9792 Private John William Martin - 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
John’s service record has survived but it’s badly damaged and is difficult to read in parts. He enlisted in Lincoln on 8th August 1914 and John is listed on the 1914-15 Winterton Roll of Honour (qualified by upbringing) as being in the 3rd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment at the time. He entered France on 26th January 1915, but was killed in action on 4th March 1915 and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.
The Battalion was in the vicinity of Rosenthaal Chateau and on 2nd March, the battalion HQ was near La Chapelle farm.
The war diary reads: “4th March 1915: Enemy’s artillery very active. B Coy trench shelled causing some losses. Machine gun in support shelled causing casualties to whole of the team. Bn headquarters shelled. 27 shells either striking or falling and exploding about Headquarters causing many casualties in C Coy. The shelling lasted about 1 hour 30 minutes. Medical Officer decided to remove wounded which task was carried out without further losses. Bn relieved by 1st Dorset Regt and proceeded to YPRES and billeted in Infantry Barracks. Casualties: 4 killed, 1 died of wounds, 34 wounded.”
His Medal Index Card shows that he was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
294708 Gunner Arthur Hill - 146th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Arthur’s service record hasn’t survived but he enlisted in Hull and was killed in action on 31st July 1917, aged 27. He was the husband of Lilian Hill, of 38, Estcourt St., Newbridge Rd., Hull. An extract of a letter sent by the Chaplain to Arthur’s wife was included in the Hull Daily Mail (1st September 1917) in which it stated that Arthur’s parents were late of Winterton: “Your husband left the fairly safe spot where he was to carry some tea up to the men on the guns, who were hard at work helping to win the great battle about which you will have heard. Unfortunately, a shell dropped right into the gun pit and killed them all instantly”.
Arthur is buried in Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, Belgium. His Medal Index Card shows that he was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Photo: courtesy of Hull Daily Mail
13466 Private William Holmes - 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
The 1901 census shows William and his mother living in Gainsborough Union Workhouse, and by 1911 he was living with Mr and Mrs Featherby in Kirton in Lindsey.
William’s service record hasn’t survived but he enlisted in Gainsborough. He entered France on 1st April 1915, but was killed in action on 25th September 1915 at Bois Grenier, France, aged 19, and is commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. The action at Bois Grenier was supplementary to the Battle of Loos. The war diary reads: “25th – Bridoux – At 1am the battalion was formed up as follows...
W Company – in 70 yards trench behind right of salient.
X Company – in assembly trenches behind the fire parapet on the right of the road.
Z Company – in assembly trenches behind the fire parapet on the left of the road.
Y Company – Two platoons holding the fire parapet of the salient and two platoons in trench 350 yards behind that salient.
The battalion formed the left of the Brigade, the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment being in the centre and the Rifle Brigade on the right. At 4.25am all guns started an intense bombardment on the enemy’s front line of trenches which continued until 4.30am. At that hour the infantry assaulted. At 4.29am a shallow mine running from our salient across to the German trenches was exploded with the idea of eventually being made into a communication trench after the enemy’s lines had been taken.
On the infantry assaulting, the artillery lifted off the front line to lines in rear. The assault was carried out as follows: At 4.30am Z Company moved forward and rushed the Bridoux Fort opposite immediately obtaining a footing in it and bombing parties were sent forward to take the 2nd line trenches which was done. Owing however to the evening’s counter attack, carried out chiefly by bombing parties down the numerous communication trenches leading to the fort, the pressure on Z Company became severe.
A platoon of W Company was sent there to assist and with part of two companies of the 1st Royal Irish Rifles coming up, the pressure for a short time was relieved. A further counter attack again made the situation in the fort very critical and running out of bombs our men were forced out but were able to hold on to the outside of the parapet until the pressure from both flanks and front became so severe that we were no longer able to retain our position there.
The fort was totally evacuated about 2pm. As soon as Z Company at 4.40am had occupied the fort the bombing parties of X Company moved forward and getting into the German trench just on the right of the Bridoux Fort bombed along the trench towards the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment, also bombing into the German 2nd line. At 8am we were able to join X Company and W Company followed up with the Berkshire Regiment and the parties sent into the 2nd line, with the assistance of W Company, being successful steps were at once taken to consolidate the 1st line.
At 12.30pm the right of the Battalion was forced to the left owing to a strong bomb attack on the Berkshire Regiment and at the same time, the left of the Battalion in the fort being pressed to its right, the German trenches became very congested with our men. Some more bombs having been obtained, we were then able to retake a length of trench to our right, but were forced back again but managed to hold our position until 5pm, when the enemy having brought up fresh troops, delivered a very strong and determined counter attack and forced us to evacuate all our gains.
Before the trenches we had gained had finally to be evacuated at least six hostile counter attacks were frustrated by the close co-operation of our artillery, due entirely to the excellent communication and arrangements that existed between the guns and the liason officer of the Canadian artillery who was attached to Battalion Headquarters during the day.
The platoons of Y Company who remained in our own parapet suffered severely during the day from the heavy hostile shelling.
At 9pm the Battalion was relieved by the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment and went into billets in the vicinity of Fleurbaix – Killed 60, wounded 229, missing 36.”
His Medal Index Card shows that he was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, but they were returned in 1922 for disposal.
Photo: courtesy of Hull Daily Mail