2nd Battalion Wiltshire Rifles - Ogbourne St Andrew History Group

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2nd Battalion Wiltshire Rifles

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History of  2nd Battalion Wiltshire Rifles  

At the outbreak of war, in August 1914, the Battalion was in Gibraltar.  Returning to Southampton on September 3rd, it was attached to the 21st Brigade, 7th Division.  On 19th December 1915 it was transferred with the Brigade to the 30th Division, part of K4 (Kitchener’s Fourth New Army).   It saw action in the first and eighth phases of the Battle of the Somme.  In March 1917 the Germans, having suffered heavily on the Somme, withdrew to prepared positions - The Hindenburg Line.  This led to the Battle of  Arras, a large scale attack by the British as part of General Nivelle’s plan to crush the Germans.  Needless to say his offensive failed in its primary objective, and Nivelle was replaced.  The Battle of Arras was split into various phases; the Battle of Vimy and the First Battle of the Scarpe - 9th - 14th April 1917 constituted the opening.  S. J. Caswell was killed here on the first day.

Name    Sidney James Caswell   
Rank     Private
Unit      2nd Bn
Age       24
DoD       9th April 1917
service  #  18387
Grave    Wancourt British Cemetery

Name    Robert Smith     
Rank     Private
Unit      2nd Bn
Age       30
DoD      20 October 1918
service  #  43909
Grave    St Aubert British Cemetery

 
 
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