Private 40754 Raymond Basford

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I have lost the name of the person who gave me this fine photo, if it was you then contact me for acknowledgement. Further picture at bottom of page.

Died of Wounds on Tuesday, 1st October 1918, age 22.
Buried in Grave D. 13. at Thilloy Road Cemetery, Beaulencourt, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 100th Brigade of 33rd Division.
Formerly 40754 in 2/7th Worcestershire Regiment.

Only son of Mr William and Mrs Elizabeth Ann Basford, of 51 Gate Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

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/194084/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Raymond Basford registered March quarter 1896 in Dudley.

1901 Census
317 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
William Basford (36, House Painter, born West Bromwich), his wife Elizabeth (35, born West Bromwich), and their 3 children: Edith (7, born Tipton), Raymond (5, born Tipton), and Dorothy (3, born Tipton).

1911 Census
51 Gate Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
William Basford (44, House Painter, born West Bromwich), his wife Elizabeth Ann (43, born West Bromwich), and their 5 children: Edith Helen (16, Laundry Maid, born Tipton), Raymond John (15, Errand Boy, born Tipton), Dorothy May (13, born Tipton), Hattie Irene (8, born Tipton) and Daisy Isobel (18 months, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Raymond's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £22/7/4d (22 pounds, 7 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in November 1917. His War Gratuity was £16/10/0d (16 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his father William in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Raymond had enlisted in approximately April 1915.

Action resulting in his death

Raymond Basford is buried in Thilloy Road Cemetery, Beaulencourt, which is about 2 miles south of Bapaume at the north end of the Somme battlefield. He died of wounds here on 1st October 1918, this was the site of the 3rd, 4th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations. We cannot be certain, but it is likely that he was wounded in the action at Pigeon Ravine on 29th September. He would have been moved back through the Casualty Evacuation system before succumbing to his wounds.

29th September 1918 was the momentous day when the 46th (North Midland) Division breached the Hindenburg Line at the Riqueval Bridge. The 2nd Worcesters were in action a few miles north, near the village of Epehy. They were to provide a diversionary attack, preventing the Germans opposite them turning their guns onto the main thrust at Riqueval.

The Worcesters were in a strong-point known as Limerick Post. This had previously been held by the enemy who were less than 200 yards away in the sunken road known as Gloster Road.

At 05.30am the guns behind the Worcesters opened up for a short and ineffective bombardment. ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies led the assault, but took dreadful casualties from 7 enemy machine guns firing on their front and the crossroads on their right.

‘A’ and ‘B’ companies left the trench and almost immediately went to ground, to try to advance was pointless. The survivors took cover where they could on the battlefield. At about 10.00am, a mist came down and only then could the survivors crawl back into Limerick Post where they remained all day.

That night came the news that the Hindenburg Line had been breached further south by the Staffords of 46th (North Midland) Division, so the Germans fell back from Gloster Road across the canal.

88 Worcesters men were killed on the day, most are buried in Pigeon Ravine Cemetery, on the site of Limerick Post. Over the next 3 days, a further 7 Worcesters men died of wounds which we can safely assume to be as a result of the action at Pigeon Ravine. 4 of these are buried in Thilloy Road Cemetery, including Raymond Basford.

On 3 October, the 2nd Worcesters were relieved from the front, this had been their final action of the war.

Basford Raymond PigeonRavineMap
Position of the 4 Companies of the 2nd Worcesters, red symbols indicate German machine guns.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 2nd November 1918
Mr. and Mrs. Basford, 51, Gate Street, Burnt Tree, Tipton, have received the sad news that their only son, Private Raymond Basford, was killed in action on October 1st. He enlisted in the 1/7th Worcesters on March 8th 1915, and was wounded on July 4th, 1916. After going abroad again he was transferred to the 2nd Worcesters, and was with them until the time of his death. He was wounded on April 15th last in the battle of the Marne, but did not come to England. Before enlisting he was employed by Mr. Milton Dudley, Tower Street Works, Dudley, as a coach smith. He was 19 years of age when he enlisted and was 22 on the 12th of last January.

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