Bomb Accident. I was practising sniping. Moore killed & Lieut. Robinson & Cooke wounded. (1).
BELLANCOURT. Battalion Training.
28th Feb. BOMB ACCIDENT:
The following CASUALTIES caused by accident:- KILLED: 983 Pte Hough W.; Died Of Wounds, 7986 Sgt Rooker S.;
WOUNDED; Capt W. E. Moore*; Lt P.W. Robinson*; Lt J.P. Thorne; 2/ Lt J.E.M. Cooke*; C.S.M. 8360 Cartwright A.H.; 9603 Cpl. Betteridge J. 9865 Pte Hingley W.; 9489 Pte Burne J.G.; 9643 Pte Timms H.; 921 Pte White A. 9677 Pte Leach F.; 8007 Sgt Pritchard G. Slightly wounded remained at duty. Pte Whitehouse W.
APPENDIX III. ‘An accident occurred on the morning of the 28th February 1916, whereby the undermentioned Officers and Other Ranks met with their injuries.
Whilst the No 1 Platoon of the 1/5 South Staffordshire Regt were engaged in Grenade throwing (2) in which practice live grenades were used, Sergt G. Pritchard, No 8007, a qualified bomber withdrew the pin of a No 5 Mills Grenade preparatory to throwing same. Immediately on withdrawal of the pin the Grenade exploded in Sgt Pritchard’s hand. No blame attached to any person present at the time of the accident.‘
9.30am. Battalion marched to new billets at OCCOCHES (3).
FEBRUARY CASUALTIES. KILLED 1; D.O.W. 1; WOUNDED 12 ; Slightly wounded remained at duty 1. TOTAL 15.
Signed: H. LORD, Major Cmdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. 1/3/16.
Pte Bertie Hibbett’s ‘Little Book of Words & Doings’ is invaluable in providing details not found elsewhere, but here there is a discrepancy regarding the Bomb Accident. He records the death of Capt. W.E. Moore, whereas the Staffs War Diary records he was wounded. No record in CWGC of his having died later of wounds.
(1) Capt W.E. Moore. Captain of 1/5th South Staffords ‘C’ Company (Serjeant Sydney Hibbett’s Coy). Lieutenant P.W. Robinson is mentioned in Letter dated 9th/10th December 1915. Lieutenant J.E.M. Cooke is mentioned in Letter 21st Nov. 1915. Pte Bertie would have known these men since he enlisted in August 1914.
(2) British Mills No 5 Grenade (designed by William Mills, Munitions Factory, Birmingham, Feb.1915). No 23 Grenade could be attached by a rod to a rifle to increase the length of throw.
The Hales Hand or Mexican Grenade must be thrown high in the air for its canvas tail to point the grenade head-first into the ground. (Designed Feb.1915, by Martin Hale, Cotton Powder Co. Faversham Kent) <https://<www.museumoftechnology.org.uk> and <https://www.en-wikipedia.org>
(3) Occoches: a 23 mile march east-northeast of Abbeville, N. France.
NEXT POST: 2nd MAR 1916.