Private 15756 Isaac Whitehouse

Whitehouse Isaac 96 400x600Whitehouse Isaac 96 426x600
Photograph courtesy of great-great-grandson Andrew Beard. Further photograph at bottom of page.

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 10th April 1917, age 29.
Buried in Grave F. 21. at Athies Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 12th Brigade of 4th Division.
Formerly 15756 18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, 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/257070/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Isaac Whitehouse registered September quarter 1887 in Dudley.

1901 Census
63 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
E. Whitehouse (46, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Esther (42, born Tipton), and their 7 children: Sarah (21, born Tipton), William (19, Chain Striker, born Tipton), Eliza (16, Domestic Servant, born Tipton), Isaac (14, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Tipton), John T. (8, born Tipton), Frank (4, born Tipton), and May (10 months, born Tipton).

Marriage of Isaac Whitehouse and Emma Harris recorded September quarter 1909 in Dudley. They were actually married on 1st August 1911 at St. Paul's Church, Owen Street, Tipton.

1911 Census
1 Court, 3 House, Wood Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Whitehouse (23, Miner - Coal Loader underground, born Tipton), his wife Emmie (19, born Tipton), and their daughter: Edith (1, born Tipton). Also Annie Kelly (22, Boarder, born Tipton).
Edith was born on 19th December 1909. Three further children were born: Edward on 31st October 1911, Lily on 27th January 1914, and Florence May on 29th August 1917 - just over 4 months after her father had been killed.

Personal Data

Isaac enlisted with the 18th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers on January 4th 1915 at Dudley. He was 27 years and 6 months old, was Church of England, employed as a miner, had a scar on his left wrist, and was living at 15 Union Street, Tipton. His height is difficult to read, but it may say 5 feet 0 inches. This would seem possbile as the 18th Battalion was a 'Bantam' Battalion which accepted men under the regulation height of 5 feet 3 inches.

At some stage Isaac was transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, as he was serving with the 2nd Battalion at the time of his death. Such transfers were often made after recovery from wounds or sickness which had necessitated time in hospital away from his original Battalion.

After Isaac's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/15/8d (2 pounds, 15 shillings and 8 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Emma, in August 1917. His War Gratuity was £10/0/0d (10 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Emma in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Isaac had enlisted in January 1915.

At the time of Isaac's death, his wife Emmie was pregnant; their daughter, Florence, was born was born on 29th August 1917.

Emmie was awarded a pension of £1/8/11d (1 pound, 8 shillings and 11 pence) per week for herself and her 4 children, this was effective from 26th November 1917. She had also been paid a Grant of £3/0/0d on 11th June 1917.

Action resulting in his death

We do not know when Isaac transferred from the 18th Battalion to the 2nd Battalion, but we can safely assume that he would have been with his new unit in the build up to the start of the Battle of Arras. From the beginning of April they were located at Ostreville, 18 miles west of Arras where they were "training preparatory to offensive action". On 7th April, they marched 15 miles to Etrun, just 3 miles west of Arras for last minute preparations. As the Battle of Arras began at 5.30am on 9th April 1917, the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers (2/LF) were marching from their camp in Etrun to their assembly area to the north of Arras.

The 2/LF were part of 4th Division who were the second wave in the afternoon of 9th April, following the 9th (Scottish) Division. They were to advance from the north-east of Arras, following the north bank of the River Scarpe with the 9th (Scottish) Division being responsible for the first 3 of the day's 4 objectives in this sector of the Scarpe valley. The 9th Division achieved their 3 objectives, advancing over 2 miles and taking the villages of St Laurent Blagny and Athies where they dug in just to the east of the village, at the third objective line.

At this stage, the 4th Division 'passed through' the 9th Division, and were now responsible for the 4th and final objective for the day - the capture of the village of Fampoux and a further advance of 1,500 yards east of Fampoux. Resistance from the German defenders at this stage seemed to have slackened, and the advance of the 2/LF was relatively easy into the village of Fampoux. Once they reached the Sunken Lane (from Fampoux towards Gavrelle) the flat terrain brought them into range of the German machine guns at Rouex. Here the 2/LF were forced to dig in, concluding a remarkable gain of almost 4 miles on the day. An expected German counter-attack did not materialise and the 2/LF spent the night here, enduring a heavy snow storm. A total of 8 men were killed on the 9th April, remarkably light for the gain made.

The next day, the 10th April, seemed to be a day of consolidation after the dramatic advances of the previous day; an expected Cavalry advance failed to materialise. The War Diary records: "During the morning the enemy were active with sniping and shelling. In the afternoon the cavalry came up to attack, we were to advance in support of them. The objective was the Plouvain-Gavrelle road, and Greenland Hill. No action took place."

On the 10th April, 6 Other Ranks were killed in action and a further 6 died of wounds. Amongst the 6 killed in action was Private Isaac Whitehouse, most likely due to the sniping and shelling. Isaac is buried in Athies Communal Cemetery Extension.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 25th May 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
LANCASHIRE FUS.- Whitehouse, 15756, I., (Tipton).

Whitehouse Isaac with Emmie and Edward
Isaac Whitehouse with his wife Emmie, and son Edward (born 1911). Again, photograph courtesy of great-grandson Andrew Beard.