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- 5th Battalion, Berkshire Regiment during the Great War -


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5th Battalion, Berkshire Regiment



   The 5th (Service) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment was a Kitchener Battalion, raised at Reading on the 25th August 1914. They underwent training at Shorncliffe, Folkestone and Malplaquet Barracks at Aldershot. They proceeded to France on the 31st of May 1915 and served with 35th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division on the Western Front. They underwent instruction withthe more experienced 48th (South Midland) Division and took over a section of the front line at Ploegsteert Wood on the 23rd of June 1915. They were in action in The Battle of Loos from the 30th of September, taking over the sector from Gun Trench to Hulluch Quarries consolidating the position, under heavy artillery fire. On the 8th they repelled a heavy German infantry attack and on the 13th took part in the Action of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, capturing Gun Trench and the south western face of the Hulluch Quarries. During this period at Loos, 117 officers and 3237 men of the Division were killed or wounded.By the 21st they moved to Fouquieres-les-Bethune for a short rest then returned to the front line at the Hohenzollern Redoubt until the 15th of November, when they went into reserve at Lillers. On the 9th of December, 9th Royal Fusiliers assisted in a round-up of spies and other suspicious characters in the streets of Bethune. On the 10th the Division took over the front line north of La Bassee canal at Givenchy. On the 19th of January they began a period of training in Open Warfare at Busnes, then moved back into into the front line at Loos on the 12th of February 1916. In June they moved to Flesselles and carried out a training exercise. They moved to Baizieux on the 30th June and went into the reserve at Hencourt and Millencourt by mid morning on the 1st of July. They relieved the 8th Division at Ovillers-la-Boisselle that night and attacked at 3.15 the following morning with mixed success. On the 7th they attacked again and despite suffering heavy casualties in the area of Mash Valley, they succeeded in capturing and holding the first and second lines close to Ovillers. They were withdrawn to Contay on the 9th July. They were in action in The Battle of Pozieres on the 3rd of August with a successful attack capturing 4th Avenue Trench and were engaged in heavy fighting until they were withdrawn on the 9th. They moved north and in 1917 were in action at Arras in The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux and The Third Battle of the Scarpe. They remained in the Arras sector until the 30th of October when they moved to Hesdin for the Cambrai offensive in which the Division suffered heavy losses. On the 6th of February 1918 rhe 5th Berkshires transferred to 36th Brigade still with 12th (Eastern) Division. In March 1918 they moved by motor lorry from Busnes to Albert and were in action in The Battle of Bapaume and spent the spring engaged in heavy fighting a the enemy advanced across the old Somme battlefields. On the 1st of July 1918, they attacked Bouzincourt. but were repelled by the enemy. They were relieved on the 10th and moved to the area south of Amiens. They were in action in The Battle of Amiens and were engaged in heavy fighting from the 22nd pushing the enemy back and capturing Meaulte, Mametz, Carnoy, Hardecourt and Faviere Wood with in a week. In September they were in action in a successful attack on Nurlu and pursued the enemy back to Sorel Wood. They were in action during The battles of the Hindenburg Line, including The Battle of Epehy and The Battle of the St Quentin canal. In October they fought in The Final Advance in Artois reaching the Scheldt Canal by the 27th. They were withdrawn for rest on the 30th and after the Armistice moved to the area east of Douai and were engaged in battlefield salvage and sports until demobilisation began.

25th Aug 1914   5th Battalion, Berkshire Regiment is raised at Reading, a part of Kitchener's first army, they join 35th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division.

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Those known to have served with  5th Battalion, Berkshire Regiment during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Betteridge Frederick Alfred James. Pte. (d.25th Oct 1916)
  • Birkby Henry Alexander. 2nd Lt. (d.20th Apr 1916)
  • Birkby Henry Alexander. 2nd Lt. (d.20th Apr 1916)
  • Blight Thomas Henry. Pte. (d.26th Aug 1918)
  • Costello Thomas. Pte.
  • Eyles Thomas Charles. Pte. (d.15th Oct 1916)
  • Fellowes Basil Hamilton Abdy. 2nd Lt. (d.22nd March 1917)
  • French William. Pte. (d.24th June 1917)
  • Godfrey Albert. Pte. (d.18th June 1918)
  • Goodwin William Alfred. Pte. (d.30th Nov 1917)
  • Hansford Frederick Henry John. Pte
  • Mount Francis. Capt. (d.13th Oct 1915)
  • Parker Edmund. Pte.
  • Swain John. Pte. (d.11th Aug 1918)
  • Tambling Frederick Gilbert Billings. Pte. (d.17th March 1917)
  • White Sidney Albert. Pte. (d.12th May 1918)
  • Whiting William Jesse. Pte. (d.30th Nov 1917)

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List





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Dec 2017

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 237716 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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205131

Pte. Thomas Henry Blight 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.26th Aug 1918)

I came across Pte Blight's death plaque in a junk shop. I believe he served with the 5th batt Royal Berkshire Reg.

C. Smith



210758

Pte Frederick Henry John Hansford 5th Btn.

Before being transferd to the Royal Berks my Father, Frederick Hansford was in the Somerset Light Infantry and his last Regiment was the ROAC.

Michael Hansford



212743

2nd Lt. Basil Hamilton Abdy Fellowes 2nd Btn att 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.22nd March 1917)

Basil Fellowes died on 22 March 1917 at age 19 at France, from wounds received in action. He is buried at Avesnes le Comte, Arras, France

S. Flynn



218112

Pte. John Swain 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.11th Aug 1918)

Pte. John Swain served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment 5th Battalion. He was executed for desertion on 11th Sugust1918 and is buried in Montigny Communal Cemetery and extension, Montigny, France.

He absconded after he'd been warned that he'd be going to the trenches, and found hiding in a cornfield several miles away the next day. When apprehended, he gave a false name and had removed all identifying badges. He was shot on 11th August 1918.

s flynn



219490

Pte. Sidney Albert White 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.12th May 1918)

Sydney White served with the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment and died on 12th May 1918.

Elaine Mitchell



220175

Pte. Frederick Alfred James Betteridge 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.25th Oct 1916)

Frederick Betteridge was the son of Mrs E. M. and the late W. R. Betteridge, of 13 Bexley Terrace, Clewer, Windsor, Berkshire. He was a distant cousin of mine who served and died of wounds aged 24, remembered with pride. He is commemorated on the Clewer War Memorial, and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Roger Betteridge



1206416

2nd Lt. Henry Alexander Birkby 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.20th Apr 1916)

Henry Alexander Birkby was killed in action on the 20th of April 1916, aged 26 and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, France.

s flynn



1205976

Pte. Edmund Parker 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

Pte. Edmund Parker, notebook

We came across this information in a notebook when my mother died.

Steve Vickers



1205942

2nd Lt. Henry Alexander Birkby 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.20th Apr 1916)

Henry Alexander Birkby was killed in action on the 20th of April 1916, aged 26 and is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery, France.

s flynn



220984

Pte. Frederick Gilbert Billings Tambling 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.17th March 1917)

My granddad Fred Tambling was born on 14th December, 1887 in Moorfields, Gloucester and was only 29 when he was killed in action in Arras on 17th March, 1917.

The information I have has been told to me by his surviving relatives. He lived in Bristol for most of his life and married his wife, Kate Bascombe on 12th July, 1908, when he was 23 and she was 24. He was very much loved and missed by his wife who was left on her own to bring up their three small children, the youngest of which was my father, who was three when my grandfather died. Apparently she was granted 18 shillings and 4 pence a week for her pension as a war widow. My grandfather had a variety of jobs before he was conscripted, including working as a railway porter, for a chocolate manufacturer and for a watchmaker. He used a bike for cycling to and from his workplaces. The family eventually emigrated to South Africa where his widow died having never remarried.

Pauline Bowler



221227

Pte. Thomas Charles Eyles 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire (d.15th Oct 1916)

Thomas Eyles is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

Heather Maryson



223289

Capt. Francis Mount 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.13th Oct 1915)

Francis Mount was the great uncle of Prime Minister David Cameron. The 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshires attacked with 35th Brigade against the Quarries as part of the final offensive action during the Battle of Loos on the 13th of October 1915. They had to cross a large area of open ground while under fire from German trenches in front and from positions on the flanks. Despite the heavy rifle and machine gun fire the 35th Brigade secured 250 Yards of German trench which became known as the ‘Hairpin’. This small success was however overshadowed as the Divisions elsewhere were repulsed and little other ground was taken. Captain Mount was killed in this action and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

65 men of the 5th Btn Royal Berkshire Regiment are recorded as killed on the 13 of October 1915. 58 were never identified and are commemorated on the Loos memorial. 5 others are buried in Dud Corner. 2 further burials were made elsewhere.

Max Dutton



234786

Pte. Albert Godfrey 5th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.18th June 1918)

Pte Albert Godfrey died as a result of illness during his time as a prisoner of war at Peronne in France.

Colin T Dixon





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