Saturday, October 15, 2016

My History Books Top 10

Victor Klemperer
Ich will Zeugnis ablegen
bis zum letzten

1995

Arthur Koestler
The Sleepwalkers
1959

Paul Kennedy
The Rise and Fall
of the Great Powers

1987

Robert Hughes
The Fatal Shore
1987

Norman Davies
Europe
1997

Robert Hughes
American Visions
1998

Jonathan Israel
Radical Enlightenment
2001

David van Reysrouck
Congo
2010

Andrea Wulf
The Invention of Nature.
The Adventures of
Alexander von Humboldt

2015

Neil MacGregor
Duitsland -
Biografie van een natie

2015

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Hermann Diethelm (1877-1916)



== Ter herinnering aan de 100e sterfdag van Hermann Diethelm, 17 augustus 2016 ==

[Deutscher Tekst]

100 Jaar geleden
In het dagelijkse leven werk ik o.a. samen met Tony, een Engelse collega in mijn team. Tony's overgrootvader - Arthur E. Davison - is in de Eerste Wereldoorlog gevallen in Ieper, ten tijde van de Tweede Slag om Ieper. Ieper werd berucht vanwege de eerste inzet van gifgas door de Duitsers; dat gebeurde in de dagen dat Tony's overgrootvader is gevallen. Lees hier meer over Arthur E. Davison en een kort verslag van de handelingen van zijn battalion in de buurt van Ieper.
Bij toeval ontdekten we dat we hier een parallelle voorgeschiedenis hebben: mijn overgrootvader - Hermann Diethelm - is namelijk ook gevallen in de Eerste Wereldoorlog, op 17 aug 1916 in Frankrijk, waarschijnlijk in de Slag aan de Somme. Onze overgrootvaders vochten dus aan verschillende zijden van een slepende, verschrikkelijke oorlog.

Diethelm uit de 'March' (kanton Schwyz, Zwitserland)

De wortels van de familie Diethelm liggen in de March, een district ten zuidoosten van de Zürichsee in Zwitserland. Daar is de geschiedenis van de Diethelms tot in de 13e eeuw terug te traceren.

March in Zwitserland (met o.a. de gemeente Schübelbach)

De Diethelms zijn in de 19e eeuw vooral aktief geweest in de melk- en kaasproductie, hier staat de regio ook bekend om. De productie van harde kazen (b.v. Tilsiter, Emmenthaler) vereist een zorgvuldige controle van de temperatuur en de kazen moeten 4-12 maanden rijpen. Uitval ontstaat als de melk niet de juiste kwaliteit heeft of als het proces niet nauwgezet wordt uitgevoerd. In de 19e eeuw vindt verregaande professionalisering plaats van de kaasproductie; tevens worden er 'Käserei-inspecktionen' ingesteld.

Aan het eind 19e eeuw komen de kaasprijzen onder druk te staan en heeft men in de March steeds meer last van concurrentie, namaak-producten uit Bayern, Westpreussen, Oostenrijk, Frankrijk en Rusland. Maar vooral de concurrentie met 'vreemde' kazen, Chester (Engeland en Noordamerika) en 'Holländerkäse', brengt de handel onder grote druk. Hier hebben ook de Diethelms onder te lijden. Migratie is één van de manieren om op zoek te gaan naar een beter leven.
De motivatie voor emigratie is echter vaak een combinatie van persoonlijke en zakelijke motieven; groter wordende families, ervaringen van reeds geemigreerde familie en kennissen, oorlogshandelingen en verlies van bezittingen elders, faillissementen, falen door speculaties etc. spelen allemaal een rol.

Weichseldelta

De delta van de Weichsel (Vistula), de rivier die o.a. bij Danzig in de Oostzee uitmondt, was door verschillende dijkdoorbraken in de 16 eeuw langdurig ondergelopen en dreigde te verzompen. Nederlandse Mennonieten, vervolgd vanwege hun godsdienst en verjaagd in het tweede deel van de 16 eeuw, vestigden zich in deze delta en hebben het land drooggelegd en geschikt gemaakt voor gebruik. De Mennonieten leefden in zogenaamde "Holländerdörfer". Hier belijden ze hun eigen geloof, hebben hun eigen taal en gebruiken voor de bewerking van het land. De boerderiijen liggen niet aan een dorpsstraat, maar centraal in het land. In 1622 hebben de mennonieten al een onderlinge brandverzekering (door de burgemeester van Danzig erkend). In deze delta zullen de Diethelms zich vestigen, in verschillende plaatsen; Hermann Diethelm komt in Gross Montau terecht.


Weichseldelta met Nederlandse nederzettingen

Emigratie

Rond het midden van de 19e eeuw zijn het de nazaten van drie gezinnen Diethelm die migreren van de March naar de Weichseldelta. Het zijn de nazaten van de drie gezinnen van twee broers en hun zus, kinderen van Johann Laurenz Diethelm (1748-1814):

1. Johann Josef Diethelm (1776-1823) x Anna Elisabeth Diethelm
2. Heinrich Anton Diethelm ((1784-1847) x Anna Maria Gutmann
3. Josef Leonz Diethelm (1770-...) x Maria Katharina Diethelm
    - Bartholomäus (1816-1883), 'Kantonsrichter' x Regina Rouss
        - Bartholomäus (1837-1915) x Caroline Diethelm (1853-1931)
            - Hermann Diethelm (1877-1916) x Maria Höfliger (1878-1962)
Johann Josef en Heinrich Anton waren beiden Landammann (voorzitter van de kantonsregering). De genoemde voorvaderen van Hermann Diethelm worden, incl. Hermann zelf, allemaal in Schübelbach geboren.

Johann Josef, Heinrich Anton en Maria Katharina zijn broers en zus. Josef Leonz Diethelm en Maria Katharina (ook een Diethelm), zijn de overgrootouders van mijn overgrootvader Hermann Diethelm.
Een zoon van Johann Josef Diethelm, ook luisterend naar de naam Josef Leonz Diethelm (1820-...) is waarschijnlijk de eerste die is geemigreerd.

Hermann Diethelm en zijn gezin
Hermann Diethelm (27-11-1877, Schübelbach - 17-08-1916, Frankrijk)
x Marie Höfliger (06-12-1878, Sadlauken/Bremerhaven - 15-08-1962, Bremerhaven)
Hermann huwt in 1910 in Danzig de één jaar jongere Marie Höfliger. Hij verdient zijn inkomen met het runnen van een melkfabriek. Dat lijkt hem goed af te gaan. Bovenaan deze pagina is het hoofd te zien van een voorgedrukte nota uit 1913 met het trotse logo van de melkfabriek.


'Molkerei' en 'Wohnhaus' Hermann Diethelm (Montau, Schwetz)
In het gezin van Hermann en Marie worden achtereenvolgens de dochters Gerda (1911), Anni (1912), Ilse (1914) en Hilde (1914), allemaal in Montau geboven. De vijfde dochter, Eva-Marie (1917) werd pas na Hermann's overlijden geboren. Eva is mijn oma, begin 2017 is ze 100 jaar geworden. Hermann heeft haar dus nooit gezien.

Hermann was dus geboren Zwitser en had zich ergens laten overhalen de Duitse nationaliteit aan te nemen. Dat is hem uiteindelijk duur komen te staan. Najaar 1915 overlijdt zijn vader en wordt begraven in Langfuhr (Danzig). Hermann laat eind van het jaar zijn testament opstellen (zie hieronder), waarschijnlijk omdat hij weet dat hij als soldaat zal moeten dienen. Hij wordt ingezet in Frankrijk, exacte eenheid is niet meer te achterhalen (enkel de indicatie op zijn grafsteen resteren, zie hieronder) - de betreffende archieven zijn door oorlogsgeweld vernieitigd. Ergens eind april, begin mei 1916 moet hij nog thuis zijn geweest - hij verwerkt zijn vijfde dochter. Daarna verdwijnt hij naar Frankrijk. Zijn officiele overlijdensdatum is 17 aug 1916, maar mogelijk is dit niet eens de exacte datum. Omdat niet bekend is bij welke eenheid Hermann behorde, is het ook niet meer mogelijk de locatie te achterhalen.

Na Hermann's dood blijft zijn vrouw Marie alleen achter met 5 dochters en een melkfabriek, die met hulp van andere familieleden blijft draaien.

Marie Höfliger en haar vijf dochters (ca.1925)


Testament (26 december 1915)
Abschrift des Testaments von Hermann Diethelm, 26. Dezember 1915: [2]
"
    Mein Testament:

    Für den Falle meines frühen, unvorhergesehenen Todes bestimme ich hiermit 
    folgendes:
    Das mitgebrachte Vermögen meiner Ehefrau Marie ist angelegt bei der 
    Norddeutschen Kreditanstalt in Tiegenhof und steht meiner Ehefrau hierüber
    die alleinige Verfügung zu. Von meinem Vermögen sollen meiner Ehefrau Marie
    geb. Höfliger M 100.000,= Einhundert Tausend Mark vorweg sichergestellt 
    werden und soll sie hiervon den alleinigen Nießbrauch bis zu ihrem Toden
    haben, nach ihrem Tode fallen diese 100.000 M meinen Kindern zu gleichen 
    Teilen zu: ferner vermache ich der Gemeinde Montau 1000 - Ein Tausend, die 
    Zinsen hiervon sollen jährlich für arme Kinder der Gemeinde verwandt werden.
    Mark 1000 - Ein Tausend dem St. Adalbertus Verein
    Mark 1000 - Ein Tausend für die Kriegshinterbliebenen
    Mark 1000 - Ein Tausend für die Kriegsblinden
    Mark 1000 - Ein Tausend für die hlg. Kirch in Langfuhr

    Alles Übrige erben meine lb. Kinder zu gleichen Teilen und wird meine lb. 
    Frau es sich angelegen sein lassen, dieselben zu braven, gesitteten Töchtern
    zu erziehen. Als Entgelt hierfür steht ihr der Nießbrauch des Vermögens der 
    Kinder bis zu deren Großjährigkeit bzw. eventueller früheren Heirat zu.

    Meinen Bruder Adolf Diethelm - Rehhof bestimme ich zum Testamentsvollstrecker.
    Im Falle einer Behinderung desselben meinen Schwager Emil Krieg - Tiegenhof.
    Es ist mein Wunsch, wenn irgend möglich, auf dem Kirchhofe in Langfuhr, auf 
    dem mein lb. Vater ruht, begraben zu werden. An alle meine lb. näheren 
    Verwandten richte ich noch zum Schluß die Bitte, meinen treuen Hinterbliebenen
    mit Rat und Tat beistehen zu wollen.

    Montau den 26. Dezember 1915
    gez. Hermann Diethelm
"

1e Wereldoorlog

Slag aan de Somme (1 juli 1916 - 25 november 1916)

"Op 1 juli, de eerste dag van het offensief, nadat er een week lang zware beschietingen hadden plaatsgevonden, verloren de Britse en dominion-troepen 57.470 man, van wie 19.240 doden en 35.493 gewonden. Het was de rampzaligste dag in de Britse militaire geschiedenis. Dat dit offensief een grote doorbraak zou opleveren, bleek al snel een kostbare illusie. Toen de gevechten aan de Somme tegen het einde van november langzaam smoorden in de regen, ijzel, modder en sneeuw, hadden de legers uit Groot-Britannië en de dominions over een breedte van ongeveer 35 kilometer het front 10 kilometer weten op te schuiven, terwijl de Fransen bijna twee keer zoveel gebied hadden heroverd. Daarvoor waren meer dan een miljoen man gesneuveld of gewond geraakt. De verliezen van de Britse troepen en die uit de dominions bedroegen 419.654 man (van wie 127.751 gesneuveld), die van de Fransen 204.353 en van de Duitsers ongeveer 465.000. Door deze enorme verliezen en het geringe voordeel dat ermee was behaald, was de slag aan de Somme de verschrikkelijkste aan het westelijk front van heel de Eerste Wereldoorlog." [5]

Hermann moet op 38e jarige leeftijd het uniform aan. Hij ziet er wat volslank uit, niet getraind zou je zo zeggen. Hij heeft een sigaar in de hand om een beetje stoer te doen - misschien zichzelf wat moed te geven dat het wel gaat lukken. Het zal al bekend zijn geweest dat er enorme verliezen worden geleden, maar er is geen ontsnappen meer aan.


Hermann Diethelm in uniform
Ergens voorjaar vertrekt Hermann dus naar Noord-Frankrijk, het zal niet lang duren. Al in augustus komt hij te overlijden, begin oktober wordt zijn overlijden op de 'Verlustlisten' gepubliceerd.

Verlustlisten I.Weltkrieg [4]


3 Okt 1916

9 Dec 1916 ("Preussen 706") [Dit is een foutieve melding, hier wordt per abuis 'Dietleben' geschreven i.p.v. 'Diethelm']

3 Jan 1917 ("Preussen 724") [Dit is de correctie van de foutieve melding.]
Hermann wordt, zoals in zijn testament gevraagd, begraven in Langfuhr, waar ook zijn vader - pas het jaar daarvoor - zijn laatste rustplaats heeft gevonden.

Grafsteen
"
    Hier ruht in Gott
    der Ldstpfl. [Landsturmpflichtiger]

    Herrm. Diethelm
    vom
    1. Feldrekrutendepot 1.Komp.
    geb.am 27.11.77
    gefallen am 17.8.16
    ---
    Für Ehr und Pflicht,
    bis Herz und Klinge bricht.
"

Bronnen

[1] Battle of the Somme, 1916; Britse documentaire Battle of the Somme (1916).
[2] Die Auswanderung aus der March nach Preussen in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts
    dargestellt an den Sippen DIETHELM, von L. Diethelm, 1990.
[3] Die Deutschen an der Somme 1914-1918, Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Irina Renz, 2006.
[4] Verlustlisten I. Weltkrieg 
[5] De afdaling in de hel, p.75, Ian Kershaw, 2015.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Blerick: de familie Woschke

Familie Woschke:

- Ernest Auguste Emile Woschke [geb. 11-09-1856, Stargard]
  x Charlotte Jeane Langenau [geb. 02-08-1856, Danzig]

  - Erneste Auguste Emille Paul Woschke [geb. 16-05-1881, Berlin]
  - Otto Max (?) Leopold Woschke [geb. 15-09-1882, Berlin]
  - Fritz Gustave Max Woschke [geb. 21-09-1883, Berlin]
  - Jeanne Wilhelmine Phillipine Woschke [geb. 03-02-1887, Berlin]

  - (nicht) Anna Pilz [geb. 01-05-1885, Berlijn]
Op 28 juli 1891 liet de familie Woschke zich inschrijven in Nederland, alwaar zij zich 2 mei 1891 hadden gevestigd in de Willemstraaat; vorige woonplaats was Schaerbeek (bij Brussel). Op 2 sep 1893 vertrokken naar Brussel.

[1] https://www.wiewaswie.nl/personen-zoeken/zoeken/q/woschke

Gerard Philips haalt Emile Woschke in mei 1891 naar Eindhoven. Hij moet Goossens, Pope & Co gaan leiden:



16 jul 1921: Breidenbach/Woschke, autohandelaren:

8 aug 1921: Breidenbach/Woschke, autohandelaren:

13 jan 1922: fiets van F. Woschke gestolen:

4 feb 1922: Gebr. Woschke, autohandelaren, publieke verkoop ("aan 't station Blerick"):

22 feb 1924: F. Woschke, schrijfmachinenhandelaar (Kazernestraat):

23 mei 1928: E. Woschke (8) omvergereden (Schoolstraatje/Maasbreeschestraat):

4 aug 1928: O. Woschke, autohandelaar (Maasbreeschestraat 30):

4 apr 1938: E.M.R Woschke, instrumentenmaker:

30 dec 1939: F. Woschke, schrijf-/rekenmachinehandelaar (Kazernestraat 41):

30 dec 1941: Fr. Woschke, schrijfmachinenhandelaar (Kazernestraat 41):

Arthur E. Davison (~1875-1915)

Private Arthur E. Davison, 2768
'D' Company, 1st/8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.
Died aged 40 on Monday 26th April 1915

Private Davison was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Davison, of Darlington; husband of Ann Davison, of 17 Davison Terrace, Sacriston, Durham. He was a builder by trade and was the father of Joseph, Robert, Ivy, Amelia and Myra.

Remembered with honour on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium.


The following is an extract from 'Eighth Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry, 1793 - 1926', by Major E.Hardinge Veitch, MC, TD

"
On April 17th [1915] the transport and machine-gun detachment departed via Southampton en route for Le Havre, followed on Monday, the 19th, by the Battalion which was to cross by the shorter route, Folkestone-Boulogne.

.....

After a calm, uneventful crossing Boulogne was reached at 1 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20th, its brilliantly lighted landing-stage contrasting strangely with the semi-darkness of Folkestone. Here the battalion disembarked and was met by Major J.R.Ritson, who had preceded it by two or three days, and was soon set on its way up the long rough road to bivouac ot Ostrovhe on the hill above the town.

About midday on April 20th, the Battalion marched from the camp at Ostovhe to Pont des Briques, a distance of some three miles, where on arrival of the train from Le Havre conveying the transport and the machine-gun detachment which, leaving Gateshead on April 17th, had crossed from Southampton, entrainment was quickly carried out in spite of the lack of experience in finding sufficient space for forty "hommes" with full equipment in a horse box.

After a leisurely journey....St Omer was reached. Here orders were received to continue to Cassel, where eventually the Battalion arrived about 7 p.m., detraining at a small station a little to the north-west of Cassel, and marching to billets in and about St.Marie Capelle.

.....

The Battalion was not destined to make a gradual entry into the fighting, for on April 23rd orders were received to move forward at once. At 1.45 p.m. all the Companies had concentrated on the road a little to the north of Cassel, and the Battalion marched to Riveld where it was ordered to continue to Steenvoorde. On arrival here large numbers of French troops were seen being hurriedly conveyed north in motor lorries, and the sound of heavy continuous artillery fire made it evident that a serious engagement was in progress. At 5 p.m. the Battalion moved forward from Steenvoorde for Poperinghe in two parties in motor buses, still bearing the familiar advertisements carried by them when running in the London streets, crossing on the way at Abeele the frontier into Belgium. At Poperinghe further orders were received to go on to Vlamertinghe, which was reached at 11 p.m. Here it was ascertained that the French had been attacked by the Germans, who, by the use of poisonous gases, had broken the line. A Canadian Division had filled the gap thus made and were winning back the lost ground in very gallant style. Very heavy artillery fire could be heard, and Ypres was reported to be heavily shelled. After leaving Poperinghe the Very lights rising from the line became visible, and through them could be traced the whole outline of "The Salient".The transport which had followed arrived about 2 a.m., and the night was spent in billets and the out-buildings of a convent at the west end of town.

All through the 24th the heavy artillery fire continued, the Battalion "stood by", and at 6.30 p.m. moved forward, the first of the 50th Division to go into action.

On into Ypres.....out through the Menin Gate....on through Potijze, Velorenhoek and Frezenberg to the Level Crossing (Devil's Crossing) of the Ypres-Roulers railway where the road was left and the Battalion groped its way up a narrow track alongside and under cover of the railway embankment into Zonnebeke, near its station, and so into the fight.

......

Although several shells fell in Ypres whilst the Battalion was passing through, Potijze was reached about 10 p.m. without any casualties. Orders were then received to push on to Velorenhoek and to report to Brigadier-General Chapman, commanding the 85th Infantry Brigade (28th Division). On arrival here the Battalion was ordered to move about four hundred yards to the east of the village, extend on either side of the road and there await morning.

......

At 11.30 p.m., however, further orders were received to proceed to the Headquarters of the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers on the Zonnebeke-St.Julien road, where a guide was to be obtained to lead the Battalion to some trenches which were reported to have been dug by a Canadian Battalion but left unfinished by them......the Battalion at once moved off.

On arrival at the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers Headquarters the orders were explained to Major Johnson then commanding that Battalion. He, however, stated that the position the Battalion was ordered to was quite untenable and that, moreover, it would be quite impossible to entrench it before daylight, especially as the men's small entrenching tools only were available. On the situation being explained by telephone to the 85th Infantry Brigade, the Battalion was instead ordered to proceed to a position held by the 8th Canadian Battalion uner Lieutenant-Colonel Lipsett at Boetleer's Farm.

It was now nearly 2 a.m. The Battalion immediately moved off to relieve the Canadians who were reported to have lost heavily and to be much exhausted. Passing through a farm filled with Canadian wounded, the pack animals were left and the ammunition taken on by hand. The position at Boetleer's Farm was reached about 3 a.m. on Sunday, April 25th.

......

The Canadian trenches centred on a group of farm buildings (Boetleer's Farm) which were in ruins from shell-fire. These occupied the highest ground. To the north-west the ground sloped gently down, but observation was much restricted by small clumps of brushwood and hedges. Towards Keerselaare and the line of the Stoombeek the ground rose again and there were some fairly large fields. To the east was a large open field leading across a narrow valley to a ridge some 12 to 14 hundred yards distant. Westwards, the ground fell away gradually with a good field of fire.The field was enclosed by a thick hedge, and at its north-west corner adjoining the farm buildings was a small orchard which, on the arrival of the Battalion, was strewn with bodies stripped of their uniforms.

......

The Canadian headquarters had been stationed at the farmbuildings. These on examination were found to be full of Canadian wounded in great need to attention owing to their Medical Officer having been killed. Though protected by sandbags the buildings were totally unsuitable for any purpose, as they were constantly shelled and partly destroyed. However, for the time being Battalion headquarters was establishd here.

......

D Company was ordered to occupy trenches, relieving the Canadians holding these.

......

The German positions varied from about eighty to two hundred and fify yards in distance from the trenches.....the "No Man's Land" between being covered with young corn and mustard.

......

Leaving Boetleer's Farm with a Canadian as guide, D Company, followed closely by A Company, moved over the crest of the ridge and then in a north-easterly direction down a gradual slope. After crossing two or three fields, in one of which were several unoccupied trenches, passing a ruined farm nearby which was a trench containing several dead, and crossing a stream, eventually they reached on slightly rising ground a line of trenches held by some weak Companies of the 7th and 8th Canadian Battalions. Turning left into this, D Company, still leading, filed along for a distance of some two hundred yards, then through a length used as a communication trench partly filled with water into a trench beyond also held by the Canadians.

......

Though by this time it was broad daylight, it was most remarkable that no fire was opened on the Companies, for the German trench facing the point where they entered the Canadian trench was no more than 80 yards away, and to their strained imagination the noise made by the wash of the water carried by them in petrol tins was in itself alone sufficient to draw attention. Possibly after their efforts on the 24th the Germans were sleeping at the moment, but there it was, the position was occupied without a shot being fired.

The trenches had obviously been held by the French at some time, for a number of bodies were buried in and around them, so little below the surface that they could be felt under the feet, and the shell-fire during the day that followed threw many of these up, scattering them in all directions, when it was seen that they were French Colonials.

They were shallow trenches with a fair breastwork partly loopholed, but the traverses were incomplete and there was no protection in their rear, the lack of which was responsible for many casualties from the back blast of the shells bursting behind, and during the day even the breastwork gradually failed them, being blown in along much of its length together with a number of the dug-outs and burying the wounded where they lay waiting till darkness set in for succour-if the trench could be held till then. Nor were there in these early days steel helmets to protect against overhead shrapnel. The dug-outs, of which there were a number, were filled with Canadian dead, wounded and gassed, mostly the latter. Owing to the light it was impossible to remove any of these, and of the few Canadians holding the trenches but a small number were able to get away. They had been holding the position for some days. Much has been written in other records of their gallantry-let this be added to them here, they were good fellows, and fearless, officers and men alike. The trenches were well supplied with ammunition, periscopes and food. There was very little wire in front.

As the main and decisive German attack on the 25th developed from the gap existing on D Company's left flank the story of that Company will be taken first.

......

Soon after 3.30 a.m. heavy rifle fire opened from the west, lasting for about thirty minutes when it died down, and during of the remainder of the early morning fire was only intermittent from this direction, whilst from the north there was little more than sniping. Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. a German aeroplane flew low along over the trench, dropping silver paper in spite of being fired at, and half an hour later heavy shelling opened and continued. One of the first shells struck the telephone dug-out, killing the operator and destroying the instrument. Communication with Battalion headquarters by this means was never re-established. Casulaties from the shell-fire were constant and heavy.....many men were killed and wounded, and one of the Canadian machine-guns was knocked out, all its team being killed or wounded, for the trench gave but little shelter save from rifle fire in front.

......

The shelling became intense about 12.30 p.m., and from then onwards, save during the intervals of German infantry attacks, never ceased till night.

About 2 p.m. scouts who had gone out to the north-west reported that the Germans were collecting in some dead ground in that direction. These could not be seen from [D Company's] trench nor were they observed from Boetleer's Farm. Shortly afterwards they advanced, but fire was opened on them at six hundred yards, and they were stopped, but now D Company was enfiladed by rifle-fire, and as the Germans appeared to be working farther and farther round the left flank Captain Bradford extended a section in the open amongst some mustard to prolong his flank and at the same time ordered Lieutenant J.O.Wilson with a patrol to work up a fence to a farmhouse in the rear. All the patrol, after a sharp fight at the farm, were killed or wounded, Lieutenant Wilson himself being wounded and taken prisoner.

......

A determined attack by the German infantry now developed. After the long hours of shelling they had endured this came somewhat in the nature of a relief to the men, who faced it steadily, and under their rapid fire and that of the one remaining machine-gun the grey-clad figures doubling across No man's Land halted, turned and melted away.

......

After the failure of their infantry to capture the trench a heavy bombardment again began, under cover of which the Germans continued to work round its left flank and rear. About 5 p.m. some hundred German cyclists came along a road on the left from the direction of Langemarcke until they were five or sixe hundred yards away, when rapid fire being opened on them, they jumped from their machines and took cover.

The remaining machine-gun was knocked out at 5.30 p.m., and when its fire ceased the Germans again advanced in a most determined manner. Captain Bradford, himself wounded, had now only Lieutenant J.L.Wood and about thirty men left, but though the Germans approached quite close, their further advance was completely stopped by the fire of this small party. During the lull that followed, a supply of rum found in the trench was issued.

At 6 p.m. the German artillery fire increased in intensity, and a little later, ammunition being almost exhausted, communication with Battalion Headquarters impossible, and the trench being surrounded, Captain Bradford decided to attempt a retirement.

......

The losses sustained by D Company throughout the day amounted to 7 officers and 173 non-commissioned officers and men, killed, wounded or missing.

[On the 26th] the Germans advanced considerably, having extended both east and west from their original position, and threatened to envelop the Battalion. Time passed and there was no sign of reinforcement or relief. The defense of the position was reorganised and all dug in more deeply, the small entrenching tool still only being available. Extra ammunition and water were distributed. Patrols were sent out and the Monmouth Company brought up.

[It was on one such patrol that Private Davison is thought to have been killed].

Throughout the night of April 25/26 the whole position was constantly shelled with shrapnel, and a number of men were hit by snipers.
"