Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:10 PM
On the 23-7-1916, the diary for 109 records, when the battery position was given as FRICOURT:
“Enemy gas attacks were nullified by the vigilance of Battery use of Gas Helmets and respirators. One gunner admitted to hospital/ gas poisoning.”
There is no way of telling if this is referring to your GF, but it is the only reference to a hospital case that week. I can also tell you that 61872 Thomas Spencer was a serving 109 SB gunner, confirmed by his medal roll entry, so Kevin is correct.
The rest of the events of that week for 109 Sge Bty were rather overshadowed by the death of their Major, three Lieutenants and two gunners on the 24th from hostile shell fire. One of those subalterns was a 2/Lieut Cox, a pre war regular only just commissioned two weeks before from the ranks, having previously served with 81 SB.
The shellfire made the position untenable and forced the battery to shift their position “300 yards lower down nearer Fricourt and to the left”.
A Captain and another Lieutenant were also killed through shellfire on the 29th and a Lieut severely wounded, accounting for practically all their Officers. A Captain from 24 SB was brought in to take over command, along with another Captain from 61 SB and two subalterns, one from 40 SB and the other from siege park. The new Captain records “owing to destruction by shellfire no details of bombardments can be given, operation orders all being destroyed.. Hence only 10 pages official war diary survive for the whole of their Somme participation.