Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 18. Dec/Jan 1916 Armagh Wood.

Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery.
Situated about 5k West of Ypres.
Two 4th Yorks Battalion men are buried here.
[Picture courtesy of - "WW1Cemeteries.com".].
23945 Pte Cole Sanderson. Home at Church St, Staithes, N Yorks, place of birth. Enlisted at Middlesbrough. Died at home. Age 22. Buried at Hinderwell Cemetery, N Yorks.
Relieved 5th Bn DLI in Trenches A3 - A6 Armagh Wood.

28th DECEMBER. Heavy shelling by the enemy. Result nil.


Pte Harold Clarkson, front row, second from right.
[Photo kindly contributed by his Great Grandson, Stuart Hall.]

496 Pte Clarkson Harold, [Harry]. Born Normanby, Middlesbrough and enlisted at Redcar N Yorks. Killed in action. Aged 37. Home at 3 Alma Parade, Redcar, N Yorks. His parents, Annie and Joseph lived in Gladstone St, Loftus, N Yorks.
He is buried at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, West of Ypres. His Army number indicates the long time he had been in the Battalion. He was awarded the rare Edward VII Territorial Force Efficiency Medal, which means that he had already served for at least 12 years prior to this king's death in 1910. He left a wife and eight children, the eldest of whom, Earl also served in the First World War.
It is said the War Office deducted the cost of a sheet that he was wrapped in at burial.
The family had already suffered one tragic loss earlier in the same year. Harold's brother 192356 Petty Officer Horace Clarkson had been drowned, age 35, on New Year's Day 1915, when the battleship H.M.S Formidable was sunk by German torpedoes in the Western Channel.
[This information has been provided jointly by Harold's Grandson, also called Harold [Harry] Clarkson of Redcar, N Yorks and his Great Grandson Stuart Hall of Melbourne, Australia.
The two were unknown to each other until making contact with this website.]
3807 Pte Rafferty James. Home at Carlin How N Yorks. Enlisted at Saltburn, N Yorks. Killed in action. He left England on the 31st August. Before the War he worked at Skinningrove Ironworks. Buried at Maple Copse Cemetery
The enemy's Artillery were rowdy most of the day.
A squadron of 12 of our aeroplanes came over the German lines in front of the trenches, where they manoeuvred for half an hour.

30th DECEMBER. 2nd Lt J.S Bainbridge was wounded while out with a wiring party.

31st DECEMBER. The Bn was relieved in the trenches by 5th DLI and marched to Dickebusch Huts in Divisional Reserve position.
Maple Copse Cemetery. Situated East of Ypres and just West of Sanctuary Wood the area was used as an advance Field Ambulance station. Most of the burials were destroyed by later enemy shelling and the Cemetery re-established after the War by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Six men of the 4th Yorks Bn are buried here.
[Picture courtesy of - "WW1Cemeteries.com".].

The Bn's fighting strength was 20 Officers and 732 other ranks.
The Diary is signed off by C.O, Major L.A, Barrett.

1st JANUARY. The day was spent quietly and in endeavouring to remove mud. The ground round the huts was in an appalling condition.

3rd JANUARY. Lt Col M H L Bell informed the officers of the Bn that he had been found medically unfit and had to go to Hospital.

4th JANUARY. The Bn went to the same trenches in Armagh Wood under the command of Major H G Scott.
A "long weary march in the rain" to relieve 5th DLI. The 4th East Yorks were on the right and the 6th DLI on the left.

6th JANUARY. Quiet until 4 p.m on this day when the Bn's trenches came in in for a good deal of shelling from the enemy. The Divisions 18 pounders responded to good effect. No casualties but the trenches had a good deal of damage.

8th JANUARY. Quiet until Divisional Artillery opened up in the morning and afternoon. The Germans replied by "Wizz Banging" trenches A5. A6 and communication trenches.
The Bn were relieved at night and marched to the Railway Dugouts, Transport Farm and St James' Dugouts.
9th JANUARY. A fine day with considerable artillery activity in the area of Railway Dugouts, which were slightly shelled by shrapnel. The Bn had two slight casualties.

German 77 millimetre Field Gun after being shelled itself.
It was this gun that fired the shells that the Allied troops called "Wizz-Bangs".

The whole Bn was out at night and for the next two working under the Royal Engineers.


The Bn relieved 5th DLI in Armagh Wood.

14th JANUARY. The Bn had a relatively quiet time in the trenches and on this day the following Orders and decorations were announced in the London Gazette:-
Distinguished Service Order to Capt [Temp Major] B. Jackson.
Military Cross to Capt B H Charlton and Lt [Temp Capt] T S Rowlandson.
Distinguished Conduct Medal to:-
Company Sergeant Major J F Myers [killed in action as Captain 8th October 1917],
Pte Elijah Broadley.
Company Sergeant Major D Burns, who was attached to the 50th Division Cyclists.


War Office,
1st January, 1916.
The following despatch has been received by the Secretary of State for War from the Field- Marshal Commanding-in-Chief the British Army in France:
General Headquarters,
30th November, 1915.
In accordance with the last paragraph of my Despatch of the 15th October, 1915, I have the honour to bring to notice the names of those whom I recommend for gallant and distinguished service in the field.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
Field-Marshal, Commanding-in-Chief
The British Army in France

Bell, Lieutenant-Colonel M. H. L.
Charlton, Captain B. H.
Maughan, Captain J.
Hutchinson, Lieutenant (temporary Captain) T. H.
McLaren, Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) D.
Rowlandson, Temporary Lieutenant (temporary Captain) T. S.
Sproxton, Temporary Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) C.
Welsh, Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) A. R.
Denman, No. 5192 Regimental Serjeant-Major P. D.
Bainbridge, No. 2386 Company Serjeant-Major J. S.
Banks, No. 2056 Serjeant T.
Dent, No. 2186 Serjeant E.
Gray, No. 456 Serjeant R. J.
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