7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
Died Monday 1st November 1915
Cemetery : Divisional Cemetery (Dickebusch Road), Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Son of Thomas and Annie Weston of 'Belmont,'
Wetherby. Husband of Marjorie Weston (nee Turner).
was born at Kettering, Northamptonshire on the 17th November, 1889, to parents Thomas, occupation, a Mechanical Engineer,
and Annie Weston. One of three children, shortly after the birth of Charles the family relocated to Downderry, Cornwall, the
family residing in premises located at Number 5, Brenton Terrace. The Author can find no trace of Charles and his family in
the 1901 Census however in 1911 he is recorded as a visitor to the household of one Arthur William Turner, the father of his
future wife at their family home located at Wigginton, near York, occupation recorded as that of an Under Manager, Soap Works.
It would also appear that at this juncture that Philip Douglas Weston, Charles brother, was also residing in Yorkshire as
a Boarder at premises located at Barlby, near Selby. His occupation is recorded in the 1911 Census as an Assistant Engineer
in the process of Seed Crushing, Oil Mills, Cakes. The main employer in this manufacturing process in the area were the Olympia
Oil & Cake Company, part of the vast business empire of Joseph Watson, 1st Baron Manton. Watson, who resided at Linton
Springs near Wetherby, was also involved in the production of soap at his works located on Whitehall Road, Leeds, colloquially
known as "Soapy Joe's," much of his raw product for this process being supplied by the Olympia Company. It is
therefore possible that both Charles and Philip had found employment within the Watson empire.
Leeds University & O.T.C.
Prior to 1911 and specifically during the years 1909 - 1910, Charles was
registered as a student at Leeds University studying Faculties Of Arts (including Commerce and Law), Science and Technology.
It was during this period of his education that Charles had enlisted in the Officer Training Corps that had been formed at
the University. The formation of the O.T.C.'s was the product of one of the many sweeping changes of the Haldane Reforms
implemented by the then Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane, that, amongst other issues, had identified a shortage
of officers during the Second Boer War, 1899 - 1902. Progressing through the Senior Division of the Leeds O.T.C., Charles
applied for a Temporary Commission in the British Army for the duration of the War at Seaforth Barracks, Liverpool on the
26th August 1914, his address for correspondence at the time of this application being 8, Highfield Road, Rockferry, Cheshire,
however his permanent address is recorded as that of 'Belmont,' Wetherby.
After undergoing a preliminary medical examination, Charles was described as 72 inches in
height, 164 pounds in weight with vision, hearing and teeth being described as 'good' and as a consequence he was
pronounced 'fit' for service in the British Army. His appointment as a Temporary Second-Lieutenant, Cadets and ex
Cadets of the Officer Training Corps, is confirmed in the London Gazette published on the 11th September, 1914, Page 7223,
respective appointment to rank dated the 12th September, 1914.
7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment: Formation
Temporary Second-Lieutenant Charles Guy Weston would be posted to the fledgeling
7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, formed at Richmond, North Yorkshire, under Army Order No. 382 on the 11th September,
1914. Formed as a K2 Battalion as a direct response to the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener's second
plea for another 100,000 men to join the New Armies, this Army Order also approved of the addition to the Army of a further
six divisions; the 15th (Scottish), 16th (Irish), 17th (Northern), 18th (Eastern), 19th (Western) and the 20th (Light) Division
Contained in the 50th Infantry Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division, the Brigade also comprised
of the following battalions:
10th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
7th (Service) Battalion, East
7th (Service) Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment *
6th (Service) Battalion, Dorsetshire
*= 7th York & Lancaster Regiment became Divisional Pioneers in 1915 and were replaced in the
50th Infantry Brigade by the 6th Dorsets
On the 7th September
1914 the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment entrained at Richmond, the destination being Wareham, Dorset, where they
would commence a programme of training.
At first the Battalion were accommodated in tents but life was made even more
spartan as there had been no provision made for beds, tables etc. in addition to the lack of suitable cooking facilities.
It was not until just before the onset of the winter of 1914 that the Battalion were eventually housed in hutted accommodation
no doubt much to the relief of the men.
It is at this juncture that the Author will now quote a Nominal Roll of Officers
of the Battalion published in The Green Howards In The Great War by H.C. Wylly, this roll originally being extracted
from The Green Howards' Gazette, the Regimental Journal, dated December 1914. This roll does include
some inaccuracies therefore full christian names have been added by the Author.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ronald D'Arcy Fife
Major A.G. Cartwright
Second-Lieutenant Aidan J.W. Barmby (Adjutant)
Captain Wensley Barclay Hunton (Officer Commanding "A" Company)
Major Robert Bell Turton (Officer Commanding
Major Reginald E.F.S. Dudding (Officer Commanding "C" Company) Recorded in Wylly's
History as R.L. Dudding
Major I.E. Rivis (Officer Commanding "D" Company)
Randell W.S. Croft
Matthew R. Steel
Lawrence V.C. Hawkes
Frederick H. Hyland
Stanley B. Kay
Charles W. Lamb
Charles Guy Weston
Lewis W. Goldsmith
Noel Samuel Cosmo Johns
Lionel Adolph D. David
Edmund Arnsby (Honourary Lieutenant & Quartermaster)
As the year of 1915 dawned the training programme
progressed steadily with the usual drills of musketry practice and the digging of trenches, the latter, an activity that the
Battalion would become all too well accustomed to performing on its eventual arrival on the Western Front.
It was whilst the Battalion were still in camp at Wareham that Charles was either granted
or on leave when the marriage took place between himself and Miss Marjorie May Foyle Turner, the second daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Arthur William Turner, of Wigginton, at Acaster Malbis on the 10th February 1915, the newly weds then setting up their
new home at 'The Cottage,' Acaster Malbis.
the 27th May 1915, the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment departed Wareham and commenced a four day route march that
would terminate at Romsey located to the north of Southampton. Whilst at Romsey orders were received for the Battalion to
proceed to Willsworthy Camp located near Lydford, Devon, possibly to complete their musketry training on the ranges located
at this facility. These orders however were rescinded, the Battalion remaining at Romsey whilst parties were sent to Lark
Hill Camp located on Salisbury Plain to finally complete their musketry programme.
continued apace during the month of June and when final orders were received for the Battalion to prepare for mobilization
in early July they came rather unexpectedly as the 50th Infantry Brigade had initially been scheduled for Home Defence duties.
On the 5th July the War Office rescinded this order and the Brigade in Division were ordered to prepare for embarkation to
France however the exact date was not specified. Due to a move to active service being imminent, the camp was a hive of activity
as all items and kit necessary for service overseas were issued to the men. Finally at 10.30 p.m. on the night of the 13th
July 1915 the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment embarked at the port of Folkestone, strength, 30 officers and 937
Other Ranks, disembarking at Boulogne at 3.30 a.m. on the morning of the 14th July. Authors note: Battalion Transport and
Machine-Gun Sections embarked separately at Southampton crossing the Channel to Le Havre.
A Nominal Roll of officers accompanying the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire
Regiment to France is also to be found in Wylly's History. Full christian names where found have once again been
recorded by the Author.
D'Arcy Fife (Officer Commanding)
Lieutenant Aidan J.W. Barmby (Adjutant)
Edward V. Slater
Richard A. Young
Ronald E. Cotton
Loftus E.P. Jones
Lewis W. Goldsmith
Lawrence V.C. Hawkes
Robert G. de Quetteville
Matthew R. Steel
Lionel A.D. David
George A. Tomlin
William D. Wilkinson
James Henry Fisher Clarke
Hugh K.C. Hare
J. Dickson (Lieutenant & Quartermaster)
It is of interest to note that as regards officer entries into the
Theatre of War, dates vary considerably if recorded at all on their Medal Index Cards. Charles Guy Weston's card for example,
akin to many others, has no date annotated, where as that of Colonel Fife records the date of entry as the 14th July 1915
confirming disembarkation on this date at Boulogne.
To complicate precise research criteria, the M.I.C. entries of both
Second-Lieutenants Huffington and Wilkinson vary considerably, the 31st July and the 17th November respectively.
possible scenario is that the roll included in Wylly's History is incorrect, or, that the date recorded on Huffington's
M.I.C. is simply just one of a clerical error and should read '13th.' Wilkinson's date of entry however
requires further research.
Of the 30 officers that sailed for France, the above Nominal Roll presents a shortfall of
9 officers, one would presume those that were attached to the Transport and Machine-Gun Sections of the Battalion that embarked
for Le Havre at Southampton. It is also possible that some officers may have remained behind to 'clean up camp' at
Romsey, joining the Battalion at a later date.
Operations On The Western Front
On disembarkation the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment marched
to its appointed Rest Camp at Ostrohove located in the St. Martin district of Boulogne. Entrainment commenced on the 15th
at Pont-de-Briques located to the south of the town of Boulogne and it was at this location that the Battalion were joined
by their Transport and Machine-Gun Sections. With the train heading north-westwards, the 7th Yorkshire's arrived at Remilly-Wirquin
to the south of St. Omer at 5.30 p.m. but on arrival it was found that no provision had been made for the allocation of billets
for the Battalion's Signallers, Machine-Gunners, Transport and associated Headquarters Details. Suffice to say it was
quickly ascertained that in the light of the present situation the Battalion would in future have to form an advance party
so that billets were available on arrival.
by road to Arques which was reached at 2 p.m. on the afternoon of the 17th, prior to this movement provision had been made
for the allocation of billets. With the Division billeted in various locations in the vicinity, the stay at Arques was to
be of a short duration as on the 19th the 7th Yorkshire's proceeded by route of march to Steenvoorde which was reached
at 4 p.m. after what the War Diary describes as a "Long and trying march." As a precursor to a movement
to active operations the Battalion received a most distinguished visitor during the following day when they were inspected
by General Sir Hubert Plumer, Commander Second Army however his comments are unfortunately not recorded.
Familiarization In Trench Warfare
On the 21st July the four Company Commanders of the 7th (Service) Battalion,
Yorkshire Regiment were sent into the trenches occupied by the 3rd Division for two nights instruction and familiarization,
the Battalion remaining at Steenvoorde where they carried out a series of 'experiments' with smoke and gas helmets
in addition to drills and inspections.
were once again on the move when on the 23rd they proceeded in Brigade to La Clytte, south-west of Ypres, which was reached
at 1.30 a.m., the 17th (Northern) Division now coming under the command of Fifth Corps. During the night, platoons were sent
into the trenches for instruction by the units occupying the line and whilst undertaking this movement to the front, the first
casualties were sustained by the Battalion. Lieutenant D.J. Wilson was wounded whilst moving forward with a party of men and
in a separate incident Second-Lieutenant James H.F. Clarke and 8 Other Ranks were wounded and two O/R's killed. These
unfortunate men were Private Patrick Murphy, 12784, aged 24 years and now buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery and Private Patrick
O'Brien, 11465, commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
the days that followed the Battalion's Bombers received instruction from units that were resting away from the front line.
On the 31st July orders were received by the 50th Infantry Brigade to proceed to the front line, the latter in this sector
occupying a point from the Vierstraat - Wytschaete Road to near Verbranden-Molen, to relieve units of the 3rd Division. Consequently
on the night of the 2nd/3rd August the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment relieved the outgoing 1st Battalion, Wiltshire
Regiment of the 7th Infantry Brigade in the front line and took up positions in the centre sub-sector.
The First Tour
The relief was completed with just one Other Rank being wounded and the remainder
of the first night in the trenches remained strangely 'quiet.' It was at about mid morning on the 3rd August however
that enemy artillery began to strafe the trenches occupied by the men of the 50th Brigade. In the support trenches "C"
Company of the 7th Yorkshire's were hit severely resulting in the deaths of Captain Loftus E.P. Jones and 3 Other Ranks
and the wounding of 17 O/R's. Shortly after this 'hate' had ceased the atmosphere returned to an eerie silence
and it was then that the enemy struck as they detonated a mine on the front occupied by the 10th (Service) Battalion, West
Yorkshire Regiment. Fortunately one a few men of the West Yorkshire's were wounded and damage to the front line system
was assessed as minimal. Of those men of the Yorkshire Regiment who had been unfortunately killed, as well as Captain Jones,
the three Other Ranks can be identified as Privates Allan McLachlan, 12009, Albert Ernest Wills, 18003, and George Moore,
14199. The Battalion War Diary records "Capt Jones buried close to Chateau Rosenthal." Rosendal, the
correct spelling of what before the War was a moated country house until it was vitually destroyed by artillery, was at times
referred to by the Army as Woodcote House or Bedford House, the latter term for the location being adopted to describe the
cemetery that now contains the bodies of both Captain Jones, Privates Wills and Moore. Private McLachlan now lies in Voormezeele
Enclosure No. 3. Formerly referred to as Princess Patricia's Cemetery as this Battalion of the Canadian Light Infantry
began the cemetery in February 1915, Albert's grave and this cemetery is located a short distance to the south from Bedford
During the next few days of this their first tour in the line, enemy artillery fire gradually decreased
in intensity but owing to the topography of the landscape and the enemy having constructed his trenches on rising ground offering
a distinct advantage, sniper fire became most prevalent in the sector. Under this threat of being 'picked off' by
a virtually unseen enemy, the Battalion then commenced a routine that comprised of the strengthening of the parapets and traverses
of the trench line and the construction of new shelter trenches. The task was however was made more difficult by the uncovering
of some of the trenches former 'occupants.' The War Diary records this rather gruesome undertaking;
difficulty was experienced in digging everywhere owing to the number of corpses which had been buried where the trenches were."
One can only imagine the horror of seeing the pitiful remains of bodies by men new to the effects of mechanized
warfare on the Western Front.
On the 4th, Private Harold Ralph Coldbeck, 12786, a native of Masham, North Yorkshire,
was unfortunately killed aged 21 years.
The 5th August would witness the arrival of a draft to the Battalion consisting
of 70 non-commissioned men that resulted in the strength of the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment at
this juncture consisting of 26 officers and 961 Other Ranks. It was also on this day that another O/R, Private Ernest
Herbert, 14920, fell. Ernest, aged 35 years of age and a soldier with "B" Company, is now buried at Voormezeele
On the 8th August, yet another man fell victim. Private John Ingham Johson, 18772. Dying of wounds, Source:
Soldiers Died In The Great War, John is now laid to rest at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3.
Daily trench routine
continued until the 9th August whereupon orders were received by the 50th Infantry Brigade to commence a 'Fire Demonstration'
at 2.30 a.m. whilst an attack was to be made on enemy positions at Hooge by the 6th Division. Orders were issued for rapid
fire to be opened as the attack commenced with the intention of causing a diversion. Enemy artillery responded to this action
by shelling the communication trenches however no casualties were sustained.
Subjected to intermittent strafes by enemy
artillery along the front, the 7th Yorkshire's were finally relieved by the 7th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment of the
51st Infantry Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division on the 14th August. Prior to the relief, Lieutenant Frederick Walmesley Crabtree
fell victim to a German sniper whilst the line was being subjected to an artillery bombardment. Lieutenant Crabtree, a native
of Todmorden and aged 20 years, now lies in Voormezeele Enclosure No.3.
into camp located at Reninghelst, south of Poperinghe on the 15th, during the following day half of the Battalion received
the opportunity to bathe in hot baths located in the Brewery or to take advantage of the hot showers that had also been installed.
A welcome change of underclothes was then issued to the men and on the 16th the remainder of the Battalion also proceeded
to the Brewery to take advantage of the washing facilities provided.
Resuming a programme of training it was on the 19th
August during an exercise in bomb throwing that an unfortunate accident occured. A 'Pitcher' Bomb, either
of the type 'No.13' or 'No.14,' an early design of handgrenade with the propensity to detonate
prematurely as a tape was pulled that ignited a primitive friction fuse, exploded in the hand of Private James Cull, 11768,
killing him instantaneously. This premature detonation also wounded Second-Lieutenants Thomas Large and George Preston in
addition to two Other Ranks.
It was ascertained after a Court of Enquiry had been assembled that the bomb had been correctly
prepared for use. On the pulling of the tape, the ensuing spark from the ignition lighter bypassed the fuse to the detonator
causing the grenade to explode prematurely. Instead of the five second delay enabling the bomber to 'pitch' the grenade
forward to its target, the explosive charge had detonated with disastrous consequences.
James Thomas Cull, a native
of Port Clarence, Middlesbrough, is now buried in Reninghelst Churchyard Extension.
Return To The Trenches
Although the Battalion were supposedly at 'rest' in Army parlance, two large working parties
were formed on the 20th to assist the Royal Engineers in the vicinity of Voormezeele.
The terminology "nothing
of importance" is recorded in the pages of the War Diary that is until the 26th August when the 7th Yorkshire's
proceeded once again to the same trenches they had occupied previously to complete a relief of the 7th (Service) Battalion,
Lincolnshire Regiment, 51st Infantry Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. On the extreme left however the line had been shortened
by three trenches, this flank then being occupied by the 7th (Service) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, 50th Infantry Brigade.
Three companies now occupied the Fire and Support Trenches, whilst one company was held in Reserve at Battalion Headquarters.
The following day remained relatively quiet that is
until enemy artillery shelled the Fire Trenches resulting in the wounding of four men.
It was on the 28th however that
a 'message' prepared by the enemy was delivered to the Battalion by a most unusual courier. At the dug-out occupied
by Company Headquarters, an undetonated rifle grenade landed and was retrieved by Captain Ronald Cotton. Attached to the grenade
was a newspaper entitled "Gazette des Ardennes" or "Journal des pays occupes," a German
propaganda newspaper distributed in the occupied territories of France and Belgium.
This paper contained various articles
of an anti-British sentiment that were supposedly signed by Belgian citizens and also a list of 2000 recent French casualties.
Far from innocent projectiles also landed in the British trenches during the course of the day resulting in four men
being wounded by shell and 'Whizz Bang' fire, the latter term referring to the sound made by the firing of
the German 77mm field gun.
A tragic accident occured in the trenches on the 29th when Corporal Thomas Smith, 12439,
was accidentally shot by one of his comrades and died shortly afterwards. The exact circumstances surrounding this unfortunate
incident are not known but one would presume that a Court of Inquiry would have taken place recording a verdict of accidental
death. The day would also witness the death of Lance-Corporal Robert Milburn, 12043. Both men now lie Vormezeele Enclosure
As the month of August drew to a close, Major Lewis Leonard Bilton of the 17th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
(War Diary records incorrectly the 15th Battalion), joined from England for three days instruction on the 29th.
activities of underground warfare also materialized once again when on the 30th August the enemy detonated a mine
on the front held by the 6th (Service) Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment occupying a position immediately on the left of the
Yorkshire's. No damage was sustained however the resulting explosion wounded two men. On the last day of the month one
O/R of the 7th Yorkshire's added his name to the list of the wounded incurred during the two tours carried out by
The cost paid in wounded and killed had been high, but such was the price of the learning curve
of a Battalion newly arrived on the Western Front.
On entering the
trenches at Voormezeele once again in mid September, it was observed that the enemy had placed a red, white and black
flag in No Man's Land. This flag representing the German Empire proved to be too tempting a trophy to miss and Lieutenant
Randell Croft accompanied by Lance-Corporals Grieves, 12638, (recorded in Wylly's History as Griever) and
Stewart (possibly Corporal Thomas Stewart, 15706), both men of "C" Company set out to liberate the aforementioned.
On approaching the flag it was soon ascertained that the latter was a booby trap with wires attached to several bombs. On
cutting the wires the party returned to the British lines with their prize. On arrival it was found that one bomb was still
attached to the flag athough on examination it had been pierced by a bullet and deemed to be safe. On handling the device,
the bomb suddenly exploded in the hands of Lance-Corporal Anthony Grieves killing him instantaneously. Anthony, a Coalminer
of Wingate, Durham, now lies in Voormezeele Enclosure No.3.
|Part Of Sheet 28, Voormezeele. Trenches Corrected To 7/9/15
Casualties in either Killed or Died Of Wounds sustained
by the Battalion during the month of September were as follows:
Private Joseph Storey, 14967, 1/9/15
Anthony Grieves, 12638, 13/9/15
Private Frederick Bynam, 13260, 15/9/15
Private Leonard Linton, 3/8572, 15/9/15
Private John Barton, 11325, 17/9/15
Private Frederick Copeland, 16273, 19/9/15
Private John Gibson, 21149, 28/9/15
Private John T. Nash, 12314, 30/9/15
All the above men are now buried at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3
Lance-Corporal William R. Wenden, 12528, K.I.A. 11/9/15, Menin Gate Memorial
Private Peter Finnigan, 21131, Alias Peter
Martin, D.O.W'S, 20/9/15, Le Treport Miltary Cemetery
Private Robert Longstaff, 15065, D.O.W'S, 29/9/15, Le Treport
Returning to the front line positions at Voormezeele, three new officers to the Battalion were about to experience trench warfare on the Western
Front; Second-Lieutenant Henry Richard Bellinger, commissioned from the ranks of the Army Service Corps, and Second-Lieutenants
John Driscoll and Wilfred Evers-Swindell, both commissioned from the ranks of the 13th Hussars.
The first day of the
month had been relatively quiet but on the second a barrage of trench mortars was fired at Square Wood during the
course of the night.
It was imperative that if called upon to provide artillery support, adequate telephonic communication
to the supporting batteries of the Royal Field Artillery be put in place. As a consequence of this need for a more rapid response,
on the 3rd, direct lines were laid from two posts to "D" and "A" Batteries, 79th Brigade, R.F.A, 17th
(Northern) Divisional Artillery. During the day or night of the 3rd, one O/R had also been unfortunately killed. Private Edward
Kenefec, 11328, now lies at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3.
Between the hours of 6.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. on the 4th October
the 7th Yorkshire's were relieved in the front line by the 6th (Service) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, 43rd Infantry
Brigade, 14th (Light) Division, the latter battalion having been relieved in the line at Hooge on the 3rd. With the Battalion
completing this relief without incident they then proceeded to hutments located at Reninghelst used by units resting from
At 6 p.m. on the evening of the 5th the Battalion set forth once again and by route of march they journeyed
via Poperinghe and Abeele to Steenvoorde where they proceeded to billet in farms located between Godewaersvelde and Steenvoorde,
the same billets that they had occupied in mid July.
The following day the men were allowed a day of rest however this
was to be a precursor to the commencement of a rigorous traing programme.
On the 7th October the Battalion were
inspected by Colonel Fife and his second-in-command Major Cartwright after which a practice attack was conducted across open
ground. Specialist training was also the order of the day when a party of officers and men were sent during the afternoon to
the Grenade School located at Terdeghem, west of Steenvoorde.
This training continued apace with an emphasis being placed
on bombing skills and the systematic bombing of a special point. As well as this form of specialist training, a general training
regime continued at Steenvoorde with squads being dispatched to the Grenade School as well as a party of officers being sent
to the Machine-Gun School located at Wisques to the west of St. Omer. With the 50th Infantry Brigade begining to perfect their
skills, General Sir Hubert Plumer, always keen to visit northern units of the Army, dropped by to cast his watchful eyes over
the proceedings as the Brigade performed a practice attack.
Between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. on the 21st October the
journey back towards the Ypres Salient commenced by the constituent units of the Division. Marching via Abeele and Poperinghe, the War Diary records that the Battalion went into hutments 2 miles east of the latter,
Wylly's History stating that these billets were located at Busseboom. The latter describes the camp at this stage
of the War as;
"A detestable camp of intolerable filth, where a fetid and evil-coloured liquid oozed up
from the ground which Belgian labour had surfeited with manure."
No sooner had the men settled themselves
as best they could in this squalid environment, a party of officers assembled that were transported by motor-bus to Hooge
with the purpose of visiting the trenches held by the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division.
It was during the following day however no time is stipulated in the pages of the War Diary, that the 7th Yorkshire's
relieved the Lincolns in the left of the line at Hooge Stables astride the Ypres - Menin Road. Left Flank, Trench
"C" 3, Right Flank located in Sanctuary Wood, Trench "C" 1 respectively.
were therefore disposed as follows:
"D" Company Left Flank
"A" Company Support
"C" Company Reserve at Kruisstraat.
|Part Of Sheet 28, Hooge. Trenches Corrected To 23/12/15
The trenches that the 50th Infantry Brigade now occupied
at Hooge had been subjected to constant artillery fire since July 1915 resulting in the woods and the landscape being
ravaged by shell fire. During the latter month the British 175th Tunnelling Company had detonated the largest mine to
date on the Western Front in support of the actions of the 3rd Division resulting in a crater measuring 120 feet in width.
This crater became the grave for hundreds of men and the stench of putrefying bodies became synonymous with units that occupied
this sector of the line. Moreover, south of the Menin Road between trenches "C" 1 and "C"
3 there existed a large gap of about 200 feet as trench "C" 2 could not be reconstructed due to the
attentions of enemy artillery, hence, the positions adopted by the 7th Yorkshire's. The War Diary describes this first
tour in the line at Hooge;
"Quiet time in trenches. Weather bad & trenches very wet; much work necessary
to keep them habitable. Enemy very busy improving his trenches and defences; sounds of a steam engine heard several times."
If it was any consolation to
the men of the 17th (Northern) Division, the enemy in the opposing line were enduring the same conditions as his feverish
actions in attempting to improve his line no doubt confirmed.
On the 26th October, Lieutenant-Colonel Fife
proceeded to Poperinghe to command a composite Company formed from men of the units that constituted the Division that had
been assembled for a visit by His Majesty the King. To the rear, one Private, Rudolph A. Jackson, 14328, succumbed to
wounds received at one of the Base Hospitals located at Etaples. Rudolph, a native of Birkenshaw near Bradford, aged 28 years,
is now buried at Etaples Military Cemetery near Boulogne.
A relief was commenced on the 28th October by the 7th Battalion,
East Yorkshire's, whereupon the Battalion marched back to Ypres. Two companies as well as battalion Headquarters found
secure in dug-outs and tunnels located in the Ramparts forming part of Vauban's seventeenth century ring of defences
around the town, these being excavated into to provide shelter from enemy artillery. The remaining two companies of the Yorkshire's
proceeded into rest billets located near the Transport Lines at Ouderdom, south-east of Poperinghe. One man however on this
day succumbed to wounds received previously. Private John Edward Burn, 18782, of Murton, County Durham and aged 28 years,
evacuated to one of the Casualty Clearing Stations located at Lijssenthoek, now lies buried in the cemetery located close
Two nights later, one of the companies located
at Ouderdom proceeded in to the environs of the town to be quartered in cellars. Whilst away from the line however the Battalion
provided working parties every night. Whilst in command of one in the rear of the trenches at Hooge, Lieutenant Charles Guy
Weston, was unfortunately killed.
Monday, 1st November, 1915: The Death Of Lieutenant Charles Guy Weston
The exact circumstances as regards the death of Lieutenant Weston were unknown to the Author, that is,
until the latter was kindly contacted by Mr. Ed Crutchley of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 2017. It transpired, via e-mail, that
Mr. Crutchley's great uncle was one Ronald Egerton Cotton, a Captain serving with the 7th (Service) Battalion, Yorkshire
Regiment at the period of Charles Guy Weston's death. Captain Cotton kept a personal diary for the entire war whilst serving
with both the 7th Battalion and later with 10th (Service) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers as a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel.
Amounting to several volumes, page 22 of one of the personal diaries records:-
"1/11/15 Weston killed on a working party at night behind the trenches at HOOGE
by a stray bullet."
4th November the first of two telegrams were received at 'Belmont,' Wetherby, the family home, recording the death
of Charles on Tuesday 2nd November. On the 12th, a second telegram arrived confirming the true date of death.
|Telegram Dated 12th November, 1915
In the days that followed, a request was received by Cox's Shipping
Agency Limited that any personal effects were to be forwarded to Mrs. C.G. Weston at Acaster Malbis. Consequently on the 2nd
December, notification was received from the Shipping Agency that a Field Kit, Number Br. 2916 had been despatched, however
no information as to the place of burial had yet been supplied to his family.
It was on the 14th January 1916 that a
letter was received by the Weston family from the Military Secretary stating that Army Headquarters in the Field declared
that Charles had been buried in a location off the Vlamertinghe - Ypres Road to the west of the latter town, a trench map
location recorded in the communique as Sheet 28, H.12.c.9.4.
|Extract Of Sheet 28, Square H12.
From the map reference provided in the letter to the family dated January
1916, it is quite clear that the location of the burial site of Lieutenant Weston is some distance to the east of the Divisional
Cemetery. An examination of what is referred to in modern terminology as a Body Density Map, in this case one dated 1922,
indicates that the only cemeteries in existence in the immediate vicinity at this period were Divisional Cemetery, to the
north of the latter, Railway Chateau Cemetery, and a location annotated as a burial site just to the east of the Asylum and
no longer in situ, the graves either being concentrated or simply lost. Of course it may be just a question that the reference
given to the family was simply inaccurate however the cemetery details of both Divisional and Railway Chateau cemeteries record
no burials concentrated into the latter two burial grounds. Furthermore, it would appear that there was some confusion regarding
the fact that if Charles had a known burial place in the first instance, one would presume that this factor arose from some
inaccuracies in the records of the then Imperial War Graves Commission formed in 1917.
It was in conversation with Mr. Edward Nicholl, the web architect of The Yorkshire Regiment, - First World War
Remembrance website, that this factor was brought to the Authors attention. Edward kindly shared a selection of photographs
that he had taken in 2007 of the Menin Gate and the memorial panels commemorating the fallen of the Yorkshire Regiment. Clearly
inscribed on one of the panels remembering the officers of the Regiment is Lieutenant C.G. Weston.
For whatever reason or scenario, Charles name was inscribed on the memorial. It
may have been just a simple clerical error but with the Commission dealing with over a million dead either identified or registered
as missing, it is not an uncommon phenomenon to find some inaccuracies as regards the names of men commemorated on the many
memorials to the missing located on the Western Front.
Author would like to take this opportunity to express his gratitude to Edward for kindly sharing his vast knowledge of the
men of the Yorkshire Regiment and I wish him continued success with his excellent website.
The Yorkshire Regiment, - First World War Remembrance