1. The myth of the Somme

Britain has been a major military nation for thousands of years and its history is littered with the names of famous battles. Yet one name appears to stand out from all the rest and has come to be used in the English language to epitomize bravery in the face of destructive forces beyond control. The Battle of the Somme in 1916 is known by everyone and accepted by military historians as both a costly campaign fought under extreme difficulties as well as a necessary one to try to drive the enemy from his fortified defensive positions.
The first day of this battle, July 1st 1916, is regarded as the blackest day in the history of the British Army with casualty figures of 57470, of whom 19240 were killed. It was the day when the volunteer battalions of Kitchener’s citizen army, the K1’s or Pals Battalions, left their trenches to do battle with Europe’s finest fighting machine, the German Army. As John Keegan wrote:

“The British got up out of their trenches shoulder to shoulder for about ten or fifteen miles and proceeded to advance across no man’s land. They (the Germans) saw in front of them wave after wave of khaki clad men –two or three or four or five hundred yards away-plodding on towards them. In many cases they did really kill almost everybody in front of them.”

One survivor described what happened to his Pal’s battalion as “two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying.”

Much else has been written about the Battle of the Somme, including by those who saw the generals as idiots and the soldiers as the brave being put to the slaughter – “Lions led by Donkeys.” However, as time has elapsed, a more sympathetic approach has been adopted towards Haig and his generals on the Somme.

“There was a grim necessity to wear down the might of the German Empire on the battlefields of the Western Front before there could be any hope of victory.”

Peter Hart “ THE SOMME”

In this assessment Peter Hart has come to accept what Sir Douglas Haig himself had written in June 1916 before the commencement of the battle.

“No amount of skill on the part of the higher commanders no training however good on the part of the officers and men no superiority of arms and ammunition however great will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of men’s lives. The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists”

2. The Reason for the Somme

The British efforts in 1914 and 1915 had stemmed the German’s initial advance and led to the stalemate of the trenches and the various attempts to break through. None of these had succeeded and showed up both a lack of tactical awareness on the part of the high command and a lack of military hardware, especially artillery. The failure at the battle of Loos in 1915 prompted the politicians to sack Sir John French and replace him with the man who would be the head of the BEF for the remainder of the war -Sir Douglas Haig. The war effort was being severely compromised by the fact that there were two opposing views as to how the war could be one. For Haig and his fellow generals it could be won only on the Western Front, by achieving supremacy over the German Army. For others, like Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George, the war could be won by using Britain’s naval strength and attacking the enemy in the East - hence the various campaigns in Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Salonika and even Italy. The retreat from Gallipoli did nothing to diminish their views, as a consequence of which, many valuable divisions of troops were tied down in these secondary theatres. The other complication was that the French were still the dominant force in the Alliance and their commander, General Joffre, made the strategic decisions on the Western Front. The French had born the brunt of the casualties and some in the hierarchy of the British military even thought that the French might cave in unless the British did something in 1916. Indeed, Joffre too thought that it was time the BEF, that had been bolstered by the arrival of the first K1’s in early 1916, should begin to pull its weight.

On 6th December 1915, the Chantilly conference had decided that there would be coordinated offensives against the central powers by both the Anglo French and Russian forces. Joffre wanted a joint British /French attack north and south of the river Somme. This had been a very quiet sector of the front and as such had given the German defenders the chance to build extremely deep and dense fortifications, like no others anywhere on the front.

Haig had tried to reduce the BEF involvement in this planned attack as much as he could, especially as he favoured the Ypres sector for any BEF offensives. However, in February 1916, the Germans launched their attack on Verdun - to “ bleed the French Army white” and thereby knock them out of the war. It changed things forever, as the BEF was forced to take on the responsibility for a bigger section of the front and therefore a bigger involvement in the battle of the Somme.

3. The Somme plan

By May 1916, the French were desperate for the British to launch the Somme offensive to relieve the German pressure. Joffre told Haig that July 1st was the last date for the Somme offensive to begin. Haig thought that his collection of New Army Divisions would not be ready until 15th August at which point Joffre shouted at him:

“The French army will not exist, if you do nothing until then”

The die was caste. It was 1st July 1916. Kitchener’s New Army of the Pals Battalions would be thrown against the German Fortress created in the rolling hills of the Somme valley. These volunteers from the shires and industrial cities of Britain went through a brief training programme at home that bore no resemblance to the trench warfare in which they were about to be engaged. To give them some idea of what to expect, every new battalion transferred to France was put with a regular battalion who supposedly showed them the ropes. But in comparison with the German Army, the degree of preparation was sorely lacking.

By 1916, the high command had come to accept that the key to success in this newly mechanized warfare was the artillery. There had to be a bigger and bigger concentration of fire power and there had to be different ways of delivering it, hence the development of big guns, machine guns and trench mortars.
Behind the lines the men trained for the big day by recreating the German trench system that they would be attacking. So the plan of attack unfolded in the minds of the generals, but there were substantial differences of opinion between Haig - who wanted to break through the German lines at various points so that the cavalry could be let loose, and Rawlinson - who was much more cautious, preferring limited ‘bite and hold’ objectives. Haig won the argument and the final plan was designed to push past the 1st and 2nd German trench systems before breaking out into the open country.

The artillery was indeed beefed up, so that along the 20 mile front of the attack there would be one field gun per 20 yards and one heavy gun every 58 yards. Ammunition was plentifully available and located in dumps close to every gun. The plan revolved around a massive barrage over days, which would destroy the German wire and fortifications so that the infantry at zero hour could walk across no man’s land and capture the first line of the German trenches unimpeded before moving on, with the aid of the supporting battalions in the second wave. The myth of the non existent German wire and the ability of the infantry to walk, heavily laden, across no man’s land, was created at a very early stage and lasted right up to the end of the first wave attacks.

The Somme area was by no means an ideal location for the movement and the concentration of 400000 men. It was very rural with small villages, a poor road network and no railways, all of which had to be created by the BEF Engineers aided by specialist civilian experts. In addition, the Germans held the high ground and could see the massing of troops and equipment without really knowing what was about to take place. New communication trenches were dug and covered up to try to make them invisible to the enemy. This was also the age of the underground war, which today is coming to light through excavations by military archeologists. The RE tunneling companies constructed a series of mines to be detonated under the Germans at zero hour or in the case of one - just before zero hour! (Figure 1)

Figure 1. The Somme Battlefield (Unknown)

4. Zero Hour

On 24th June, the artillery bombardment commenced along the whole line of the attack. As one artillery officer put it:

“Armageddon started today and we are right in the thick of it.”

The impact of this upon the Germans was an immense test of their nerves;

“The barrage has now lasted 36 hour. How long will it go on? When will they attack? Who knows?” German soldier

However, many of the Germans were physically untouched by this bombardment as they sheltered in their deep dugouts under the chalk.

“My platoon kept its battle strength thanks to the superior quality of our construction of the position.” German platoon commander

On 30th June the huge mass of the attacking battalions moved into their communication trenches ready to go at zero hour, 7.30 am on 1st July. What happened on that day has been well documented and the subject of many films and documentaries. All along the front at the sound of the officers’ whistles, the Pals battalions from the cities and shires of Britain climbed up the steps and went over the top - some to certain death and a few to everlasting glory. Loaded down by packs containing equipment, rations, and ammunition enough for days as they were to be marching through the supposedly crushed German lines to the open countryside. They were told to walk in line abreast, though in many instances they met with a hail of machine gun bullets as they had to cover thousands of yards of No Man’s Land. The staggering and incredible figure of 57470 casualties in one day becomes more credible by a visit to the many cemeteries of the Somme region and to the towering Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

The Battle lasted from July through to November 1916 and involved some 56 Divisions of the British army about 700000 infantry, plus others in a supporting role. The 616 infantry battalions involved in the Battle from 1st July to 18th November 1916 are well documented in Ray Westlake’s book ‘Tracing British Battalions on the Somme’.
The total British casualties during the whole battle were 419654, of which 131000 were killed, 65000 having no known graves - their names now etched on the 48 panels of the Thiepval Memorial. Territorial gains were made during this long period of attrition although Bapaume, a town - expected to have been taken on day one - had not been reached by 18th November 1916.

5. The Early Days

Amongst the thousands of New Army troops involved in the Battle of the Somme were seven of my relatives, some of whom were in Territorial battalions, whilst others had been conscripted into Kitchener’s New Army. This is their story and amazingly all of them survived the Somme.
My maternal grandmother had an older brother Ernest Jarvis born in 1890 and who, by all accounts, did not want to fight in a war. Unlike some of his cousins he waited to be called up in the early part of 1916 and although his service papers did not survive, regimental records of the Suffolk Regiment, suggest that he was conscripted in March 1916 and in May was transferred to the 8th battalion of the Suffolk regiment as private 50473. (Figure 2)

Figure 2. Ernest Jarvis before he enlisted (Family archive)

The Suffolks were in the 53rd Brigade of the 18th Division commanded by Sir Ivor Maxse, who proved to be meticulous in his planning and one of the most successful commanders of the war. In preparation for the Battle of the Somme the 18th Division (Figure 3) was located around Carnoy south of the river Somme. On the opening day the 18th Division, together with 30th Division, achieved all of their objectives in gaining Montauban Alley and advancing 3000 yards. Although the 8th Suffolks were not directly involved in the attack, they did perform the important task of carrying ammunition and water to the fighting battalions of both the 53rd and 55th brigades. This was no easy task in the turmoil of the battle as described by an officer involved:

“At the top of the avenue we had to cross over the open and dump the water-cans in a small wood beside the road. The firing at this point was terrific. We went over on extended order at the double. Our going back was even worse. We were shelled all the way.”

Figure 3. 18th Division 1st July 1916 (‘Montauban’, Graham Maddocks)

The War Diary of the 8th Battalion WO95/2039 gives the details of their involvement on 1st July:

July 1st
Hot breakfast was served to the men at 6 am in CARNOY.
11am 8th Suffolks now in 55th Bde assembly trenches.
5pm Carrying parties started to carry forward water to Battalions of the 55th Brigade.

The Divisional History by G H F Nichols provides a graphic description of the battle on that first day and concludes with a quote from General Maxse to his troops:

“Well done. It’s what I expected. Now hold onto what you have gained so splendidly.”

So, Ernest Jarvis and the other new boys of the 8th Battalion had a relatively easy introduction to the Battle of the Somme and after stints in the front line around Montauban, they were relieved on July 8th and rested in a camp west of Bray. The 18th Division had suffered 3115 casualties in the Battle for Montauban.

The next relatives to take part in the battle were the friends - Albert Jarvis and Wilfred Livermore from Felsted, who had joined up on the same day, 31st August 1914 at Chelmsford. Initially, they were both in the 9th Battalion Essex Regiment, but by 1916 Wilfred had been transferred to the 35th Battalion MGC which, like the 9th Essex, was in the 12th Eastern Division.
Together with thousands of other troops the 12th Division was moved into the Somme area in June 1916 as the war diary of the 9th Essex WO 95/1851 explains:

Lillers. June 16th. Train no 12 with Bn complete left the station going via St Pol-Dollens-Amiens to Longueau where it arrived at 5 45 am on 1th . It was timed to arrive about 2 am but owing to heavy battery train and French troop train being unexpectedly parked in the siding in front of us we had to wait outside the station for over 3 hours.
Longueau. 17th the Bn marched from the station to billets in Vignacourt via Amiens -- Flesselles. The march was a trying one after the long time in the train being 14 ½ miles .
On arrival in the area the 12th Division joined 3rd Corps in the 4th Army and is held in GHQ reserves. Strength of the Bn on arrival was 27 officers 918 ORs 37 horses 24 mules 19 vehicles 10 bicycles.

On 1st July, the opening day of the battle of the Somme, the 9th Essex and the rest of the 35th Infantry Brigade were in Divisional reserve in Henincourt.


July 1st
6 30 pm the Bn moved forward into the village of HENINCOURT where a long halt occurred owing to blocking of the road to Albert by the other brigades of the 12th Division which were also moving up to relieve the 8th Division which had been severely mauled during the attack in the morning and failed to take OVILLERS.

Wilfred Livermore and the 35th MGC battalion were also moved up to relieve the 23rd MGC in the Ovillers sector. Their war diary WO95/1853 tells how difficult was the logistical task of getting all these men to the appropriate jumping off point for the next attack:

8 45 pm The company halted in HENENCOURT having been cut off from the rest of the Bde column by cross traffic and was unable to move on again until the whole of the 35th Infantry Bde had passed by.
10 45 pm The Coy joined up with the tail of the 7th Norfolk Regt and continued to march to the trenches.
2.7.16 Arrived at CRUCIFIX CORNER where the men who were exhausted after the march fell out and slept as no guides could be found.

The battalions of the 12th Division waited in the trenches for the order to attack, knowing that the 8th Division had made no progress on 1st July and no doubt seeing for themselves the carnage inflicted on their comrades by the German artillery and machine guns. How different could it possibly be for them when the time came?
WO95/1851 tells us that it was indeed the same sorry story of brave men advancing across no man’s land facing a hail of machine gun bullets from all sides:

July 3rd 12 30 am the Bn moved forward into their positions of assembly
2 15 am a heavy bombardment of OVILLERS by our artillery was carried out during the afternoon and night preceding the attack. The enemy’s retaliation became heavy about 3 am especially on front and supporting lines.
3 7 am the leading waves of the Berks and Suffolks left our lines.
3 20 am the 1st lines of the Bn followed in pursuit . The Berks and Suffolks went right over the enemy’s front and support lines and some troops entered the village together with the leading lines of the Bn which had come up in support.
The Bn suffered severely during the advance across the open from MG fire from either flank and from the village.
The troops were unable to hold their ground and were driven out by bombing and MG suffering very heavily in getting back.
The attack on OVILLERS came to a stand still about 4 30 pm and the remainder of the 3 Bns withdrew inside our lines.
Casualties were 12 officers 386 ORs wounded missing or killed.

(Figure 4)

Figure 4. Sketch Map (9th Essex War diary WO95/1851 N A Kew)

In fact very few men from the 5 battalions who attacked Ovillers on 3rd July returned unscathed to their jumping off point. Many lay out in no man’s land, waiting to be saved - with many dying from wounds which could have been easily treatable had they been able to get back to their own lines. The medical services were swamped in the early days of the Somme by the sheer volume of casualties, for which they were not prepared.

The 35th MGC supported this infantry attack and even continued to fire thousands of rounds upon Ovillers after the attack was called off, targeting the enemy who were walking around the village.


3.7.16. 3.0 am The infantry attack commenced supported by Arty barrage fire and barrage fire from the 8 guns of No 2 & 4 sections
6.7.16 12 noon A party of Germans was seen by the guns walking in OVILLERS south of the church They were fired on by 1 gun & were seen to fall & disappeared. They were not seen again.
2 30 pm Another party of the enemy about 10 in number were seen leaving OVILLERS going NE. They were fired on by 2 guns and several were seen to fall the remainder disappearing into a communications trench.
(Figure 5)

Figure 5. Mash Valley today (C R Weekes)

Then on the 6th July at 4pm the 35th MGC was relieved by the 36th MGC at the same time as the 36th Infantry Brigade relieved the 35th Infantry Brigade, which went into billets in Albert.
The 35th MGC war diary WO95/1853 recounts the perhaps surprisingly high level of morale amongst the gunners:

7.7.16 Guns & equipment thoroughly cleaned and the men rested in billets ready to move at half an hour’s notice. All ranks were in the best of spirits and a piano having been found a concert was organized from 6pm to 8pm.

Rest and recuperation for Albert Jarvis of the 9th Essex took the form of medical recovery from a wound. His name appeared in a list of 5180 published in a Roll of Honour in the Times of 5/8 /16 and in the Essex Chronicle of August 11th 1916 under the title Essex Casualties Wounded appeared Jarvis, 12291, A. Felsted. Without any of his records we cannot know what the nature of his wound was. However, it was sufficient for him to be sent home and for him to be classed as below the level of fitness for infantry duties when he had recovered. His fighting war was over and in 1917 he joined the Labour Corps helping in the harvests in Norfolk. The Essex farm boy returned to his agricultural roots. (Figure 6)

Figure 6. The Times August 1916 (fourteeneighteen research)

Wilfred Livermore and the 35th MGC continued to operate on the Somme, including a spell around La Boisselle in support of infantry attacks by 36th Brigade and the Anzacs until the end of August when they were moved to the Arras sector.


7.8.16 12.15pm Relief complete and Coy HQ was established in an old German dug out on the ALBERT—BAPAUME RD close to LA BOISSELLE.
8.8.16 9 20 pm An attack was made by the 7th Suffolk Regt in conjunction with 4th ANZAC Bde.
10.8.16 6.0 pm During an enemy bombardment the gun positions were destroyed & as the front line trench was almost blown to bits from one end to the other, the gun was withdrawn –the tripod
and 8 ammo boxes were destroyed by shell fire.
17.8.16 6.0 pm The company marched via BERNEVILLE –WARLUS and DAINEVILLE to ARRAS.
21.8.16 8.0 am Nine guns proceeded to relieve 9 guns of 33rd MGC in the trenches.

Wilfred Livermore, unlike his friend Albert Jarvis, was indeed fortunate to survive the Battle of the Somme unscathed. The official figures show that the 12th Division had 11000 casualties during the Somme campaign.

6. The Offensive Continued

Research into the battles of World War 1 clearly shows that some BEF units were used more extensively than others throughout the conflict. This was probably because the units were commanded by men who were considered by Haig to be more competent and effective. The 18th Eastern Division commanded by Ivor Maxse was one such unit. Having taken part in the opening phase, it was rested until called upon to take part in the successful battle for the Bazentine Ridge on July 14th 1916. The 53rd Brigade including 8th Battalion Suffolks and my great uncle Ernest Jarvis was in reserve being held back for a later attack on Delville Wood. This was one of a number of woods whose names became synonymous with bloody, long drawn out fighting. Delville Wood is now forever linked to the South African Brigade who attacked the wood with 3153 men and emerged from it, when they were relieved by the 53rd Brigade, with only 780. (Figure 7)

Figure 7. Somme Battlefield (Thiepval Visitors Centre)

The Regimental History describes the nature of the 8th Suffolks’ intensive fighting around Longueval village and Delville Wood, both of which were defended to the death by the Germans.

“At midnight on July 18-19 the 53rd Brigade was unexpectedly launched at very short notice and without reconnaissance in a most unenviable counter-attack designed with the object of clearing the village and the wood. The two miles of open country which stretched between it and the objectives had to be traversed in broad daylight with every available German gun trained on the assaulting troops. This was the battalion’s ( 8thSuffolks ) first experience of open warfare.
Though this counter attack was unsuccessful the line in the village was advanced about three hundred yards.
On the evening of 19th orders were received to consolidate those positions of the village and wood which we had succeeded in regaining.”

The war diary WO95/2039 contains a detailed report of these events the main point of which was:

A company of 8th Suffolks did manage to relieve a detachment of South Africans on the edge of Delville Wood but by 4 30 pm on July 19th owing to severe losses from both shell and machine gun fire the attack failed in its entirety and the men were not in a position to make a further assault.

On 21st the Suffolks left Delville Wood - the enemy eventually to be driven out by others. They had suffered 238 casualties in one if not the most inhospitable places of the whole battle. They went into a camp on the Albert Bray road. For the time being Ernest Jarvis and the 8th Suffolks had some relief from the Somme although, as an identified crack Division, the 18th was going to be trained to take the Thiepval Redoubt later. (Figure 8)

Figure 8. Delville Wood today (C R Weekes)

7. The Artillery

In his excellent book ‘THE SOMME’ Peter Hart writes:

It (The Battle of the Somme) was fundamentally a battle of the artillery. The British could not advance without it; the Germans could not defend without it. The roar of the guns was unceasing. It could grind away and erode the courage of all but the bravest.

One of Ernest Jarvis’ cousins was Percy Livermore who, although born in Felsted as part of the extensive land based work force of Edwardian Britain, was living in New Cross South London at the outbreak of the war. He, like a great many men from Camberwell and Dulwich, enlisted into the RFA as gunner 20271 on 26/4/1915. Initially, on going to France in December 1915, he was in the 167th Brigade Royal Field Artillery; but by July 1916 he had been transferred to the 162nd Brigade RFA of the 33rd Division. (Figure 9)

Figure 9. Medal Roll RFA (N A Kew)

As their war diary WO95/2413 records, the 162nd Brigade was moved down from the north of the Western Front to south of Albert at Becordel Becourt by 15th July 1916. From their gun pits in this village at 8.30 am on 15th July, they took part in the bombardment as part of the successful Battle of Bazentin Ridge. On 20th July the diary records:

20th About 2 55 am bombardment commenced preparatory to an attack on HIGH WOOD by 15th Corps. Our fire concentrated on HIGH WOOD First lift at 3 25am Second at 3 35 am on to final barrage line. Final barrage was established and continued for one hour.
24th at about 9pm the enemy counter attack at LONGUEVAL and DELVILLE WOOD 162nd Brigade Batteries switched over to that zone when a SOS was received and gave a quick barrage.

This bombardment of the area around the village of Longueval and Delville Wood by the 162nd batteries, continued on and off until the end of July 1916.

30th Zero hour 6 10 pm bombardment to commence at 4 45 pm Ammn allotment 18 pdrs – 100 rds per gun – 4.5 hows 100 rds per gun increased from 100 to 200 rds per gun at 4 pm in case of 18 pdrs.

This brief reference gives a taste of the daily lives of the artillery from their positions behind the attack zones - giving support to the infantry both in the attacks and in the defence against enemy counter attacks.
By August 1916 the 162nd Brigade RFA had positioned its guns near to Montauban, ready again to support various attacks by the 33rd Division and others which took place from 16th August 1916.


23rd Orders received at about 7 pm for a renewal of the attack on 24th instant. This to be the biggest “push” since the 13th and 14th July. French attacking simultaneously with FOURTH ARMY from the SOMME to MAUREPAS.
Task of 162nd Brigade to support the left battalion QUEENS of right brigade.
Zero hour to be 5 45 pm on 24th
Bombardment to begin at 3 45 pm.
24th orders as above carried out with most satisfactory results.
25th General Sandys GOC RA sent special congratulations to 162nd Brigade RFA for the splendid support given the infantry.
There was however one very disappointing feature of the operations viz; the appalling number of duds amongst the shells of our heavy artillery – in all there must have been 60 % which either did not detonate at all or gave only small explosions instead of a real detonation.

This was an outright criticism by a Brigade Commander that highlighted a well- documented problem experienced by all BEF artillery units during the battle of the Somme. The section of this war diary went on to compare the British experience with that of the Heavy German artillery where ‘duds’ amounted to a mere 5 %. Thus, they were able to inflict much greater damage on the British lines than we were able to do to them - perhaps a major reason for the lack of movement during the Somme offensives.


September 2nd XV Corps attacked Village of GINCHY and trenches around it.
The task of the 162nd Brigade RFA was to support left battalion of the 72nd Infantry Brigade.
Special instructions were issued by commander –in- chief stating that these operations were of the utmost importance and desiring it to be impressed on all officers to satisfy themselves thoroughly that all under their command fully understood what was required of them.

Regrettably, as in so many cases, the action did not go well and the writer of this war diary was again highly critical of his own side’s actions. From his position behind the lines with his artillery battery, he was able to see all that happened.


September 3rd Thus on this front the whole attack was rendered utterly fruitless by the troops apparently being ignorant of the nature and locality of their objectives and consequently finding little resistance overran the points to be taken and were cut up in retiring. The final result was that our line at 7pm between HIGH and DELVILLE WOODS was the same as before the attack and the sacrifice had been appalling. The attack itself in its initial stages was as fine as there has ever been and had the promises of a great victory.
On the rest of the front great success was met. GINCHY was taken lost and retaken on the following day . GUILLEMONT was taken and the French were successful along the whole of the front.

So, Gunner Percy Livermore and his comrades of 162nd Brigade had played their part in the Somme offensive. On 6th September they were relieved by the New Zealand brigade and went to Bonnay, east of Amiens. They took no further part in the major battles and at the end of September 1916 they were in Dainville, west of Arras. Percy Livermore and the 162nd Brigade RFA were to play an important role in the opening of the Battle of Arras in April 1917.

8. New Armed Technologies

The opening phases of the Battle of the Somme had decimated many of the New Army battalions – the Pals’ Brigades - so that by late August significant reserves had to be sent to the Somme sector. These came from the training depots in the UK via the Channel ports and the Etaples Bull Ring training camps. Contrary to Haig’s wishes, he was also forced to move units from the Ypres sector that he considered to be more important than the Somme to maintain the momentum which Joffre the French commander insisted upon. There was no way out for Haig. The BEF had to continue to play the major role on the Somme where it became a matter of wearing down the German machine and the will and energy of its men. Much has been written by Haig’s critics about his reluctance to use modern technology - favouring instead the old techniques of open warfare and reliance upon the cavalry. There is plenty of evidence to show that this was wrong. He used gas in 1915, he demanded more of the new Vickers machine guns in 1915, he increased the number of Lewis guns per company, he increased the use of the Stokes mortars in the Somme and he used the Tank in September 1916 at the Battle of Flers - Courcelette. In fact, in the latter case, some critics including Winston Churchill thought that he had used the tank before it had been fully developed and before its proper tactical use with the infantry had been thought out.

One unit that was moved south from the Ypres salient was the 50th (Northumbrian) Division in whose 150th Brigade was the 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment – the Green Howards. In late August 1916, the 5th Battalion received a new draft of men from the UK amongst whom were my great uncle Frank Maltby and his cousin Samuel R D Maltby. Both were from Cambridge and had joined up in 1914 into a territorial unit 2/1 Bn the Cambridgeshire Regiment, with whom they did 18 months of UK based training before being posted to France in August 1916 and joining the 5th Battalion Yorkshires in A company no.2 platoon. (Figure 10)

Figure 10. Frank Maltby & his Family (Family archive)

In September 1916 the 5th Battalion Yorkshires was in a training camp west of Albert. The War Diary WO95/2836 tells us how it was moved up to the front line in preparation for a major attack that was to become the Battle of Flers- Courcelette. The purpose of this offensive was to capture the German original 3rd line of defence that, by September, had become their first line and had been strengthened especially in the remains of High Wood. Once again, there was a substantial difference between Rawlinson’s cautious strategy and Haig’s desire to break through the defences and use the cavalry. Haig got his way and the attack was to be all-out, with an intense artillery bombardment twice the concentration of July 1st. So, on 9th September the 5th Battalion Yorkshires moved up to the front line and occupied Swansea Trench in support of 149th Brigade north of the ruined village of Bazentin le Petit. (Figure 11)

Figure 11. 150th Brigade attack area 15th September 1916 (Bill Danby)

The preliminary bombardment commenced on 12th September, lasting for 3 days and forcing the enemy troops to remain in their underground bunkers. As the 50th Division’s history recounts:

‘For sheer tragedy, wholesale destruction the first vision of the ghastly battlefield almost blotted out from one’s mind the memories of the Ypres salient.’

For the men from Cambridge who had not seen a battlefield, it must have been a shocking experience, waiting in the trenches to move forward over the shell shattered landscape. The 150th Infantry Brigades objectives were trenches along the high ground East and South East of the village of Martinpuich, with the enemy occupying High Wood to the right of the attack zone. The attack commenced in the early hours of 15th September. It was the 50th Division’s first engagement in a set battle and the first time that a creeping barrage had been used to provide cover for the advancing infantry. It did not work in all areas. It was also the first use of the tanks. The 50th Division had only two tanks attached to them and although they caused many Germans to run away in fear, they were not totally successful because of the limited numbers, mechanical failures, vulnerability to heavy artillery and an incapacity to cope with the shell poked terrain. An eyewitness account reads:

Just about 50 or 60 yards to the right of where we were we saw this tank come forward . Our infantry the 5th Yorks were alongside and behind him.

The 4th and 5th Battalions of the Green Howards took Hook Trench and by 9.57 am had taken some of the Starfish Line which they defended against a counter attack and heavy fire from Martinpuich and from High Wood. Here, some elements of the 5th Yorks had to help out the embattled Londoners of the 47th Division who had been given the unenviable task of taking High Wood. (Figure 12)

Figure 12. 150th Bde attack area today (C R Weekes)

The fighting continued on 16th and 17th in an effort to take the Star Fish Line but it was too strongly defended and the Battalions took heavy casualties. They were relieved on 19th September:


19th Battn. relieved at 6.0am by 69th Inf. Bde. 23rd Division and proceeded to Divisional Reserve.

The 5th Battalion had suffered 252 casualties including its C.O. Lt. Col. Mortimer, who with some of his men, is buried in Flat Iron Copse Cemetery. The Battle of Flers-Courcelette had been a relative success, although the territorial gains were small and the casualties atrociously high. As official despatches said:

‘The result of the fighting of 15th September and the following days was a gain more considerable than any which had attended our arms in the course of a single operation since the commencement of the offensive’

Whilst they were not specially mentioned here, the 50th Division had contributed its full share to this success. The use of the tank made a positive contribution to the battle, but there were not enough of them coming out of the factories, the crews had had insufficient training and the commanders had yet to work out new infantry tactics to use with the tanks.
On 25th September, the attack was renewed - to take those German defences that had withstood the September 15th attack. Frank and Samuel Maltby of the 5th Yorks were back in the Star Fish trench system and on 26th September attacked towards Flers in the dark. Miraculously, although they got lost in the darkness, they were able to achieve their objectives - though again suffering heavy casualties.
The 50th Division History provides a very detailed description of the attack part of which is:

‘The night was intensely dark and the 2nd Brigade new to the ground lost direction and 4th Green Howards lost themselves as well. The 5th Green Howards also lost direction but fetched up in Crescent Alley where they remained.’

28th September saw the end of the Battle of Morval - a successful operation mainly because it had limited ‘bite and hold’ objectives, allowing a more concentrated artillery attack and the use of the tanks in a supporting role that helped to knock out points of resistance in the enemy’s defences.


29th Battn relieved at 11 am by the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers and proceeded into Divisional Reserve in Marmetz Wood.

The War Diary shows that for the remainder of the Somme Battle, the 5th Battalion Yorkshires were in and out of the front line, but never engaged in any major battles. Frank and Samuel Maltby had survived the Somme like many others, because in the bloody, muddy, latter stages, their unit remained in Divisional Reserve. They were especially lucky not to be engaged in its last throws in November 1916, when the men of the Durham Light Infantry were sacrificed in a meaningless attempt to gain some high ground at the Butte de Warlencourt, before the extremely wet winter brought the Somme offensive to a muddy conclusion.

9. A Resounding Success

Anyone who has visited the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme can see for themselves how it dominates the valleys of the river Somme and its tributaries. It was the site of the most fortified German stronghold and beneath the surface still lie the remains of these fortifications and dugouts, which had withstood the valiant attempts of the 32nd and 36th Divisions on July 1st 1916. Haig was convinced that by late September 1916, the reserves of the German Army were failing and that it was the time to have another go at the Thiepval Spur. He planned an attack on a front of 6000 yards using the 18th and 11th BEF Divisions supported by the Canadian Corps. The artillery support would be huge using 230 heavy guns and 570 field guns with a constant barrage of flying bullets supplied by Vickers machine guns. The 18th Division included in the ranks of the 53rd Brigade the 8th Suffolks - Private Ernest Jarvis - the reluctant soldier. General Ivor Maxse the Divisional commander of the 18th Division was a perfectionist and a great supporter of proper training.

‘Without proper preparation the bravest troops fail and their heroism is wasted’ Ivor Maxse C. O. 18th Division.

The 8th Battalion Suffolks War Diary WO95/2039 has a very detailed description of the preparations for the battle. On 22nd September the officers were taken in a fleet of omnibuses to the area of the attack to familiarize themselves with the terrain. The 8th Battalion War Diary shows the depth of the preparations and the detailed orders sent out to the troops:


23rd September On the afternoon of Sept 23rd Practice trenches had been made out in the vicinity of Varennes and every officer N C O and man in the battalion was shown the various landmarks and trenches where the halts would occur and all the details of the barrage. After this one practice attack of the country was carried out.

53rd Inf Bde will relieve 147thInf Bde in the line tomorrow.
Fighting order with great coat carried on banderols over left shoulder. All men will carry the two sandbags issued. Gas helmets will be worn in the alert position.

Sept 24th 1916
INTENTION the 53rd Bde in conjunction with the 54th Bde on the left and the 11th Division on the right will attack and drive the enemy off the THIEPVAL SPUR.
The 53rd will attack with 2 battalions
The 8th Suffolk regiment on the right
The 10th Essex regiment on the left

The second will be ZOLLERN TRENCH
The ultimate objective will be SCHWABEN REDOUBT

Four tanks are operating with 18th Division. (Figure 13)

Figure 13. 18th Division attack area 25th September 1916 (Thiepval Visitors Centre)

The preliminary artillery barrage consisted of 60000 rounds of field artillery shells, 45000 rounds of heavier shells and 500 gas shells launched by the specialist RE unit. The zero hour on 26th September was set for 12 35 pm to allow enough daylight to achieve success before darkness fell.
The 18th Division’s operation turned out to be a triumph of courage, organization and determination, in the face of stout resistance by the 180th Regiment of Wurttenburgers who had held their position for 2 years and considered themselves to be invincible. Thiepval village fell as the 53rd Brigade took their objectives with Ernest Jarvis and the Suffolk boys sticking to within 30 yards of their creeping barrage and taking Schwaben and Zollern trenches.
General Maxse paid a special tribute to the “discipline, steadiness and fighting qualities of the Suffolks. They moved and fought with a precision which greatly impressed artillery and other close observers.”

27th September was spent in consolidation of their gains as the attacking Battalions recovered from exhaustion, before moving forward to the ultimate objective - the Schwaben Redoubt. The 18th Division was given congratulations from the Corps Commander:

“Corps Commander wishes to thank you and all ranks of your division for their admirable work today. Thiepval has withstood all attacks upon it for exactly two years and it is a great honour to your division to have captured the whole of the strongly fortified village at their first attempt. Hearty congratulations to you all.”

In addition the C in C Sir Douglas Haig, no less, gave his own personal message to Ivor Maxse:

‘The Commander-in-Chief personally called to day on General Maxse to congratulate the Division on its success at Thiepval.’

On 28th September 1916 at 1 pm, the attack on the Schwaben Redoubt began with the 8th Suffolks the only unit of the 53rd Brigade strong enough in numbers to be used. 90 minutes after the attack began, the 8th Suffolks were at the eastern end of the Redoubt. The fighting was intense hand to hand and bomb to bomb. The shelling and the wet weather had turned the terrain into a pock-marked quagmire, with dead and wounded of both sides lying helplessly as the stretcher bearers could not get into the deep dugouts. The 18th Division history provides a very detailed account of the situation from 28th September:

The 53rd brigade deployed on a front of 500 yards. The Suffolks and the Queens from 55th Brigade were to be the assaulting battalions.
Leading waves came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the southern fringe of Schwaben Redoubt.
As it began to grow dusk after 5 pm the situation on the 53rd Brigade front appears to have been that on the right the Suffolks had made good their final objective and were established and in touch with 11th division.
Schwaben that day was indeed a ‘soldier’s ‘battle.
All night long bomb fighting went on without respite in the outpost line. All ( counter ) attacks failed and the line held while reliefs were carried out but about 7 30 am on 29th September the enemy flung forward a powerful counter – attack and wrested points from our hold.
The Suffolks were relieved by the Berkshires.
Thirteen battalions were thus entered in the fighting up to 5th October, the twelve battalions of the ( 18th ) Division and the 5th West Yorkshires.
Until 5th October it is practically impossible to describe what took place in the disputed area. Heavy bombing attacks were delivered, fierce hand to hand fighting and the Germans made use of both gas and flammenwerfer. The trenches knee-deep in slimy mud were thick with British and German dead.
By 5th October we had captured the whole of Schwaben Redoubt and on that day the 18th division was relieved by the 39th Division .
The capture of the Schwaben Redoubt had cost the Division 1990 casualties in the eight days of fighting.

The 18th Division fought itself to a standstill with the 53rd Brigade and the 8th Suffolks being relieved and going back behind the lines. Their War Diary tells us:


The casualties incurred by the battalion from September the 24th to Sept.29th were as follows:

2nd Lieut. MASON S.H. - KILLED
2nd Lieut. GRIMBLE H. - do
2nd Lieut. LONG G. S. - do



Of these 1 was a Sergeant
“ “ 2 were Corporals
“ “ 4 were L Cpls

Of these 1 was a Sergeant
“ “ 2 were Corporals
“ “ 4 were L Cpls

Of these 1 was a Sergeant
“ “ 1 was a L Cpl



FORCEVILLE 1ST Oct 1916 church parade in the morning --- after the service the Brigadier addressed and congratulated the Battalion on the Battle of Thiepval.

Not surprisingly, the Suffolk Regimental History considers its contribution to the taking of the Schwaben Redoubt as:

‘…perhaps its finest achievement of the war’ (Figure 14)

Figure 14. 18th Division Memorial Thiepval (CR Weekes)

Ernest Jarvis had seen and survived some of the worst fighting in the whole of WW1. The close fought hand to hand fighting of September 1916 was akin to a medieval battle, with the addition of the mechanized weapons of the artillery, machine guns, bombs, gas and flame throwers.
The 8th Suffolks were in and out of the front line trenches during October 1916 and on 16th were to have attacked the Regina Trench but this was called off. When it was attacked on 21st October by the 18th Division, the Suffolks were in reserve and therefore not involved in the fighting. Their part in the Battle of the Somme was over. In late November Ernest Jarvis Pte 50473 went home on leave to marry Edith May Halls in Chelmsford. I know this because my grandmother, Ernest’s sister, went to the wedding at which Ernest told his family of the horrors of his experiences in France. No doubt he did not want to return - but return he had to - at which point he found himself transferred to another Battalion and a very famous unit of the British Army. Together with other men from the Suffolk Regiment, he found himself in the 1st Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, part of the 29th Division that had suffered during the initial stage of the Somme and required reinforcements for the planned campaigns of 1917.

10. A Muddy Conclusion to the Whole Bloody Business

The Somme dragged on into November, with Haig wanting to make some final gains before the winter set in. He was convinced that the Germans were on the brink of exhaustion and that their reserves were depleted. His intelligence services appeared to tell him what he wanted to hear, for the stubborn resistance of the German army at the Schwaben Redoubt, did not support the intelligence that the Germans were caving in. The plan was to keep on attacking, though not on the previously massive scale. The results were the same depressing lack of gains and high casualty rates. The BEF’s manpower was draining away, as the winter rains added to the mud and misery for the poor infantry and the artillery, who just could not move the heavy guns and their ammunition across the water filled shell holes.

As we have already witnessed, some BEF units were extensively used during the Somme whilst others rarely appeared. One of the latter was the 17th Northern Division that had briefly featured in August 1916 defending the BEF positions in Delville Wood, before being called upon in November to capture a stretch of German occupied trench. Part of the 17th Division was the 7th Battalion Border Regiment in whose ranks was my grand mother’s cousin Private 27587 Frank Jarvis, brother of the aforementioned Albert Jarvis. Frank was a conscript and was called up into an Essex Regiment training battalion in March 1916 and posted to France at the end of August into the 7th Battalion Borders. His Medal Roll entry shows that he was in 7 battalions during his relatively brief Army service. (Figure 15)

Figure 15. Border Regiment Medal Roll (N A Kew)

In late October the 7th Battalion was ordered up to the front line near to Trones Wood in preparation for an attack on the German trench system. The attack was carried out by 50th and 51st Brigades of the 17th Division with the 7th Borders and 7th Lincolns distinguishing themselves. They captured Zenith trench and defended it from a counter attack during which time they held their fire, until the enemy was within 40 yards and succeeded in mowing down several hundred. The War Diary of 7th Borders provides the details of this brief but successful operation:


November 1916
2nd During the night further efforts were made to locate ZENITH TRENCH. Great difficulty was experienced in getting its exact limits during the darkness. Very little information could be obtained except that it did not appear to be strongly held. Orders had already been issued to take ZENITH trench by surprise if it were at all possible.
The attack started at 6 pm and was a complete success.
About 8 pm the enemy counter attacked in small numbers but was easily repulsed. Battalion was relieved about 10 30 pm by 7th Lincolns.

It was a small-scale operation, but it did push back the German line in that sector of the front. Even something so small caused the General Staff to send a congratulatory message to the 17thDivision:

‘The initiative and skill shown in the recent capture and subsequent defence of ZENITH TRENCH by two battalions of the 17th Division ( 7th Border Regt. And 7th Lincoln Regt.) having been brought to the notice of the Commander –in- Chief, he desires that his congratulations on the well won success may be conveyed to the G O C Division and to the officers and men of the battalions who carried out the operation.’

We shall never know whether the men ever received this message but it shows how at this late stage of the Battle of the Somme, any success was a cause for celebration and any effort to maintain the morale of the troops was to be used. Frank Jarvis the Essex boy in a Northern Regiment had survived his baptism and went on to fight in many more such attacks before a shell with his name on it hit its target in October 1918.

Haig had been reluctant in agreeing to French demands for a major British involvement in 1916. Having planned and executed it, he saw some merits in the attritional nature of the long drawn out battle and at times had been rash enough to talk of breakthroughs. By November this optimism had gone and the realism was that the German Army had put up stout resistance to everything that Haig had thrown at it. The war was not going to end in 1916 on the Somme. Rumblings of discontent with Haig’s leadership were rife amongst London political circles and especially amongst Lloyd George and the anti Western Front brigade. However, again they had to accept the reality that within the army there were no other senior figures capable of taking over from Haig.
On 5th November the 151st Brigade of the 50th Northumbrian Division made up of the battalions of the Durham Light Infantry were chosen to undertake an attack on the Butte de Warlencourt - a lump of ground sticking out of the flat plain a few miles up the road from Ovillers-La Boiselle the previous objective of July 1st 1916. (Figure 16)

Figure 16. Map showing Butte de Warlencourt (WFA / IWM Maps)

Frank and Samuel Maltby in the 150th Brigade of the same Division were lucky to have been held in reserve and thereby to have avoided the disaster which fell upon the cities and villages of County Durham. On November 5th at zero hour, the troops rose from their trenches and went into mud up to their knees, weighed down by all the usual infantry equipment. Although some units took the Butte, they were driven back by German reinforcements so that by 6th November the Durham boys were back where they started. The sad difference being - that masses of them did not get back, but lay upon the battlefield a testimony to the futility of continuing the battle under such appalling conditions. Yet, Haig wanted to end it with a huge success and drove Gough into preparations for the final countdown November 13th - the Battle of the Ancre. None of my relatives was involved in this, mainly because it was given over to the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division whose Battalions had famous nautical names like Hawke, Hood, Howe and Drake. In the latter part of the attack, the 18th Division was involved but without the 53rd Brigade and Ernest Jarvis of the 8th Suffolks who were again lucky to stay safe in the Divisional reserve.
At the end of it all, there was no real tactical advantage gained, and there were yet more casualties and very serious damage to the troops’ morale.

‘suffering is terrible and some of the men are about mad with cold and exposure’ Private Soldier in the 51st Division HQ

The conditions were too dire for the BEF to gain any more tactical advantages. At last the High Command realized that the time had come for the Battle of the Somme to officially end on 18th November 1916. In November, at the Chantilly Conference, the plans for ending the war in 1917 had been set, under the direction of the French commander General Joffre. 1917 would bring a new list of French and Belgian place names Arras, Cambrai, Messines and Passchendaele to the attention of the British public and into the pages of military history.

11. An Assessment of the Somme

Put into blunt statistics, the Somme was a charnel house in which the youth of all participating nations was sacrificed for a few miles of ground. The British and their Empire suffered 419654 casualties, the French 204253 and the Germans between 450000 and 600000. However, tactically the battle of the Somme convinced the British and French commanders that the war could only be won on the Western Front if the German war machine could be destroyed. The modern day thesis is that Haig’s way was right, although in the case of the Somme, the actual location for the fight was not his but Joffre’s and had demonstrated that the French in 1916 were the senior partner in the alliance. The Somme was the place where modern warfare tactics were honed and developed for future applications - the artillery with its creeping barrage and counter battery techniques and the tank supporting the infantry, helping it to take the strong points. These would be the techniques by which the BEF would in 1918 win the war on the Western Front. However, these modern weapons were useless without the men, all of them, not just the infantry- although they were the ones who had to bear the brunt of this war of constant attrition.
The question as to whether the Somme was worthwhile is one that has been asked by generations since the end of the Great War. Their answers have all been different and Peter Hart at the end of his magnificent book THE SOMME allows an officer in the RFA who had seen it all to make his own judgment:

“I do not think that we are any nearer the finish than a year ago, except for the fact that hundreds of thousands more are dead on both sides. I am convinced that the end can only come that way and that at the end there will be nothing but an enormous barrage of enormous shells on both sides and that whichever side has the last few infantry to face it will win. That is if both sides don’t get nerve shattered to death before and give in from pure exhaustion and hatred of it all”

This has been the story of my relatives and their involvement in one of the greatest battles of all time. Miraculously, they all survived it, in most cases to fight another day and in some cases to make the ultimate sacrifice. Ernest Jarvis went into 1917 to fight in the Battle of Arras and was killed. His body was never found and his name appears on the Arras Memorial to the Missing, as well as on his hometown - Chelmsford’s Cathedral Memorial. Albert Jarvis was wounded at Ovillers and when he had recovered was transferred to the Labour Corps working on farms in Norfolk until the end of the war. Wilfred Livermore was transferred to 112th MGC in the 37th Division and in 1917 fought in the Battle of Arras where he won the M. M. for carrying messages under fire. He made it to the rank of Sergeant at the age of 20 and died in captivity in May 1918. He is buried in Favreuil British Cemetery and his name appears on his home village war memorials in Felsted Essex as well as on the MGC Roll Of Honour in St Wulfram’s Church Grantham. Percy Livermore too went into 1917 being wounded at the Battle of Arras and later returning to France only to be shipped home with TB from which he died in 1920. Frank Maltby fought in the Battle of Arras and was killed by enemy shelling in July 1917. He is buried in Heninel Communal Cemetery Extension and commemorated on the war memorials in Cambridge and Ely Cathedral. Samuel R D Maltby was wounded at the Battle of Arras and returned in 1918 to fight in the three German offensives before being taken prisoner in May 1918. Frank Jarvis fought in the Battle of Arras where he too was wounded. He returned to France and was involved in the Advance to Victory before being killed by a shell in October 1918. He is buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery and commemorated on the Felsted Essex village war memorials and the Roll of Honour in Carlisle Cathedral.
All were ordinary working men who answered the call to arms. They all endured the agonies, terrors and deprivations of the Somme and their stories have never before been told. The centenary of the Great War is a fitting time for us to know what they experienced in the Battle of the Somme. (Figure 17)

Figure 17. Felstead Essex Roll of Honour (Website)


War Diaries WO95 Series - National Archives Kew

Medal Index Cards, Medal Rolls - National Archives Kew

Census Records - Ancestry .Com

Essex Regiment Museum - Chelmsford

Essex County Library Records Office - Chelmsford

Suffolk Public Records Office - Bury St Edmunds

Fourteeneighteen Research - Chris Baker

Long Long Trail Website

Roll Of Honour Website - Felsted /Little Dunmow

Tracing British Battalions on The Somme - Ray Westlake, Pen & Sword Books

The Somme - Peter Hart, Cassell Military Paperback

Suicide Club - Graham Sacker, Promenade Publications

Green Howards in The Great War - H C Wylly, Naval & Military Press

The Fiftieth Division 1914-1919 - Everard Wyrall, Naval & Military Press

The Border Regiment In The Great War - H C Wylly, Gale & Polden Press

History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914 1927 - H C Wylly, Naval & Military Press

18Th Division in the Great War - G H F Nichols, Naval & Military Press.

Montauban - Graham Maddocks , Battle Ground Europe, Pen & Sword Books

Flers & Gueudecourt - Trevor Pidgeon, Battleground Europe, Pen & Sword Books.

Thiepval - Michael Stedman, Battleground Europe, Pen & Sword Books

The Somme - Volume 1, Michelin Guides to the Battlefields

The Middlebrook Guide to the Somme Battlefields - Martin & Mary Middlebrook, Pen & Sword Books

Thiepval Memorial Visitors Centre

War Diaries of the units in which my relatives served on The Somme.

9Th Essex WO95/1851

8Th Suffolk WO95/2039

35Th M G C WO956/1853

162Nd Brigade R F A WO95/2413

5Th Yorkshire WO95/2836

7Th Border WO95/2008


My Relatives On The Somme

Albert Jarvis [22 Yrs] - 9Th Essex 12Th Division. Wounded at Ovillers.

Wilfred Livemore [18 Yrs] - 35Th Mgc 12Th Division. Ovillers, La Boiselle.

Ernest Jarvis [26 Yrs] - 8Th Suffolk 18Th Division. Montauban, Delville Wood, Thiepval, Schwaben Redoubt.

Frank Jarvis [20 Yrs ] - 7Th Border 17Th Division. Trones Wood

Frank Maltby [20 Yrs] - 5Th Yorkshire 50Th Division. Flers-Courcelette, Morval.

Samuel R Maltby [22 Yrs] - 5Th Yorkshire 50Th Division Flers-Courcelette, Morval.

Percy Livermore [22 Yrs] - 162Nd Brigade Rfa 33Rd Division. Becordel-Becourt, Montauban.