LOCAL historian Greg Schofield has once again been delving into the archives to help us take a look back at events from 100 years ago.
1917 was a big year and the centenary of the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadians has just been celebrated.
Here, we take a look at those Weymouth men who had emigrated to the colonies and returned with the colonial forces to take part in the struggle against Germany and her allies in the First World War.
Many of these men died. Most came back from Canada or Australia, but New Zealand, Rhodesia and India were also represented.
1915: In an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, in April 1915 the Gallipoli Peninsular was invaded by the British, French and the ‘Australia and New Zealand Army Corps’ (ANZACS). During that campaign, Arthur George Banks, a Private in the Wellington Regiment NZEF, aged 26, died of wounds at Gallipoli on 15th August, 1915. He was the 4th son of Faithful Annie Banks, 78, Walpole Street.
In Belgium, during the Second battle of Ypres, which is most famous for the first use of poison gas, the Germans attacked east and west of St Julien, and were repulsed by the Canadians, during which Ernest WEEKS, aged 42, a Lance Corporal in 16th Canadian Infantry (Manitoba) died on 23rd April, 1915. He had been apprenticed to a photographer, Mr Cox of St Mary Street, Weymouth, and after went into business with his brother.
1916: This year was dominated by the Battle of the Somme, which lasted for nearly five months and saw hundreds of thousands of allied troops killed. Amongst them from the colonies was:- W.SLADE, aged 38, Private in 3rd Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), died 8th October, 1916. Son of Edward and Cornelia Slade, 54, Ranelagh Road. Frederick James CURTIS, aged 39, Private in 15th Australian Infantry, died 25th August, 1916. Son of William & Maud Curtis, 19, Hardwick Street.
This was a year of fierce fighting on a number of fronts for the allied forces, although it was dominated by the terrible Third Battle of Ypres, sometimes known as the Passchendaele Campaign.
In April, the Canadians were given the responsibility of taking Vimy Ridge, which was captured in a brilliant campaign, during which, Sydney Hayman, aged 23, a Private in Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment) Machine Gun Section, died on 28th April, 1917. Fourth youngest son of Henry Hayman, 58, St Thomas Street.
Also in April, the Second Battle of Arras (Battle of the Scarp) was taking place, during which Charles Henry William ALP, aged 21, a Private in 51st Australian Infantry, died 2nd April, 1917. Son of Charles and Ada Alp.
In June, as a prelude to the Third Battle of Ypres, in what was arguably the most efficient campaign of the war, the Messines Ridge was captured. But it did see the death of:-
James Chester Badgley, aged 29, a 2nd Lieutenant in 6th Wiltshire Regiment, died 7th June, 1917. He had enlisted in the Canadian Contingent at Quebec in 1914, and transferred to the Wiltshires, his father’s regiment in which he was a Colonel, on being commissioned.
Ronald Coode C Shield, aged 34, a Private in 1st Wellington NZEF, died 8th June, 1917. Son of Mr & Mrs Shield, Dorchester Road.
*Thanks to Greg for researching the names and addresses of these courageous Weymouth men who returned to fight for their country.
Next week we'll be paying tribute to the local heroes who died in First World War conflicts including the Third Battle of Ypres and the Mesopotamian Campaign.
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