Alexandra,  Princess   of   Wales's   Own
Page 61. The 150th Brigade decimated.
Vendresse British Cemetery.
Situated in the valley of the River Aisne about 16k South of Laon.
Many burials were brought in from smaller cemeteries in the battlegrounds all around.
[Picture courtesy of - "WW1Cemeteries.com".].

27th MAY. The following 13 men were killed in action this day and are buried in Vendresse British Cemetery.
48047 Pte Beaumont Milton. Home at Morley, Yorks. Enlisted at York. Age 26. Ex 4/111810 RASC.
4437 CSM Chettleburgh Thomas. Home at - 53 Charlotte St, Redcar, N Yorks. Born East Dulwich, London. Age 38.
35128 Pte Day Cyril, Edmund. Home at 105 Jackson's Rd, Bromley Common, Kent, place of enlistment. Born Plaistow, London. Age 19.
43670 Pte Fitzhugh Frederick, Stanley. Home at - King's Cliffe, Peterborough. Born West Haddon, Northampton and enlisted at Glen Parva. Age 19. Ex 71100 87th TR Battn.
33787 Pte Ford Frank, Eric. Home at - Council Houses, Caddington, Luton, Beds, town of enlistment. Born Portsmouth. Age 28. Ex s/4/199386 RASC.
35147 Pte Gill Leonard. Home at - Hornsey Wood Green, place of birth and enlistment. Ex T R Battn.

Captain Herbert Norman Constantine MC.
He was the youngest of three brothers of Harlsey Hall, East Harlsey, Northallerton who were all Officers in the 4th Yorks Battalion. He was born on the 7th March 1891 and educated at Aysgarth and Uppingham before going up to Clare College, Cambridge where he obtained a BA degree. He volunteered in August 1914 and was a 2Lt at the start of the War; promoted to Lt in May 1915 at Ypres, where he was wounded in June. After recovering in England he returned to duty on the 27th Sep 1915. In January 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in the Somme area, where the Battalion had been fighting since September 1916. In October 1917 he was promoted to Captain. At the time of the German attack on the Aisne he was the Transport Officer, charged with getting supplies up to the men at the Front. It appears, from reports pieced together afterwards, that on the 27th May 1918 he was hit by shrapnel from a German shell and killed. His CO wrote of him - "The loyal, efficient and ungrudging service which he gave to his battalion was beyond praise. I never knew anyone who was more beloved by his men and by his fellow offficers."
[Photograph and information kindly contributed by his Great Nephew, Simon Barnard.]
35165 Pte Hodgkin David, Charles. Home at 3 Gladstone Villas, Marden, Folkestone, Kent. Age 18. Ex 9th T R Battn.
One of the pieces of shrapnel reputed to have killed Captain Constantine.

46531 Pte Lacey Aged aprox 33. Octavius, Atack. Born at East Keswick and enlisted at Leeds Yorks. Son of Richard and Emma Lacey. Married in 1915 to Annie Neale at Leeds, St Saviour.
35655 Pte Prentice William, Donald. Born and enlisted at Glasgow. Age 21.
35570 Pte Read Joseph. Home at Netherton Worcs. Born at Dudley and enlisted at Worcester. Age 19. Ex Berks Yeomanry.
Capt Herbert Norman,Constantine. Killed in action. Age 26. He had been awarded the Military Cross. Home at Harlsey Hall, Northallerton, Yorks. Buried in La Ville au Bois British Cemetery.
Lt R W M Close.
[Both Photos kindly contributed by David Blanchard of Skipton, N Yorks.]

26555 Pte Robinson Edward. Home at Hinderwell N Yorks. Born at Mickleby and enlisted at Whitby, N Yorks.
43732 Pte Waumsley Harold, Vickers. Home at 97 Queen's Parade, Cleethorpes, Lincs, place of birth. Enlisted at Grimsby. Age 18. Ex 87th T R Btn.
Lt Robert William Mills Close. Killed in action. He entered Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1917 and nothing else know about him until he joined the 4th Battalion at Elverdinghe in October of 1917. He was listed among the missing but his body was never found. Commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.
Lt Col Ralph Edward Dawson Kent. Killed in action. [ex 81 Training Reserve Bn] Home at Oak Dene, Ferndown, Dorset. He had been an Officer in the War from the start, being promoted to A/Capt on the 13 Oct 1914. He was Officer in Command of the 4th Yorks Battalion at this time.
On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1st July 1916, he had been in charge of "A" Company in a Battalion of the 7th Yorkshire Regiment. This Unit was facing Fricourt on that day and the Battalion were under orders to wait in their trenches for an attack later in the day. Devastating fire was being brought on the West Yorkshires from a machine gun post at Wing Corner and Major Kent against orders led “A” company into an assault on this position. They met intense fire and officers and men were “mown down” resulting in over one hundred casualties and a badly wounded Major
Lt Col R E D Kent.

Kent and two other officers lying in front of the wire being fired on. It was only after dark that they were able to be brought in. The regimental history makes little of this episode and Major Kent seems to have avoided censure for his part.
Once recovered from his wounds he joined with the 4th battalion in April of 1918 at Bethune. By now promoted to Lt Col, Ralph Kent was in action with the 4th at the Battle of the Lys from April 9th onwards. Commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.
34046 Cpl Belton James. Home at - North St, Cowdon, Edenbridge, Kent, place of birth. Enlisted at Shirehampton. Killed in action. Age 35. Buried at La Ville Aux Bois British Cemetery. Ex R/4/065783 RASC.
201051 Pte Kay John, William. Home at - Skinningrove N Yorks. Born at Stairfoot, Yorks and enlisted at Loftus, Yorks. Killed in action. Buried at La Ville Aux Bois British Cemetery.
203064 Pte Lonsdale Albert. Home at Wallsend Newcastle, place of birth. Enlisted at Richmond, N Yorks. Died. Age 25. Buried at La Ville Aux Bois British Cemetery.
34962 Pte Rees Gwyn. Born at Penclawdd, Glam and enlisted at Swansea Glam. Killed in action. Buried at Craonnelle French National Cemetery. Ex Welsh Regt.

A/Capt Thomas Wiggins.

A/Capt Thomas Wiggins Killed in action aged 31. Home at Chapel Yard, Stokesley, N Yorks. He had attended Preston GS in that town and then Barnard Castle School. Before the War he was recorded as a Master Brewer. He enlisted as a Pte in the 28th Battalion of the London Regiment [The Artists Rifles] and was commissioned into the Yorkshire Regiment on the 1st October 1915. He was an Instructor with the 2/4th Yorks Battalion and not sent to France until April 1918 and took part in the retreat at the Battle of the Lys in that month. He was attached to the 5th Battalion. Commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.
203044 Pte McEvoy Thomas. Home at Hounslow Isleworth, place of enlistment. Killed in action. Buried at Marfaux British Cemetery.
243744 Pte Baker Frederick. Born at Great Bridge, Staffs. Enlisted at West Bromwich. Killed in action. Buried at Montcornet Military Cemetery.
Among the many taken prisoner this day was the Adjutant, Captain Herbert Edward Webb.
He was aged 36 at this time and had had a long Army career.
Born in Richmond, N Yorks, he had been in the Boer War, listed as Boy, April 1900. Corporal, 1901 and Sgt, October 1903.
He was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal, with Clasps.
When the First War started he was a CSM with the 5th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers and by the 2nd May 1916 the Regimental Sergeant Major.
He fought with them in the Battle of the Somme, Arras in April and May 1917 and Passchendaele, Ypres in October 1917. He was mentioned in despatches on the 9th November 1917.
He was wounded and mentioned in despatches in the Battle of the Lys in April 1918, when acting as Adjutant to the 4th Yorks.
On rejoining he received his Commission.
German POW camp records show that he was moved by July to a camp at Limburg, to the West of Frankfurt and then via two others until by November 4th 1918 he was in a Camp, Kamstigall, on a spit of land far to the East just West of present day Kallingrad, in Russia. At that time it was in Poland and called Pillau, now Baltiysk. He survived his time in the German prison camps and retired in March 1920.

28th MAY. Diary - "About 4 a.m. the enemy broke through and the party [the few who were left, who had been making a stand on the hills to the South of Beaurieux] withdrew with the French on to Fismes. The 50th Division Diary recorded-
On the 27th –Intense bombardment commenced along whole front. After heavy fighting, the remnant of Division were driven back over the Aisne.

and by the 28th –
Rearguard action fight continued. Very few men left. Remnant of 50 Div taken over by 8 Div.

200243 Cpl Hayne James, William. Home at - 140 West Row, California, Eston, N Yorks, place of birth. Enlisted at Normanby, N Yorks. Died. Age 22. Buried at Vailly British Cemetery.
29th MAY. This party then took up a position at Romigny.
50th Division Diary - Stragglers collected and reformed into a Composite Force, called Colonel Stead’s Composite Bn. Strength 28 Officers 950 ORs.
Medals of Capt H N Constantine. Military Cross and medals generally issued after the War.
[Kindly contributed by his Great Nephew, Simon Barnard]

30th MAY. The enemy drove in the line held at Romigny and a position was held from Bligny to Champlat. 50th Div Diary :- "Composite Bn moved up to reinforce 74 Bde (8 Div). DHQ moved to LE BREUIL."
203276 Pte Haines Henry Herbert Home at Hindringham, Walsingham, Norfolk, place of birth. Enlisted at Cromer, Norfolk. Died. Age 35. Buried at Hautmont Communal Cemetery.
235514 Sgt Newlove John, R. Born and enlisted at Stockton on Tees. Died. Buried at Montcornet Military Cemetery.
31st MAY. 241610 Company Sergeant Major A. E. Groves of Scarborough was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. London Gazette citation reads - "During the period March to August, 1918, he has displayed great gallantry and devotion to duty as Platoon Serjeant and acting C.S.M., particularly during an enemy attack at Romigny on 30th May, 1918, when he kept his men well in hand by continuously visiting the posts, although exposed to heavy shell and machine-gun fire. His cheerfulness and gallantry on this occasion inspired confidence in the men and enabled them to hold on and maintain their position against greatly superior enemy forces."
A/Capt Alan L Goring MC.

Casualties for the month are given in Btn Diary as:-

Missing believed killed, A/Lt Col R E D Kent.

Missing - A/Major L Newcombe, Capt H N Constantine, A/Capt A L Goring, A/Capt H N Howes, Lt V W W S Purcell, Lt C K Kelk, Lt J F Johns, Lt R Gates, Lt R W M Close, Lt J C Story, Lt T Wiggins, Lt T A Robson, Lt H R Burn-Bailey, Lt G G W Mackay, 2/Lts H E Webb, C W Stirk, W H Jones, A W Appleby, V H Derrett, H A Clidero, W A Shooter, A G V Marsh.
Wounded - Capt T H Hutchinson, Lt G S Mitchinson.
Other Ranks - Killed 3, Wounded 52, Missing 566.

Click here for more about him.
[Photograph kindly contributed by his Great Nephew,Richard Marshall of Gerrards Cross, Bucks.]
Page from the 150th Brigade War Diary showing the losses of May 1918. 89 Officers and 2090 Other Ranks killed, wounded or missing.
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