Private 46818 Albert White

Killed in Action on Friday, 22nd March 1918, age 19.
Commemorated on Bay 5 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

13th Bn., Yorkshire Regiment. 121st Brigade of 40th Division.
Formerly 11504 86th Training Reserve Battalion.

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/776784/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Albert E. White registered March quarter 1899 at Dudley.

1901 Census
45 Sheepwash Lane, Tipton, Staffs. (near Seven Stars Inn)
Albert White (30, Railway Labourer, born West Bromwich), his wife Alice (29, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Alfred (9, born Tipton), and Albert (2, born Tipton).

1911 Census
7 Lewis Street, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Albert White (40, Railway & Goods Porter, born West Bromwich), his wife Alice (43, born Tipton), and 5 of their 7 surviving children of 10: Alfred (19, Railway & Goods Porter, born Tipton), Albert (12, born Tipton), Florrie (9, born Tipton), Edith (7, born Tipton), and George (5, born Tipton).

Personal Data

The 13th Yorkshire was originally a Bantam Battalion, but by 1918 this distinction had disappeared.

After Albert's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/15/0d (2 pounds and 15 shillings); this was paid to his father, Albert, in July 1918. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Albert had enlisted in February 1917.

Action resulting in his death

On 20th March 1918, the 13th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (13/Yorks) moved eastwards towards the front-line, midway between Arras and Bapaume. The next day (21st) saw them move to front-line positions near St. Leger and the Sensée valley. This was only achieved very late in the day, after evicting the enemy from portions of the front line.

Possession of the front-line became hotly contested on 22nd March; it was taken by the Germans, then re-captured and then lost again. At 11.45am a concerted attack by the 13/Yorks was planned and executed with a preliminary artillery bombardment. This was successful and they held out against a number of counter-attacks in the afternoon.

At 6.45pm on the same day (22nd), orders were received that in the event of the neighbouring 34th Division retiring, then the 13/Yorks would also retire. This would avoid the possibility of being out-flanked by the enemy and taken prisoner or killed. The withdrawal of 34th Division to the north of St. Leger was observed in the late evening. Much to the disgust of the troops who had fought so hard to gain the front-line, an ordered withdrawal was carried out at 9.30pm.

The 22nd March had seen 2 officers and 64 Other Ranks of the 13/Yorks killed in action, this would have been mainly in the contest for control of the front-line. Amongst them was Tipton man, Private Albert White. Like many of his comrades, Albert had no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

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