Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Herts at War - Latest News

First World War
The Herts at War Newsletter contains the following exciting News:
Herts at War
The Herts at War team are delighted to announce that as of January 2014 the project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and now forms one of the largest individual commemorative Great War Projects in the United Kingdom. The award of £98,400 until the end of 2015 now means that the project can develop a purpose built museum exhibition, dedicated schools outreach programme, series of talks and tours and conduct a programme of county-wide events days to mark the key dates of The Great War 100 years to the day that they actually occurred. It goes without saying that this fantastic achievement for Great War remembrance would not have been possible without the incredible effort and dedication of our volunteers and project partners, and so from the whole team - Thank you very much!
If your ancestor died fighting with the Hertfordshire Regiment you might also want to contribute to the plan to erect a permanent memorial at the site of their famous and tragic attack on the village of St Julien on 31st July 1917. For details see Herts Regiment Memorial. The project is also collecting together information on all members of the regiment who where there on that fateful day and if any of your relatives were involve have a look at page on the 1st Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regiment, and the list of names that have so far been identified.  

Their web site also includes a transcript of the 1st Battalion War Diary and I was particularly interested in the following extract relating to the Battle of Loos: 
25-9-15 [The Battle of Loos]. About 6.30am the 1st Kings attacked but never reached the German trenches as they were held up by heavy machine gun fire and No.3 and No.4 Companies who were in close support were ordered not to advance. We then assumed normal conditions.
26-9-15. We relieved half of the Kings line with One company. [Comment; Private 3330 Bert MILLS died of wounds]
27-9-15. At 5pm we made another gas attack on the enemy as on the 25th but were ordered not to advance unless the enemy had suffered from it. At 5.30pm we sent out a patrol but they were immediately fired at by enemy machine guns and in consequence we did not attack. Neither did the 1st Kings. From 25th to 30th our casualties were approximately Captain Smeathman [Lovel Francis SMEATHMAN, MC] wounded, Lieut. Molony [Brian Charles MOLONY] suffered from gas poisoning, OR's wounded or suffering from gas poisoning 25. [Comment; Private 3936 George Thomas GINN died from illness in England and Private 1665 Alfred BURT VC won his Victoria Cross today]
30-9-15. The 6th Brigade was relieved, the Bn being relieved by the 9th Cheshire Regiment and marched back to billets at the eastern end of BETHUNE.
When I wrote the book The London Gunners come to Town I wrote a detailed account of the battle - which involved the London gunners of the 47th Division at the southern end of the front, and included a number of quotations concerning the activities of the Hertfordshire Regiment at the north end of the front, including details of how Captain Smeathman was wounded. Both his brothers had died on the same day, as a result of actions on different parts of the front, earlier in the war.

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