Photos that make you think.

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Having a cuppa with my elderly neighbour, an ex gloster lad, he opened a box and passed to me his late father in laws whistle
It was very emotional holding that battered worn icon
RSM Finch had used that whistle to get his lads over the top with him
Many times
I passed it back and it was put away in its box with his badges and medals
Amazing that such a small thing can retain so much emotion
 
Having a cuppa with my elderly neighbour, an ex gloster lad, he opened a box and passed to me his late father in laws whistle
It was very emotional holding that battered worn icon
RSM Finch had used that whistle to get his lads over the top with him
Many times
I passed it back and it was put away in its box with his badges and medals

Amazing that such a small thing can retain so much emotion
Something my wife says to me each night when I get undressed for bed :oops:
And no, you're not getting a photo to make you think!

So many precious mementos to end up where? House clearance? skipped? I'm sure we all have loads of things precious to us that wouldn't be given a second glance by others.
 
No. It was a series of backhanders to Franz-Josef Strauss that secured the deal. They could have had something else (British I think) that was much better, but it didn't pay $10 million as a sweetener. Lockheed got into a lot of trouble for that, but Herr Strauss never did.
here we go...
bucc-jpg.308407
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I don't disagree with your previous, i was calling into question the idea that the troops were canon fodder that simply went into action without being beefed up and trained.
However you can answer the question; were any conscripts used on the first day of the Some given that conscription came in March 1916.
If they were not when did they start being fed into the battle.
Organised religion has so much to answer for.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The IWM own a painting called “Zero Hour” by an artist called JP Beadle.
It’s very large, and not always on display, but if you contact them and make an appointment to see it in their art store, they’ll oblige. Or at least they did for me.
I subsequently saw it again when it had been loaned for an exhibition in the Cloth Hall in Ypres.
It shows a platoon in a trench, officer with foot on the ladder, revolver drawn, whistle ready, in the seconds before jumping the bags. The artist captures the fear, apprehension, bravado on the mens faces.

Can’t post a link of the image, I just get “unable to display due to copyright reasons.”
I managed a screen grab for you.

Screenshot 2022-01-14 at 14.54.11.png
 
I don't disagree with your previous, i was calling into question the idea that the troops were canon fodder that simply went into action without being beefed up and trained.
However you can answer the question; were any conscripts used on the first day of the Some given that conscription came in March 1916.
If they were not when did they start being fed into the battle.
In truth, I didn't have an answer off the top of my head so dug back into my own collection of 'little histories' of the 100-odd WW1 names on our local memorial.

From that resource I found the earliest death of a known conscript was this ffellow:
TOMPKINS J W
Nationality: United Kingdom​
Rank: Private​
Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment​
Unit Text: 7th Bn.​
Date of Death: 27/09/1916
Service No: 27859​
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead​
Grave/Memorial Reference: VIII. K. 8.​
Cemetery: ADANAC MILITARY CEMETERY, MIRAUMONT​

I've guesstimated (based on his service number, with perhaps a little help from a Service Numbers guru blog online) and looking at CWGC records for other with numbers close to his) that he probably arrived in France at the end of July 2016 (I'd have a note of it, and a confirmed date if it were recorded as was usual, on his Medal Card). Overall, of 'our' fallen in France between 1 July and November 1916 - a total of 19 - he was the only conscript, all the others were volunteers, of whom 7 were serving in 2/1st or 2/4th (Bucks Battalion) and killed in a single day in a futile assault at Fromelles, some way North of The Somme battlefield, and a very Blackadder-like atrocity that is better remembered in australia than in England.

So you are probably correct to say that there were no conscripts on the Somme until later in the battle, and it is certainly the case that all-volunteer Pals battalions took a bad pasting on the day, but even so, my point about wide variations in the quality of units stands - some had a longer run-up than others, some had better-trained/ more experienced leadership, etcetera, and it's not the case that Bde Comds were tied to slavish compliance with detailed direction from HQs higher up the food chain.

There's more to the Somme (from first day to last) than immediately meets the eye.
 
Wasn't there an Australian formation that did well by creeping out into No Man's Land and hiding in front of the German wire,as the bombardment had suppressed the Germans. From the story, they realised that waiting until 9 am to advance was suicide so they went out ahead of time and then broke into the enemy first line as soon as the barrage lifted. They caught the Germans coming up from below and slaughtered them and then turned their own guns on the second line. Don't ask me the name of the unit or the source, but that's what Ive read.
The attack on Mont St Quentin fits that description, but (IIRC) it was later in the war thant The Somme - but don't ask me for the date, it's over 30 years since I first heard of it, and in the Dark Ages before Tim Berners-Lee new-fangled ideas caught on, there wasn't much about in books available in England.
 
I watched something a few years ago that looked at stately homes and estates. Many went off to war as groups, and the heads of the household ended up dead. With that ended the household/estate, as the owning families no longe had their head/chief breadwinner.
Stowe School exists as a direct consequence of exactly that.

That said, there's a bit of a cottage industry in bigging-up the 'Lost Generation' myth, and insisting that officers were entirely the products of private education (prime example is a travesty entitled Six Weeks which bears as close a resemblance to historical veracity as does Morpurgo's best-selling classic of uninformed maudlin fantasy, War Horse)
 
Wasn't there an Australian formation that did well by creeping out into No Man's Land and hiding in front of the German wire,as the bombardment had suppressed the Germans. From the story, they realised that waiting until 9 am to advance was suicide so they went out ahead of time and then broke into the enemy first line as soon as the barrage lifted. They caught the Germans coming up from below and slaughtered them and then turned their own guns on the second line. Don't ask me the name of the unit or the source, but that's what Ive read.

ISTR reading an account of a similar action which was undertaken by an Irish Regiment.
 
ISTR about a year was needed to get them in shape and actually supply them with the kit.
If they were 'Kitchener's Army' that would be true.

I believe kit was less of a problem for units of the Territorial Force
The reason they carried so much kit was the generals thought it would be a walkover.
See my lengthy post upthread - it does not seem to be the case that all units were so overburdened with kit on Day 1. Nor was it standard practice thereafter, for self-evident reasons: Tommy and the officer corps learned by their mistakes (hardly surprising, given the disincentives involved in repeating them), and all aspects of tactics, weapons and other capabilities evolved rapidly throughout and after the Somme offensive.
 
In truth, I didn't have an answer off the top of my head so dug back into my own collection of 'little histories' of the 100-odd WW1 names on our local memorial.

From that resource I found the earliest death of a known conscript was this ffellow:
TOMPKINS J W
Nationality: United Kingdom​
Rank: Private​
Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment​
Unit Text: 7th Bn.​
Date of Death: 27/09/1916
Service No: 27859​
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead​
Grave/Memorial Reference: VIII. K. 8.​
Cemetery: ADANAC MILITARY CEMETERY, MIRAUMONT​

I've guesstimated (based on his service number, with perhaps a little help from a Service Numbers guru blog online) and looking at CWGC records for other with numbers close to his) that he probably arrived in France at the end of July 2016 (I'd have a note of it, and a confirmed date if it were recorded as was usual, on his Medal Card). Overall, of 'our' fallen in France between 1 July and November 1916 - a total of 19 - he was the only conscript, all the others were volunteers, of whom 7 were serving in 2/1st or 2/4th (Bucks Battalion) and killed in a single day in a futile assault at Fromelles, some way North of The Somme battlefield, and a very Blackadder-like atrocity that is better remembered in australia than in England.

So you are probably correct to say that there were no conscripts on the Somme until later in the battle, and it is certainly the case that all-volunteer Pals battalions took a bad pasting on the day, but even so, my point about wide variations in the quality of units stands - some had a longer run-up than others, some had better-trained/ more experienced leadership, etcetera, and it's not the case that Bde Comds were tied to slavish compliance with detailed direction from HQs higher up the food chain.

There's more to the Somme (from first day to last) than immediately meets the eye.

The MIC for Joseph William Tompkins doesn't record a date of entry into theatre, which is not unusual for those entitled only to a WWI Pair.

Born Syresham, Northants and enlisted Barnet, Herts. There seems to be a bit of dispute as to his DoB - one Census records 1879 and another 1877.

Whatever his DoB, he was relatively old for frontline service-probably as a consequence of the casualty rate.
 

4(T)

LE
If they were 'Kitchener's Army' that would be true.

I believe kit was less of a problem for units of the Territorial Force

See my lengthy post upthread - it does not seem to be the case that all units were so overburdened with kit on Day 1. Nor was it standard practice thereafter, for self-evident reasons: Tommy and the officer corps learned by their mistakes (hardly surprising, given the disincentives involved in repeating them), and all aspects of tactics, weapons and other capabilities evolved rapidly throughout and after the Somme offensive.


Context is everything, isn't it?

Viz, there is an account of an attack later in the war where the assaulting soldiers are each carrying a filled - not empty - sandbag.

This sounds completely insane

- until you read a bit further and learn that, having taken a section of the German trench, they used the sandbags (and some wire trestles they'd also carried in the assault) to stop up the trench ends and the communication trenches - successfully getting the barricades up just seconds before the first counterattack came in.

Clearly, running forward with a filled sandbag wasn't folly, but a carefully weighted (sic) choice arising out of bitter experience of taking, and failing to hold, enemy trench lines. Previously troops had carried up empty sandbags for filling on the position and/or waited for trench stores to follow on - but then were caught with no way of impeding the immediate counterattacks.
 
The MIC for Joseph William Tompkins doesn't record a date of entry into theatre, which is not unusual for those entitled only to a WWI Pair.

Born Syresham, Northants and enlisted Barnet, Herts. There seems to be a bit of dispute as to his DoB - one Census records 1879 and another 1877.

Whatever his DoB, he was relatively old for frontline service-probably as a consequence of the casualty rate.
Parents gave his age at death as 37, according to the local rag.
Tompkins_J_1916.jpg


As for "Whatever his DoB, he was relatively old for frontline service-probably as a consequence of the casualty rate", I don't know how conclusive this is, given that CWGC only shows known ages at death for about 150 of his mob out of 274 KIA from 1 July to end November 1916, but of those, about half of the dead were in their 20s, while Over 30s look to have been (relatively) few and far between.
BedsDeadWithAges.jpg
 
Wasn't there an Australian formation that did well by creeping out into No Man's Land and hiding in front of the German wire,as the bombardment had suppressed the Germans. From the story, they realised that waiting until 9 am to advance was suicide so they went out ahead of time and then broke into the enemy first line as soon as the barrage lifted. They caught the Germans coming up from below and slaughtered them and then turned their own guns on the second line. Don't ask me the name of the unit or the source, but that's what Ive read.
Probably not on day 1 (July 1st)

As little as 2 weeks later things had changed. Corrigan in his book Mud,Blood and Poppycock writes about an attack by the 7th and 21st divisions in the capture of Bazentin wood on the night of the 13th/14th July (note 'at night')

page 4.jpg
 
With reference to the kit carried over the top on day 1 I have 2 photos to show:

Photo1 is believed to have been a staged photo for the folks back home.

1642185691363.png


Just a rifle, some ammo and a gas mask.

Photo no 2:

1642185907005.png


The caption reads.
British troops negotiating a trench as they go forward in support of an attack on the village of Morval during the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916

Note the amount of kit each man is carrying.
 
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