Wednesday, 28 September 2016

One hundred years ago...10 soldiers died at Thiepval. Frank Buxton 1890-1916

On 2 October 2016, it is 100 years since Private Frank Buxton 4129 lost his life in the Great War. Born 1890, he was the nephew of my husband's grandmother Ethel Hudson and the grandson of Joseph Hudson.

Frank the son of Walter and Emily Buxton nee Hudson was part of 1/5th Cheshire Regiment. Prior to joining in Nov 1915 he lived with his parents and siblings, three brothers and one sister, in Bank Street Cheadle

It was a reserve Battalion converted to a pioneer regiment after the many young men in the area answered the call and rushed in to enlist. Its primary role was construction rather than fighting meaning its role was construction of tunnels and trenches. Franks previous occupation as a gardener was entirely appropriate to the task.

After training in Cheshire he would've made his way over to France. Probably by August 1916 his regiment would've also become fighting replacements for those killed in the heavy losses on the Somme in July.

His battalion moved into forward positions south of the village of Montauban on 30 September. Their role was to dig new assembly trenches in preparation for another attack.

Frank was one of 10 members of that Battalion who died that day. Five died of wounds after being evacuated from the trenches. 4 others besides Frank were killed in action. John Hartley for the Cheadle and Gately War Memorial’s website reported that his Commanding Officer had written to the next of Kin

"it it may be of some consolation to you to know that his death was painless being killed instantly by a bursting shell and he was carefully buried behind the lines by his comrades”. He was aged 26.

The register of soldier’s effects shows that his mother, Emily was his soul legatee.

The 1/5th Cheshire's fought at Ypres, the Somme, Arras, Cambrai, the Canal du Nord and Mons.

His Somme grave is located at Thiepval Memorial near the village of Thiepval. Index number MR 21 part VII. Panel reference is Pier and face 3C and 4A.

The Memorial has over 72,000 grave sites- 90% of whom were lost between July and November 1916.

The historical information on the Memorial site states that the offensive had been going since July.

 Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.”

RIP Frank Buxton 1890-1916

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