Private 41851 Matthew Collins

Collins Matthew 96 440x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 24th October 1918, age 22.
Buried in Grave B. 12. at Canonne Farm British Cemetery, Sommaing, Nord, France.

2nd/7th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 182nd Brigade of 61st Division.

Son of Emma Ruth Collins, of 105, Roebuck St., West Bromwich.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: West Bromwich.

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/247361/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
23 Moat Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Elijah Collins (40, Labourer at Coal Pit, born Wordsley), his wife Emma (39, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Elizabeth (16, Iron Foundry Worker, born Tipton), Benjamin (13, born Tipton), and Matthew (5, born Tipton).

1911 Census
116 Roebuck Street, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Elijah Collins (52, Labourer at Coal Pit, born Wordsley), his wife Emma (50, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 4: Elizabeth (26, Hollowware Packer, born Tipton), Benjamin (23, Labourer at Mine, born Tipton), and Matthew (15, Labourer, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Matthew's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £4/11/1d (4 pounds, 11 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his mother, Emma, in February and April 1919. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in February 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Matthew had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

Matthew's battalion, the 2/7th Royal Warwicks, came into the line on 23rd October 1918 in readiness for an attack on the next day. This was the latter stage of the Battle of the Selle, and their objective was to take the village of Sommaing.

The War Diary records a confused day of hard fighting.

War Diary October 24th 1918.
Assembly was reported complete at 0315. At 0400 the Battalion advanced towards village of Sommaing. The attack was preceded by an artillery barrage.

'Z' Company on the left got across River Ecallion quite well but met with Machine Gun fire and also a good deal of wire defences but pushed forward and reached a further defence system which was very strong with front and support trenches and communication trenches. 'W' Company advanced in support of' Z' Company and established three posts in front of village but owing to misunderstanding, 'Z' Company had withdrawn across river. Information of these three posts did not come through in time to be of any use.

'X Company came up against much greater resistance finding the river heavily wired on both banks. On the enemy side were a considerable number of Machine Gun posts. They managed to cross river to the strength of a platoon but came under counter attack and withdrew to the rear slope of ridge with two forward posts. 'Y' Company had advanced in support of' X' Company but without any success.

1000 hours
'Z', 'W' and 'Y' Companies now reorganised and pushed forward towards the village. The position remained like this till 1645.

1645 hours
At this time, the 2/8th Worcesters passed through us and reached Mur Copse which had been cleared earlier. All Companies now pushed forward in support of the Worcesters.

On the morning of 25th October, German resistance weakened and the advance continued almost unchecked until it had reached the Rhonelle River.

28 men from the 2/7th Royal Warwicks were killed on 24th October including Matthew Collins. 25 of them, including Matthew, are buried in Canonne Farm British Cemetery at Sommaing.

Newspaper Cuttings