Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 46. In the line at Arras.

2nd Lt William Buckle.

7th JUNE.
2nd Lt Buckle William. Killed in action aged 24. Son of Martha Isabella Buckle of 24 Crescent St, Middlesbrough and the late William Buckle.
Buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.
William went to France with the 4th Battalion as a Private on the 18th April 1915 and was wounded in the fighting at Ypres some time in April/May.
He was later commissioned and after training was posted to the 8th Yorks Battalion on the 6th July 1916.
This Battalion were part of the 69th Brigade in the 23rd Division.
The Division took part in the Battle of Messines, 7 to 14 June 1917, the opening stage in the Third Battle of Ypres [Passchendaele].
William was killed on the first day.

On the 15th June the Btn moved back to the Front into trenches in the area marked by the blue line.

1st to 15th JUNE. The Btn were training at Bayencourt. Practising with aeroplanes and wrestling on "Mokes". The whole Btn was inoculated during this period.

15th JUNE. The Btn moved to a Camp nearer Arras and the next day relieved the 11th Btn Royal Fusiliers in Hindenberg Support Line. "Y" Coy in Grey Street Trench and "Z" Coy in Earl's Court Trench.

16th JUNE. Diary "Casualties were caused by enemy shell and rifle fire and at least as many more by poison gas. Four Officers and four other ranks were killed by gas, one Officer and 14 other ranks were wounded, one Officer and sixteen other ranks were gassed. The Officers who died were Captain J E Bryden, the medical Officer, Lt C B Prior-Wandesford and 2Lts W E Pacey and C J Perkins. 2Lt R S May was wounded and Lt J S Bainbridge gassed.
Five other ranks joined and the Battalion this month and six Officers - Captain L Newcombe, and 2Lts P L Leigh-Breeze, G H Perkins, F D Farquharson, R K Smith, and Wilf Thornton.

19th JUNE.

5615/243390 Pte Jones Seth. Died at home. Son of Seth, an ironworks puddler and Anne Jones. Born in Middlesbrough and enlisted at Richmond, N Yorks.
At 1911 census he was listed as a labourer and in Her Majesty's Prison at Wakefield.. Buried at Middlesbrough Linthorpe Cemetery.

Paul von Hindenburg.
The formidable line of defence was named after this German Field Marshal. He had been called out of retirement at the start of the War and after defeating the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg rose in the Kaiser's and the public's esteem. In 1916 he replaced Falkenhayn as Chief of the General Staff and with his deputy Ludendorff controlled the German direction of the War right up to the closing weeks of the War.

22/23rd JUNE. "Y" and "Z" Coys moved to Cuckoo and Sunken Road Trenches to support a planned attack by the 5th Btn Durham Light Infantry on the Germans who were occupying trenches in front of the village of Fontaine Les Crosilles.
The enemy could not be seen as his trenches were hidden by a ridge.

25th JUNE. There were no more major offensives on the Front before Arras as Haig's plans switched back to Ypres. On this night the 4th Green Howards made a small raid with one officer and 15 other ranks to cut out an enemy post.
The post was found surrounded with no less than 5 rows of barbed concertina wire and no gap could be found.

The raiders climbed the wire and found the trenches deserted but were fired on by machine guns and suffered a few casualties.

200363 Sgt Beadle Herbert. Home at Kirkgate, Thirsk, town of birth and enlistment. Died of wounds on the 25th. Age 26. Buried at Achiet Le Grand Communal Cemetery Extension.
16328 Pte Strong William. Born Jarrow. Enlisted Sunderland Co Durham. Died of wounds on the 26th. Buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel.
27th JUNE. The Germans opened a very heavy bombardment and then attacked the posts of the Battalion about Wood Trench
The attack was repulsed and the enemy suffered many casualties, but it was while endeavouring to carry up more ammunition to his comrades holding Wood Trench that CSM Hopper was killed.

2nd Lt Christopher Butler Prior-Wandesforde.

2ndLt Christopher Butler Prior-Wandesforde. Died of wounds. Age 20.
He was the eldest son of Temporary Captain Richard Henry Prior-Wandesforde, J.P., D.L. Royal Field Artillery, of Castlecomer House, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, and of Kirklington Hall and Hipswell Lodge, Yorkshire, and of Florence Jackson his wife daughter of the Rev. W. F. Pryor, of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
He entered the Rugby Public School, Warwickshire in 1911 and left in 1914. He was in the Shooting VIII in 1912 and 1914, helping to win the Ashburton Shield in 1912.
He passed into Trinity College, Cambridge, but, instead of going into residence, volunteered for active service and received his Commission in March, 1915.
He went to France in March, 1916, and was wounded slightly in September.
In November he was promoted Lieutenant with seniority of February, 1916.
His death was due to the effects of gas poisoning. After being gassed himself, he worked for nearly two hours in rescuing his men, and this extra exertion caused the gas to penetrate his system, and resulted in his death some hours later at the Casualty Station at Achiet-le-Grand, where he was buried.
His Colonel wrote:-
"He was such a good, keen Officer; and so popular with us all and the men, that I cannot tell you how sorry we are for you.

A brother Officer wrote :- "His was one of the sunniest natures I have ever met, and nothing, no danger or difficulty or worry, seemed to damp his spirits for more than a few minutes.

The Trenches as seen by the Flying Corps.
[Photo from A Popular History of the Great War - J A Hammerton. 1920s.]

And he was the very embodiment of charity. I never once heard him say an evil or unkind word of anybody behind that man's back. At all times he was wonderfully good company, and during the periods when, for one reason or another, he was away from the Battalion, we missed him more than most. I merely speak of these things, his good humour, sunniness and natural kindness, because they struck one as being most characteristic of him. You knew them a thousand fold better than I did, and all the other good that was in him. After he was gassed, he spent the greater part of two hours looking after his men and getting them out of the dangerous area. It is what you would expect of him."
The Chaplain who was with him in hospital, said that his unselfish-ness was an example to the whole ward, and that many of his men stated he had carried them out of the dug-out on his back, and that they owed their lives to him.
His soldier servant wrote :-
I have been his servant for ten months, and during this time he has been as fine a master as any man could wish for. I was very fond of him and liked and respected him very much. I just want to say how very sorry we are to lose him. It may be easier for you to bear when I tell you that his death was probably due to helping us out of the dug-out."
2Lt Walter Ernest Pacey Died of wounds. Buried at Achiet-Le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension.
2Lt Cyril John Perkins Died of wounds. Age 23. Home at 39 Mantilla Rd., Upper Tooting, London. Buried at Achiet-Le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension.
201230 Pte Hodgson Herbert. Home at 16 Railway Tce, Sowerby, Thirsk, N Yorks.. Died of wounds. Age 27. St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, St Martin sur Cojeul.
200667 CSM Hopper Frederick, James. Home at - 33 Borough Rd, Darlington, Co Durham, place of birth. Enlisted at Northallerton, N Yorks. Killed in action. Age 32. Buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel.
201349 Pte Robinson Joseph. Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Died of wounds Buried at St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery.

Pte George Ruddick.

201835 Pte Ruddick George. Home at Nunthorpe N Yorks. Born at Newby and enlisted at Masham, N Yorks. He had worked on his brother's farm before the War and was one of 5 brothers, 2 of whom lost their lives in the First War. He died of wounds received in the German attack of 11 days prior to this. He is buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel.
29th JUNE.
202967 Cpl Venables Alfred, William. Born Castle Eden, Co Durham and enlisted at .Wheatley Hill Killed in action. Buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel.
30th JUNE.
201691 Pte Bland Richard. Home at - 9 Eston Grange, Grangetown, N Yorks. Enlisted at Middlesbrough. Died. Age 21. Buried at Achiet Le Grand Communal Cemetery Extension.
9th JULY.
235139 Pte Furmidge J W. Home in St Paul's area of Middlesbrough and enlisted at Redcar, N Yorks. Died of wounds in Wharnciff Hospital, Sheffield. Buried in Redcar Cemetery, N Yorks.
13th JULY. The following 4 men were killed in action and are buried at Rookery British Cemetery Heninel.
201304 Pte Catterson John. Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks.

L/Cpl W E Kinsey.

202972 L/Cpl Kinsey William, Edward. Killed by a shell. Born Coton, Cambs and enlisted at Cambridge.
[Photograph kindly contributed by Christopher Weekes of Horley, Surrey.]
200116 Pte Oliver John W Born and enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks.
201804 Cpl Graham Frederick. Home at 153 Marian St, Gateshead on Tyne, place of birth. Enlisted at Yarm N Yorks. Age 36.
202279 Pte Fall Albert. Home at - 46 Melbourne St, Wellingborough Rd, Northampton, town of enlistment. Born Hackney, London. Age 29. Ex Northants Regt. Buried at Heninel Communal Cemetery Extension.
16th JULY.
203163 Pte Major Harry. Home at - 11 Chelmsford St, Darlington, Co Durham. Born at Middlesbrough and enlisted at Darlington, Co Durham. Killed in action. Age 28. Buried at Rookery British Cemetery Heninel Z" Company
19th JULY. The German bombardments and attacks were renewed from time to time during this period and were especially heavy this day. The Battalion was distributed in Swift, Snipe, Wren Lane, Martin and Avenue trenches. The Germans were on the point of penetrating the front of the Battalion on Left when the Lewis guns opened on the enemy flank and broke up the attack. The following 4 men were killed in action and are buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel
200691 L/Cpl Hartley Joseph, Francis. Enlisted at Redcar, N Yorks.
235208 Pte Lemon Reuben, Jonathan, James. Home at Ely Cambs. Enlisted at Cambridge.
203051 Pte Nichols Isaac. Born and enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks.
36398 Pte Taylor Ernest. Enlisted at Leeds, Yorks.

Capt Charles Sproxton. M.C. Killed in action. Age 26. Home at 114 Lee Street, Holderness, Hull, Yorks.
He was born at Salt End, Preston, a village to the East of Hull, Yorkshire approx September in the year 1890.
His Father, Arthur, from Tunstall, Yorks is listed in the 1891 as a Cowkeeper. His Mother Alice came from East Halton, Lincolnshire.
Charles went up to Porterhouse, Cambridge, where he read History. The Times records that he was awarded a Scholarship of £50 pounds on the 26th June 1911 and won the Hugo de Balsham Studentship of £80 on the 18th June 1912. He gained a B.A [Hons].
He was a Cambridge research student when War was declared and he must have volunteered, for the London Gazette records that he was given a Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th Yorks Battalion on the 29th August 1914.
On 6th April he was promoted to Temp Lieutenant and he was with the Battalion when they first crossed to France on 18th April 1915.
He must have gone through all the hard fighting the Battalion had at Ypres and was reported as wounded in a list reported to
HQ on the 6 May 1915.
By July 1915 the Battn had moved to the Kemmel sector, where Charles' actions gained him the Military Cross.
The Times records that he was presented with the MC at Buckingham Palace by the King on the 8th April 1916 and the citation read:-
For conspicuous gallantry and resource on many occasions in securing the defences of his Company line, notably the following:—
On the night of 5th-6th July, 1915, near Wulverghem, although exposed by the enemy's flares to heavy rifle fire and assisted only by one Non-commissioned Officer, he carried 8 " knife-rests" (entanglements),and placed them in position within 40 yards of the enemy's line.
On the night of 6th-7th August, near Armentieres, he was in charge of a party, wiring in front of our fire trench. A German machine-gun was turned on the party, but Lieutenant Sproxton, after withdrawing his party, returned with the same Non-commissioned Officer, and, with utter disregard to danger, they completed the work."

On the 28th October 1915 he was promoted to Temp Captain.
At a date unknown he was hospitalised with a severe bout of Influenza and rejoined the Battalion on the Somme in October 1916.
On the 12th April 1917 he was made Adjutant of the Battalion in place of Temp Capt H.G. Hewitt.
He was with his men this day, 19th July 1917, and was killed "when a heavy German attack threatened to penetrate the Yorkshire’s line."

Lt Wilf Thornton of the 4th Yorks at Cavalry Farm in the Wancourt/Guemappes area.
[Photograph kindly contributed by John Sheen, author of Tyneside Irish, Durham Pals, & Wearside Battalion.]

In a letter dated just a few weeks earlier to Lt Cawood, who had been recently wounded by "friendly fire" and repatriated to England he had written:-
"Since 23 April we have been gradually filled up again with Officers and men - fattened for another slaughter I imagine."
Capt Douglas Spurway, who was to be killed in March 1918, wrote to Cawood about their friend's death:-
It was one morning at half past four. Fritz started a bombardment of our line... We were straffed to hell for an hour. Sproggie was on top at Battalion HQ when a shell burst two feet from and blew both his legs off. The CO is very cut up."
Lt Col FF Deakin wrote:-
We were both going up the dugout steps. I was leading, but went back for my gas mask. Sproggie went on to the top of the dugout and a shell got him. I have always sorrowfully felt that it killed the better man."
Captain Sproxton is buried at St Martin Calvaire British Cemetery, St Martin sur Cojeul.
202315 Sgt Carwardine William Born Braunston, Daventry Northants and enlisted Daventry. Killed in action. Buried at Cojeul British Cemetery, St Martin sur Cojeul. Ex 326 4th Northants Regt.
202017 Pte Davies John, Alfred. Born and enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Killed in action. Buried at Rookery British Cemetery, Heninel.
200331 Pte Styles Henry, William. Home at 48 Haywood Rd, Bromley Common, Kent. Born Camberwell, London. Enlisted at Northampton. Age 39. Commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
235911 Pte Raistrick William Born at Baildon and enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks Died on the 25th. Age 18. Buried at Bucquoy Rd Cemy Ficheux.

Pte Stanley Howes.

240446 Pte Howes Charles, Stanley, Home at 58 Havelock Cres, Quay Rd, Bridlington, Yorks, place of birth and enlistment. Died of wounds on the 24th. Age 18. Buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground.
Annals of Bridlington - The sad news has just come to hand of the death in action of Pte Stanley Howes, of the Yorkshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs C. Howes, 58 Havelock Crescent, Bridlington. He died from wounds in a hospital in France. He has been in many a stiff fight since he went to France in April 1915. At the time of the outbreak of war the deceased was employed at Mr Freer’s shop, Promenade. He was at home a month ago, and he also managed to get a few days at home at Christmas. He was wounded in France during May 1915, and made a good recovery. Only last week we recorded the news that the brother of deceased, Pte G H Howes, Watson’s Balk, had been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery.in picking up a live bomb and throwing it out of the trench. This brave young soldier enlisted at the outbreak of the war, when he was scarcely 17 years of age. Like thousands of our big-hearted British boys, he put his country first, and was in the fighting line with the Bridlington Territorials in April 1915. He had not been at the Front very long before he was wounded in two places, and his life was saved only by the merest accident - a bullet striking a button on his tunic and glancing off into his right arm. After a time in hospital, he returned to the trenches, but was attacked by illness and invalided home. Here he remained in camp for some months, and had only been at the Front again for a few weeks, when he was struck by a shell splinter and died amost instantly. Last week, his brother, Pte G. H. Howes, won the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery

Postcard sent home by Pte Stanley Howes.
[Kindly contributed by John S Sly.]

2Lt T V O Thomas.

25th JULY.
During the night a raiding party, led by 2Lt D J E Lamb, left Wren Trench at 11 pm and advanced on the German post in Cable Trench. Here they found the wire was uncut, in spite of the previous efforts of our Artillery, but the Officer, Corporal Hammond and Lance Corporal Horn climbed over the wire and entered Cable Trench, finding it and the neighbouring trenches all empty. After spending some time here searching for the enemy, the party had to fall back as dawn was breaking. They were under heavy machine gun fire for most of the time and 2Lt Lamb and two of his men were wounded.

31th JULY.
Seven officers were received during July, 2Lts J S Beall, J S Robson, G G W Mackay, E L Fowler, J Elgey, T J Dickson and T V O Thomas.
But otherwise reinforcements were meagre and at the end of the month the Battalion strength was 28 Officers and 654 other ranks.


1895/243272 Pte McManus Thomas Samuel. Killed in action, aged 27. Family home at 38 Bolckow St, Middlesbrough, N Yorks. He left a widow, Rosetta Amelia.
His medal card shows that he was enlisted in the 4th Yorks Battalion. His Battalion number shows that he almost certainly was in the Territorials before the War began and went to France with the Battn on the 18th April 1915.
At some time and for some unknown reason he was transferred to the 2nd Yorks Battalion, [Commonwealth War Graves listing] which was part of the 30th Division. They took part in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge at Ypres, 31 July to 2nd August.
Commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.

A Yorkshire Regiment Battalion cleaning rifles after coming out of the Line, on the 2nd August 1917. Not sure which Yorks Battalion this is.
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