Attested 10 December 1915 – Mobilized 3 August 1917 – formerly 46581 Yorkshire Regiment – Medal Index Card British War Medal and Victory Medal with 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment – Transferred East Yorkshire Regiment and posted 1st Battalion 3 April 1918 – Posted wounded Gunshot chest and Missing 16 April 1918 – Reported Wounded and Missing Casualty List 22 June 1918 Hull Daily News – Documents Available – History 1st Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment –
16 April 1918
In the early morning on the 16th April there was some heavy gas shelling, followed by an intense bombardment, and it was soon evident that the enemy intended to move us. The affair started after 5 am, and by 6 am. All telephone communications were severed, and the gas and smoke were so thick that it was impossible to move about in Grand Bois, and several runners disappeared into the smoke, but failed to reach the Coy H.Q. The artillery bombardment was very heavy, and was carried on until about 8 am, and then became desultory. Eventually Battalion H.Q. Runners got through to the Companies, and the 15th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, runners came back first, with the news that the enemy had made one or two desperate attacks on our front positions, but had been repulsed, with heavy casualties on both sides. The same report came from our left Coy, but no runner could get to D Coy, as there were German patrols, apparently on three sides, and they were fighting around to cut it off.
After 9 a.m. Lieut.-Col. Gush, D.S.O., and Capt. McKellar (CO. and Adjutant of the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment), together with their M.O., Lieut. Cameron, of the Field Ambulance, came into Battalion H.Q., with a handful of men, and in breathless excitement told us how they and the rest of the 62nd Brigade had been driven from the heights of Spanbroekmolen, and that now there was a gap between us and the French to the south.
Major J. H. Coles ordered Major du Moulin, his 2nd in Command, to take the job over of stopping up the gap before the enemy realised his advantage. This was a job after his own heart, and taking the remnant of the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment with him, as a nucleus, made his H.Q. On the ridge to the south of Grand Bois, in a disused farm, called Black Cot. The support Coys, B and C, were then ordered to take up positions between that occupied by D Coy south of Onraet Wood and the Vierstraat-Wytschaete Road, where that road commences to dip into Wytschaete Village. Whilst these Companies were swinging into position Second Lieut. G. R. Ware, the Intelligence Officer, was sent out to reconnoitre the enemy position, on the outskirts of Wytschaete Village, and to try to ascertain if the village was held in strength or not…. He did not return, for he was taken a prisoner in the village.
By the early afternoon Major du Moulin had made the Black Cot position a real stronghold. The enemy was satisfied with a limited advance, and with the exception of heavy machine gun firing the battle quietened down. The Black Cot position had representatives of all the units of the 62nd Brigade, half M.G. Co., and miscellaneous personnel from our H.Q, Major du Moulin was quite happy in his vital and dangerous position, and spent 95 per cent, of his time in cheering up his command, tending to their replenishment of ammunition and water supply. The remaining 5 per cent, was spent in writing to the Adjutant on miscellaneous supply matters, etc. His so-called little notes were nearly as long as Field Marshal Haig’s despatches, and were written in small writing, with a spice of ginger in them, as to the dilatory methods of Battalion H.Q., forgetting that Battalion H.Q. Was being worked by the CO., Major Coles, and the writer as Adjutant, solely…. We had no Signal Officer, and our Intelligence Officer was taken prisoner. We were now sharing with the 15th Durham Light Infantry, two Brigade fronts. As an extra precaution one of the Durham Light Infantry, support Coys was moved to the southern end of Grand Bois, to reinforce either our new front, south of Onraet Wood, or the Black Cot position. During the early evening Captain Raine, M.C., our M.O., did noble work in getting in our wounded, and by dusk our line was almost normal again. Early in the morning Second Lieut. C. G. Johnson-Stuart, of C. Coy, was killed, and Second Lieut. E. C. Morton was wounded. In other ranks we lost about 40 killed and died of wounds, including Pte. E. J. Heller, D.C.M., of whom we have spoken once or twice before as one of D. Coy officers’ servants. The number of wounded was also heavy.
All the evening of the 16th repeated attempts were made to reach D Coy, but without avail. Soon after dark Gen. Headlam ordered a small counter-attack by phone. The objective was to find out if North House was occupied or not, and in any case to occupy it with a platoon. North House was a strongly fortified strong point, commanding the northern approach to Wytschaete, and as, a strong counter-attack was to be delivered by the Scotch Brigade of the 9th Division the following evening, its capture was essential. A close study of the map shows that there are several houses near North House, and when the writer took General Headlam around the line on the 14th he confessed it was rather difficult to say which of a certain heap of bricks was “such and such” a house. Just before midnight the platoon from the support Company set off from the left of D Coys position, and after negotiating one or two German patrols occupied what they thought was North House, but it was nearly dawn before we got definite information of its occupation.