Andrew CAPPER
Rank: Private
Number: 73060
Unit: 24th Battalion ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 31 October 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel

The name of G A Capper is inscribed on the Stockport War Memorial, amongst those serving with Welsh regiments. Although it cannot be said with absolute certainty, he is believed to be the man whose details are given above, although there are no official records which suggest he had a first name beginning with the letter G.

Assuming it is the same person, his parents were Herbert and Ruth Capper who had married at St Paul's Church, Werneth in the late spring of 1897. Andrew was born a few months later. His brother, Herbert, was born the following year. Shortly after that, the family moved to 7 Bruce Street, Northampton, no doubt in connection with Herbert's work as a hatter. When the Census was taken in the spring of 1901, a third son, Albert, was only a few months old.

By the time of the War, the family had moved back north and Andrew was working at the Beehive Mills in Portwood, when he joined the army. His service number confirms he was not an early volunteer. The original members of the 24th Battalion came from the Denbighshire Yeomanry - a Territorial cavalry unit - which had been on overseas service in Egypt since 1916. They were retrained as infantry in the early spring of 1917 and, no doubt, numbers were brought up strength with new recruits such as Andrew.

For several months, the fighting in Palestine had stagnated into trench warfare similar to that on the Western Front. British and Turkish forces faced other across wide stretches of No Man's Land. The British had been re-enforced and now felt they had sufficient strength to attack and capture the enemy stronghold at Beersheba. This attack would be launched on 31 October.

During the night of 30/31 October, the Battalion positions came under attack from Turkish artillery and there were several casualties at Battalion HQ and amongst the men of "B" and "C" Companies. The plan, in the immediate sector of the Fusiliers, was to attack the Turks at Saba. The Fusiliers, part of 231st Brigade, would attack on the right and 230th Brigade to their left.

The British artillery bombardment opened at 5.55am. Within a couple of minutes, Turkish artillery retaliated, catching the troops as they advanced. The attack was very successful although casualties were heavy. The Battalion's War Diary, at the National Archives, records "The Battalion showed great determination and courage. They had to lie up for 3 hours before the attack suffering heavy casualties from very heavy shrapnel and machine gun fire and when called upon to attack at once jumped to the attack. Runners and stretcher bearers did splendid work continuously passing backwards and forwards through the heavy fire & ....(illegible word)....fatigue through intense heat - our captures were 167 prisoners. Our casualties were  heavy - 20 OR [Other Ranks] killed, 1 missing, 143 wounded including 5 officers".

When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, Mr & Mrs Capper were living at 16 Stephen Street, Stockport.

   
           
   
     
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