Private 203775 Harry Nightingale

Killed in Action on Thursday, 6th December 1917, age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 4 of Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

2nd/5th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment. 177th Brigade of 59th Division.

Son of the late Thomas and Mary Jane Nightingale, of 84, Aston St., Toll End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, 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/1755595/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Harry Nightingale registered September quarter 1892 in Dudley.

1901 Census
84 Aston Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Nightingale (42, Iron Worker - Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Mary J. (38, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Thomas (13, Labourer at Tube Works, born Tipton), Harry (8, born Tipton), John (6, born Tipton), Frank (2, born Tipton), and Alice Beatrice (3 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
84 Aston Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas James Nightingale (54, Widower, Iron Worker - Puddler, born Tipton), and 4 of his 5 surviving children of 8: Thomas Bernard (23, Steel Erector, born Tipton), Harry (18, Socket Screwer at Tube Works, born Tipton), John Harold (16, Turner and Fitter at Tube Works, born Tipton), and Alice Beatrice (10, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Harry's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/8/11d (5 pounds, 8 shillings and 11 pence); this was paid to his father, Thomas J., in April 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harry had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

On the 23rd November the 2/5th Lincolns moved into the Cambrai sector, initially to Fins where they were under canvas in Dessart Wood. After a period of training, they moved up to Trescault on the 27th and on the next day to Flesquières where they were employed on improving the defences in anticipation of a German attack.

On the 2nd/3rd December, the 2/5th Lincolns moved to the front line in Bourlon Wood – in reality the front line was just a series of posts (shell holes) which gave a degree of protection. There was some German shelling and gas, but there were no casualties.

The German attacks on the 30th November had left Bourlon Wood as a salient into the German line. It was decided that the easiest way to mount a strong defence was to straighten the line and abandon Bourlon Wood. This was done over the night of 4th/5th December, and the 2/5th Lincolns moved back to the Flesquières line where they were again employed in improving defences.

At 3pm on 6th December an enemy attack developed mostly to the right of the Lincolns. However enemy shelling was heavy, and the Lincolns War Diary reported that they suffered 20 casualties. The Commonwealth War Graves records 6 men of the 2/5th Lincolns killed on that day, most likely from the shelling.

Of the 6 men killed, 5 are buried in Orival Wood Cemetery, Flesquières. The sixth man is Tipton man Harry Nightingale, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings