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Old Contemptibles

theodore

master brummie
Hi Phil,

Your Grandfather (Albert) is not on my database for 1914 Star (2nd Battalion) men. I have looked up his service papers on Ancestry and also for his MIC to make sure I had not missed Albert from my research and the reason he is not included is the fact he was discharged in August 1914 and did not go to France with the Battalion. All the men I am researching are 14 Star men and this amounts to just over 1600 men all told. To research all 2nd Battalion men would be just a little too much for me to undertake but it was interesting to read his service record.

Regards

Peter
 

Phil B

Made in Brum
Thanks Peter,

Just out of interest, if my Grandfather had been allowed to stay with the 2nd Bat. can you tell me what would the first engagement have been?
I'm just woundering what the odds would have been for him to have survived if he had gone to France and therefore do I owe my existence to him have a knee injury?

Phil
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Phil,

I often wonder myself if I would be here today had it not been for the good fortune of a German bullet. My own Grandfather was wounded at Gheluvelt and discharged no longer fit for war service in 1915.

My research regarding men of the 2nd Worcesters to date shows that of the 1656 (2nd Battalion) men entitled to the 1914 Star 496 died (KiA, DoW or died) between the dates 9th September (first man to die) and 5th February 1921. Wounded noted to date for 1914-18, 692. The wounded list will be higher but researching wounded lists in various newspapers takes a good amount of time and effort.

The first loss to the Battalion was the horse of the Adjutant, Lieut. B.C. Senhouse Clarke and th following extract from Stacke for the 24th August 1914 will explain:

Frameries proved to be an ugly mining village with slag heaps and tangled streets. The ground north of it was an open slope. There the 2nd Worcestershire deployed, while the two light infantry battalions went on further to complete the line from Frameries to Paterages. The defensive line selected for the 2nd Worcestershire ran across a wide stubble field facing north with all four Companies in the firing line, finding their own supports. All ranks of the Battalion were already tired out, but all worked hard at the entrenchment of the new position, and with great effort the necessary cover was completed just before the dawn.
At the first light the enemy renewed their attack. The German guns opened fire on our trenches and the surrounding buildings at 0300 hours. Shrapnel was now bursting all along the British line. The bombardment continued until 0800 hours. One of the first shells killed the horse of the Adjutant, Lieut. B. C. Senhouse Clarke*. This was the first loss in the Battalion. Presently small bodies of the German infantry were seen advancing among the slag heaps and cottages of Flenu and Cuesmes. The enemy did not come on very fast. On the previous day they had advanced boldly and had suffered severely from the British musketry. They had learnt caution and they now advanced with circumspection towards the positions of the British battalions. These latter held their ground, opening fire at intervals when suitable targets were offered.
The enemy’s shellfire caused several casualties among the 2nd Worcestershire (5 men wounded, 21 missing). One severely wounded man was carried into safety by Company Sergeant Major A. Mayston who was awarded the D.C.M. for this deed. Another was rescued by two unknown stretcher bearers of the Battalion, who came up to the bombarded trenches from the houses in the rear across the open, winning general admiration for their contempt of danger. The bombardment became even more severe, but the enemy’s infantry remained at a respectful distance, and no serious attack had yet developed when, at 0800 hours came orders to retire. Messages were sent forward to the trenches that the companies were to retire in succession through Frameries village and were to form up south of the houses. In accordance with those orders the companies left their trenches and fell back through Frameries.
As the troops fell back, the wretched inhabitants of the village poured out of their houses in a terror stricken mob. In the streets all order was lost. Runaway horses and shrieking, sobbing women broke up the ranks of the platoons, while the houses around collapsed under the German shells. But the Worcestershire lads kept their heads.
Orders were shouted to reform on the road beyond the village, and officers and men made their way as best they could through the stampede. On the road south of the village the companies were halted and reassembled. As if on peace training the platoons closed up into column of fours and stood at ease. Rolls were called and every man was accounted for. The troops were cool and steady in spite of the shells bursting among the houses close behind. When all was ready the Battalion sloped arms and marched off down the road.
An officer who saw much fighting afterwards said “exactly as if marching back to barracks at Aldershot. I have always considered that this reassembling of the Battalion after the utter disorder in the streets of Frameries was the finest possible example of the discipline of the 'Old Army’.”The Battalion marched back about a mile and took up a defensive position north of the woods south of Eugies to cover further retirement. The 2nd Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire L.I. took up position on the left of the 2nd Worcestershire, and presently the 1st Lincolnshire fell back into line on the right flank. The three battalions of the 5th Brigade reassembled at Eugies where they remained until about 1630 hours, when orders came to rejoin the 2nd Division. The Brigade moved off and after a tiring but uneventful march, reached Bavai about 2200 hours where the 2nd Connaught Rangers rejoined the Brigade. The 2nd Worcestershire bivouacked for the night in an open field, cheered by a hot meal and welcome mail from home.

The first 2nd Battalion soldier to be killed was Private 11365 George Shannon who died as a result of his wounds on 9th September 1914. The following extract again from Stacke is the action the Battalion were involved in when Private Shannon was wounded:

At 0900 hours the Battalion was ordered to advance and came into action under slight shell and rifle fire to Le Gravier on the left of the Guards Brigade. “A” company crossed the bridge at that place and took 23 German prisoners at the farm. The banks of the Petit Morin were steep and thickly wooded. “A” & “B” Companies of the Battalion found covered positions on the wooded slopes and engaged the hostile machine guns, while “C” & “D” Companies moved further to the left to effect a crossing. "C" Company found a sheltered bend in the river and waded across to the northern bank, and “D” Company made a similar crossing further to the left. The two companies pushed up the slope through the woods, and before their attack the German defenders gave way. The German casualties were heavy, our guns doing good work. The enemy were dismounted cavalry scattered in small parties along the heights. Several of these detachments were rounded up and killed or captured. “C” & “D” Companies between them secured 23 prisoners. The enemy evacuated Sablonnieres and fell back through the wooded country to the line of the River Marne. In the woods scattered fighting continued during most of the afternoon, it was dark when the 2nd Worcestershire and the bulk of the 5th Brigade bivouacked for the night at La Petite Basseville. Casualties were 12 wounded and 18 missing.

Hope this is of some help.

Regards

Peter

P.S. I noticed on your list of name searches you have Sandford on your list, I have Sanford on my family tree (Great Gran).
 

Phil B

Made in Brum
Thanks again Peter,

Very interesting, not that I believe in fate but it makes you think, doesn't it?

By the way, the Sanford name belonged to my Grandmother.

Regards
Phil
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi John

Many thanks for the photograph of Joseph. Still working on the database and any new info (photos etc) is always very much appreciated.

Regards

Peter
 

josietrue

gone but not forgotten
can anyone help
i have just found out that my gggreat uncle died of his wounds 29sept 1915 in france it states that he died at
number 20 general hospital what i am trying to find out would that be a field hospital or a city hostpital he was in the 2nd bat worcestershire reg i would like to see if there would be a death cert for him that i might be able to apply for i would be gratful for any help given
thank you josie
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Josie

Your GGGreat Uncle is a 1915 Star man so not on my database (14 Star men only). From his medal indesx card I see he was entitled to the 1915 Star and the British War and Victory Medals. He went to France on 27th March 1915. No service records for Albert found on Ancestry so they must have been destroyed (in 1940 the place holding the service records was bombed and many were lost or badly fire and water damaged). I found reference to a 20 General Hospital at Camiers (from May 1915 to April 1919).
You can find the details on the web at The Long, Long Trail (Google this). It gives a lot of info on Hospitals etc.

Hope this helps.

Regards

Peter
 

john70

master brummie
I had a great uncle, George Haylor who was with the Worcesters, and was killed at Hooge Belgium on June 16th.1915.
 

theodore

master brummie
John

Your Great Uncle Pte. 8490 George Haylor is not on my database (he went to France on 24th November 1914 and is entitled to the 1915 Star, had he gone a few days before he would have been a 1914 Star man and one of the men I am researching). He enlisted in Brimingham aged 17 years 6 months on the 27th August 1909. He was also entitle to the British War and Victory Medals.

Regards

Peter
 

brummie nick

master brummie
Peter, we have this letter sent to my wife's Grandmother about the 1914 Star that her husband had been awarded he was in the 3RD Battalion Worcesters1914.JPG
 

theodore

master brummie
Hi Nick,

Thanks for the photo, George is one of the 2nd Battalion I am researching. He went to France with the 2nd Battalion in August 1914 later joining the 3rd after he had been wounded (1914) and was killed in action during the attack on Spanbroek Mill, Lindenhoek, Belgium.

During the attack on Thursday 12th March 1915 the men of the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment suffered heavy casualties with 9 officers and 77 other ranks killed. All but two of the officers are burried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery. All but four of the other ranks are remembered on a panel at Menin Gate Memorial at Ieper (Ypres).

Do you have a photograph of George in uniform?

Regards

Peter
 

brummie nick

master brummie
Peter thanks for the reply, we don't have any pictures of him, and sadly the 1914 Star was stolen in a house robbery.
We do have his 'Small' book also his mobilization papers, and notification of his death, would be happy to send pictures of them if you're interested.

Nick
 

theodore

master brummie
Nick,

Thanks for your offer, but just checked his folder and you have sent these to me already.

You may want to look at the following website

www.worcestershireregiment.com

Take a look on the forum under general enquires and you will find a Gemma with an interest in George (her Great Grandfather).

You may have to register.

Regards

Peter
.
 

Steve R

master brummie
Hello

Nice memorial plaque and not one I have seen before. I have been to the Old Contemptible's PH a few times and they have paintings of soldiers on their walls and the old contemptible sign hanging above the door. I have been told that soldiers using the old Snow hill train on their way to War and those returning often used the pub. Well worth a visit.

Steve R
 

terry carter

Birmingham Pals
The meetings of the Birmingham Branch of the Old Contemptibles Association were held at the Albion Hotel in Edmund Street and in 1953 Mitchells & Butlers renamed the Albion Hotel the "Old Contemptibles" in their honour.

Terry
 
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