Private 27508 Samuel Bache

Bache Samuel 96 399x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 13th April 1918, age 36.
Commemorated on Panel 7 of Ploegsteert Memorial, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

18th Bn., Welsh Regiment. 119th Brigade of 40th Division.

Son of Mr John S. and Mrs Hannah Bache.
Born: Darlaston, Enlisted: Wellington, Salop, Resident: Dawley, Salop.

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

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/874076/bache,-samuel/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Samuel Bache registered March quarter 1882 at Wolverhampton.

1901 Census
38 The Coppice, Tipton, Staffs.
John S. Bache (44, Blast Furnaceman, born Dudley), his wife Hannah (44, born Darlington), and their 7 children: John (21, Canal Boatman, born Bilston), Samuel (19, Canal Boatman, born Bilston), Harry (17, Canal Boatman, born Bilston), Thomas (9, born Tividale), William (6, born Tipton), Elizabeth (1, born Tipton), and Alice (3 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Rices Yard, High Ackworth, Pontefract, Yorkshire.
Samuel Bache (29, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Bilston, Staffordshire), Ethel Wood (Boarder, 19, born Gainsboro, Yorkshire), Harry Bache (Son, 1, born Tanshelf, Pontefract, Yorkshire), and Barbara Bache (Daughter, 7 months, born Ackworth, Yorkshire).

Further children were born: Florence Winifred in April quarter 1912 in Ackwoth, Yorkshire, Elizabeth H. in June quarter 1913 in Doncaster, and Lily E. in March quarter 1915 in Madeley, Shropshire. Lily died in December quarter 1915.

Marriage of Ethel Wood and Ernest Stables registered March quarter 1922 at Doncaster.

Personal Data

S. Bache is commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial, but it took a long time to confirm this was Samuel Bache even though this man had long been suspected to be the correct one. Samuel was not born in Tipton and had not lived in Tipton for some years, having moved to Pontefract in Yorkshire. His "unmarried wife", Ethel, married in Yorkshire in 1922, and subsequently moved to Dawley. Samuel's name would have been added to the Tipton Library Memorial by his parents who were living at The Coppice, Ocker Hill, in 1901, and at 83 Ocker Hill Road, Tipton, in 1911.

The 18th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5' 3'' required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As Samuel Bache died in 1918, it can not be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

Although Samuel enlisted in August 1914, he did not arrive in France / Belgium before 1916, we can tell this as he was not awarded the 1914 or 1914-15 Star. His Medal Roll entry shows on a number of occasions that he was attached to the 40th Division "Works Battalion" - the Divisional "Pioneer Battalion" was the 12th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, but there is no record of Samuel having served with them.

After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £7/13/6d (7 pounds, 13 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his father, John S., in March 1920. His War Gratuity was £18/10/0d (18 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in March 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted in August 1914.

Because Samuel and Ethel were not married, Ethel was not recognised as his next of kin despite them having 5 children. Legally, his father, John S. Bache, was his next of kin and the beneficiary of his estate.

Ethel was awarded a Dependant's Pension of £1/10/0d (1 pound and 10 shillings) per week from 10th December 1918 for herself and their children, she was described as Samuel's "unmarried wife". Ethel married Ernest Stables on 15th March 1922 and received a Re-marriage Gratuity of £11/17/9d (11 pounds, 17 shillings and 9 pence) after a deduction for an overpayment. The pension in respect of her children continued until their 16th birthdays, and was initially set at £1/9/6d (1 pound, 9 shillings and 6 pence) per week. Her address at this time was given as 6 Crown Street, Finger Road, Dawley, Shropshire.

Action resulting in his death

The 18th Battalion Welsh Regiment (18/Welsh), known as the 2nd Glamorgan, belonged to 119th Brigade of 40th (Bantam) Division. When the second phase of the German Spring Offensive - the Battle of the Lys - began on 9th April 1918, the Division was in the Fleurbaix sector.

At 4.30am a hurricane bombardment began, in a thick mist the enemy achieved complete surprise. By 6am, the neighbouring Portuguese troops had fallen back, and by 6.30am the enemy broke through in the centre and left of the 18/Welsh line.

At 8am the right front company of 18/Welsh sent a last message to say that they were surrounded but still fighting; there were few survivors. The enemy was advancing in massive numbers, and the reserve company was wiped out after putting up a good fight, together with the support company.

A rear-guard action was fought by a few survivors from the front companies and the remaining HQ personnel, who retired 1000 yards to Winter's Night Post. Only the Commanding Officer, two officers and 20 men of the 18th Welsh reached this position.

Again they were pushed back, to the River Lys at Bac St.Maur and then further to Croix du Bac. The 40th Division was relieved that night, by that time territory some 4½ miles deep had been lost and the 18/Welsh had been effectively annihilated.

On 10th and 11th April the 119th Brigade were forced to continue their retreat, through Vieux Berquin to Strazeele where they fought a defensive action. On the 12th April, an amalgam of 119th Brigade units continued to defend Strazeele, and received 200 reinforcements. The 119th Brigade had been retiring slowly and fighting ceaselessly for four days.

There was some general fighting round Neuve Eglise on 13th April but it must only marginally have involved the 119th, who were relieved that night by the 1st Australian Division.

Private Samuel Bache is recorded as killed in action on 13th April 1918. A further 74 men of the 18/Welsh are also recorded as died on this day. A total of 103 men and 6 officers were killed between the 9th and 13th April.

In the confusion of the retirement, a roll call would not be possible until the 18/Welsh went into support on 12-13th April. The date on the casualty form is likely to be the date on which he was formally reported as a casualty, not necessarily the date on which he was killed.

As the 13th April was relatively quiet after the severe action of the previous 4 days, it is more likely that he was killed on or after 9th April. Samuel, like most of his comrades, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings