Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 38. Feb/March 1917. Front Line at Belloy.

Between the end of January and the 10th February the 4th Battalion left the Flers sector and moved South to a position near Foucaucourt on the edge of the French Sector.
At the end of February the Germans surprised the Allies by starting a withdrawal some 40 miles back to the well prepared Hindenburg Line.
This gave them a shorter and more strongly defended Front.
Everything in the area they left was destroyed.

The following 5 men were killed in action and are all buried at Assevillers New British Cemetery.

201885 Pte Addison Joseph. Born at Sowerby, N Yorks. Enlisted at Thirsk.
201542 Pte Bell Robert, William. Enlisted at Middlesbrough.
32879 Ayre George. Home at 175 Waterloo Rd, Middlesbrough. Killed in action age 37. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Originally 4th Battn and serving with 7th Battn at death. Brother of William Ayre of 4th Bn who died of wounds on 14 Oct 1918.
203195 Pte Finn Thomas. Born at Kirton Lindsay, Lincs and enlisted at Scarborough, N Yorks.
200608 Pte Harris James, Ryder. Home at - 13 Colville St, Middlesbrough, N Yorks, place of enlistment. Age 24.
202964 Pte Thompson Thomas, Clark. Home at Hetton le Hole, Co Durham. Born Easington Lane and enlisted at Houghton Le Spring.
2055/200411 L/Cpl Etherington Richard. Home at - Great Ayton, N Yorks. Enlisted at Stokesley, N Yorks. He was born in Richmond, N Yorks in 1888. At the 1911 census he was working as a Waggoner on Eastfield Farm, just North of Great Ayton, N Yorks. He died in a French Railway accident near Rouen, while returning from the UK. Full report on Page 25 of More Photos and Stories. Buried at Bois Guillaume Communal Cemetery
3882 Cpl King David, W. Home at - Bedale N Yorks. Enlisted at Northallerton, N Yorks. Buried at St Sever [Hospital] Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
The photograph of him has been kindly contributed by his Great Niece, Nikola Bailie of York. He died in Hospital, as a result of a Railway accident, which occurred on the French Railways near Rouen, while returning from leave. He left a son, who he may never have seen.
A full French Newspaper report of the accident which also killed L/Cpl Richard Etherington, above, and some 33 others is given on Page 25 of the section, More Photos and Stories.
15th FEBRUARY. Btn moved to Brigade Reserve at Foucaucourt and supplied working parties for the line.

Cpl David W King.

3273 Pte Christon Robert. Home at - 33 Railway Tce, Brotton, N Yorks. Enlisted at Skelton in Cleveland, N Yorks. Died of wounds. Buried at Bray Military Cemetery
19th FEBRUARY. Moved to Proyart for a week and on the 24th they were inspected by the Divisional General.
Lt Coates sang 5 songs at a Regimental concert.

201407 Pte Davis George, William. Home at 6 Hicks Yard, William St, Scarborough N Yorks. Enlisted at Middlesbrough N Yorks. Died on the 22nd. Age 24. Buried at Bray Military Cemetery.
Cpl Herbert Cook.
Died of wounds on the 15th January, age 37. Buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.
He had been awarded the Military Medal for some unknown action in 1916. He was a stretcher bearer. [London Gazette, 9 December 1916.]

[Photo Website owner's Grandfather.]

201965 Pte Farndale Richard. Home at - 6 High St, Coatham, Redcar, N Yorks, town of enlistment. Died. Age 19. Buried at La Neuville Communal Cemetery, Corbie
The Btn moved to Triangle Wood, Belloy and at night relieved the 6th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers in the Front line left subsector, left Bde.
Diary -The frost had broken in the middle of the month and the trenches were in an appalling condition, which recalled the Snej and Hexham Rd in the earlier months of the Winter.
During February the Btn spent 6 days in the Front line and had few casualties.
Companies were working with an average strenght of 120 and 2 to 3 Officers.
There were no cases of Trench Feet and an appreciable decline in sickness.

Diary is signed off by Lt Col F.F. Deakin.

1st MARCH. The whole of the Territorial Force was re-numbered. The 4 digit Battalion numbers were causing confusion in the administration departments, as men in different Battalions had the same numbers. A 6 digit number was issued to each man and this was unique throughout the British Army.

1st to 4th MARCH. Holding the line at Belloy. On the whole quiet except for Fish tail Bombs and Machine guns.
The trenches were in a very bad state, so that Posts had to be established.
These had to be visited over the top as all the communication trenches were too deep to use. In spite of the mud and water the Btn had no cases of Trench feet - largely through extra socks and the new powder, which the men liked and gave excellent results.Much patrolling at night. 2 and sometimes 3 patrols went out to see if the Bosch had gone, but in each case his line was strongly held.
This patrolling, except for the moon, was an excellent way of training some of our "young entry". Very little shelling at night - plenty of shell holes - and the occasional Bosch patrols to enliven things up. The Division were rather hard to convince that the Bosch were still there.

5th to 9th MARCH. The Btn was relieved by the 5th Btn Durham Light Infantry and took over support trenches. They completely wired the Reserve line and cleared all the communication trenches. By day they had to lie up owing to shelling.

Ruins of the village of Foucaucourt.
[Photo from old Postcard.]

9th - 29th MARCH. The Btn were relieved by the 4th Leicesters and spent the night at Foucaucourt before making a 10k march next day to the village of Bayon Villers for training.

There is no doubt the men have come on a lot with about 100 of each extra Lewis gunners, bombers and rifle grenadiers.
Musketry has improved especially of backward men. New formations have been practiced and kit etc made up.
A good deal of football and boxing has been done.
An Aldershot gymnast has shown us how to bayonet a Bosche - we were doing it all wrong apparently - but of course he has had more practice.
Most of the Signallers have been away on a course and runners and scouts have been well trained by day and night.

203068 Pte Armitt Clarence. Born and enlisted in Darlington, Co Durham. Died of wounds on the 23rd. Age 19. Buried at Cerisy Gailly Military Cemetery.
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