19.8.1916 BELLACOURT: Enemy shelled village about 12.15 a.m. 17 other ranks wounded, and 1 killed and 1 wounded attached to 139th Trench Mortar Battery.
War Diary [WO/95/2694]
19th: Soon after midnight the enemy the enemy fired a few shells into BELLACOURT which caused 20 casualties – 17 of which were in the 6th 1/2 Reserve Company.
The support line close to MARTINETS WOOD (above) was shelled about midday.
139 Infantry Brigade: Headquarters War Diary [WO95/2692]
4443 Pte Thomas Stoppard a miner from Clay Cross who enlisted in July 1915 and arrived in France with the 6th Reinforcement in March 1916 was killed in action and buried in Bellacourt Military Cemetery in Riviere.
Lizzie Stoppard received a letter from Col Goodwin informing her that her son had been killed in action.
“You must remember that he was a good soldier and has died for his Country. Your son was buried this afternoon in a small cemetery behind the lines. I was present with several Officers and Men of his Company.”
Tom’s Cousin (Q Sergt M Unwin of Chesterfield), was serving in the same Battalion and in a letter home he indicated that Tom lived only minutes after being wounded. Tom had been resting in billets with his comrades when the Germans started shelling the Village.
The men who died of their wounded were:-
3683 Pte. John Arthur Andrews aged 30 and a plate layer from New Whittington. John was the 95th man from New Whittington to be killed. He was the son of Mary Ann Andrews of 142 South St., New Whittington, Chesterfield. and before enlisting he was employed in the pipe shops at Staveley Works. He was 31 years of age and had been in France for about ten months.
“In comparison with villages of a similar size the village of Middleton-by-Wirksworth has already suffered severely in the number of the soldiers who have given their lives for their country during the present war. This week news has been received that Private William K Hallows died in a casualty clearing station on the 30th August from wounds received the –th of the month. Private Hallows was aged 19 years, single and was mobilised with the Sherwood Foresters (T.F.) on the outbreak of the war and proceed with those to France. At the time of his wounding he was a member of the Lewis gun section and he was shot in the chest and back . . . . . . . . . .”
[THE DERBYSHIRE TIMES, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER, 9th, 1916]
The less severely wounded included the following men of “C” Company:-
- 4631 Pte. Francis James Eyre a grocers assistant from Eyam.
- 3239 Pte. Arthur Goodwin a farm labourer from Wirksworth.
- 4431 Pte. John Grafton.
- 3099 Pte Nelson Hewitt a moulder from Matlock who suffered a GSW in the arm and was transferred to England and discharged.
- 1310 Pte. William Hudson a clockmaker from Ashbourne.
- 4433 Pte. Archie Joel.
- 4417 Pte. George W Knowles.
- 3046 Pte. Harold Phillips and transfered to England.
- 4140 Pte. Richard Rowland.
- 4619 Pte. Harold Smedley.
- 4059 Pte. John Wilmot.
- 1690 Pte Fred Phillips a miner from Staveley who returned to duty on 11th September.