Colchester's Military Heritage

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1750 - 1860 4
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Colchester Men at Trafalgar
Colchester Men at Waterloo
Colchester Men at Gallipoli
Colchester Men at the Somme
Colchester Men at Jutland
Colchester Men at Passchendaele
Colchester Men in 1918

9 Colchester Men Killed in Action

on the first two days at

The Battle of Passchendaele

31st July 1917



On July 31, 1917, the Allies launch a renewed assault on German lines in the Flanders region of Belgium, in the much-contested region near Ypres, during World War I. The attack was to begin more than three months of brutal fighting and was to become known as the Third Battle of Ypres.

After an opening barrage of some 3,000 guns, General Haig ordered nine British divisions, led by Sir Hubert Gough's 5th Army, to advance on the German lines near the Belgian village of Passchendaele on July 31st. They were joined by six French divisions. In the first two days of the attacks, while suffering heavy casualties, the Allies made significant advances; in some sectors pushing the Germans back more than a mile and taking more than 5,000 German prisoners. The battle was to continue for three months.

On November 6, 1917, Haig finally called off the offensive, claiming victory, despite some 310,000 British casualties, as opposed to 260,000 on the German side, and a failure to create any substantial breakthrough, or change of momentum, on the Western Front. Given its outcome, the Third Battle of Ypres remains one of the most costly and controversial offensives of World War I, representing, at least for the British, the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.

One Colchester man died on the eve of the battle, on 30th July 1917, with seven more on the following day (with an additional who was buried at Calais and perhaps died elsewhere), when the battle began. Many others were to follow. Here are the nine:



Rank: Lance Corporal, Service No: 10491, Date of Death: 30/07/1917, Age: 24, Regiment/Service: Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 2nd Bn. Awards: M M. Grave Reference: XVI. G. 2A. Cemetery: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY. Additional Information: Adopted son of Emma M. Pullin, of Ardleigh Court Cottage, Ardleigh, Colchester.


Rank: Private, Service No: 40051, Date of Death: 31/07/1917, Age: 28, Regiment/Service: Essex Regiment 10th Bn. Grave Reference: VI. G. 1. Cemetery: PERTH CEMETERY (CHINA WALL) Additional Information: Husband of Winifred Fincham (formerly Canham) of 8, Hospital Rd., Colchester.


Rank: Private, Service No: 40132, Date of Death: 31/07/1917, Regiment/Service: Northamptonshire Regiment 7th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 43 and 45. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of Robert and Ellen Mattock, of School St., Stoke-by-Nayland, Colchester.


Rank: Private. Service No: 66326. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 25. Regiment/Service: Royal Fusiliers 12th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 6 and 8. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of George Henry Dyer, of 23, Colne Rd., Lexden, Colchester, Essex.


Rank: Private. Service No: 41653. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 40. Regiment/Service: Manchester Regiment 17th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 53 and 55. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of William and Ellen Cornell; husband of Mary Esther Cornell, of 34, Canterbury Rd., Colchester.


Rank: Lance Corporal. Service No: G/42807. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 22. Regiment/Service: Middlesex Regiment 16th Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 49 and 51. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of A. William and Rosina Kemp, of 46, Walsingham Rd., Colchester, Essex.


Rank: Private. Service No: G/28692. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 19. Regiment/Service:Middlesex Regiment 2nd Bn Panel Reference: Panel 49 and 51. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Louisa Jacobs, of 47, New Park St., Colchester, Essex


Rank: Rifleman. Service No: Z/433. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 23. Regiment/Service: Rifle Brigade 2nd Bn. Panel Reference: Panel 46 - 48 and 50. Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL. Additional Information: Son of William Rance, of 27, New Town Rd., Colchester, Essex.


Rank: Private. Service No: 240451. Date of Death: 31/07/1917. Age: 27. Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment 4th Bn. Grave Reference: Plot H. Row 1. Grave 11. Cemetery: CALAIS SOUTHERN CEMETERY. Additional Information: Son of Harry and Alice Baines, of Colchester; husband of Lillian A. Baines, of Cooling Common, Cliffe-at-Hoo, Kent.


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31st July 2017




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