders operation had been Second Army’s First, and Second Anzac Corps, assisted by Eighteenth Corps from Fifth Army, whilst operations on the flanks had been carried out by 14TH Corps in the north, and Tenth Corps in the south.

The major concern of the British High Command had inevitably been the unsettled weather. Forecasters had predicted strong winds and showers of rain fort the fourth, and by the evening of the third their predictions had come to fruition… ‘The sunset had been stormy, and in the late evening a strong gale rose from the south west, bringing showers of rain…heralding the arrival of the second turning point of the campaign, really bad weather’. Despite the poor forecast the operation had begun following a ‘rather feeble’ preliminary bombardment of the enemy’s positons, which had done little more than turn the already badly torn ground into a bog, at 6am on Thursday the fourth of October. [2]

Three divisions of Australian infantry [plus the New Zealand Division], roughly 54,000 officers and men, had begun their approach to the front line at dusk on the previous day. It had, inevitably, been raining as the long line of troops had passed under the Menin Gate at Ypres, this had however not dampened the feeling amongst the men, well accustomed to the shortcomings of British Generals, that that time the ‘bloody red tabs’ had got the game in hand, and if conditions had remained favourable they were on the verge of a victory which would have an effect on the whole outcome of the war. Despite the poor conditions of the approach march, which for the most part, had been over greasy duckboard tracks, the men who had laughed and joked and smoked cigarettes as they had made their way into battle. By 4am on the fourth the men of 1ST Anzac had lay crowded on the wet ground behind the ‘jumping off tapes’ on ‘Tokio Spur’ awaiting Zero Hour.

Unknown to the Australians, across the darkness of No Man’s Land the Germans had been preparing to launch their own offensive, and at that moment thousands of shock troops belonging to the 6TH Guards Division had been clustered in shell holes awaiting the arrival of their artillery bombardment which would lead them into the British positions near Zonnebeke.

The night and early hours of the fourth had passed away in total silence until shortly before dawn, by which time….’It was lowering and drizzly, and the German flares looked dull and glazed like fish eyes…It was so overcast and drizzly that we could not see [the way]. At about 5-20…a yellow flare went up on the Broodsiende Ridge, instead of a white [as heretofore] it was followed by a couple of more, and then sheaf’s of them; then others to left and right, spread gradually. About seven minutes later, or less, the German barrage began to come down battery by battery.

By 5-30 it was really heavy—crump, crump, crump, crump, crump,--like empty biscuit tins banging down into the valley ahead and on to the Glencourse Heights. Of course we thought the attack had been discovered. It made one anxious to hear it, but we had heard the same at Bullecourt [April-May 1917] twenty minutes before the attack, when one had learnt that our men can attack even after such a barrage…Then [at 6am] our barrage opened—tremendous’…[3]

The worst hit had been the Australian First Division, which had suffered over two thousand casualties in forty minutes. Less severely hit had been the adjoining Second Division [both belonging to 1ST ANZAC Corps], which had incurred a little over one thousand casualties, including amongst the missing had been twenty officers who had never been found again [the day after the bombardment it is said that groups of dead Australians had been found lying in their platoon positions as if sleeping].

Despite losing about a seventh of the attacking force the operation had gone ahead as planned, and with the casual manner that had marked the Australian soldier in every battle the diggers had lit cigarettes and moved forward and upwards towards their objectives.

On the left of the assault had been the First Australian Division. Its first objective, a row of pillboxes which had constituted the so called ‘Flanders 1’, or ‘Red Line’, had lay about eight hundred yards away on a natural terrace just below the crest of Broodseinde Ridge. Their second target had been the ‘Blue Line’, which had been on the far side slope of the ridge, four hundred yards beyond the first objective.

Before the men of First Division had crossed No Man’s Land they had seen in the dim light, and close ahead, lines of men rising up from the hundreds of shell holes before them. Some of these figures had already been on the move with bayonets fixed and the Australians, rightly believing the figures to be the enemy, had opened fire. Soon bitter hand-to-hand fighting had developed, the area being littered with the bodies of German infantry and their Australian counter parts, many bearing fearful bayonet inflicted injuries.

Once this initial resistance had been dealt with, Major General Walker’s 1ST Division had taken on the string of pillboxes. Some had fallen easily; others had proved to be tougher nuts to crack. One Australian officer had captured thirty one Germans single handed form one blockhouse the remainder of it’s garrison surrendering soon afterwards, bringing three machine guns with them. These instances had nevertheless proved to be rare. Units of the First [New South Wales] Brigade had found a number of pillboxes in marshy ground near to Molensaarelsthoek, and had lost many men before the position could be out flanked and overpowered. Heavy machine gun fire coming from ‘Retaliation Farm’ and a large crater, which had inflicted terrible casualties on the 6TH and 7TH Battalions from the 2ND Brigade, before it’s garrison had been ‘bombed out by the 6TH Battalion.

Despite heavy fighting both Brigades had reached the 1ST Division’s first objective by about 7-15am, where the Division’s order had been for the formation to make a halt for half an hour. However, flushed with victory, many of its leading companies had continued to chase their routed enemy over the crest of Broodseinde Ridge towards their second objective where they had come under fire from a position known as ‘Keiberg’ some distance away. Despite this fire First Australian had reached the ‘Blue Line’ by midday, and although the Germans had been seen massing as if for an attack, no counter attacks had been made, artillery fire having driven the enemy off.

In the centre of the assault had been General Smyth’s Second Australian Division which, like the First Division had attacked with two Brigades of infantry

[6TH and 7TH]. This formation had also encountered enemy troops in No Man’s Land and had dealt with them as swiftly as their partners had.

Chasing retreating Germans, the men of 6TH Brigade had skirted Zonnebeke Lake, and had helped with the capture of the village itself, on the way having captured four anti tank guns. Without stopping at the first objective the Brigade had continued its assault, which had finally ended amongst the rubble of Broodsiende.

The 7TH Brigade, attacking with only one battalion, the 26TH [Queensland and Tasmania], after clearing the ruins of Zonnebeke ‘in a most skilful and rapid manner’ had met withering machine gun fire coming from ‘Daisy Wood, as they had topped the crest of Broodseinde Ridge. It had been there that Lieutenant McDonnell had been killed with a bullet through the heart and the advance had been temporarily checked. Captain Smith had then taken charge and the battalion had continued to move towards the wood, whereupon the men had been assailed by more heavy fire, this time coming from a number of nearby ragged hedgerows and demolished houses. This fire had caused so many casualties that the battalion’s line had been driven back to shelter in an old trench some two hundred yards short of their final objective.

After careful reconnaissance by the battalion’s surviving officers it had been decided to that the old trench system had given a much better view and command than could have been obtained from the original objective on the edge of ‘Daisy Wood’, therefore it had been there where the battalion’s advance had finally ended. Soon the Australians had been digging into their new position. Dating from the winter of 1914-15 the old trench works had been part of the old British front line of that period, whilst the Australians had been digging they had come across scraps of khaki uniforms, in all probability belonging to British soldiers who had died there.

During the bombardment and the subsequent day’s fighting the First Division had suffered 2, 448 casualties, the Second Division 2,174. The 26TH [Queensland and Tasmania] Battalion had lost nine officers and a further three hundred and eleven ‘other ranks’ killed, wounded, or missing on the fourth of October. Amongst the missing had been nineteen years old; 6067 Private William Ernest Foster.

Born in Scarborough on the 13TH of March 1898, at No.36 St Johns Road, William had been the youngest son of Elizabeth and Thomas Foster, who had been employed by local builder William Thomas Petch [Belle Vue Street], as a ‘book keeper’ at the time that his son had been born. [4]

Educated in Miss Julia Pritchard’s Infant Department, and eventually Mr William Drummond’s Junior department of Gladstone Road Board School, at the age of twelve William had been fortunate to be sent to Scarborough’s Municipal School during 1910 [by which time the family had been residing at No.33 Nelson Street] for further education, he had remained at the school until 1912, when Tom Foster had taken his family to Australia, where the family had lived in Queensland at Howard Street, Morningside, Brisbane.

A clerk in employed in the city of Brisbane by the outbreak of war, Foster had been under age for military service during 1914 and had eventually enlisted into the A.I.F. at Victoria Barracks, Brisbane on the 11THof September 1916. By then aged eighteen years and six months, Foster had stood at five feet nine and a half inches in height, and had weighed a hundred and thirty five pounds. His medical record also shows that he had also possessed grey eyes, dark brown hair, and a ‘medium’ complexion. [5]

Initially posted to the 11TH Depot Battalion for equipping and training, Foster had remained in Victoria Barracks until mid October 1916 when he had been considered fit enough for service in an active unit. Posted to the 17TH Reinforcement Battalion of the 26TH Battalion, he had shortly embarked for Foreign Service at Brisbane in the Australian Transport ‘S.S. Marathon [‘A74’] on the 27TH of October 1916.

On the 9TH of January 1917 Private Foster had disembarked at Plymouth from where he had been sent to the Australian 7TH Training Battalion, which had been based at ‘Rollestone’. After four months of training in England Foster had embarked at Folkestone on the 25TH of April 1917 for service in France. The following day he and the remainder of his draft had arrived at the Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples.

Foster had eventually joined the 26TH Battalion on the 5TH of May 1917, by which time the unit had been serving in the Arras Sector of Northern France where it had been immersed in the bloody fighting of the Second Battle of Bullecourt [5TH –15TH May].

Raised at Enogerra, Queensland, during April 1915 from recruits enlisted in Queensland and Tasmania, by the time that Foster had joined the 26TH Battalion it had been commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Reginald Travers D.S.O.. Veterans of the ill fated Gallipoli campaign, the Battalion had landed in France [after service in Egypt], during March 1916, and with the 28TH [Western Australia] Battalion during the following month had mounted the first trench raid to be undertaken by Australian troops on French soil. The Battalion’s first major blooding had been at Pozieres where the unit had suffered heavy casualties between 28TH of July and 7TH of August. After a short spell in Belgium the 26TH had returned to France and the Somme Sector during October 1916, where the Battalion had taken part in two assaults on enemy positions to the east of Flers, both of which had floundered to a halt in the mud and slush of the worst winter of the war.

During early 1917, the 26TH Battalion had been involved in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, where the battalion had been involved in the attacks on the villages of Warlencourt [1-2 March], and Lagincourt on the 26TH of the month, it had been at Lagincourt that the Battalion had won the first of two Victoria Crosses, the award being posthumously awarded to Captain Percy Herbert Cherry for ‘Most conspicuous bravery, determination, and leadership’ [the battalion’s second V.C. had been awarded to Lieutenant Albert Borrella during July 1918].

Two days before Ernest Foster had joined the Battalion it had been involved in the second attempt by the Australians to breach the Hindenburg Line around the heavily fortified village of Bullecourt, especially the vicious fighting for two enemy trench systems known to the British as ‘O.G.1’ and ‘O.G. 2’. Throughout the third of May numerous futile assaults on these positions had been made by the Australian 5TH, 6TH, and finally the 7TH Brigade, which had again resulted in heavy casualties for very little gain.

The Australians had been involved in the ferocious fighting around Bullecourt throughout the remainder of May 1917 When not in the firing line Foster had been amongst the numerous working and carry parties which had been the inevitable lot of the men on the Western Front when they had not actually been taking a part in the fighting.

[Bullecourt had finally fallen into British hands on the 17TH of May, by which time the Australians had suffered over 10,000 casualties in the two battles that had taken place there [roughly 3,000 in the first, and 7,000 in the second]].

Following Bullecourt the three exhausted Divisions of Australian infantry belonging to 1ST Anzac [which had held front line positions continuously since July 1916] had been withdrawn for four months of rest, refitting, and training in rest areas in the Somme Sector before moving into Belgium and the Third Battle of Ypres.

The ‘rested’ Private Foster had missed the opening rounds of the new offensive, however, on the twentieth of September he and the remainder of the 26TH Battalion had taken part in the Battle of the Menin Road, where the 1ST and 2ND Australian Divisions had attacked side by side in the centre of eleven Divisions of the British 2ND and 5TH Armies. This had been the first time that two Australian divisions had attacked side by side.

On the whole the Australian attack had been an overwhelming success, the battalions of infantry had leapfrogged one another at particular stages in order to maintain the momentum of their attack, which had consisted of short rapid advances, briefly halted by bloody episodes of ‘pillbox storming’. But even this carefully orchestrated victory had not been achieved without a price. The two Australian divisions had suffered over five thousand casualties between them [during these operations the 26TH Battalion had lost seven officers and a hundred and twenty seven men].

Between the 29TH of September and the 1ST of October the Australians had begun to make their preparations for the attack on Broodseinde Ridge. The Second Australian Division had relieved the Third Division in its positions some eight hundred yards to the south of the remains of the Ypres to Roulers railway, from where they would commence their attack on the fourth of October.

The news of Private Foster’s death in action had been received by his mother

[registered as her son’s next of kin] on the 13TH of October 1917. The tiding had subsequently been broadcast in Scarborough in the town’s ‘Mercury’ of Friday the 26TH of October;

‘Local colonial killed - The sad news was received on Tuesday by Miss Foster, of Cloughton, that her nephew, Private W.E. Foster, Australian Forces, had been killed in the taking of Zonnebeke Ridge on October 4TH. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Foster, Brisbane, Queensland, late of Nelson Street, where they had resided before going to Australia about six years ago. Before joining up he was a clerk in Bribane. He was nineteen years of age, and the youngest of three brothers serving with the Australians, the other two being Gunner F.L. [Frank Leslie] and Sapper F.M. [Frederick Malcolm] Foster. The latter had been here on leave a short time ago. About a month ago they all three met at the front, the first time since leaving home. He was an old Municipal School boy’

At first recorded as ‘missing in action’, a year later, as no further information about the soldier’s fate had been forthcoming, Private Foster had officially been regarded as ‘Killed in action’ on the fourth of October. Foster’s parents had never received any official information regarding how, and where William had died, nevertheless, the Australian Red Cross had made extensive enquiries regarding the missing soldier. Their findings had never been made public at the time, and it is only recently that the contents of the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Files of the 1914-18 war have become available for public scrutiny.

A report gathered at Le Treport’s No.16 General Hospital on the 11TH of June 1918, from a Private Johann Wilhelm Heilig, also of the 26TH Battalion says;

‘He was in B Coy. 7 Platoon and was my friend. I saw him lying dead as we were going over at Ypres on the 4TH. He had been killed by a piece of shell, which had struck and entered his forehead. Stretcher-bearers told me afterwards that he had been buried. I wrote to his mother at Morningside, Brisbane, giving her full details and have received a reply from her’….

Another soldier from the 26TH Battalion, Private Frederick Nicholas Lobwein, had told the Red Cross;

‘I knew Foster personally and we came over together. He came from Morningside, Queensland. On Oct. 4TH we went over for an attack on a German position near Zonnebeke village. We reached our objective. During this attack an H.E. shell burst near Foster and a fragment struck him in the head and killed him right out. Though in the same section I was not very close to him at the time as I was doing temporary stretcher-bearer work but one of my fellow S/B’s told me he saw him lying dead. With regard to his burial I understood that the 2ND Field Ambulance attended to that and I have since heard that he was buried in Zonnebeke village. I have written to his mother giving all these particulars but when writing I was unable to give any details about the place of burial having heard of this later’…[6]

The remains of William Foster may have been buried after the battle, however, like so many casualties of ‘Third Wipers’, no identifiable remains of the soldier had ever been recovered, despite numerous post war searches of the battlefield. At the end of the war his name had been included, with those of six thousand one hundred and ninety eight other Australians, who posses ‘no known graves’ on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, which, bearing the names of over fifty three other lost casualties of the war [including eight Victoria Cross holders], had been unveiled at Ypres by Field Marshal Lord Herbert Plumer during July 19127. William Foster’s name is commemorated amongst the names commemorated on Panel 29 of the Memorial.

In Scarborough, apart from the Oliver’s Mount Memorial Private Foster’s name had been commemorated by Gladstone Road School [the memorial is located in the hall of the Junior School] and the Municipal School, which had eventually become the Scarborough Boy’s High School, Westwood Secondary Modern, and finally an annexe of Yorkshire Coast College. The memorial bearing William’s name is now located in Graham Comprehensive School. Foster’s name had also been commemorated on Panel 107 of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

From the thirteenth of January 1918 the Foster’s had been awarded the princely sum of one pound per fortnight Pension in recompense for their lost son. During the post war years William’s parents had also received his medal entitlement, the British War Medals, and the Victory Medal, these had been followed by a ‘Memorial Plaque’, and Scroll’. There had been nothing else.

At the end of the war William’s elder brothers, Frank Leslie, born in Scarborough during 1894, latterly a Gunner [21343] in the Australian Field Artillery, and Frederick Malcolm, born 1897, a ‘Sapper’ [7266] in the Australian Engineers, had returned safe and sound to Australia.

To the north of 1ST ANZAC, the men of 2ND ANZAC, comprising of Major General John Monash’s 3RD Australian Division and the New Zealand Division had met less fierce resistance than their counterparts further south. Advancing with a creeping barrage, which one officer had described as being ‘like a wall of flame’, on the left of the assault the 43RD [South Australia] Battalion, which had led the 11TH Brigade of 3RD Australian into action, had met heavy machine gun fire almost at once as they had begun their advance up the slope of ‘Windmill Cabaret Ridge’, which had come from a pillbox located near to the ruined Zonnebeke railway station. Despite losing many men to this fire, including the majority of the Battalion’s officers, the Forty Third had swept onwards and had soon suppressed this fire with bombs, the remaining Germans on the crest of the ridge fleeing before the arrival of the Australian bayonets.

On the left of the assault the 37TH [Victoria] Battalion of the 10TH Brigade had been heavily shelled before Zero Hour and to escape this the men of the battalion had crept forward so far that when the British barrage had opened its foremost men had been within thirty yards of a clump of pillboxes known as ‘Levi Cottages’ on the summit of Windmill Ridge [known by the Australians as ‘Hill 40’ or ‘Anzac Ridge’]. The Thirty Seventh had also been hit by intense machine gun fire coming from these blockhouses, however, these emplacements had also soon been knocked out and bypassed.

Both Brigades had continued their advance. Sweeping over the crest of Windmill ridge and into a valley, beyond which had risen the Gravenstafel Ridge, the Victorians had encountered a ‘splutter’ of machine gun fire coming from a pillbox known as ‘Israel House’. This fire had eventually been suppressed due mainly to the magnificent efforts of Lewis gunner, Lance Corporal Walter Peeler belonging the 3RD Pioneer Battalion [attached to 37TH Battalion], who had eventually been awarded with the Victoria Cross.

Despite being heavily bombed by this time, the attack had continued and the line had eventually encountered more intense machine gun fire this time from a pair of blockhouses known as ‘Alma’, and ‘Judah House’, which had marked the first objective of Third Division, these had soon been knocked out and the leading two Battalions had begun to dig in whilst the remainder of the attacking force had reorganised and passed through to the final objective.

Despite further heavy fighting, by twelve minutes past nine on the morning of the fourth of October the Third Australian Division, shortly followed by the New Zealand Division had captured all of its objectives and had established a line just below the Bellevue Spur, just half a mile further on had lain the ruined village of Passchendaele.

The Third Australian Division had suffered over one thousand eight hundred casualties during the morning’s battle, amongst the six officers and one hundred and seventy eight men reported killed, wounded, or missing by the 43RD Battalion had been thirty four years old; 2333 Private James Goodill.

Known as ‘Sam’ by his comrades, Jim Goodill had been born in Scarborough at No.22 Spring Bank, Falsgrave, on the 7TH of September 1883. The youngest of seven children of Jane Ann [formerly Davis] and labourer William Goodill [the pair had been married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 8TH of May 1875], Jim had spent the majority of his childhood in the centre of Scarborough, the family residing for many years at No.1 Murchison Street, and by the time of the 1901 Census, 58 Prospect Road.

A pupil of Mr John Brown’s Central Board School for boys [located on the corner of Trafalgar Street West and Melrose Street] from the age of four, Jim had eventually left the institution at the end of the summer term of 1896, when at the age of thirteen he had become indentured as an apprentice to Scarborough plasterering contractor, John Turnbull, whose ‘workshop’ had been located at the time in Gladstone Lane. Goodill had remained with Mr Turnbull for four years until 1900, when he had left to enlist as a Private in the British Regular Army. Goodill had initially served for eight years with the 3RD [Prince of Wales’s Own] Dragoon Guards, initially at the Regimental Depot at Newport, Monmouthshire, and Cairo, Egypt.

At the age of twenty four years [1908] the by then ‘time expired’ Private had migrated to Australia, where he had settled in the western part of the continent in the settlement of Waroona, close to the city of Perth, there Goodill had remained for the next eight years of his life. A married man by the outbreak of war in August 1914, Jim had been employed at the time as a farmhand on ‘Oakfield Farm’ and had been living with his wife, Charlotte Helena [Nellie] and daughter ‘Little Rae’ at No.798 Balfour Street in the town of Waroona, from where, on the 1st of May 1916 he had journeyed the one hundred and thirteen or so kilometres northwards to the city of Perth to enlist into the Australian Imperial Force.

Aged thirty two years and eight months at the time of his enlistment, Jim had been recorded in his medical record as being five feet eight and a half inches in height, and having possessed a fresh complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair. The cursory medical had also revealed he had not had Scrofula, Phthisis, Syphilis, impaired constitution, defective intelligence, defects in vision, voice, or hearing, pulse, and physical development as being ‘normal’, his right fore arm being tattooed with a ‘Japanese lady’, and his left with a ‘Jug and flowers’.

Pronounced ‘fit for service overseas’, Jim Goodill had arrived at Belmont Camp on the 31ST of May 1916 where he had been kitted out in the standard Australian uniform of khaki woollen Norfolk jacket with four large pockets and oxidised black buttons, brown boots, webbing belt, along with ammunition pouches and various packs and water bottle, the whole being topped off with the immortal Australian slouch hat bearing the rising sun emblem of the A.I.F..

Initially attached to the 71ST Depot Battalion for twelve weeks of training, Jim had eventually been posted to the 4TH Reinforcement Battalion of the 43RD Battalion, which by the end of October 1916 had been deemed fit enough for active service. On the 30TH of October the unit had arrived at Freemantle, where Goodill had embarked into the troop transport ‘S.S. Port Melbourne’, ‘A16’.

On the 29TH of December 1916, following an absence of eight years, Goodill had once again set foot on English soil at Devonport. Shortly after his arrival in his native land Goodill, and the remainder of his draft, had bee transported to the Australian Imperial Force’s Depot near Folkestone, where he had been assigned to the 11TH Training Battalion before being sent ‘over the water’ to France from nearby Folkestone in the ‘S.S. Golden Eagle’ on the 25TH of February 1917.

Goodill had initially been sent to the 3RD Australian Divisional Base Depot at Etaples for training in one of the many ‘bull rings’ which had been located on the spacious beaches at in the former French resort. At Etaples until the 21ST of April 1917, the following day Private Goodill had been amongst a draft of reinforcements destined for the 43RD Battalion, which had been serving with the 3RD Australian Division in the Armetieres sector of Northern France.

Considered as the baby of the A.I.F., the 3RD Australian had not thus far taken part in any major operations on the Western Front. Having spent most of its time since its arrival in France during November 1916 engaged in trench raids in the more sheltered areas of the front, the men had often been nicknamed ‘the neutrals’ or ‘the Lark hill Lancers’ by their countrymen serving in the four more veteran Divisions. All the backbiting had ended during May 1917 when the formation had been sent northwards to Flanders where, on the 7TH of June the division’s 9th and 10th Brigades had spearheaded the assault by 2ND Anzac at the start of the Battle of Messines Ridge.

Held in reserve for the main event that day [featured in Part One; ‘Magnus Opus’], Goodill’s battalion had nonetheless done sterling service throughout the day by providing various carrying parties for the assault troops at the forefront of the assault. The operations at Messines had come to an end on the 12TH of June, during the six days of fighting the 43RD Battalion had suffered four officer and one hundred and eighteen ‘other rank’ casualties.

A veteran of the ensuing four months of the campaign in Flanders, Jim Goodill’s wife had received notification of his demise by mid October. The tidings had eventually been broadcast in the ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 19TH;

‘Scarborough Colonial reported killed - A comrade has written stating that Private James Goodill, of the Australian Force, has been killed in action. He is a son of Mr. William Goodill, nurseryman, Seamer Road, and has been in Australia some years before joining up. He was married and leaves a wife and a child. Two Brothers of Private Goodill are serving’…

Despite many searches of the battlefield during and after the war the remains of an Australian soldier, which could definitely be recognised as those of James Goodill, had never been found. During 1918 the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau had made numerous enquiries to find what had happened to Jim. 2263 Private Charles Stokes had told the Bureau.

’He was in 'A' Company, 1st Platoon. I saw him immediately after being killed; he had been hit in the back, apparently by a shell. We had only gone 50 yards and carried our objective. It happened at Anzac Ridge [Hill 40] on October 4TH. H e was fairish about 5 feet 10, came from Western Australia. I think he was an Englishman and married. We called him ‘Sam’…

Another soldier from the 43RD, 2135 Corporal Albert Beesley, had reported…’I saw him killed at Passchendaele. He was caught by a shell, pieces of which hit him about the left side, death being instantaneous. We were sheltering in a shell hole at the time from the barrage, which was very severe. I knew him well he came from W. Australia. I do not know place of burial, and I cannot refer to anyone for details, but the ground was held, and I feel sure he would be buried somewhere near place of casualty’…[7]

Lost forever somewhere on the battlefield at Zonnebeke, James Goodill’s name like Private Foster’s, had eventually been included on the Memorial to the Missing at Ypres. It can be located amongst the names commemorated on Panel 29 of the Memorial. In Australia Jim’s name is to be found on Panel 136 of the Australian War Memorial located at Canberra. For some unknown reason Jim Goodill’s name had never been included on Scarborough’s War Memorial until May 2002 when Scarborough Council, at the instigation of the author, had erected a separate plaque on the Oliver’s Mount Memorial bearing the lost soldier’s name.

Jim’s name is also to be found on the ‘Rood Screen’ memorial in St James’s Church, in Falsgrave, which commemorates the names of fifty three former members of the Parish who had lost their lives during the Great War. His name is also included on a memorial [which incorrectly states that he had been killed in France] in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section O, Row 4, Grave 37], which also bears the name of his Scarborough born parents Jane Ann Goodill, who had died at the age of sixty one on the 14TH of February 1913, and William Goodill, who had ‘entered the higher service’ at his home at No.44 Milton Avenue, Scarborough on the 9TH of April 1929 at the age of seventy five years. The memorial also bears the name of the Goodill’s youngest daughter Elizabeth ‘Cissie’, who had passed away at the age of 37 years on the 28TH of August 1922.

Two of Jim’s three elder brothers had also served during the Great War. The eldest [born 1877], former Scarborough postman Tom Goodill, had served as a Sapper [Private] in the Royal Engineers [regimental number 182090], whilst former bricklayer John [born 1882] had served as a Private [regimental number 788] in the Durham Light Infantry, both had survived the war. Jim’s second eldest brother, William [born 1880] had lived for many years in the family home at 44 Milton Avenue with his wife Frances and three daughters [Cissie, Frances, and Hilda Mary] until his death at the age of ninety four years on the 22ND of November 1974.

During the post war years ‘Nellie’ Goodill and her daughter had lived for a period with Jim’s father at ‘Hope Cottage’ in Scarborough’s Seamer Road, and subsequently at No.24 Shakespeare Road, Gillingham, Kent, however, by 1928 she had returned to Australia to remarry [surname James], her last known abode being recorded as Wagerup, Western Australia.

Exactly a year after the deaths of Privates Foster and Goodill the following had appeared in the ‘In Memoriam’ section of ‘The Scarborough Mercury - In loving memory of our dear brother, Private W.E. Foster, of the Australian Imperial Forces, who was killed at Zonnebeke, on October 4TH 1917—From Frank and Fred in [France].’

Goodill…’A tribute of love and pride to Private James Goodill, Australian Imperial Forces, called to higher service on October 4TH 1917…. ‘For these are they that have passed through great tribulations, and their garments are white as snow’…From his loving wife, Nellie, and daughter, little Rae, Waroona, West Australia’…

On the right or southern flank of the Australians and New Zealanders had been Tenth Corps [belonging to 2ND Army]. Consisting [north to south] of the 7TH, 21ST, and 5TH Divisions, the corps had provided flank protection for the main assault by the Anzac’s and had also, on paper, achieved all its objectives, albeit at a high price. In some areas the mud and huge tangles of German barbed wire had been so bad that the attacking troops had almost immediately become bogged down thus losing their protective creeping barrage. These forces had been subjected to intense machine gun fire from pillboxes, and an immense German artillery barrage, which in some places could hardly be distinguished from the British creeping barrage. Amongst the most badly mauled units of Tenth Corps had been the 5TH Division.

For the assault, the division [a pre war Regular Army formation], on the extreme right of the Corps operations, had employed its 13TH and 95TH Infantry Brigades. The Thirteenth, consisting of the 1ST Battalion of the Royal West Kents, and 2ND King’s Own Scottish Borderers [KOSB] had already suffered many casualties in the same bombardment which had caused so much havoc amongst the Australians nevertheless, the remnants of the formation had begun their attack on the Polderhoek Spur at Zero Hour as planned.

The two battalions had almost straightaway been decimated by the customary hail of retaliatory enemy fire, so much so that the KOSB, tasked with a frontal attack on a pile of bricks which had once been Polderhoek Chateau, having begun the assault with around six hundred officers and men, had advanced barely seven hundred bullet and shell riddled yards until the battalion had been virtually annihilated. Consisting of little more than a handful of men and pinned down on the edge of the grounds of the Chateau the KOSB could advance no further, the surviving soldiers being forced to consolidate what little ground they had gained with their picks and shovels.

Throughout the remainder of the fourth the gallant band of Borderers had beaten off no less than eight counter attacks. Totally exhausted by the night of the 5/6 of October, the ninety survivors men had been relieved that night to march the four miles behind the front to ‘Oxford House’, where the men had received a well earned hot breakfast. Amongst the Borderers killed during the operations at Polderhoek Chateau had been twenty nine years old; 20801 Private Louis Edward Normanton.

Born in Scarborough during 1888 at No56 Trafalgar Street East, Louis had been the youngest son of Ruth and Edward Normanton, a constable in Scarborough’s Police Force. Another pupil of Mr John Brown’s Central Board School for boys, Louis Normanton had remained at the school until the age of thirteen, when he had begun work as an apprentice to Mr. Frank Watson, a ‘tailor and ladies costume maker’, whose workshops had been located at No.30 Cambridge Street, and Trafalgar Street West. [7]

By the outbreak of war Normanton had been a qualified tailor and had been working in the Chorley Lane factory of Messrs. John Barran & Sons, at the time a well known and reputable Leeds based firm specialising in the mass production of suits and other clothing. Lodging some six miles from the city with elder brother Charles William [born in Scarborough during 1885], a City of Leeds Police Constable, at No.2 Albert Street in the village of Stanningley, Normanton had not been amongst the throngs of men who had enlisted during the tumultuous first months of the war, he had accepted the King’s Shilling’ in June the following year.

Opting for service in a regular battalion of the KOSB, Louis had initially been posted to the Regimental Depot at Berwick on Tweed, in Northumberland, where he had undergone three months of ‘Square bashing’ and other military training with the 3RD [Reserve] Battalion of the regiment. Subsequently allotted to the Second Battalion [a pre war Regular Army formation], Normanton had joined the unit in Flanders, ironically almost two years to the day that he would be killed there.

On garrison duty in Dublin at the out break, 2ND KOSB had been attached to the 13TH Infantry Brigade of the 5TH Division and had been amongst the first formations of the British Expeditionary Force to land on French soil on the 17TH of August 1914, and had served with the British Second Corps during the fighting at Mons and Le Cateau. Having taken part in the majority of the fighting on the Western Front since then, especially the Second Battle of Ypres where the battalion had seen severe fighting at Hill 60 during April/May 1915], by October 1915 the Battalion had consisted of few of the men who had originally arrived with the formation in 1914, Normanton had joined the Battalion with a draft of replacements in the notoriously rat infested Carnoy Sector of the Somme front, and had soon been introduced to the depravations of trench warfare on the Western Front.

A veteran of the Somme Offensive of 1916, where Normanton had experienced the terrors of High Wood [July –August] where the battalion had lost over four hundred men, and the capture of Falfemont Farm [3 September] and Morval [23 September] where the formation had again suffered heavily [over one thousand casualties] to machine gun and shell fire. Normanton had also served in the Arras Offensive of the spring of 1917, his battalion seeing much action in support of the Canadians at Vimy Ridge. However, on the second of September 1917 the 2ND KOSB had begun its move back to the north and the Ypres Sector preparatory to taking their place in the already started Third Battle of Wipers.

The Fifth Division had eventually relieved the 23RD Division in trenches near Polygon Wood during the night of the twenty seventh of September. The men of 2ND KOSB had begun to make their preparations for the assault on Polderhoek Chateau during the night of the 1ST of October when the battalion had left their billets at Berthen to march, via Bailleul and Locre, to Dickebusch, where the formation had made their final preparations for the operation. Captain Gillon tells us…’they fitted out elaborately and weightily with extra rations, bombs, tools etc., and marched across the Comines Canal and Messines Road to Bedford House…After a halt of four hours the relief of the support lines of the 70TH Infantry Brigade in the Stirling Castle area, a long mile west of Polderhoek, was accomplished a 1am on the 2ND. Here they were vigorously shelled all day, and that night relieved the 8TH York and Lancasters on a two company front in trenches that were still worse shelled’…[8]

During the rain filled night of the third of October the officers and men of 2ND KOSB, no doubt warmed slightly with a generous tot of pre battle rum had slipped silently out of their forward trenches to a taped ‘advance position’ in ‘No Man’s Land’, where they had waited for Zero Hour.

The news of Louis Normanton’s death had been included in a casualty list, which had appeared in the ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 26TH of October 1917;

‘Ex Policeman’s son killed - Official news has been received that Private Louis E. Normanton, youngest son of ex P.C. and Mrs. Normanton, 80 Trafalgar Road, has been killed in action. Private Normanton, who was a single man, aged 28, served his apprenticeship with Mr. F. Watson, Trafalgar Street West, but joined up from Messrs. J. Barran & Sons, Leeds, in June 1915, going into the trenches three months later. He had twice been in Hospital having suffered badly from trench foot and being sent to Scotland [?].

He was also in hospital in France with blood poisoning. H e was on leave in Scarborough about a year ago. A comrade named Webster, of Brook Street, sent home the news of Private Normanton’s death, both men being in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. Webster was able to assure his friends that Private Normanton had been properly buried. News also came from a chaplain, as well as the official intelligence, which gives the date of death as October 4TH. Mrs. Normanton’s health has been impaired largely as a result of anxiety about her son’….

Despite reportedly having been ‘properly buried’, the remains of Louis Normanton had never been recovered from the battlefield at the end of the war and had therefore become another of Scarborough’s casualties with no known grave. His name like so many of his fellow townsmen had been included on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing at Zonnebeke, Western Flanders amongst the hundreds of names of missing King’s Own Scottish Borderers commemorated on Panels 62-8 of the Memorial.

During the post war years apart from the Oliver’s Mount Memorial, Louis Normanton’s name had been included on a Roll of Honour, which had commemorated fourteen former members [including Jim Goodill] of the congregation of Scarborough’s Jubilee Methodist Chapel who had ‘fallen’ during the war. The memorial had adorned a wall of the Chapel, which had been located in Aberdeen Walk [the site in 2005 is occupied by Scarborough’s ‘Job Centre’] until its demolition during the 1970’s. Alas, the whereabouts of this memorial is not known. Nevertheless, the soldier’s name can also be found on a grave marker in the town’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section N, Row16, Grave 38/9].

[Although not commemorated on the grave marker the plot is also the final resting place of Louis’s mother Ruth Normanton, who had died at the age of seventy on the 28TH of February 1921. Born at Norton on the 3RD of May 1848, Louis’s father, Edward Normanton had joined the Scarborough Police Force on the 3RD of August 1872, however, during December 1878 he had resigned his post in order to go to Brazil with his three brothers, all employed by a Malton firm of engineers, to build gasholders in San Paulo and Santos. Following his return from Brazil Normanton had gone to York where he had found employment in his old trade of carpenter. Eventually he had returned to Scarborough where he had once again joined the Police Force, in which he had remained until his retirement on the 7TH of September 1899. Edward Normanton had subsequently passed away at his home at No.80 Trafalgar Road on Monday the 15TH of January 1934 at the age of eighty six years. Dubbed ‘Scarborough’s oldest police pensioner’ by the local press, the remains of the former policeman had been interred in the plot during the afternoon of Friday the nineteenth of January].

Exactly a year after the death of Louis, Mr and Mrs Normanton had placed an epitaph to their lost son in the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the ‘Scarborough Mercury’, it had appeared with many other dedications to fallen sons and husbands [including Privates Foster and Goodill] in the edition of Friday the fourth of October 1918;

‘In loving memory of our dear beloved son, Private Louis E. Normanton, 2ND KOSB, who was killed in action somewhere in Belgium on the 4TH of October 1917.

His fighting is done; he’s now at rest.
God takes them first who are the best.
His vacant place no one can fill.
We loved him well; we miss him still.
From his father, mother, brothers, and sisters’

Darkness on the fourth of October had brought the battle of Broodseinde to an end.

At a cost of around twenty thousand casualties the British line had been advanced a thousand yards closer to their ultimate objective, Passchendaele Ridge. Having themselves suffered tremendous casualties, and in addition, lost around five thousand men as prisoners of war, the battle had been considered by the Germans as perhaps their ‘blackest day of the war’. Almost all of the Gheluvelt Plateau had now been secured by the British, and despite the sorry state of his exhausted and sodden troops, and the heavy rain which had begun to fall during the afternoon of the fourth, and despite the opinions of his two Army Commanders, Plumer and Gough, who, though willing to continue, but would have welcomed a closing down of the campaign, the offensive had been ordered to continue ‘at least until the Passchendaele Ridge had been taken’.

The new operation, later christened the ‘Battle of Poelcappelle’, had been launched by Second Army following another largely ineffectual artillery barrage on the 9TH of October. Spearheaded by the sorely tried 1ST and 2ND Anzac, and the British eighteenth Corps the attackers had floundered through 800 to 1,000 yards of rain swept glutinous mud towards the Passchendaele Ridge where the Australians had been so badly mauled by the customary wall of German machine gun fire in their advance that the advance had had to eventually be called off.

Elsewhere the British had encountered much the same difficulties, the poor state of the ground, a lack of effective artillery support, and unsubdued fire from hundreds of concrete pillboxes, that by the night of the ninth the attacking forces with few exceptions, had been occupying their original positions, having gained less than a mile of ground. Second Army had suffered more than nine thousand killed, wounded, and missing on the 9th of October. Amongst them had been thirty years old; 305753 Corporal George Ernest Adams.

Born in Scarborough at No.17 Sussex Street on the 30TH of April 1885, George had been the eldest son of Hannah [formally Kitching] and ‘postman’ George Lumley Adams. A former pupil o

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