British Troops at Poperinghe.|
A Belgian town about 12k due west of Ypres.
It was outside the
reach of German Artillery and used as a Casualty Clearing station.
The Battalion were shelled intermittently all day and retired into a wood.
At 7.30 pm they marched about 20 miles to Steenvoorde, which was where the Northumbrian Division Headquarters was
They arrived at 3 am next day.
1557 Pte Goodwill Maurice. Home at Helperby N Yorks, place of birth. Enlisted at
Brafferton N Yorks. Died of wounds. Buried at Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery.
713 Sgt Whitehead Wilfred Harold Gill Home at 119 Waterloo Rd, Middlesbrough, N Yorks,
town of birth and enlistment. Killed in action Age 24. Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.
The Battalion was billeted at farms to the North of Steenvoorde, where they stayed until the
Pte Maxwell Whittaker wrote home about recent actions:- [he was to die of wounds on the 25th July 1916.]|
"I have not had time to write before, we have had a rough time for the last nine days.
You would see in the newspapers about the engagement we were in.
Our lads did well that day and it is a wonder that we did not lose more men than we did, what with the guns and maxims,
but our men went up just as if it was a "sham" fight.
We had the Canadians with us and they are beggars to fight. They called us the Yorkshire Gurkhas!
You should have seen the Germans "hop it" when we fixed our bayonets, they did not let us get near enough to use them.
We lost some good officers and men. Our platoon sergeant was killed and one man wounded, so we were lucky.
I could just fancy Brompton when you got the news. I'll bet all the newspapers were soon bought up.
You will know by now we have been in the trenches a second time, but we have not been so lucky this time.
The Germans used that gas and Joe Burn was killed with it, poor lad and Sep. Garbutt was shot by a sniper.
You have to watch out for them chaps, they are such good shots.
Our lads would have stuck it to the last man before they would have given in.
I had a lucky escape or two. The trench I was in was blown in by a trench mortar. I and another lad were buried up to
the neck and some sand bags on top of us.
If it had not been for Captain Moon and Corporal Bullock we should not have got out alive.
Three bombs came through the same place, just over our heads, and the last one caught a Red Cross man and wounded him
badly. We would have got that.
4th May. 50th Div HQ at Steenvoorde moved to Poperinghe and 10th May 4th Bn to Brandhoek.
We have been moved now to a rest camp, so don't worry. I will keep sending you a few lines.|
I am alright and in good health. I got the box alright and it was a good change to what we have been getting down here.
Don't send any more "fags" as we get some every week.
I have been washing my shirts and socks today, so I might be able to give you a hand when I get back home!
You should see our men over here if they get wounded - they never make a murmur.
A sergeant and other two of us carried a chap four miles. He must have been in agony, but when we asked him how he
was getting on he always said he was alright. He was one of ours.
Well I have no more to tell you now. Remember me to all my friends at Brompton."
[Information courtesy of - Northallerton Memorials
Pte John G Ball.
1518 Pte Corps Walter. H; Home at Masham, N Yorks. Born Askew, Bedale and enlisted Bedale.
Died of wounds. Age 21. Buried at Le Treport Military Cemetery. Hospital Cemetery, 30k North East of Dieppe.
1549 Pte Richardson Frankland. Born at Layerthorpe, Yorks and enlisted at Helperby N Yorks.
Died of wounds. Age 22. Etretat Churchyard, small town 26k North of Le Havre, site of No 1 General Hospital.
1315 Pte Ball John George.Born and enlisted at Middlesbrough. Died of wounds.
Age 21, Buried at Boulogne Eastern [Hospital] Cemetery.
The Northumbrian Division became the 50th Division on 12 May 1915.|
10 MAY. The whole York and Durham Brigade were transported by motor bus to Brandhoek, where at 4 pm
they bivouacked to the North of the main road on the West side of that place.|
11 MAY. The Brigade was moved to huts on the West side of Ypres, where they stayed,
until being sent into the line again on the 23rd.
12 MAY. Second Army Headquarters sent the Divisional HQ a notification that their name had been changed.
Henceforth they would be called the 50th [Northumbrian] Division and structured as per the diagram shown here.
While the 4th Battalion were not in the line others were fighting the Battle of Frezenburg Ridge and resisting further
From the 14th to the 24th the German offensive reduced its ferocity and there was a hope that the Second Battle of Ypres
was over. Trenches and defences were strengthened and exhausted men rested.