Private 235128 Samuel Collins

Collins Samuel 96 4443x600

Died of Wounds on Sunday, 21st April 1918, age 21.
Buried in Grave G. 20. at Douai Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.

13th Bn., The King's (Liverpool Regiment). 9th Brigade of 3rd Division.
Formerly 203472 North Staffordshire Regiment.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, 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/321436/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Samuel Collins registered September quarter 1896 in Dudley. Born 17th July 1896 according to German Prisoner of War records.

1901 Census
1 Court 4 House Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Collins (40, Blast Engine Stoker, born Tipton), his wife Lydia (35, born Sedgley), and their 5 children: Sarah Ann (13, born Tipton), Alice (9, Scholar, born Tipton), Florrie (7, Scholar, born Tipton), Samuel (4, born Tipton), and Pricilla (5, born Tipton).

1911 Census
19 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Eli Collins (77, Head, Widower, born Gornal), his unmarried daughter: Priscilla (37, born Gornal), his widower son: Samuel (50, General Labourer, born Tipton), and Samuel's 2 children: Samuel (14, Painter, born Tipton), and Priscilla (12, School).

Personal Data

After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £8/0/7d (8 pounds and 7 pence); this was paid to his father and sole legatee, Samuel, in January 1919. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in February 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted in approximately March 1917.

Action resulting in his death

Samuel died of wounds on 21st April 1918, and is buried in Douai Communal Cemetery. Douai was in German hands from October 1914 to October 1918, so Samuel died whilst a Prisoner of War.

The 13th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment (13/Kings) were in 9th Brigade of 3rd Division. Since the commencement of the German Spring Offensive on 21st March, 3rd Division had been in the thick of battle.

When the offensive began, the German concentration was on the Somme sector and the 3rd Division was involved in:
• the Battle of St. Quentin, 21st-23rd March
• the Battle of Bapaume, 24th-25th March
• the First (1918) Battle of Arras, 28th March 1918

13/Kings lost particularly heavily on the 28th March having 2 officers and 82 men killed. By the time that the Somme sector was stabilising in early April, they had lost approximately 110 men killed and at least double this number captured or wounded.

As the Somme sector was stabilising, the Germans switched their attention northwards to Flanders, and commenced their ‘Operation Georgette’, which we usually call ‘The Battle of the Lys’. Despite their losses in the preceding fortnight, the 3rd Division had been transferred northwards, and again saw action at:
• the Battle of Estaires, 9th–11th April
• the Battle of Hazebrouck, 12th– 15th April
• the Battle of Bethune, 18th April

During this period, the 13/Kings had 50 men killed. Records do not exist to say when Samuel Collins was captured, presumably having been wounded in battle. Given the distance from Bethune to Douai, it is distinctly possible that he was wounded and captured during the battle of the Bethune on 18th April, and died 3 days later as a Prisoner of War.

The Red Cross Archive of German Prisoner of War documents confirms that Samuel was a Prisoner of War. Unhelpfully, the German records show Samuel belonging to both ‘B’ and ‘D’ Companies. He was born 19th July 1896 in Tipton, and died 21st April in a field hospital in Douai as a result of wounds to his face, nose and eyes. He was buried on 24th April in Douai Cemetery, grave number 172B.

Newspaper Cuttings