Serjeant R/388 Charles Rupert (Bert) Griffin

Griffin Charles Rupert 96 370x600

Killed in Action on Monday, 18th September 1916, age 21.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

12th Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 60th Brigade of 20th Division.

Son of Mrs Annie Peck (formerly Griffin), of Tividale, Tipton, Staffs, and the late William Griffin.
Born: Rowley, Staffs, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 23rd July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on Commonwealth War Graves site.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/787661/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
18 Gate Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
William Griffin (55, Furnace Man, born Lye), his second wife Annie (26, born Hill Top), William's 2 children from his first marriage: William (30, Deaf & Dumb, Boot Maker, born Tipton), and Thomas (19, Brander, born Tipton), and William and Annie's 5 children: Elsie (7, born Rowley Regis), Rupert (6, born Rowley Regis), Maud (4, born Rowley Regis), Lilian (2, born Rowley Regis), and Marjorie (11 months, born Rowley Regis).

1911 Census
45 Gate Street, Tividale, Tipton, Staffs.
William Griffin (65, Iron Worker, born Lye), his second wife Annie (36, Shop Keeper - Cooked Meats, born Hill Top), William's 2 children from his first marriage: Thomas Henry (26, Packer, born Tipton), and William and Annie's 7 children: Elsie Violet (18, born Rowley), Charles Rupert (16, Insurance Clerk, born Rowley), Lilian Annie (12, School, born Rowley), Edith Marjorie (10, School, born Rowley) Cyril Aden (9, School, born Tipton), Lilian Annie (4, School, born Tipton), and Francis Trevor (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Bert Griffin attested with the King's Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) on 31st August 1914 in Birmingham. He was 20 years old, and employed as a Machinist. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 33½-inch chest, weighed 122 pounds, with good physical development. He had a pale complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, and his religion was recorded as Church of England.

Before the end of 1914 whilst still in training, Bert was promoted to Corporal, first to Lance Corporal on 15th October 1914, and then to Corporal on 15th December 1914. He was then promoted to Sergeant whilst on active service on 25th September 1915. At the time of his death he was a Bombing Sergeant.

Bert arrived in France on 23rd July 1915, his battalion were initially located in the Fleurbaix area. During the Battle of the Somme, the 20th Division were involved in the Battles of Delville Wood and Guillemont, before their involvement in Flers/Courcelette in September when Bert was to lose his life. Bert was killed on the 18th September (possibly on the 17th) during a German attack, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Flers commenced on 15th September 1916 and saw the first use of tanks; this was the third general offensive of the Battle of the Somme. The 20th Division came into the fight on the 16th September, with the 12th KRRC on the right of the village of Lesboeufs.

During the 17th September, the Germans made determined bombing attacks against the 12th KRRC, followed by further German attacks supported by machine guns, and then an artillery bombardment. At the end of the day, the line had been held. On the 18th September there were renewed German bombing attacks on a smaller scale, again they were beaten off. A renewed German attack seemed imminent, but failed to materialise.

21 men of the 12th KRRC are reported killed on the 18th September, and just 1 on the 17th. These figures may not accurately reflect the actual dates of death, but Bert Griffin was killed during one of the German attacks on the 17th and 18th September. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 28th October 1916
Sergeant Bert Griffin, who was only 21, has been killed in action. He enlisted in the K.R.R.C. in the second week in August 1914, and went to France in July 1915. He came home to Tipton on leave last February. Sergeant Griffin was educated at Burnt Tree Board School, and was in St. Michael's (Tividale) choir for six years. He was also a member of their football club. He gained a medal for football when he was only twelve years of age at school. He subsequently gained a similar honour whilst a member of Bellis and Morcom's team in 1914. It was sent to him after he enlisted. A large circle of friends and the firm who employed him offer their sympathy to his relatives. He is another example of a pre-war career being cut short by the war.
The Captain and Adjutant, in a letter of condolence to Sergeant Griffin's mother, says:- "I cannot tell you what a loss he is to the Battalion, especially as a bombing sergeant. He was killed doing his duty most gallantly during an attack by the Germans, and could not have died a better death."