Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

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Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby Angie » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:55 pm

Hello!

John Greenway....or I believe he may have been referred to as Jack....was married to my Great Aunt Laura Willetts. He enlisted in Dudley in 1914 and was killed in action on November 7th 1914. I have his details that I found on CWGC. He was born in Quarry Bank, his service number was 7617 and he is buried in the Cabaret-Rouge British cemetery in Souchez, France.

I am curious to know what happened on that day in November to give me some idea of how and where my Great Uncle might have died. John left behind a wife of less than 12 months and a little girl, Laura, who sadly died when she was 5 years old in 1919.

I would be very grateful for any information that you might have. I have only recently discovered this information and was very surprised. I believe his name is mentioned on the war memorial in Quarry Bank park.

Many thanks. Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year..

Best regards,

Angie
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby John(txic) » Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:23 pm

Angie,


Your relative's name also appears on the Clock Tower War Memorial in the centre of Dudley.



Regards,


John
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby scully » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:14 pm

Hi Angie,

Below is some information from the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment history covering the period 1st to 17th November 1914. Hope this helps.

Regards,

Louis (webmaster)

The 3rd Battalion of the Regiment had been experiencing some bitter fighting. The bulk of the troops of the 3rd and 5th Divisions had been withdrawn into reserve about Bailleul after their relief by the Indian troops in the La Bassde area. The two Divisions had suffered in staff as well as in fighting troops, and on November 1st came orders that, as a temporary measure, the 3rd Division was to be broken up. Divisional Headquarters were to remain at Meteren, but the three Brigades were to be attached to other formations. One Brigade (the 8th) was to hold the line near Neuve Chapelle under the orders of the Indian Corps, one (the 9th) was to be put at the disposal of the 1st Cavalry Corps, then operating in the Kemmel—Messines area and the third Brigade (the 7th) although temporarily retained in reserve near Bailleul, was to come under the command of the 5th Division.
From that last Brigade (the 7th) the 3rd Worcestershire were (1st November 1914) detached to the support of the 4th Division. In the fighting of the previous fortnight the 4th Division had captured Armentieres and the area around Ploegsteert Wood, but was now with difficulty holding a line covering those two localities. On its left flank after fierce fighting the Cavalry Corps had been forced back that morning from the Wytschaete—Messines Ridge, and by midday of November 1st the line of the 4th Division formed a pronounced salient, with Ploegsteert Wood in the angle. Against that salient enemy pressure was increasing, and help was needed. Orders to move reached the 3rd Worcestershire in Merris early on November 1st. Later in the morning the Battalion was carried in motor busses, to billets in Neuve Eglise. Thence at dusk the Battalion moved forward through Le Romarin to bivouac in reserve just west of Ploegsteert village. "D" company was then sent forward to the support of the East Lancashire, who were being hard pressed at the south-east corner of Ploegsteert Wood. Next morning (November 2nd) the Battalion (less "D" Company) was moved forward to a covered position near the Chateau of La Hutte. There they were well within the salient formed by the Ploegsteert Wood, and the sound of firing was continuous from every direction. The Battalion
lay in reserve throughout the day. "D" Company rejoined, and at dusk the 3rd Worcestershire (The Battalion had been attached to the 11th Brigade) moved forward to the firing line and relieved the 1st Hampshire in trenches on the eastern edge of Ploegsteert Wood.
Then followed four days of great discomfort. The trenches were shallow and were already water-logged. They were overlooked from the Messines Ridge on the left. Firing was constant and communication along the line was difficult. There were several casualties (November 3rd-6th—9 killed, 1 officer ?/Lieut. C. F. ? and 22 other ranks wounded).
November 6th saw the low-lying valley of the Lys blanketed by a thick fog. All day the fog lasted, making it impossible at any time to see more than fifty yards. Great shells came hurtling through the thick air, while the men in the water-logged trenches stared ahead, firing at intervals into the mist and straining their eyes and ears to catch warning of attack: for it was with just such aid that the enemy might hope with reason to break through the line of weary men who barred the way to the Channel Ports. As the day drew on the enemy's fire increased in intensity. By 5 p.m. night had added its darkness to the fog's obscurity, while the groping troops were dazed by the blaze of bursting shells. The British artillery could not do much to support the troops in the front line. In the fog the positions of the enemy's guns could not be located, and our guns, firing at random, could do little to prevent any concentration of attacking troops. Colonel Stuart realised the danger and reported that he considered the position untenable without more artillery support; but he was
informed that more support was not possible.
In the darkness between 3 and 4 a.m. next morning (November 7th) a very heavy shell-fire was opened on the British line east of Ploegsteert Wood. For an hour shells crashed down on the Battalion's line. Then about 5 a.m. masses of German ixifantry came plunging through the fog. Such of the front line defenders as had survived the bombardment manned their smashed parapets and fired swiftly into the advancing hordes ; and on the left of the Battalion line the attack was stopped and held. But the centre and left of the Battalion's trenches had been practically obliterated by the bombardment, and there the German attack flooded over the defences of "C" Company. Most of the defenders were killed, but a few men managed to fight their way out in the fog, and were able to get back to the wood behind in time to warn the reserve companies and Battalion Headquarters. A counter-attack was organised at once to retake the lost trenches. The counter-attack met the enemy inside the edge of the wood and a confused and desperate struggle ensued. At one point a German platoon was surrounded and forced to surrender. From those captured German officers it was learnt that the attackers were Saxons of the German 19th Corps. Reinforcements were brought up—companies of the Inniskilling Fusiliers and the East Lancashire; later a company of the Seaforth Highlanders came up through the wood into the fight. But the fog prevented any proper co-ordination or any effective artillery support, and the lost trenches could not be regained. Eventually a new line was established in the wood and was linked up with the position which the left company of the Worcestershire was still holding in the original front line.
Thus a small salient had been driven in the British front line, and in that salient the enemy firmly established themselves. All through the night of November 7th/8th the remnants of the 3rd Worcestershire hung on to their position, and not until evening of the 8th was the Battalion finally
relieved. The losses had been very heavy—over two hundred in all, including 6 officers. The lost trenches proved impossible to recapture. An attack on them was organised by the 4th Division and took place on the 10th; but three battalions heavily supported by artillery failed to regain the line, and the edge of Ploegsteert Wood remained in German hands. During those operations the 3rd Worcestershire remained in reserve billets, resting and recuperating, undisturbed save for some casual shelling.
On the 13th November one company was sent forward towards Le Gheer to act as local reserve to the Hampshire, and on the following evening the Battalion (less the detached company) again moved forward into the line, this time to the north of Ploegsteert Wood. The Battalion relieved the Somerset Light Infantry in trenches on the southern slope of the valley of the little river Douve, facing north towards the Messines Ridge. The Battalion held those trenches for two days without incident. Then during the night of November 16th/17th the 3rd Worcestershire were relieved by the 1st Rifle Brigade and marched south of Hill 63 westwards to billets at Petit Pont. There the detached company rejoined: and the Battalion, released at last from its duty with the 4th Division, marched at dawn, on November 17th to Neuve Eglise. There the Battalion was attached to the 8th Brigade. That Brigade had just been brought up to the threatened Messines area from Neuve Chapelle, where it had handed over its trenches to the newly arrived 8th Division.
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby John(txic) » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:01 am

"the remnants of the 3rd Worcestershire idiot"

Who was the unfortunate chap? Or dodgy OCR, perhaps?

Gave me a smile, anyway. :P


Xmas Greetings,


John
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby Mike Jones » Sun Dec 25, 2011 6:11 pm

Hi Angie,
John Greenway is also listed in Worcester Cathedral on the 1914 Embarkation Rolls. Try to pop along and see them. He enlisted before 1914 though !
Regards Mike
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby Angie » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:29 pm

Thank you all so much for answering my question.
I am amazed at the speed with which you did so.....especially on Christmas Day!
Your help in researching John Greenway is most appreciated and I now have a much clearer picture of how and where he died.
I do have a record of some of John's siblings but it's doubtful if I can trace any of their descendants, although I will certainly try. Whether any of them have ever visited his grave in Souchez, I have no idea and I'm so sad to think that I was in the area not very long ago, not knowing at that time of the fate of John Greenway.
I will certainly be taking a look at the 3 memorials that you have mentioned.
Once again, may I say a big Thank You and wish you all the best for 2012.
Best regards,
Angie
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby scully » Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:07 pm

Hi John,

Fixed the problem with the reference to "idiot".

Regards,

Louis (webmaster)
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby allanp » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:46 pm

Hi Angie

I have found a reference to John in both the Worcester Herald & Bromsgrove & Droitwich Messenger.

9th January 1915 editions
Missing
7617 Pte G. Greenaway - Reported from Base 24th November 1914
Typo's are quite common

There is not a report of his death.

Hope this helps

Regards Allan
12631 Lance Sergt George William Hill. KIA Vimy Ridge, 28 April 1916 3rd Battalion
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby corona » Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:19 pm

Hi,
There is a John Greenway on the1911 Census, living with his married sister ,Caroline Priest at 10 PRIEST ST, OLD HILL, STAFFS.
He is listed as an unemployed ARMY PENSIONER born QUARRY BANK STAFFS. aged 29.
If he is your relation then there is good chance he is PTE. JOHN GREENWAY 6639 6TH BATT.(MILITIA) WORCS. REGT.
His Militia service papers can be found on the pay for site FIND MY PAST.He joined a regular battalion of the Worcesters on 12/3/1903.
Regards,
corona.
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Re: Private John Greenway 3rd Bn Worcestershire regiment

Postby Angie » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:19 pm

Hello Allan,
Many thanks. Your information is most interesting.

Hi Corona,
Yes indeed. This is most certainly the same John Greenway. His sister married Silas Priest and I am now investigating if he was or had been married at that point. I have found a marriage in 1910 between a John Greenway and Rosannah Crew in Dudley.
I had no idea that he had enlisted in 1903, although the gentleman who told me that John's name was mentioned in Worcester cathedral did say he had joined the army before 1914....so it does all make sense.
It would so interesting to see his papers. I see the site you mention does a 14 day trial. I expect there will be limitations, but I might give it a try!
Thank you somuch for taking the time to help with my research. It's very much appreciated.
Best regards,
Angie
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