Private G/13410 Victor Finch

Finch Victor 96 345x600Finch Victor 96 393x600

Died of Wounds on Tuesday, 17th July 1917, age 22.
Buried in Grave IV. O. 51. at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, Pas De Calais, France.

6th Bn., The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). 37th Brigade of 12th Division.

Husband of J. Finch, of 213, Birmingham Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Reading, Enlisted: Twickenham, Resident: Woking.

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 Commonwealth War Graves site.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/169456/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
Osbourne Road, Farnborough, Hants.
Emily Finch (26, born Wargrave), and her 2 children: Victor G. (4, born Reading), and Frederick F. (2, born Farnborough).

1911 Census
91 Vale Farm Road, Woking, Surrey.
Emily Finch (36, Widow, Boarding House Keeper, born Wargrave), and her 3 children: Victor George (14, Cinematograph Attendant, born Reading), William Reginald (8, born Farnborough), and Nellie Kathleen (3, born Woking).

Marriage of Victor G. Finch and Teresa W. Stroyd registered September quarter 1916 in Dudley.

Personal Data

Victor Finch was born in Reading, and before the war had lived in Woking. Victor was working for a London company as a munitions inspector in one the the numerous munitions factories in the Dudley/Tipton area. During his time working and lodging in the area he met Theresa Stroyd, a Dudley girl; they married in July 1916, just a week before he joined the Buffs (East Kents).

Action resulting in his death

The 6th East Kent (Buffs) Regiment had been heavily involved in the Battle of Arras, with large casualties after the 3rd Battle of the Scarpe in early May 1917. From the 17th May the Division held positions east of Monchy le Preux, mounting several raids and small scale attacks and beating off some made against them. On the 1st July 1917 the 6th Buffs moved to the Wancourt Line mustering 33 officers and only 483 men. The battalion held positions near Long Trench, 1,200 yards south of Keeling Copse.

The War Diary of the 6th Buffs for the 11th July 1917 reports: "Enemy attacked Long Trench at 5.00 am after an exceptionally heavy bombardment of all calibres. Smoke and liquid fire being also used. A counter-attack launched about 2½ hours later failed." Long Trench was in German hands until re-taken by the West Kents on 17th July.

It appears that he came through the above actions, as Sergeant Rivett reports that Victor was mortally wounded on 17th July. After the action at Long Trench on 11th July, the 6th Buffs were relieved on the 13th July. They supplied working parties on the 14th to 16th July, but according to the War Diary for 17th July "No working parties supplied". It is possible that Sergeant Rivett confused the date as Victor was employed in a working party with Sergeant Rivett's brother when "they were together carrying a roll of wire on the night of the 17th in the front line trenches, when a bullet caught him in the stomach."

Sergeant Rivett's brother helped remove Victor to the 'dressing station'; he died at the 8th Casualty Clearing Station which is adjacent to the Duisans British Cemetery at Etrun, where he is buried.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald August 11th 1917
Among Tipton soldiers, the casualties as reported during the past fortnight have been heavy. They include - W.T. Baldock (South Staffs), H. Tunley (M.G.C.), V.J. Finch (Buffs, East Kent), Lance Corporal H.E. Lester (South Staffs) and Pte. G.E. Gardner (South Staffs).

Dudley Herald August 18th 1917
Mrs Finch, Birmingham Road, Burnt Tree, has received information that her husband, Private Victor George Finch, died from wounds received in action on July 17th. He was 22 years of age, and was the eldest son of Mrs Gettins, of Mabel Street, Woking, Surrey. He was son-in-law of Mrs. Stroyd, Birmingham Road, Burnt Tree. He joined the colours on August 7th 1916, when he had only been married a week. Previous to this he was employed by a London firm as munitions inspector at a local works. After five months' training he was drafted to France with his regiment, the 6th Buffs (East Kents). His relatives and a large circle of friends of his native town will hear with deep regret the sad news. Much sympathy is felt for his sorrowing young wife and her relatives, to whom the news came as a great shock.

Staff-Sergt. F.W. Rivett writes to Mrs. Finch as follows: "Dear Madam, It is with feelings of the greatest sympathy for you that I send this letter, but I thought that you would like to know in what manner your dear husband was killed. He was my brother's chum in the same platoon, and they were together carrying a roll of wire on the night of the 17th in the front line trenches, when a bullet caught him in the stomach. My brother assisted him to the dressing station, and was dumbfounded two days later when I paid him a visit and told him that I had seen his chum buried. I had seen your dear husband on the occasions I had visited my brother previously, so that I was somewhat surprised myself at the time. He was a very good man, and well-liked by all in the company, who deeply regret his untimely end, and wish to tender through me their deepest sympathy to you. He is laid to rest in the military cemetery, and if you wish to send anything in the shape of a wreath, or arrange with the caretaker for anything to be done to the grave apart from what is usually done by the Grave Registration Union, I shall be pleased to place my services at your disposal, or put you direct into communication with the caretakers. It may be some consolation to you to know that he died doing his bit for his King and Country."

Private Jim Titley (of the M.T., A.S.C.) also writes to Mrs. Finch as follows: "You will probably be surprised receiving a letter from me, but I thought you would be pleased to have the few following facts. A few yards from where I am stationed at present is your husband's grave. I am a Tividale chap myself, and my wife comes from Dudley Port. Ada Heath she used to be, and you may know her. In fact you may know me as I have lived in Tividale all my life. Well, anyhow, you will be pleased to know that Mr. Finch is buried in as respectable grave and cemetery as if he had been laid to rest at Tipton. His grave is marked by a little wooden cross, and is situated amongst a beautiful bit of country out of reach by any shellfire by the Germans. Right alongside the cemetery is the hospital. It is a beautifully fitted up hospital where you can rest assured everything would be done to make his end as comfortable as possible. I shall, if I stay here long enough and get the time, decorate his grave with a few flowers in your name, which I expect you would like me to do. I thought you would be pleased to know that one of his neighbours had found his grave and had seen the conditions under which he was buried, and it will be some sort of comfort to you to know that he lies surrounded by big fields of waving corn. My wife lives at 19 Britannia Street, Tividale."