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20th May, 2022

Redditch remembers: a second battle that cost many lives

Ross Crawford 29th Oct, 2017

ON October 26, 1917 the British launched what was to become the Second Battle of Passchendaele.

A key element was the artillery support which first pounded the enemy’s lines and then provided a rolling barrage to protect the advancing infantry.

This inevitably drew counter fire from the German guns causing severe casualties among the British gun crews.

George Henry Andrew was born in Redditch in 1899, the son of George Henry and Florence Andrews.

The family lived at 48 Evesham Street but by the 1911 census George senior had died and George junior was living with his grandmother Harriet James and aunt and uncle at 34 Grove Street.

His mum later remarried and died in 1933.

George joined up in 1915, serving with the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery.

By March 1916 he was in France and serving at the front.

He was wounded on October 26 and died the same day and is buried at the St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery and is remembered today on the St Stephen’s War Memorial.

Albert William Harris would have been in the thick of the action as the advance began.

A member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, he was born around 1893, the son of Albert Edward and Helen Harris of 88 Rectory Road, Crabbs Cross.

In the 1911 census he is listed as a press tool maker.

He is buried in the Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, south west of Ypres and is remembered today on St Luke’s War Memorial.

John Thomas Simons had only been married a matter of months when he was killed serving with the 1st Royal Marine Battalion supporting an attack by the Canadian Corps.

He was born in 1894, one of George and Flora Simons’s six children.

The family lived on Evesham Road, Headless Cross and ran a tobacconist and hardware shop.

In the spring of 1917 John married Florence M Cale in Alcester, the couple setting up home at 100a Evesham Road, Astwood Bank.

His unit had only just arrived at the Ypres salient when it was pressed into action.

John suffered a wound in his hip which penetrated the abdomen and he later died. He is remembered on the Astwood Bank War Memorial.

Philip Baylis Jarvis was killed on October 27, 1917.

Born in 1896, he was the eldest of Walter and Emily Jarvis’s three children.

His father was a coal merchant and the family lived at 7 Archer Road.

By the time he was 14 he was working as a timekeeper at Millward’s needle factory.

Young Philip joined up in December 1915, shortly after the death of his father.

He was 5ft 10ins tall and served with the 289th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery, a branch of the army which, as described above, was vulnerable to suppressing fire from the Germans.

He is buried in Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery in Belgium and is remembered today on the St Stephen’s War Memorial.

 

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