Lance Corporal S/12202 Edgar Doggett

Doggett Edgar 96 276x500Doggett Edgar Penny 96 500x500
Doggett Edgar Basra 96 389x600
Photographs of Edgar Doggett's Death Plaque and the Basra War Memorial courtesy of his nephew, Paul Doggett.

Killed in Action Persian Gulf on Wednesday, 14th March 1917, age 30.
Commemorated on Panel 25 and 63 of Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq.

2nd Bn., Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). 21st Indian Brigade of 7th Indian Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Manchester, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/864699/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Edgar Doggett registered March quarter 1887 in Dudley.

1891 Census
5 & 6 Lower Green, Tipton, Staffs. (one domestic property, one commercial)
Henry Doggett (39, General Labourer, born Warwick), his wife Anna (36, Greengrocer, born Kates Hill, Dudley), and their 7 children: John Thomas (14, Scholar, born Tipton), Isaac (12, Scholar, born Tipton), Edith (10, Scholar, born Tipton), Annie (8, Scholar, born Tipton), Mary (6, Scholar, born Tipton), Edgar (4, Scholar, born Tipton), and Nelly (2 months, born Tipton).

1901 Census
33 School Street, North Manchester.
Ann Doggett (46, Widow, born Dudley), and her 7 children: Isaac (22, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Mary (16, Factory Girl, born Tipton), Edgar (14, Makers Up Apprentice, born Tipton), Nellie (10, born Tipton), Norah (8, born Tipton), Harold (5, born Tipton), and Walter (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
27 Lotherton Street Harpurhey Manchester.
Ann Doggett (56, Widow, born Tipton), and her 7 children: Isaac (32, Moulder, born Tipton), Mary (26, Packer of Sundries, born Tipton), Edgar (24, Salesman - Cotton Goods, born Tipton), Nellie (20, Mantle Maker, born Tipton), Nora (18, Mantle Maker, born Tipton), Harold (15, Grocer's Assistant, born Tipton), and Walter (12, School, born Tipton). Also her married daughter: Edith Wagstaff (30, Visitor, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Edgar’s father, Henry Doggett, died in June quarter 1899. According to family legend, his widow Ann walked with all her children all the way from Tipton to Manchester, where her eldest son, John Thomas, was working. There would have been at least 7 children, including 12-year-old Edgar and a babe in arms.

This is feasible as in 1901, Ann Doggett was living at 33 School Street, North Manchester, and her eldest son John Thomas was living next door at 31 School Street. John Thomas had lived in Manchester for at least a year as his 1-year-old daughter, Winnie, had been born in Manchester in December quarter 1899.

After Edgar's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/16/11d (1 pound, 16 shillings and 11 pence); this was paid to his mother, Ann, in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Edgar had enlisted in approximately December 1915.

National Probate Calendar, 1921
DOGGETT Edgar of 39 King Street, Moston, Manchester a lance-corporal in the Black Watch died 14 March 1917 in Mesopotamia. Administration Manchester 11 February to Ann Doggett widow. Effects £199/13/9d.

Action resulting in his death

The 2nd Battalion, Black Watch (2/BW) were one of the 4 battalions of the 21st Brigade, one of the 3 Brigades of the 7th Indian Division. In India at the outbreak of war, they served on the Western Front from October 1914 until they left Marseilles in late December 1915. They arrived in Mesopotamia in Spring 1916, but were too late to relieve the Siege at Kut-al-Amara; the garrison at Kut surrendered on 29th April 1916.

After the fall of Kut, British and Indian forces in the region were reorganised under a new commander, Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Stanley Maude. The division spent much of the summer and autumn refitting and training, but also trying to avoid the worst of the extreme summer heat. It is likely that Edgar Doggett, having enlisted in approximately December 1915, arrived as one of the reinforcements during the latter part of 1916.

It is likely that Edgar was with the 2/BW when the British launched their new campaign on 13th December 1916, aiming at the eventual capture of Baghdad. This consisted of a cautious advance on both sides of the Tigris River, meeting with sporadic Turkish resistance at Khadairi Bend, the Hai River, Dahra Bend, until Kut was re-captured on 24th February 1917.

The march on Baghdad resumed on 5th March 1917. Turkish resistance on 9th March at the Diyala River, 35 miles south of Baghdad, caused the British to attempt to outflank the Turks to the north. In attempting to follow this manoeuvre, the Turks left their Diyala River defences weak, and the British launched a sudden assault on 10th March overwhelming the Turkish defence. The Turks then retreated north to Baghdad.

The British followed the retreating Turkish troops, and captured Baghdad without a fight on 11th March. The first troops to enter Baghdad were Edgar Doggett’s 2nd Black Watch. The 2/BW rested on the 12th, but aerial reconnaissance reported the Turks forces at Mushaidie, about 20 miles north of Baghdad.

Overnight on the 13th/14th March, the Division marched 14 miles, but at dawn were still 5 miles from the main Turkish positions. The attack was not ordered near the Tigris River where it may have been expected, but some 6 miles west where the enemy were not so prepared. The objective was an east-west ridge ending at its western edge in a ‘sugar-loaf’ hill about 40 feet tall, supposed to be held by the Turks.

The advance began from a distance of 4 miles from the ridge, and as they approached it was found that the Turks also held some low foothills in advance of the ridge. At 4.30pm the 2/BW were about 1000 yards from the enemy. From this point onwards, casualties began to be suffered and it was obvious that the ‘sugar-loaf’ hill was key to the Turkish defence.

The advance still continued in small-section advances until, at the point of the bayonet, 2/BW took the low foothills some 200 yards in front of the main Turkish defence line. This weakened the Turkish resolve, and after a pause for artillery preparation and then a 5-minute bombardment, 2/BW again launched themselves at the Turkish lines but the Turks fled and the ridge strongpoint belonged to 2/BW.

Despite the advance of over 15 miles and severe action during the previous 24 hours, 2/BW alone were ordered to advance 4 more miles to take Mushaidie railway station. Resistance was light until a larger number of Turks were encountered close to the station, but at 11.30pm 2/BW charged with bayonets and Turkish resistance crumbled and they disappeared.

So ended one of the most glorious days in the history of the 2nd Black Watch. The cost, however, was significant with 5 Officers and 45 Other Ranks losing their lives on that day, and further men dying from their wounds in subsequent days. Amongst the 45 Other Ranks was Lance Corporal Edgar Doggett – like most of the casualties he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Manchester Evening News 26th May 1917
Lce-Corpl. EDGAR DOGGETT Black Watch, King Street, Moston, killed.
DOGGETT - Killed in action on March 14th, Lance-Corporal EDGAR DOGGETT, Black Watch, fourth son of Mrs A. Doggett, 39, King Street, Moston, and the late Mr. H. Doggett, Tipton, Staffordshire, aged 30 years.