Sunday 23 July 1916 – We Lost 2,490
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge begins. It is also the day on which the first attack is made on Guillemont. Both battles will last until September. North of Pozieres, the 48th Division attacks the German trenches along the railway line with six battalions of Territorials. The Gloucestershire Regiment suffers heavy casualties while managing to bomb forward some distance while on the right the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry capture a trench south of the railway. At dawn counter attacks from Pozieres cemetery are beaten back and then 145 Brigade renews its attack on the left capturing the railway track and a trench east of it.
- Second Lieutenant Ralph Hosegood (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 23. He has two brothers who will be killed in the Great War, one in February 1915 the other in September of this year.
- Brothers Sergeant William Henry and Private Ernest Mills (age 19) are killed together while serving in the Gloucestershire Regiment.
- Private Thomas George Stuart-Cox (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 24. His brother will be killed in action next year and they are both sons of Reverend Charles Edward Cox.
- Private Frederick Ballinger (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 32. His brother was killed in March.
- Private Albert Richmond Cox (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will die of wounds in September 1918.
- Private Frederick Bannerman (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 32. His younger brother was killed last March.
- Private Alfred Edgar Creech (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed. His brother will be killed in April next year.
- Private Henry Arthur Lane (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed at sea in October 1917.
- Privates Charles Thomas Brain and Harold William Bain (Gloucestershire Regiment) age 20 and 18 respectively are killed together.
First Division attacks south east of Pozieres at 00:30 1st Brigade attacks the Switch Line Trench with the Cameron Highlanders and Gloucestershire Regiment. They are halted by machine gun fire. Second Brigade sends Royal Sussex Regimentt and King’s Royal Rifle Corps to capture the junction of the Switch Line and Munster Alley. They are reinforced at 02:30 by the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with no success. In conjunction with these assaults north and south of Pozieres, 1st Australian Division attacks the village itself from the south at 12.:30 four battalions New South Wales Brigade quickly capture Pozieres Trench but the German trenches, OG1 and OG2, east of the village hold out. By 03:00 the support battalions have dug in along the Bapaume road. Third Brigade is enfiladed by OG1 however and has to throw back its right flank to face the German line. At 05:30 a counterattack from there is repulsed. During the day patrols are sent north of the road and after dark the Australian Infantry is moved up from reserve to occupy the remainder of the village.
- Captain Hermann Fritz Hubbe (Australian Pioneers) is killed in action at age 21. His father was killed in action during the South African War in 1900.
- Second Lieutenant Lewis Gordon Blackmore (Australian Infantry) an Australian Rules Footballer who played for Essendon is killed at age 30 by machine gun fire. He scored 10 goals in 7 games from 1905-1907.
- Sergeant William Nolan (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. He is an Australian Rules Footballer who scored 4 goals in 30 games for Richmond in 1914 & 1915.
Nineteenth Division attacks with 4 battalions of 56 and 57 Brigades. The objective is a German trench north of the village. Halted by machine gun fire all four battalions are withdrawn by 04:00. At 22:00 the 5th Divisions 13 Brigade attacks Wood Lane Trench, which runs south east from High Wood to Delville Wood. Caught in the light of German flares the Brigade suffers heavy casualties from machine guns sited in High Wood and withdraws. Reinforced by two battalions another attempt on Wood Lane is made by 13 Brigade at 01:30. Again it fails and the Brigade is back at its start line by dawn, having suffered over 1,000 casualties. At the same time two battalions of 154 Brigade, 51st Highland Division, attack High Wood itself, tasked with the capture of a 600 yard stretch of the Switch Line Trench. 1st/4th Gordon Highlanders loses direction in the wood and are machine gunned. 1st/9th Royal Scots are shelled as they advance into the wood. Both battalions withdraw at 03:00 with the loss of 450 men.
- Private John Cormack (Royal Scots) is killed. His brother died of wounds last month.
At 03:40 3rd Division launches another attack on Delville Wood. Nine Brigade attacking from south of Longueval making some progress with three battalions. Eventually these are forced back to their start lines. 95 Brigade of the 5th Division attacks some German strongpoints in the orchards north of Longueval. The East Surrey Regt and Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry captures one strongpoint but are forced back by a German counterattack.
- Private George Henry Streeter (East Surrey Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in the first month of the war.
21 Brigade of 30th Division attacks Guillemont at 03:40 with Yorkshire Regiment from north of Trones Wood and Manchester Regiment advancing from the wood itself. The Manchester got into the village despite the wire being uncut but are forced out by 14:00. The Yorkshire Regiment gets lost in a smokescreen and while some capture a trench south of Guillemont Station, later falling back on Waterlot farm, the remainder withdraw to Trones Wood, disorganising the rest of 30th Division south of the railway line little headway is made in clearing the ground by bombing parties of the Shropshire Light Infantry and East Yorkshire of 8 Brigade. These troops also withdraw to Waterlot Farm. The mixture of units here fights off a German counter-attack. From here the Royal Scots unsuccessfully attempt to bomb down along the Guillemont road. The Bedfordshire Regiment is engaged in pushing out small-fortified posts from the trenches between High Wood and Delville Wood.
- Lieutenant Bernard La Trobe Foster (Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Frederic La Trobe Foster, late Vicar of Brenchley, Kent. He composed several songs and hymn tunes, one of which, a War Intercession, has a circulation of over 30,000 copies.
- Lance Corporal James Duxbury (Manchester Regiment) is killed. His brother will be killed in July 1917.
Today’s losses include:
- A man whose father was killed in the South African War in 1900
- A member of the Penarth Rugby Club
- The grandson of a General
- A Scout Master
- An Australian Rules footballer
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Brothers killed together
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Humphrey Francis William Bircham DSO (commanding 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps) dies of wounds at age 41.
- Major (Acting Lieutenant Colonel Albert Norman Henderson MC (commanding 10th Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action. Lieutenant Alexander Fauvel Whitley (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed at age 26. He is a member of the Penarth Rugby Club.
- Lieutenant Robert Edward Pynsent Paramore (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Joseph Rawle Paramore Iddesleigh Rectory.
- Lieutenant Douglas S Baker (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds. His brother will be killed in May of next year.
- Lieutenant John Henry Boothby (Royal Horse Artillery) is killed in action at age 23, less than two weeks after his older brother was killed while serving in the Rifle Brigade. They are sons of the Reverend Henry Brooke Boothby and grandsons of Major General John George Boothby.
- Sergeant Owen Price (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 28. He is Scout Master.
- Sergeant Charles E Twigg (Worcestershire Regiment) is killed at age 22. His two brothers will be killed in the Great War the first just 8 days ago and the second in April 1918.
- Corporal Walter Paxton (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) is killed at age 28. He is the first of three brothers who are killed in the war.
- Lance Corporal Alfred Charles Farnell and his brother Private Arthur Benjamin Farnell age 25 (both of Warwickshire Regiment) are killed together.
- Private Thomas Edward Culley (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 20. His brother will be killed in two years and five days.
- Private Horace Moulds (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will die of illness in the last week of the Great War.
- Private W Hayward (Hampshire Regiment) is killed at age 32. His brother will die in November 1918.
- Private Henry George Ward (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 17. His brother will be killed in March 1918.
- Private Frederick Thomas Todd (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed last September.