24.7.1916 BELLACOURT: A patrol of 2/Lts E KERSHAW & FR OLIVER & 2 OR penetrated gap in TALUS are they lay on bank. Whilst there they were challenged by a German patrol who fired, severely wounding 2/Lieut OLIVER. Pte Webb missing. Others got back with valuable information.
War Diary [WO/95/2694]
25th: Trenches again. A party of 2 Offs & 2 men went out on patrol & apparently walked into German trench. 1 Off & 1 Man missing. Officer was hit (& probably killed – 2/Lt Oliver.
[Lieutenant Josiah Taylor]
Army Service Record for 3158 Pte Frank Webb, a hairdresser from Stow-on-the-Wold who enlisted in October 1914, which records his death as a Prisoner of War. Frank had only arrived in France with the 11th Reinforcement in June 1916.
Frank’s body was not recovered after the War and he is now Commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL.
2nd Lieutenant Frederick Richard Oliver (above) was Commissioned (from the 1/5th Battalion) in December 1915 and joined the 1/6th Battalion on the 6th June 1916. Frank’s body was not recovered after the War and he is now Commemorated on the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL.
A little puzzle #1……….
It’s not clear why Frank Webb and Frederick Oliver are Commemorated on different Memorials to the Missing; despite being wounded and captured at the same time.
- Frank Webb’s Casualty Form – Active Service records that he died on the 26th July; two days after being captured. This is confirmed by the CWGC entry, the SDGW record and the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects [National Army Museum, Chelsea, London].
The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918,
- Frederick Richard Oliver’s MIC records that he was deceased (missing) on the 23rd July 1916, whilst SDGW incorrectly records the 1st July 1916. The CWGC entry has the correct date of 24th July.
The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave.
Perhaps because Frank Webb was initially a wounded POW and buried somewhere in the rear area means that he doesn’t officially belong to the ‘Missing of the Somme’ ?
24th: A quite day. During the night a patrol reached a point close to the SW corner of the TALUS but none of the enemy were seen.
1 Officer and 1 OR wounded.
139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]
A little puzzle #2……….
Also on this day 3044 Pte Thomas Richard Seymour of the 1/8th Battn was killed in action. At this time the 1/8th Battn were holding the front line trenches of the RIGHT SECTOR. Thomas is now buried in GOMMECOURT WOOD NEW CEMETERY at FONCQUEVILLERS (Plot IV, Row C Grave 7).
However, he was the only man of the 139th Infantry Brigade to be originally buried in a small soldiers cemetery just behind the front line.Burial Return from the No 19 Graves Registration Unit dated September 1920 and recording the exhumation and reburial of 10 men who had originally been buried at Bretencourt Military Cemetery located at 51. R. 27. d. 1. 4. (see below)
BRETENCOURT FRENCH MILITARY CEMETERY on the West side of the bridge between Bretencourt and Blamont Mill, in the commune of RIVIERE. Here were buried 233 French soldiers and 38 from the United Kingdom; three men of the Indian Labour Corps; and one German prisoner.