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Hellfire Corner and the Easter uprising of 1916.

THROUGHOUT the centenary of the First World War, we have been remembering the soldiers from the Loughborough area who lost their lives while serving their country.

Here, with the help of Marigold Cleeve and a small number of researchers from the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum, we look back at more of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in January 1918.

John Frederick Gutheridge.

JOHN Frederick Gutheridge was born in Loughborough in late 1892 or early 1893 and baptised on 19th March 1893 at All Saints Church, Loughborough.

He was the son of John Thomas Gutheridge, a framework knitter, and his wife Sarah Jane (nee Charles) who were married at All Saints Church on 2nd March 1889.

John Frederick had three brothers Arthur, Harold and Frank and three sisters Alice, Nellie and Elsie.

In 1901 the Gutheridge family was living at 22 Lower Cambridge Street, Loughborough, but they later moved to 19 The Avenue, Gladstone Street and then to 72 Gladstone Street.

In 1911 John Frederick, aged 18, was a joiner's apprentice in greenhouse construction at Messenger and Co.

Having completed his apprenticeship in early 1914 John Frederick emigrated to New Zealand. There he was initially employed as a carpenter for Trevor Brothers Ltd, building contractors of Wellington and Palmerston North.

He was subsequently occupied with war work up to the spring of 1917 and living at 13 Dixon Street, Wellington.

On 1st March 1917 he enlisted with the New Zealand Forces and began military training as Rifleman 51987.

On 19th June 1917 he embarked on the HMNZT 85 Willochra as part of a batch of 26th Reinforcements, G Company, for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

He arrived in Devonport, England, on 16th August 1917 and went to Brocton Camp, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

On 23rd October he was sent to France, reaching Etaples three days later.

On 3rd November he was posted to D Coy of the 4th Battalion of the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

The New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool's Own) was affectionately known as 'The Dinks.' .' John joined his battalion in the field at Cremarest and Belle Brune between St. Omer and Boulogne. The Brigade remained here until 8th November resting, reorganizing and training.On 9th November the Brigade moved eastward again to Seninghem, Bayenghem and Coulomby, and continued training in that area until the 12th.

On 13th November they moved up by rail to Houpoutre, near Poperinghe, and marched to Scottish Wood Camp, east of Dickebusch.

On the following day the Brigade commenced the relief of the 13th and 15th Brigades in the Becelaere Sector of the Ypres Salient, the 4th Battalion initially being positioned in reserve at Railway Dugouts, close to Zillebeke Lake, before proceeding into the front line at Reutel.

The front line was continuously swept by enemy machine gun and artillery fire.

Places as 'Dead Mule Gully' and 'Hellfire Corner' were appropriately named.

Miles of duckboard tracks gave the only access to the trenches and every hollow was a bog.

Relieved on the night of 19th/20th November the 3rd Battalion moved back to the support position and after six days into Divisional Reserve at Walker Camp, north of Dickebusch. From here the men supplied working parties for the Divisional Salvage Officer to remove wreckage and to collect valuable material of all kinds, such as rifles, machine-guns, harness, wagons and limbers; cartridges, bombs, shell-cases and live shells of all calibres; coils of barbed-wire, stakes and tools; discarded clothing and webequipmentthe flotsam and jetsam of recent battles.

On 1st December the 4th Battalion moved into the front line in the Becelaere sector, with the headquarters in an old German Pill-box. Each battalion had a tour of about a week in the line, followed by a similar period in support, and then went out to reserve for the same length of time. On the night of 9th/10th December the battalion moved back into Divisional Reserve at Dickebusch Camp and continued with salvage work as well as participating in recreational training.

Christmas Day was celebrated in festive fashion before the Brigade returned to Divisional support, with Headquarters at Lille Gate, one battalion in the line and the 4th Battalion moving to Manawatu Camp to continue with salvage. On 2nd January 1918 the 4th Battalion moved into the front line at Noord.

John was killed in action on 7th January, aged 24.

In a letter to John's parents, the Chaplain wrote: 'Your son was starting out with a working party at 3 am, when the platoon was filing round a shell hole a Boche shell burst killing your son and a corporal, and wounding others.

"Some of the pieces of shell struck him on the head and the body, and death was instantaneous. The funeral was attended by his C O and the remainder of the platoon.' John was buried at Oxford Road Cemetery, near Zonnebeke, Grave III. G. 10.

John's Commanding Officer wrote to John's parents saying: 'Your son died doing his duty for his Empire and his loved ones, "He was respected by all his mates" John is commemorated on the New Zealand Roll of Honour and on the memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

James Utting Ward.

JAMES Utting Ward was born in Loughborough in 1896.

He was the only son of John Henry Ward, a painter's labourer, and his wife Lavinia Ogden Ward (nee Mills), a shirt machinist, who were married in Loughborough in the summer of 1894.

James had one older sister Vinnie May.

The Ward family lived in Duke Street, Loughborough, at No. 13 in 1901 and at No. 16 in 1911.

James was nearly 18 when war broke out and he enlisted with the 2/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 3578, later being renumbered as 241269.

His precise date of enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived.

The 2/5th Battalion had its HQ in Loughborough as part of the Lincoln and Leicester Brigade, North Midland Division and was mobilised in September 1914.

In January 1915 the battalion moved to Luton being billeted in private homes, in February and March they had a spell at Epping digging practice trenches.

In July the battalion moved to the St Albans area, under canvas at Briton Camp for training and route marches.

In August 1915, the Brigade was retitled 177th Brigade, 59th Division (2nd North Midland) and in October they were moved back to billets in Harpenden.

Throughout 1915 some members of the 2/5th Leicesters also provided guards for the prisoner of war camp at Donington Hall.

In January 1916 parties of officers were sent to France on tours of instruction in the trenches and in March, the long awaited orders to proceed overseas were received. On Easter Monday, however, the rebellion in Ireland forced a rapid change of plans.

The 177th Brigade was recalled from leave and ordered to move to Liverpool at midnight. The following day they sailed on the SS Ulster, a fast mail boat, escorted by a Royal Navy destroyer.

Their first taste of action was not to be in the trenches of the Western Front, but in the streets of Dublin.

By the end of the month the main uprising was over and the 2/5th Battalion supplied search parties for Ballsbridge and guarded railways, bridges and other key infrastructure.

On the 10th May they moved out of the city to tackle pockets of resistance in County Kerry, searching homes and making arrests.

In June word was received that the Battalion would be moving to France and training resumed with long route marches through Ireland.

In August they marched 80 miles from Tralee to Fermoy Barracks, where they would remain until January 1917, engaged in live fire training in trench warfare.

The return trip from Ireland was made aboard the SS Ulster and the battalion arrived at Fovant Camp in Wiltshire by train at 7pm on 6th January 1917. After embarkation leave they proceeded to France via Southampton, arriving at Le Havre on the 24th February 1917.

They were sent to the Somme area where the enemy was retreating to the Hindenburg Line.

They made their first attack on the villages of Hesbecourt and Hervilly on 31st of March 1917, capturing both villages and suffering a number of casualties.

On 1st April the battalion began constructing a line of cruciform posts and on the following day were shelled while doing so. On 3rd and 4th April part of the battalion supported the 4th Leicesters in an attack on Fervaque Farm while the rest of the battalion built posts in Templeux.

On 11th and 12th April the battalion moved to Hervilly and Hamelet to provide working parties and on 15th A and C Coys were in support for an attack on Villeret.

On 17th April the battalion moved from Brosse Woods to Templeux and Hervilly and were in support again on the following day in an attack on a quarry north of Villeret. On 19th April the battalion moved to Hancourt for cleaning up, working parties and training.

On the night of 27th/28th April Hancourt was bombarded by the enemy and the battalion moved to the front line at Le Vergier.

Trench tours continued until 15th May when the battalion marched back to Bois Bias training camp between Bouvincourt-en-Vermandois and Le Catelet.

Training took place until 25th May when they moved to Equancourt and went into the front and support lines at Villers Plouich.

Here until 7th June more posts were constructed amid some heavy enemy bombardment.

From 7th-16th June the battalion was in Brigade Reserve at Dessart Wood, after which the battalion returned to the front line at Villers Plouich and carried out cable digging and laying for the Royal Engineers.

Attack training took place at Equancourt from 22nd-30th June, after which the battalion went into support at Metz-en-Couture until 10th July. For the rest of July and the first three weeks of August the battalion was in training at Barastre camp. On 22nd August the battalion moved via Senlis to a front one mile southwest of Le Sars for further training.

On 31st August they entrained at Albert for Hazebrouck and marched to a training camp north of Winnezeele where they remained until 20th September.

By 23rd September the battalion was in the reserve trenches at St. Jean near Ypres, before taking over the front line at Hill 37, Hill 35 and Elmtree Corner.

On 26th September the battalion went into attack to capture all enemy positions on Hill 37 (part of the Battle of Polygon Wood, a phase in the 3rd Battle of Ypres or Passchendaele).

Over the following few days 54 Ordinary Ranks were killed and 184 were wounded.

James was badly wounded in this action and brought back to the King George Hospital, Stamford Street, London.

He died there from his wounds on 12th January 1918, aged 21.

James was buried in Loughborough Cemetery Grave 27/26.

James' father died about three months after James, aged 50.

CAPTION(S):

The Third Battle of Ypres. The Ypres-Zonnebeke Road; men filling in recent shell-holes, showing wrecked transport and their split loads of shells. 30 September 1917.. Photograph courtesy of the Daily Mirror.

British troops boarding an armoured train during the Irish Easter uprising in 1916 Photograpgh Courtesy of The Daily Mirror.

Members of the 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company holding the line at Passchendale during the Third Battle of Ypres. Circa November 1917. Photograph courtesy of the Daily Mirror.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Loughborough Echo (Loughborough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 31, 2018
Words:1923
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