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4th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

4th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) were based in Parkhurst, Isle of Wight serving with 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. They proceeded to France with the BEF, landing at Le Havre on the 13th of August 1914. They saw action in The Battle of Mons and the rearguard action at Solesmes, The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, at La Bassee, Messines and the First Battle of Ypres. They took part in the Winter Operations of 1914-15, The First Attack on Bellewaarde and the Actions at Hooge. In 1916 they took part in The Actions of the Bluff and St Eloi Craters then moved to The Somme for The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin helping to capture Longueval, The Battle of Delville Wood and The Battle of the Ancre. In 1917 They were at Arras, seeing action at Battles of the Scarpe and The Battle of Arleux. They moved north to the Flanders and were in action during The Battle of the Menin Road and Battle of Polygon Wood during the Third Battle of Ypres. Then moved south and were in action at The Battle of Cambrai. In 1918 They were in action on The Somme, in the Battles of the Lys, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Battle of the Selle. After the Armistice 3rd Division advanced into Germany as part of the Occupation Force.

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Those known to have served with 4th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Pte. James Wilson 4th Battalion The Royal Fusiliers (d.11 Nov 1914)

James was born in Gale Street, Poplar, East London, which was not a nice place in 1884. He came from a poor family who had just arrived from Liverpool, his father Edward a Galvanized Roofer and his Mother Mary.

In 1901, James was incarcerated under Reformatory Act Victoria 29-30 on the Reformatory ship "TS Cornwall" which was moored off the River Thames at Purfleet, West Thurrock, Essex. On his release he joined the 2nd Battalion of the London Regiment and served in Jubbulpore, Central Province, India.

At the outbreak of the First World War, James returned and was sent to France as part of the BEF II Corp, 3rd Division, 9th Brigade, 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. He fought at Mons before arriving at Ypres. He was on the front line on the Menin Road when the German 4th Guard Grenadiers attacked on what became known as the Battle of Nonne Boschen Wood in the First Battle of Ypres. James was killed during the main attack which overwhelmed the 4th's lines on the 11th November 1914. As with many that day, his body was never found and his name appears on the Menin Gate Panel 6 and 8. His medal card states that his father requested his 1914 Star.

Steve Wilson


2nd Lt. Frederick John Weare 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (d.9th Oct 1918)

Gordon Weare


L/Cpl. Patrick Joy 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (d.23rd Aug 1914)

David Joy (left) with brother Patrick in 1914

My Great Uncle Patrick Joy served with 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and was killed in action soon after this photograph was taken, at Mons on the 23rd of August 1914, he was 21 years old. My Grandfather David H Joy served with 1st Field Ambulance, RAMC.

Jonathan Joy


Pte. Stanley Albert Bathe 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (d.25th Sep 1918)

Pte Stanley Bathe

Pte. Stanley Albert Bathe was born in Sydenham, SE London, in 1896, the youngest of the five Bathe brothers to serve in the First World War. He served an apprenticeship with the engineering firm of Merryweather – the manufacturer of fire engines – in Greenwich but then enlisted in the 4th Btn, Royal Fusiliers in May 1918. After training, Stanley went to France on 8 September and towards the end of that month, he was with his regiment at the Front near the Hindenburg Line preparing for what was to be called the Battle of Cambrai. From the village of Moeuvres, the front system of the Hindenburg Line followed the bank of the Canal du Nord for 4,000yards, then crossed it, sweeping in a bold curve round the village of Havrincourt and south of that of Ribécourt. Along the banks of the Canal du Nord there were at intervals spoil heaps consisting of the chalk dug from its bed. One heap was at the sharp bend west of Havrincourt, where the canal turned westward along the Grand Ravin. It was known as Yorkshire Bank. The 4th Battalion moved to Yorkshire Bank on 25 September where hostile bombing was to continue all night and the relief of Z and X companies greatly interfered with. The units suffered one soldier killed and two wounded that day. The soldier killed was Stanley Bathe, just 18 days after he had landed in France. He is buried at Flesquieres Hill British Cemetery and commemorated on the family grave in Lewisham & Brockley Cemetery and on the memorial panel in St Michael & All Angels, Sydenham, where he was once a choir boy.

Peter Bathe


Pte. William Barnett 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (d.27th March 1916)

William Barnett was born in Dublin, he resided in Pimlico and enlisted in Hounslow.

s flynn


Pte. William W. Roberts 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (d.29th May 1916)

Private William Roberts was executed for desertion on 29th May 1916 and is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in Bailleul, France.

The 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers had landed at Havre on the 13th August 1914 and Private Roberts joined the Battalion some three months later. At the end of May 1915 the Germans had possession following the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Gas Attack of Bellewarde Lake and established positions which left an uncomfortable sag in the Ypres salient which the 3rd Division was tasked with a local straightening. At 1.30 a.m. on the 16th June 1915 the 4th Royal Fusiliers were in position with in front of them a wood with a trench guarding its western end. After the artillery bombardment which began at 2.50 a.m. two companies were able to advance and capture the German front line without much resistance but the position was different on the right when the two supporting companies of the Battalion pushed through the wood to the trench on the bank of the lake, advancing too quickly for the British artillery and sustaining casualties. After considerable loss the companies withdrew to a communication trench which they held for the rest of the day under heavy artillery fire with gas shells being freely used by the enemy. At the end of the day only a small amount of ground remained in the Battalion’s hands and the losses had been heavy, with 15 officers and 376 men becoming casualties

Private Roberts was one of the wounded being shot in the head. After treatment and a period of convalescence he rejoined the Battalion in September 1915 for the second attack on Bellewaarde designed as a subsidiary attack to seek to take pressure off the main British effort to the South at Loos As part of the 3rd Division the Battalion was unable to make progress and again in the afternoon of 25th September was subjected to heavy German artillery fire on the position that had been captured followed by an advance of strong German bombing parties so the taken position perforce had to be abandoned. At some time Private Roberts left his comrades and went back some distance remaining away for some eight months until he was arrested in the village of Brandhoek some 8 kilometres west of Ypres. Following his arrest Private Roberts was kept at Locre, a quiet village sheltered by Kemmel Hill in the rest areas of the Kemmel-Wyteschaete front. However on the 9th May he managed to escape but was soon re-arrested, standing trial on the 20th May 1916.

Whilst his C.O. described him as a “good and plucky soldier” until his wounding in June 1915, he had apparently made other attempts to desert and had received a death sentence on the 25th May 1915 commuted to imprisonment. He was shot at Locre at 3.45 a.m. on the 29th May 1916 aged 34 years.

s flynn


Pte. Alfred T. Ansted 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (d.15th Nov 1916)

Alfred Ansted served with the Royal Fusiliers 4th Battalion. He was executed for desertion on 15th November 1916 aged 29 and is buried in the Bertrancourt Military Cemetery in Bertrancourt, France.

He had been recalled from the reserve upon the outbreak of war and on 9th February 1915 had been sent to France to the 4th Royal Fusiliers. Although a wound had necessitated a few months’ hospitalisation, Ansted had served 15 months before going absent in May 1916. He continued to serve with his battalion while under a suspended sentence and then in August 1916 when serving on the Somme at Guillemont, Pte. Ansted yet again went absent after being warned for the trenches. He remained absent for two months before surrendering to the Military Police at Corbie. He told the court that shellfire unnerved him.

s flynn


Lt. Maurice James Dease VC. 4th Btn. Royal Fusiliers (d.23rd Aug 1914)

Lieutenant Maurice Dease served with the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers during WW1 and was killed in action on the 23rd August 1914 aged 24. He is buried in St. Symphorien Military Cemetery in Belgium. One of the first British officer battle casualties of the war and the first posthumous recipient of the VC in the Great War. He was the son of Edmund F. and Katherine M. Dease, of Levington, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

An extract from The London Gazette, dated 16th Nov., 1914, records the following:- Though two or three times badly wounded he continued to control the fire of his machine guns at Mons on 23rd Aug., until all his men were shot. He died of his wounds.

S Flynn


2nd Lt. Thomas Butterworth 12th Btn. Royal Engineers

Thomas Butterworth enlisted into the East Lancashire Regiment Territorial Force on 17th of February 1910 aged 18. He was discharged & re-enlisted into the Royal Engineers on 9th January 1912 and posted to Training Battalion C Company. On 9th September 1912 he was posted to the 12th Battalion, appointed unpaid Lance Corporal on 28th Mach 1914 and paid Lance Corporal on 26th June 1914. Discharged on appointment to a Commission on 29th October 1914. He was commissioned as 2nd Lt. in The 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and he retired on Retired Pay on 11th November 1917 and died at Kilworth, Co. Cork, Ireland on 12h February 1958.

Robert Butterworth


Cpl. Richard Walter Ringrose 4th London Btn. Royal Fusiliers

Sadly there is only a medal record for Cpl. Richard Walter Ringrose. His medal card notes that he was part of the 4th London Battalion (location of the headquarters in City Rd would suggest that this is correct) but there exists a photograph taken in Nov 1918 of him with the 3rd Battalion football team. Were the two battalions together at this time? Dick's brother Harold enlisted with the 4th London. Harold later was part of the Labour Corps as it is understood he was injured and lost an eye and it was said "he never recovered from the war".

Lesley Jensen

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