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Imperial War Museum War Partnership logoFirst World War - On this day...... 2nd May 1917

 

Remembering the men from the Kingsdown and Creekside Cluster
who gave their lives in the First World War

On the centenary of their death, we remember

William Albert Evans (of Oare)
b. 1884
d. 2nd May 1917. Aged 32 years.


Bombardier, 77820
123rd Battery, 28th Brigade - Royal Field Artillery
Remembered with Honour
La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St. Vaast
Plot 1, Row A, Grave 10

Killed in Action

Duisans Memorial Etrun


William Albert Evans lost his natural mother (Louisa) at some time before 1900. He had one sister, Emily Hannah Galloway (whose married name was Barnes). By 1911, his father, also William Albert, had remarried to Arabella who bore two children, only one of whom survived, Winifred Alberta Evans (born 1901).

William Albert (senior) was born in the naval city of Plymouth (Devonport). In 1901, he worked as an Assistant Shop Clerk, Gun Factory, at Erith Works (Sandcliff and St John's Roads) of Vickers Sons & Maxim Ltd. By 1911, he had moved to the Faversham/Oare Gun Cotton Factory as a "cordite blender" living in Church Road, Oare, Faversham Without.

William (junior) was born in Neath, Glamorganshire.

William was killed shortly after the reorganisation of artillery units with the close of the Battle of The Somme. His Battery was active between FARBUS & VIMY at the time of his death. The detailed record (below) confirms that on the 2nd May 1917 the Batteries were heavily shelled just a day ahead of a planned major action the next day. This was bad luck, but quite common in the duels that took place between artilleries of both side. When he died, his effects were passed to his father as sole legatee and amounted to £53 12s. 4d. Of this sum, £16 10s was the War Gratuity, which confirms an enlistment in August 1914. His father paid for an inscription on his son's headstone that read: "Lest we forget//He gave his life for us//Thy will be done" [giving his address as Oare]

William was awarded:-

Victory Medal
British War Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal


Military Experience of William Albert Evans

It appears that William (junior) may have pursued a military career from an early age. There is a 'reasonable fit' for an early enlistment, at the age of 17 years and 2 months, into the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) - RMRE(M). If this is the same man, William was at that time a labourer in Neath, Glamorganshire, who attested in Monmouth into the RMRE(M) on 25th June 1901 as a Sapper. This followed earlier enlistment in the 2nd Voluntary Battalion, Welsh Regiment. His record for the RMRE(M) shows he was a "growing lad", 5 feet and 3½ inches tall weighing 98 pounds and chest of 30 inches (2" expansion). He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair and was passed "fit". Following his attestation, he was marked "present" for 34 Days and "training" for 42 days.

The same record then shows William "enlisted" on 21st May 1902 as a Private in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, a Reserve Battalion.

We are on firmer ground at the outbreak of the war. In August 1914, William enlisted with the Glamorgan Royal Horse Artillery at Swansea, Glamorganshire. Until the end of February 1917, the 123rd Battery (122nd & 124th Batteries) of the 28th Brigade formed a part of the 5th Division. Artillery positions were of strategic importance both in terms of observation intelligence and in preparation for trench actions/raids. They were involved in duels with enemy artillery as well shelling sniper posts and trench mortars. Their Observation and Forward Observation Officers were often exposed to particular danger from their close proximity to the enemy - their roles being to gather intelligence and direct fire on identified targets, often in response to S.O.S. calls from Infantry Battalions in the trenches.

From March 1917, the 28th Brigade RFA formed part of a new formation - the 28th Army Field Artillery Brigade.

We have transcribed the war diary for the two months prior to William's death on 2nd May as this amply illustrates a particular perspective from the Royal Field Artillery after the close of the Battle of the SOMME.

The Brigade diary opened:-

"1st to 4th March: Le TOURET {North East of Bethune}: 28th Army Field Artillery Brigade effective administratively but non-effective tactically, three Batteries of the Brigade (123rd, 65th, and "A" Batteries) being under tactical command of O.C. Right Group, 56th Divisional Artillery, and 124th Battery being under tactical command of O.C. Left Group, 5th Divisional Artillery.
5th March: BETHUNE: Brigade Headquarters moved from LE TOURET (X.16.d.8.8) to 70 RUE DE LA GENDARMERIE, BETHUNE; Right Group 56th Divisional Artillery moving into the LE TOURET Headquarters. 28th Brigade Headquarters Wagon Lines remained at LA COUTURE. 124th Battery withdrawn to its Wagon Lines.
6th March: 2 guns of 124th Battery relieved 2 guns of A/38 Battery (at main position), 2 guns of 124th Battery relieved 2 guns of A/38 Battery (at enfilade position), and 2 guns of 37th (Howitzer) Battery of 27th Brigade R.F.A. two guns of D.38 Battery (at F.30.c.2/4).

[Throughout this process of reorganisation, the new guns took over the artillery duels along that section of the Front. This continued without mention of the 123rd Battery until 10th March]

10th March: Enemy trench mortars active all day. We retaliated at the request of the Infantry. Movement behind the enemy lines slight.
During night 10/11, 124th and A/15 Batteries exchanged positions. 123rd & 52nd exchanged A/28, and 80th exchanged 65th and D/15 exchanged.
11th March: LOISNE: At 6pm, battery the 28th Brigade Headquarters became Left Group Headquarters comprising 123rd, 124th, A.28 batteries and 65th Howitzer.
Enemy Aerial activity above normal. Our batteries registered and retaliated for the usual hostile fire. During night 11/12 the exchange of batteries was completed.

12th March: Batteries continued registration and checking lines. Enemy hostile fire normal. Unusual activity behind German lines as a relief apparently was in progress. A.28 dispersed a working party of 20 men.
13th March: Hostile fire considerably below normal. We registered various points in enemy line assisted by the R.F.C.
14th March: Considerable movement seen behind enemy front line in back areas. The 65th battery silenced an enemy trench mortar. A/28 fired 50 rounds calibrating.
15th March: Considerable movement again observed. Two enemy balloons ascended on the Brigade Front. Our fire and enemy fire normal.
16th March: LOISNE: Enemy Artillery and T.M.s very active during the day and the batteries of the group were constantly called upon by the Infantry to retaliate. Enemy put some heavy shells (8" and 5.9") near Butcher's House and Girls' School. O.P.s (Observation Post) in Festubert.
17th March: Midnight to 12.15am: 124th Battery fired in support of a raid carried out by the 1st Devonshires under Centre Group orders. 65th, 123rd and 124th Batteries were successfully registered by Aeroplanes on various targets. Enemy are doing much work on their communication trenches. Left Group now comprises 123rd,124th, 65th, A/28 Batteries, 4 guns from 37th, 3 guns from 121, C/330 and 2 guns of B/330 and 120.
18th March: 1.25am S.O.S. GIV RIGHT received from Liaison Officer. Batteries of the group fired 540 rounds. Enemy put down a heavy barrage on our front line and then lifted to the Support line but no Germans reached our trenches.
1.20am: SOS GIV CENTRE received by A/28 Brigade by Rocket signal. Fire 81 rounds. All quiet by 1.45am. During the day, hostile fire was very inactive. A sniper;s post at A.9.d.9.5 was knocked out by 124th Brigade. Work still continues on Communication trenches.
19th March: Much movement fired at by Batteries during the day, much more than usual. Enemy Artillery inactive.
20th March: A/28 and 124 batteries active all day, firing at parties of Germans seen behind his front line and in back areas. 2 guns of C/330 relieved by 2 guns of 120.
21st March: Considerable activity all day on both sides. Batteries fired instructional shoots for the officers of the 66th divisional batteries attached to Brigade. Enemy movement above normal. 3 hostile balloons ascended.
22nd March: Enemy movement in back areas still above normal. Our batteries active all day principally retaliation for enemy fire and calibration. 2 guns of B/330 were relieved by 121 battery. 2 guns of 120 relieved C/330.
23rd March: Enemy's unusual artillery activity drew the customary heavy retaliation from the Brigade guns. Movement seen behind enemy line considerably less than the past few days. 2 guns of 37th relieved by D/331, 2 guns of 120 relieved by B/331, C/331 attached to Left Group (six guns). Note: B/331 etc are batteries from 66th Division recently arrived in France.
24th March: At 3pm all batteries of the Brigade carried out a successful bombardment on the GIVENCHY front with a view to inflicting losses on the active hostile T.M.'s there. The enemy made no reply to our offensive. Enemy movement again above normal. 2 guns of B/330 attached to A/28 battery. Left group now comprises 65th, 123rd, 124th, A/28, C/331. B/331 and 4 guns of D/331.
[Read the letter of 24th March from the General Officer Commanding, 9th Corps applauding the reorganisation]
25th March: Our, and enemy artillery activity above normal. Enemy movement on back areas considerable. 124 Battery fired at and did considerable damage to a suspected O.P.
26th March: Our Batteries active all day in registration calibration retaliation and instructional firing. 124 Battery fired at men in open behind German lines. A/28 located definitely an enemy trench mortar.
27th March: 123 Battery position shelled all day by 150 five-point-nines, practically no damage done as most shells fell & no casualties, no gun put out of action. Enemy fire above normal and consequently our fire in retaliation also. Considerable movement again observed in back areas. At 2am, Batteries carried out a demonstration on the GIVENCHY & CUINCHY fronts bombarding both the enemy front line and supports for 4 minutes. A mine was also blown up on the GIVENCHY sector at the same time. Left Group is now 65, 123, 124, A/28 & "B", "C", "D" of 331 Brigade.
28th March: LOISNE: Hostile batteries were active during the day firing largely in retaliation for our offensive fire. Two balloons ascended and the usual movement was seen in German back Areas. During the night (28th/29th) two guns of 124 Battery were relieved by A/331, three guns of 123rd Battery were relieved by B/331, two guns of this battery going straight to the 123rd Battery's new position. All guns relieved proceeded direct to their wagon lines.
29th March: LOCON: During the night 29/30 the remaining four guns of 124 Battery were relieved by A/331 and three guns of 123rd Battery by B/331. B/330 Battery relieved four guns of A.28 the remaining two being relieved by 121 Battery. All guns relieved proceeded to their own wagon lines. The 65th Battery was withdrawn to its wagon line without relief. Brigade Headquarters moved to Locon.
30th March: VERDREL: The Brigade marched at 10am via HAILLICOURT & RUITZ to VERDREL and came under the command of the 5th Division attached to the 2nd Canadian Division for administrative and tactical purposes. The Brigade Ammunition column marched into billets at OLHAIN.
31st March: VERDREL: During the day Lieut-Colonel L.W. SAVILE and the C.O.s of 123rd, 124th, A/28 and 65. Batteries reconnoitred the new battery positions between LA TARGETTE and NEUVILLE ST VAAST. During the night 31/1 each battery sent one section of guns into its new position. 65th Battery moved its six guns into action under "G" Group.

1st April: VERDREL: During the night of 1st/2nd, 123rd, 124, A/28 each sent another section of guns up to the new position of the silent guns. Brigade Headquarters remained at VERDREL. Weather conditions very bad snow falling for 2 hours continuously in afternoon.
2nd April: Weather still bad 2½ hours heavy snow in afternoon. During the night 2nd/3rd, A/28, 123rd and 124th Batteries sent up remaining sections to the gun line. These three batteries now have six guns in action per battery. Heavy snowfall during the night 2/3.
3 & 4 April: Batteries continued work at their new positions building dugouts and gun platforms.
5 April: Brigade H.Q. moved up from VERDREL into H.Q. occupied by 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
6th April: AUX RIETZ: Feint Barrage fired at 1.30pm by Canadian Artillery. Enemy replied vigorously.
7th April: 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade moved to ZIVY cave. Enemy artillery rather more active. Much aeroplane activity.
8th April: Batteries continued making gun positions. On night 8th/9th, the 27th and 29th Battalion Canadian Infantry moved into Brigade HQ.
9th April: Zero hour. 5.30am. All objectives were taken to time and the Batteries ceased firing at 2pm. At 6.10pm. SOS FARBUS received. Batteries fired for a short time but evidently no attack. 5th Divisional Artillery (with 28th Army Brigade, RFA attached) covering Right Brigade. 2nd Canadian Division. Attack by XVII Corps on our right was also successful. 65th Battery (attached 93rd A.F.A. Brigade) moved forward South of NEUVILLE St. VAAST during afternoon (position in sunken road about A.9.c.7.2).
10th April: S.O.S. FARBUS received at 3.25am, 3.45am, 5.25am and 5.35am Batteries fired 1,800 rounds. During morning, Enemy attempted a counter attack on 5 mile front in extended order. They retired on meeting our barrage. Heavy Artillery bombarded village of VIMY at 3pm.
11th April: Ground gained being consolidated. Enemy shelled FARBUS & VIMY ridge heavily.
12th April: 4th Canadian Division captured "THE PIMPLE".
13th April: Enemy appears to have withdrawn his guns some distance. ANGRES, VIMY, WILLERVAL & BAILLEUL captured.
14th April: AUX RIETZ: Brigade Commander and Battery Commanders reconnoitred new positions west of Railway Embankment, between VIMY and FARBUS, in T.26 and B2, Infantry having occupied and crossed the Embankment on 13th. No firing. 123rd and 124th Batteries R.F.A. moved into new positions during night of 14th/15th, 123rd Battery at T.26.o.75.18 (No.1 gun) & 124th Battery at B.2.a.84.70 (No.1 gun).
15th April: BOIS DE LA VILLE: Brigade Headquarters moved to VIMY RIDGE (BOIS DE LA VILLE) at B.1.d.1.6. H.Q. Wagon Lines, and Wagon Lines of 123rd & 124th Batteries moved to AUX RIETZ. No firing. [65th Battery rejoined 28th Army Field Artillery Brigade].
16th April: 123rd Battery registered. Considerable hostile shelling of VIMY, FARBUS, VIMY RIDGE, and communication roads, and on back areas. Hostile aircraft very active, and over Battery positions, making work difficult. Considerable movement seen on FRESNOY-BOIS BERNARD ROAD. "A" Battery and 65th Battery, R.F.A. reached new positions during night of 16/17th, "A" Battery at T.26.c.65.53 (No.1 Gun) & 65th Battery at T.26.c.73.42 (No.1 Gun), 65th Battery Wagon Lines moved to AUX RIETZ.
17th April: BOIS DE LA VILLE: No firing, low visibility. Some intermittent hostile shelling of our front trenches. RAILWAY EMBANKMENT (near Battery positions), and back areas. ["A" Battery, 1 gun destroyed by shell fire]. Considerable shelling of FARBUS - 5.9s and 4.2s mainly. Considerable movement on FRESNOY-BOIS BERNARD road. Enemy aircraft again active over Battery positions. ACHEVILLE CHURCH (used as an Observation Post) destroyed by Heavy Artillery.
18th April: Our fire, Nil, owing to poor visibility. Considerable hostile shelling of our front line, VUMY, MONT FORÊT QUARRIES, RAILWAY EMBANKMENT, and particularly FARBUS, with 150, 105 and 77mms., especially during afternoon and including several barrages.
19th April: 123rd Battery, R.F.A. fired 25A and 75AX (night firing) between Barrage line and enemy's front line. 65th Battery, RFA fired 25BX (night firing) on trenches in T.24.b.u.19.c. FARBUS and our front line shelled with 8", 150mm; road from VIMY to FARBUS and our front line shelled with 150mm, and with 105 & 77mm respectively. Visibility low. The Brigade O.P. moved south to B.1.d.15.50, by Brigade Headquarters.
20th April: All Brigade Batteries registered. 85th Battery RFA fired 50BX on trench in U.19.c (night firing), "A" Battery, 28th Brigade, fired 75AX and 25A on Brigade zone in night firing. Less hostile shelling than recently, but VIMY and VIMY Station heavily shelled with 150mms. Some movement seen about FRESNOY and BOIS BERNARD. Enemy aeroplane still active over Battery positions.
21st April: 123rd Battery registered, 124th Battery did night firing. 65th Battery fired 25BX on trenches in U.19.c.
9pm: on S.O.S. 123rd, 124th and "A" Batteries fired 303A and 114AX, and 65th Battery fired 54BX, on S.O.S. lines, following on heavy barrage by enemy on our front lines. Enemy fire distributed over front lines, and on VIMY (Station), FARBUS, and BOIS DU GOULOT. RAILWAY Embankment shelled in early morning with gas shells. Movement seen about BOIS BERNARD and BOIS VILAIN. Great aerial activity several of our aeroplanes being brought down. A number of hostile balloons up. Large explosion in AVION. Several fires seen at AVION, including one all day apparently at FOSSE 4.
22nd April: BOIS DE LA VILLE: "A" Battery, 28th Brigade fired in registration, 123rd Battery fired 69AX and 25A (night firing), 65th Battery fired 50BX on Trenches in U.13.c and U.19.c. Heavy hostile shelling of VIMY RIDGE (South of PETIT VIMY) & GOULOT WOOD, South of VIMY, and RAILWAY EMBANKMENT, with 150mm and 105mms. Enemy aeroplanes still active, as well as ours. 12 hostile Balloons up. During night continued enemy shelling of RAILWAY EMBANKMENT with 5.9s, 4.2s, 77mms, including many Phosgene and Lachrymatory shells.
23rd April: "A" Battery registered a new gun. "A", 123rd, and 124th Batteries fired 448A and 417AX from 4.45 to 5.17pm in rolling barrage pursuant to Brigade Orders.
"A" Battery did night firing. Enemy shelled our front line, not very heavily in reply to our bombardment, also shelled old German gun-position about B.1.a.4.2 heavily, but generally less active than usual, some Batteries having apparently been switched further north for heavy hostile fire during afternoon N.W. of VIMY-LENS Railway as far as BOIS DE L'HIRONDELLE. Some shelling about our Battery positions, including a few Phosgene and Tear shells during neigh. Considerable movement on horse and foot seen during afternoon on IZEL-NEUVIREUIL Road. Great aerial activity, our aeroplanes being very active. Several aeroplanes were brought down. An enemy balloon broke away and drifted over our lines.
24th April: Between 10.15am and 4pm, the Brigade 18-pounder Batteries fired 104A and 898AX in bursts of fire on FRESNOY and ACHEVILLE under Brigade Orders. 65th and 124th Batteries did night firing. Throughout the day the enemy shelled intermittently FARBUS and FARBUS WOOD and Cemetery in S.25 with 150mms, also front line with 105 & 77mms. Between 3 & 5pm the enemy shelled heavily with 150mm and 105mm, the BRICKSTACK in B2b, and the RAILWAY EMBANKMENT, including 123rd & 124th Batteries' positions. Enemy aeroplanes still move under control, one being brought down and crashing behind his lines South of ACHEVILLE. Seven enemy balloons seen up. Fires seen in LENS (throughout the day), in ACHEVILLE, and (apparently) at FOSS 5 De COURRIERES.
25th April: 123rd Battery & 28th Brigade fired on ACHEVILLE under Brigade Orders. 65th Battery fired 50BX (night firing). 123rd Battery fired 225A and 201AX in night firing on targets in Brigade Zone as ordered. Enemy shelled BOIS DE LAVILLE heavily with 150 mms, also FARBUS and VIMY Station with 4.2s and (?)8". Hostile artillery considerably less active on the whole. Movement of troops (enemy) seen South of IZEL. Hostile aircraft move under control. Fires seen near LENS CHURCH, in MERICOURT, and several in AVION. 123rd & 124th Batteries each moved one gun to S.30.d.65.95 and 65th Battery one hour to B.1.d.16.93, for night firing.
26th April: 65th Battery registered its detached gun, and fired 50BX (night firing) and 127BX (including 9 in retaliation S.O.S.) at request of Infantry. 123rd Battery registered its & 124 Batterys detached guns. 124th Battery and "A" Battery fired on enemy front line and latter fired 135A and 135AX in night firing on enemy wire and trenches. At 5.45am, Infantry sent S.O.S. asking for retaliation: 18 pounders fired 281A on S.O.S. lines. Between 5 & 7pm, in retaliation for heavy shelling of ARLEUX by our Heavy Artillery, enemy shelled VIMY and West side of VIMY Ridge with 150mms, the latter heavily in counter-battery work, and also put down a barrage of 105mm and 77mms on our front trenches from West of ACHEVILLE to West of ARLEUX and on FARBUS and WILLERVAL. A fire and explosions were seen in the wood in T.27.b (8/7) about an enemy battery position. Considerable aerial activity. Light very good during most of day.
27th April: 123rd, 124th, and "A" Batteries fired in all 283A and 253AX at 2.30pm, covering aerial reconnaissance, prior to attack. 65th Battery fired 50BX and 124th fired 80A and 241AX on enemy trenches, wire & c. (night firing). Enemy shelled heavily VIMY-FARBUS. Road by Cemetery with 105mms, also FARBUS STATION & FARGUS WOOD heavily with 150mms and 105mms, also put down heavy barrage on our front lines. North and South of MONT FORET QUARRIES (to ARLEUX) twice in early morning with 150mms & 105mms, probably in retaliation for shelling of ARLEUX. Intermittent shelling of RAILWAY EMBANKMENT. Enemy artillery generally more active, giving impression that the had brought more guns up. 2 hostile balloons seen. Dense smoke in AVION and ARLEUX. Visibility very bad.
28th April: [2/Lieut. J.D.C. OLVER (R.F.A.) (123rd Battery RFA) Killed.] From 4.25am to 6.35am, Brigade Batteries fired as follows:- 18 pounder Batteries 1519A and 429AX, and 65th (Howitzer) Battery 400BX, in creeping barrage in support of 2nd Canadian Division in operations for the capture and consolidation of ARLEUX and the Sunken Road in T.29/d & b by 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions as per 5th Divisional Artillery, No.H.R.M./1958/15 dated 25th April 1917, &C. ARLEUX and most of objectives taken.
During day, 65th Battery fired on roads and sunken road in T.24, T30, U19, and U25 as ordered by Brigade. Between 10am and 3pm, 123rd, 124th and "A" Batteries fired 595A and 369AX in barrages, at request of Infantry and on movement west of FRESNOY & c. Hostile fire on front line and rear, and constant heavy shelling of ARLEUX after it was captured with 150 and 105mms. [123rd Battery, 1 gun, and 124th Battery 2 guns damaged by shell fire]. Also on VIMY RIDGE and FARBUS (searching for Batteries), and during evening heavy and continuous shelling of RAILWAY EMBANKMENT and positions near it with various calibres, including a large number of gas-shells. Constant movement seen throughout day west, northwest, and south of FRESNOY of enemy troops, which were frequently fired on. Considerable aeroplane activity, & 3 hostile balloons up. Fires seen in LENS and ACHEVILLE.
29th April: BOIS DE LA VILLE: From 4 to 4.10am, 65th Battery fired 50BX and "A" Battery 25A in barrage as ordered. At 4.20am on S.O.S., 18 pounder Batteries fired 278A and 65th Battery 70BX. During day 65th Battery fired 68BX from T.24.c.3.3 - T.24.d.0.5., and 141BX from T.30.A.2.7. - T.24.d.0.1. 123rd Battery fired 130A, 32AX cutting wire at T.23.d.7.0. During night "A" Battery fired 72A and 138AX in night firing on enemy wire and trenches. Enemy fire included some shelling of T.17, VIMY and FARBUS with 150mm, barrage of T.23 very heavy shelling of ARLEUX with 210mms (and possibly heavier howitzers). 150mms and 105mms throughout the day, and shelling of Battery positions with tear shell during night. Hostile aircraft much less active. 10 explosions were seen about U.27.b.3.7. by H.A. shooting on enemy battery there. Fires seen in AVION and MERICOURT, and several explosions at FOSSES 3 & 15. Light good only for middle distance.
30th April: At 4.15am, 65th Battery fired 100BX and Brigade 18-pounder Batteries 271A and 231AX in rolling Barrage as ordered. 123rd Battery fired on ACHEVILLE, "A" Battery registered a new gun. During night 65th Battery fired 100BX on Front Line, communication trenches &c. Enemy artillery less active, but more generally distributed, including intermittent shelling of ARLEUX, MONT FORET QUARRIES, ARLEUX LOOP LINE & line in T.23.b.x.d, and Railway Embankment. VIMY & Station shelled with 8", 5.9s, & 4.2s. More shelling with H.V. guns, THELUS being shelled with 5.9 (or 5.1) H.V. gun. A large dump seen in flames at MERICOURT.

 

BRIGADE CASUALTIES during APRIL 1917
  Officers Killed Officers wounded Officers wounded remaining at duty O.R. Killed O.R. wounded O.R. wounded being at duty Major Huish (65th Bty) commission 14/4/17
65th Battery, RFA
-
-
-
-
1
3
 
123rd Battery, RFA
2
-
-
2
4
1
 
124th Battery, RFA
-
2
-
5
8
-
 
"A" Battery, 28th Brigade
-
-
-
2
7
1
 
TOTALS
2
2
-
9
20
5
 

 

May 1917: BOIS DE LA VILLE

1st May: 28th Army Brigade RFA, H.Q. at B.1.d.1.6., Brigade Batteries West of Embankment.
2nd May: Between FARBUS & VIMY, in T.26.c and B.2.a (as set out in War Diary for April 1917. Considerable activity of hostile artillery, on FARBUS & STATION WOOD, VIMY, BOIS de GOULOT, MONT FORET QUARRIES, ARLEUX and our front line, RAILWAY EMBANKMENT and Batteries near it, and on back areas including THELUS (with 150, 105mms). Great activity of British artillery, especially Heavy Artillery. Aeroplane activity on both sides.
3rd May: At 3.45am attack on FRESNOY by Canadian Corps, 5th Artillery (with 28th Army Field Artillery attached) supported 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade on 2nd Canadian Division front, by barrage. FRESNOY & FRESNOY WOOD captured. Our fire continued intermittently at slow rate. Enemy barraged ARLEUX and British front line at first, and later FRESNOY and about new British front line with 150, 105, 77mms heavily. Observation and movement of troops very difficult to follow owing to smoke and dust caused by bombardments. Great aerial activity on our side.

BRIGADE CASUALTIES during MAY 1917
  Officers Killed Officers wounded Officers wounded remaining at duty O.R. Killed O.R. wounded O.R. wounded being at duty   O.R. Gas Poisoning
65th Battery, RFA
-
-
-
5
5
-
 
123rd Battery, RFA
1
-
-
4
11
2
 
124th Battery, RFA
-
1
-
3
7
5
1 Officer gas poisoning
6
"A" Battery, 28th Brigade
1
-
-
2
2
-
 
2
H.Q. 28th Brigade
-
-
-
1 (in April)
2
-
 
TOTALS
2
1
-
15
27
7
1
8

 

5th Divisional Diary for May 1st and 2nd

"1st May 1917: CHATEAU DE LA HAIE: Warning Order received - 5th Division to be prepared to relieve the 1st CANADIAN Division on the night 3rd/4th May and to relieve the 2nd (British) Division with one Brigade on same date. Warning Order No.G.A.765 issued accordingly (copy attached).
O.O.160 issued giving instructions for the relief of the 2nd Divisional front by 13th Infantry Brigade on night 3rd/4th May and instructions for the relief of the front held by the 1st CANADIAN Division by the 95th Infantry Brigade on night 4th/5th May.
2nd May 1917: 1st E.Surreys and 1st Cheshires ceased to be employed on CANADIAN Corps Light Railway and roads and returned to their respective Brigades after completion of day's work.
13th Infantry Brigade move to forward area - ROCLINCOURT prior to taking over 2nd Divisional front.
5th Division S.S. 1/64 issued in amplification of O.O.160 giving moves to the forward area of 95th and 15th Infantry Brigades, also reliefs of Engineers and Pioneers of 2nd Division and 1st CANADIAN Division by Field Companies and Pioneers 5th Division.
Order received and issued that 95th Infantry Brigade would be in Canadian Corps Reserve on arrival in 1st CANADIAN Division Support area.
3rd May 1917: 95th Infantry Brigade move to forward area.
[END]

[From 3rd/4th May onwards: The role of Artillery was to provide night-time harassing fire and targeting fire in daylight]

This Barrage Map shows the area (revised on 3rd May) in which William and his comrades were active

28th Brigade RFA Location and firing range

Click on map for larger image


Supporting Documentation

24th March 1917 - Letter: Applauding the reorganisation and creation of 28th Army Field Artillery Brigade

SPECIAL ORDER OF THE DAY - 24th March 1917
The following letter from the G.O.C., XI Corps has been received and is published for the information of all concerned:-
"G.O.C., 5th Division
I should be glad if you will convey to all ranks of the Division under your command, my appreciation of the fine fighting spirit shown by them during the time the Division has been in the Corps.
You all came here with a fine reputation after the SOMME fighting and that reputation has undoubtedly been maintained. The offensive work carried out by all Units in the Division, including raids and patrolling, with the most able support from the Field Artillery and especially the Trench Mortar, leaves nothing to be desired. The work done on the front line, communication trenches and Artillery Observing Posts and Battery Positions has also been very good. I am very sorry to lose the Division and I can only hope that I shall have the pleasure of serving with it again.
I wish all ranks every good fortune and an early and complete victory over the enemy".
R.F.A. HOBBS, Lt.Col, AA & QMG, 5th Division."


Lt. Col. W.W. WEBBER, General Staff, 2nd Canadian Division - 10th May 1917

Addressed to Brigadier General, A.H. HUSSEY, C.B., Commanding 5th Division Artillery

"Now that the Artillery under your command has ceased to be associated with this Division, the G.O.C. wishes to express to you, and to all ranks under your command, the deep sense of gratitude which all ranks in the 2nd. Canadian Division feel towards the 5th Divisional Artillery for the magnificent support and assistance which they have rendered to the Division through the operations.
Placed always in forward positions, ill provided with cover and suffering heavy casualties, the Batteries have always cheerfully and promptly replied to event call for support on the part of the Infantry.
The Division parts with the 5th Divisional Artillery with regret, but hopes that it may again have the opportunity of being supported by such a splendid body of artillery.
[signed W.W.Webber]


Family of William Albert Evans

William Albert Evans

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