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First Name: Stanley Last Name: PINK
Date of Death: 03/07/1916 Lived/Born In: Maida Vale
Rank: Corporal Unit: Royal Field Artillery 68 Battery 14 Brigade
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-25

142, Bravington Road, Maida Vale

Mailly Wood Cemetery, Mailly-Maillet, France

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.

The artillery played an enormous part in the Battle of the Somme. For over a week before the infantry attack on 1st July, 1916, they pounded the German positions day and night with mixed results and then as the battle progressed it was essential that they kept up with the forward movement and provide the barrage of shells behind which the infantry could attack. With more and more divisions being pitched into the battle there was no respite. Having to keep changing positions, particularly the Royal Field Artillery, meant that they were more vulnerable to counter artillery fire and the attrition rate among their numbers was high.

14 Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery was part of 4th Division which, on 1st July, attacked as part of VIII Corps against the fortress villages of Serre and Beaumont Hamel. The German positions here were a kind of amphitheatre with the British confronted by tiers of fire and a massacre ensued. At the end of the day the survivors were back in their own trenches and with the focus of the battle moving south, these positions in front of Serre and Beaumont Hamel remained static until the winter. 4th Division remained in these positions through most of July. Stanley Pink died of wounds on 3rd July  but as yet there is no information concerning his death.

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