Service Number
54904
Rank
Private
Firstname
Thomas
Lastname
Pauling
Battalion
7th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment
Notes

Mobilized 30 May 1918 – Medal Index Card British War Medal and Victory Medal with 7th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment – Killed Casualty List Hull Daily News 20 December 1918 – Effects to Father Henry D – Commemorated East Yorkshire Regiment War Memorial Beverley Minster East Yorkshire – Commemorated Holy Trinity Hull Golden Book of Remembrance
Battalion History
THE BATTLE of THE SAMBRE.
4th November 1918
By the end of October the Official Despatches record that the rapid succession of heavy blows dealt by the British forces had had a cumulative effect, both moral and national, upon the German Armies.” The enemy’s reserves of men were exhausted, and the huge quantities of guns, machine guns, and ammunition which had been taken from him could not be replaced. Turkey and Bulgaria had capitulated and were out of the War ; Austria was on the verge of total collapse and Germany’s military situation had become impossible. Yet, if her armies had been allowed to withdraw undisturbed to shorter lines the struggle might have been prolonged over the winter. The British Armies were, however, in a position to prevent this by an attack upon a vital centre which would force an immediate conclusion.
The decisive attack, the final blow which broke the power of the enemy in the west, and compelled him to surrender, was launched on 4th November by the Fourth, Third and First British Armies on a front of about 30 miles from the Sambre, north of Oisy to Valenciennes. In these operations three Battalions of the Regiment, i.e., 1st, 6th and 7th, were engaged. In the centre of the attack (the Third Army area), the 17th Division was one of the front-line Divisions, with the 21st Division in reserve ready to take up the advance when the former had completed its task. On the 2nd November, the 17th Division had taken over the front line from the 21st Division, which at this date, ran in a north-westerly direction from the eastern outskirts of Eaglefontaine to the eastern side of Pt. Gay Farm. The 50th Brigade was in Divisional reserve at Vendegies. The direction of the advance was now to change from north-east to due east through the Foret de Monnal.
In the operations of the 17th Division, on 4th November, the 52nd Brigade made the initial attack, the 5ist Brigade passing through and advancing some distance into the forest, the 50th Brigade passing through both of the former Brigades to capture a the final objective of the Division, i.e., the line of the road running from south-west to north-east just east of Locquignol.
Zero hour was at 5.30 a.m. The assembly of the three Battalions of the 50th Brigade had to be carried out in stages according to the successes gained by the 52nd and 5ist Brigades, and it was 12.30 p.m. before the 10th West Yorkshire’s on the right, the Dorset’s in the centre, and the 7th East Yorkshire’s on the left (each Battalion on a two-company frontage) were formed up on their final assembly line, i.e., just east of the line gained by the 51st Brigade — a road running south from the cross roads at Carretour du Grand Tourneur.
At 1 p.m. the advance began. The artillery barrage, owing to the impossibility of recognising any barrage line in a forest, was of little or no assistance. Hostile shell fire was slight at the beginning of the advance, but heavy machine-gun fire was almost immediately encountered on the left by the East Yorkshire’s. Dense scrub amongst the trees, stacks of timber which had been cut by the enemy, marshy ground in places, cross-roads and tracks, all combined to make progress difficult as well as providing excellent targets for the German machine gunners. But in spite of the enemy, on and in rear of their left flank, the East Yorkshiremen pushed on, their support company echeloned in rear of the left flank to guard against attacks from that quarter.
By 3 p.m. the Battalion had progressed about 1,000 yards, but was then held up by heavy machine-gun fire. From a house on (he left, outside the Divisional boundary also, the enemy’s machine guns were pouring a deadly fire upon the East Yorkshiremen. However, by dint of outflanking movements, and chiefly owing to the skilful manoeuvring of his men, and personal bravery of the C.O., Lieut. Colonel G. East-King, these advanced posts were attacked from flank and rear, and by 4.30 they also had been “mopped up” and 12 prisoners, with 6 machine guns, captured. The latter were then turned on the enemy. When the Brigade reached its second assembly position — the Englefontaine – Louvignies road — there was considerable shelling and Captain F. C. Tonkin, the Adjutant of the 7th Battalion Yorkshire’s, a gallant officer, who had done fine work for the Battalion, was mortally wounded. The centre and right of the attack had also progressed, and by 3 p.m. the line on the right ran north and south, immediately west of Locquignol.
At about 2 a.m., on the 5th, Colonel East-King was ordered to establish the line of the final objective on his front and, taking forward three platoons at once, he secured the German line by 5.30 a.m. half an hour later, the Lincoln’s, of the 21st Division, passed through the East Yorkshire’s to continue the attack. Thus the 17th Division was again out of the front line of attack. The 7th East Yorkshire’s remained bivouacked in the forest. They had captured during their advance, 40 prisoners, 20 machine guns, 3 field guns, and I cable wagon. Their losses were 2 officers killed and 2 wounded, and in other ranks, 13 killed, 85 wounded and 9 missing. Everywhere along the line on 4th, the attack had gone splendidly, and at nightfall the British line ran from Fesmy, through Landrecies (centre of Foret de Mormal), Wargnies-le-Grand (5 miles east of Valenciennes), Onnaing, Scheldt Canal (opposite Thiers).
The enemy’s resistance was by now definitely broken, and his troops began to fall back on practically the whole front. For two or three days, however, there were constant encounters with the retreating Germans, who here and there endeavoured (vainly) to make a final stand. With orders to keep in touch with the retreating enemy, the 21st Division passed through the 17th Division early on 5th. November, but the 1st East Yorkshire’s, having marched through the forest, halted at La Tete Noire for three hours and then turned north to La Grande Carriere, where they billeted with other units of the 64th Brigade, the 62nd and 110th Brigades being then engaged in following up the enemy.
The 7th East Yorkshire’s had passed the night 5th – 6th November and the whole of the 6th in the Foret de Mormal. Rain fell heavily and the discomfort was terrible, for all ranks were by now worn out. But at midday on 7th, the Battalion marched via Berlaimont to Aymeries. At 4 a.m. on 8th, under orders to attack from east of Bachant, the 7th marched to assembly positions, but these orders were cancelled and the Battalion moved back to the village and their billets. The first glimmerings of Peace are seen in the Diary of the 7th Battalion on 9th November. “Owing to persistent rumours of a coming armistice, speculation was very rife.”

Birthplace
Hull
Enlisted
Hull
Residence
Welton East Yorkshire
How Died
Killed in Action
Memorial
VIII. B. 20. ROMERIES COMMUNAL Cemetery EXTENSION France
Date Died
04 November 1918