11 November 2008

41485 Charles Badrick

Charles Badrick was the 33 year old husband of Elizabeth Badrick, of Wilstone, Tring, Herts.

His son is a West Ham supporter, but never knew that his father fought in Company D, 13th Essex Regiment. He was killed April 28th, 1917 at Oppy Wood. Judging from a map I'll try and post later, D Company's Aid Post was located in the sugar factory.

From the War Diary -
"27th April - Battalion moved to Roclincourt, leaving Maroeuil at 11am and practising the attack en-route, arriving at Roclincourt at 2pm, where dinner was served after which men rested until dusk. Battalion then moved up to the assembly trenches beyond Bailleul (Oppy Sector) and formed up ready for attack. All ranks appeared confident of success and cheerful.

Each man carried chocolate and two cheese sandwiches and were given a rum issue before moving off.

Disposition of the 6th Brigade: 13th Essex on right, 17th Middlesex on left.

Disposition of the Battalion, right to left: "B", "C", "D" and "A".

Each Company will have a frontage of 120 yards.

The artillery barrage is the guiding factor as to the pace of infantry advancing. It must be impressed on all ranks taking part in the attack that it is absolutely essential to advance close up to the barrage and that they must assault any portion of the enemy trench or portion opposite them immediately the barrage lifts.

A contact aeroplane (from No 5 Squadron, RFC) will fly over our line at 7am. Flares will be lit and mirrors flashed. This will be done when the contact aeroplane sounds his klaxon horn or fires a Very Light.

("A 'Contact Patrol' was essentially an aeroplane, or flight of aeroplanes, flying low over the battlefield to determine the relative positions of the British and German front lines during an attack. In theory, the aeroplane would fly along the front, sometimes sounding a klaxon to alert the soldiers to its presence. When the aeroplane was overhead, or thereabouts, the attacking British/Empire troops would fire a flare to indicate their position. Not surprisingly, many infantrymen opted not to fire flares that would also disclose their position to enemy artillery, so the airmen would have to rely on noticing if the muddy uniforms below were khaki or field grey.

In April 1917 No 5 Sqn was changing its BE 2c and 2d aircraft for the slightly more modern BE 2e, 2f and 2g, which it would use until replaced by the RE 8 in June 1917. The squadron was based at Savy from 7 April to 2 June 1917. A photograph of a BE 2d from No 5 Sqn - an aeroplane captured in September 1916 - is below. The black bands on the fuselage are the squadron's identification marking. They would be painted in white on an aircraft finished in the dark brown used later in the War.")

(aircraft & Squadron information and image courtesy of 'Dolphin' on GreatWarForum)

Dress: Fighting Order. One days ration and iron rations to be carried and water bottles filled. The following will also be carried: 2 Bombs per man (No 5 Mills), Bombers will carry 10 bombs. 2 sandbags per man. Every man to carry one flare and 120 rounds SAA.

Every man to have a round in the chamber when advancing."

From the Battalion History:

28th April - "The heavy fighting continued and at 9am the troops were ordered to fall back, hold and consolidate the German Front Line. All the officers of this Battalion had become casualties and the majority of the non-commissioned officers and what was left of the Battalion was quite disorganised and exhausted. Small parties held out but eventually retired, moving from shell hole to shell hole at dusk."

The officer commanding "D" Coy, 2nd Lt (Temporary Captain) E C Lowings was severly wounded. Three OR (Other Ranks) were killed outright. 4 officers and 79 OR's were wounded, 8 officers and 240 OR's were missing.

24 year old T/Captain John James Gordon Clarke (OC "C" Coy) and T/Captain C W Ritson (OC "B" Coy) were killed.

Son of J. and E. Clarke, of "Lyndhurst" of St. James' Rd., Gravesend, John James was husband of Muriel Mary Clarke, of Briscoe Lodge, Lennox Rd., Gravesend.

28 year old Claude Wilson Ritson had come over from Canada. He was the son of Wilson Ritson, J.P., and Hannah Ritson, of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.


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