Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916

Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916

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Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916

Here we see a raiding party from the 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, taken on 18 April 1916. The party is wearing rather varied gear, including two German spiked helmets. Note the trench club at the far left.

Many thanks to Osprey for allowing us to use this picture, which comes from:

    Regular Battalions:

    Territorial Force:

    Kitchener's New Army:

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Acheson Joseph. 2nd Lt 2nd Btn. (d.7th Jun 1918)
  • Agnew William. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.30th November 1917)
  • Ainslie Montague Forwood. Lt. 12th Btn. (d.17th Apr 1916)
  • Anderson James A.. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.12th Sep 1916)
  • Asbury Joseph. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.12th Oct 1916)
  • Ashton John Edward. Pte. 12th Battalion
  • Axson Harry. Pte. 1/5th Btn.
  • Bailey Lewis. Pte
  • Barton Jonathan. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.20th November 1917)
  • Baxter Edward Felix. Lt. 1st/8th Btn. (d.18th April 1916)
  • Bell Horace Creesor. Pte. 17th Btn.
  • Benson Richard. Pte. 13th Btn (d.15th Nov 1918)
  • Bernes James. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.17th Aug 1917)
  • Bernes James. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.17th Aug 1917)
  • Bicker Claude Thomas. Pte. (d.1st June 1917)
  • Billington Henry Charles.
  • Blabey John Richard. Lt 17th Btn
  • Blake John. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.10th Mar 1915)
  • Blakeley Ernest. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.21st Dec 1914)
  • Bloom Bertram. 2nd Lt. 3rd Btn. (d.30th June 1918)
  • Bolton Stanley Reeves. Pte. 19th Btn. No.2 Coy. (d.27th July 1916)
  • Bolton William. Pte. 9th Btn. C Coy. (d.1st June 1918)
  • Bottomley Herbert. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.18th Sep 1918)
  • Bradley R.. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.6th October 1918)
  • Brennan Joseph. Pte. 1st/9th Btn. (d.15th July 1916)
  • Brewer Frederick Knott. Pte. 8th (Liverpool Irish) Btn. (d.5th Oct 1918)
  • Brewer Frederick. Pte. 8th Battalion (d.5 October 1918)
  • Bridge Isaac Holt. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.29th March 1917)
  • Brockbank Andrew. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.25th March 1918)
  • Brooks David Henry. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.5th Mar 1917)
  • Brooks John. Pte. 1/6th Btn.
  • Brown William. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.10th Mar 1915)
  • Brownlie Leonard Charles. Pte. 17th (d.14 Jan 1916)
  • Bulcock Fred. Pte 13th Btn (d.16th Aug 1916)
  • Burke William Henry Dwerryhouse. 6th (Rifles) Btn.
  • Burns John. CSM. 13th (d.16th Aug 1916)
  • Burtmore Blenheim Edward. Pte. 13th Btn.
  • Bush Henry. Pte. 8th (Irish) Battalion
  • Bush Henry. Pte. 8th (Liverpool Irish) Btn.
  • Bushell Charles. Pte. (d.6th Jun 1917)
  • Cannon Frederick James. A/Sgt. 1st Btn., B Coy. (d.10th Mar 1915)
  • Carter Christopher. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.28th Mar 1918)
  • Carter Stanley Raymond. Cpl. 1/10th (Liverpool Scottish) Btn. (d.9th August 1916)
  • Chantler Henry. Pte.
  • Chicken Robert. Pte.
  • Clitheroe Harry. Pte. 8th Btn.
  • Coar Edward Roland. 2nd Lt. 2nd Btn. (d.8th Jan 1918)
  • Cocker Harold. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.22nd Mar 1918)
  • Cocker Harold. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.22nd Mar 1918)
  • Cohen Abraham. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.7th Oct 1916)
  • Collins Albert James. Cpl. 12th Btn.
  • Condon James. Pte. 8th (Liverpool Irish) Battalion (d.12th September 1916)
  • Costain William Edward. Pte. 10th Battalion (d.28th Apr 1915)
  • Cotter Thomas. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.30th November 1917)
  • Cotton John William. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.24th Aug 1916)
  • Cotton John William. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.24th Aug 1916)
  • Covill Herbert. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.8th October 1918)
  • Cragg Brian. Pte.
  • Cross William Walter. Pte. 17th (1st City) Btn. (d.31st Jul 1917)
  • Crowe James William. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.12th July 1916)
  • Cruickshank Arthur Lewis. Pte. 8th Btn. (d.8th Aug 1916)
  • Cuddy George. L/Sgt. 17th Btn. (d.29th Apr 1918)
  • Cunningham Robert Norval. Pte. 1st/10th Btn. (d.2nd June 1917)
  • Davidson John. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.3rd October 1916)
  • Davies Daniel James. Pte.
  • Davies Walter Henry. Cpl. 8th Battalion (d.18th Aug 1916)
  • Devine Joseph Edgar. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.19th Apr 1918)
  • Dinnen Campbell Hackworth. Capt. attd. (as Staff Capt.) West African Regiment, W.A. (d.4th March 1915)
  • Donald David. Pte. 1/10th Scottish
  • Donegan Patrick Joseph. Pte. 13th Btn.
  • Dorrity Adrian Kingsley. Pte. 1/10th (Liverpool Scottish) Btn. (d.20th Apr 1917)
  • Dunn Francis Joseph. Pte. 4th Btn.
  • Eade Alymer. 2nd Lt. 3rd Btn. (d.9th Oct 1917)
  • Easthope Harry. Pte. 12th (Service) Battalion (d.5th October 1918)
  • Eastwood Donald. Capt. 6th (Rifle) Btn. (d.20th Sep 1917)
  • Edwards Richard Frederick. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.6th September 1916)
  • Edwards Walter John. Pte. 67th Coy. (d.23rd Sept 1918)
  • Ellison William. L/Cpl. 1/9th Btn. (d.31st July 1917)
  • Evans Alfred. Sgt. 17th Btn.
  • Evans Hugh George. 2nd Lt. 5th Btn. (d.4th September 1918)
  • Evans Robert George. Sgt. 18th (2nd Liverpool Pals) Btn. (d.24th Oct 1918)
  • Evans William.
  • Faulkner Herbert Charles. 1/10th (Liverpool Scottish)Battalion
  • Fitzsimmons James. Sgt. 2/7th Btn.
  • Fletcher John Michael. Pte.
  • Fordyce Arthur Edwin. Lt.
  • Forrester Thomas. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.16th Nov 1914)
  • Free William Albert. Cpl. 8th Btn. C Coy.
  • Garner Edward. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.8th Aug 1916)
  • Gilleeney John. Pte. 4th (Extra Reserve)
  • Gilleeney John. Pte. 4th (Extra Reserve) Btn
  • Gilleeney John. Pte. 4th Btn.
  • Gillingham M.. Pte. (d.21st March 1918)
  • Gillings William J.. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.21st Dec 1917)
  • Goff Charles Edward. Lt.Col. 1st Btn. (d.8th Aug 1916)
  • Greenfield Thomas Alexander. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.29th September 1918)
  • Greenhalgh David. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.27th April 1915)
  • Gribben Joseph. Pte. 6th Btn.
  • Grundy Percy John. 2nd Lt. 5th Btn.
  • Halsall Henry Edward. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.16th Sep 1916)
  • Hancock Timothy. Pte.
  • Hancock Timothy. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.17th Nov 1917)
  • Hargreaves Stuart. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.22 Sep 1917)
  • Harrington Charles Edward. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.3rd March 1916)
  • Hartley James Henry. Pte. 46th MG Coy. (d.20th Apr 1918)
  • Haskayne Albert. Sgt. 11th (Pioneer) Battalion (d.19th August 1916)
  • Hawthornthwaite Wilfrid. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.20th Nov 1917)
  • Haywood Thomas. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.9th August 1916)
  • Hennessy George. CSM.
  • Hibbert Charles Thomas. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.14th July 1916)
  • Hibbert Samuel Edward. Sgt. 12th Btn. (d.25th Sep 1915)
  • Higgins Robert. Pte 5th Battalion (d.28th October 1916)
  • Highcock Peter. Cpl. (d.14th Nov 1918)
  • Hilditch Arthur Jackson. Pte. 18th Battalion (d.18th Oct 1916)
  • Hilditch Arthur Jackson. Pte. 18th Btn. (d.18 Oct 1916)
  • Hilditch Arthur Jackson. Pte 18th Btn. (d.18th Oct 1916)
  • Hildred Fredrick Charles. Cpl. 2/6th Btn.
  • Hill Arthur. Rfmn. 1st/5th Btn. (d.31st Jul 1917)
  • Hilton Peter. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.25th Sep 1915)
  • Hirst Gerald. 2Lt. 3rd Btn. (d.26th Feb 1917)
  • Hodson Joseph. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.15th Oct 1916)
  • Hogan James. Sgt. 12th Btn.
  • Holt Eustace Addison. L/Cpl. 10th Btn. (d.4th Oct 1916)
  • Hopper John. Pte. (d.14th March 1918)
  • Hopper John. Pte. (d.14th March 1918)
  • Houghton John Henry. Pte. 7th Battalion
  • Howlett Thomas. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.13th Jan 1915)
  • Hufton Harry. L/Cpl. 17th Battalion (d.27th June 1916)
  • Humphrey Idwal Ben. 2nd Lt 14th Btn (d.14th Sep 1916)
  • Jackson Arthur. Pte. 1st/4th Btn. (d.19th April 1917)
  • Jackson Arthur. Pte. 1/4th Btn. (d.19th April 1917)
  • Jardine Alfred Herbert. Pte. 9th Btn. (d.27th Aug 1915)
  • Jarvis Frederick Gustave. Pte. 10th Btn. (d.13th Aug 1916)
  • Jessop William James. Pte 18th Btn
  • Johnson Joseph. Pte. 4th Battalion
  • Joicey Thomas. Pte. 8th Battalion (d.31st July 1917)
  • Jones David. Sgt. 12th Btn. (d.7th Oct 1916)
  • Jones Leonard Maelor. Pte. 17th Btn (d.30th July 1916)
  • Jones Thomas Hari. Pte. 19th Battalion (d.5th July 1916)
  • Kay Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.13th July 1916)
  • Kaye A. E.. 11th Btn.
  • Kearns John Patrick. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.16th August 1917)
  • Kelshaw Richard. Pte 12th Btn. (d.10 Sep 1916)
  • Lambert Herbert David. Pte. 1/9th Btn. (d.12th Aug 1916)
  • Lang Matthew. 17th Btn. (d.27th Jun 1916)
  • Langwade John Willy. Pte. 10th Scottish Battalion
  • Latchford Francis Victor. Pte 12th Btn
  • Latham William. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.16th March 1916)
  • Lee G.. Rflmn. 5th Btn. (d.4th July 1916)
  • Light Earl Eustace. Pte. 3rd Btn.
  • Lloyd Sidney James. Pte. 20th Battalion (d.17th Sep 1917)
  • Luft Charles Henry. Pte 2/7th Battalion (d.27th September 1918)
  • Lyon Samuel Ignatius. Pte. 10th (Scottish) Btn. (d.20th Aug 1916)
  • Maiden W.. Pte. 1st Garrison Btn. (d.23rd Sep 1916)
  • Marchbank Robert Bruce. Pte. 12th Btn, C Coy. (d.19th Aug 1918)
  • Marsh William. Pte. 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Btn. (d.22nd Sep 1917)
  • Mattox Bertie. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.23rd Sep 1917)
  • McCabe Patrick. Pte. 18th Btn. (d.22nd Sept 1917)
  • McCartney John William. Private 25th battalion
  • McColl Donald Robert. CSM. 10th Btn. (d.15th Dec 1918)
  • McCormick John. Pte 14th Btn. (d.7th July 1918)
  • Mcdonald John. Pte.
  • McFarlane John. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.22nd May 1918)
  • McGarry Joseph. Pte 1st Btn (d.19 May 1915)
  • McGarry Joseph. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.19th May 1915)
  • McMahon James Joseph. Rfmn. 6th Btn.
  • Miller Leonard Lantaff. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.30th September 1918)
  • Millett George Henry. Pte. 12th Battalion (d.11th April 1916)
  • Mitchell Charles Napier. L/Sgt. 13th Btn. (d.21st Aug 1918)
  • Molyneux Ellis. Sgt. 20th Btn. (d.20th October 1916)
  • Monks James. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. B Coy.
  • Moore Joseph. L/Cpl. 1st Btn.
  • Moran James. Pte. (d.16th August 1916)
  • Moran James. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.16th August 1916)
  • Moss John Ulrich. Pte. 1/7th Btn. (d.31st Jul 1917)
  • Mounsey William. Pte. 1st/7th Bn. (d.27th Sep 1918)
  • Murphy Richard. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.23rd March 1916)
  • Nation Henry Charles. Pte. 1/5th Btn.
  • Neale Algernon Hastings Campbell. Lt.Col. 8th Btn.
  • Neill Thomas Charles. Pte. 12th Battalion
  • North George. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.26th June 1918)
  • Nutter James. Pte. 9th Battalion
  • O'Neill Enoch. Pte. 1st Btn.
  • Oneill Enoch. Pte. 1st Btn.
  • Osbaldiston Robert. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.3rd October 1916)
  • Parker Arthur. Sgt. 12th Battalion (d.1st May 1916)
  • Pedley John Willis. Cpl. 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Battalion
  • Petticrew George. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.10th April 1918 )
  • Pinkney Ralph. Pte. 9th Battalion
  • Porter Matthias. Pte. 1/7th Battalion
  • Porter William. Pte.
  • Preddy Frederick William. Pte. 18th (2nd City) Btn. (d.16th June 1918)
  • Price Leslie. Pte. 18th Btn. (d.26th Feb 1916)
  • Price William. L/Cpl. 1/5th Btn.
  • Proctor Arthur Herbert. Pte. 1/5th Btn.
  • Pye-Smith Phillip Howson Guy . Lt. 11th Btn. (d.15th May 1917)
  • Rafferty John. Pte. 2/8th Battalion (d.9th October 1916)
  • Redmond Michael John. Pte. 8th Btn. (d.9th Sept 1915)
  • Reid Jeremiah. Pte. 2/8th Btn. (d.28 Mar 1918)
  • Richardson Matthew. L/Cpl 1st/5th Btn (d.14th March 1918)
  • Riley P.. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.29th March 1916)
  • Rivers Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.5th May 1917)
  • Rogers Bert. Pte.
  • Ross Joseph Francis. Pte 6th Btn
  • Russell Patrick Joseph. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.30th Jul 1916)
  • Ryan Frank. Pte. 2nd/7th Btn. (d.1 June 1918)
  • Ryan William Joseph A.. Pte. 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Btn.
  • Saxon Joe. Pte.
  • Seddon George Edward. Pte. 32nd Btn. (d.19th Oct 1917)
  • Seiffert Frederick Francis. L/Cpl. 18th Btn. (d.1st July 1916)
  • Shepherd Henry. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.7th Jul 1916)
  • Shepherd Joseph. Pte.
  • Smale Frank. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.23 Aug 1918)
  • Smallshaw George. Pte. 2/10th Btn. (Liverpool Scottish) (d.24th Aug 1917)
  • Smith Arthur. Cpl. 1st/10th batallion (d.30th Nov 1917)
  • Smith Edward Martin. Pte 10th (Liverpool Scottish) Btn.
  • Smith George. Sgt.
  • Smith James. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.5th Sep 1917)
  • Smith Joseph Elijah. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.21st Aug 1918)
  • Smith William. Pte. 10th Btn.
  • South John Brindley. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.29th Sep 1915)
  • Sowerby Arthur.
  • Squires James Albert. Pte. 1st Btn.
  • Stephens Fred Noel. Sgt.
  • Steward Thomas Watson. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.31st August 1918)
  • Stock Ivyston Stanley. CSM. 13th Battalion
  • Stretch A. H.. 2nd Lt. 4th Battalion
  • Strickley William John. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.28th April 1915)
  • Sumner Albert. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.22nd November 1917)
  • Sunderland William. Pte. 14th Btn. (d.19th April 1918)
  • Taylor Edwin. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.22nd March 1918)
  • Taylor Samuel. Pte. 12th Bn (d.20th Nov 1917)
  • Taylor William. Pte. 2/8th (Liverpool Irish) Battalion (d.20th Sep 1917)
  • Teasdale Thomas. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.31st Aug 1918)
  • Timbury Frederick John. Pte. 12th Btn. C Coy.
  • Todd Percy. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1918)
  • Tongue J.. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.8th Jan 1917)
  • Towey Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.25th April 1916)
  • Trigg William Herbert. Cpl. 11th Btn. (d.18th August 1916)
  • Tunney William. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.6th Jan 1915)
  • Tunney William. 2nd Lt. 1st Brn. (d.6th Jan 1915)
  • Tunney William. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.6th Jan 1915)
  • Turner Charles. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.18th May 1916)
  • Turner S. J.. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.2nd Nove 1917)
  • Tysoe George Frederick. Pte. 11th Battalion (d.4th April 1918)
  • Vincent Edwin William Barratt. Pte. 19th (3rd City) Btn.
  • Wahlers James. Pte. 1st/10th Battalion (d.25th April 1917)
  • Wall Sydney Frith. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.27th Aug 1915)
  • Walsh Bertram. Pte. 1st Garrison Btn. (d.3rd January 1919)
  • Watterson Robert Stanley. Private
  • Weldon Edward. Pte. 11th Battalion
  • Wells William. Pte 2/9th Battalion (d.19th July 1917)
  • Wheeler Henry Thornton Camden. Capt. 3rd Btn. (d.30th Oct 1916)
  • Wilkinson John Joseph. Pte. 20th Service Btn (d.21st March 1917)
  • Williams John Owen. Pte. 1st/10th Btn. (d.31st July 1917)
  • Wright William. Pte. 18th Btn. (d.1st Jul 1916)
  • Yates Reuben. Pte.
  • Young Cecil Bagnall. 13th Bn. (d.13th April 1918)
  • Young William Henry. Pte 17th Battalion (d.31st Jul 1917)

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There had been a previous attempt to raise a formation of Scots in Liverpool. Heightened tension with France in the late 1850s had provided the impetus for the emergence of the Volunteer movement. [6] Three "Scottish" companies (one "Highland" and two "Lowland") were formed as the 19th (Liverpool Scottish) Lancashire Volunteer Rifle Corps, [7] composed predominantly of the middle class. Disputes between members over the use of kilts and the colour of their tartan culminated in the 19th's fragmentation. By 1861, four companies of Liverpool Scottish existed within the 19th and 79th Corps. Neither corps survived: the 19th was subsumed by the Liverpool Volunteer Rifle Brigade while the 79th disbanded in 1863. [7]

The Second Boer War catalysed a renewed interest in establishing a unit composed of Scottish Liverpudlians. [8] On 30 April 1900, the 8th (Scottish) Volunteer Battalion was formed within the King's (Liverpool Regiment), with headquarters later being located at 22 Highgate Street, Edge Hill. [9] The Liverpool Scottish became one of four battalions in English infantry regiments to explicitly associate with the Irish and Scottish communities - the other battalions were the London Scottish, Liverpool Irish and London Irish Rifles. [10]

Traditional highland attire adopted for the battalion's dress uniform included the Clan Forbes pattern tartan and the glengarry headdress. [11] A former major in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Christopher Forbes Bell, was appointed commanding officer and officially assumed command on 24 October. [12] Bell was succeeded in command by Andrew Laurie Macfie in 1902. [13]

External image
the Liverpool Scottish
Museum display of WWI uniform [14]

In common with other volunteer battalions, the Liverpool Scottish organised a detachment for overseas service in South Africa during the Second Boer War. The contingent of 22 volunteers under Lieutenant John Watson was dispatched in 1902 and attached to the 4th Service Company of the 1st Gordon Highlanders. The battalion had already suffered its first fatality after Lieutenant J.A. Bingham succumbed to wounds incurred at Klip River while serving with the Imperial Yeomanry in February 1902. [15] They had only limited duties, primarily occupying blockhouses, as the conflict was reaching its conclusion. Nevertheless, the British Army recognised the battalion's contribution with the reward of a battle honour: "South Africa 1902". [16]

The Liverpool Scottish acquired purpose-built accommodation for its headquarters in 1904 at Fraser Street, in Liverpool City Centre, [15] which the battalion maintained until 1967. [17] The construction of the building was partially subsidised by public donation (some £4,000) but its cost required additional funds generated through a three-day "bazaar" hosted at St George's Hall. [15]

The Liverpool Scottish became the King's 10th Battalion in 1908 when Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane's reforms established the Territorial Force, which grouped the volunteers and yeomanry into 14 county-administered divisions and 14 mounted brigades. [18] By 1914, the 10th (Liverpool Scottish) would be subordinate to the South Lancashire Brigade, West Lancashire Division. [19]

1914–1915 Edit

When war was declared in August 1914, the Liverpool Scottish mobilised and moved to Scotland under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel William Nicholl, with the rest of the South Lancashire Brigade, as part of the defences of the Firth of Forth. Duplicate battalions were formed in Liverpool from personnel unable to volunteer for overseas service. The second-line battalion, designated as the 2/10th to distinguish it from the original, was organised in October, the third-line in May 1915. They became responsible for the training of recruits and provision of drafts for overseas service. The 2/10th, raised and organised by Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Adam Fairrie, was committed to the Western Front in 1917. [17]

Considered by contemporaries to be socially élite and reasonably well-trained compared to other territorial units, the 1/10th volunteered for overseas service and became the seventh territorial battalion to be dispatched to the Western Front. [20] [21] The battalion took passage aboard the SS Maidan at Southampton on 1 November 1914, completing its disembarkation at Le Havre on the morning of the third with the Queen's Westminster Rifles. [21] The battalion's original strength - those who qualified for the 1914 Star - became known as the "Maidaners" in reference to the vessel. [22]

Assigned to the 9th Brigade, 3rd Division, the Liverpool Scottish occupied trenches in the Kemmel area, five miles south of Ypres. The 1/10th suffered its first fatality on 29 November: Captain Arthur Twentyman, killed while attempting to return to British lines. [23] [24] The combination of severe winter and trench warfare soon depleted the strength of the Liverpool Scottish. [25] From an establishment of 26 officers and 829 men recorded in November, the battalion had dwindled to 370 able-bodied men by January 1915. [21] [25] Within weeks of the battalion's arrival, Major Blair, Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholl's successor, was replaced by J.R. Davidson due to ill-health. Davidson would command the battalion, albeit interrupted by wounds sustained during the Somme Offensive, until 1917, when he returned to Liverpool to become the city water board's Chief Engineer. [26]

Obsolete equipment and organisational differences with the regular army became some of the earliest challenges that the battalion and other territorials contended with in France. The Scottish employed the long version of the Lee–Enfield (MLE) rifle, which had been superseded by the SMLE (Short Magazine Lee–Enfield) in the Regular Army. Unsuited to newer ammunition and the conditions of the Western Front, the 10th's MLEs began to be phased out by the SMLE in early 1915—a process that would not be entirely complete until 1916. [27] Structurally different from their regular counterparts, territorial battalions were reorganised early in the war to conform with the regulars. [28] Unlike the Regular Army, which had adopted a four-company system in 1913, territorial battalions were still organised into eight companies. When the system was extended to the Liverpool Scottish, the battalion designated its consolidated companies "V", "X, "Y", and "Z". This contrasted with the more conventional "A" to "D" or "1" to "4"—considered by the battalion to be potentially confusing. [28]

The battalion's first major engagement happened on 16 June 1915, at Hooge, 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Ypres. [29] The 9th Brigade, with the 7th Brigade in support, was chosen to conduct a three-phased attack with the ultimate intention being to reach trenches on the south-western edge of Bellewaarde Lake. Situated behind German lines was Bellewaarde Ridge, a tactically-important feature that overlooked British positions. [30] [31] At 0415, the first wave of troops moved on their objective and quickly secured the first-line trenches, which continued to be shelled by British artillery. [32] [33] The Liverpool Scottish and 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, forming the second wave, then left their trenches to pass through the first wave of attackers and reach the German second-line. [34] Although the advance was relatively unopposed, "V" Company encountered resistance on its front from machine-gun fire. After briefly suspending its advance, the company, reinforced by "Z", charged the opposing positions and took about 40 prisoners. [33]

On capturing the second-line, elements of the Liverpool Scottish decided to consolidate the shallow trenches that afforded little protection. [33] The battle had quickly degenerated into a disorganised and chaotic affair, with British battalions losing cohesion and becoming mixed up with each other. An intensive German barrage decimated the occupants of the second-line trenches, while the 10th's temporary commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel E.G. Thin, was wounded by gunfire. [33] The remainder of the Liverpool Scottish continued onto the third-line with portions of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers. [35]

Consolidating the third-line proved difficult under relentless bombardment and determined opposition from the uncaptured right of the trench system. [33] Some of the Liverpool Scottish nevertheless impulsively carried on beyond the third-line, towards a position called Dead Man's Bottom and probable death. [35] The battalion's left flank became compromised in the afternoon by the retreat of the surviving Northumberland Fusiliers. The Liverpool Scottish eventually retreated first to the second-line, then to the more viable entrechments of the former German frontline. [33] The battle persisted into the night, and abortive attempts were made by the Germans to retake the first-line trenches. [36] For about 1,000 yards (3,000 ft) of gained territory, [37] the Liverpool Scottish had suffered heavy casualties: 79 killed, 212 wounded, and 109 missing from a pre-battle strength of 542 officers and other ranks. [38] A memorial to this battle was erected in the area in 2000. An experienced Company-Quartermaster Sergeant, R.A. Scott Macfie, described the aftermath at camp in a letter to his father:

. after a while there passed through our gate a handful of men in tattered uniforms, their faces blackened and unshaved, their clothes stained red with blood, or yellow with the fumes of lyddite. I shouted for Y Company. One man came forward! It was heart breaking. Gradually others tottered in some wounded, in various stages of exhaustion. [39] [40]

1916–1917 Edit

The West Lancashire Division reformed in January 1916 as the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, under the command of Major-General Hugh Jeudwine. Many of the division's original constituent battalions returned and the Liverpool Scottish joined the 166th Brigade. [41] Before being committed to the Somme Offensive in July 1916, the 55th had concentrated in the Amiens area. [41] The Liverpool Scottish moved to the Somme in mid-July and relieved the 18th King's near Montauban on the 31st. [42] After spending six days under constant artillery fire undertaking auxiliary duties in the vicinity of Bernafay and Trônes Woods, the Liverpool Scottish moved to Mansel Copse in preparation for an assault on Guillemont. [43] The village had already been subjected to two attacks since the opening battles of the Somme. At 0420 on 8 August, brigades from the 2nd and 55th divisions began a concerted effort to take Guillemont. The operation failed with resultingly heavy losses. Despite that, the Liverpool Irish and part of the 1st King's managed to enter Guillemont, but became isolated. More than 700 men from the two battalions were killed, wounded, or missing, many becoming prisoners of war. [44]

Amid reports that the Liverpool Irish were holding out in Guillemont, orders were issued for the 55th Division to renew the attack the next day. [44] Resuming the battle on the night of the 8th had been considered before the decision to attack in the early hours of the 9th. [45] The Liverpool Scottish, which had been in reserve on the 8th, was to advance along a front of 400 yards (1,200 ft) with the 1/5th Loyals on its left flank, penetrate the German frontline, and establish itself on Guillemont's eastern boundary. [46] In the prelude to the battle, the Liverpool Scottish waited behind lines, constantly moving to avoid sporadic German bombardment. Further difficulties arose for the battalion when it attempted to navigate to its starting positions through unfamiliar territory, compounded at one stage by the absence of guides. [46] While the battalion reached its destination at 0400, just 20 minutes before the attack was to begin, the Loyals did not arrive until an hour later. [47] Final orders were received late, giving Colonel Davidson only minutes to brief his company commanders. [45] [46]

A five-minute artillery bombardment preceded "Zero" hour, which provoked an immediate counter-barrage. [45] At 0420, the Liverpool Scottish went over the top from the same positions that the 164th Brigade had the previous day. The barrage enveloped the Liverpool Scottish in no man's land, which, combined with machine-gun fire, stifled the battalion's progress. Lieutenant-Colonel Davidson personally rallied his battalion, seeking to regain momentum, but was wounded during the repulsed attack. Two further attempts by the remnants of the battalion to reach the frontline yielded no success. Few had entered the German trenches, the majority having been obstructed by uncut barbed wire. [46] Of the 20 officers and about 600 other ranks engaged at Guillemont, 74 had been killed, 174 were wounded, and 32 were unaccounted for. Most of the missing would later be confirmed killed. [48] Another attempt was made days later by the 1/9th King's. The village would not be captured until September. Among the wounded was Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, attached to the Liverpool Scottish from the Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross. [49] He became the battalion's first and only recipient, and had previously been awarded the Military Cross for his conduct at Hooges. [50]

In the subsequent battles of Ginchy and Morval, the 1/10th was engaged in a purely supporting role: trench networks were constructed and improved near Delville Wood, and the dead collected and buried. [51] A party of two officers and 100 other ranks was attached to the Third West Lancashire Field Ambulance during the Battle of Morval. [52] After bivouacking at Pont Rémy, the battalion transferred with its division to the relatively quiet Ypres Salient in October. [53] The routine of alternating between the front line, being in support, and in reserve preoccupied the battalion until the Third Battle of Ypres in July 1917. [53] Casualties were nevertheless sustained by the battalion during this period, invariably as a result of shelling and sniping. [53]

The battalion was subsequently returned to the Ypres salient, positioned at Wieltje. On 31 July 1917, a new offensive around Ypres was launched to try to penetrate the German lines, advance to the Belgian coast and capture German submarine bases. The Liverpool Scottish experienced some of the heaviest resistance in 166th Brigade's area, taking heavy losses around the fortified farms. The battalion remained in some captured German trenches until it was relieved on 3 August. Captain Chavasse died of wounds the next day having again tended to wounded soldiers. His actions earned him a posthumous Bar to his Victoria Cross, [54] one of only three men to be so decorated, and the sole double recipient of the First World War. [55]

In September, the Scottish moved south to Epehy, thirteen miles south of Cambrai, where its division took part in the Battle of Cambrai in November. [56]

1918 Edit

On 21 March 1918, the Central Powers launched their expected German spring offensive (Operation Michael), signifying the beginning of Germany's final attempt to achieve a decisive victory before significant American forces arrived on the Western Front. By the 25th, substantial gains in territory had been made in the direction of Amiens. [57] Although prepared for a possible attack, the Liverpool Scottish and the 55th Division did not participate in the desperate Allied defence until the next phase of the offensive, Operation Georgette. [58]

Begun on 9 April, Operation Georgette shifted the focus to the devastated town of Ypres, in Flanders. [57] The bombardment preceding the attack was of considerable scale and included phosgene gas shells, causing severe casualties among the Liverpool Scottish. [59]

The Liverpool Scottish was involved in the defence of the Givenchy sector during the Battle of Estaires, sustaining such losses that they absorbed the 2/10th Battalion that had landed in France in February 1917. [60] After the Spring Offensive was halted, the Western Front entered its final phase—a series of Allied drives from August to November known as the Hundred Days Offensive. The Liverpool Scottish fought one of its last actions of the war, at La Bassée Canal, in October. [61]

The final month of the war offered little respite to the battalion. In the days leading up to the Armistice of 11 November 1918, the Liverpool Scottish helped to secure numerous villages without opposition and crossed the River Scheldt on 9 November. [62] On the day of the Armistice, the Liverpool Scottish was situated at Villers-Notre-Dame. [63] With the 165th and 166th brigades, the battalion had been readied to assault German positions obstructing passage into the town of Ath. Such a prospect was averted, however, when the 2/5th Lancashire Fusiliers attacked and seized one of the bridges before it could be demolished. [62]

The Liverpool Scottish, with a large number of men not eligible for immediate demobilization, were sent to Antwerp with the Army of Occupation to maintain a receiving camp for Army of Occupation cadres returning to England via Antwerp for demobilization. They remained there until demobilized at the completion of their task in November. [64]

Following reconstitution into the Territorial Army in 1920, the Liverpool Scottish formalised its relationship with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and transferred in 1937 to become the regiment's second territorial battalion. [65] In comparison to the densely urbanised region that the King's Regiment encompassed in north-west England, the Cameron Highlanders area of recruitment in the Highlands was sparsely populated. [66] Although it had its numerical designation omitted, the battalion's identity was preserved and headquarters at Fraser Street, Liverpool were retained. During a royal visit to Liverpool in 1938, George VI presented the battalion with new colours at Everton Football Club's Goodison Park stadium. [67]

After the Territorial Army began to expand following a Government announcement in March 1939, the Liverpool Scottish formed a second battalion. The TA was mobilised in August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of World War II. On the outbreak of war both battalions were in 165th Bde in 55th (West Lancashire) Division, and remained in Home Forces for the whole of the war. However, both battalions supplied drafts to other units, principally to the Cameron Highlanders, and formed contingents for the embryonic "Independent Companies" that became the Army "Commandos". [17] [68] [69] [70]

1st Battalion Edit

From 21 December 1943, 55th Division was in British Troops Northern Ireland. On 14 July 1944, 1st Bn joined 199th Bde (soon afterwards redesignated 166th Bde), which remained in Northern Ireland until the end of the war while 55th Division returned to England. [68] [71] The 1st Scottish deployed to the garrison of Gibraltar in 1945. [72]

Commandos Edit

The Liverpool Scottish contributed a troop to the composite No. 4 Independent Company, which also contained troops from the King's Regiment and South Lancashires, collectively under the command of Major J.R. Paterson — an officer from the Scottish. [73] Formed on 21 April 1940, at Sizewell, [74] the company soon after embarked aboard the Ulster Prince, bound for Norway to join the Allied campaign against Germany. [75] After landing in early May, No. 4 Company relieved a French force and occupied positions near Mosjoen. The company, in conjunction with others, operated under the aegis of Scisserforce, commanded by Brigadier Colin Gubbins. [76] When a German landing cut off Mosjoen from the north on 11 May, No. 4 Company had to be evacuated by a Norwegian steamer and transported to Sandnessjøen, then to Bodø with No. 5 Company. [77]

By the 24th, Allied troops had established a line of defence near the town of Pothus to facilitate the defence of Bodø against Germany's northern advance. [78] While his forces were engaged in battle, Brigadier Gubbins was informed that the British Government had decided to evacuate northern Norway. [79] The withdrawal of Allied forces commenced on 29 May, with Nos. 1 and 4 Companies being embarked on two destroyers carrying other passengers, including administrative personnel and wounded. [80]

After returning to Britain, the Liverpool Scottish troop obtained approval from the Government to readopt the kilt as an integral part of its Battle Dress. [81] The Commando units and the independent companies consolidated later in the year into "Special Service" battalions, administered by a single brigade. For various reasons, the system proved unpopular and in 1941 the battalions were sub-divided, reverting to distinct Commando units. The 1st Special Service Battalion, which had absorbed No. 4 Company, became Nos. 1 and 2 Commando [82] - the latter included a number of the Liverpool Scottish, designated as 5 Troop. [81]

In March 1942, the troop participated with 2 Commando in the raid on St Nazaire, codenamed Operation Chariot. Conceived to neutralise the western French port as an Atlantic sanctuary for the battleship Tirpitz, [83] Operation Chariot involved 611 men, the antiquated lend-lease destroyer Campbeltown, and numerous small craft. [84] The Campbeltown was reconfigured to resemble a German destroyer but converted into a platform designed to deliver 9,600 pounds (4,400 kg) of explosives. [85]

89th (Liverpool Scottish) Anti-Tank Regiment Edit

On 13 September 1942 the 2nd Battalion moved to 218th Bde in Northumberland District. [86] Then on 1 November 1942 it was transferred to the Royal Artillery and converted into 89th (Liverpool Scottish) Anti-Tank Regiment, with Q. R and S Anti-Tank Batteries, which were numbered as 137, 138 and 139 A/T Btys on 1 January 1943. The regiment formed an additional 324 A/T Bty on 25 June 1943. [87] [88] [89] [90] [91]

It became the divisional A/T regiment of 47th (London) Infantry Division on 9 November 1943. This was a reserve and training division serving in Hampshire and Dorset District. It moved to Northern Command and was broken up on 31 August 1944. 89th Anti-Tank Rgt was then assigned to 55th (West Lancashire) Division (by the back in Western Command from 21 October 1944 until the end of the war. [68] [92]

After the war ended, 89th (Liverpool Scottish) A/T Rgt became a holding unit from 18 September 1945 until 10 March 1946, when it began to enter suspended animation the process was completed about a month later. [88]

1st Battalion Edit

When the TA was reconstituted on 1 January 1947, the 1st Bn was reformed at Fraser Street as the 1st (Motor) Battalion, Liverpool Scottish, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, providing the motor battalion of 23rd Independent Armoured Brigade in Western Command. [87] [93] [94] [95]

In the 1960s, economic constraints and alignment towards nuclear weapons and other military technology resulted in the reorganisation and rationalisation of the Territorial Army. [96] Most battalions were reduced to cadre-strength or disbanded. Although the Liverpool Scottish avoided extinction, the battalion disbanded and reconstituted into two separate units, one of infantry and one of artillery: V (Liverpool Scottish) Company, 51st Highland Volunteers, and G (The Liverpool Scottish) Troop of R (King's) Battery, The West Lancashire Regiment Royal Artillery, RA. Both maintained their headquarters at Forbes House, Score Lane, in Childwall, Liverpool. While the troop with R Battery was reduced to a cadre in 1969 (and absorbed by 208 (3rd West Lancashire Artillery) Battery of 103 (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery in 1974), the company remained an integral component of the 51st Highland until 1992. [97]

During company exercises in Cyprus in 1974, [17] Greek Cypriots seeking enosis with Greece deposed the island's government - an action illicitly supported by the Greek Junta and followed by the Turkish invasion. [98] Unable to intervene in the ethnic conflict, the Liverpool Scottish were eventually evacuated from Akamas, through Greek-controlled territory, to the British base at Akrotiri. [17] Post-Cold War restructuring incorporated "V" Company into the 5th/8th (Volunteer) Battalion of the King's Regiment, successor to the King's Regiment (Liverpool). Further reorganisation in 1999 reduced the Scottish to 2 (The Liverpool Scottish) Platoon of A (King's) Company, King's and Cheshire Regiment. [97] The platoon relocated to Townsend Avenue, Norris Green, [97] where territorial infantry in Liverpool are concentrated. [99]

In 2006, the King's Regiment amalgamated with two others to become the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. The regiment's 4th Battalion was formed by the integration of the Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers with the King's companies of the King's and Cheshire Regiment. [100] The Liverpool Scottish Platoon remained a part of the retitled "A" (Ladysmith) Company. [17] Individuals from the platoon were attached to other units deployed on operational tours in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. [101] [102]

The Liverpool Scottish lineage came to an end, on 30 April 2014, when the last surviving platoon was disbanded, and personnel re-affiliated entirely to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. [103]

655 (Liverpool Scottish) Light Anti-Aircraft/Searchlight Regiment Edit

The 2nd Bn remained with the Royal Artillery after the war, reforming on 1 January 1947 as 655 (Liverpool Scottish) Light Anti-Aircraft/Searchlight Regiment in the Liverpool-based 79 AA Brigade of Anti-Aircraft Command on 1 January 1947. However, on 22 July 1950 it was merged into 525 LAA/SL Rgt, also in Liverpool. [87] [88] [89] [104] [94] [105] [106]

655 (Liverpool Scottish) LAA/SL Rgt wore a Liverpool Scottish shoulder flash (a rectangle of Forbes tartan) on the left shoulder of the battledress blouse, and this tradition was continued by the Liverpool Scottish battery of 525 LAA/SL Rgt. [89]

Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916 - History


VC., Medal's Custodian is in the King's Regiment Collection. (Museum of Liverpool Life)

Born on 14th December 1870 at Richmond, Surrey.

Died on 4th February, 1920 at Richmond, Surrey.

Memorial on Richmond Cemetery Old Burial Ground. Grave number 62, Section X.

London Gazetted on 18th October, 1901.

Digest of Citation reads:

On 21st August, 1900 at Van Wyk's Vlei, South Africa, Sergeant Hampton, who was in command of a small party of Mounted Infantry, held an important position for some time against heavy odds, and when compelled to retire saw all his men into safety and then, although he himself had been wounded in the head, supported a lance-corporal who was unable to walk until the latter was hit again and apparently killed. Sergeant Hampton received another wound some time later. He became Colour-Sergeant, was Sergeant Instructor in Musketry, and was discharged on pension. His was one of three VC's won by his regiment in as many days.

Medal entitlement of:
Colour Sergeant Harry HAMPTON
2nd Bn, King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment
Victoria Cross
Queen's South Africa Medal ( 1899-1902 )
4 clasps:
"Defence of Ladysmith" - "Orange Free State" "Transvaal" - "Laing's Nek"

the date on this headstone was incorrect he Died: Twickenham, 2 November 1922 this was corrected.


Born on in 1875 at Ormskirk, Lancashire.

Died on 5th June 1941 at Southport in Lancashire.

V.C., Medal's Custodian in the King's Regiment Collection. (Museum of Liverpool Life)

Winning the VC.
By April 1918 the German Spring Offensive had largely run its course. What followed, to use Douglas Haig's words, was a period "active defence". In this phase, the British front line was to be preserved unbroken, while any breaches made by the Germans were to be closed and filled. In the sector occupied by the 1 King's (Liverpool) Regiment both British and German defences were incomplete. There were few communication trenches and sunken roads ran through both British and German lines. One, the lane running between Boisleux St. Marc and Boyelles, was the scene of Pte. Jack Counter's act of bravery on 16 April 1918.

From 09.00 to 09.30 on 16 April 1918 the Germans put down a heavy barrage on the front line and reserve trenches near Boisleux St. Marc, a small village to the south of Arras. Whizz-bangs, 4.2", 5.9" shells rained down on the British front line along with a bombardment of light and heavy trench mortars. It must have been a daunting baptism of fire for the many newly arrived young reinforcements who had just joined the battalion. In the bombardment there were heavy casualties, including the officers in charge of both front line companies. After the shelling had shifted to the reserve and support lines, the Germans attacked in force under the cover of the barrage using the Boisleux St. Marc to Boyelles sunken road and the communication trenches leading to an unoccupied trench that ran parallel to the British front line. By 09.35 the Germans were in the British front line in four places and proceeded to bomb at once in overwhelming numbers making good progress. The British artillery put down an effective barrage at 09.30. No.8 platoon of B company fought on despite being outflanked and with Germans to their front. At 09.30 No. 7 platoon of B company, which was in company reserve, was in the support trench at the top of the ridge 250 yards behind the front line.
By 10.00 the Germans were in about 400-500 yards of the front line from S12d 2 6 to S18a 9 6 approximately.

The British set up blocks in the trench at these points and started bombing. The right B company platoon counter attacked and succeeded in getting the Germans out of the front line apart from three fire bays, where they formed another trench block. The left company succeeded in gaining 200 yards of the British front line trench.

At 11.00 the Germans attacked again up the sunken lane towards the British picquet line but were driven off by Lewis Gun and rifle fire. By now the bombing party on the left commanded by 2 Lt. H. Foster was very weak but 2 Lt. R. T. Symonds arrived with 18 other ranks and the bombing continued. At 11.30 2 Lt. W. Wilson arrived with 25 other ranks from D company via the Boisleux St. Marc to Becquerelle road and relieved 2 Lt. Symonds.

At 11.30 the officer commanding B company sent a message to the officer in charge of No. 7 platoon that at all costs he was to get in touch with No. 8 platoon to find out if they still held their ground either side of the sunken road. Six men and an NCO set out, but as soon as they appeared above the ridge line, they were fired on by German machine gunners the NCO was killed and another man wounded. They could go no further. Following this abortive attempt, another five men tried to get through but were all killed by withering machine gun fire in full view of the men in the reserve trench. The only way of reaching the front line from the support was along the sunken road down a forward slope of about 250 yards "with no cover and in full view of the enemy, who was sweeping the whole area with violent machine gun fire".

At 13.30 the Germans made a third determined attack and succeeded in driving the 2 Lt. Wilson's group on the left bombing party back 200 yards. Wilson was wounded in the exchange.

At 14.00 Private Jack Counter, who was near his officer at the time and had seen the five men killed, volunteered to take the message to the front line. He went down the lane which was being lashed by machine gun fire. Keeping close to the high bank and laying flat on his face, he made his way slowly down the road, crossing two wire entanglements which lay across it. He had to negotiate 250 yards of open country on the forward slope in full view of the enemy. He returned the same way one hour later. His colonel used the information he brought back on the number of Germans in the British front line, the exact position of the flank and the remaining strength of our troops to launch the counter attack which drove the Germans back. In all he carried five messages to company HQ across open country and under a heavy barrage.

According to the war diary two platoons from C and A companies of the 1 King's (Liverpool) Regiment and one platoon of 2 South Staffs reinforced the front line at 14.30 and a counter attack was made. At 15.15 reinforcements of 20 other ranks under Captains E. R. Mace and J.A.Armstrong arrived and the Germans retreated to their own lines. By18.30 the whole line had been recaptured. The Germans had mostly escaped down the sunken road and communication trenches. They left behind two machine guns and eight dead. Four wounded Germans were made prisoner.

One officer, 2nd Lt. Gordon Penry Williams, and 17 other ranks were killed 4 more other ranks died of wounds 61 were wounded 20 were reported missing in action. 2nd Lt. Williams and 15 other King's (Liverpool) Regiment soldiers who died that day are buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez. They are all buried close to one another in plot VIII row P.
After the war
In 1921 Jack was demobbed on Jersey as a corporal, becoming a postman, although he was unable to find a permanent position for nearly four years. He had to move from town to town in England to find temporary work. He eventually found a permanent post office job on Jersey, where he married. However,he regularly visited his family it was on one such visit that he died in Blandford in 1970. His VC is in the St. Helier museum, Jersey, where he had spent most of his working life.

Raiding Parties – What really happened?

Many battalion war diaries make mention of raiding parties – groups of men sent out into no-man’s land to disrupt the enemy, or gather intelligence. They were obviously dangerous undertakings – most mention of them is accompanied by a list of casualties – but we don’t hear much about what actually went on. Not anymore – one of our Citizen Historians has found a set of incredibly detailed pages in the diary of 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which lays out exactly what happened, including all the men involved and their jobs during the operation.

Image © IWM (Q 5098) – A raiding party of the 10th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) waiting in sap for the signal to go. Near Arras, 24 March 1917.

The pages begin with a description: ‘Report on the Minor Enterprise carried out…on the night of the 14th/15th March, 1916.’

As you’ll soon see, the enterprise was anything but minor!

Two officers, five sergeants and thirty nine other ranks made up the raiding party. Captain Smith, RNR (probably Royal Navy Reserve, who provided troops for the Royal Naval Division) was also attached. His job was to breach the German wire, so the DLI party could rush their trenches. A Forward Observation Officer from the 42nd Battery was present in the DLI front-line trenches, in order to call down an artillery barrage if the raiding party needed it.

The main aim of the raid was to capture a prisoner, who would be interrogated in order to find out vital intelligence about the enemy’s disposition. The group was split into three. Captain Smith had a small party of torpedo men (a Bangalore torpedo was a series of long tubes, some filled with explosives) to help him breach the wire. There were scouts and then the main raiding party itself.

The raiding party was further divided into two groups, each of which would enter the enemy’s trench at a different point. Second Lieutenant W.L.P. Griffith-Jones was in overall command of both groups. The men under him were assigned very specific jobs: bayonet men, grenadiers and men for removing prisoners.

Image © IWM (Q 5101) – A raiding party from the 10th Battalion, Scottish Rifles (Cameronians) leaving a sap and making for the German lines. Near Arras, 24 March 1917.

The scouts’ job was to move out ahead of the raiding party and report back on enemy movements. Once they had done this and returned, Captain Smith and his torpedo men would take up their positions and make the torpedo ready to breach the enemy wire.

Behind them, the raiding parties under Second Lieutenant Griffith-Jones would move forward. Sergeant Lowe was in charge of the group tasked with entering the German trenches on the left, while Sergeant Tighe led the party entering on the right. Each had with them three bayonet men, three grenadiers and two men for removing prisoners. The order these men would advance in was worked out to ensure maximum offensive capability at the front and protection for the removal of the prisoners.

An additional Sergeant and four men stayed behind to guard the communications trench.

Two further bayonet men acted as a personal escort for Second Lieutenant Griffith-Jones, while he coordinated the action.

The password to be used was NEWCASTLE. This would ensure the raiders could identify one another and get back into their own trenches safely.

Image © IWM (Q 510) – A raiding party of the 1/8th (Irish) King’s Liverpool Regiment, 55th Division, at Wailly, France. Photograph taken the morning after a night raid durnig the 17/18th April 1916.

What’s even more unusual, is that all the men involved are listed by name. We can see the job assigned to each of them. Check out the pages here, here and here.

All men wore fatigue dress, but replaced their helmets with soft cloth caps, so as not to risk the moonlight catching any metal and giving away their presence. Each man had a rifle and bayonet, along with two grenades in his pocket. NCOs carried revolvers. In addition, each man had a knob-kerrie – essentially a club, for close-quarters fighting.

Thanks to Operation War Diary’s Citizen Historians this information, recorded so assiduously almost 100 years ago, is now visible again. It’s incredible to feel this close to events which happened before any of us were even born, and yet in reading the words in the diarist’s own hand it feels as if the operation is being planned for tomorrow.

A later report tells us that the raiding party made it back to their own trenches relatively unscathed, but that they failed to get the intelligence they were after when a German bomb killed the prisoner they were bringing back. They were highly commended for their bravery.

Voices of the First World War: Trench Raids

As trench warfare evolved during the course of the First World War, so did the types of fighting. The British in particular thought it important for their front line troops to dominate no man’s land and remain on the offensive. To this end, soldiers were regularly ordered to carry out raids on the German trenches. British officer Murray Rymer-Jones explained why.

There was a thing that the higher staff were fighting for – very reasonably – was to find out what Germans were opposite you in the line. Or were there perhaps more people being sent from the Russian front, in order to get a complete picture. That was very reasonable. But in order to do that they didn’t come up themselves, they were asking you to do the most stupid things. For example they said to the infantry you must go and do a raid here.

The tactics used by raiding parties varied. Sidney Amatt of the London Regiment described how raids were organised in his part of the line during 1916.

They never used to ask for volunteers they used to say you, you, you and you, and you were in the party. They usually went over in silence at night and you didn’t carry any equipment. All you carried was a rifle and bayonet, that’s if you were detailed for that. The parties were arranged like this: number one was the rifleman, he carried a rifle and bayonet and 50 rounds of ammunition and nothing else. The next man was a bomb thrower, a grenade thrower he only carried a haversack which was full of Mills hand grenades. And the next man, he also was a bomb thrower, and he helped the first man replace his stock when he exhausted it. And the last man was a rifle and bayonet man and all he carried was a rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition and a bandolier slung over his shoulder – nothing else.

Amatt went on to explain what the plan of attack was once the enemy defences had been breached.

The idea was to crawl through the German wire and try and get underneath and jump into their front line trench, dispose of whoever was holding it by bayonet, if possible, without making any noise or clubbing over the head with the butt. Then you’d drop into the trench once you’d established yourself and wend way round each bay. First of all a rifleman would go, leading, and then he’d stop at the next bay which was normally a part which was unoccupied. And the bomb thrower would then throw a grenade towards the next bay of their line, or where he thought it would be, judging from the distance of the other one. Just after it exploded, the man who were leading – the rifleman – he’d dash round into the trench where the bomb had just gone off and dispose of any occupants that were left behind. And so we’d go on until we’d cleared the whole trench.

Raids were often ordered as a means of gathering intelligence. One key way of doing this was the capture of enemy prisoners, as British private Walter Spencer recalled.

Well, you’d try and get down to a part of the enemy trench where you thought it was least manned, you see, and you’d grab a prisoner if you could. And of course he’d give a gawk and that’s when the fun started. Cos when he shouted, they’d man the trench you see and anything that was moving they would… but invariably you could get a bloke to come. When you get him out of the trench he’d come with you alright and you’d get him back to the line. But it was a very hazardous job. We lost a lot of men on patrols, of course.

Small raids on enemy trenches had begun in late 1914. As the war progressed, they became more frequent and larger in scale. Frederick Plimmer served on the Western Front in 1918.

Well if they were going to make a raid they’d have to prepare for it, you see, they’d have to go up and be trained for it. They’d know exactly what you’d got to do. The people who were going to make this raid would go out to a training area where the whole trench system had been taped out. And they would know exactly what they’d got to do, where they’d got to go and where everything was. Well some people before the raid would take place, would go out and cut wire so they could get through. And some people might go out to lay a telephone so that the chap on the raid could telephone back, that sort of thing. They used to have listening posts too, out from the front line, about 20 or 30 yards, would be a little trench with a chap in there and he would listen, he could hear in the dark, you know. And that sort of thing, you know.

Members of the raiding parties were often issued with weapons designed for close combat. British private Basil Farrer described one particularly lethal type of trench club.

I do remember too seeing our bombers, and I’d never seen them, but they were issued with – it was the first time I’d seen them – knobkerries with nails in the end. Studs. Never seen those before. I remember very well one of them waved it about. Fortunately I had a tin hat on because he hit me on top of the head with it – even then I felt it. And if it had caught you without the tin hat… They were nasty looking things. The idea was you’d throw a bomb down the dugout – if there were any survivors, as they came out you’d wallop them with this club.

Trench raids were often highly dangerous, for little real gain – making them unpopular with the troops. But Charles Wilson, an officer in the Gloucestershire Regiment, saw them as essential.

No I think trench raids were necessary. They were necessary to get identifications and to find out what troops were in the line opposite. Oh, they were absolutely necessary. But when you wanted identifications then it had to be a proper raid with a barrage to cut the wire and so forth. But those were, I’m sure they were quite necessary. And very important. One important part of the training of the men was to get accustomed to getting out into no man’s land. Not to feel that they must be safe in a trench. Once they’d been out and had one or two experiences they forgot all that.

However, for Charles Quinnell of the Royal Fusiliers, the exercise remained futile.

We knew it was a waste of time it was a waste of time, we just hated it. But as time went on to get the information… There was some general about 30 miles behind the lines wanting to know who was on the opposite side. And he would send up a message, ‘Raid so and so and get prisoners,’ just like that, you know. He ought to have had the job himself… Oh god the men just hated it. They didn’t mind going over the top with a fair chance, but by putting this box barrage down you were sending an open postcard to the Germans to say we’re going to raid that bit there. The consequence was the Germans used to absolutely pour all, everything – they used to throw everything barring the kitchen stove at you. Open fire with trench mortars, minenwerfers, light guns, heavy guns – the lot.

Officer F Jourdain also questioned the point of the raids, considering the cost in casualties.

Every now and again battalions, or brigades, and certainly battalions, were told you must do a raid. And most commanding officers liked their battalion to do a raid. A raid meaning going over and collecting what was called an identification, which means one prisoner, to prove who was the people opposite. One would have thought there were better ways of doing it than that, because practically every raid I’ve heard of always involved a disproportionate number of casualties for what they got out of it. And there were occasional raids that – battalions seemed to take it in turns and so on – and it affected perhaps three or four officers. Not more than that, but of the three or four officers, you could bet that two would be killed and what? You might – might – or might not get one prisoner.

NCO Albert Birtwhistle was frustrated when a raid he was ordered to take part in didn’t even seem to have a specific aim.

Well I don’t know what it was for really because the officer didn’t even know. Because I asked him and I said, ‘What the Dickens have we come out for?’ But, Jerry use to occupy this trench during the night and during the day he used to leave it and it was empty. So we, we were ordered to go over and take this trench you know and some of this trench. But we were told we hadn’t to hold it if Jerry came over – we had to leave it and go back. And we hadn’t to try to fire on them at all. We could never understand it. I asked the officer several times I said, ‘Is there a reason for coming out?’ Because it was absolutely ridiculous, I don’t know why.

Despite their unpopularity, trench raids could produce results. John Mallalieu, an officer in the Cheshire Regiment, remembered why one in particular went well.

The men went over on this good form after a rum ration and were very much in a fighting mood because one of their most popular sergeants had been killed in the afternoon. The troops were very annoyed about it. And this raid was a complete success. The troops had been told we wanted one prisoner. Two parties however, they each brought back one prisoner. And the second party, when they found out the duplication, wanted to abolish the second prisoner but they were restrained from that. And both prisoners were sent down to be interrogated and stayed alive.

But raids could go wrong, too. Taking part in a trench raid in the Arras area in November 1917, Private Bill Smedley became isolated from the rest of his party.

Me being a fool and green, I took a waterproof sheet, a ground sheet – it was beginning to drizzle. Anyway, we’re going over the top with the captain, a sergeant, a corporal and I think about six of us. We’re getting through this wire, when all of a sudden they started strafing with the machine guns, you know sweeping. It also started drizzling, rain. Well I put this ground sheet round my neck, which was fatal going underneath barbed wire. We’re not going through gaps, we’re going underneath! Well it lasted about 20 minutes I should think, that firing and the rain. Then all of a sudden, a real burst came and I slipped in the shell hole, with me ground sheet stuck on the wire. I should think that were about perhaps quarter of an hour, 20 minutes, that machine gunning. Then all of a sudden silence – really silence. And I’m just calling, ‘Where are you?’ Not a murmur from our lot. I thought, ‘My God, I’m on my own.’

As well as larger raids, smaller parties would be sent into no man’s land on patrols to see what they could find out about the enemy. NCO Alfred West went on a reconnaissance with a member of his battalion who spoke German.

Snow was on the ground, I remember that. We got to our barbed wire, we crawled underneath that, then we got to theirs and we crawled under that. The next thing we see him crawling up the bank, up into the German front line. He goes up into the front line and disappears so we had to do the same, follow him! Nobody was about nobody was in the front line. And when we left our trench, the orders were if we weren’t back within a certain time they’d send a patrol out to find us. We were lying there – lying there – and it was freezing and we got frozen. This patrol eventually came out and found us and they said our rifles had frozen into the ground. They had to kick ‘em out before they could pick ‘em up. And they dragged us back to our front line and by midnight we were back in our front line. And it was the next afternoon before we came to. They were giving us rum.

Going out into no man’s land left the troops exposed to enemy retaliation. British officer Ulick Burke found that even preparing for a trench raid could be hazardous.

Well it was a listening patrol and wire – see if I could cut some of the enemy wire so that a few nights later we would do a raid. Well we did that all successfully – four men – and going out you lead them, but coming back you come last. And we had stayed a tiny bit too long and it was just getting dawn. Anyhow it was enough for the enemy to form a silhouette and they started firing just as we were coming over the wire. And I was the last across and I got hit in the foot and I lost two toes.

It wasn’t just Allied troops that carried out trench raids. The Germans too sent men across no man’s land. Frank Holding, a private in the Lancashire Fusiliers, remembered the devastating effects of one such attack.

The Germans came over and raided us and we had a number of casualties. We’d five officers killed – five officers were killed – when the Germans broke, got through into our … And they did a hell of a lot of damage. I went to see, there was a small hospital at Bouzincourt, and I’d been told that a lad named Tom Wilson, who lived opposite me in Station Road, was in this small village hospital in Bouzincourt. I went round to see him when I was told, I got permission to go. And unfortunately he died two days later and I went to see him buried. I made a sketch of where his body was. Sent it to his mother. That was Tom Wilson.

Voices of the First World War is a podcast series that reveals the impact the war had on everyone who lived through it through the stories of the men and women who were there.

Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916 - History

George Foulkes was born in 1887 in Everton, Liverpool. He lived with his married sister at 174, Beacon Lane, Everton (now demolished) and was the son of Edwin Foulkes, of 20, Corless Street, Walton Breck Road, Liverpool..

He enlisted 20th October 1914 into the 9th King's and was given the number 2735.

Although many of the men who enlisted at that time were with the battalion when it was deployed to France in March 1915, George Foulkes was not with them. He was drafted overseas on 14th December 1915 and so was just eligible for the award of the 1914-15 Star.

He probably served with his battalion throughout 1916 including the Battle of the Somme, although his service records no longer exist so this cannot be confirmed. It is known that he took part in the battalion's raid on the German trench system at Oskar Farm, near Railway Wood, Ypres, on the night of the 11th/12th May 1917.

The Battalion War Diary states:
"During this tour orders were received to carry out a raid on enemy's trenches at OSKAR FARM. Practice trenches were dug in rear of Battalion headquarters & practices were carried out on two occasions at night. No Man's Land was patrolled 3 nights prior to the raid. During the afternoon of the 11th inst. Major Gossage's battery of 18 Pounders cut an excellent gap in the enemy's wire. At zero (11 p.m.) raiding party consisting of 2nd Lieuts. S.H. RANDALL, A.G. WARDE, and 40 other ranks left our trenches and proceeded across No Man's Land. At the same time our Artillery put down an excellent Barrage on enemy trenches. The enemy evidently expected the raid as Bombing Blocks were placed in his Front Line - Only three men were found in the front line, these were captured. The different parties proceeded along trenches as directed. 2nd Lieut. RANDALL's party succeeded in getting over 1 Block, they then proceeded to the 2nd Block and attacked same with bombs etc., considerable amount of groaning was heard from behind this block. All telephone wires along trench were cut. 2nd Lieut. WARDE's party proceeded south along the front line from thence down the Communication Trench. They came across a shelter in the side of the trench where several Germans were sheltering. They called upon the enemy to surrender, this they refused to do, so they immediately bombed the enemy. The enemy then ran further down the C.T. followed closely by our party. Another small shelter was encountered with several of the enemy in who refused to surrender. A bomb was immediately thrown in, 6 Germans then came out and surrendered. A bombing party of ours under Sgt. McCARTHY were counter-attacked by 6 Germans. Sgt. McCARTHY shot 3 of these men and bayonetted one, the other 2 got away.

"At 11.15 P.M. the Signal to withdraw was given. All of our men arrived back to our trenches safe with the exception of 2 men slightly wounded. On the way back to our trenches several of the prisoners captured became unruly, these were effectively dealt with. The raid was a splendid success, everything worked according to programme. 5 unwounded prisoners and 1 wounded were sent back to Brigade Headquarters. There were at least 10 Germans killed by the raiders in their trench by fair fight besides those who may have been killed at OSKAR FARM BLOCK and the dug-out mentioned as being bombed by 2nd Lieut. WARDE. Some booty was also captured. Such as Rifles, Equipment, Box Respirators, Steel Helmets, Caps, etc. The men captured belonged to the 1st Marine Infantry Regiment."

The Battalion History, published in 1922 states that the prisoners taken in the raid were from the "1st Matrosen Regiment of the German Naval Division".

There were three Military Crosses, a Distinguished Conduct medal and four Military Medals awarded in connection with this raid.

George Foulkes' citation for the award of the MM reads:
"For great bravery and coolness under fire during a raid on the enemy's trenches, near OSKAR FARM, at about I.6.C.05.82-I.6.C.00.95, on night of 11/12th May 1917.
This man with one officer bombed down an enemy trench driving a party of the enemy before them, wounding two and capturing six prisoners, and assisted in getting them back to our lines.
He stuck to his duty throughout although his hand was badly torn by barbed wire."

As was often the case, the handwritten citation (above) was subject to a few amendments before finally being approved. The final version, signed by Major General Jeudwine, Commanding 55th Division, reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry during a raid on OSKAR FARM on the night of 11th/12th May 1917.
Although his hand was badly torn by barbed wire on leaving our trenches, this man assisted 2/Lieut. WARDE to bomb down an enemy trench, driving a party of the enemy before them and eventually capturing seven and wounding two.
He afterwards brought six prisoners back to our trenches."

Not all of the recommendations for awards for this trench raid were successful, but Foulkes' contribution was deemed sufficient and the Corps Commander approved the award.

His award of the Military Medal was confirmed in the London Gazette on 9th July 1917.

A discrepancy in the records is that he was recommended for the award under the service number 330681. This number appears on the original hand-written citation and on all other documents relating to the award, including the letter of congratulations from Lieut.-General Hunter-Weston, the VIII Corps Commander. Foulkes' number was 330684 and his Military Medal is correctly named to: "330684 Pte. G. FOULKES 1/9 L'POOL R. T.F.". The number 330681 was issued to Pte. Frank Glover who later transferred to the 1/8th Battalion (The Liverpool Irish).

At the end of 1917, due to a shortage of manpower for the Army, each Infantry Brigade was reduced from four battalions to three and, as the 1/9th King's was the junior battalion of 165 Brigade it was decided that they should be disbanded. Some men were transferred to the 2/9th Battalion and so remained 9th King's, but others were transferred to the 1st, 4th and 12th King's Liverpools. George Foulkes was one of those transferred to the 1st Battalion in January 1918.

In March 1918, the Germans launched a massive offensive against the French and British lines, determined to win the war, or at least to force peace on their terms, before the United States war machine developed sufficient momentum to intervene decisively on the side of the allies. The attack was launched on 21st March and from the following day the 1st King's were involved in a fighting retreat over the old Somme battlefield of 1916. It was during this hectic period that George Foulkes and many of his colleagues, were killed in action.

Although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Soldiers Died in the Great War records both give his date of death as 21st March 1918, this is probably incorrect. The only entry in the 1st Battalion War Diary for the 21st is:

"ROQUIGNY. Battalion stood to. Certain amount of shelling."

In contrast, the entries for the 22nd and subsequent days are very detailed, filling page after page, culminating in the final entry for the 26th which reads:

"Casualties for period 22nd to 26th inclusive, Officers 8, Other Ranks 319"

The Battalion's fighting strength had been reduced to just 100.

George Foulkes has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

At Ransart near Blairville, France, 17/18 April 1916

Nearly three weeks after Edward Mellish won his VC at St Eloi, Belgium, a fourth Western Front VC of 1916 was gained approximately 5 miles to the south of Arras on 17/18 April by 2/Lt Edward Baxter of the 1/8th (Irish) Battalion TF., The King's (Liverpool Regiment) .

As it was deemed necessary to obtain regular information about the dispositions of the enemy raids, or incursions, were regularly carried out and it was always a bonus to take a prisoner or two. At the beginning of April 1916 the 55th (West Lancashire) Division was in the area west of Blairville and Ficheux, occupying front-line trenches with three brigades in the line. A large-scale raid was planned to take place on the night of the 17th/18th, and the 8th Irish under the command of Lt Col E.A. Fagan was chosen for the task.

When Baxter arrived in France in January 1916 his duties were mostly those of bombing officer, and during his first few weeks he took part in several raids and sorties against the enemy lines. The group of men he worked with became known as ‘The Forty Thieves’.

On 16 April three officers, including Baxter, and forty-three other ranks went out into No Man’s Land in order to cut the wire in preparation for the raid. However, despite cutting three rows of wire, they had not finished their work by the time dawn was breaking. The following night a patrol went out to check on the state of the cut wire and found it relatively untouched. At midnight two officers and two NCOs went out and at 12.30 a.m. began to cut the remaining wire. The job was virtually finished by 2.10 a.m., and one of the NCOs was sent back to bring up the storming party of one officer and twenty-three men. It was at this stage of the raid that one of the group tripped on the wire and fell forward, knocking a grenade that Baxter was holding out of his hand.

Reacting quickly, he picked it up, removed the detonator and smothered it in the ground. In doing this he saved his colleagues from being injured and prevented the alarm being given. The raiders then entered the enemy trench at 2.25 and, immediately cutting a cable, they moved down the trench, bombing dugouts as they went and killing seven Germans.

Cries and groans were heard from all the dugouts.

However, no prisoners had been taken at that point. When regaining their own trench it was found that 2nd Lieutenant Baxter was missing. A patrol that went out to look for him failed to find any trace but did bring back some German helmets as trophies. The battalion was relieved at 6.30 a.m. and marched the three miles to Monchiet. Baxter was found to be the only officer casualty.

The above account of the raid was based on information found in the battalion war diary, but the regimental history includes the following additional information: although several of the enemy were killed when their trench was entered, it was found that the trenches were from twelve to fifteen feet deep, and so without long ladders it was difficult to take prisoners. (Those ladders that were taken were only six feet in length.) Baxter had given orders to return, and after assisting the last man out he was later found to be missing. The regimental history concluded that he ‘re-entered enemy trench for some purpose and did not inform his party’, and in a footnote quoted a German prisoner as stating that the raid had resulted in fifty-seven German casualties.

From an appendix included in the war diary it is quite clear that the bombing raid carried out on the night of 17/18 April was a great success, and the battalion, 164th Brigade and 55th (West Lancashire) Division were all congratulated. Baxter, who was still officially missing, was one of those singled out for a decoration: his VC was published in the London Gazette of 26 September 1916, which contains an account of how he saved the lives of some of his colleagues:

Edward Felix Baxter, Second Lieutenant, 1/8th Battalion. King’s Liverpool Regiment (Territorial Force). For most conspicuous bravery. Prior to a raid on the hostile line he was engaged during two nights in cutting wire close to the enemy’s trenches. The enemy could be heard on the other side of the parapet. Second Lieutenant Baxter, while assisting in the wire-cutting, held a bomb in his hand with the pin withdrawn ready to throw. On one occasion the bomb slipped and fell to the ground, but he instantly picked it up, unscrewed the base plug, and took out the detonator, which he smothered in the ground, thereby preventing the alarm being given and undoubtedly saving many casualties. Later he led the left storming party with the greatest gallantry, and was the first man into the trench, shooting the sentry with his revolver. He then assisted to bomb dug-outs, and finally climbed out of the trench and assisted the last man over the parapet. After this he was not seen again, though search parties went out at once to look for him. There seems no doubt that he lost his life in his great devotion to duty.

Baxter’s body, which was found in a position to the north of Blairville, was first buried by the Germans two or three miles to the south-east in Boiry-Ste-Rictrude churchyard. During their occupation of this village and of Boiry-St-Martin to the south, the Germans had included an inscription on the gravestone giving Baxter’s rank, name and date of death. The discovery of this grave was noted by Arthur Kidd, a sapper, when he visited the shelled parish cemetery in 1917.

Mrs Baxter was presented with her late husband’s award at Buckingham Palace by the King on 29 November 1916, and, as Baxter had been a reader of the Daily Mail, she also received a cheque for £100 in connection with her late husband’s award. In his will her husband left effects to the value of £212 8s 5 d.

When Baxter was buried by the Germans they must have put his effects to one side, as a note in his National Archives file indicates that they were returned by the German government to his widow in 1920.

Mrs Baxter moved back to Kidderminster after the war to be near to her family, and lived at 3 Roden Avenue with her daughter. She later remarried.

In 1925 Baxter’s remains were exhumed and reburied 25 miles westwards in Row A, Grave 10 of Fillèvres British Cemetery.

His VC was donated to the Imperial War Museum in 1994 and together with the British War Medal ( 1914-1920) and Victory Medal ( 1914-19) it is on display as part of the Lord Ashcroft collection.

Edward Felix Baxter was born on 18 September 1885 at Thornleigh, 35 Hagley Road, Old Swinford, Stourbridge, in Worcestershire. His home later became a YMCA Centre. He was the second son of Charles Baxter, a corn merchant who worked in Lower High Street, Stourbridge. His mother’s name was Beatrice, née Sparrow.

When Edward was about six the family moved to a house called Ivy Crest, Inn Lane, Hartlebury, and later to Mostyn, Shrubbery Street, Kidderminster. Later he attended Hartlebury Grammar School in Worcestershire from1894 to31 July 1901 and he then went to Christ’s Hospital. His first job on leaving school was a bank clerk, and by then he had grown to six foot tall. In his early twenties he moved northwards to Liverpool and lived at 5 Blantyre Road, Sefton Park and became a tutor at Skerry’s College in Rodney Street.

Baxter married Leonora Mary Cornish, who also came from Kidderminster, and was a daughter of Mr H.W. Cornish of Roden Avenue. The couple married at West Derby Registry Office on 24 February 1906 and were to have one daughter, born in June 1907. Both he and his wife were keen motorcyclists, and Baxter was well known for his successes in track racing and road trials in northern England, and particularly in Liverpool. He and Leonora were both members of the Liverpool Auto Cycle Club, and Baxter took part in the 1910 Isle of Man TT Race but didn’t finish the course as he crashed on the fourth lap. The couple usually rode motorcycles manufactured by Rex Motor Manufacturers in Coventry, a firm which survived until 1930.

Baxter was at the college when war broke out and he enlisted on 4 September 1914 and gave his occupation as a Tutor. With his motor cyling experience Baxter joined the Royl Engineers with the number of 32072.Sensibly he was appointed as a despatch rider with the Mersey Defence Corps while being attached to the HQ Staff in Rodney Street, Liverpool, under Brig Gen Edwards. He became a sergeant, and about nine months later was recommended for a commission by Edwards and later awarded a commission in the 1/8th (Irish) The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment TF in mid-September 1915. After four months’ further training he left for France in January 1916. His battalion had become part of the 165th Brigade of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

After his death Baxter was remembered in Hartlebury, Liverpool Town Halll and the war memorial at Christs Hospital School, Horsham. His name is also commemorated on the memorial outside St Mary's Church in Kidderminster. His centenary commemorative paving stone will be laid on or around 17/18 April in Stourbridge. Thomas Bryan who also had links with the town but he won his VC a year after Baxter.

Lindsey,S- Merseyside Heroes. ( unpublished manuscript).

TNA WO 95/2844 (51st (Highland Division) and 2846

TNA WO95/ 2921 164th Infantry Brigade

TNA WO95/ 1/8th King's Liverpool Regiment

The History Press has recently issued an updated printing of Gerald Gliddon's 'Somme 1916: A Battlefield Companion'.

A Tribute ceremony to Lieut. E. F. Baxter will be held in the French village of Blairville on 18 April 2016.

Western Front Association readers may also be interested in this short, illustrated biography of E F Baxter.

Raiding Party, 1st/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment, 18 April 1916 - History

on 24 April, a German offensive began Second Ypres which became the 4th and 1/6th King's first major battle. In the second subsidiary action of the offensive,at Saint-Julien, the 4th King's sustained more than 400 casualties over a four-day period, the majority some 374, while supporting the 1/4th Gurkha Rifles

Occupied ?hutments? until morning of 26-4-15 when the brigade marched through VLAMERTINGHE & YPRES to ST JEAN where the Brigade formed the reserve to JULLUNDUR and FEROZEPORE brigades in an attack on German position N.E. of ST JEAN. The Battalion was heavily shelled on the march through YPRES & at ST JEAN 2nd LIEUT. F.C. LYDDEN, Indian Army (Attached) wounded ? he died of wounds the next day. 2nd LIEUT. L.C. SODEN wounded, also 10 other ranks killed & wounded. Battalion moved to LA BRIQUE about 5:00 p.m. & bivouacked moving again at 3:00 a.m. 27-4-15 to trenches in fields N.E. of ST JEAN (Copy of operation order marked ?A?.)

The 4th in trenches 12 JUNE 1915, note the cloth caps

FREDERICK RODAWAY was only drafted in along with 43 other's from the 8th bn KINGS LIVERPOOL IRISH ON THE 28th July 1916 along with most of these who also died the same day

4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion

August 1914 : in Seaforth, Liverpool.

6 March 1915 : landed at Le Havre and came under orders of Sirhind Brigade, La

10 November 1915 : transferred to 137th Brigade, 46th (North Midland) Division.

3 December 1915 : attached to 56th and 58th Brigades, 19th (Western) Division.

27 February 1916 : transferred to 98th Brigade, 33rd Division.

Date of Death:18/08/1916
Grave reference X111 E 3
Caterpillar Valley Longueval
son of Thomas and Margaret
born Liverpool 1892,parents both born in Dublin

PETERS, JOHN Corporal 22808 Date of Death:31/07/1917

The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Bn.

Panel Reference: Panel 4 and 6.


Son of John and Ellen Peters, of Parkgate, Cheshire.

Corporal 12067 Francis George SPENCER

The King's Liverpool Regiment 4th Battalion

Date of Death:28 March 1916 aged 46

Cambrin Military Cemetery

Queen's South Africa Medal



I have listed 2nd LT Norman Leslie Hannon, headstone in the hope I  can find his brothers John's in time and show them together,

42 men are listed in this cemetery killed on 18/aug/1916, below is a list of plot numbers and grid positions of where they were found on the battle field.

39 of the 42, listed in Caterpillar valley cemetery, grid positions of where bodies found,

age plot number grid number

01. ASHWORTH, F Private 27452 21 XI. H. 32. 10 B 6.8

02. ATKINSON, R D Private 11409 II. D. 5 10 B 6.9

03. BELL, P L/CPL 8988 XV. G. 4. 10 B 7.6

04. BENSON, A l/cpl 32999 X. C. 3. 10 B 6.5

05. BIBBY, G H PTE 11696 XV. G. 22. 10 B 8.9

06. BOARDMAN, HAROLD CPL ,27837 II. F. 7. 10 B 5.9

07. BOOTH, E PTE 10622 XIII. C. 3. 10 B 2.9

08. BRADY, J CPL 28147 IX. H. 39. 10 A 7.9


10. CADOGAN, P H PTE, 307259 IV. J. 5. 10 B 4.9

11. CONNOLLY, J Private 11993 23 XV. F. 32 10 B 7.7

12. DEAN, A E SGT 19570 24 XV. G. 3. 10 B 7.6

13. FOSTER, W Private 11909 X. D. 12. 10 B 6.8

14 GALLAGHER, D Private 11969 II. D. 9. 10 B 4.9

15. GOODMAN, C P 2nd/LIEUT XIV. B. 4. 10 B 3.9

16. HANNON, JOHN COULSON 2/LUIT 23 III. G. 10. 10 B 2.9

17. HONAN, M Serjeant 8320 22 XIV. B. 5. 10 B 6.9

18. HOUGHLAND, A Private 29930 IV. J. 1. 10 B 4.9

19.IRVING, THOMAS HENRY 2nd Lieut 19/08/1916 22 Sp. Mem. 24

20.JOHNSON, B Private 27888 XI. D. 11. 10 B 6.6

21. LEA, A Private 31292 11/BN 37 XI. H. 8. 10 B 4.8

22. LEONARDI, A Private 23329 1 XI. H. 5. 10 B 5.5

23. McALLEY, R CorporaL 6132 II. F. 6 10 B 5.9

24. McCUSKER, C Private 29965 X. C. 13 10 B 6.6

25 .MOLYNEUX, P Private 18431 XIII. E. 3 10 B 3.9

26. NICKALLS, E G Second Lieutenant 18/08/1916 Sp. Mem. 23

27.PROWSE, W Private 13950 II. J. 8. 10 B 4.9

28.REID, JOHN 2nd LIEUT X.D.13 10 B 7.5

29.RODAWAY, F Private 307255 XIII. E. 1 10 B 3.9

30.RUSHTON, J Private 26459 II. D. 2. 10 B 5.8

31.SIMCOCK, R Private 30007 19 XV. F. 2. 10 B 3.5

3 2.SINNOTT, J C Private 305244 21 IX. H. 40. 10 B 1.8

33.SLIGHT, HERBERT LEESON Private 12318 XIII. E. 9. 10 B 3.9

34.SMITH, F SGT 6950 XV. F. 34. 10 B 8.7

35.THOMAS, JAMES SAMUEL SGT .18047 X. D. 14. 10 B 6.8

36 18023 , J J Private 27175 20 XI. G. 7. 10 B 5.6

37.WILLIAMS, J Private 18023 24 XV. F. 1. 10 B 3.5

38.WINROW, O Private 6256 7/BN X. A. 36. 10 B 5.5

39.YOUNG, F Private 30613 II. D. 7. 10 B 6.8

PTE BIBBY, G H 11696 buried in plot XV. G. 22. was found at grid ref 10 B 8.9 found along side of him a unknown Kings liverpool Officer, and buried next to him a unknown Kings Liverpool Officer, I believe this to be either

NICKALLS, E G Second Lieutenant 18/08/1916 Sp. Mem. 23 or

IRVING, THOMAS HENRY 2nd Lieut 19/08/1916 22 Sp. Mem. 24

both are listed as believed to be buried in this cemetery .

Letters from the Front - Leslie and Ian Hannon

I received in the post quite recently, a small bundle of old letters neatly kept together in a box, which itself was evidently of great age. They were sent to me by David Hannon, brother of Bishop Hannon of Clogher, both of whom are sons of the late Archdeacon Gordan Hannon. It was the second time that some of these letters were delivered to Ardreigh House. On the last occasion their letters arrived in Athy, Leslie Hannon and his brother Ian Hannon were writing to their parents, John and Martha Hannon.

Mr. and Mrs. Hannon and their eight children moved to Ardreigh House Athy in 1910 from Prumplestown House, Castledermot when John took charge of the Ardreigh Mills, following the death of his brother Harry. Their four sons Reggie, Gordon, Ian and Leslie and their daughters Gladys, Marjorie, Eileen and Ethel spent many happy days in the idyllic surroundings of Ardreigh, an area immortalised in the poetry of Rev. J.J. Malone who was a native of Barrowhouse.

Gordon Hannon entered Trinity College Dublin and studied for the Church of Ireland. He later began his clerical career as a curate in Dublin. His brothers, Norman Leslie, commonly known as “Leslie”, and John Coulson known as “Ian”, enlisted in the British Army during the first year of the Great War, as did so many of their neighbours from Athy. Both were commissioned as Lieutenants in the 7th Kings Liverpool Regiment.
Leslie’s letters home to his parents and to his brother Gordon are full of the excitement of a young man barely out of his teens who found himself caught up in the comraderie and friendship known only to men who endure common hardship and deprivation. “More power to your elbow”, he wrote in pencil on a scrap of paper to his brother Gordon, not yet a Minister of the Church of Ireland, from somewhere in France just eight days before he died. The letter dated Saturday 8th May was enclosed in an envelope postmarked 9th May 1915, and it may have reached his brother Gordon before 20 year old Leslie was killed in action in Festubert on the 16th of May 1915. The line, “Remember me to all the lads”, written across the side of the one page letter, strikes a poignant note even now after the lapse of 80 years.
Another letter dated 18th August 1915 was sent to the Hannon family by a companion of their son Norman Leslie who relates how he went to Richborg and “settled up Leslie’s grave”. Reference was also made to a poem written by the Brigade Doctor, which had earlier been forwarded to Mrs. Hannon in Ardreigh House. The opening lines ran :

“Staunch comrade, brave soldier, too soon fallen out,
I think of you stretched near the German redoubt,
With your blue Irish eyes gazing far into space,
And the pallor of death on your fearless young face.
And I picture the night when our friendship was sworn,
When you stood up and sang us “The Mountains of Mourne.”

Many of the letters and field service postcards from Ian Hannon were sent to his brother Gordon and in a letter dated 2nd August 1916, just sixteen days before he was killed, he mentions having met “Tom Perse on one of my rambles.” Tom was an Athy man from the Ardreigh area who survived the War.
On the 27th of May of the same year, in a letter to his father, Ian wrote :

“there was a great festival on in the Square yesterday, about 20 French and 70 English heroes were decorated by an English and a French General. There was a Russian chap present also and I believe Conan Doyle was there.”

Later in the same letter, Ian referred to the good days fishing which his father had recently enjoyed. On the 18th of August 1916 Ian Hannon was killed in action aged 24 years.
The loss of his two sons proved a severe blow for John Hannon and he was to die tragically by his own hand at Ardreigh House, just ten days before his son Gordon’s wedding in April 1923. Within two years, the Hannon Mills at Ardreigh and at the bridge in the centre of Athy, were to close for the last time.

  Many thanks to Frank, Tonyrod


  BECK, BERNARD Captain   㺒/08/1916        
3rd BN  attached 4th King's Liverpool

The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 3rd Bn. attd. 4th Bn.
Panel Reference: Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.
: Son of Charles Rainford Gaulter and Anna Laura Gaulter,
of 41, Devonshire Rd., Blackpool.
A student at the Pharmaceutical College,
Bloomsbury Square, London. Gazetted April, 1915.

SIMMANCE, ALLAN JAMES SPENCER    Captain     18/08/1916  21
The King's Liverpool  "B" Coy. 4th Bn.
Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.    THIEPVAL MEMORIAL
 Son of James Herbert and Mary Simmance,
of 191, Casewick Rd., West Norwood, London.
Educated at Christ's Hospital.
Exhibitioner of Jesus College, Oxford.

GRAY VIVIAN Second Lieutenant Death:18/08/1916 Age:22
The King's Liverpool 3rd Bn. attd. 9th Bn.
Pier and Face 1 D 8 B and 8 C.
Son of Harry and Elizabeth Sarah Gray,
of 65A,Ware Rd.Hertford.

Date of Death: 16/05/1915 Age:20
The King's Liverpool Regiment 7th Bn.
Grave Reference: VII. K. 19.
Son of M. M. Hannon, of Ardreigh House,
Athy, Co. Kildare, and the late John A. Hannon.
Born at Castledermot, Co. Kildare.


only right I list Norman with his brother John

Date of Death: 18/08/1916 Age:23
The King's Liverpool Regiment 3rd Bn.
Grave Reference: III. G. 10.
Son of John A. and M. M. Hannon,of Ardreigh House Athy.
Born at Castledermot, Co. Kildare.


NICKALLS, E G  Second Lieutenant Death:18/08/1916
The King's Liverpool  4th Bn.
Grave Reference: Sp. Mem. 23.

GOODMAN, C P Second Lieutenant Death:18/08/1916
The King's Liverpool 4th Bn.
Grave Reference GX IV. B. 4.

IRVING, THOMAS HENRY Second Lieutenant
Date of Death:19/08/1916 Age:22
The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 3rd Bn.
Grave Reference: Sp. Mem. 24.:
Son of the Rev. Canon Thomas Henry Irving/Margaret Anne Irving

The Long, Long Trail

The history of 2nd Division

One of the first British formations to move to France, the 2nd Division remained on the Western Front throughout the war. It took part in the following battles and engagements.

Commanded by Major-General C. C. Monro

The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the the Affair of Landrecies, the Rearguard affair of Le Grand Fayt and the Rearguard actions of Villers-Cotterets (August)
The Battle of the Marne (September)
The Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne heights (September)
First Battle of Ypres (October-November)

Commanded by Brigadier-General R. Fanshawe, 26 Dec 1914 to 1 January 1915
Then Major-General H. S. Horne

Winter Operations 1914-15
The Battle of Festubert (May)
The Battle of Loos (September-October)

Commanded by Major-General W. G. Walker VC from 5 November 1915

The Battles of the Somme 1916, in phases
– Battle of Delville Wood
– Battle of the Ancre
Operations on the Ancre

Commanded by Major-General C. E. Pereira from 27 Dec 1916

The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March-April)
The Battles of Arras 1917 (April-May), in phases
– First Battle of the Scarpe
– Battle of Arleux
– Second Battle of the Scarpe
The Battle of Cambrai (November-December)

The First Battles of the Somme 1918 (March-April) (Operation Michael, “Kaiserschlacht”), in phases
– Battle of St Quentin
– Battle of Bapaume
– First Battle of Arras 1918 (Operation Mars)
The battles Second Battles of the Somme 1918 (August), in phases
– Battle of Albert
– Second Battle of Bapaume
The battles Battles of the Hindenburg Line (september-October), in phases
– Battle of Havrincourt
– Battle of the Canal du Nord
– Battle of Cambrai 1918
The Battle of the Selle

The Division was amohst those selected to advance into Germany to form part of the Occupation Force.

The order of battle of the 2nd Division

Units and sub-formationsDates with division
Division HeadquartersThroughout
4th (Guards) BrigadeOn the formation of the Guards Division in August 1915, this Brigade left 2nd Division and on joining Guard Division was retitled as 1st Guards Brigade
2nd Bn, the Grenadier GuardsFrom start
2nd Bn, the Coldstream GuardsFrom start
3rd Bn, the Coldstream GuardsFrom start
1st Bn, the Irish GuardsFrom start
1/1st Bn, the Hertfordshire RegimentJoined November 1914. Acquired nickname, “Hertfordshire Guards”. Left 19 August 1915
5th Infantry Brigade
2nd Bn, the Worcestershire RegimentFrom start. Left December 1915
2nd Bn, the Ox & Bucks Light InfantryThroughout
2nd Bn, the Highland Light InfantryThroughout
2nd Bn, the Connaught RangersFrom start. Left November 1914
1/9th Bn, the Highland Light InfantryJoined November 1914, left January 1916
2nd Bn, the Royal Inniskilling FusiliersJoined 26 January 1915, left 22 July 1915
1st Bn, the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)Joined July 1915, left December 1915
1/7th Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment)Joined 4 September 1915, left 11 November 1915
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers (Empire)Joined 13 December 1915, left 6 February 1918
24th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers (2nd Sportsmen’s)Joined 13 December 1915
5th Machine Gun CompanyFormed on 1 January 1916. Left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
5th Trench Mortar BatteryJoined by 11 March 1916
6th Infantry Brigade
1st Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment)Throughout
2nd Bn, the South Staffordshire RegimenttThroughout
1st Bn, the Royal Berkshire RegimentFrom start. Left 15 December 1915
1st Bn, the King’s Royal Rifle CorpsFrom start. Left 13 December 1915
1/5th Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment)Joined 24 February 1915, left 15 December 1915
1/7th Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment)Joined 12 March 1915, left 4 September 1915
1/1st Bn, the Hertfordshire RegimentJoined 19 August 1915. Left 28 February 1916
17th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment (Football)Joined 8 December 1915, disbanded February 1918
13th Bn, the Essex Regiment (West Ham)Joined December 1915, disbanded February 1918
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers (Empire)Joined 6 February 1918
6th Machine Gun CompanyFormed on 4 January 1916. Left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
6th Trench Mortar BatteryJoined by 18 March 1916
19th Infantry BrigadeThis Brigade joined from 27th Division in order to replace the 4th (Guards) Brigade. It came under divisional command on 19 August 1915 but left to go to 33rd Division on 25 November 1915
2nd Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
1st Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
1/5th Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
1st Bn, the Middlesex Regiment
2nd Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
99th Infantry BrigadeThis Brigade arrived from 33rd Division on 25 November 1915
22nd Bn, Royal Fusiliers (Kensington)Disbanded 3 February 1918
23rd Bn, Royal Fusiliers (1st Sportsmen’s)
24th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers (2nd Sportsmen’s)Left 13 December 1915
1/5th Bn, the King’s (Liverpool Regiment)Joined 15 December 1915, left 7 January 1916
1st Bn, the Royal Berkshire RegimentJoined 15 December 1915
1st Bn, the King’s Royal Rifle CorpsJoined 13 December 1915
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers (Empire)Joined 6 February 1918
99th Machine Gun CompanyJoined on 28 April 1916. Left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
99th Trench Mortar BatteryJoined by 18 March 1916
Divisional TroopsUnits under direct command of Divisional HQ
10th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (Cornwall Pioneers)Joined 23 June 1916, left 16 July 1917 but returned 7 November 1917
242nd Machine Gun CompanyJoined 18 July 1917. Left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
2nd Battalion, the Machine Gun CorpsFormed 4 March 1918
2nd Divisional Train, Army Service CorpsFrom start. Numbers 8, 11, 28, 31, 35 Companies. 11 left division with 4th (Guards) Brigade in August 1915
3rd Mobile Veterinary Section, Army Veterinary CorpsThroughout
205th Divisional Employment Company, Labour CorpsJoined from 7th Division 18 May 1917
2nd Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop UnitJoined by 4 April 1915, transferred to Divisional Train 9 April 1916
Divisional Mounted TroopsUnits under direct command of Divisional HQ
B Squadron, the 15th (King’s) HussarsFrom start. Left April 1915
B Sqn, South Irish HorseJoined May 1915, left May 1916
2nd Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist CorpsFrom start. Left June 1916
Divisional ArtilleryUnder orders of Divisional Commander Royal Artillery
XXXIV Brigade, RFAFrom start. Left January 1917
XXXVI Brigade, RFAThroughout
XLI Brigade, RFAThroughout
XLIV (Howitzer) Brigade, RFAFrom start. Left May 1916
35th Heavy Battery, RGAFrom start. Left April 1915
11 Pom-Pom Section, RGAJoined 22 September 1914. Left 25 January 1915
1st Siege Battery, RGAJoined February 1915, left April 1915
26th Heavy Battery, RGAJoined February 1915, left April 1915
7 Mountain Battery, RGAJoined 4 February 1915. Left 9 December 1915.
V.2 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFAFormed 26 May 1917, left by 3 January 1918
X.2, Y.2 and Z.2 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFAJoined in April 1916 on 24 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, RFAThroughout
Divisional EngineersAll of the Royal Engineers and under orders of Divisional Commander Royal Engineers
5th Field CompanyThroughout
11th Field CompanyFrom start. Left December 1915
1st (East Anglian) Field CompanyJoined January 1915, later renamed 483rd Field Company RE
226th Field CompanyJoined December 1915
2nd Divisional Signal CompanyThroughout
Divisional Medical UnitsAll of the Royal Army Medical Corps
4th Field AmbulanceFrom start. Lefft for Guards Division 19 August 1915
5th Field AmbulanceThroughout
6th Field AmbulanceThroughout
19th Field AmbulanceJoined with 19th Infantry Brigade August 1915, left November 1915
100th Field AmbulanceJoined with 99th Infantry Brigade November 1915
11th Sanitary SectionJoined by 9 January 1915, left 27 December 1916

Divisional histories

“History of the Second Division 1914-1918” (in two volumes) by Everard Wyrall

Watch the video: Raid.. Raid.. Raiding party 23 (June 2022).


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