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Bugbrooke and the Great War - Page 15  - October to December 1918

Page 1 - Overview, Info & Articles Page 2 - August, September 1914 Page 3- October 1914 - January 1915
Page 4- February 1915 - May 1915 Page 5 June 1915 - September 1915 Page 6   October15-January 1916
Page 7- February 1916 - May 1916 Page 8- June 1916 - Sept 1916 Page 9 December 16 - January 1917
Page 10 February - May 1917 Page 11 June - September 1917 Page 12-Oct 1917-Dec 1917
Page 13 February - May 1918 Page 14 June - Septemberr 1918 Page 15 -Oct 1917-Dec 1918

 100 Years Ago, October and November 1918
The successful Allied response to the failed German offensive on the Western Front
continued during October. The advances eastwards across a wide front gained
momentum, with the Germans in almost constant withdrawal. There were specific
British attacks on 3 October (along an eight-mile front), 4 October (a 20-mile front) and
8 October (a 21-mile front, with many tanks involved).
By this time, Bulgaria, a somewhat reluctant supporter of the ‘Central Powers’ and
having lost its German subsidy and supplies, had already signed an Armistice with the
Allies, on 30 September.
On 4 October, the Germans had sent a note to the American President, Woodrow
WILSON, proposing an Armistice. Allied advances continued meanwhile, with the
Germans in retreat across a wide front, though still resisting strongly. The Allies were
no doubt bolstered by the significant presence of many American troops now, though
these were not always committed to the action. Their commander, General John
PERSHING, remained insistent that they participated as distinct American formations
under American command.
On 13 October, President WILSON demanded German capitulation, while advances continued and the Germans retreated; on 23 October the President said he
was willing to discuss an Armistice. Other theatres were also progressing in the Allie’s
favour and on 28 October the Austrians requested an Armistice and one was signed
with Turkey on 30 October. A mutiny was spreading in the German navy while the last
major Allied assault on land, the successful four-day Battle of the Sambre, started
across a 30-mile front, with tank support, on 1 November.
At the same time, the Allies held a conference at Versailles to agree the Armistice
terms to be offered, President WILSON authorising Marshal Ferdinand FOCH to
present them to a German delegation. This duly took place on a train at Rethondes
Railway Station in the Compiegne Forest on 8 November. The Kaiser abdicated the
next day, crossing into neutral Holland; there was ‘unrest’ reported in Berlin.
The Germans had been given 72 hours to accept the terms, expiring at 11.00am
on Monday 11 November. Their delegation was in close discussion with the Allies’
representatives overnight on 10/11 November, with the Armistice signed at 5.00am, to
take effect from 11.00am that day. The guns fell silent!
From 17 November 1918, British Second and Fourth Armies were moved towards
the German border, occupying German territory from 1 December. Second Army was
later officially named the ‘British Army of the Rhine’ from 2 April 1919.
The one theatre still active was East Africa, where the undefeated German commander, Colonel Paul von LETTOW-VORBECK, had been conducting a very successful irregular war which occupied a disproportionate number of mainly British troops. It took until 25 November to reach him and persuade him to surrender, by then in Northern Rhodesia. Bugbrooke man Harry James AMBLER, a Lieutenant (and sometime Temporary Captain) in the Royal Engineers and employed as a Signals Officer, served in this campaign (with only a short break) from 29 May 1917 to 29
November 1918, when he embarked for England and eventual release to civilian life.
The Germans had been more successful at sea, with almost daily sinking of
merchantmen by U-boats, with the last recorded attack occurring on 7 November. The
last major loss by the Royal Navy (RN) occurred on 9 November, with the sinking
(again, by U-boat) off Cape Trafalgar of the battleship HMS Britannia, in which
Bugbrooke man Thomas KING had served pre-war, though he was not aboard that
fateful day. (Thomas had joined the RN as a ‘Boy’ in 1910 and served until discharged
to a pension in June 1934). Elsewhere, the Allied Intervention in Russia continued
inconclusively during 1919, with the last British units leaving in late 1920.
A formal Peace Treaty was signed at Versailles on 28 June 1919 and ratified in
Paris on 10 January 1920, with the USA a notable absentee, signing separate terms
Back in Bugbrooke, life continued as ‘normal’, with the school closing for
blackberrying on 1 October (afternoon), 7 October (all day) and 8 October (afternoon),
with two separate loads just over 100lbs (45kgs) despatched and the pupils paid
accordingly. Notable events include Rev Ernest HARRISON visiting the school on 9
October and the school gate repair the following day. The Headmaster, Frank
WRIGHT, notes that the completion of Food Rationing Cards – a task given to the
teachers – was long and demanding.
On 29 October the sad news was received of the loss of 19-year old Private Fred
CHAPMAN in Belgium, while serving with 26 (Service) Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers,
which had returned to France in March after some four months in Italy. A letter to the
school suggests he was killed on 25 October, but the official records state 14 October.
He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial and the effects sent to his mother
Ellen, included payments of £5.16s.2d on 18 March 1919 and £4 on 10 December that
An ominous note on 6 November says that children are absent with flu. On 11
November news of the Armistice reaches the school at midday, and after some
parents are gathered, the national anthem is sung around the flagpole, flying the
Union Flag. Apparently the children asked for and were immediately granted a halfday
holiday! The school was still chasing fuel supplies and closed from 18 to 21
November inclusive, when fuel was at last delivered.
There were two other casualties before hostilities ceased, though only one was
fatal. Private Charles Edward DAVIS was serving with a Signal Company of the Royal
Engineers when he received a head wound – probably from shrapnel – on 20 October.
He was treated in France before discharge from hospital on 1 November and return to
England to recover (and to marry a nurse on 26 December, in Bugbrooke).
Private Charles Henry EALES, originally in the Northamptonshire Regiment, but
serving locally with an Agricultural Labour Company of the Royal Army Ordnance
Corps (RAOC), succumbed to pneumonia following flu, in a hospital in Northampton
on 7 November, his mother at his bedside. He had served on the Western Front the
previous year, from 1 January to 11 April, when he received a gunshot wound to his
shoulder. On his recovery he was found unfit for further active service and remained in
England; he is buried in the Towcester Road cemetery in Northampton. His effects
went to his father, including payments of £8.6s on 6 February and £6 on 9 December
Three further deaths should be noted, one attributed to military service and two to
later illness. Private William Henry MILLS, serving with an Ammunition Section of the
RAOC in France, was killed in an accident on 2 June 1919 and is buried in Meaulte
Military Cemetery on the Somme. The effects sent to his widow included a payment of
£29.4s.4d on 23 February 1920. Private Arthur Sydney Jacob BASS, serving with the
Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry) in the army of occupation in Germany, had died from flu
on 4 January 1919 and is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery. The effects sent to
his father included a payment of £32.8s.1d on 22 April that year. Sadly his older
brother (John Henry) Dennis BASS, late of the Machine Gun Corps and the army of
occupation, was to succumb to flu in Northampton in September the following year.
Although this is not registered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as he had been discharged by then, his name is on the memorial plaque in Bugbrooke
It took many months for the long-planned
demobilisation process to bring everyone home. Priority was given to men with trades vital to getting Britain back to work and normality, regardless of length of service or family needs.
For a Victory (or Peace) Parade in London on 19 July 1919, a temporary wooden and plaster cenotaph was built, it being retained for the first Armistice commemoration on 11 November that year, including a two-minute silence, which has been observed on each such occasion since. On 11 November 1920 the stone Cenotaph we know today was unveiled by the King, en route to the interment at Westminster Abbey of the ‘Unknown Soldier’, intended as a symbol of national mourning..
Roger Colbourne for the 100 Year Project



 The 100 Years Project
The article in this issue of the LINK for the ‘100 years
project’ is the final one. Over the last 4 years, we have
produced an article every issue trying to give LINK
readers an idea of what was happening to the people of Bugbrooke in the village and
in the Great War exactly 100 years ago. As 100 years ago, as the Great War came to
an end so now do our articles.
We have talked about all of the 29 soldiers who are associated with Bugbrooke
and died in the war, and researched all 160 soldiers who served. With around 192
homes in Bugbrooke at that time, virtually every family would have been affected.
It has been an endurance test for the four of us who have done it, and for those of
you who have taken the time to read the articles. The school letters, the war diaries,
the personal accounts, and stories we have come across, have produced a unique
insight into life for Bugbrooke folk 100 years ago during the war.
For those of you who missed them or want to re-read the articles, they are all
accessible on the Bugbrooke LINK website at www.bugbrookelink.co.uk/ww1 ,
together with information on all men who served, all the school letters, and all the spin
off information we came across. Do have a look.
For those of you who have not read any, and have been bored by these articles,
thank you for your patience, your suffering is at an end.
Geoff Cooke, Dave Marshall, Jim Inch and Roger Colbourne for the 100 Years Project