On 7 July 1918, Number 12 Gun and its crew of the Royal Marine Artillery left a period of rest that they had spent at Bullescamps near Lumbres, and moved into Second Army’s area, being placed under orders of XIX Corps and the 25th Royal Garrison Artillery Brigade. It pulled into grid map location L.35.b.16.24 and came into action there are 7pm the next evening.
At about 12.45pm on 10 July 1918, a single German shell brought disaster to the gun team. It fell through the roof of a barn where a number of the men were having something to eat and exploded inside. The barn was less than a mile south of the complex of medical facilities at Remy Siding (Lijssenthoek). Twelve of the gun crew died as a result of the explosion – some immediately, some of wounds that day and one two days later.
The war diary of 140th Field Ambulance, operating a dressing station and rest station at Remy Siding says, “2pm. Fourteen cases admitted, all wounded by one shell. Two sitting, all others very severely wounded. One died on way to Main Dressing Station, four others died at Main Dressing Station. Temporary assistance was received from three American Medical Officers from 139th Field Ambulance.“
Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery: Ten dead, five headstones
Gunner 1767 James Clarke (grave XXVIII.D.20). Died of wounds on 11 July 1918. Enlisted in February 1916. Joined Number 12 Gun team in September 1916. Had been gassed on 14 July 1917. Aged 28, formerly a pharmaceutical clerk. Son of Florence Clarke of 82 Birch Lane, Longsight, Manchester.
Lance Bombardier 1964 David Dawson (grave XXVIII.D.17). Died of wounds 10 July 1918. Enlisted in March 1916. Joined Number 12 Gun team in September 1916. Aged 33, formerly a police constable. Son of James Dawson of Westoak Cottage, Barnhill, Perth, Scotland.
Gunner 1611 Percy Ellis (grave XXVIII.D.18). Died of wounds 10 July 1918. Aged 25, formerly a railway signalman. Son of John and Elizabeth Ellen Ellis, of 1, St. James Row, Rawtenstall, Manchester (and earlier 9 Ash Grove, Rawtenstall). Enlisted January 1916 and served in East Africa June 1917 to February 1917. Joined Number 12 Gun August 1917.
Gunner 1739 William Ewart Lampey (grave XXVIII.D.19). Killed in action on 10 July 1918. Aged 29, formerly a bank clerk. Son of William H. and Sarah I. Lampey, of 38, Pain’s Road, Southsea and wife of Eunice Helen of Memorial Home, Bamford near Rochdale. Enlisted February 1916. Joined Number 12 Gun September 1916. Gassed 14 July 1917 and then wounded 20 September 1917. Rejoined gun team 11 February 1918.
Gunner 280 Edward Moore (grave XXVIII.D.16). Died of wounds 10 July 1918. Aged 26, formerly a shoemaker. Enlisted January 1915 and went to France in September 1915 for service with RMA Anti-Aircraft Brigade. Joined Number 12 Gun in September 1916. Gassed in July 1917. Born in Belfast, he was the brother of Mary Moore of Downpatrick Street, Rathfriland, County Down.
Gunner 1388 Stewart Wilkie Paterson (also grave XXVIII.D.17). Killed in action 10 July 1918. Aged 31, formerly a police constable. Enlisted November 1915 and joined Number 12 Gun in September 1916. Wounded July 1917. Son of George and Margaret Taylor Paterson; husband of Mary A. Paterson, of 2, Duke Street, Arbroath, Forfarshire. Born in Monikie, Dundee.
Gunner 2nd Class 1766 Harry Butt Russell (also grave XXVIII.D.19). Died of wounds 10 July 1918. Aged 23, formerly a butcher (he had followed his father into this trade). Enlisted February 1916 and joined Number 12 Gun September 1916. Wounded (shell shocked) July 1917. Son of Harry and Ada Russell, of 8, Brooklyn Terrace, Mumbles, Swansea. Born in Christchurch, Swansea.
Gunner 1937 Ivo Smith (also grave XXVIII.D.20). Aged 22, formerly a bricklayer. Killed in action 10 July 1918. Enlisted March 1916 and joined Number 12 Gun September 1916. Son of George Sidney and Emily Jane Smith, of 17, Albert Rad, Hendon, London. Member of the King’s Cross Branch of the Operative Bricklayers’ Society. Tall at 6 feet 1.5 inches in height.
Gunner 945 Fred Stow (also grave XXVIII.D.18). Dief of wounds 10 July 1918. Aged 22, formerly a bricklayer. Enlisted June 1915 and went to France and the Royal Marine Artillery Anti-Aircraft Brigade in September of that year. Returned home in May 1917 and joined Number 12 Gun in France two months later. Son of Harry and Emma Stow, of 13, Havelock St., Blackpool. Born in Burnley.
Gunner 988 George Hunter Waddell (also grave XXVIII.D.16). Killed in action 10 July 1916. Aged 25, formerly a gamekeeper. Enlisted June 1915 and went to France and the Royal Marine Artillery Anti-Aircraft Brigade in September of that year. Returned home in May 1917 and joined Number 12 Gun in France two months later. Husband of Elizabeth Teresa and a native of Renfrewshire.
Esquelbecq Military Cemetery
Lance-Bombardier 1949 Frederick George Crump (grave III.C.20). Died of wounds on 10 July 1918. Aged 32, formerly employed as a packer by the Great Western Railway. Enlisted March 1916 and joined Number 12 Gun September 1916. Wounded (gassed) July 1917. Son of John and Ellen Crump, of The Village, Exminster, Devon.
Gunner 1930 Denis Michael Collins (grave III.C.28). Died of wounds at 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 13 July 1918. Aged 23, formerly a builder’s foreman. Enlisted March 1916 and joined Number 12 Gun September 1916. Wounded (gassed) July 1917. Son of Daniel D. M. Collins, of 10 Maymount, Friars Walk, Cork.
The lane that runs past the gun position is Bethunestraat and this Google Maps view is taken from that lane. The farm is approximately where the buildings are shown on the 1918 map. The gun crew and the barn were evidently here, and the wounded men were taken along the lane, away from the camera, and towards the dressing station at Remy Siding. On the gable end wall is the date 1893.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Royal Marine Artillery service records (via Findmypast)
British Newspaper Archive
Pension records (via Fold3)
War diary 25th RGA Brigade (National Archives reference WO95/303)
Collection of “trench maps” provided by Linesman.
A war diary does exist for Number 12 Gun but it only goes up to February 1918.