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The Welsh at Mametz Wood 9 July 1916


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#126 LST_164

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:20 PM

Cofio'r hogiau
In Memoriam:

The many men from Caernarfonshire and Anglesey killed at Mametz Wood or died of their injuries, and others from all over Wales and beyond. Gwyr y cledd, mawr eu clod: mewn angof ni chant fod.

Also,

Sergeant William Gordon Jones DCM MM of Bangor, who was there with the 14th RWF and whom I had the good fortune to meet before he died in 1979, so pleased that the local RWF Comrades had asked him to lay their Remembrance wreath on the War Memorial.

The three Phillips brothers of Hanmer, Flintshire: Fred and William Arthur, both kia with the 16th RWF ninety-three years ago today (Thiepval Memorial), and Sydney who survived but was shellshocked and never the same again.

Rev. Peter Jones Roberts, Wesleyan Methodist minister at Bangor who though over-age secured an Army Chaplain's commission with the 38th Division. Mentioned honourably in Wyn Griffiths Up To Mametz as, having just lost a son at La Boisselle with 9th RWF, going out into the night during the Mametz fighting to identify and bury other mens' sons. His experiences led to a collapse after the War, and in 1921 to his accidental death and a war grave at Glanadda, Bangor.

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#127 geraint

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:50 PM

Garron, Bernard and Clive
At this precise moment 93 year ago they would have been scared, bloodied and not even thinking about what would happen tomorrow. The scars of Mametz Wood made a death toll in the mining villages of South Wales and rural village of North Wales something which was way beyond credulity. Honour to those who died and to those who survived.

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#128 footsore private

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 01:32 AM

Its a shame Sigfried Sassoon's solo attack on 4 July was not promptly exploited....

#129 GrahamK

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:45 PM

Hi
Sorry to bring this thread up about mametz but I belive my grandfather fought there,his war history was very sketchy but after a few hours on the computer it looks like he saw some action.his name was Alfed Kidd and was with the 15th Royal Welch Fusiliers "B" corp and after reading through this and other site beleve he must have been involved in the mametz wood battle,he was shot in the back and ended up in 3 stationary hospital Rouen in the 15-7-16,so I assume he would have been injured at mametz,or could he have been injured on the next campaign?as Im not sure how quick he would have been removed from the battlefield to the hospital because I gather mametz finished before the 15th.
He was shipped back to devonport and home and never fought again due to injurys and died from his wound related injurys in the 1940's!
After reading and discovering so much,on this day,remeberance sunday I cant but help to want to find out more about him and the brave souls who fought with him.

I read in a previous post that a Steve john's has written a book about the 15th RWF's?? is this avaliable??
Also I read that before mametz the 15th RWF were attacked by the germans with a mine?? is there anymore details on this?

Any information just so I can buld up a picture of what he went through would be great and even more so to tell my father who knows pretty much nothing about his father during the war as he died shortly after he was born.
Also any links to books that tell the mametz story would be great.
Sorry for all these wants but Im only young and feel this is a story I can also pass onto my young son in future years and keep the memory of these brave guys alive for many years to come.
Thanks
Graham

#130 LST_164

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 05:59 PM

graham,
the 15th RWF were titled " 1st London Welsh", to distinguish them from the 18th RWF (2nd London Welsh) who were likewise raised in London, but the 2nd remained in the UK as a reinforcement-training unit.

Being in hospital in Rouen on the 15 July 1916 sounds to me very like he was wounded in the Mametz operations (ended on 12th July, after which the 38th Welsh Division was moved away) - you quote this date exactly, is it because you have a copy of his full service record? The action there spread over a few days, but he would have had to be found first then removed probably via a Field Ambulance and Casualty Clearing Station etc., so 4-5 days to get to the Base isn't inconceivable. His record might detail the various stages and confirm a wounding date.

Assuming he was Private Alfred Kidd RWF no. 22868 it seems he landed in France with his battalion on 2 December 1915. He was later deemed fit enough to be transferred to the Labour Corps, no.191863, but ultimately discharged from the Army on 7 August 1917 and awarded the Silver War Badge and three First World War medals (these details from his Medal Index Card online). Is this your relative?

Your best bets for reading are:

C.H.Dudley Ward, Regimental Records of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Vol III which covers the regiment on the Western Front in WW1. Reprinted 2005 by Naval & Military Press

J.E.Munby (Ed.), A History of the 38th (Welsh) Division. Originally published 1920, reprinted more recently by N&M Press as above. A short, general history.

Colin Hughes, Mametz. Lloyd George's 'Welsh Army' at the Batle of the Somme. Originally published Orion Press 1982, since reprinted. First proper study of the action from the perspective of the 38th Welsh Divn.

Michael Renshaw, Mametz Wood, in the Battleground Europe series (Pen & Sword Press, 1999 & 2006). Covers the 38th and supporting 17th Divns. attacks on the Wood. More illustrations than Hughes' work, and easier to follow the course of the action on the ground (in my opinion, anyway).

Wyn Griffith, Up To Mametz First published 1931, republished Severn House 1981 and Gliddon Books 1988. May also be available as a free online book? Excellent personal account by a 15th RWF officer, attached to the Brigade Staff.

David Jones, In Parenthesis First published by Faber 1937, republished variously since. He was a soldier with 15th RWF but also an artist and author. Wounded at Mametz. This is War Literature, rather than a straightforward account, with many allusions to the Arthurian legends, the Mabinogion and other Celtic literature (explained in copious footnotes).

That doesn't by any means exhaust the sources (for example, the battalion War Diary at the National Archives, Kew, WO 95 series).

Hope this may help.

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#131 GrahamK

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:13 PM

Hello
Yes Alfred Kidd thats my grandfather,I assumed he was in the labour corp first then the 1st London Welsh,injured and sent home for the rest of the war,I have a few copys of things like the tag with his wounding details and date.
If he went onto the labour corp's then that is another line of inquiry I could follow too.

Thanks for giving me a little more insight into this and I will start looking up the book you have mentioned.
Again thankyou.

#132 LST_164

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 08:14 PM

GrahamK,
I've tried checking the currently available Service and also Pension papers on Ancestry.co.uk, but couldn't locate him. Might either mean his papers haven't survived (often the case), or that they haven't yet been digitized and made available (shouldn't be the case, but I gather that "additions" to this series still occur!).

Failing those, he was awarded the Silver War Badge (a means of distinguishing discharged servicemen while the War was still on, and preventing people from asking them awkward questions such as "Why don't you enlist?"). For more info about the badge, see the Long, Long Trail (LLT) link at the very top left corner of this page. On his Medal Index Card, the badge is referenced as ""On SWB List LC/16". These Lists are held at the National Archives and not online, so it means a visit there (or employ a researcher on your behalf). If nothing else, it may give you his date of enlistment.

On these MIC cards, the first unit is that in which he was serving when he first entered a Theatre of War, followed by any subsequent transfers up to the end of his service. It confirms he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal, and these would be named to him as a Private in the RWF.

The Labour Corps was formed in 1917 and was, as its title suggests , a military workforce. Many were employed on the Western Front, but others stayed in the UK in formations such as Agricultural Companies. It was common for wounded soldiers to be transferred to them if their injuries were not too serious. I suggest you post a separate thread for him under "Soldiers", but asking for Labour Corps information based on his number; there are experts in this field amongst our membership.

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#133 GrahamK

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 09:04 PM

Thanks again for the information,looking through the paperwork I have It looks like he went back to the uk with the labour corps,I will put a post like you suggested for information,I have also ordered a couple of books from your suggestions so we can understand a little of what these men went through.
Ive just spoken to my dad about what I have found out about his father,as he knew very little and is over the moon for the information,especially as he already knew about the battle at mametz.
In one day we have learned more about Private Alfred Kidd than our family has in the last 60 years,and on this day rememberance sunday.
Thanks again for your information
Graham

#134 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 11:15 PM

Steve Johns book is on the 15th Welsh rather than the 15th Royal Welsh fusiliers.

My book (well, a chapter in it) covers Mametz Wood from a 14th Welsh viewpoint but Colin Hughes's book is the benchmark on the battle. Superb.

Bernard

#135 old owl

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 12:13 AM

Hi,

I have just dropped on this topic and realised that I have a pair, BWM and VM, to 2/Lt G.D.M.Crossman, M.A. of the 13th Bn Welsh Regt., who was killed in action on 10th July, 1916 at Mametz Wood. He was commissioned into the Welsh Regiment on 25/8/15 and served in France from February, 1916.

Colonel Pack wrote: "He was doing exceptionally well, and carried out two or three enterprises in No Man's Land with the greatest coolness, which in my opinion requires the very greatest form of courage," and Capt. Dunkley: "A fine and gallant officer; our success on the day in question was largely due to his excellent work." Lieut. L.W.Arkell also wrote: "He did the best work of anyone in the wood. Before that I had heard him spoken of as the coolest man in the battalion," and Lieut. H.Davies: "---He showed exceptional bravery in the attack; his coolness was quite a revelation."

Prior to the war he was a master at Lawrence House School, St.Anne's-on-Sea.

I hope that this may be of interest. Robert

#136 17107BM

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 10:12 PM

Hi all.

May i say as a WW1 beginner, this thread has been a great help! Books are of course a great source of information. But i find myself returning to this site after reading to sort of fill in the gaps that i, or the book has missed.

Thanks

#137 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 11 November 2009 - 11:34 PM

Nice story, Robert. Here's to Second Lt. Crossman.

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#138 geraint

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 03:02 PM

I'm just bumping this one up, to make it easier for a new member to find it cool.gif

#139 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:51 PM

Sneaky...

Bernard

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#140 MBrockway

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:35 PM

QUOTE (geraint @ Feb 15 2010, 03:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm just bumping this one up, to make it easier for a new member to find it cool.gif

And here's one Old Sweat who's very glad you did.

I shall make a point of placing a token of remembrance in the woods near Charles Williams' cottage at Llanferres this July.

poppy.gif Charles Williams, 16/RWF, KiA Mametz Wood, Tuesday 11 July 1916 poppy.gif

Mark

#141 geraint

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 08:39 PM

Well said Mark!

#142 Kevin O'Marah

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 09:53 PM

Having walked across the field from the 'Dragon' into Mametz Wood and sat in the remains of the shallow trenches where once the blood of my fellow Welshmen dripped from the remnants of trees, and having also seen the remains of artillery shells along the track leading up to Flat Iron Copse and the unspent munitions in the wood behind cemetery. It makes me wonder how they, the Welsh of the day were able to keep their sanity, they were men like my grand fathers from Barmouth and Minfordd who had fought and returned from France and Italy, one of which I vividly remember through the eyes of a very young boy, old, and sipping his tea with trembling hands from a saucer after his daily walk from his home in Minfordd to our house in Penrhyndeudraeth at ninety years of age.
Living most of my life in the tranquility Meirionnethshire, as some of these men have, I can not imagine the Hell on Earth they must have endured when I've had the honour, and time, to close my eyes and sit in the now tranquil wood. And can not comprehend how disappointed they must have felt after all their endeavours and deaths of their fellow country men to be branded as failures, until hindsight proved otherwise.
Forever proud and honoured to be Welsh
'Tra Mor Tra Meirion'
Kevin

#143 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:40 PM

Well said, Kevin.

Bernard (proud to be British; privileged to be Welsh)

#144 geraint

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 10:07 AM

If proof was needed of the hold that Mametz has on some of us - then Kevin's said it perfectly!

#145 geraint

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:27 PM

Congrats Bernard - this thread has rightly made it to Classics! thumbsup.png

#146 KIRKY

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:58 PM

Kevin, great description, I remember sitting outside the Red Dragon listening to a tape recording of one of the survivors of the Welsh attack, it was very very moving and showed what an impossible task they had!
Tony

#147 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 10:56 PM

Not quite impossible Tony - they did take the wood though at a very high cost. I know what you mean though and thanks for the comment.

Geraint - I must confess to being very surprised by the 'legs' my original post has shown. Thanks to all that contributed. Its not finished yet...

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#148 trooper66

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 07:47 PM

My Dad was in the 16th Welch and was wounded on the day, he transfered into the ASC and walked with a limp for the rest of his life, faacinating stuff lads keep up the good work

#149 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:15 PM

Thanks Trooper66!

The 16th Welsh was, of course, the Cardiff City Battalion. They also attacked the wood earlier (7 July 1916) than the 'final' attack (on 10 July 1916) and ran into heavy machine gun fire. As one of their number later said 'the Cardiff City Battalion died on the Somme'. Though, in reality, they continued to serve until 1918.

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#150 Bernard_Lewis

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 10:45 PM

It is now three years since I started this thread.

What was it like on the morning of the 10 July 1916 as the Welsh Division moved to the attack against Mametz Wood? Though books and personal accounts can give us a flavour it goes without saying that you had to be there to fully comprehend the hardship, horror and terror of several days of hard fighting.

One who was there was John Stanley Strange, an Englishman who had been working in Swansea at the outbreak of war. When the then mayor of Swansea appealed for volunteers for a 'town' battalion John Strange's name was third on the list of volunteers. He joined the Swansea Battalion (14th Welsh) as a private but ended up as a captain with an MC (for a trench raid in which the Swansea mayor's son was killed in action) and a DSO (Third Ypres) to his credit.

When John Strange entered Mametz Wood he immediately tried to impose some order on a chaotic situation. Pte. Mew of the Swansea Battalion recalls him barking orders at men of various units. When Pte. Mew was wounded by a shell burst it was John Strange who appeared out of the dust to bind his wounds. With all other Swansea Battalion officers in the wood being wounded John Strange took over command of the battalion until he himself was wounded around 7pm while still pressing forward into the wood.

John Strange left an extensive archive of documents and letters etc. that are featured om my website due to kindness of his grand-daughter, Mrs Sue Thorndycraft.

One of the items is a 1919 letter to an old comrade. The old comrade was acting on behalf of an artist who was attempting to render the attack on Mametz Wood as a painting. The artist posed numerous questions (which we don't have!) and John Strange responded (we have his responses!) Though there are tantalising grey areas the answers do give a good impression of elements of the attack. You can see a typescript of John Strange's answers here (the original hand written answers are on earlier pages):

http://swanseabattal...=1&limitstart=7

Here is a link to a war-time map of Mametz Wood:

http://swanseabattal...=1762&Itemid=62

John Strange survived the war; a great many of his comrades did not, and many of them fell at Mametz Wood. Let us remember them.

Bernard