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Thiepval Memorial, France Thiepval Memorial, France
First Name: Henry Last Name: ABRAHAMS
Date of Death: 23/10/1916 Lived/Born In: Shoreditch
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex2
Memorial Site: Thiepval Memorial, France

Current Information:


3, Pounds Buildings, Hoxton


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.

8th Division had suffered appalling casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme when they attacked the Ovillers Spur after which they were soon relieved and moved north to hold the line around Loos. They returned to the Somme in the middle of October, 1916 just in time to participate in the final agonies of the Battle of Transloy Ridge, a struggle that had been waged since the beginning of the month as the British tried to gain control of the next ridge of high ground, running between Le Transloy and Warlencourt, in the southern part of the battlefield. By 20th October, all three brigades of 8th Division were in the line north of Lesboeufs and on 23rd October, after a two day artillery bombardment, they attacked the German defences in front of them. Zero hour was 2.30pm and on 23 Brigade’s front, 2nd Middlesex and 2nd Scottish Rifles advanced behind a creeping barrage and stormed their way into Zenith Trench. By 3.45pm, both battalions had reached their second objective, Orion Trench where they repelled weak enemy counter attacks. However by the evening, the German artillery had plastered Orion Trench with shells forcing both battalions to fall back to Zenith Trench. To their left, the attack by 25 Brigade had failed and as this in turn exposed their left flank, 2nd Middlesex had to throw back a defensive flank and consolidated the gains they had made. But this small success did not come without a price and 2nd Middlesex suffered over 200 casualties to gain these few yards of war-torn land. One of those who did not survive was Henry Abrahams

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