Monthly Archives: Sep 2014

Other September Casualties

poppyXGeorge Shadbolt, Private 7316, 1st Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment. Died 09/09/1914, aged 29. Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Sp. Mem. (Panel). Cemetery: MONTREUIL-AUX-LIONS BRITISH CEMETERY.

Albert Edward Moody, Private 8136, 1st Bn. Norfolk Regiment. Died 14/09/1914, aged 21. Son of George and Maria Moody, of 13 Bathurst Ave., Merton Park, Surrey. Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: H. 1. Cemetery: MONTCORNET MILITARY CEMETERY.

Greville Hubert Robins Blunt, Captain, Royal Field Artillery. Died 23/09/1914, aged 31. Son of the late Maj. Blount (R.A.) (killed in South African War). Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: E. 86. Cemetery: ST. NAZAIRE (TOUTES-AIDES) CEMETERY.


shadbolt

George Shadbolt was one of five brothers to serve in the Great War – George, John Arthur, Alfred and Samuel.  George, John and Alfred all served in the Dorsets and were pre-war regulars. George’s other brothers would both serve in the Royal Army Service Corps.

George had joined the Army on 6th July 1904, and had served at home and then in India from the end of 1906 until the spring of 1913, he then returns to the UK.  Events move quickly for George in the summer of 1914.  He marries Louise Roxberry on 11th July 1914, just three weeks later War is declared and within a fournight George lands with his battaion at Le Harve on 16th August 1914.

George is at Mons and Le Cateau and his battalion fights a rearguard action at Crepy en Valies on 1st September.  On 6 September, they march north to the River Marne.  In the afternoon of 9th September, they attack the Germans east of Montreuil towards Hill 189 without artillery support.  The Germans defend with accurate machine gun fire and heavy shell fire.

The attack does not succeed, the Dorsets are forced to retire under darkness by 6pm.  The War Diary of the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment gives the casualties for that day:

Casualties.
Officers – Wounded.
Major C. Saunders—–C Coy—–Slightly
Capt A R M Roe*—–B Coy—–Severely
Capt A B. Priestley*—–B Coy—–Severely
Lieut A.K.D. George—–D Coy—–severely
* since died of wounds.

NCOs and men
Killed—– 7
Wounded—– 31
Missing—– 4

The battalion withdrew, but so did the Germans, and the 5th Division advanced north towards the River Aisne.

George’s brother Alfred William will die as prisoner in 1916.  John Clement Shadbolt will be diagnosed with neurasthenia at the end of the war, and Samuel David is discharged on 13.5.18 with a Silver War Badge due to sickness.  Arthur John is not demobbed until June 1919.

George’s mother, Elizabeth, died in 1907 and his father, George Herbert Shadbolt, died in 1929. Several of his siblings, including his married sister Louise Florence Vincent, continue to live in Mitcham after the War, and others live in Tooting.  Both George and Alfred William Shadbolt are on the roll of honour in Christ Church, Colliers Wood.


moodyMWM

Albert Edward Moody was born in 1893 in Plaistow, Essex, now part of the London Borough of Newham.  The fourth of six children, Albert had three elder brothers, and two younger sisters. His brother Frederick died aged 11 in 1902.  By 1909 the family had move from East London to Mitcham where both Albert’s father and older brother George worked for one of Mitcham’s many varnish makers.  Albert had joined the Army, probably in 1910 judging by his number.

The 1st Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment are at the Palace Barracks, Holywood, Belfast, when War is declared. Like the 1st Dorsets they are part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division.  Albert lands at Le Harve on the same day as George Shadbolt, the 16th August 1914.  Albert Moody will fight in the same actions as George Shadbolt in late August and early September.  In contrast to the 1st Dorsets, the 1st Norfolks had sufferd only one casualty on the 9th of September near hill 189.

On the 13th September the 15th Brigade crosses the river Asine at night in fog.  Rafts holding sixty men at a time are used, it is completed in four and a half hours.

On the 14th September the Brigade receives orders to move on to Missy and clear the Chivres ridge of the enemy and push on to Condé and take that if possible, this proves to be a tall order. An attack on the wooded ridge above Missy starts in the late afternoon.  In the confusion of action, British units fire on one another and shell fire bursting over the woods leads to a stream of men retiring to Missy, which comes under heavy sharpnel fire.  Around dusk, the Brigade’s commander gives orders that all troops were to retire to their previous positions in and near the village.  His own account of the day makes reference to:

Luard (Norfolks) and a party of twenty-five men were well ahead in the wood, and received the order to retire, for Luard was heard shouting it to his men. But nothing has since been heard of him, and I much regret to say that he was either taken prisoner with most of his men, or, more probably, killed.”

This was Major Charles Elmhisrt Luard, DSO and mentioned in dispatches. He is recorded as being killed in action on or about 15th September 1914.  The 1st Norfolks suffer over thirty casualties on the 14th.

Albert’s name is one of the late additions to the Mitcham War Memorial, and does not appear on any Church “Roll of Honour” in Mitcham.

Originally Albert Edward Moody had no known grave, but twenty years after his death his remains were found and identified from G.S. uniform, boots and titles at position 2F.26.68 on the Soisson 1/100,000 map, close to the Chivers Ridge.  Albert was re-buried at MONTCORNET MILITARY CEMETERY in 1934.

Sadly, both of Albert’s parents had died by this time: his mother Maria in April 1915, and his father George in May 1931.  The final CWGC verification form is returned by his older brother George who asked for a cross to be engraved on his headstone, but no inscription.


blount

Greville Hubert Robins Blount was born on 23 February 1883, at Aldershot, the son of Charles Hubert and Maud Blount. Greville’s father as a serving Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery at the time of his birth and later served as a Major in the South Aftrian War, where he fell ill with enteric fever and died on 23 Dec 1900.  By this time Greville had completed his education at Harrow (1897-1899) and the Royal Military Academy Woolwich (1899-1900) and, like his father, had been commissioned as an artillery officer.  Greville was promoted to Lieutenant of the RFA in August 1903.

On 14th May 1907, Greville Blount marries Galdys Isabel Wilson, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Canon Daniel Frederic Wilson, Vicar of Mitcham for over forty years, at St.Peter and St.Paul.

He serves with G Battery in India, RHA, from 1909 to 1911 and is promoted Captain in November 1911.  The happy occasion of the birth of his son Hubert on 26th April 1910 turns to tradegy when his wife Gladys dies of entric fever while at Ooty in Southern India on 9th May 1910.  His son, Hubert, is baptised on 11th May, the day after Galdys is buried.  Hubert is returned to England and is cared for in the home of Rev. Wilson.

Greville Blount is appointed Adjutant of the 25th Brigade at Farnborugh in July, 1913.  He lands in France within two weeks of the declaration of war, on 18th Augsut 1914.  He is wounded at Courchamps on 11th September 1914, notice of which appears in the Times on Thursday 17th September.  Evacuated from the front, Greville does not recover and dies in hospital at St.Nazaire on 23rd September.  A final notice appears in the Times on Wednesday 30th September.

A marble tablet, near the choir stalls, in the Parish CaptBlountChurch of St.Peter and St.Paul reads:

CAPTAIN G.H.R. BLOUNT/ WHO DIED AT ST. NAZAIRE, FRANCE/23 SEPTEMBER 1914/ FROM WOUNDS RECIEVED IN THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE/ AGED 31

Captain Blount is also commemorated on memorials at the Wellington Club and Park House, Harrow

Naval Disaster – 22nd September 1914

In today’s press you might expect to see a tabloid headline scream: “Mitcham Man Dies in Naval Disaster”.  The reporting style may have been very different a hunderd years ago, but the disaster was very real.  Tuesday the 22nd of September 1914 was to be a black day for the Navy.

By the second week of September the German advance had been stopped on the Marne and the “Battle of Aisne” developed as both British and French forces attempted to dislodge the Germans from their fixed positions on the heights overlooking the river.  The conflict bogged down with the failure of frontal assualts and the remaining mobile forces of both sides moved north through Picardy, Artois and Flanders, in an attempt to outflank one another.  This “race to the sea” was an obvious threat to the Channel Ports.

In repsonse to French requests, the Marine Brigade of the Royal Naval Division, with supporting forces, were landed at Dunkirk on 20th September 1914.  The Admiralty were to rely on its Southern Force – a combination of Cruisers and destroyers – to protect these operations, and to patrol off the Dogger Bank and the Broad Fourteens. Bad weather hindered the patrols, and between 19th and 22nd was so bad that the Destoyer Flotillas remained at their Harwich base.

On the 22nd September 1914 the three ageing cruisers Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy were left patrolling an area between the German minefield and the Dutch coast alone, an area which left little room for variations of course.  They were patrolling abreast two miles apart without zigzagging and at barely ten knots.  

HMS Aboukir

HMS Aboukir

Disaster stuck at around 6.30am when the Aboukir was rocked by a violent explosion. It was first thought to have been mined and the Aboukir signalled the Hogue and Cressy to close, but it was soon realised it had been hit by a torpedo. In coming to the Aboukir’s aid, both the Hogue and Cressy were subsequently hit by torpedo and sunk. The losses were inlficted by a single German submarine, U9.

PhotoWW1-12ssGerU9-1PS

At home the general public are first alerted to the disaster when the news breaks in the evening papers of the 22nd.

disaster2

The Admiltary had issued a comminque for publication:

His Majesty’s Ships Aboukir (Captain John E. Drummond), Hogue ( Captain Wilmot S. Nicholson), and Cressy (Caption Robert W. Johnson), have been sunk by submarines in the North Sea. The Aboukir was torpedoed, and while the Hogue and the Cressy had closed in and were standing by to save the crew they were also torpedoed. A considerabel number were saved by H. M. S. Lowestoft (Captian Theobald W. Kennedy) and by dvisions of destroyers, trawlers and boats. Lists of casualites will be published as soon as they are known.

Unseen by the general public is the message sent by the Admiralty to all ships a t 11 p.m. on the 22nd :

The serious lesson to learn from loss of Cressy and Hogue is that it must henceforth be recognised by all Commanding Officers that if one ship is torpedoed by submarine or strikes mine, disabled ship must be left to her fate, and other large ships clear out of dangerous area, calling up minor vessels to render assistance. This is further application of well recognised rule of war to leave disabled ships in fleet action to look after themselves. At the same time, it must be recognised that captains of Hogue and Cressy were on this occasion only complying with dictates of humanity.

Fuller reports appeared in the press the following day. The London based Daily Mirror carried a photo feature on its front page on Wednesday 23rd September 1914 under a banner headline. Initial reports stated as many as five submarines had attacked the ships, and the Cressy had sunk two.  These reports proved to be false. mirrorThere was much praise for the discipline and conduct of the men who consisted mostly of cadets and reservists, many of the latter were maried with families.  The heavy lose of life was not disguised.  Of over 2,000 officers and men, only about a third had been rescued. Families faced an anxious wait to learn if their men folk were amongst the survivors.

Waiting for that fateful news is Annie Richardson with her two young children, Lottie and Frederick, and her older son by a previous marriage, Richard.  Annie’s husband William was on the Aboukir.

William had been born on the borders of Balham and Clapham on 17 March 1877.  William joins the Navy on 18th May 1893, and serves on the Defiance as boy 3rd class for two years.  His adult service starts on 9th April 1895, when William signs for 12 years, after four years service William is invalided out.  Just two years later William joins the Royal Fleet Reserve in 1901 as Able Seaman 173718, (RFR/CH/B/69).  Class B reservists received a retainer of 6d. a day, and a gratuity of £50 when reaching 40 years of age and on completion of 20 years’ service in the Fleet and Royal Fleet Reserve combined.  They were required to perform one week’s drill at the Home Ports each year.

In 1903, William marries Clapham born Annie Parish (orginally Annie Phoebe Bird).  The couple settled in Streatham, off Mitcham Lane, where their two children are born.

In April 1907 William re-enrolls in the RFR for another five years.  His daughter Lottie Frances is just two years old.  William enrolls again in February 1911, his daughter is now 6, and his second child, Fredrick, is just three.

William is working as a storeman in a “Government Army Clothing Depot” when the outbreak of war brings normal life to an end.  William joins the crew of the Aboukir on 2nd August 1914, he is 37 years old.  Interviews of survivors and casualty lists appear in the newspapers in coming days, but William is not amongst the rescued.

Within a year of William’s death, Annie moves the family to Marian Road, Lonesome, Mitcham. Her oldest son Richard Parish aged 20 is conscripted on 1 November 1916, attesting at Kingston, he serves in the Royal Field Artillery.  Richard remains in the Artillery at the War’s end, and serves in India.  Richard is finally discharged on 31.3.22 at Woolwich.

William John Richardson is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, along with the hundreds of seaman lost in this disaster.

His name appears as “RICHARDSON W.J.” on the Mitcham War Memorial and as “RICHARDSON William J.” on the memorial in St.Marks Church close to where Annie and family lived.

richardson

Annie remains at 25 Marian Road, Mitcham after the War’s end. She dies in 1929, and is buried on 18 March 1929 at Church Road Cemetery, Mitcham.

A First Wave of Recruits – 6th September 1914

As the news of the some of Mitcham’s and the surrounding area’s first casualties trickles home, recruitment continues at a pace in a feverish atmosphere. Committees are formed, posters are everywhere and leaflets pushed through doors encouraging men to sign up for “Lord Kitchener’s Army”.  The nearby New Wimbledon Theatre, first open to the public in 1910, becomes a centre for recruitment The patriotic public are reported to have flooded in from Merton, Mitcham, New Malden, Southfields and Tooting as well as Wimbledon, drawn to meetings and rousing speeches.  There are marches, processions and the bands play.

Another_Call_Kitchener_Poster

In France, the BEF’s retreat from Mons comes to and end on 5th September 1914.  The advance of the German Army is finally halted by Allied forces.  Between 6 to 10 September 1914 the counter attack of the French 5th and 6th Armies and the BEF develops into the First Battle of the Marne.  B y 11th September the Germans are in full retreat, but only to the Lower Aisne River. Here the advantage of defence over attack becomes clear as the Germans repell successive Allied attacks from the shelter of trenches.  The First Battle of the Aisne marks the beginning of trench warfare on the Western Front.

In Britain, military and political leaders might have known better, but the ordinary volunteer had little idea of what really lie ahead. The “Over by Christmas” sentiment was rife.

In 1914, the 6th September was a Sunday. On that day alone, the Surrey Recruitment Registers show that at Kingston 68 men had volunteered from across the county, 19 were to serve in battalions of the East Surrey Regiment.

Amongst those standing in line to be processed were brothers Samuel “George” and Reuben Burge from Tooting Junction, my grandfather’s cousins. They emerged as privates 1809 and 1821 of the East Surrey Regiment, and were to serve in the 2nd Battalion when first sent to France in the Spring of 1915.  Of those 19 recruits, four would not return home, two would become Silver War Badge holders, and at least one would become a prisoner of war.

Pte. 1738 Earnest John Noel, 2nd Bn. East Surrey – KIA 08/05/1915
Pte. 1809 Samuel George Burge, 2nd Bn. East Surrey – KIA 08/05/1915
Pte. 653 William Burgess, 1st Bn. East Surrey – KIA 15/06/1915
Pte. 22678 Sidney Lawrence Dann, 1st Bn. Borders (was 1681 E.Surrey) – DOW 21/07/1916
Pte. 1732 Albert John Pither, East Surrey – discharged due to wounds 09/10/1915
Pte. 2553 Herbert Well, East Surrey – awarded SWB 09/05/1919
Pte 1821 Reuben J Burge – POW 21/03/1918

BURGE S. G. becomes one of the 587 names on the Mitcham War Memorial, and one of 31 Mitcham men named along with thousands of others on the Menin Gate.

The First Naval Casualty – 5th September 1914

The 5th Sept. 1914 is not a date that immediately leaps from the pages of the annals of the Great War, but it turns into a bad day for the Royal Navy and a portent of worse things to come.

Early in 1914 the home water bases of Scapa Flow, Loch Ewe and on the Firth of Forth were not well defended, there was a certain nervousness about the enemy threat.  Admiral Jellicoe was to write, “The only possible action, in the event of an alarm being given of the presence of a submarine, was to take the fleet to sea”.  Such an alarm had been raised four days earlier on 1st September after repeated sightings of what was thought to be a periscope at Scapa Flow.  A similar alarm was raised a day later in the Forth of Forth. Unknown to the British, U20 was to penetrate the Firth of Forth as far as Fidra on 4th September, while U21 was close to May Island.

The U21 had attempted to enter the firth in the early hours of 5th. Coming to the surface some hours later to charge her batteries, off May Island, she sighted a cruiser to the south-east.

This was HMS Pathfinder, flotilla leader of the Forth Destroyer Patrol on patrol off St. Abb’s Head.  On his second sighting at around 3.45pm Lt-Commander Otto Hersing gave the order to fire a single torpedo at her from a distance of 1,500 metres, this was roughly 10 miles south-east of May Island.

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The fate of HMS Pathfinder is well documented elsewhere ( HMS pathfinder, a survivor’s account) tragically her magazine is ignited and a devastating secondary explosion gives the crew little chance of survival.  It is thought of the 268 on board ship, only 18 were saved. Amongst those lost was Eli Francis Bright.

The name “BRIGHT E.F.” appears on the Mitcham War memorial and he is named as “Bright Eli F.” on the Roll in the nearby Christ Church.  Eli was born into the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian London in 1876 and spent his formative years in Battersea, in an area classed as poor to very poor on Charles Booth’s poverty map. By 1891, now aged about 15, Eli is one of six siblings and is working as a laundry assistant.  His prospects appear limited.  Just two years later Eli has made a life changing decision and joins the Royal Naval on 2nd October 1893 and gives his DOB as 2nd October 1875, signing on for 12 years. He resigns “to comp” on 2nd Oct 1905, by which time Eli Bright was a leading seaman.  He passes for “gunner t” on 4/12/05 and reaches the pinnacle of his naval career when appointed “act gunner t”, a warrant officer, on 6th October 1909, almost 16 years to the day since he first joined.

Not long after he becomes a WO, Eli Bright feels secure enough to marry Annie Esther Sage in 1910, somewhere in Wandsworth.  Annie had been living close to the Tooting border with Mitcham at the time. Their only child, Reginald Francis Bright, is born towards the end of 1911. Around the same time, Eli Bright’s widowed mother and other siblings are living with one of Eli’s married sisters in Colliers Wood.

Eli Bright serves on HMS Pathfinder from 4.12.09 to 13.2.11, followed by a year on the destroyer HMS Goldfinch and then spends 20 months on the Staff at the RN Torpedo School at Sheerness.  Eli Bright is re-posted to the Pathfinder on 11.2.14. It is a supreme irony that he should loss his life to the very technology he had been trained to use.

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Annie Bright never re-marries, she and her son continue to live in Mitcham for many years.  Annie Bright passes away in 1959 aged 78 and is buried in London Road Cemetery, Mitcham, which is now in the London Borough of Merton.

The First B.E.F. Casualties – 26th August 1914

It’s no surprise that the first casualties to be named on the Mitcham War Memorial come from the ranks of the regular army whose division made up the BEF.  Mobilised on 5th August 1914, the BEF embarked for France within days and first encountered overwhelming numbers of the enemy at Mons on 23rd August 1914.  The battered BEF is forced into a fighting retreat from Mons to Le Cateau. Corps Commander Horace Smith-Dorrien orders II Corps to stand and fight on the 26th August 1914.  Somewhere in the chaos of battle are two men from Mithcam:  private 9520, Archibald Frederick Elgood of the 1st Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment and private 2607, Alfred White of the 2nd Bn. Lancashire Regiment.

La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

ARCHIBALD FREDERICK ELGOOD (CWGC Entry)

Tooting born Archibald Elgood had enlisted on 31st December 1912 at Kingston aged 18 years and 9 months, following his brother Robert in joining the Lincolnshire Regiment. Robert was serving in the 2nd battalion at the outbreak of war stationed in Bermuda, while it was Archibald’s fate to be at Mons and Le Cateau.

At the time of the 1911 census Archibald is working as a paper cutter at the local Merton paper mills, but on enlisting gives his occupation as painter labourer.  By this stage he may have been working with his father William who was a self-employed builder and decorator.

The Elgood family had first arrived in this part of Mitcham in about 1894 via Battersea, and by the outbreak of war where living at 7 Briscoe Road, Colliers Wood Merton S W, Mitcham, Surrey. Archibald was one of 12 surviving siblings, and one of five brothers, all living in 7 rooms.  What must have been a crowded household and limited job prospects may have contributed to Robert and Archibald’s decision to join the pre-war regulars, supposedly derided by the Kaiser as a ‘Contemptible Little Army’.  But is was German officers who were to be stunned by the way the British troops brought the German attacks to a standstill time and again in these early days of the war. ( Did the Kaiser ever call the BEF contemptible?  Read on )

From about 6am to past mid-day on 26 August the BEF held overwhelming numbers of the enemy at bay and inflicted severe losses before the order to retire was given once more. The 1st Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment had fought in the Audencorut area a little south of the villages of Beaumont and Inchy close to the centre of the British positions.

According to the history:

Brigadier-General Shaw, the commander of 9th Brigade received his own orders to retreat at around 3.30pm. Covered by the 4th Royal Fusiliers, Shaw withdrew his battalions; 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st RSF and 1st Lincolnshire, covered by gunfire from 107th and 108th Batteries RFA. 2 sections of these batteries were forced to abandon their guns, leaving 4 guns to the enemy. Otherwise the 9th Brigade pulled out in good order, and took position to the west of Bertry, to cover the retreat of the rest of the 3rd Division. Casualties of the brigade were around 180 men and the ease of the withdrawal enabled the brigade to bring out its wounded.”

 The 1st Lincolns losses may have been very light compared to other units who fought at Le Cateau, but by the end of the day Private 9520, Archibald Frederick Elgood was counted amongst the dead, having succumbed to his wounds.P.S.

A hint of the human cost of these engagements first appears in a brief Times article of the 29 August on an inner page. Further reports of the four day battle appear in the Times on 31 August 1914, with news that the British forces are intact and of heroic deeds. S ir John French estimates our losses at 5,000 or 6,000 men.  Other reports will appear in the local press in the days and weeks to come.

When news of Archibald’s death reaches his parents William and Emily their feelings must have been completely at odds with the feverish atmosphere of men flocking to volunteer, keen to do their bit and be part of the big adventure before it was “all over by Christmas”.  It’s not the only time they have had to cope with grief as three of their children had died as infants, nor will it be the last.  As the Great War grinds on for four more long years it will claim the lives of two more sons. Of four sons eligible to fight, only William Jnr returns home.

On a personal note it’s feasible that my grandfather and his father knew of the Elgoods. They lived in the same area and as builders would have rubbed shoulders with people in the same trade.

ALFRED WHITE (CWGC Entry)

Near the end of the long list of names on the Mitcham War memorial is one “WHiTE. A”.  On the 26th August Alfred White is just another soldier at Le Cateau.

Alfred had been born in Earlsfield in 1894, and his family had lived in Wandsworth, Herne Hill and West Norwood before settling on the borders of Mitcham and Streatham before the outbreak of the Great War in area know as Lonesome, a rather drab and isolated place near open lavender fields, the Mizen family’s market garden nuseries and a chemical factory.  Pains firework factory was close by.

Alfred was one of six surviving siblings and one of two sons that would be eligible for military service by the war’s end.  At the time of the 1911 census the family were still in West Norwood, and Alfred described his occupation as “Fitter’s Mate Heating Engineers”.  It’s the same occupation he gives on the 5 June 1912 when Alfred has made the journey to Kingston and the depot of the East Surreys to enlist, he joins the 4th (extra reserve) battalion.  At some stage Alfred is transferred to the 2nd Lancashire Regiment, and his fate is sealed.

According to his Medal Index Card, Alfred is first in France on 22nd August 1914, just days before Le Cateau.  The 2nd Lancs where part of the 4th Division’s 12th Brigade that had arrived just in time to fight at Le Cateau.  The battalion was on the lelf flank and

came under attack from German machine guns, artillery, cavalry and infantry.  With assistance from 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Lancashire Fusiliers held their own, even though it was estimated that the regiment was combating 23 German machine guns, with only 2 machine guns. …. the Lancashire Fusiliers, was subjected to heavy German artillery fire and repeated attempts to infiltrate infantry down the flanks of the brigade. The brigade right flank was held by 1st Rifle Brigade and 1st Somerset LI. On the left flank, 1st Hampshires attempted a counter attack, but the Germans were too strong in artillery and machine guns, and the attack had to be abandoned, after heavy casualties. The brigade hung on to its positions with great tenacity.”

By 5pm on the 26th the 4th Division was in retreat. Overall losses at Le Cateau were estimated at some 8,482 men (12% of the force engaged) and 38 guns. The CWGC register list 99 fatalities for the 2nd Lancashires on that day. Alfred White’s MIC is marked, “Pres Dead 26-8-14” .

When the Armistice comes Alfred’s parents will in due course be sent his 14 Star, British, and Victory medals and will have to sign for his plaque and scroll. In contrast to the Elgoods, Alfred will be their only loss. His parents Alfred and Alice Margaret will remain in Mitcham. In Alice’s case just long enough to see here son’s name added to the Mitcham Memorial and on the memorial in their local church St.Marks.  Alice is buried on 17 February 1922 at Church Road Cemetery, Mitcham. Alfred White is remembered on the family grave in the Churchyard of St.Peter and St.Paul, Mitcham, with the simple epitaph …  “Died at Mons