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pikemedals

7TH BN & 10TH BN ESSEX REGIMENT

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Hello Pikemedals

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I have been away (again). Now, the 7th and 10th Battalions of the Essex Regiment.............

I have to say I do not know that much about the 7th Battalion other that they were part of the Territorial Force with their Headquarters at Walthamstow Lodge, Church Hill, Walthamstow.

The County of Essex was unusually blessed (I can say that having spent 16 yrs as a Terrier) with no less than 4 TF Battalions ; 4th at Warley; 5th at Chelmsford; 6th at West Ham; 7th as above and the peculiarity of the time the 8th who were a Cyclist Battalion based at Colchester. All were part of the 161st (Essex) Brigade of the East Anglian Division.

Along with many other 1st Line TF Units this Brigade (minus the 8th Essex) were sent to the Middle East and subsequently served in Gallipoli (Sulva Bay) and thereafter in Palestine. My Grandfather served with the 4th and 'British Regiments 1914-18 by Brigadier E.A.James' states that the war service of all three Essex TF Battalions were similar.

My Grandfather served all over the Middle east so I suspect did the 7th. They never served in France and finished their war in Beirut. My Grandfather by the way said that place was the most beautiful city on earth - unsurprisingly from a grocer from Southend I suppose! Calais was considered exotic........

There was a 2nd Line 7th Battalion who never left these shores and acted as a reinforcement Battalion.

The 10th Battalion were a totally different kettle of fish. They were a 'Service' Battalion raised at Warley, the Regimental HQ of the Essex Regiment and as such had the pick of Officers and NCOs who were recalled to the Colours or retained in England rather than rejoining their Regiments in India and it showed.

A part of Kitcheners K2 Army they were sent to France on 26th July 1915 as part of the 18th Division with who they remained throughout the War gaining a fearsome reputation as a fighting unit within a famous fighting Division. Christmas 1915 was spent in the Line at La Boiselle on the Somme - a 'quiet' sector where they could learn their trade.

Learn it they did. On a visit to the Front Line Maj Gen F.J.Maxse spoke to some of the men here and gave his theories of warfare "If every man in the BEF shot four Huns we could all go home". One Pte Halsey piped up "I've shot seven - can I go home now?" Maxse's reply was not noted but Halsey was appointed L/Cpl. A bit of cheek from the Battalions best sniper!

The 10th were still on the Somme on 1st July 1916. They subsequently fought in most major engagements in France, off the top of my head I cannot say whether they served on the Salient at Ypres. I can check if you like. I know they were alongside the 13th Battalion at Cambrai in 1917.

They avoid the chop (disbandment) in early 1918 where they Army lost some 115, mostly Service Battalions in an entirly fatuous, politically driven, reorganisation of the Army that did not put a single extra soldier in the Line to meet the Michael Offensive of Spring 1918. Bit of a sore point West Ham wise!

I know they recieved a draft of 120 men and 4 Officers from my 13th (West Ham) Battalion (they were placed in the much depleted 'B' Company - also men from Stratford by Bow) in February including the gallant Sgt Legg of 'D' Company's last stand fame who was killed in action in March 1918 as the 10th were in the forefront of the rearguard action, back on the Somme, trying to stem the tide of the German onslaught. At the wars end they were at Le Cateau.

I think I am right in thinking that the first Sunday in July is Essex Sunday at the Essex Regimental Chapel at Warley where the 10th Essex in particular is remembered by a small WW1 re-enactment group who call themselves the 10th Essex (they have a website I think). Anyway the Essex Regiment Association is very helpful if you call first (01277 213051) they have an interesting if small library

and they may let you in to the Chapel to see the Colours.

Ian Hook, a good friend of mine, is curator of the Essex Regiment Museum (01245 615100) and is a very keen WW1 historian and a mine of information. He has an original,1922, copy of Burrows' History of the Essex Regiment 1914-1918 in which each Battalion and their war service is outlined, mostly from War Diary info. I have tried everywhere to get a copy - ?200 plus

Lastly but certainly not least there is Captain R A Chell's diary account called "Trench Memories with the 10th Essex in France" Full of intimate personal stories and pictures taken by him. Long since out of print but the Essex Countryside magazine printed excerpts in July 1966 when the author attended the Essex Sunday meeting. There is an excellent photograph of the surviving veterans.

I only mention this because my Dad has for some reason kept back copies of 1964-1969 and I have photocopies of those excerpts.........

I hope this helps, its just off the top of my head. Anymore info required I can dig through my library

Barney

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Barney,

fantastic post as ever. What did the 'Service Battalions' do and how many Battalions of the Essex were there?

John wub.gif

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HI BARNEY,MANY THANKS. MY LINKS TO THE 1ST/7TH ESSEX. WAS MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER BATTALION.HAS HE GOT A 1914-15 TRIO.AM GLAD YOU TALK ABOUT CAPTAIN CHELL .MY WIFE GREAT-GRANDFATHER WAS CAPTAIN CHELL BATMAN.HE WAS PTE.J.BEESON.WHEN HE DIED CHELL COME TO HIS FUNERAL.HIS NAME COMES UP IN CHELL BOOK THE 10TH ESSEX IN FRANCE.HERS FAMILY JUSY GOT A COPY OF THE BOOK. PAID 65 POUND FOR IT.DID YOU KNOW ONE OF CHELL SONS.DIED IN THE WW2.IN 1944 HAS A PARA.I GOT A DCM CITATIONS FOR THE ESSEX REG FOR WW1.YOU MAY HAVE GOT A COPY HAS IT LOOK LIKE YOU A ESSEX REG MAN.IF NOT YOU NEED A MAN CHECK UP IT WILL BE DONE.I COME FROM CHINGFORD ITS GOOD TO SEE CHINGFORD BOYS IN THE BOOK WINNER DCM FOR THE ESSEX REG.SO MANY THANKS & HAPPY XMAS TO YOU ALL. PAUL PIKESLEY wub.gif

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Its nice to see the sharing of knowledge. It is exactly what this forum is for !!

Thanks to you both wink.gif

Nick

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John

In reply to your question there were a total of 18 Battalions of the Essex Regiment during the Great War plus two Garrison Battalions, one in Palestine and one in India.

There were four 'Service' Battalions : 9th, 10th,11th and of course the 13th. A Service Battalion enlisted voluntarily for 3 years or for the 'duration'. They were all fighting Battalions in the K1, K2, K3 and K4 Armies respectively.

And for PIKEMEDALS[attachmentid=59]

Ray Westlake produced an excellent book BRITISH REGIMENTS AT GALLIPOLI and it contains direct lifts from the relevant War Diaries. The 7th Essex has an entry so I have attached it here (I hope because I aint too good with technical). He also produced BRITISH BATTALIONS ON THE SOMME with a 10th Battalion entry if you are interested...............

Barney

7th_Essex_Gallipoli_2.doc

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hi to jim sobery, many thanks for your email on capt chell,my wife family has still got christmas cards from capt chell.sent to her great-grandfrather.i think the essex reg museum.has got capt chell medals.DSO,MC,1914-15 TRIO plus what he got in the ww2

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Barney & Paul,

Geat posts, and fascinating information. I can't believe that you could sign up for 3 years or the 'duration'!

Imagine that today, I enlist for Iraq, for the duration! Times have changed. I'm still unsure why they were labelled 'Service Batttalions' , though. Why weren't thet just called 9th Battalion The Essex Regiment ,though?

John :food-smiley-004:

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I have photos. letters, WWI pair of medals, death plaque etc of a 10th Bn Essex Regt man, a Private William Pearson.

He was killed during an attack in October (I think) 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, when the Essex advanced along a sunken road between Guedecourt - Beuvencourt, attacking the Germans in Misty & Cloudy Trenches.

A company of Essex got into the 2nd or 3rd line of trenches but were unsupported to a flank and cut off when the Germans counterattacked.

I also have the medals etc to his 4 sons, one of whom had the same name and was a Cambs Regt fatality at Singapore in WWII. His wife remarried and had a son, I have his medals etc too.

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