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Thiepval Memorial, France Thiepval Memorial, France
First Name: Alfred James Last Name: BINGLE
Date of Death: 18/07/1916 Lived/Born In: Childs Hill
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers13
Memorial Site: Thiepval Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-Hampstead

 

The Battle of the Somme (July-November, 1916)

On 1st July 1916 The British Army launched a massive offensive along a section of the front line running north of the River Somme. The French attacked south of it. The first day was a disaster for the British army which suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, 19,000 of whom were killed, and made hardly any inroads into the enemy lines. But the battle had to go on, if for no other reason than to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun where they had been facing the full onslaught of the powerful German Army. So it continued all the way through to November with nearly every battalion and division then in France being drawn into it at some stage. In the end the German trenches had been pushed back a few miles along most of the line but the cost in lives had been staggering. By the end of the fighting in November, 1916, British Army casualties numbered over 400,000, killed, wounded and missing.

On 14th July, 1916, a second major offensive was launched against the German second line of defences stretching from Longueval to Bazentin-le-Petit but after a promising start which saw some important gains on the first day, once again the BEF reverted to a series of uncoordinated attacks, using out dated tactics and they soon found themselves engaged in a war of attrition as they attempted to push the enemy further back across the Somme battlefield. As part of this second offensive, 34th Division attacked towards Pozières on 15th July, 1916, from a position just to the east of Contalmaison. However 34th Division had been severely depleted after the events of 1st July and to bring it back to fighting strength, both 111 Brigade and 112 Brigade from 37th Division had been attached to it. It was these two brigades that were involved in the action of 15th July. 13th Royal Fusiliers were brought forward from reserve to support an attack towards Pozières. They were ordered to form up in the open between the Bapaume road and the adjacent tramway but the enemy artillery fire from the front and their machine-gun fire from Ovillers on the left made this impossible and they moved back into their trenches. There they stayed all day, not called upon to join the fight but having to endure heavy and constant shelling. The following day, 16th July, 13th Royal Fusiliers moved into the front line trenches on the Brigade front where they stayed until relieved on 19th July. During these three days the shelling of their positions continued and the casualty list grew longer. Included on it was Alfred Bingle on 18th July.

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