William WRIGHT
Date of Death:

Had William survived another week, the War would have been over but, even in these final few days, the battles still raged as the German Army undertook a stiff fighting retreat.

William was born in South Reddish and, in 1901, was living with his parents, William and Samuel and his older brother, also called Samuel, at 9 Brook Street.

On 1 November, William and his mates were in billets at Carnieres. They were able to have a bath in the morning. The next day was spent cleaning the billets and preparing to move towards the front  line in readiness for the forthcoming attack.

They left camp at 4am on the 4th, making their way to assembly positions. They were ready by 7.20am. The Grenadiers' role would be to follow closely behind the Coldstreams and support them. The commanding officer's report on the attack noted that the "rain stopped in the early morning, but a heavy thick mist hung over the ground and when the Battalion advanced from the Blue Line, it was only possible to see about 200 yards ahead. After the leading Companies had moved forward about 800 yards they saw troops in front of them moving along behind our barrage. These they believed to be the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards advancing to the Green Line. It was not discovered till later that they were in reality the enemy retiring."

As No. 4 Company advanced over high ground, the mist lifted and they immediately came under heavy machine gun fire and there was a considerable number of casualties. 2nd Lieutenant Osborne led two platoons forward a little way but further advance was impossible. Field guns also fired from the north onto the Grenadiers' position. Lieutenant Osborne went forward to make a reconnaissance but was killed by a machine gun bullet as he returned.

No. 3 Company had advanced through a wood but as they came out into the open, they also came under machine gun and rifle fire from German troops in slit trenches about 200 yards away. The Grenadiers moved forward in short rushes and were able to capture or kill most of the enemy garrison. Increasingly heavy enemy fire from the nearby village of Wargnies-le-Petit now prevented them making any further advance.

As these Companies started to consolidate their gains, No. 1 & 2 Companies moved up to support them. This was about 10am. During the afternoon, British artillery fire was brought to bear on the enemy positions in the village, causing the Germans to withdraw. This enabled the Grenadiers to move forward a little way. At 6.30pm, they were relieved from the front line and withdrew to the nearby wood.

During the day, they had lost 20 men killed or missing and a further 89 wounded. They had, however, taken 120 prisoners and captured 8 machine guns, 7 field guns and a trench mortar.

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