Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 28. July/August. From Kemmel to the Somme.
British 9.2 in Howitzer.
This large Artillery weapon had to be transported by rail and was capable of firing a 290 lb Shell a distance of 6 miles.
[Picture courtesy of - "Photos of The Great War".].

27th JULY. "Y" Coy relieved "W" Coy at "Stand-to".
["Stand-to", or "Standing to arms", occurred twice a day in the dangerous half light of day break and at dusk.
All troops would be alert and at their stations with rifles ready and bayonets fixed.
Across hundreds of miles of forward positions soldiers would be following the same routine, until the order came to "Stand-down" and weapon cleaning would begin.]
Under orders the Garrison of trenches was increased to give posts of 1 NCO and 8 men each by day.
The ground behind trench H1 was shelled by 5.9s [German howitzers] from 5 to 6 p.m.
The 9.2s [British howitzers] did a most effective shoot on the German trenches in front of and in Petit Bois from 8 to 9 p.m.
At night "Y" Coy relieved "W" Coy and "X" coy replaced "Z" Coy. 1 other was wounded.

28th to 30th JULY. Quiet and the Bn was relieved by the 4th East Yorks and moved into Divisional Reserve at Kemmel Shelters. Only casualties were 2nd Lt E E Jones and one other rank wounded. No minenwerfer fire and casualties caused by rifle fire at night.
Diary observes - The group system of 1 NCO and 8 men, all awake and on duty the whole day, has proved to be most wasteful in men. No men are available for working parties at night and they are absolutely tired out, unnecessarily; incapable of keeping a good look out and of doing useful work in case of emergency. From 15 months of trench warfare the system was evolved of groups of 1 NCO and 6 men being posted for the whole tour of a Company's duty in trenches with two men per group on look out by night and one per day. Where necessary by day groups are withdrawn altogether, the front being covered by Machine and Lewis Guns and the Infantry rested.

31st JULY to 3rd AUGUST. Practised attacks in front of G.O.C 150th Inf Bde. Stokes Mortars and Machine Guns used in conjunction. Diary comments that Stokes Mortars most unreliable as to direction.

2704 L/Cpl Hogg Edgar. Home at Crayke, Easingwold, N Yorks. Died of wounds on the 31st. Age 22. Buried at Bailleul Comunal [Base Hospital] Cemetery Extension Nord
2nd Lt Edward Earle. Jones. Y Company. Age 25. Died of wounds on the 1st August. Born at Bolton on Swale, N Yorks in 1891. Home at The Manor House, Scorton, N Yorks. He followed a legal career and was articled to the firm of A P Whitwell of Darlington. In January of 1915 he joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps where he was commissioned and was attached to the 4th battalion on May 21st 1915 while they were at the railway embankment just outside Ypres.
He had been wounded at Ypres in 1915. On June 26th during a raid on the enemy lines Edward Jones was wounded in action and taken from the line for medical treatment. 2nd Lt Edward Earle Jones died from his wounds on August 1st 1916. Buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension [Nord].
4216 Pte Newton Enoch. Home at Skelton Green N Yorks. Died of wounds on the 2nd August. Buried at Bailleul Communal [Base Hospital]Cemetery Extension Nord.
1457 L/Cpl Bulmer Frank. Born Pickhill, Thirsk, N Yorks and enlisted at Northallerton N Yorks. Died of wounds on the 3rd. Age 23. Buried at Wimereux [N of Boulogne, Hospital] Communal Cemetery.
Auxiliary Home Hospital at the Drill Hall, Skelton in Cleveland.
This was where the Skelton volunteers trained before the War.
Hundreds of buildings across the country were opened as "Auxiliary Home Hospitals" to cope with the increasing number of wounded.
30 places in the North Riding of Yorkshire had one.
At Skelton the Wharton Hall was fitted out at the expense of the Whartons of Skelton Castle and continued to be used until 1919.
[Photo from "History of Skelton" by T Curnow.]

Frank Bulmer was the youngest son of Matthew and Ellen Bulmer of Victoria Terrace, Northallerton.
Before the outbreak of War he worked as a cabinet maker for Christopher Hodgson & Sons of Northallerton.
He was also a member of the Northallerton Baptist Church Choir and was a Sunday School teacher
Lance Corporal Bulmer had been in France for about 15 months when he was wounded by shrapnel sometime during late July or early August 1916.
He was taken to hospital in Wimereux which was an important hospital centre on the channel coast near Boulogne, He was visited by his mother and his fiancee in the days before he died.

4th AUGUST. At night relieved 4th East Yorks in Support Trenches H1A to K1.1.
2nd Lt Ewart Richardson describes the trenches at night:-
"By night the Line is different. It changes to a thing of delicate beauty. Flares, glowing and white, rise and fall continuously.
Maybe a search light stretches its penetrating ray through the night and sweeps here and there across the country. Guns flash and boom, the flares multiply in a madness of extravagance, and on the ear breaks the sound of a stupendous boiling. Sometimes the fury lasts for hours; sometimes it dies, as suddenly and inexplicably as it began."

5th to 7th AUGUST. Quiet with just 1 other rank wounded. Relieved by 6th Bn Wilts Regt of 19th Division and moved to Broolooze Camp.
Pte Sydney Duckett is believed to be the drummer seated at the front.
Location and date of photograph is not known.
[Photographs kindly donated by his great-granddaughter, Sue Horn, of Stockton on Tees.]

3331 Pte Duckett Sydney, Alfred. Home at - 24 Henrietta St, Thornaby on Tees, N Yorks. Born at Dawley, Wellington, Shrops. Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Died at home, age 49. He was buried at Thornaby on Tees Cemetery.
Sydney is the oldest person found to date to have served with the 4th Yorks Battalion during the War.
He was a Shropshire lad, born in 1869 in Malinslee, in the Parish of Dawley.
On the 1881 census he is working as a "Collier" at the age of 13.
In 1887 at the age of 19, he enlisted with the Artillery at Liverpool
He served 8 years, with nearly 5 years abroad including India and Aden [1893-94].
At some point he moved to the Thornaby on Tees with his wife Eva, probably for work in the local iron and steel industry. They had 10 children, which was nottoo uncommon in those days.
His Battalion number indicates that he was among the first to join up when War was declared and probably sailed with them to France in April 1915.
The exact circumstances of his death are not known. It would seem he was brought back to a Hospital in Britain, as his body was brought home to Henrietta St, Thornaby in a coffin.
Eva Duckett, widow of Sydney and mother of his 10 children, tending his grave in Thornaby Cemetery.

His daughter, then aged 7, remembers it being too big to go through the front door and had to be put in at the window.
His wife was sent by Regimental Pay 6 pounds 12 shillings back pay and notification that she would receive his pay and overseas allowance for 26 weeks.

8th AUGUST. Left Camp by Companies and rendezvous at Mont Rouge. Then by Battn to the billets between Fletre and Godwaersveldt that the Battn had occupied while "resting" in May.

9th AUGUST. Day spent refitting as much as possible and discarding surplus kit which was sent for safe keeping at Divisional Dump.
The 50th Division had been relieved at Ypres by the 19th and now they were ordered South to the Somme where the great Battle had started on the 1st July with so many losses.
The 50th Division were to become part of III Corps of the Fourth Army.

10th AUGUST. Marched at night to Bailleul for entrainment.
Diary - During the day men were discharged from Field Ambulances [mobile hospitals] on account of the move of the ambulances and were sent back to the Unit in a totally unfit condition for marching.
Also T.U. men were sent back. These men had all to be transferred to Bailleul under any arrangements the Battalion could make.
On arrival the train supplied was found to be totally inadequate to carry the personnel of the Battalion comfortably, the accommodation provided being for a battalion at about three quarter strength.
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