STATISTICS
British Army Officers in the Great War
Life Death & Remembrance
Copyright  2017 M. Durey. All Rights Reserved.
ARTICLES
Another Son Jack: Captain James Leslie (Jack) Buckman - 12th (Bermondsey) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment - in Life and Death. (Previously published in Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association, No. 99 (January 2014), pp. 45-47.) Probably the most famous only son called Jack who was killed and disappeared in the Great War was Rudyard Kipling’s.  The subject of this article is another Jack, a less well-known casualty of the war but equally mourned by his parents. The Great Trust: Mrs Edith Ash’s Campaign of Remembrance, 1916-1954 (Previously published in History: the journal of the Historical Association vol. 96 (2011), pp. 260-279) As merely one of the myriad obscure women widowed by the Great War, Mrs Edith Learoyd Ash fails to feature in the voluminous literature that has resulted from that terrible and traumatic event. Yet for nearly forty years, beginning with the publication of the notice of her husband’s death from wounds in September 1916, she asserted her role as one of the war’s victims by annually inserting an In Memoriam notice in The Times of London. Surviving Family Shame: Three Cruikshank Brothers, a Sister and the Great War The story of three brothers who had to face the shame of their father’s disgrace as a convicted felon and recidivist. All joined the army pre-1914 and all were to die in uniform. Between them they earned three 1914 Stars, one OBE, one DSO, one MC and two Mentions in Despatches. Their mother lived to see her only daughter killed on active service during the next world war. ‘Two Minor Demonstrations’: The 1/1st Cambridgeshire’s Raids on the Ancre, 16-17 September 1916 (Previously published in Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association, No. 91 (April/May 2011), pp. 5-9.) Trench raiding was an integral but controversial tactic in warfare on the Western Front during the Great War. This article examines the experiences of the 1/1st Battalion of the Cambridgeshire Regiment in 1916, focusing on two raids carried out simultaneously on one night just to the north of the River Ancre at a time when most British resources were concentrated further south on the Somme. Saved by a Cat: Marteine Kemes Arundel Lloyd of the Grenadier Guards, 1891 - 1916 Animals have always played an important role in war, from Hannibal’s elephants to horses, dogs and pigeons in twentieth-century wars. However one cat received considerable publicity, for he had apparently saved the life of a British officer. This paper examines that event in the context of the life of the officer he supposedly saved. Middle-Aged Subaltern: Gerald Archibald Arbuthnot (1872-1916): MP, Royal Navy Officer and Grenadier Guardsman Among the officers of the Guards Division that made two attacks at Lesboeufs on the Somme in September 1916 were a small number of 2nd Lieutenants who were over the age of forty. When examining the British junior officer class during the Somme campaign historians have tended to focus on their youthfulness. Less appreciation has been given to those who, despite being overage, were determined to become involved in the war in a fighting capacity.  Gerald Arbuthnot was one. Raising a Service Battalion in 1915: Captain George Pragnell’s Marketing Strategy & the 11th (Lewisham) Battalion Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment The peak of voluntary enlistments in the Great War came in September 1914, when the BEF’s retreat from Mons stimulated 462,901 men to volunteer.  November and January 1915 enlistment figures were above 150,000, but thereafter a declining trend became obvious. Faced with this decline, politicians began seriously to consider the merits of compulsory service. In the meantime, however, regimental recruiting units had to find novel ways of (sometimes literally) drumming up commitment to military service. Six Weeks?  Life Expectancy of Subalterns on the Somme in 1916 Even at the height of the Somme battles, the six weeks’ life expectancy of subalterns was a myth. Turnover of Officers during the raising of a Kitchener Battalion: The 6th Battalion Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regt, August 1914-May 1915 Captain Basil Hodgson-Smith, Theosophy and the Battles of Salamis (480BC) and Cambrai (1917AD) When a very young 2nd Lieutenant Alan Thomas first arrived at the transport lines of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment that were situated among the ruins of Montauban on 7 October 1916, he was directed to his new company commander, Captain Basil Hodgson-Smith. He found him in a shell hole. Length of Service and Casualty Statistics of Officers on the Western Front: The 1915 Cohort of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment There are no systematic statistical data on the length of service of British officers serving on the Western Front during the Great War. This article is the first of a series that examines the turnover of officers in one combat battalion, the Queen’s Own 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (6th RWK). ‘Casualties Had Been Somewhat Heavy’: Officer Fatalities in the Royal Flying Corps over the Somme, 15 September 1916  The Great War was the first three-dimensional war and Air Power played a vital role in the allies’ final victory in 1918. If the firepower of the artillery was the key to victory, the role of the RFC/RAF in maximizing the artillery’s potential should not be underestimated. Dying with Sword in Hand on the Aisne 1914: Lt George Owen Birch, 2nd Battalion The Welsh Regiment The infantry officers of the British Expeditionary Force went to war in August 1914 wearing their swords.  By the end of the retreat from Mons in early September 1914 many of the surviving officers had discarded these relics from an earlier age of warfare, judging them as a hindrance and an obvious target for the enemy when on the battlefield.  There is, however, one example of an officer wielding his sword in close combat on 14 September 1914. It may be the last eyewitness account of a British infantry officer wielding his sword in battle on the Western Front. Length of Service and Casualty Statistics of Officers on the Western Front: the 1916 Cohort of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment This is the second in a series examining the length of service and the casualty statistics of the officers of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment. The first dealt with the 1915 cohort; this is concerned with the 1916 cohort. Michael Durey, ‘Length of Service and Casualty Statistics of Officers on the Western Front: The 1915 Cohort of the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment’, 2015 (on this website). The same types of records have been examined and the same provisos and limitations mentioned in the first article are applicable here. Frustrated Ambition: The Undulating Army Career of Lieutenant and Quartermaster William Bernard aka William Bernard Collins An Edwardian Family and their Tragedies: Lt George Archer-Shee, 1st South Staffordshire Regiment (1895-1914)