D1 “Daredevil 1” (No 765 - Male) was ordered to support f preliminary attack by 14th Div at 5.30 hrs to east of Delville Wood, with D5 attacking from the north; then to assist assault on Gueudecourt. D1 started south of the Ginchy to
Capt Harold William Mortimore. Born Chiswick 91, the eldest son of Harvey Mortimore (an engine driver on a steamship) and Anne Mortimore. Four years pre-war service with City of
1409 Sgt H (Harry?) Davies – starboard gunner – the oldest of the crew. Davies is reported (by fellow crew member Gnr Smith, to have suffered from shell-shock and was removed from the tank to be cared for by the RAMC. Later discharged and awarded Silver war badge.
2481 Gnr Arthur Day portside loader. Born Oct 1892 and the son of Frederick Day, he lived at 141 Tulketh Brow Ashton on Ribble near Preston. Attested n 24 Oct 1915 at
Gnr Ewart Doodson was born in Elland Yorkshire in Nov 98. He worked as a junior clerk at the Yorkshire Electric Power Coy in Thornhill, but volunteered in Oct 15 aged just 16 joining the MGC. On 15 Sept 16, Ewart was a gearsman and described the action in a letter to his family who lived
Gnr Fred Hobson - starboard 6lb gun loader. Born Preston on 24 Feb 1893 and christened at St Andrew’s Church Ashton on Ribble. His father was a grocers’ manager and Fred worked as a furnishing company’s invoice clerk. Later injured (22 wounds) and evacuated for treatment. Survived and discharged from 28 Feb 18 as a result of his wounds. Possibly died in Stockport in 1932. .
Gnr Henry Leat – gearsman. Born Dorking c 95, the ninth of 10 children, his family soon moved to Aldershot where he was educated at the East End School. He completed an apprenticeship with Gale and Potter in their letter press department. He enlisted at Bisley in the MMGS.. He died of wounds aged 22 on 11 Apr 17 received during 11 Coys attack at Bullecourt but his grave site is unknown. His great neice Sue Chifney is a member of the site.
Gnr Albert Smith – Portside gunner - awarded MM for action at Beaucourt 16, For good work during operations on the right of Delville Wood on September 15 ‘16, when serving with D Coy. Note: this probably refers to the recovery of D9’s guns undertaken with Lt Hastie later on 23 Sep 16. Remained serving with the Coy and transferred on its formation to D Bn. Late Pte 200770 serving with 4th Bn - survived.
Pte Albert S Wateridge ASC Possibly born 27 Feb ‘84 at Cranham Essex, eldest son of Charles and Lucy Wateridge - originally of Alton. He enlisted into ASC on 11 Dec 15 and was attached to Heavy Branch MGC in Spring ‘16. After the action, he rebadged to the MGC (75071), remaining with D Bn and promoted LCpl. He was awarded the MM for his actions at the second Battle of Bullecourt (3 May 17) when driving Tank D41 (No 793; an un-armoured Mark II tank commanded by 2Lt CM Knight) - one other crewman being James Anderson (see D22). The tank was in support of 62 Div, who assaulted from the south west. The tank patrolled along the German trench but found no infantry to support. It was forced to retire as the crew were being injured by the armour piercing bullets. On the way back, the tank stopped to pick up more injured crew and then returned to the south east of Bullecourt; both Wateridge and Anderson refusing to give up their roles. Having again patrolled the German trench, the tank returned to its rally point, its ammunition virtually expended. The MM citation states: When this driver’s tank was in a deep crater in Bullecourt, his skilful driving under heavy fire from armour-piercing bullets enabled the tank commander to extricate himself and continue in action. The tank, owing to casualties in personnel, was brought back to starting-point and the wounded crew were replaced. This driver, however, continued at his post. Wateridge was later promoted Sgt and served on with the Tank Corps. He was discharged on 2 May ‘19 under KR para 392 (XV) as “No longer physically fit for war service”. Awarded an Army pension, his health deteriorated over the next decade. He died at St James Hospital Portsmouth, aged 46, on 15 Jul 1929
D2 (No 539 - Female). One of three tanks (E Gp) with D15 (Bagshaw) and D19 (Sellick) tasked in support of 41st Div. Tank ditched in shell holes in Delville Wood on route to the start point; the car was eventually recovered. Later action: Huffam states
Lt Hugh Bell. Born in Westminster on 7 May 79. Hugh was a chorister St Paul's Cathedral,
Cpl William Loxton Walden –Born in early 1887 at Chilcombe in Dorset. Trained as a teacher and taught at Bramley in Surrey before settling in Erith. After the war he returned to teaching. He married Florence Harriet Grace Hall at Lichfield in 4th Qtr 1920,they settled in Erith in Kent where William died in the local hospital on 18 Nov 1945Gnr Gilbert Adamson –was born 9 Jun 98 in Cupar Fife. An apprentice motor mechanic, he was called up 15 Mar 1916 from
Gnr Arthur Branfield was born in May 1891 and was a Commercial Traveller employed by William Hoare and Co of Basinghill St London. Married Dorothy West at Wembley on 26 Dec 12. He joined MGC HS as 32095 at Bisley on 4 Apr 16 and deployed to
Gnr James Brunton was born 26 Oct 89 at Merchiston,
Gnr John Letts was born May 1897, he was a shop assistant who lived at
Cpl Ernest Keats ASC was born in Tincleton,
D3 (No 728 -Male). One of 4 tanks (with D1, D4, and D5) in support of 14th Div assault on Flers. D3’s route was through Delville Wood, by night, which was slowed by unexploded mortar shells; the crew initially moving the duds out of the way but subsequently driving over them. It towed D5 out of a shell hole and, crossing the start line, and then followed the German Comms trench, known as
2Lt Harold George Head was born on 12 Feb 95 at Holdenshurst in Hampshire. Raised and educated in Bournemouth, he initially joined 1/9th Bn Hampshire Regt (Cyclists Bn) and was later commissioned into the Regt. He was known by his comrades in D Company as "young father" having been married aged twenty and his son David being born on 5 May 1916, just after he joined D Company. Following his support to 39th Div on 18 Oct 16 he was awarded the MC “for conspicuous gallantry in action. He handled his Tank with great courage and skill, remaining out for over an hour under heavy fire, and accounting for many of the enemy. He later served with D Bn and commanded no 10 Sect, during the Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge (9 April 17) when his tanks became ditched due to the poor ground conditions. He also commanded his section at Bullecourt on 3 May 17 where he lost over half of his tanks. He also commanded the sect during the assault at Flesquieres on 20 Nov on the opening day of the battle of Cambrai. On 26 Mar 18, he commanded twenty Lewis Guns teams, found from D Bn, under the command of 106 Bde, on the Bray to
Cpl William McNichol – possibly 200781 Sgt William NcNichol Tank Corps
2715 Pte William Barrie MMGS. Born in April 97, a grocer’s assistant living at
Gnr Bentley – wounded on 15 Sept. Note the war diary lists only one casualty, in the crew of D3, and reports injured by a HE splinter on the hand.
Gnr Cecil Chalfont. Born Willsden May 96 eldest son and second child of Sydney George and Selina Ann Chalfont, In 1901 living at
Gnr Willie Shelton born
Gnr Frank Steer. Born October 1895 near Sittingbourn; A fruiterer he enlisted into the MMGS in November 1915 at Coventry. Originally trained at Bisley and posted to 21 Bty, he was posted to D Coy in May 1916. Deployed to France on 28 August, he stayed with D Battalion on its formation and served with them until October 1917 when he was returned to Bovington. Initally posted to 14th Bn, he joined 16th Bn in January 1918 and retruend to France in Sep 1918. Later promoted Cpl, he was demobilised in Mar 1919 and returned to Sittingbourn. He died, aged at 92, at Hounslow.
Pte George A Simpson ASC who drove the tank later re-badged to the Tank Corps (77490) and survived the war
D4 (No 516 - Female). In support of 14th Div assault. Ditched in Delville Wood en route to start point. Guns salvaged by a party under Lt Hastie. Tank 516 eventually recovered but only after one crewman killed (Fred Horrocks) and three injured by German artillery on 25 Sep 16. Replacement tank scuessfully cleared Gird Line trench on 26 Sep 16.
2Lt Charles Ernest Storey. Born 1877; educated
Gnr Thomas George Beardmore. Born Fenton (Stoke on Trent) in Sep 1893, later lived in Grey Friars in Stafford, Wounded on 28 Sep 16, he served with 7th Bn and was awarded the MM for his actions on the Hindenburg Line between 27 and 29 Sep 18. In 1919, he joined the Tank Corps as a Regular soldier and reached the rank of WO2. Discharged in 1935, at the end of hos contract, he was recalled in 1939 and served with 44 Bn RTC as an instructor. Died in Bristol in 1968
Gnr Oswald Clayton born Apr to Jun ‘82, the son of James and Ellen Clayton; both cotton weavers. In 1901 the family were living at
LCpl Hawker - possibly LCpl James Hawkins
Pte Clement John Heath later LCpl Tank Corps served with both D and 5th Battalion Tank Corps
Gnr Morrison - poss Edward Cecil Merrison 40009 Tank Corps later labour corps born late 1896 at Brundall in Norfolk.
Gnr Albert Lacey Roberts. born 1895 in Leicester he joined the MMGS in the same week as Oswald Clayton..
M2/191254 Pte William J Shortland Rebadged to MGC then Tank Corps – remained Private 77489 – survived
D5 “Dolphin” (No 540 - Female). In support of preliminary attack by 14th Div to east of Delville Wood, with D1 attacking from the South, then tasked to move north east of Flers. D5 ditched on route through Delville Wood and was not on time to support D1’s initial attack. Recovered by D3 (Head), it followed up the infantry, parties clearing bodies in order that the tank did not run over them. It was well behind the first waves as it crossed its first objective (the German front line). Slowed by the badly damaged ground, and its steering wheels which were being dragged uselessly behind, it reached the second objective at Gap Trench. "Dolphin" then crossed diagonally from the west to east side of
Lt Arthur Herbert Blowers. Born on 5 Nov ‘91, in Knodishall, near Saxmundham in
2447 Cpl Edward "Ted" Foden – Born Mar – Apr 1896 at Wolstanton, near Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffs. Enlisted 4 Oct ‘15, aged 19 years 7 months; a butcher's assistant living at
32489 Gnr Edgar Robert Barnsby born
2518 Gnr Leslie Robert Gutsell, born Dorchester ‘96, the eldest son of Robert Gutsell, a house furnisher and Mary Godley. Assistant Scoutmaster for Shaftesbury Boy Scout troop. Machine Gun Corps (Motors) then HB MGC. KIA 15 Sep ‘16 in the tank; body recovered and buried on 30 Sep next to Barnsby; grave subsequently lost. Commemorated on the Thiepval memorial; parents presented a bookcase to the scouts in his memory
Gnr Hodgson – helped Blowers get Barnsby out of the tank and put him in a shell hole, returned to own lines
Gnr Faraday Sladdin. Born in Brighouse, on 1 Nov 1888, he was the son of a shoulderpad manufacturer. He enlisted in Dec 1915 but was not mobilsied until May 1916 when he reported to Bisley. He deployed to France less than four months later and served with D Company, then D Battalion and then 4th Battalion until February 1919. Never promoted, he returned to Yorkshire and married a local girl Edith Gaudin in 1922. They settled in Cornwall but sadly Edith died in 1946. Faraday remarried in 1948, to Eleanor Denham, but he died on 16 Sep 53.
M2/181493 Pte George Henry Thomas. Probably born born Royston ‘91and married to Miinie Poulter on 18 November 1911;they had two children daughter Lily M Thomas born Royston in Jan to Mar 1912 and Edmund G Thomas born Jul - Sep 1913 at Royston. Enlisted Hitchen; Wounded and awarded MM for action on 15th Sep. Rebadged to MGC (75068) and served with 12th Coy of D Bn. He probably fought at Thelus, during the opening day of the Battle of Arras. He was KIA aged 27 on 3 May ‘17 during the second battle of Bullecourt. Grave unknown; commemorated on
D6 (No 747 - Male) Only tank in C Gp supporting 41st Div attack on Flers. D6 followed main Rd to Flers until it reached German Switch Trench, where it passed Sgt Carmichael, of 21 KRRC, who was taking part on the assault. He described the sight of the tank lumbering past of my left, belching forth yellow flames from her Vickers gun and making for the gap where the
Lt Reginald Charles Legge was born 18 Feb 82. Educated at Brighton Grammar School, he first work in London as a draper's assistant, Prior to the outbreak of war, he was overseas, working as a merchant. He returned in Jan 1915 from the Gold Coast and served in 2/1 Bucks Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars) until 4 Mar 16, when he attended six weeks officer cadet training at No 5 Offr Cadet Bn. Commissioned 15 Apr 16, his will was written at John O’Groats Camp near Thetford on 25 Aug and witnessed by Harold Mortimore and Hugh Bell. After the tank was hit, Legge ensured that his crew got out and was last seen by Herbert Clears in a shell hole. The Roll of Honour website for Lindfield War Memorial states he was captured and DOW 16 Sep 16. The CWGC website agrees date as 16 Sep. His body was buried by the Germans, his will and possessions being returned to his mother, but the location of his grave are not known. He was considered to be a fire eater, by his comrades. “Good old Legge” recalled Blowers “He came so close to being great”. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and at Lindfield (
LCpl Wilfred da Cunha Brookes was born and enlisted
Gnr Robert Beesley was born c 8 Feb 90 in Coventry. Enlisted 28 Mar 16 in
Gnr Fred Bardsley, born
Gnr Herbert H Clears – machine gunner and mechanic; received head injuries during action and was captured by Germans on 15 Sep 16. Details of interrogation provided in Tanks at Flers. Remained PoW for the remainder of the war, visited at Friedrichsfeld POW camp (near
Gnr George Goodwin Cook; Born Westminster c’88 and enlisted Camberwell. KIA aged 28 years on 15 Sep 16; son of Mrs. Sarah Ann Cook of Bowden Cottage, Lacock, Chippenham, Wilts. Commemorated on the Thiepval memorial and also at Bowden Hill church, near Lacock, as “G Goodwin-Cook”.
Gnr John Harry Garner born Long Eaton Sep 91. Enlisted Ilkeston. KIA on 15 Sep 16. Brother of George H Garner, of
The tank was left where it was abandoned; it was blown up with explosives after the war during the battlefield clearances. The right hand track adjuster was subsequently located by Philippe Gorczynski whilst he (with Trevor Pidgeon and J-L Gibot) were visiting the area. Part of the tank superstructure were also later recovered and both presented to the tank museum