Tipton

Remembers

Private 9675 Joseph Harris


Killed in Action on Wednesday, 10th March 1915, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 21 and 22 of Le Touret Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Brother of Mrs Clara Price, of 28, Bridge Rd.,Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 27th December 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Mark's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/857514/


Genealogical Data

1901 Census
2 Court 2 House, Bridge Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Annie Harris (29, born Tipton), and her 4 children: Clara (8, born Tipton), Joseph (6, born Tipton), Edward (3, born Tipton) and Alice (8 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
26 Ocker Hill Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Harris (40, Bricklayer, born Tipton), his wife Annie (38, born Tipton), and their 8 surviving children of 11: Clara (18, Packer, born Tipton), Joseph (15, Tinsmith, born Tipton), Edward (13, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Alice (11, School, born Tipton), Bertie (6, School, born Tipton), Arthur (4, born Tipton), William (3, born Tipton), and Albert (1, born Tipton).


Personal Data

None Available.


Action resulting in his death

The Battle of Neuve Chapelle began on 10th March 1915; 5 miles south at Givenchy the 2nd South Staffs attacked the German lines at a location named the "Duck's Bill". The attack was part of a wider assault, and to prevent the enemy reinforcing their troops at Neuve Chapelle.

The initial attack at 8.10am after a 40 minute bombardment was badly affected by 2 German machine guns less than 100 yards away. The few troops reaching the German lines were unable to remain there, and the attack stalled.

The attack was ordered to re-commence at 2.45pm after a 30-minute bombardment. As soon as the South Staffs left their trenches they were hit by machine gun fire, also the German wire was insufficiently cut and their trenches only lightly damaged by our artillery fire. It was decided to abandon the assault, and the South Staffs consolidated their own lines and collected their wounded. They were relieved at midnight.

No advantage was gained from this assault, the 2nd South Staffs had 5 Officers and 57 Other Ranks killed that day. Amongst the 57 were Tipton men Joseph Harris and George Fisher, neither man has a known grave and are commemorated on the Le Touret memorial.

If you require even greater detail of the 2nd South Staffs attack on the 10th March, carry on reading.


10th March 1915
Attack by 6th Infantry Brigade on enemy's position NORTH-EAST of GIVENCHY. After artillery bombardment commencing at 7.30am the infantry advanced in 3 columns against the enemy's trenches.

Right Column:
3 Companies 2/South Stafford R. under Lieut. Col. ROUTLEDGE.
Centre Column:
3 Companies 1/Kings (Liverpool) R.
Left Column:
3 Companies 1/Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

The Right column was constituted as follows:- 'B' Company Under Lieut. J.B. TOWNSHEND to lead the assault supported by 'C' Company under Captain S. Blockley, and 'A' Company under Captain H.H. Sabben.

At 8.10am 'B' Company advanced against the enemy's trenches in front of DUCK'S BILL just EAST of GIVENCHY. The advance commenced from three previously prepared points in our line where traverses had been built by the EAST ANGLIAN FIELD Company R.E. and a portion of the parapet knocked down to enable the men to leave the trench. A certain amount of our wire, which consisted of knife rest frames just in front of the parapet, had been removed during the previous night to enable the men to pass through it. As soon as the men left the shelter of the parapet they were subjected to a very severe cross fire from 2 machine guns in the German trench which at this point were 80 yards distant from our own. A certain number of men reached the German trench but were unable to stay there. 2/Lieut. Hewat and 15 men attacked with the object of capturing a machine gun, which was doing great execution but none of them returned. 2/Lieut. Wood got into the German trench on the right, but they were bombed out by the enemy. 2/Lieut. Wood then headed another party and with a platoon of 'C' Company under 2/Lieut. Richardson was also sent forward but no permanent lodgement could be effected in the enemy's trenches.

Eventually the attack ceased and the Right Column was ordered to reform. About 1pm orders were received from 6th Brigade that a fresh bombardment would take place at 2.15pm followed by a fresh assault at 2.45pm & the Right Column was to have one Company 1/Royal Berks as a support. 'C' Company was to lead the assault, supported by 'A' Company. 'B' Company which had suffered very heavily in the morning, was withdrawn.

'C' Company remained in occupation of our front line, 'A' Company having withdrawn to MAIRIE REDOUBT and a communication trench leading thence to the front line of trenches. The men had had what food they had been able to carry with them. The O.C. 'C' Company conferred with the O.C. 'B' Company and made arrangements for the fresh assault. Since the Germans had their machine guns trained on the positions from which the previous assaulting parties had left our trenches it was decided that the men should get over the parapet by means of sandbag steps erected in different parts of the line. The attack was to be made by 2 platoons of 'C' Company in front line, supported immediately by the other 2 platoons. 'A' Company to follow in the same order order. The bombardment commenced at 2.15pm and at 2.45pm the leading sections advanced only to be mown down by machine gun fire, as soon as they had surmounted our parapet. Meanwhile, a portion of the Berkshire Company which was to assault on our left, rushed into the communication trench by which the supports were to come up and had blocked 'A' Company who were thus unable to support 'C' Company closely.

The German wire not having been cut and their trenches having suffered apparently very slightly from the preliminary bombardment, it was decided not to press the assault further. A report was sent to the 6th Brigade and about 3.45pm orders were received to reform the garrison ('D' Company) along the old trench line and the assaulting column under cover in the rear, the R. Berkshires being ordered to clear our communications. This was done and the column was formed up in the following order: 'A' Company leading, 'C' Company, 'B' Company.

About 4pm orders were received to repair the trenches with the assistance of the Royal Engineers, and to collect all wounded and their equipment. This work was continued until a late hour, the Stretcher Bearers working very hard to remove all casualties. At about midnight, our left trench was relieved by the 1st Irish Guards, 'A', 'B' & 'C' Companies and 1 platoon of 'D' Company returning to billets at PONT FIXE, the remainder of the line being held by 'D' Company and the 5/King's (Liverpool) Regt. as before.

In this action the Battalion suffered the following losses:
Killed:
5 Officers and 57 Other Ranks.
Wounded:
2 Officers and 74 Other Ranks.


Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 124th September 1914
OCKER HILL PATRIOTS
The following is a first list of men from Ocker Hill who are serving in His Majesty's forces:
amongst the long list is:
Joseph Harris