25th April 1918

23-year-old Second Lieutenant Arthur George Ansell, 1st Field Survey Company, Royal Engineers, died of gas poisoning in No. 8 Red Cross Hospital, Boulogne, France on 25th April 1918, after being gassed at Passchendaele. He was the eldest of the three children of parents Arthur John (an agent for the Prudential Assurance Company at Solihull) and Emma (née Lynes) who had married in Notting Hill in 1893. Arthur John Ansell was a widower – his first wife, Kate Purvey (1867-1892) had died in childbirth in 1892, after just one year of marriage.

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16th April 1918

Two local men lost their lives on 16th April 1918 whilst on active service – Private Jim Birch, 5th Battalion, Tank Corps, and Lance Corporal Harry Moseley, 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

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14th April 1918

Four local men lost their lives on 14th April 1918 whilst on active service. Private George Bellamy, Labour Corps; Gunner Francis Thomas East, 83rd Battery, 11th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, Lance Corporal Walter Mucklow, 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and Private John Tonks, 2nd/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

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21st March 1918

Nine local men lost their lives on the first day of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael), which saw British troops subjected to one of the longest artillery bombardments of the war. Lasting for five hours from 4:20am, the barrage of over one million artillery shells smashed vital communication lines, and was followed by waves of elite German troops coming over No Man’s Land, which was shrouded in thick fog.  The Germans made swift and significant gains, with the British suffering some 50,000 casualties. British troops were ordered to withdraw, giving up much of the Somme region. However, it was not a decisive defeat, and the British were able to establish new lines of defence, whilst the rapid advance caused German supply lines to become overextended. Continue reading “21st March 1918”

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