Hebuterne - looking back, from the middle of what would have been no mans' land, at the British line in front of Hebuterne. April 2004.

Gommecourt Wood

Gommecourt Wood April 2004. The German trenches ran along the edge of the wood. The picture is looking over what would have been no-mans land from the British line.

Wounded at Hebuterne

On 1st October the 143rd Infantry Brigade were ordered to relieve the 98th Infantry Brigade in W Sector from K11c20 to K10a79.

War Diary :
The Battalion relieved the 2nd Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders in the left of W Sector Trenches.

B Company was in support.

On 2nd October the 143rd Infantry Brigade were ordered to take over from the 148th Infantry Brigade that part of Y sector from the present southern boundary up to an including K3d25-40.
Thus is appears that 143rd occupied all of the front of W & Y sector marked on the map.
A Company and 1 platoon from B company were on the left flank (ie. far north of the line). It appears that the remainder of B Company were in support.

War Diary
Battn moved to a flank and took over trenches accordingly

It appears that the order was given to relieve the 1/5th on the 5th October.

According to the military records Jack Phillips died of wounds on 5th October 1915. This would seem to imply that he was injured a day or more earlier.

Date War Diary Soldiers Who Died
3 Oct 1 OR wounded (at duty)  
4 Oct 1 OR wounded (also crossed through it says "1 OR killed and 1 OR missing")  
5 Oct Batt relieved from front line from K10b07 to K3d90.05. On relief two companies moved to FONQUEVILLERS. Battn HQ remained at HEBUTERNE
1 OR Killed, 1 OR missing
John George Phillips died of wounds. (= Jack)
Richard Smith died of wounds
16 Oct   Frank Aston died of wounds

None of these equates to the person killed on 5 October and it is impossible to say whether this was Jack or whether it was Richard Smith. Also, the dates recorded are not always reliable.

In the National Roll for Birmingham the family recorded the following:
Volunteering in September 1914, after a period of training he was drafted to France. There he did good work in several important engagements, but was unfortunately killed on October 6th, 1916, by a bomb thrown from the German trenches. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medal.

Presumably the family based this on information that had been sent to them. The date is different to that given elsewhere. What seems reasonably certain is that he was in the trenches of Y50/Y49 when he was wounded but as the family noted it was not during active engagement but whilst simply holding the line.

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