BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BATTLES IN WHICH THEY WERE LOST.
War was declared on the 4th of August 1914, by 22nd of August, Pte Alfred PERRY, 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment, 19th Infantry brigade British Expeditionary Force was in France and had taken up positions near the fortress town of Maubeuge, a few miles from Mons. At 5.30am on the 23rd the battle of Mons commenced and by 8.30pm having been ordered to hold the line, were mystified when at 3.00am on the 24th having heard that the French were in retreat, the BEF were then ordered to withdraw. the retreat from Mons began. On the morning of the 25th the BEF were ordered to ‘stand and fight’ near the small town of Le Cateau and by the 26th the line was held, and the German advance stopped
The 11th Bn (Service) Battalion Essex Regiment 18th Brigade, 6th Division, having spent 11 months in the Ypers area with casualties est. 11,000. The 6th Division was moved south in August 1916 towards the Somme. The battle of the Somme had been ongoing since the 1st of July and the need for more troops in that area for the next big push. They de-trained at Beaumont-Hamel and were moving up the line towards the river Ancre on the Somme battlefield. Private CORNELL was killed at Ancre
The first battle of the Somme started on the 1st July 1916 and lasted until 18th of November 1916. It was the costliest battle of the war and achieved very little. Pte Fredrick PYE of the 1st Battalion the Essex Regiment found himself in France in March 1916 with the 37th Div. this Division took part in the Somme Offensive of 1916 part of which was the Battle of Ancre. 13th – 18th of November 1916. The last battle of the Somme. He died of wounds in the field hospital.
The 13th (Service) Battalion Essex Regiment was part of the 12th Division, on the 18th of April 1917, the division having suffered heavy losses were returned to England for 10 days leave. During this brief respite the Division was brought back up to strength and returned to France entered the ARRAS battlefield. On the 28th formations of troops to the north of the 12th Divisionundertook an operation to capture the town of Roeux and thus taking out the heavy artillery and machine guns which would enable the Essex. to advance on the front without being outflanked by the enemy, However the attack on Roeux failed. The 13th Essex took part in the rifle and bayonet charge on the German trenches, little did they know that the attack on Roeux had failed. the 12th Division were cut down by heavy artillery and machine gun fire from Roeux and had to fall back to the start line.
The 1st/5th Battalion Essex Regiment was formed in August 1914. On the 21st of July 1915 they were posted to Gallipoli landing at Sulva Bay. The campaign failed and by the 4th of December 1915 the regiment was evacuated and sent to Alexandria in Egypt and remained there until the end of the war. The 1st/5th were part of the 161st Essex Division attached to the 54th East Anglian Div. In 1917 they were deployed to Palestine with heavy fighting in GAZA.
The 10th (Service) Battalion Essex Regiment 53rd Brigade 18th East Division 5th Army, under General Gough took part in the Battle of the Somme 1918 over the same ground of the 1916 Offensive. The battle of 1918 lasted from the 21st March to the 3rd of September. The British high command got wind of a plan by the Germans to attack on that part of the line where the French met up with the British, this was notorious for disorganised chaos, By the spring of 1918 the front line was almost non-existent and the second and third lines gone, The British committed more troops to the St Quintin area, the first attack came on the 21st March the battle continued until 23rd, The Essex held the line at AVER. Private BARNARD died at the casualty clearing station of wounds sustained during the battle.
The Battle of the Somme, 21st March – 30th April 1918 casualty’s (British) 177,739 of which 15,000 killed, 90,000 missing/captured.
The 10th Battalion Royal East Kent & East Kent Yeomanry, were formed into the East Kent Regiment famously called THE BUFFS. In September of 1918 the 10th Batallion were part of 230 Brigade on the line near the town of EPEHY on the Somme, St Quentin Canal, CAMBRAI road, the battle was to be the last push towards the Hindenburg line. This big ‘push’ became known as the battle for the Hindenburg line. He is buried in La Chapelette cemetery, Peronne.
Pte French was with the the Essex Regiment when posted to Gallipoli in 1915, The battalion was evacuated to Egypt in January 1916, part of the regiment was to join up with the 10th Hampshire’s and sent to Salonika, Greece. Malaria was rife in Greece at that time and many troops succumbed to the disease, Private French was such a casualty.
The 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment, 76th Brigade 3rd Division was in the Battle of Cambrai October 1918 for the Hindenburg Line, the battle for the town started at 5am on the morning of the 8th of October and it was taken by the end of the day, while holding the line to move to the next phase Private Harrod died of wounds at the 1st New Zealand field hospital four weeks before armistice was signed.