680054 SGT. H. C. JAMIESON.  R.F.A.

 

Herbert Clough Jamieson was born in January 1893 in Preston and baptised at Preston St Mary on 18 January.  His father was James Jamieson (b. 1849 in Aberdeen), a boot dealer.  His mother was Alice Ann Clough (b. 1854 in Preston).  James and Alice were married in 1876 and they had 9 children: George (b. 1879), Mary (b. 1882), James Henry (b. 1884), Florence (b. 1887), Frank (b. 1888), Elsie (b. 1890), then Herbert, then Nellie (b. 1896) and finally John (b. 1898).  Alice died in 1910 and in 1911, James was living with 7 of his children at 27 New Hall Lane, Preston.  Most of the girls worked as dressmakers; most of the boys worked in the family boot shop, but Herbert was working as a moulder in an iron foundry.

 

Herbert was in the Territorials before the War and he had the original service number 723.  This later became 680054.  Herbert was posted to “A” Battery of 276 Brigade and at some point was promoted to Sergeant.  276 Brigade formed part of 55th (West Lancashire) Division and Herbert landed in France with the Division on 30 September 1915.  55th Division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy (on the Somme) in September 1916, suffering severe losses especially at Guillemont.  They also fought at Flers-Courcelette and Morval later that month, and then in October 1916 they were moved to the Ypres Salient, at the time a relatively quieter part of the front.  Although there were no major engagements in early 1917, there was constant harassment, shelling and raids. 

 

1917: Third Battle of Ypres

From 55th Divisional History:  "The objective of what was called the Third Battle of Ypres was the capture of the enemy's Gheluvelt-Langemark system...  The weather during the whole of June and during the greater part of July had been ideal for campaigning purposes.  Unfortunately, on Sunday 29 July a particularly heavy thunderstorm filled up the shell holes and turned roads and tracks into a morass.  The succeeding days were dull and hazy, making the completion of the artillery preparation peculiarly difficult and typical Flanders weather conditions prevailed on the morning of the 31st - the moment chosen for the attack.  Low lying clouds which made aerial observation and cooperation as difficult as could be imagined; a dampness of atmosphere, threatening rain at any moment; a half sodden ground, greasy and depressing; such was the luck of the weather at 3.50am on 31 July 1917, when the barrage opened.  Not since the war began had so intense a barrage been put down, and of its wonderful effectiveness all ranks in the line bore eloquent testimony."

 

55th Division spent the period from 7 August to 12 September either at rest or in training.  The weather throughout August had been appalling but in early September, as the Division prepared to return to the front, it became fine and dry.  They took up their position in the line on 15 September, in almost exactly the same place they had left back in August.  As they prepared to enter the line, between Frezenberg and St Julien, the various sections of the Division were constantly harassed by enemy fire.  On the night of 19/20 September, as they prepared their assault on the Schuler and Pond Farms, the rain began to fall once again.  The assault was nevertheless successful and after this operation, the Division was withdrawn and moved to the south of Cambrai. 

 

55th Division occupied a length of the front of about 8,000 yards, to the east of Épehy.  On 20 November, when the main tank attack was launched at Cambrai, the Division launched its own diversionary attack to the south and this was costly but successful.  However, when the Germans launched their counter-attack on 30 November, the Division was routed, the front line defence apparently crumbling and allowing the enemy to have a “rapid and almost bewildering” advance. The Divisional history remarks that “only two of our men passed through the straggler posts”; this may be so. But hundreds of troops had fallen into enemy captivity. “Not a man returned” from the 1/5th Bn, the South Lancashire. The Division’s reputation fell sharply in the eyes of the higher command. It was withdrawn from the area and sent to Bomy near Fruges for intensive training.  Although the infantry suffered massive losses, casualties among the artillery were lighter.  Herbert was killed on 30 November 1917, he was 24 years old.

 

The artillery remained in the line for the first couple of weeks in December, after which they were withdrawn to billets, first at Allaines and by the end of the month at Orville. 

 

Rank:  Serjeant

Service No:  680054

Date of Death:  30/11/1917

Age:  24

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 276th Bde.

Grave Reference:   I. A. 14.

Cemetery:  VILLERS-FAUCON COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

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