The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War

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11th Battalion, The Essex Regiment

11th Battalion, The Essex Regiment was raised at Warley in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's third new army, initally attached to 71st Brigade in 24th Division. They moved to Shoreham for training and then on to billets in Brighton in January 1915 returning to Shoreham in March and then moving to Blackdown in June 1915. They proceeded to France on the 30th of August 1915, landing at Boulogne. On the 11th of October 1915 the battalion transferred with 71st Brigade to 6th Division and then to 18th Brigade, in the same Division on the 27th of October. In 1916 they were in action at Battle of Flers-Courcelette on The Somme, in The Battle of Morval and The Battle of Le Transloy. In 1917 they were in action at Hill 70 and at Cambrai. In 1918 they saw action in the Battle of St Quentin, The Battles of the Lys, The Advance in Flanders, Battles of the Hindenburg Line and The Pursuit to the Selle. After the Armistice, 6th Division were selected to join the occupation force and they moved into Germany in mid December, being based at Bruehl by Christmas 1918.

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Those known to have served with 11th Battalion, The Essex Regiment during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Pte. Ernest Ward 11th Battalion. Essex Regiment (d.15th Oct 1916)

Ernest died on 15th October 1916 in Ypres, aged 19. He is buried in Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

Valerie O'Sullivan


Pte. John Goodenough 11th (Service) Battalion Essex Regiment (d.27th Dec 1916)

John Goodenough was born 1889 Folkestone, Kent and went to School at North Board School, (now Mundella), Blackbull Road, Folkestone where he is mentioned on the School's War Memorial Board. He was one of 13 children born to Thomas Goodenough & his wife Grace Menear.

John was a Hairdresser living Brentwood at time of his marriage at St Thomas of Canterbury on 13/4/1913 to Grace Helena Cornish and when he enlisted at Warley into the Essex Regt, 11th (Service) Battalion. He departed with his Battalion for France from Folkestone on 30/8/1915. He died on 27/12/1916 and is commemorated in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Row T, Grave 4. He appears to have been interred there alongside several fellow soldiers of same the Battalion killed about the same time, Pte J H Jeffries 33140; Pte H S Pepper 21331; Pte A Reynolds 10585); Pte A Smith 14154 Age 27 (23/12/1916); Pte F Rice 10585 Age 31 (31/12/1916)).

Tony Goodenough


L/Cpl. William James Mansfield 11th Btn. Essex Regiment (d.21st Mar 1918)

William James Mansfield from Smith End in Barley, enlisted at West Ham in Essex. A Lance Corporal in the 11th Battalion The Essex Regiment, he was killed in action during the German final offensive at the Battle of St Quentin 21st March 1918 (British losses at this battle were 177,739. The Germans lost 348,300) He is buried in Vaux Hill Cemetery.

Chris Allan


Brib-Gen. Frederick Gordon Spring DSO, MID. 11th Battalion Essex Regiment

Frederick Spring had been commissioned into the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in May 1898. During the First World War, he initially served with that regiment in the Gallipoli Campaign.

Between June 1916 and September 1918 he commanded the 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment, and led them in battles such as the Somme and Cambrai (1917). He subsequently commanded the 33rd Infantry Brigade during the last months of the war. Spring was Mentioned in Dispatches five times over the course of the war.

Jack Galloway


L/Cpl. Reuben Wood 11th Btn Essex Regiment (d.21st Mar 1918)

Reuben Wood served with the 11th Battalion, Essex Regiment, he is remembered on the Arras Memorial.

Stephen Wood


A/Sgt. Herbert Game 11th Service Battalion Essex Regiment (d.15th Oct 1916)

The son of Robert Game and Sarah Ann Willingham, Herbert Game was born on 26th Oct 1878 in Cockfield, Suffolk. He was part of a large family with many siblings. By the outbreak of the war he had married Alice Symons, the daughter of a coastguard officer, in Blackmore, Essex and had 3 children. In 1911 he and his family were living in Ongar Road, Brentwood. Although the exact date is not known, he volunteered to serve in the army as one of Kitchener’s K3 tranche of volunteers and served in the 11th Service Battalion Essex Regiment. He was killed on 15th October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme; at the time of his death he was an acting sergeant. His body was never found and his death is therefore commemorated on the Thiepval memorial.

Colin Game


Pte. John Patrick McEvoy 11th Battalion Essex Regiment

My grandfather John McEvoy, was wounded when he was buried in a shellhole in Zonnebeke on 10th April 1918, 19 days after my mother's birth. He required at least two operations and over a year of hospital treatment but luckily survived. My mother was always told that he was never the same after the war, hardly surprising really. He then died in his early 40's so could probably be considered a casualty of war. My mother talked of him with great affection over 70 years after his death; he was a gentle, kind man and she often helped him in his work as a tailor.

Today my husband and I visited Polygon Wood Cemetery and found the graves of a few men from his battalion who died in the days immediately after he was wounded. I found it very moving to think that they may have known my grandfather. However awful his experience and however much it contributed to his early death, he surely had a better deal than those poor lads.

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