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Record of service in the great war 1914-18 online

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-— "C^f^-

Presented by the

don County Council
in memory of
the services rendered




in the Great War 19 14-18 by
Members of the Council's Staff.

Published by the LONDON' COUNTY COUNCIL,

and may be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from


2 AND 4, Great Smith Street, Victoria Street,

Westminster, S.W.i,

Agents for the sale of the Publications of the London County Council.

No. 2113. Price 5s. [21955-



The Council on 9th November, 1920, decided, as a
mark of its appreciation, to present to each member of
the staff who served in the Great War, or to the next-
of-kin of those who died on service, a short history of
the war so far as the staff were concerned, with brief
particulars of their service. Accordingly the Record
of Service which gives effect to this decision has been
prepared under my supervision by Mr. V. A. Weeks,
B.A. (late Lieut., R. West Kent Rgt.), of my depart-
ment. The sketch plans, which show practically every
place mentioned in the battle areas, have been drawn
by Capt. A. G. Harding, O.B.E. (late R.A.O.C), also
of my department.

Authorities for the statements made have not, as a
rule, been given. To do this adequately would have
required an elaborate series of footnotes, and these in
a simple summary of the facts did not seem to be called
for. The narrative and the comments thereon are based
for the most part on the despatches of the various
commanders-in-chief, the works referred to in the
text, and H. C. O'Neill's History of the War, Sir Henry
Newbolt's Naval History of the War, H. W. Nevinson's
Dardanelles Campaign, E. Dane's British Campaigns
in the Near East, and Brig.-Gen. J. H. V. Crowe's
General Smuts' Campaign in East Africa. The chapter
on the Royal Air Force is based on an official Short
History of the R.A.F. [F.S. 136], kindly supplied by the

Air Ministry.



As far as practicable the recommendations of the
Battles Nomenclature Committee [Cmd. 1138] have
been adopted.

The Record deals only with the Council's staff, but it
is not fitting that it should be issued without mention
of the two members of the Council who lost their lives
on active service, Captain R. M. Sebag-Montefiore, of
the Royal East Kent (The Duke of Connaught's Own)
(Mounted Rifles), who died at Alexandria on 19th
November, 1915, from wounds received in Gallipoli,
and Lieut. -Col. Lord Alexander Boteville Thynne,
D.S.O., M.P., who was killed in France on 15th
September, 1918, whilst commanding a battalion of
the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment).

County Hall, S.W.
January, 1922.

James Bird,
Clerk of the Council.



I. Introduction ......

II. Western Front, 1914. — Mens and the Retreat,
the Marne and the Aisne, Antwerp, La Bassee
and Armentieres, Yprcs ....

III. Western Front, 1915. — Neuve Chapelle, Hill

60, Ypres, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, Loos and

IV. Western Front, 1916. — The Bluff and St. Eloi,

Vimy Ridge, the Somme, and the Ancre

V. Western Front, 191 7. — The Ancre and the

German retreat. Arras and Vimy Ridge,

Messines, Lombartzyde, Ypres, Lens, Cambrai

VI. Western Front, 191 8. — The Somme (German

offensive), the Lys, the Aisne, the Marne,

Amiens, the Somme (Allied offensive). Arras,

Havrincourt and Epehy, Cambrai and the

Hindenburg line, Flanders, Le Cateau, the

Selle and the Sambre, Armistice

VII. The Royal Navy

VIII. The Royal Air Force

IX. Gallipoli

X. Egypt and Palestine .

XL Mesopotamia

XII. Salonica

XIII. British Troops in Italy

XIV. British Troops in Russia
XV. British Troops in Africa

XVI. Deaths from Disease .
XVII. Summary

Index of names of the Coimcil's staff mentioned
in the text ......

Appendix giving brief details of the war ser\-ice of the
Council's staff:

Clerk of the Council

Comptroller of the Council

Chief Engineer



London Fire Brigade

Public Health

Estates and Valuation

Public Control


















Appendix giving brief details of the war service of
Council's staff {continued) :



Tramways . ' .


Housing ......


Education Officer:

Central Administrative Staff


Industrial and Special Schools

. 124

Secondary Schools and Training Colleges


Technical Institutes and Schools of Art .


School Attendance Officers .


Botany Scheme .


Stocktakers, etc. .




Teaching Staff


Stores .....




Asylums and Mental Deficiency


Asylums Engineer .



The Divisions in the British Army on active service during the
Great War were as follows:

Regular. Guards, ist to the 8th, 27th, 28th, 29th, ist, 2nd and
3rd Cavalry Divisions.

Service. 9th (Scottish), loth (Irish), nth (Northern), 12th
(Eastern), 13th (Western), 14th (Light), 15th (Scottish), 16th
(Irish), 17th (Northern), i8th (Eastern), 19th (Western), 20th
(Light), 2ist, 22nd (Western), 23rd (Northern), 24th (Eastern),
25th, 26th (Scottish), 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th
(Ulster), 37th, 38th (Welsh), 39th, 40th, 41st (Eastern), 63rd (R.

Territorial. 42nd (E. Lanes), 43rd (Wessex), 46th (N. Midland),
47th (London), 48th (S. Midland), 49th (W. Riding), 50th (Northum-
brian), 51st (Highland), 52nd (Lowland), 53rd (Welsh), 54th (E.
Anglian), 55th (W. Lanes), 56th (London), 57th (W. Lanes), 58th
(London), 59th (N. Midland), 60th (London), 6ist (S. Midland),
62nd (W. Riding), 66th (E. Lanes.), 74th (Yeomanry dismounted),

In accordance with official practice the Battalions of the London
Regiment are referred to throughout by numbers only. Their
names were as follows :

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (Royal Fusiliers), 5th (London Rifle
Brigade), 6th (Rifles), 8th (Post Office Rifles), 9th (Queen Victoria's
Rifles), 10th (Hackney), nth (Finsbury Rifles), 12th (The Rangers),
13th (I-*rincess Louise's Kensington Battalion), 14th (London
Scottish), 15th (Prince of Wales's Own, Civil Service Rifles), i6th
(Queen's Westminster Rifles), 17th (Poplar and Stepney Rifles),
1 8th (London Irish Rifles), 19th (St. Pancras), 20th (Blackheath
and Woolwich), 21st (First Surrey Rifles), 22nd and 24th (The
Queen's), 25th (Cyclist) and 28th (Artists' Rifles).



Events Leading up to the Great War.

It would be a long task to refer even in outline to
all the causes, direct and indirect, of the Great War
and the attempt to do so would raise many con-
troversial questions. Here it must suffice to state
that the Franco-German War of 1870 had been
succeeded by a period of international jealousy
and suspicion, and that, so far from abating,
these feelings of unrest had spread during the early
part of the twentieth century widely throughout
Europe. A serious crisis in 1905, leading up to the
Algeciras conference, had been followed by another
in 1908 when Austria, in defiance of the Treaty of
Berlin, annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, and by a
third in 191 1 arising out of the Agadir incident. Each
had threatened to lead to war and, although war had
been averted, it began to be clear that efforts to
maintain peace could not continue to be successful.
In most of the chief states there was no inconsiderable
number of people who desired war, some in order to
unite to their own country people of kindred race or
language, others for the sake of territorial or political
gain, others in mere self-defence before those plotting
against their country became invincible. So deep
were the feelings of distrust that any incident might
result in a crisis for which no peaceful solution could
be found. Such an incident was forthcoming on 28th
June, 1914, when the Archduke Francis Ferdinand,
heir to the Austrian Empire, was assassinated with
his wife while on a visit to Sarajevo, the capital of

Bosnia. The effects of the outrage were not at once
apparent, for no public action was taken by Austria
until 23rd July. Then, however, it presented to Serbia
a peremptory note and demanded a reply by the
evening of the 25th. On this note Sir Edward Grey,
the Foreign Secretary, remarked in a despatch to
the British Ambassador at Vienna that he " had
never before seen one State address to another inde-
pendent State a document of so formidable a char-
acter " and that one of the demands " would be
hardly consistent with the maintenance of Serbia's
independent sovereignty." ^ Serbia's reply, delivered
within the stipulated time, accepted in principle,
though with reservations, most of the Austrian
demands. This, however, was not considered satis-
factory, diplomatic relations were broken off, orders
were given for the mobilisation of the army, and on
the 28th war was declared against Serbia. Germany
supported Austria, while Serbia was supported by
Russia, thus bringing in France, the latter's ally.
Diplomatic negotiations to avert war or to localise its
effects having proved fruitless, Germany on ist August
declared war on Russia and France, and on the 6th
Austria declared war on Russia.

Great Britain of course had no direct interest in
the quarrel between Austria and Serbia, or even in
that between Austria and Russia, but, when other
issues were raised and Germany and France were
involved, it became vitally affected. The two main
questions were the maintenance of the integrity of
France and of the neutrality of Belgium. Great
Britain was under no treaty obligation to France,
but it had been agreed in November, 1912,^ that, if
either Government had grave reason to expect an
unprovoked attack, or something threatened the
general peace, it would immediately discuss whether

' Correspondence respecting the European Crisis, 1914 [Cd.
7467], p. 9. » Ibid., p. 57.


both Governments should act together to prevent
aggression and to preserve peace. The German Chan-
cellor's suggestion on 29th July that Great Britain
should remain neutral on condition that Germany
took no territory from France except in her colonies
was indignantly rejected, and on 2nd iVugust France
was informed that, if the German fleet came into the
English Channel or the North Sea to attack the French
coasts or shipping, the British fleet would give all the
protection in its power. The second question, Belgian
neutrality and the respect of that neutrality by all
belligerents, was even more important. By the Treaty
of London, 1839, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia,
France and Russia had agreed that Belgium should
form an independent and perpetually neutral state,
and that it should be bound to observe such neutrality
towards all other states. This treaty had been strictly
adhered to during the Franco-German War, and
accordingly on 31st July, 1914, when hostilities be-
tween France and Germany became imminent, the
two countries were asked whether, so long as no other
power violated it, they would respect the neutrality
of Belgium. France gave the necessary undertaking,
but no reply was received from Germany. In fact
on 2nd August the latter presented an ultimatum to
Belgium demanding facilities for military operations,
and on the 4th German troops actually invaded
Belgian' territory. On this date Germany was again
asked to give the assurance already given by France
and was informed that, unless a satisfactory reply was
received, Great Britain would take all steps in its
power to uphold the neutrality of Belgium. Germany
made no reply and accordingly from 11 o'clock on
the night of 4th/5th August, 1914, Great Britain
was at war with Germany.


The Western Front, 1914.

From i8th to 20th July, as part of a test mobilisation,
a great naval display had been given at Spithead by
the British Fleet at which some 200 vessels, manned
by 70,000 officers and men, were present. After the
manoeuvres it was thought advisable, as affairs in
Europe appeared so threatening, that the vessels
should not disperse. Consequently at the outbreak
of war the fleet was fully mobilised, ready at once for
active service. The army was not mobilised until
3rd August, when it became clear that Germany was
about to invade Belgium.

War between Great Britain and Germany having
been declared, an Expeditionary Force, consisting at
first of only four divisions, with some cavalry and a
few aeroplanes, was sent to the assistance of the
French. The troops embarked chiefly at South-
ampton, the bulk of them crossing to Boulogne or
Havre on the nights of 12th and 13th August. They
concentrated at Amiens and between 17th and 20th
August were assembled under the command of Sir
John French to the south of Maubeuge.

Mons and the Retreat.

By the morning of Sunday, the 23rd, they were
in position at Mons with a front of about twenty
miles on the extreme left of the Allies, the ist Corps,
commanded by Sir Douglas Haig, being to the east
of the town, the 2nd Corps, under Sir Horace Smith-
Dorrien, holding the town itself and the line to the
west, and the cavalry, under Sir Edmund AUenby,
being mostly in reserve.

During the morning the Germans attacked with
five corps and three cavalry divisions, thus out-
numbering our men by more than two to one. Although
the enemy suffered heavy losses the attack achieved


only a moderate success, the British 2nd Corps, which
was chiefly involved, retiring, late in the day, to
prepared positions in rear. Towards evening, however.
Sir John French learned that Namur, thirty-five miles
to the east, had fallen on the 22nd, that, in conse-
quence, the French on his right had retired and that
his left was being outflanked. In addition therefore
to being outnumbered in front he was in grave danger
of being surrounded on both flanks, so that immediate
retreat was essential. This began the next day, the
direction taken being roughly south-west. The ist
Corps retired to the east of Bavai and thence through
Landrecies, Venerolles, La Fere, and Villers-Cotterets,
while the route of the 2nd Corps lay to the west of
Bavai, and through Le Quesnoy, Le Cateau, St.
Ouentin, Ham, Noyon and Compiegne. At Betz on
1st September, the two corps were re-united and
crossing the Marne next day fell back towards the

Apart from an attack at Landrecies on the night of
25th/26th August, when the Guards drove off with
heavy losses a force which advanced through the
Foret de Mormal, the ist Corps was not seriously
molested, but the 2nd Corps was much harassed.
As his men were too weary to continue their march.
Sir Horace felt it necessary, in order to gain time, to
disregard the orders he had received not to fight, and
on the 26th near Le Cateau turned and faced the
enemy. Accordingly a line was formed to the south
of the Cambrai — Le Cateau road with the 5th Division
on the right, immediately west of the latter town, the
3rd in the centre and the 4th on the left, the whole
front measuring some nine or ten miles. The fighting
lasted from dawn until well into the afternoon when
the 5tli Division, having lost many of its guns, was
forced back and the two other divisions had to con-
form. The retirement in some disorder gave rise at
the time to disconcerting rumours in England but

these, as usual, greatly exaggerated the facts, and,
although there was much confusion, the retreat never
degenerated into a rout.

The mobilisation of H.M. Forces led to the calling
up from the Council's staff of 436 naval reservists,
870 army reservists and 590 members of the Terri-
torial force. During August and September eighteen
of the staff joined the Navy and 1664 the Army, so
that, after two months of war, the staff on service
numbered 3578. There were casualties amongst these
from the first, for on 23rd August George Baker {4th
R. Fus., Asylums) and Lance-Corp. E. W. Stretton
(2nd R. Ir. Rgt., Tram.) were reported as missing, on
the 24th John Yates (ist R. Scots Fus., Tram.) died
of wounds, and on the 26th J. A. Goodwin (R.F.A.,
Tram.) was killed at Le Cateau, while before the end of
the month A. G. Mitchell (ist Lines, Ch. Engr.) died
of wounds and W. J. Thynne (ist E. Surr., Tram.) was
missing. P. S. T. Marshall (ist Lines, Tram.) died on
nth September of wounds received near Mons, Corp.
Frederick Lait (R.G.A., Educ.) on the same date of
wounds received towards the end of the retreat, and
S. C. Good (4th Dragoon Gds., Tram.) on 2nd October
of wounds received on 3rd September near Lagny.
Randall Kirk (Coldstr. Gds., Asjdums), wounded and
taken prisoner near Mons, died at Laon on 14th

The first member of the Council's staff to win a
decoration was Sergt. A. J. Tilney (4th Drag. Gds.,
Clerk) to whom was awarded the Croix de Guerre,
During the retreat towards the end of August he
was accidentally left behind by his regiment. While
making liis way back he rescued a wounded comrade,
taking him on his horse, and later picked up a straggler.
Eventually he fell in with some French troops with
whom he remained some days before he was able to
rejoin his regiment.

Battle of the Marne, 1914.

The German forces advancing from Mons to the
Marne were commanded by Von Kluck, who appeared
to think that our troops had been so roughly handled
that for the time being they might be ignored. Accord-
ingly in the early days of September, instead of con-
tinuing his advance to the south and south-west, he
turned to the south-east from the neighbourhood of
Amiens, and crossed the Marne between Meaux and
Chateau-Thierry seemingly with the intention of
attacking the left of what he considered to be the
main body of the Allies. He thus exposed his right
flank, guarded only by comparatively small detach-
ments, to the full assaults of the British and of a
French army, commanded by General Maunoury, on
their left. These assaults proved successful and, in
the face of vigorous opposition, the British by 7th
September had advanced to Coulommiers on the
Grand Morin, and by the 8th to the Petit Morin, both
these streams being tributaries of the Marne which
was crossed on the 9th to the west of Chateau-Thierry.
Von Kluck was now in considerable danger and a
general retreat of the Germans to the Aisne was
ordered. This retreat was followed up by the British
through Oulchy and Fere-en-Tardenois, and on the
12th they were again in touch with the main German

The operations from 6th September onwards, which
formed a part of important engagements by several
French armies, culminating in General Foch's success-
ful attack at St. Gond, 40 miles to the east, are usually
known as the first Battle of the Marne. By it the
German advance was definitely checked and, indeed,
pushed back for thirty miles and the threat on Paris
was removed, so that it is rightly regarded as one of
the decisive battles of the war.

Battle of the Aisne, 1914.

The passage of the Aisne, on a front of fifteen miles
between Bourg on the east and Soissons on the west,
was forced on 13th September. This was a difficult
task, for the river is both broad and deep and, as many
of the bridges had been blown up, some troops had to
cross on rafts or pontoons, others on the girders of
the broken bridges, and all this under continuous
fire. Facing the British and three or four miles to the
north of the river was a line of chalk hills on the
summit of which was the Chemin-des-Dames.' As
the scene of prolonged fighting throughout the war,
this was destined to become one of the most famous
positions on the whole front. The ist Corps on the
right advanced nearly to the top of the ridge, the 2nd
Corps in the centre near Vailly was not so successful,
while the 3rd Corps (which had been formed under
Sir WiUiam Pulteney towards the end of the retreat
from Mons) could do little more than hold its ground
immediately across the river. Here both sides dug
themselves in and, in spite of attacks and counter-
attacks, the line remained unaltered for many months.
After i8th September, although local encounters were
frequent, the general fighting died down and early
in October the British were relieved by the French
and moved northwards to the flank of the Allied

The casualties amongst the Council's staff were
Alfred Luker (Northld. Fus., Asylums) killed on gtli
September at the Mame, while those killed or missing
at the Aisne were: 13th September, E. S. Harrison
(ist R.W. Kent, Tram.); 14th September, C. A.
Dickens (4th R. Fus., Asylums), Lance-Corp. S.
Andrews (R.W. Surr., Parks), F. A. G. Daysh (ist
Coldstr. Gds., Housing), Lance-Corp. James ^^'alker
(2nd R. Suss., Asylums); 15th September, H. G. Davis

* Constructed for the journeys of the daughters of Louis XV.
between the royal chateaus at Compiegne and Bouconville.


(2nd W. Riding, Educ.) ; i6th September, John Ryan
(ist Irish Gds., Tram.), C. J. Morley (4th Worcesters,
Asylums); 20th September, W. A. Farley (ist S.
Lanes., Clerk); 21st September, F. W. Adams (3rd
Worcesters, L.F.B.); 22nd September, H. H. Chitty
(2nd R. Fus., Parks) ; 4th October, W. J. Plater (ist
Coldstr. Gds., Tram.), I. W. Bradford (ist Coldstr.
Gds., Housing) died as a prisoner of war on 21st
October of wounds received on 14th September.


In the latter part of August the main Belgian army
had withdrawn northwards to the neighbourhood of
Antwerp but, using this as a base, it continued by
frequent sallies to harass the enemy. The Germans
were thus compelled to retain in the district troops
which could have been more usefully employed else-
where, and accordingly, at the end of September,
after several weeks of desultory warfare, the reduction
of the Belgian position was seriously imdertaken.
The defence fared badly against heavy artillery of
the kind which had been so successful at Liege and
Namur, and the Allies were appealed to for assistance.
The only troops immediately available were a brigade
of Royal Marines and two brigades of the R.N.V.R.,
which were despatched to Antwerp in the early part
of October. A breach had already been made in the
outer defences of the town and, as the Germans were
greatly superior in numbers, no striking success was
probable. The British forces, however, did good
service by aiding the Belgians in holding up the
attack for several days, and also by covering the
Belgian withdrawal from the town. In this fighting
Sergt. T. York (Educ.) was killed on the 6th, Percy
Haggis (Arch.) on the 7th, and W. F. Forse (Tram-.)
on gth October. The 7th Division and some cavalry
landing at Zeebrugge covered the retreat along the


La BassSe and Armentieres.

Early in October, when a dead-lock had been reached
on the Aisne, Sir John French suggested that, if his
forces were transferred to the left of the Allied line,
his Hnes of communication would be much shortened
and he might be in a position to outflank the Germans.
General Joffre consented and, as already mentioned,
the British were relieved by the French and moved
northward. Stated thus the problem which con-
fronted the British commander appears simple enough
to need no comment, but it must be remembered
that his forces numbered about 100,000 men with
horses, guns and baggage. One di\'ision alone, con-
taining at full strength about 19,000 men with some
5,600 horses, 75 guns and 650 wagons, occupies in
column of route about ten miles of road and takes
three hours to pass a given point, while to transport
it by rail about 90 trains are needed. It was therefore
a formidable task, requiring much skill and organisa-
tion on the part of a staff unpractised in the handling
of large bodies of men, to disengage so large a force
from a vigilant and energetic enemy, and to convey it
across the lines of communication of other troops. This
intricate movement was, however, accomplished with-
out mishap and by the nth of the month the 2nd Corps
was operating near La Bassee with the 3rd Corps on its
left to the east of St. Omer. With much hard fighting
and in spite of a strong resistance the line slowly
advanced eastward until, towards the end of the
month, the two corps were held up to the east of
Bethune, Laventie and Armentieres in positions which
were maintained with Uttle or no alteration almost to
the end of the war.

In this fighting B. A. Edhn (2nd Bedfords, Asylums)
was killed on 13th October, J. P. Knights (ist Notts,
and Derby, Asylums) on the 20th, A. G. Martin
(Wilts., Tram.) on the 24th, E. W. Moore (4th R.

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