Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 33. 24/30 Sept. Flers Courcelettes. Attack repelled.

Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.
Situated about 3k South of Albert, the extension to the village communal Cemetery was opened in August 1916.
The area was used by Casualty Clearing stations and graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields after the War.
10 men of the 4th Yorks Battalion are buried here.
[Picture courtesy of - "WW1Cemeteries.com".].

24th SEPTEMBER. Day passed fairly quietly.

3888 Pte Johnson Frederick. Home at - 8 Long St, Thirsk, N Yorks Killed in action. Age 19. Buried at Adanac Military Cemetery Miraumont.
25th SEPTEMBER. 5.15 p.m Wire received from 50th Div ordering preparation to take tomorrow the German trench running from Flers Line.
A "jumping off line" was ordered to be dug by 151 Bde.

2Lt Robert Stewart Omand. Died of wounds. Age 24. 57 Dempster St, Wick. Buried in Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.
3405 Cpl Nunn Benjamin. Home at 5 Holmebeck Rd, North Skelton, N Yorks. Enlisted at Northallerton, N Yorks. Died of wounds. Age 21. Buried at St Sever [Hospital} Cemetery, Rouen.

26th/27th SEPTEMBER. Owing to working parties getting lost the trenches were not dug.
The Boch trenches were to have been seized at 4 a.m and this was cancelled. The 4th Yorks were in Prue Trench and Starfish line.
At 11 p.m the 4th and 5th Yorks were ordered to attack trenches in conjunction with 1st Div and 5th D.L.I. and to work up Crescent Alley to junction of Trench.
The attack took place but not with 1 Div, who "lost themselves". The 5th Yorks Bn lost direction and got into Crescent Alley which they held. The 4th Yorks.

German Maxim Machine Gun team.

got into the German trench with both wings "up in the air" and were driven out by a strong counter attack. The casualties were heavy with 2 Officers killed and 5 wounded and 8 other ranks killed and about 90 wounded. The Btn was ordered to Starfish Trench to reform.
5376 Pte Gibson George, Herbert. Home at Barton Yorks. Born at Melsonby, Yorks and enlisted at Northallerton. Died of wounds on the 26th. Age 22. Buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.
The following 8 men were killed in this action and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
4429 Pte Aspinall William, Henry. Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks.
7505 Pte Brough George, Henry. Born at Derby and enlisted at Malton, N Yorks.
2572 Pte Buckle John. Home at Helmingham Suffolk. Enlisted at Northallerton N Yorks.
20297 Pte Burrows Frederick. Home at March Cambs, place of birth. Enlisted at Cambridge. Ex 23176 The Cambridge Regt.

Pte John William Horn.
Killed in action, 27 Sep 1916

5176 Pte Horn John, William. Home at - Buttersett, Hawes, N Yorks, place of birth. Enlisted at Askrigg, N Yorks. Age 20.

1854 Sgt Hunter Nicholas. Home at - 30 Gronelle Rd, Grangetown, Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Born Eston and enlisted Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Age 24.
200648 Pte Wilson John, Alfred. Of Brotton N Yorks, Enlisted Skelton in Cleveland.
2Lt Ewart Richardson. Killed in action. Age 35. Home at Bryn Teg, Marton, Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Prior to the War he had been a Solicitor in Middlesbrough since 1904 with offices at 139 Albert Road.
He had been commissioned into the 4th Battalion in July 1915 and first went abroad on the 24th May 1916, joining the Battn at Ypres.
His Company Captain [possibly Captain Stead] wrote of him:-
"Your son was one of the finest men I have ever met; and the brave and splendid way in which he led the Company at night into action makes everyone of us proud to have known him. His loss to the Company is great, as his judgment and experience in men was invaluable. Few have given their services as nobly and devotedly to their country, and he rests honoured by all who had the privilege to know him.
He kept a diary of his experiences. After his death his family had his work published as "War Notes and Sketches", a copy of which is held by the Imperial War Museum. In addition to extracts from the diary it describes life in the trenches and rear areas under the titles -
The Line, Working Parties, The Chateau, The Bombardment, The Trenches, Machine Guns (dated 26/6/16), Little Willy, The Convent (6/7/16), Camomile & Poppies, and Left Behind.
In one of these sketches he refers to himself as the Battalion Intelligence Officer.

2Lt Eric Loftus Perris Died of wounds, age 20. Buried at Becourt Military Cemetery. Becordel-Becourt.
3099 Pte Hardwick John, William. Home at - 4 Thomas St, New Skelton, N Yorks, place of enlistment. Died of wounds. Age 33. Buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.
1603/200205 L/Cpl [Acting Cpl] Alfred ATKINSON. Military Medal. was shot in the shoulder on this day, a wound which required repatriation and eventual discharge.
The following information about him has been kindly contributed by his Grandson, Tony Atkinson of Wadeville, South Africa.
Alfred enlisted in the 4th Yorks Battalion before the War at Skelton in Cleveland, N Yorks on the 18th February 1913.
He was then aged 18 and 8 months and recorded as 5ft 8ins.
He had been born in Leeds and worked as a Blast Furnaceman at the Skinningrove Iron Works, living with his parents at 35 Westray St, Carlin How.
He was with the Battalion when they first went out to France on the 18th April 1915 and must have fought through all the early action at Ypres.
For some unknown, but clearly serious reason, [wounds/gassing/trench ailment] he was back in the UK for a lengthy period, from the 18th August 1915 to the 7th March 1916.
He rejoined the Battalion on the 9th March 1916, when they were defending the trenches at Kemmel.
For some action, very likely on the 15/16 September, he was awarded the Military Medal. [London Gazette of the 9th December 1916]. Family memories say it was for neutralising a German Machine post.
After treatment in the UK, he was discharged on the 23rd May 1917 and later awarded a gratuity of 32 10s.
He returned to work in producing iron and steel at Skinningrove, that backed our War effort.
His acts of gallantry had not ended, as he was awarded the Bronze Medal of the Royal Humane Society on the 19th January 1940 for saving 4 men's lives from gassing at the Works [case number: 55699]
Sometime in the late 1940s he emigrated to Rhodesia to work in a new Steel works in Redcliff.
Tony's father and a couple of Uncles joined him after the Second World War.
Alfred returned to the UK, when he retired and lived in Staithes, N Yorks until his death in 1976.

27th/28th SEPTEMBER.
243 Sgt John Francis ATKINSON, Military Medal. Awarded for the Rescue of Lt Geoffrey A Tugwell.

His Grandson, Geoffrey Atkinson, of Ellenbrook, W Australia has kindly contributed Sgt Atkinson's full story, which can be read HERE.

Sgt Atkinson is on the Right in the first photograph in the 4th Yorks.
The second shows him as a Military Discipline Instructor in the Royal Flying Corps
after he was wounded twice at Arras in 1917 with the 4th Yorks and no longer fit for Infantry duties.
The third shows this great and brave servant of his Nation as an Air Raid Warden in the Second War.

A Cigarette box which was sent to Sgt Atkinson by Lt Tugwell
in memory of his bravery.
Sadly Lt Tugwell, by then a Captain. was killed on the 23rd April 1917 at Arras.

29th to 30th SEPTEMBER. The Btn were relieved by the 6th Btn D.L.I. and moved to Clarke's Trench where they were relieved by 6th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers and moved into Divisional reserve trenches.
Day spent in rearranging Companies and allotting drafts. Nothing was done for the comfort of the men coming out and consequently practically every man was physically incapable of further action and the Companies were composed almost entirely of drafts.
The Diary is signed off by Major B.H. Charlton.

Go to Next page - Oct 1916, Training, Back to Martinpuich.
Go to Previous page - Sept 1916, Flers Courcelettes, Losses.
Go Back to Contents.