Attested 8 December 1914 at City Hall Hull – Medal Index Card entered Egypt 29 December 1915 with 13th Battalion A Coy East Yorkshire Regiment – Entered Marseilles France 8 March 1916 – 13th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment reported wounded 20 July 1916 – East Yorkshire Regiment Posted wounded Snapper September 1916 – Posted 8th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment – Missing 26 September 1917 – Reported missing Hull Daily Mail 17 November 1917 – Write up Hull Daily Mail 20 July 1918 – Barnsley Street Roll of Honour Hull Times 02 September 1916 – AVL Hull 1918 – Effects to widow Margeret M for self and child – Commemorated East Yorkshire Regiment War Memorial Beverley Minster East Yorkshire
Battle of Polygon Wood
26th September 1917
By 4 a.m. on 26th September the Battalion was in position of assembly.
With a tremendous roar the barrage fell, and at 5.30 a.m. the infantry went forward to the attack and, in very truth, they went forward “in fine style,” as the diarist had predicted. There was a ground mist at the time of the attack and observation was difficult. The right of the Royal Scots rested on the Ypres-Roulers railway, and they easily kept their line of advance. The 8th East Yorkshire’s, however, had no such guide and had to advance by compass bearing. Moreover, the marshy ground, impassable in places, greatly increased their difficulties, and they were forced to move to the flanks in order to circumvent the water. A gap between the two Battalions was thus caused.
In spite of these difficulties the East Yorkshire’s had by 7 a.m. captured their objectives (the Red Line), together with 15 prisoners and 4 machine guns. Many casualties were inflicted on the enemy, who put up a stout resistance, especially in two or three ” pill boxes.” The latter were, however, taken and cleared of Germans. The names of four gallant N.C.Os. are mentioned in the Battalion Diary : ” Special courage was shown by Corporals Towse, Watson, Bigley and Rathbone, each one of these N.C.Os. capturing a machine gun single-handed.”
The 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 7th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, now “leap-frogged” the 2nd Royal Scots and 8th East Yorkshire’s (respectively) on the Red Line and went forward to attack the Blue Line, the final objective, which the Battalion Diary states was finally captured “by 10 a.m.” This, however, is not quite accurate; the western slopes, of Hill 40 were reached, but the line finally taken up was, roughly, just west of the road running north-west from Zonnebeke Village.
Then came the inevitable counter-attacks and heavy hostile shell fire. The first was repulsed, the second (launched about 6 p.m.) caused the leading troops to fall back a little, but the Brigadier ordered a counter-attack which recovered almost all the lost ground. The remainder of the night was uneventful: the troops were reorganised and the positions gained consolidated.
Casualties among officers were so far : Captain Rev. Ruck-Keene (the Battalion ” Padre “) and 2nd Lieutenant W. J. G. Diment killed ; one officer (2nd Lieutenant M. Keith) wounded and died of wounds; and 2nd Lieutenants Godfrey, Buckland, Page, Wright, Lamb, and Lieutenant Johnstone wounded.
For three days—days of purgatory—the 8th Battalion held the line captured on the 26th. The whole area taken from the enemy was plastered by his guns in a furious (but vain) effort to turn the attackers out of their positions.