Author Topic: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont  (Read 7662 times)

Offline Tim Bell

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17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« on: January 20, 2013, 04:47:06 PM »
I have another question arising from notes from Pt A A Bell.  I'm seeking the identity of another chap from A Company III Platoon.  Here's the quote:-

"In France we, the Privates, did not have any leave during the eleven months I was there, but two of us in our platoon had a bit of luck.  In a raffle for two passes into Amiens for a few hours, we were the winners....My mate on this trip was nicknamed “Shackleton” and a few weeks later a letter was handed to me from his home asking if it was known what had happened to him.  Hardly believing in the possibility, I told them he just might have been one of those taken prisoner at Trones or Guillemont, and it turns out that he was.  Hope you are still alive, Shack, down there in Derbyshire."

Nobody in III Platoon had a name similar to Shackleton and the Ernest's don't seem possibilities.  I looked at the POW list and there seems to be no reference to anyone captured on 8-11th  or 30-31 July 1916.  John Leach is a possibility because his date of capture in July is unknown, although I can't grasp why he would be called 'Shack'.

Does anyone have ideas?

Tim
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Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 02:20:05 PM »
IN FRANCE during the time i was there,we ptes had no leave for 11 months,this would mean that pte bell was describing a raffle that happened in late sept or october 1916,which means SHACK couldnt have been taken POW in july,august or sept 1916 cos he wouldnt have been there to have been included in the raffle.

mack ;D

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 07:16:10 PM »
Hi Mack,

I interpret this that the Pals didn't generally have leave in the 11 months he was in France (Wounded 12th October).  The exception was the trip to Amiens, which must have been a few weeks before July.

The memory is too vivid for it to be confused:- "All that sticks in my memory is an encounter with a woman who was selling chocolate in the Square.  When we declined to buy – the price was ridiculous – she remarked “Va t’shee” (Go to the lavatory).  This was indeed the famous ta-toi-ary, so we moved on.  Wouldn’t anybody?"

I love the sound of the of the charming Mademoiselle.

So who was Shack?
Do you know what date John Leach was captured?

Tim
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 10:40:51 PM by Tim Bell »
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Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 09:22:36 PM »
the battalion along with the rest of the 90th brigade landed in france on 8th november 1915

mack ;D

Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 10:44:07 PM »
cpl 8701 john leach was captured on 10th july at trones wood and sent to dulmen POW camp,westphalia,he was 24yrs old and worked as a shipping clerk for wilson jones+co,manchester,resided at 26 carver st,chorlton on medlock,he was repatriated to holland on 8th august 1918 with heart trouble,he didnt land with the battalion on 8th november 1915,he was a replacement who arrived on 24-12-1915,he had no connections to derbyshire

mack ;D

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 11:04:38 PM »
Mack,

I've been causing confusion by writing March rather than October for Pt Bell's wound.  Sorry and corrected.

He was in France 11 months Nov 15 - to Oct 16.

Thanks for the background on John Leach.  Imagine arriving in France on Christmas eve!  He is in the roll of honour photo, which I thought was taken at Heaton Park and his 8706 number looks like one of the original September 1914 sequence.  Hence, he may have been delayed or held back in England for some reason, rather than being an addition after Montauban. 

I'll keep seeking my missing III Pln POW.

Tim

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Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 12:02:50 AM »
tim.
john leach was a lance corporal in E.company,which was the battalions reserve company,he wouldnt have been posted to any of the other companies until a lance corporals position became available,all the E.companies of the 16th,17th and 18th manchesters were later formed into the 25th reserve batt manchester regt,later changed to 69th training reserve battalion,he was promoted to full corporal on 2nd july 1916
a battalion cannot be posted overseas until its got its reserve company in place

mack ;D

Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2013, 08:56:42 PM »
i think this is your derbyshire lad

pte 8941 arthur,elijah watts
2 apollo st,oldham rd,manchester
captured 1-7-16
aged 21
worked at the penny bazaar manchester[marks+spencers]
member of elm st sunday school+weslyan chapel,oldham rd
parents george,henry+louisa
born 1-2-1895
died in derbyshire in 1974 aged 79

arthur was born in derbyshire,his family were living at wirksworth in 1901,then they moved to manchester,sometime around 1915/1916 they moved back to wirksworth and lived at 32 st.john st.

mack ;D

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 10:46:57 PM »
Well done Mack,

We can assume the passage of time meant Pt Bell forgot that his friend was captured a couple of weeks earlier than the Trones or Guillemont assaults.  There seem to be no other prospects for prisoners taken at those times with links to Derbys. Hence, I believe we have probably found our friend 'Shackleton' or 'Shack'.  Better Dulman than Thiepval, like many of his friends.

Many thanks

Tim
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Offline sphinx

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2013, 11:56:55 PM »
I think the reference to "Shackleton" is a parody on the famous explorer of the time, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, FRGS , the polar explorer and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

He probably liked to do a bit of exploring and no doubt bringing back a few goodies for his pals.

regards

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 11:32:07 AM »
Sphinx,

That is a charming interpretation of Arthur Watt's potential nickname and a good way to conclude the thread.

Thanks to all, particularly Mack for his detailed attention.

Tim
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Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2013, 07:56:26 PM »
I just re-read my posts and noticed some further inaccuracy. 

8701 John Leach is a different man from 8706 J Leach of III Platoon.  I keep creating my own red herrings!
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Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 02:07:58 PM »
the j.leach in III platoon is pte 8706 joseph leach,42 garden st,ardwick,he was wounded in the head+back at trones wood,on 10th july 1916,he didnt return to the manchesters when he recovered he transferred to the RGA in 1917

mack ;D

Offline Tim Bell

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 04:35:57 PM »
Thanks Mack,
I'd seen Joseph on the casualty list and the detail is helpful.
I'm going to Colindale in the morning to have my car serviced and will be dropping in to the Newspaper Archive.  Is there the source for most of your casualty records?  I want to look for 17th Bttn. casualties from Guillemont & Flers.  Is the MEN the best place to start?

Do you need anything looking up?  I owe you quite a few favours!

Tim
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Offline mack

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Re: 17th Battalion POW Trones Wood / Guillemont
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 06:37:20 PM »
hiya tim.
the MEN is the best place to look,but you will need a lot of time to extract them from the other casualties,the casualty lists were not published by battalion,they were all mixed in with the other manchester battalions.all the 17th casualties that appeared in the MEN for the period your searching,are listed in the battalions history,compiled by andy on the mother site,do you have some names that need looking at.

mack ;D