Pte Harry Crew 14186

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Pte Harry Crew 14186

Postby PaulaC » Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:09 pm


I am trying to find out further information of my Great Uncle Pte Harry Crew 14186 who served with the 4th Bn Worcestershire Regiment. I have found out he died on 6th August 1915 and is on panel 104 - 113 of the Helles Memorial in Gallipoli. How do I find out any more information on how he died and if there are any photos etc

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Re: Pte Harry Crew 14186

Postby scully » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:13 pm

Hi Paula,

Private Harry Crew (14186) enlisted at Birmingham. He first entered the Theatre of War in France on the 19th March 1915 joining the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment. At some point he was moved to the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in Gallipoli with a draft of men. He was killed in action on the 6th August 1915 during the actions of Krithia vineyard. Below is some details of that action.

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The 4th Worcestershire, after reaching Gully Beach on July 28th, lay in reserve along the shore, labouring on various fatigues and bathing whenever work and the enemy's shells would permit. Gradually the news of the forthcoming battle filtered down. The attack of the 29th Division was to be made by the 88th Brigade. The Brigade was to attack over their old battle ground between the Krithia Nullah and the Gully Ravine. Further to the right a battalion of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division would attack astride the Krithia Road, their principal immediate objective being the enemy defences around Krithia Vineyard.
The enemy's defences on the front to be attacked were known to be formidable. But much additional artillery had been landed and by this aid it was hoped that success might be gained. Hope was running high on August 5th as final preparations were made for the attack.

At 4.0 a.m. on the morning of August 6th the attacking troops left the beach and moved forward to the assembly trenches. The 4th Worcestershire, commanded by Major Seton, had been made up to full strength by fresh drafts and went into action over 800 strong. The other battalions of the Brigade were equally strong and all were full of fight; " the best Brigade of the best Division of the Army" wrote their Brigadier enthusiastically. Before dawn all were under cover in the front trenches and ready for the battle. There was'plenty of time to make final preparations, for the attack was not to commence until the cool of the evening. So all that morning the crowded troops lay quiet in their trenches under a grilling sun and a haze of flies, while the officers scanned as best they could the ground in front. A slight rise in the ground hid the enemy's trenches from view, but their location was well known. In front of the 4th Worcestershire the enemy's line formed a deep re-entrant, with a strong redoubt in the re-entrant angle. Another redoubt flanked the enemy's line further to the right. To the left of the Battalion's frontage the enemy's trenches came forward to that salient position which the bombers had endeavoured to gain on Jufy 2nd. That salient was now to be attacked by the Hampshire and Essex. On the right of the Worcestershire the Turkish salient at the junction of the two arms of the Krithia Nullah was to be attacked by the 5th Manchester of the 42nd Division. Midday passed amid heat and buzzing flies. At 2.20 p.m. the British heavy artillery opened fire. Instantly the Turkish guns replied. Tlie enemy was expecting attack, and a shower of shrarmel and high explosive shells burst all along the British trenches. The troops crouched low, and escaped heavy loss, though behind them the communication trenches were wrecked.
At 3.15 p.m. the British machine-gun batteries added their stammer to the crash of the shells, and five minutes later the field guns joined in the chorus. For half-an-hour the storm raged. Then at 3.50 p.m. the officers' whistles sounded ; the platoons scrambled over the parapets and advanced to the attack. The Battalion went forward in four waves. For the first fifty yards all went well and losses were not heavy until the crest of the low rise in front was reached. Through the smoke and dust of the enemy's shells, spectators in the British trenches saw the successive waves crest that low rise and disappear into the haze beyond. Through the din the watchers could hear the stammer of machine-guns in front. As the successive waves topped the rise and came in full view of the enemy they were struck from both flanks by a hail of machine-gun bullets. Quickening their pace the platoons rushed on towards their goal, but under that deadly fire the ranks withered away. The remnant dashed onwards, charged the trenches and in many cases leapt in. The enemy's machine-guns raked all the ground, and soon none remained outside the trench but dead or disabled men. Inside the trench the survivors closed with the enemy and fought hand to hand until overpowered by numbers. In few cases was quarter either asked or given. At one point about thirty of the Worcestershire forced their way into the trench and found themselves isolated in the midst of the enemy. Swiftly erecting barricades on both flanks, they organised a little stronghold for defence. For three hours they held their ground, fighting desperately against attacks from every direction. Their bombs were soon exhausted, but their musketry kept the surrounding enemy at bay until night came on. By that time twenty of the little party had fallen. The survivors numbered only twelve, commanded by Sergeant Stevens. They had expended nearly all their ammunition and there were no signs of help. The sergeant decided that they must retreat, and under cover of the darkness they succeeded in leaving the trench. Sixteen strong platoons had advanced to the attack; only this little party returned. On the left of the Worcestershire the 2nd Hampshire had been annihilated in the same way. Still further to the left the 1st Essex had actually captured a portion of the enemy's trench and had there held on for some time. Eventually bombing attacks forced them out of all their gains except one little salient corner which was retained. On the right the 5th Manchesters had likewise failed to gain ground. A renewed attack was ordered at that point by a fresh battalion, the 7th Manchester. That fresh attack was made at 8.15 p.m. In the absence of any news it had been assumed that the 4th Worcestershire had taken their objective and were holding it, and those fresh troops were instructed to gain touch with them. In the gathering darkness the Manchesters advanced to the Turkish trench. An officer went forward and called "Are the Worcesters there ?" He was heavily fired on. Moving to the left he tried again'with the same result. Realising that the attack must have failed, he withdrew his men. On the way back he found Sergeant Stevens' little party in "No Man's Land" and brought them back. The ensuing night was one of great anxiety. Save for the personnel of Battalion Headquarters the trenches of the 4th Worcestershire were empty; nor were the battalions on the left in any better case. Had the Turks attempted a counter-attack nothing could have averted disaster; but the enemy made no move. All night the Headquarters personnel worked in "No Man's Land," bringing in wounded and searching for survivors. One subaltern crawled forward to with in thirty yards of the enemy's trench and located two of their machine-guns; but there was no sign that any of our men were still holding out in the enemy's trench, or that any were still alive save the helpless wounded in the open. By dawn a large number of the wounded had been brought in, and with the dawn came relief—the Fusilier battalions of the 86th Brigade. The remnant of the 4th Worcestershire went back to Gully Beach, to reorganise and reckon their loss. It was found that the casualties numbered 16 officers and 752 N.C.O's. and men. That virtual destruction of the Battalion was a stunning wind after the high hopes before the battle. The only consolation was that the very strength of the Turkish defence proved that from the strategic point of view the object of the attack had been obtained; the enemy had concentrated at Krithia to meet the attack, leaving the decisive attack further north a full chance of success. Such was the gist of the speech of the Divisional Commander, General de Lisle, to the. survivors of the Brigade; and that news cheered them despite their heavy loss. During the ensuing week the survivors of the 88th Brigade remained in reserve at Gully Beach. Each night the Adjutant of the 4th Worcestershire led out search parties to find wounded; and many were rescued. On that part of the battle front the attack had been abandoned; further to the right fierce fighting continued with alternate attack and counter-attack around the Vineyard. The struggle there did not die down until August 13th, by which time the main battle further north had also come to an end-. To that battle we must now turn, for there much desperate fighting had fallen to the lot of the 9th Worcestershire.
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Re: Pte Harry Crew 14186

Postby Simon_Fielding » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:35 pm

I've researched a soldier who died with the 4th on the 6/8/1915 - the source is mostly the Regimental History by Stacke...

The action in which John Alberts met his death became known as the battle of Krithia Vineyard. This was a effort by the 88th Brigade of the 29th Division (including the 4th Worcesters) and the 127th Brigade of the 42nd Division to seize the tip of a well defended salient based on the hamlet of Krithia between Krithia Nullah and the Gully Ravine. The wider importance of the action was to divert Turkish attention from the new allied offensive centred on the new landing site of Sulva bay to the northwest of the Gallipoli peninsula.

The 4th battalion had recently been reinforced by fresh drafts of to about 800 men. Under the command of Major Seton, they left the beach at 4.0 am on the morning of August 6th, and moved to the assembly trenches. The attack was scheduled to begin after the heaviest bombardment the expeditionary force could muster. The troops waited for the attack in the full force of the sun, and tried to observe the ground over which they were to attack. There was a slight ridge between the Turkish trenches and the British line, and the attack was to be made against a series of fortified positions, with strong Turkish positions flanking the Worcesters from left and right. Neutralizing them with artillery was vital. The bombardment, drawing on all the artillery available to VII Corps, and naval gunfire from a cruiser, five monitors and five destroyers. The shelling was watched by the VIII corps commander designate Lt Gen Davies and his staff from a hill above W beach. He later observed that the bombardment for this major attack was less than for a trench raid on the Western front.

The Turks replied with a savagely effective barrage of their own on the crowded British trenches, which were soon heavily damaged and choked with casualties. British guns renewed their barrages at 3.15pm, reaching a crescendo at 3.50pm, when the whistles sounded and the troops scrambled out of their trenches, the Worcesters attacking in four separate waves. Each man in the attacking force wore a small reflective metal panel on his back so the observing staff could track their progress. At first, the troops made good progress through the dust and smoke caused by the shelling. However, as the passed over the small ridge in front of the Turkish trenches, the came under massed machine gun fire from both flanks. The attacks by the 2nd Hampshire on the left and the 5th Manchesters on the right had been crushed by Turkish machine gun fire in an identical way. Some small number of Worcesters made it into the Turkish trenches where brutal hand to hand fighting took place. Apart from a very small party, no foothold was gained in the Turkish position. Over 60 Worcesters were taken prisoner by the Turks in this attack. The metal plate markers on the backs of the advancing troops caused excitement at headquarters when they were observed clustering in front of the Turkish trenches. In fact, they merely marked the dead lying in ranks in front of the enemy machine guns.

As night fell the enormity of the failed attack began to be fully realized by headquarters. Wounded men crawled in to safety, and the few Worcesters who managed to hold ground in the Turkish trenches withdrew to comparative safety of their own line. At dawn on the 7th August, the 88th Brigade were relieved by the 86th Brigade, and returned to Gully Beach. 88th Brigade had suffered a loss of two thirds of its strength in 10 minutes on the 6th of August. It had lost 2000 officers and men as casualties out of a strength of 3000 . The 4th Worcesters had lost 16 officers and 752 NCOs and men. One of the dead was Private John Alberts.
Researching the 75 men of the Great War Memorial of St Anne's Church, Bewdley, Worcestershire .
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Re: Pte Harry Crew 14186

Postby PaulaC » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:18 pm


Thank you very much for the two replies I received about my great Uncle. They were both very useful and informative

Regards Paula
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Re: Pte Harry Crew 14186

Postby allanp » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:28 pm

Hi Paula

I have found 2 references to Harry in the Worcester Herald

18th September 1915 edition
4th Battalion
14186 Pte H. Crew

11th Marrch 1916 edition
Previously reported missing, now reported killed
14186 Pte H. Crew

Regards Allan
12631 Lance Sergt George William Hill. KIA Vimy Ridge, 28 April 1916 3rd Battalion
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