POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY
General Directions: Pozieres is a village 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert. The Memorial encloses Pozieres British Cemetery which is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the main road, D929, from Albert to Pozieres. On the road frontage is an open arcade terminated by small buildings and broken in the middle by the entrance and gates. Along the sides and the back, stone tablets are fixed in the stone rubble walls bearing the names of the dead grouped under their Regiments. It should be added that, although the memorial stands in a cemetery of largely Australian graves, it does not bear any Australian names. The Australian soldiers who fell in France and whose graves are not known are commemorated on the National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.
The village of Pozieres was attacked on 23 July 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions, and was taken on the following day. It was lost on 24-25 March 1918, during the great German advance, and recaptured by the 17th Division on the following 24 August. Plot II of POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY contains the original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918. The following were among the more important burial grounds from which British graves were concentrated to Pozieres British Cemetery:- CASUALTY CORNER CEMETERY, CONTALMAISON, on the road from Pozieres to Fricourt, used in the summer and autumn of 1916, which contained the graves of 21 Canadian soldiers, 21 Australian and 13 from the United Kingdom. DANUBE POST CEMETERY, THIEPVAL (named from a trench and a Dressing Station), between the site of Thiepval village and Mouquet Farm. Here were buried, in the winter of 1916-17, 34 soldiers from the United Kingdom, mainly of the R.F.A. NAB JUNCTION CEMETERY, OVILLERS-LA BOISSELLE, at the crossing of the Thiepval-Pozieres Road and "Nab Valley", in which 60 soldiers from the United Kingdom and one German prisoner were buried in the winter of 1916-17. There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here. The cemetery is enclosed by the POZIERES MEMORIAL, which relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died in France during the Fifth Army area retreat on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names. The cemetery and memorial were designed by W H Cowlishaw.
Victoria Cross: Sergeant Claude Charles Castleton, VC, 5th Coy. Australian Machine Gun Corps. Killed in action 29/07/1916, plot IV. L. 43. Son of Thomas Charles and Edith Lucy Castleton, of 18, Wilson Rd., Lowestoft, England.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette", No. 29765, dated, 26th Sept., 1916, records the following:-"For most conspicuous bravery. During an attack on the enemy''s trenches the infantry was temporarily driven back by the intense machine gun fire opened by the enemy. Many wounded were left in "No Man's Land" lying in shell holes. Serjt. Castleton went out twice in face of this intense fire and each time brought in a wounded man on his back. He went out a third time and was bringing in another wounded man when he was himself hit in the back and killed instantly. He set a splendid example of courage and self-sacrifice"
Casualty Details: UK 1829, Canada 219, Australia 708, Germany 1, Total Burials: 2756
The Pozieres Memorial:
The POZIERES MEMORIAL relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory, which began on 8 August 1918. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names. The memorial encloses POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, Plot II of which contains original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery, the majority of them of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916 during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, but a few represent the fighting in August 1918. There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here. The cemetery and memorial were designed by William Harrison Cowlishaw. Sculpture by Lawrence A. Turner. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930.
HERBERT GEORGE COLUMBINE
Rank: Private, Service No: 50720, Date of Death: 22/03/1918, Age: 24, Regiment/Service: Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) 9th Sqdn. , Awards: V C, Panel Reference Panel 93 and 94., Son of Mrs. Emma Columbine.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 30th April, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice displayed, when, owing to casualties, Pte. Columbine took over command of a gun and kept it firing from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. in an isolated position with no wire in front. During this time wave after wave of the enemy failed to get up to him. Owing to his being attacked by a low-flying aeroplane the enemy at last gained a strong footing in the trench on either side. The position being untenable he ordered the two remaining men to get away, and, though being bombed from either side, kept his gun firing and inflicting tremendous losses. He was eventually killed by a bomb which blew up him and his gun. He showed throughout the highest valour, determination and self-sacrifice."
EDMUND DE WIND
Rank: Second Lieutenant, Date of Death: 21/03/1918, Age: 34, Regiment/Service: Royal Irish Rifles 15th Bn. , Awards: V C, Panel Reference Panel 74 to 76., Son of the late Arthur Hughes De Wind, C.E., and Margaret Jane De Wind, of "Kinvara", Comber, Co. Down.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 13th May, 1919, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Grugies. For seven hours he held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions, with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order."
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel, Date of Death: 21/03/1918, Age: 29, Regiment/Service: Manchester Regiment 16th Bn. , Awards: V C, D S O, M C, Panel Reference Panel 64 to 67., Son of the Rev. Canon J. G. Elstob and Frances Alice Elstob, of "Fanshawe", Chelford, Cheshire.
Citation: An extract from the "London Gazette", dated 6th June, 1919, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice during operations at Manchester Redoubt, near St. Quentin, on the 21st March, 1918. During the preliminary bombardment he encouraged his men in the posts in the Redoubt by frequent visits, and when repeated attacks developed controlled the defence at the points threatened, giving personal support with revolver, rifle and bombs. Single-handed he repulsed one bombing assault driving back the enemy and inflicting severe casualties. Later, when ammunition was required, he made several journeys under severe fire in order to replenish the supply. Throughout the day Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob, although twice wounded, showed the most fearless disregard of his own safety, and by his encouragement and noble example inspired his command to the fullest degree. The Manchester Redoubt was surrounded in the first wave of the enemy attack, but by means of the buried cable Lieutenant-Colonel Elstob was able to assure his Brigade Commander that "The Manchester Regiment will defend Manchester Hill to the last." Sometime after this post was overcome by vastly superior forces, and this very gallant officer was killed in the final assault, having maintained to the end the duty which he had impressed on his men - namely, "Here we fight, and here we die." He set throughout the highest example of valour, determination, endurance and fine soldierly bearing."
No. of Identified Casualties: 14654
16th Bn. Manchester Regiment
21/03/1918, aged 28.
Son of Mrs. Ann Eliza Bunting, of 10, East View, Carcroft, Doncaster.
Panel 64 to 67, Pozieres Memorial
Picture courtesy of Julie Hawksworth
2nd/4th Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment
21/03/1918, aged 21.
Panel 56 and 57 Pozieres Memorial
Army Form B 104-82A records that he was missing from the 21st March to the 3rd April 1918 and that his death took place between those dates. His friend reported to the family that he had been wounded and had been taken to a field hospital. Shortly thereafter the hospital received a direct hit and there was no record or knowledge of his whereabouts after that time.
Picture courtesy of Christopher Hutchinson, great nephew of this soldier
Henry Herniman Phillpotts
2nd Bn. Devonshire Regiment
26/03/1918, aged 20.
Son of James and Annie Phillpotts, of 5, New Walk, Totnes, Devon.
Panel 24 & 25 Pozieres Memorial
Picture courtesy of niece, Diana Hill
Richard Gardiner Brewster
7th (South Irish Horse) Bn.
Royal Irish Regiment
21/03/1918, aged 25.
Panel 6, Pozieres Memorial
Son of Susan M. Brewster, of "Audenville," Iona Rd., Glasnevin, Dublin, and the late William Theodore Brewster.
Picture courtesy of Patrick Brewster
2nd/5th Bn. East Lancashire Regiment
21/03/1918, aged 18.
Son of the late John and Ellen Shufflebottom.
Panels 42 and 43 Pozieres Memorial
In Memory of my great Uncle Samuel who, like so many others (some only children), never had the chance to live the life that he deserved.
Samuel was the young brother of my paternal grandmother who had already lost her husband when HMT Royal Edward was torpedoed August 1915.
Picture courtesy of great niece, Susan Riley
Paul Douglas Farmer
1st Regt. South African Infantry
24/03/1918, aged 30.
Son of the Rev. Canon E. Farmer and Mrs. Farmer, of The Vicarage, Stanford-in-the-Vale, Faringdon, Berks; husband of M. J. Farmer, of The Rectory, Chagford, Devon.
Panels 95-98 Pozieres Memorial
Killed in action during the battle at Marrieres Wood
Picture courtesy of Bernard Harris
Henry Thomas Bayard Smith
4th Bn. (Queen's Own) Hussars
Attd. 9th Bn. Tank Corps.
Panel 3. Pozieres Memorial
Picture courtesy of great nephew, John Page
Francis Charles Howlett
6th Bn. Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
Son of Mr Frank and Mrs Susan Howlett of Clarendon Square, London NW1
Panels 58 & 59 Pozieres Memorial
Picture courtesy of great nephew, Darren Howlett
James Shelmerdine, MM.
9th Bn. Manchester Regiment
21/03/1918, aged 28.
Husband of Mary E. Shelmerdine, of 6, Ashlynne, Ashton-under-Lyne.
Panel 64 to 67 Pozieres Memorial
Private James Shelmerdine, 351762, of the 9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, was born 21 January, 1890. He was the son of James Shelmerdine and Sarah Burrows and was born in Arlington Street, Ashton under Lyne. He worked for Ashton Electric Company. He married my great aunt, Mary Elizabeth Dean, daughter of John Herbert and Charlotte Alice Dean of Ashlynne, Ashton under Lyne, 12 June, 1915. He was awarded the Military Medal in 1918. This was reported in the Ashton Reporter in July 1918.He was killed Thursday, 21 March, 1918. His name is on the Ashton under Lyne War Memorial and his medals are in the Manchester Regiment Museum in Ashton under Lyne. He, along with my other great aunt's husband, George Dickinson, are also remembered on John Herbert and Charlotte Alice Dean's headstone in Leyland cemetery.
Picture courtesy of Vivien Ellis, great niece.
Frank Charles Millard
36th Bn. Machine Gun Corps. (Infantry)
24/03/1918, aged 19.
Son of Sidney and Emily Millard, of 42, Flint St., Poplar, London.
Panel 90 to 93 Pozieres Memorial
died on 24th March 1918. I was told
Picture courtesy of great niece, Carol Kerby
15th Bn. Durham Light Infantry
24/03/1918, aged 21.
Pictured with his two Brothers; Alan (left) a Sergeant in the Durham Light Infantry Regiment who fell and is buried at Maroeuil on 18th of February 1918, aged 22; and Howard (right), who was also severely injured on the Somme, but was repatriated to their home town of Scarborough and died of his injuries in hospital there, aged 19. He was therefore buried at home.
The second picture shows them as small boys, in the same positions.
Picture courtesy of Paula Smith; their Great Niece and Granddaughter of the surviving son Stanley, who was not allowed to sign up, due to the loss the family had already suffered.
2163 Lance Corporal
William Percival Green
1st/4th Bn. Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
23/07/1916, aged 21.
Plot I. E. 25.
Son of Percival John and Marion Alice Green, of 34, St. Mary's Rd., Cowley Rd., Oxford.
This picture was kept by the bedside of his sister Dorothy until her death in 2005.
Picture courtesy of Anne Cranstone, William was her mother's cousin.