Arthur E. Eyre

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Number: 55490                          Unit: The Welsh Regiment

Rank: Pte.                                        Commemorated:
                                  Mesnil Communal Cemetery Extension,
                                                             Somme, France.

PERSONAL DETAILS.

Arthur lived at Roughton with his Mother, Emma, and Grandmother and was just 20 years old when he died.  Before enlisting, on December the 6th 1916, he was employed as a chauffeur by Mr. Dickinson of Woodhall Spa.  He was also a member of Haltham and Roughton choir, having a magnificent voice.  He embarked for France on the 31st May 1917, after completing basic training. After the war his mother moved to Lock House Tattershall Bridge.

SERVICE DETAILS.

After enlisting in December 1916, Arthur was drafted into the 17th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, which had its roots in the 69th Regiment of foot, The South Lincolnshire Regiment.  At the date of his death, Arthur was, in fact, attached to the Drake Battalion, the Royal Naval Division.  He is, however, commemorated as a battalion casualty due to the fact the 17th Battalion was his formative unit.  By May 1918, the 17th battalion was disbanded due to heavy losses and casualties.  The Naval Division was formed in August 1914, and comprised one marine and two naval brigades.  Each brigade was divided into four battalions, named after a celebrated Admiral.  The 1st brigade consisted of Collingwood, Hawke, Benbow and Drake battalions.  On its transfer to France, the Royal Naval Division was redesignated the 63rd (RN) Division and augmented by a brigade of army battalions.  The new division comprised (inter alia) 189th Brigade: Drake, Hood, Nelson and Hawke.

During the period 1916 to 1918, the brigade was in action in France, participating in the battles of the Ancre and Passchendale, as well as other general operations.  On the 23rd May 1918, 189th Infantry Brigade Order 20 was issued.  This stated that a series of raids, simultaneously on all three brigade fronts, were to be carried out on the night of the 24/25th May.  Hood Battalion was tasked with carrying out the raid, with the support of 2 companies of Drake battalion, which were placed at the disposal of the Officer Commanding Hood.  These 2 companies were to hold the line during the absence of the raiding party.  In addition they were to provide escorts for any prisoners.  Research has failed to establish the outcome of these raids, but Arthur died on the 26th May and, as the battalion was not engaged in any other activities for this period, it is assumed he died as a result of this action.    

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