Tipton

Remembers

Private 17095 William Williams


Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917, age 19.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

2nd Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 6th Brigade of 2nd Division.

Son of Edward and Mary Williams, of 128, Roebuck St., West Bromwich.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: West Bromwich.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: 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/774452/


Genealogical Data

1901 Census
42 Juction Street, Oldbury, Staffs.
Edward Williams (40, Boat Steerer, born Cheshire), his wife Mary (38, born Wolverhampton), and their 5 children: Lottie (17, born Cheshire), Alice (11, born Deepfields), Gertrude (8, born Tividale), William (3, born Tividale), and Herbert (1, born Tividale).

1911 Census
68 Richard Street South, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Edward Williams (50, Haulier's Horse Driver, born Chester), his wife Mary (47, born Wolverhampton), and 3 of their 4 surviving children of 6: Alice (20, Domestic Servant, born Wolverhampton), Gertrude (17, Fruit Trade, born Wolverhampton), and William (13, Brick Prisser, born Wolverhampton).


Personal Data

None Available.


Action resulting in his death

28/4/17 FARBUS-POINT DU JOUR LINE
Zero time fixed for 4.25 a.m. and Z day 28th. The 5th & 6th Brigades reached their 1st & 2nd objectives but were obliged to retire to the original positions owing to the Division on right (63rd) failing to reach its objectives. The British front was subjected to heavy and ceaseless fire all through the day. Our casualties were - Capt. W.A. SIMMONDS, 2/Lts. H. JOHNSON AND J.S. SMITH killed, Lt. T.H. SEARLES wounded, 2/Lts. C.W. BLOOMFIELD & R.S. O'CONNOR missing, and 186 other ranks killed, wounded and missing.


The following detail is from the excellent book "When the Whistle Blows" by Riddoch and Kemp on Sportsman's Battalion - the 17th Middlesex.
The Battle of Arras (1st Battle of the Scarpe) commenced on 9th April 1917, acting as a northern distraction to the Nivelle Offensive on the Aisne which was intended as a major French breakthrough. The British attack brought numerous successes including the capture of Vimy Ridge and the village of Monchy. By 15th April the advance had slowed, and Haig ordered a temporary halt so preparations could be made for the next series of attacks.
The objective for 1st Army (which included the 2nd South Staffs) for the 2nd Battle of the Scarpe (23rd -24th April) was simply the capture of Gavrelle. This was achieved and German counter-attacks were re-buffed, the line held and gains of 1 to 2 miles were made. Haig made plans for a major attack in May to encourage the French to continue their Aisne offensive. As a preliminary to this, an attack on 28th April was intended to get an improved starting line for May - the 2nd Division objective (which included the 2nd South Staffs) was the village of Oppy.
The attack by 6th Brigade of 2nd Division was to be carried out by 17th Middlesex and 13th Essex with 2nd South Staffs in close support, with 'C' & 'D' Companies of 2nd South Staffs acting as support for 17th Middlesex for carrying parties and mopping-up duties.
17th Middlesex were to take 3 successive objectives, following a creeping barrage. At each objective, the leading troops were to consolidate whilst the next wave of troops passed on to the next. The 1st objective was achieved without undue casualties, but the advance to the 2nd objective was held up by German resistance and units either side not advancing as quickly. The creeping barrage moved away faster than the 17th Middlesex could manage and local German counter-attacks ensued.
The Germans managed to drive between the 17th Middlesex and the 2nd Highland Light Infantry to their left, and to attack the 17th Middlesex (especially 'A' Company) from the flank and rear. The "moppers-up" - the 2nd South Staffs - had already been sent forward to strengthen the flanks, but in effect the 17th Middlesex were surrounded. The day had been disastrous for the 17th Middlesex and the companies of the 2nd South Staffs allocated to them. This attack was to be one element of what was to become known as the Battle of Arleux.

62 Other Ranks from the 2nd South Staffs were killed on 28th April, 4 of them from Tipton: Allen Mantle Perks & Williams. All 4 Tipton men are commemorated on the Arras Memorial.


Newspaper Cuttings

None.