10 APRIL. Official despatches reported that the enemy launched heavy attacks covered by Artillery fire about
the river crossings at Lestrem and Estaires and succeeded in reaching the left bank of both places; but in each
case he was driven back again by determined counter attacks by the 50th Division.|
Diary "The Btn held the line taken up on the previous afternoon.
At about 11 a.m. the troops holding the line opposite Pt Vanuxeem [i.e. at right angles to the Front] were driven back.
This retirement eventually exposed our left flank and as we were heavily attacked in front at the same time, we were compelled to fall back
on the new line which the troops on our left had taken up.
This line was from 100 to 300 yards East of and parallel to the
Trou Bayard - Le Pt Mortier Road.
The 4th East Yorks were on our right and 5th Yorks on our Left.
Casualties - Major Austin Graham, Lt Farquarson F D, 2 Lt and Adjt Webb H E and 2 Lt Ibbetson H W wounded."
Major John Austin Graham.
Lt Col Graham John Austin. Died of wounds. Son of John and Margaret Ely Graham of 17 Montalbo Terrace, Barnard Castle, Co Durham.
He had been an Officer with the Battn from the start [see group photograph on page 4].
He had served in the early 1st Volunteer Battalion, before the 4th Battalion was formed as part of the Territorial Force in 1908.
He was born in the January Quarter of 1872 at Barnard Castle and educated in the schools there.
At the 1891 census he was living with his brother, Thomas Bernard Graham at 64 Balmoral Terrace, Middlesbrough, both listed as electrical engineers
With a third brother, Peter, they formed the Company, Graham Bros, electrical contractors undertaking major installaion contracts for local authorities in the area,
when the electrification of houses and public lighting was in its infancy.
Some time between 1911 and 1918 he married. His War medals were sent to Mrs A Graham, Huntcliff House, Saltburn by Sea, N Yorks.
On Whit Monday, 24th April, 1915 he had been badly gassed when the 4th Yorks were in trenches astride the Menin Road at Hooge, Ypres
He had to returned to the UK for treatment.
"Captain Austin Graham of the 4th Yorks is in Lady Eveline Mason's Hospital for Officers in London, suffering from gas poisoning.
He went first to the Hospital in Boulogne and on his arrival there his sister Miss Greta Graham, was one of the first persons he saw. She was singing to the wounded when
he arrived. Some years ago he was with Messrs Taylor and Co of Huddersfield and was then popular as a player in local Association Football."
A local new report describes him giving a talk in December 1915 on the events at Ypres in April/May of that year.
On the 4th August 1916 he acted as Best Man for Lt Henry Beaumont Blackett of the 4th Yorks.
He was an accomplished singer and pianist. A report of 23rd Feb 1917, shows him leading well known singers in an entertainment at Chelmsford.
He died on the 11th April of wounds received on the previous day in the action
to hold the bridge at Sailly sur Lys. He had been made the CO of the Battalion at this time and his Medal Card gives his rank as Lt Col.|
He is buried at Haverskerque British Cemetery. His father paid £3 9s to have the words "What I give, I have." inscribed on his headstone.
His brother served as a Lieutenant in the War with the Northumberland Fusiliers and survived. Their father had received a telegram that Peter was missing on the same day that Austin was killed.
His estate at his death amounted to £3,023.
Position at Estaires on the 10th April 1918.
2Lt Laurance Ward. Killed in action aged 22. Home at The Woodlands, Eaglesclife, Co Durham, place of birth. Son of Albert, a Salt works Manager and Cecily. He first served in the Border Regiment with Army No
4181/241752 reaching the rank of Corporal before being commissioned on the 30th October 1917. He was an old boy of Middlesbrough High School and is commemorated on the school memorial plaque which can now be found
displayed in Middlesbrough College. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.|
43560 Pte Clarkson Arthur. Born and enlisted at Leeds, Yorks. Died of wounds.
Age 18.Buried at La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck.
23973 Pte Dixon Albert William Home at - 29 Poplar St, Middlesbrough, N Yorks, town of
birth and enlistment. Died of wounds 180410 23 Hautmont Communal Cemetery
43616 Pte Elliott William Born and enlisted at Hucknall Notts. Killed in action
180410 Ploegsteert Memorial
46504 Pte Jackson James Ernest Home at - High Pittington Durham. Born at Beamish and
enlisted at Houghon Le Spring, Co Durham. Died of wounds 180410 St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen.
35325 Pte Long Lawrence Home at Windermere, place of birth. Enlisted at Kendal.
Killed in action. Buried at Croix Du Bac British Cemetery, Steenwerck.
240263 Pte Mennell Frank. Born and enlisted at Scarborough, N Yorks. Killed in action.
Buried at Croix Du Bac British Cemetery, Steenwerck.
200446 Pte Page John, Percival. Home at Yarm N Yorks. Enlisted at Northallerton, N Yorks.
Died of wounds. Age 21. Buried at La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck
L/Cpl Harold Surtees.
201763 Pte Sleath Thomas, William. Born and enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Killed in
action. Age 21.Buried at Pont Du Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue.
2048 and 200407 L/Cpl Surtees Harold. Home at Waterfall Terrace, Great Ayton, N Yorks. He was born in Hartlepool on 11th April 1891, but when his father died in the
following year his mother, a schoolteacher, moved to lodgings in Great Ayton and re-married to John Jackson in 1909.
Harold started work as a watch and clock repairer, but by 1914 was a bricklayer's labourer.
He married Sarah Mcpherson in Great Ayton on the 23rd May of that year and in October a son, also Harold, was born.
Despite having a baby due, he enlisted in the 4th Yorks at Stokesley, N Yorks.
A report of his death in a local paper records that he was wounded or gassed 3 times.
He clearly spent some time back in the UK recovering, as a daughter, Mary, was born in August 1917.
Harold died of wounds, age 26, on this day. He is buried at Haverskerque British Cemetery.
After the War his widow paid 10 shillings and sixpence to have the words - Till the day dawns and the shadows flee away. on his headstone.
[Information kindly contributed by Great Ayton History Society.]
201388 Pte Tait George. Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks. Killed in action.
Buried at Croix Du Bac British Cemetery, Steenwerck.
Many men were taken prisoner. Among them was 1922/200359 Pte Samuel Healey Jones, aged 22.
He had gone to France in April 1915, when the Battn first went out. He was a Middlesbrough lad, the son of
Samuel Healey Jones and Christina, nee Brown of 15 Smith St.
He was held at Dulmen POW Camp near Munster Germany, released at the end of the War and demobilised 26th March 1919.
Capt F D Farquharson killed on the 11th April 1918 at Estaires.
[Photograph kindly contributed by John Sheen, author of Tyneside Irish, Durham Pals, & Wearside Battalion.]
11 APRIL. Diary - "At about 8.0 a.m. the enemy
commenced his attack and about an hour later the troops on
our left flank fell back and we were compelled to conform with this movement.|
During this withdrawal units became very
much disorganised. Isolated groups of our men were collected and put into a line.
During the afternoon orders were received that the 150th Brigade was to assemble at four-cross roads West of Doulieu and were to remain
there until 1 a.m. the next morning, but at about 4.30 p.m. orders were received to report to Brigade Headquarters at Vierhouck.
Some of the party reached Vierhouck, but the remainder took up a position to rally the men who were retiring from Neuf
Berquin. This party became isolated and at dusk withdrew and reported at Brigade HQ which had then removed to Arrewage.
The night was spent in billets in the neighbourhood of Arrewage.
Casualties - 2nd Lt Cliffe W A missing."
Captain Francis David Farquharson. Age 23. He was attached to the 4th Bn from the
5th Bn Royal Scots. Son of Francis William Farquharson and Janet Farquharson, of 71 Spottiswoode St, Edinburgh. Buried at
Haverskerque British Cemetery.
14562 Pte Allison John, George. Home in Ryhope, Co Durham. Enlisted at Sunderland.
Killed in action. Age 29. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial
34630 Pte Buckner Frank. Home at - 6 Warwick Place, Ealing, London place of enlistment.
Born Shadwell, Middlesex. Died of wounds. Age 22. Buried at La Kreule Military Cemetery Hazebrouck. Ex RASC.
35170 Pte Howitt Walter, Ernest. Home at - Rotherham Yorks. Born Swindon, Yorks and enlisted
Pontefract, Yorks. Killed in action. Buried at Pont Du Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue. Ex 9th T R.Battn
Pont Du Hem Military Cemetery, La Gorgue.|
Situated about 5k to the East of Estaires.
13 men of the 4th Yorks Btn are buried here.
240810 Pte Skelton Robert, Matthew. Home at Skipsey, Seaton, Hull, Yorks. Born at Bridlington,
Yorks. Killed in action. Age 20. Commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
12 APRIL. Official despatches reported that at about 8 a.m the enemy attacked in great strength on a Front
extending from South of the Estaires - Vieux Berquin neighbourhood. After very heavy fighting...he succeeded
in the afternoon in overcoming the resistance of our troops about Doulieu and La Becque, forcing them back in
a North Westerly direction.
Diary - "At 5.0 a.m. the party which was reinforced by another party of stragglers took up a line
East of Pt Tournant.
The 3rd Btn Coldstream Guards were on our left and a party of stragglers from 151st Brigade on the
This line was held until about 4.0 p.m. when it was forced back in considerable disorder. Stragglers were
Collected and a very thin line was formed.
No attack was made on this line. About 3.0 p.m. the party was relieved by a
batch of another Division and marched to La Motte Au Bois where the night was spent in huts. Casualties 2 Lt Clidero H A