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Thiepval Memorial, France Thiepval Memorial, France
First Name: Henry Edward Last Name: SMITH
Date of Death: 08/10/1916 Lived/Born In: Heston
Rank: Private Unit: Sherwood Foresters16
Memorial Site: Thiepval Memorial, France

Current Information:



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

By the beginning of October, 1916,  the Battle of the Somme had been raging for three months. Thousands of men had already been killed or wounded or were simply missing, never to be seen again and and just a few square miles of the French countryside, all in the southern part of the battlefield, had been captured from the enemy. Mistakes had been made by the various commanders and would be continued to be made but there was no turning back as the British, Australians, South Africans, New Zealanders and Canadians carried on battering away at the German defences in the hope of a breakthrough, 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 more 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.

39th Division arrived in France in March, 1916 and at the end of August had moved down to the Somme. Here they joined the Reserve Army which was holding the line along the northern stretch of the battlefield. The bulk of the fighting at this time was being conducted by the Fourth Army to the south of the Albert-Bapaume road but things were about to change. At the end of September Thiepval was captured and the fighting then continued to Thiepval Ridge, the high ground beyond the village with mixed results. Two German strongholds here, the Schwaben and Stuff Redoubts remained in enemy hands. 39th Division relieved 18th Division here on 7th October and on 8th October the enemy launched a Flammenwerfer (Flamethrower) attack on the 16th Sherwood Foresters and 17th Sherwood Foresters battalions of 117 Brigade who were holding the front line near Stuff Redoubt. The attack failed, the Germans were repelled, but not before a number of casualties were inflicted on the British troops. One of these was Henry Smith of 16th Sherwood Foresters who was killed.

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