1914-1918

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THE DE LAUNE CYCLING CLUB ROLL OF HONOUR

1914 - 1918

Frank Charles REED
Percival John TIBBELS
Walter Henry WEBSTER
William ENGLAND
Arthur WILLIAMS

1939 - 1945

 

Introduction

I was asked by Mr Brian Saxton to compile, from the names on the De Laune Cycling Club's War Memorial, a book of remembrance dedicated to those Service Men of the Club who were killed in the two World Wars. Information has been sought from War Office and Air Ministry records, Battalion Histories, The Office Of Births, Deaths and Marriages and not least from the "Budgets". I have included many of the reports, particularly on the aircrew, as they were written the following day.

It has not been possible, in some cases, to identify exactly what happened to individuals, so I have had to content myself with overall Battalion/Squadron actions on the day in question. But overall I feel that the information contained in the following pages gives an insight into the operations and actions that involved these courageous men.

Mark Smith
OMRS WFA

September 1993

Rifleman F. C. REED

Name: Frank Charles REED

Born: Mitcham

Lived: Mitcham

Enlisted: Westminster

Regiment: 16th (County of London) Battalion
                   (Queens Westminster Rifles)

Service No: 2475

Rank: Rifleman

Killed in Action: 17 June 1915

Commemorated: Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient, Ypres, Belgium - Panel 54 (13 down)

On the 17th June 1915, the 16th Battalion Queens Westminster Rifles stretcher bearers and volunteers from D Company, then in reserve, were employed all day in collecting and clearing casualties from the battlefield; and during the night, the operations having been completed, the Battalion returned to the canal north of Ypres as Brigade reserve.

The 16th Battalion were holding a Trench line between Potije and Hell Fire Corner (The Menin Road). Frank evidently volunteered to go out into no-mans-land and collect the wounded from the previous day's attack to secure some German trenches. He was killed by an air burst shrapnel shell at about 4pm in the afternoon. Frank was buried by his compatriots near to where he fell. Unfortunately his grave was one of those that could not be located after the War, and his name was inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial. This Memorial was built on the sight of a Medieval gateway to the town of Ypres and for four years was known by all the servicemen, for, at some time or another, all had passed through the Menin gate and up the Menin road to the trenches of the Ypres salient. The memorial itself bears the names of 54,000 British service men who were killed in the Salient and have no known grave.

NB Rfn. Reed's Service number and that of Rfn. Tibbles indicate that they, and other members of the club or pals of theirs, all joined together as the service numbers follow on in numerical sequence.


Rifleman P. J. TIBBELS

Percival John TIBBELS

Born: Kensington 1890

Lived: Kensington

Enlisted: Westminster

Regiment: 16th (County of London) Battalion (Queens Westminster Rifles)

Service No.: 2478

Rank: Rifleman

Son of: John and Florence Tibbles of Kennington London

Killed in Action: 22 October 1915 Age 25

Buried: Potijze War Cemetery - Row W Grave 22

On the 17th October, the Battalion went into dugouts on the canal bank, north of Ypres, leaving one Company forward in the Potijze defences; and on the 20th, it relieved the West Yorkshire Regiment in the trenches near Wieltje.

The only event of any importance on this tour was a useful piece of patrolling and a clash with a German Working party on the night of the 22 October, 1915.

It is known that Rfn. Tibbles was killed as a result of a shell exploding on the parapet of the trench, the fragments of which fatally wounded him.


 

2nd Lieutenant W. H. WEBSTER DSO

Name: Walter Henry WEBSTER

Born: N/K

Lived: N/K

Enlisted: London

Regiment: 4th Battalion The London Regiment

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

Decorations: The Distinguished Service Order

London Gazette: 12 March 1917 Page 2476

Died of Wounds: 10 February 1917

Buried: Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, 3 Miles from the village of Fleurbaix - Plot 1 Row J Grave 14

Extract The London Gazette 12 March 1917

The King is graciously pleased to confer upon 2nd Lt. W.H. Webster the Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. At great personal risk he picked up an unexploded enemy projectile, and threw it over the parapet, where it immediately exploded. He undoubtedly saved many lives.

Four Extracts From The Battalion History

29 June 1916 - The Somme

During the evening patrols had again been despatched to investigate the enemy's wire and trenches, and this night greater success was achieved. The right patrol which approached the Boche line in front of Farm Farmyard under 2/Lt. W.H. Webster, who on looking over the enemy's parapet found he had selected a firebay containing a party of Boche hard at work. Unfortunately the alarm was given and the presence of the patrol being disclosed by Very lights it was forced to withdraw.

NB The 1st July 1916, two days latter, saw the start of the Somme Offensive when, on the first day, 60,000 British Soldiers were killed and wounded. 2/Lt. Webster took part in this great attack and was one of the extremely lucky few to come through unscathed!

 

30 November 1916 - Neuve Chappelle - Fanqusart

In the Line, the Battalion was busily occupied with its share of the work programme and in patrolling in which the infrequency of encounters with the enemy in No Man's Land gradually led to the belief that his (German} front breastwork was not occupied. This was probed further on the last evening of November when a fighting party of twenty men under 2/Lt. W.H. Webster (Intelligence Officer) entered the enemy lines at the Wick Salient and found it untenable, in a shocking condition of flood and apparently ample evidence that no attempt was being made to repair the serious damage caused by our artillery fire.

 

Lavente - December 1916

An act of gallantry occurred during the first tour of the trenches in this area that must be recorded. During one of the enemy's midday bombardments a time-fused medium trench mortar shell fell on the parapet of our breastwork on the lip of the Mauquissart crater, and lodged in the revetting hurdle at the side of the trench. The firebay happened to be crowded with men working on the defences, and heavy casualties must inevitably have been caused but for the bravery of 2/Lt. W.H. Webster, who rushed forward, seizing the shell, flinging it over the parapet into the crater where it immediately exploded. For this gallant act 2/Lt. Webster was awarded the DS0.

 

The La Bassee Road - "Pioneer Point" - 9 February 1917

At about 7pm, the enemy opened a heavy trench mortar and machine-gun bombardment on the front line from Pioneer Point to Pope's Point, astride the La Bassee Road. The trench mortar fire was well directed, and the breastwork to the right of Pope Point was badly breached. At about 7.3Opm this prepatory shelling was followed by a heavy "box" barrage, and an enemy raiding party entered our lines between Pioneer & Pope Point. A SOS signal was sent up from the left company HQ, and our artillery responded promptly with a heavy barrage on the German front line and communication trenches.

The raiders, about twelve in number, divided into two groups, of which one attacked Pope Post and the other Pioneer Point. The attack on Pope Post was driven off by the garrison, three of the raiding party being bayoneted by Sgt. Gardiner, whereupon the others turned and fled.

The raiders were successful in capturing 2/Lt. W.H. Webster DSO, who was with the Lewis Gun team in Pioneer Post. He was believed to have been mortally hit prior to his capture and died in enemy hands the following day.


 

Private William ENGLAND

Name: William ENGLAND

Born: Lambeth Surrey 1881

Lived: Brixton Surrey

Enlisted: Lambeth

Regiment: 7th Battalion The Queens

Service No.: G/24603 formerly 10764 Royal Sussex Regt.

Rank: Private

Killed in Action: 16 March 1918 Age 36

Buried: The Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery France Plot 6 Row I Grave 11

The 7th Battalion The Queens Regiment were in the vicinity of Varennes on the 16 March 1918. The Battalion history does not make any mention of the actual day and so we must assume it was just another day in the trenches on a tour of duty. Private England was taking the opportunity, after the morning stand to, to have a shave at his dug-out door when a high explosive shell fell near him, killing him and several others near by, instantly.

 


Lance Corporal A. WILLIAMS

Name: Arthur WILLIAMS

Born: Lambeth Surrey 1884

Lived: Walworth Surrey

Enlisted: LondonRegiment: 1st Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

Service No: G/13747

Rank: Lance Corporal

Son of: Thomas and Pricila Williams of Balham London

Died Of Wounds: 22 March 1918 Age 33

Buried: Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension Plot 3 Row J Grave 26

L/Cpl Williams was in the act of showing an officer to a forward HQ position when he was hit by a machine gun bullet in the stomach which came out through his thigh. He was taken to a First Aid Station but unfortunately succumbed to these wounds the following day.
The Battalion itself was in the vicinity of Lagnicourt and Noreuil, when on the morning of the 21 March 1918 the Germans launched their last great effort to win the war, the Kaiserschlacht or King's Battle. The Kaiser himself was on the battle field and his newly formed "storm troopers" attacked in swirling mist at 9.4Oam. So swift was their advance with their new style of warfare that by the end of the day they had captured more ground than the British had in 4 months of fighting on the Somme in 1916. A last ditch stand was made by the British Army and slowly as the momentum of the Germans ran out the British began the final push that was to end the Great War in November 1918.

The Club President, John Kavanagh, along with Brian Saxton, Titch Shambrook and Gordon Gibbens spent the weekend of 10/11 November 2000 taking these photographs.

 

If you are interested in the history of the the Great Wars or wish to do any research try these websites. Click on their Logos. The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading charity safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the Armed Forces and their dependants. It provides financial, social and emotional support to millions and its benevolence spans all age groups from the oldest to the very young.
The Commission was established by Royal Charter in 1917. Its duties are to mark and maintain the graves of the members of the forces of the Commonwealth who were killed in the two World Wars, to build memorials to those who have no known grave and to keep records and registers, including, after the Second World War, a record of the Civilian War Dead.

  As their name suggests, they organise guided tours to the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. A specialist company that only organise tours to these battlefields. All their energies are therefore directed into providing and developing tours which are quite distinct from the more commercially driven options offered by larger companies.
 

 
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