Letters from James Murtagh, item 8

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 Left page 

 Map showing battle lines for the Battle of the Ancre 

On 13th November, James and his battalion left Varennes and proceeded to the front line, where, during the night, they took over the positions of the old british front-line near Hamel in preparation for action the following day. The 14th November saw the 10th Royal Fusiliers advance (in conjunction with a tank) to a German position (map ref.Q17 B9.0.) that was till in the old German front-line. This redoubt had been by-passed the previous day but was still manned by enemy troops - 270 of whom surrendered to the Fusiliers without a shot being fired. 60 British prisoners from the previous day were also liberated.

 Detail of a map 

 Caption: Q17 and the 'start line' 

The remainder of the day was spent collecting the wounded from the fighting (both British and German) and the next in reconaisance patrols for an area just to the north where the Fusiliers had relieved the 13/Rifle Brigade (and taking 9 prisoners whilst doing so). 


 Right page 

At 10am on 16th November, orders were received to take part in an assault on the German trenches in the vicinity of 'Q6c' (namely 'Munich' and 'Frankfurt' trenches) as a dawn attack had failed due to heavy machine-gun fire. Though the battalion bombing parties had reached the junction of these two trenches and 'Leave Avenue' by mid afternoon, heavy fire forced them to withdraw and they were then ordered to occupy 'Muck trench' - a task that was successfully carried out. Further attempts to take the junction of Frankfurt trench that night were also successful. 

 Map showing Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre 

The next day (17th) passed without much incident, James' unit spending much of it reinforcing their position. However, they received orders to assault 'The Triangle' that night in conjunction with a main divisional attack to the north. At 6:10am on the 18th, the 32nd Division to the north launched their attack, which was immediately followed up by the Fusilier's assault. With the exception of one party who failed to enter 'Leave Avenue' the assault was a success. However, the southernmost part of the 32nd division attack had faltered leaving the 10/Royal Fusiliers in an exposed situation and forcing them to withdraw to their start positions. 19 soldiers of the 10th battalion lay dead after this failed assault and many more wounded. One of the more seriously wounded men from this attack was James who was to die during the night of 18th/19th November at one of the front line Regimental Aid Posts (the first step in the line of treatment/evacuation of a wounded soldier, these were set up regimentally and very near the fighting line. Only very rudimentary treatment could be given in a R.A.P. before a casualty was passed down the line to a Casualty Clearing Station...many seriously wounded soldiers, such as James, didn't make it this far however).


James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the Missing.

Photo of soldiers carrying another soldier on a stretcher, and dead bodies on the ground.

Transcription saved

 Left page 

 Map showing battle lines for the Battle of the Ancre 

On 13th November, James and his battalion left Varennes and proceeded to the front line, where, during the night, they took over the positions of the old british front-line near Hamel in preparation for action the following day. The 14th November saw the 10th Royal Fusiliers advance (in conjunction with a tank) to a German position (map ref.Q17 B9.0.) that was till in the old German front-line. This redoubt had been by-passed the previous day but was still manned by enemy troops - 270 of whom surrendered to the Fusiliers without a shot being fired. 60 British prisoners from the previous day were also liberated.

 Detail of a map 

 Caption: Q17 and the 'start line' 

The remainder of the day was spent collecting the wounded from the fighting (both British and German) and the next in reconaisance patrols for an area just to the north where the Fusiliers had relieved the 13/Rifle Brigade (and taking 9 prisoners whilst doing so). 


 Right page 

At 10am on 16th November, orders were received to take part in an assault on the German trenches in the vicinity of 'Q6c' (namely 'Munich' and 'Frankfurt' trenches) as a dawn attack had failed due to heavy machine-gun fire. Though the battalion bombing parties had reached the junction of these two trenches and 'Leave Avenue' by mid afternoon, heavy fire forced them to withdraw and they were then ordered to occupy 'Muck trench' - a task that was successfully carried out. Further attempts to take the junction of Frankfurt trench that night were also successful. 

 Map showing Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre 

The next day (17th) passed without much incident, James' unit spending much of it reinforcing their position. However, they received orders to assault 'The Triangle' that night in conjunction with a main divisional attack to the north. At 6:10am on the 18th, the 32nd Division to the north launched their attack, which was immediately followed up by the Fusilier's assault. With the exception of one party who failed to enter 'Leave Avenue' the assault was a success. However, the southernmost part of the 32nd division attack had faltered leaving the 10/Royal Fusiliers in an exposed situation and forcing them to withdraw to their start positions. 19 soldiers of the 10th battalion lay dead after this failed assault and many more wounded. One of the more seriously wounded men from this attack was James who was to die during the night of 18th/19th November at one of the front line Regimental Aid Posts (the first step in the line of treatment/evacuation of a wounded soldier, these were set up regimentally and very near the fighting line. Only very rudimentary treatment could be given in a R.A.P. before a casualty was passed down the line to a Casualty Clearing Station...many seriously wounded soldiers, such as James, didn't make it this far however).


James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the Missing.

Photo of soldiers carrying another soldier on a stretcher, and dead bodies on the ground.


Transcription history
  • November 3, 2017 15:31:59 Thomas A. Lingner

     Left page 

     Map showing battle lines for the Battle of the Ancre 

    On 13th November, James and his battalion left Varennes and proceeded to the front line, where, during the night, they took over the positions of the old british front-line near Hamel in preparation for action the following day. The 14th November saw the 10th Royal Fusiliers advance (in conjunction with a tank) to a German position (map ref.Q17 B9.0.) that was till in the old German front-line. This redoubt had been by-passed the previous day but was still manned by enemy troops - 270 of whom surrendered to the Fusiliers without a shot being fired. 60 British prisoners from the previous day were also liberated.

     Detail of a map 

     Caption: Q17 and the 'start line' 

    The remainder of the day was spent collecting the wounded from the fighting (both British and German) and the next in reconaisance patrols for an area just to the north where the Fusiliers had relieved the 13/Rifle Brigade (and taking 9 prisoners whilst doing so). 


     Right page 

    At 10am on 16th November, orders were received to take part in an assault on the German trenches in the vicinity of 'Q6c' (namely 'Munich' and 'Frankfurt' trenches) as a dawn attack had failed due to heavy machine-gun fire. Though the battalion bombing parties had reached the junction of these two trenches and 'Leave Avenue' by mid afternoon, heavy fire forced them to withdraw and they were then ordered to occupy 'Muck trench' - a task that was successfully carried out. Further attempts to take the junction of Frankfurt trench that night were also successful. 

     Map showing Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre 

    The next day (17th) passed without much incident, James' unit spending much of it reinforcing their position. However, they received orders to assault 'The Triangle' that night in conjunction with a main divisional attack to the north. At 6:10am on the 18th, the 32nd Division to the north launched their attack, which was immediately followed up by the Fusilier's assault. With the exception of one party who failed to enter 'Leave Avenue' the assault was a success. However, the southernmost part of the 32nd division attack had faltered leaving the 10/Royal Fusiliers in an exposed situation and forcing them to withdraw to their start positions. 19 soldiers of the 10th battalion lay dead after this failed assault and many more wounded. One of the more seriously wounded men from this attack was James who was to die during the night of 18th/19th November at one of the front line Regimental Aid Posts (the first step in the line of treatment/evacuation of a wounded soldier, these were set up regimentally and very near the fighting line. Only very rudimentary treatment could be given in a R.A.P. before a casualty was passed down the line to a Casualty Clearing Station...many seriously wounded soldiers, such as James, didn't make it this far however).


    James has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial to the Missing.

    Photo of soldiers carrying another soldier on a stretcher, and dead bodies on the ground.

  • November 3, 2017 15:28:51 Thomas A. Lingner

     Left page 

     Map showing battle lines for the Battle of the Ancre 

    On 13th November, James and his battalion left Varennes and proceeded to the front line, where, during the night, they took over the positions of the old british front-line near Hamel in preparation for action the following day. The 14th November saw the 10th Royal Fusiliers advance (in conjunction with a tank) to a German position (map ref.Q17 B9.0.) that was till in the old German front-line. This redoubt had been by-passed the previous day but was still manned by enemy troops - 270 of whom surrendered to the Fusiliers without a shot being fired. 60 British prisoners from the previous day were also liberated.

     Detail of a map 

     Caption: Q17 and the 'start line' 

    The remainder of the day was spent collecting the wounded from the fighting (both British and German) and the next in reconaisance patrols for an area just to the north where the Fusiliers had relieved the 13/Rifle Brigade (and taking 9 prisoners whilst doing so). 


     Right page 

    At 10am on 16th November, orders were received to take part in an assault on the German trenches in the vicinity of 'Q6c' (namely 'Munich' and 'Frankfurt' trenches) as a dawn attack had failed due to heavy machine-gun fire. Though the battalion bombing parties had reached the junction of these two trenches and 'Leave Avenue' by mid afternoon, heavy fire forced them to withdraw and they were then ordered to occupy 'Muck trench' - a task that was successfully carried out. Further attempts to take the junction of Frankfurt trench that night were also successful. 

     Map showing Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-Ancre 

    The next day (17th) passed without much incident, James' unit spending much of it reinforcing their position. However, they received orders to assault 'The Triangle' that night in conjunction with a main divisional attack to the north. At 6:10am on the 18th, the 32nd Division to the north launched their attack, which was immediately followed up by the Fusilier's assault. With the exception of one party who failed to enter 'Leave Avenue' the assault was a success. However, the southernmost part of the 32nd division attack had faltered leaving the 10/Royal Fusiliers in an exposed situation and forcing them to withdraw to their start positions. 19 soldiers of the 10th battalion lay dead after this failed assault and many more wounded. 


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    ID
    3798 / 46804
    Source
    http://europeana1914-1918.eu/...
    Contributor
    Maine Delaney
    License
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/


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