Private 92011 Samuel Ralph

Ralph Samuel 96 400x600
Photograph courtesy of Janet Gaymer Perry, Samuel Ralph's great-niece.

Killed in Action on Thursday, 21st March 1918, age 20.
Commemorated on Bay 7 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd/7th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.). 178th Brigade of 59th Division.
Formerly 18010 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of Henry and Elizabeth Ralph, of 1st Court, 2nd House, Tibbington Terrace, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st September 1915.
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. John's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1620090/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
2 Moat Fields, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Ralph (47, Driller in Fitting Shop, born Sedgley), his wife Elizabeth (41, born Sedgley), and their 6 children: Joseph (19, Fireman at Mining Engine, born Tipton), John (17, Miner, born Tipton), Ernest (15, Learner in Casting Works, born Tipton), Henry (13, born Tipton), Rosanna (9, born Tipton), and Samuel (3, born Tipton).

1911 Census
23 Tibbington Terrace, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Henry Ralph (58, Drilling Machinist, born Princes End), his wife Elizabeth (50, born Tipton), and 3 of their 6 surviving children of 9: Ernest (25, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Rose (19, Domestic Servant, born Tipton), and Samuel (13, born Tipton). Also Ernest's wife Priscilla (20, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £15/5/6d (15 pounds, 5 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Elizabeth, in October 1919. His War Gratuity was £17/10/0d (17 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, began in the early morning of 21st March 1918. Samuel's battalion was in the line near Bullecourt, and were attacked at 9.40am and totally overwhelmed. Within the hour the battalion was completely surrounded and virtually ceased to exist. The casualty toll was horrific with 12 officers and 159 other Ranks killed and 12 officers and 470 other ranks taken prisoner. Like many of his comrades killed on this day, Samuel has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

War Diary of the 7th Sherwood Foresters, 21st March 1918
At 4.56am the enemy put down a very heavy barrage on the front line system; trench mortars and field artillery continued the bombardment at an intense rate until about 9.45am At the same time, our battery positions were heavily engaged by the enemy's heavy and field artillery. At 5.05am communication by wire to Brigade H.Q. was broken; the only message that went through after that was one by pigeon timed about 6am reporting a heavy bombardment. At about 8am the shelling, which had been very largely gas, changed to High Explosive. At about 10am the barrage was reported to have lifted on to the second system, i.e. it was behind the Battalion. Only 14 men of the Battalion escaped unwounded from the trenches and it appears from their reports that the enemy broke through on both flanks, and, coming round behind the Queant-Ecoust railway, cut off and completely surrounded the Battalion. This must have been between 9.30 and 10am. Owing to this and the capture of all documents at Battalion Headquarters, no accurate or detailed account of the action is possible.

Newspaper Cuttings