Private 12743 Ebenezer Homer

 Homer Ebenezer 96 409x600

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 18th May 1915, age 22.
Buried in Grave IV. E. 25. at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas De Calais, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 22nd Brigade of 7th Division.

Son of David and Annie Homer, of 9, Court, Toll End Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 26th January 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, 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/194912/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Ebenezer Homer registered December quarter 1892 in Dudley (making him 22 not 25 as recorded by the CWGC).

1901 Census
2 Court 9 House, Toll End Road, Tipton, Staffs.
David Homer (29, Labourer at Brickworks, born Tipton), his wife Annie (27, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Ebenezer (9, born Tipton), Matilda (5, born Tipton), Rachel (2, born Tipton), and David (2 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
76 Ocker Hill Road, Tipton, Staffs.
David Homer (40, Labourer at Forge, born Tipton), and 6 of his 7 children: Ebenezer (18, Labourer at Forge, born Tipton), Rachel (12, School, born Tipton), David (10, School, born Tipton), William (7, born Tipton), Joseph (5, born Tipton) and Alfred (2, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Ebenezer's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/15/10d (3 pounds, 15 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his father, David, in November 1915. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Ebenezer had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

For most of 1915 the 1st South Staffs were in the trenches. The misery of trench warfare was broken up by the Battles of Neuve Chapelle (10-12 March), and Festubert (15-27 May). All three were British assaults on the German lines that sought to divert German attention away from French attacks. All three were planned and prepared meticulously, yet all three failed in their objectives. The outnumbered British troops made it clear that they could capture German positions, but it was impossible to hold them without greater manpower.

The attack on Festubert was made against a German salient between Neuve Chapelle to the north and the village of Festubert to the south. The assault was planned along a three mile front, and would initially be made mainly by Indian troops. This would be the first British army night attack of the war.

The battle was preceded by a 60 hour bombardment by 433 artillery pieces that fired about 100,000 shells. This bombardment failed to significantly damage the front line defences of the German Sixth Army, but the initial advance on May 15th made some progress in good weather conditions. The attack was renewed on May 16th, and by May 19th the British 2nd and 7th divisions had to be withdrawn due to heavy losses.

The 1st South Staffs were part of 7th Division withdrawn on May 19th, between the 16th and 19th they had lost 60 men killed. Ebenezer Homer was killed in action on the 18th May; he is buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy.

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