Private 12472 Benjamin Blakeway

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 26th September 1916, age 30.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

9th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.). 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

of 10 Court, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Walsall, Enlisted: Mansfield, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, before 1st January 1916.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/769201/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Benjamin Blakeway registered September quarter 1887 in Walsall.

1901 Census
5 House 10 Court, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
George Blakeway (42, Iron Works Labourer, born Wednesbury), his wife Mary Ann (43, born Netherton), and their 4 children: Benjamin (14, Foundry Labourer, born Walsall), Mary (12, born Tipton), Willie (3, born Tipton), and Nellie (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
5 House 10 Court, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
George Blakeway (52, General Labourer, born Wednesbury), his wife Mary Ann (53, born Dudley), and 2 of their 6 surviving children of 15: Benjamin (24, General Labourer, born Tipton), and Nellie (11, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Benjamin's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/9/8d (1 pound, 9 shillings and 8 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Mary Ann, in March 1917. His War Gratuity was £9/0/0d (9 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Benjamin had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

By mid-September the Somme offensive had ground to a halt. Strong German defences on the Thiepval Plateau dominated the valley of the River Ancre. These defences consisted of Thiepval village, Mouquet Farm and the Zollern, Schwaben and Stuff Redoubts, all supported by well-fortified trenches. The 11th Division were given the task of attacking Mouquet Farm and the Redoubts on 26th September, whilst the 18th Division attacked Thiepval Village. In total 4 Divisions were involved in the attack on a frontage of over 5,000 yards.

At 3.30am on the 26th of September, the 9th Sherwood Foresters relieved the 6th Yorkshire Regiment in Constance Trench, prior to the attack on the German trenches. At 10.15am companies commenced moving into position and by 11.30am reported that movement was complete.

The three assaulting Companies moved off by whistle signal at Zero - 12.35 pm, and moving forward occupied the first objective. By 12.48pm the assaulting companies had gained their first objective, Schwaben Trench. By 1.45pm, the second objective, Zollern Trench had been reached after suffering from heavy German artillery fire. At 2.30pm the third objective, Hessian Trench was gained. On the same day, 18th Division captured Thiepval.

At this stage, the newly captured positions were consolidated before the Battalion was removed from the front line on the next day, the 27th September.

On 26th September 91 men of the 9th Sherwood Foresters were killed, amongst them was Benjamin Blakeway. Benjamin has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Information courtesy of Mike Briggs' web site "Chesterfield Sherwoods on the Somme".

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