Friday, 30 November 2012

JACOB GLAISTER DCM, MM and the capture of Eaucourt L’Abbaye October 1916

JACOB GLAISTER DCM, MM and the capture of Eaucourt L’Abbaye October 1916

By Shaun Corkerry MA,BA(hons)

Joseph Glaister DCM,MM

The capture of Eaucourt l’Abbaye does not rate as a battle in the official nomenclature of the First World War1, rather it is classed as a tactical incident during the Battles of the Transloy Ridges, and that is in turn classed as a part of “Operations on the Somme”. However for many soldiers it figured largely in their lives before and after October 1916, and this article concerns just two of them.

I first encountered Jacob Glaister whilst carrying out research into my wife’s family (he is her second cousin thrice removed) and he stood out as he had two decorations for gallantry. I decided to find out more.

Jacob Glaister Junior was born at Whitehaven in Cumberland in Feb 1886. A self employed builder and contractor, living at 88 George Street Whitehaven, his hobbies were motoring and motor engineering and he owned a motorcycle when he was just eighteen years old.2

As Jacob was 30 in 1916 and was a committed motorcycle fan it is interesting to speculate that he may have enlisted as a result of the Motorcycle News recruiting initiative, whereby adverts appeared appealing for mechanically minded individuals to contact the editor, who would then personally interview candidates. Most were then sent direct to Bisley thereby bypassing the normal army recruitment process! 3

In any event Jacob first joined for duty at Coventry on 2 Feb 1916 where he was medically examined. He was attested (sworn in) at Whitehaven aged 29 on 15 Feb 1916- he was allocated service no 32243. He was mobilised on 29 Mar and arrived at Bisley the same day; immediately being transferred to the Armoured Car Section.

Jacobs’s mechanical talents had not gone unnoticed and he was then posted to the Heavy Section MGC (machine gun corps) on 4 May 1916.

The Heavy section Machine Gun Corps was a cover name for a unit formed to operate Tanks, which had been in development since 1915.We shall not dwell on their development here but the works in further reading will assist anyone interested. The tanks being issued in 1916 were little more than prototypes but they were desperately needed to counter barbed wire and machine guns in France. 4

Jacob was posted to D Company on 25 May and after initial weapon training at Bullhousen Farm near Bisley, and tuition on the 6lb gun by the Royal Navy, the company moved to Elveden in Suffolk where a secret training location had been established.  In June 1916 the first tanks arrived, including the prototype "Mother".  In the next eight weeks, the crew members learned to drive and "fight" their vehicles but not every crew was able to work together or train on the specially built mock battle area.5

Jacob and the rest of D company embarked at Southampton on 2 Sep and arrived at Le Havre on 3 Sep 1916. 

The tanks were rushed into action for the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, which began on 15 September 1916 and lasted for one week. This was the third and last of the large-scale offensives mounted by the British Army during the battle of the Somme that had begun with such high hopes in July.

After final training across old trench lines near Yvrench, and performing many demonstrations for the benefit of various General Staff members, C and D companies went into action on the morning of 15 September 1916.  49 tanks were tasked to support an attack designed to capture German strong points between Courcelette and Combles.  Several of the tanks broke down en route to their starting points; others were unable to cope with the dreadful ground conditions and became stuck. Many were damaged by enemy artillery fire as they made their way across No Man's Land but a few managed to get beyond the German front line trenches and assist the infantry in taking their objectives.  

We shall not dwell here on the Battle of Flers nor the subsequent controversies as the reader can do no better than read Trevor Pigeons’ work and some of the others cited-d we shall only consider the actions of Jacob and the crew of his tank during that day.6

Jacobs’s tank was D16- named “Dracula”- and was a “female”, being armed with 5 machine guns and not the 6 pounder cannon of the “Male”. His tank commander was Lt Arnold 7and there were a total of eight crewmen in the tank8 -Jacob operated machine guns in action.

Dracula successfully made its way to its objective using its machine guns to chase the defenders away. During a lull in the battle, the crew were able to cook breakfast but this calm was interrupted as the tanks were spotted by a German observation balloon, located to the north of Flers, who directed artillery fire upon them.  They then moved along the edge of the village, where Arnold and Pearsall (D11 – Die Hard) helped Nixon’s crew put out the fire in his tank (D12).  At noon, they lead an assault at the NW of the village where there was a substantial German defensive position.  They provided close fire support to infantry, causing significant casualties amongst the Germans who were unable to respond, and the position was over-run.  The tanks then assisted in beating off the inevitable German counter attack, using their machine guns to destroy the German infantry as they advanced from Factory Corner.

Later in the afternoon Dracula stopped to rescue a wounded New Zealander and Lt  Arnold got out of the tank to help. He was then wounded in the leg. Jacob took charge of the tank -no easy feat as it took the coordinated efforts of three men to change gear -and manoeuvred it in order to shield Arnold and the New Zealander –the two wounded men were then pulled inside the tank. For this deed Jacob was later awarded the Military Medal. Dracula returned to base with the wounded New Zealand soldier inside having helped the Infantry take Flers.

On 1 Oct Jacob was back in action - As the capture of Eaucourt L’Abbaye is comparatively little known we shall consider the wider events of the battle and Jacobs’s part in it in some detail. Dracula and a male tank -D8 (not apparently named) were both assigned to III corps on 22 September to assist the attack of 141 Infantry Brigade, 47 Division.

The aim of the attack was straightening out the left of the 4th Army front by the capture of Eaucourt l’Abbaye and the Flers line as far as le Sars. This involved the whole of III Corps and the New Zealand Division (part of XV Corps).9

Eaucourt L’Abbaye itself -which was identified as a key German strongpoint -consisted of two large farms in the same walled enclosure built on top of an old Augustine Abbey. The old Abbey cellars were in good condition and a great source of secure shelter for the German troops..
The Abbey lay low at a point where a short valley from the direction of High Wood turns at a right angle north west towards the Albert -Baupaume road.

“Eaucourt l’Abbaye therefore is commanded by higher ground on every side except on the north west” 10

1 October 1916

At 0700 on 1st October -a fine autumn day-a steady bombardment opened along the whole army line and continued until zero which was 1515. The bombardment then changed to a creeping barrage.

We will consider the progress of the units involved in the attack from right to left or clockwise.

Reference to the battle map must now be made throughout.

XV corps-the New Zealand Division

The right of the 47th Division was to be secured by the advance of the 2nd New Zealand Brigade to a line across from Gird-Goose junction to the Abbey. The New Zealand Division would swing forward its left flank pivoting on the Gird trenches 1500 yards east of Eaucourt l’Abbaye. (This bit cannot be seen on the map)

The junction of the two divisions –the 47th and New Zealand -was laid down as the “Circus” trench system.

The New Zealanders –from top to bottom the 2nd Canterbury and 2 Otago Regiments- both supported by 2nd Wellington Regiment-had the following as their objectives:
2nd Canterbury-Goose alley /gird trench intersection strongpoint.
2nd Otago had the Circus as its objective.11

At 1515 the 2nd Canterbury went forward with the help of 36 oil projectors operated by the Special Service Brigade which blanketed the entire area of the German Trenches in smoke and flame-this certainly helped as the history of the New Zealand Division refers to the terrifying effect on German prisoners (the main opposition to the New Zealand division were the 21 Bavarian Reserve Regiment.)

The New Zealanders pressed right up to the creeping barrage and in spite of initial resistance soon reached the Gird lines at the junction of Goose alley and the eastern part of The Circus.
2nd Canterbury took its objectives relatively quickly- though with  casualties- and 2nd Otago also suffered casualties on the approach to the Circus from machine gun fire, mostly among officers and NCO’s, but the Circus was taken and the Germans evicted.12

It was here that the first VC of the battle was awarded: Sergeant D F Brown of the 2nd Otago rushed a German Machine gun and was killed in the process of silencing it.
Some of the New Zealanders then went well beyond their objective and were rallied on the Le Barque road by Capt Jardine of the 2nd Wellington.

During the remainder of the day 2nd Wellington cleared the communication trench from the Circus to Abbey road and a strongpoint was put in place there.

The New Zealanders now occupied a position which overshot the Circus but was seen to be so good they were soon joined by elements of the 19thLondon and a line was then established with them and elements of the 20th London which joined the left of the line.

Consolidation of this position was commenced by the New Zealanders immediately.

IIIrd Corps- 47th Division

141 Brigade attacked Eaucourt l’Abbaye with three Battalions and two tanks.
D8- a male tank, armed with 6 pounder guns, commanded by Lt Bown13 and Jacobs tank D16. Both tanks had seen action on 15 September. By now there were few serviceable tanks left.

The wounded Lt Arnold was replaced by Lt William Jefferson Wakley who had been a tank park officer. The heavy officer casualties of 15 September meant that Wakley now had his chance to command a tank in action. He had been visibly disappointed when this eluded him on September 15th. 14

William Jefferson Wakley was born 21 Sep 1893 in West London. He was educated at St Pauls School and served a four year apprenticeship with The Northern iron works in Southampton from 1908 to 1912, and subsequently attended Kings College University of London. 15

On the outbreak of war he was resident in Birmingham and joined the 15th (S) Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 14 September 1914 as a Private.

Commissioned on 10 March 1915 into 6th Worcs Regt (Spec Res) as 2nd Lt on probation, he was attached to Heavy Branch MGC on 17 April ’16.He was then responsible for the maintenance and movement of the tanks of D company.

The two tanks made their journey from their base at Green dump at some point (it is not clear when) and  were assembled at the Starfish Redoubt under cover 16 and were ordered to make for the right of the divisional front -a distance of about 1500 yards. They had further orders to pass up the Flers lines to Eaucourt l’Abbaye. The tanks did not start out from the Starfish until zero.

The route of the tanks then took them along the Cough drop and along the north side of Drop alley. The going was very rough as the ground had been heavily shelled but nonetheless the tanks reached the Flers lines in around 40 minutes. Obviously they arrived far too late for the start of the infantry assault.

The crossing point and movements of both Tanks are both shown on the map.

The Infantry and Tank attack -141 Brigade, 47 Division

The attacking Infantry units were all from the London Regiment and were- from right to left, the 1/19th,1/20th and 1/17th Battalions.

The 1/18th London Regiment was in reserve and the 1/23rd London regiment was further back under the command of 141 Brigade. The 23rd were actually part of 142 Brigade but had been placed at the disposal of 141 Brigade at 1730. 17

The artillery barrage changed to a creeping barrage at zero behind which the infantry were supposed to advance, sticking closely to the path of the barrage- giving the Germans little time to react.

The Infantry attack was launched in four waves on a four company frontage -an RFC aerial observer saw the Brigade forming up and his impression was that 141 Brigade was late forming up and advanced a good bit too far behind the barrage.
As a result 1/19th London on the right was checked by heavy machine gun fire when 50 yards from the German trenches. The infantry therefore waited in shell holes for the Tanks.

The same observer says this of the Tanks progress:

The tanks were obviously too far behind ,owing to lack of covered approaches, to be able to take part in the original attack, but they were soon seen advancing on either side of the Eaucourt l’Abbaye-Flers line continuously in action and doing splendid work.They did not seem to be the target of much enemy shell fire18

However once both Tanks had passed and dealt with the German machine gun strong points progress was easy and the leading two waves of the Battalion pressed on past Eaucourt l’Abbaye to join the New Zealand Division on the Le Barque road.

The Tanks continued northwest heading across the front of the 1/20th, D16 continuing to drive between the trench lines and D8 travelling behind the Flers support trench.
On its way up to the Abbey D8 was seen dispersing pockets of German resistance with its 6 pounders and D16 did likewise with its four Vickers guns.19

The 1/20th London, the centre Battalion, was given the Abbey itself as its objective.

Again, after the Tanks had passed in front of the infantry progress was good and the Battalion crossed the Flers line, entered the Abbey enclosure and swept through the buildings (without clearing the extensive cellars unfortunately), and the first two waves of the Battalion then joined the 19th London’s lines north west of the Abbey buildings.

The 19th and 20th battalions had therefore established a line to the north of the Abbey and this line was successfully held by troops of both Battalions -Lt Bartlett commanding the troops of the 19th and Lt Needham commanding those of the 20th. The line was held for the next couple of days until the capture of the Abbey. 20

The two Tanks met up at the point shown on the map and D8 was later seen firing at the Abbey enclosure to good effect with its 6 pounder guns (German machine guns were sited at the edges of the enclosure). Thereafter the tracks of the tanks diverged.

Shortly afterwards the two tanks got stuck in the Flers lines west of the Abbey. It is not clear why but the ground was probably incredibly muddy. This could have happened around 1700-1730.

In the meantime the left battalion of the attacking Brigade- the 1/17th London- had lacked the early support of the tanks and had therefore been unable to advance due to uncut wire and intact Machine guns. Small parties of the Battalion had got into the wire of the Flers line but were driven out by German bombing attacks.

The War diary of the 17th Londons gives some idea of the German defence -“no company seems to have got more than halfway across no mans land when they were met by terrific machine gun fire21

Therefore when the Germans counter attacked down the trenches later in the afternoon,(these were troops of  the II/17th Bavarian regiment) the few Infantry in position fell back to the original start line and the Tanks, being immobile and unsupported, were set on fire after a brief conference between Bown and Wakley. The crews then made their own way back to the British lines.  

two tanks cooperated and advanced along the Flers and Flers support lines and arrived about the centre of the Abbey when they saw our troops on our left in retreat, the occupants set fire to their tanks and left” 22

The crews of both tanks then made for British lines and it was not clear in which direction they headed- though incredibly the Germans provide the clue here:

The 17th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment saw the vehicles approaching to the west of the Flers-Rancourt road using their armament to good effect and supported by low flying aircraft  also using their machine guns -and as we have seen the tanks became bogged down. The Bavarians of course were surprised by this: their war history continues,

Upon this some of the crewmen abandoned the tanks and tried to get into our rearward trenches. They were shot down in short order. The rest ran towards the Eaucourt-Flers road, apparently after they had set the tanks on fire, at any rate the vehicles burst into flames immediately” 23

On exiting the tank Lt Wakley was wounded almost immediately in his left leg by a shell fragment which lodged 4 inches above the knee-a compound fracture of the leg was also sustained. Jacob stayed with Wakley and then dragged him to some cover.
Also with Wakley and Jacob was Gunner George Foot who had been a member of the crew of D21 on September 15th. Much to his frustration D21 was put out of action almost straight away (the tank broke the axle of its steering tail after 10 minutes and finished near the mine crater south east of High Wood) and he had then been reassigned to D16.24

Thanks to the German account we can pinpoint roughly where the men were and I have accordingly marked the map.

As the whole area was raked by German machine gun fire here they remained for the time being.
The remainder of the crew of “Dracula” and those of D8 managed to reach British lines safely-Lt Bown is recorded as having returned to D company on the 3rd October.25

Meanwhile the two rear waves of the 19th and 20th London Battalions had consolidated Flers support but were digging in when they were driven back 100 yards by a party of Germans who were overlooked in the advance.26

In consequence the two Battalions were unable to retain the whole of the Flers line and Flers support -which had been badly shelled-was left unoccupied and was instead covered by the New Zealand Division block established at the end of their lines.

The failure of the 17 London’s attack was known by 47 Division HQ by around 1700 and Divisional HQ sent forward the 23rd London during that night to renew the attack. The war Diary of the 23rd London states that the order to reinforce 141 Brigade came at 2300.27

The war diary of the 18th London is of great interest as they were held in reserve for most of the day and their observers could see the events of the day unfolding:

Zero+10 troops advancing in good order- Flers line taken….
Zero+15 smoke so thick little can be seen-appears held up left of centre….
Conflicting reports for next 4 hours….
At 1625pm  the 1/18th ordered forward finding elements of all 3 attacking battalions in the start lines.
1830pm  in position-night dark morning misty….
Midnight orders received to clear strongpoint at M23.c.8.1 double blocked and held by bombers.28

The Infantry attack- 50 Division 151 Brigade

We now move right to the 50 Division sector.151 Brigade attacked in the following formation:
Right to left- 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI), 5th Border Regiment and 8th Durham Light Infantry (a composite Battalion formed due to manpower shortage) and 5th battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. The 9th DLI were held in reserve.29

The 151 Brigade attacked on time but their right hand Battalion, the 6 DLI, suffered from the failure of the attack of the 17th Londons. As a result they only gained a small foothold in Flers trench. The Germans counterattacked and drove the Durhams out but
by 1941 the Durhams had regained the Flers line on their front.

However as their right flank was “in the air” the Durhams built a block in the trench (usually done with sandbags) and they were ably supported in this by the 9th DLI.
As a result of strenuous efforts by the 9 DLI and the 6 DLI by 2130 Flers trench was secured. For his untiring efforts in this Lt Colonel Bradford of the 1/9th DLI was awarded the second VC of Eaucourt L’Abbaye.

The centre battalion (composite Border regiment and DLI) had captured the Flers line without much trouble. This was due to the creeping barrage and the troops of 50 Division were seen from the air as advancing within 50 yards of it.

A similar story was unfolding on the left with 5 Northumberland Fusiliers who by 1600 had taken their objectives and began consolidation.

The 23rd Division -70th brigade

Moving left along the assault line the 23rd Division -70th brigade  (11/Sherwood Foresters and 8/KOYLI with 9 Yorks and Lancs in support and 8th York and Lancs in reserve) had as their objectives the Flers trench and the Flers support trenches astride the Baupaume road. Having captured the objective a defensive flank was to be thrown back to connect with the Canadians north west of Destremont farm.

At 1515 the brigade assaulted in four waves and the Sherwood Foresters, closely following the barrage, quickly took the right hand objectives of Flers trench and Flers support and linked up with the left of 151 Brigade.30

The 8 KOYLI had a more difficult advance but carried the objective in the Flers line except for a portion of line either side of the Baupaume road.

The Germans resisted heavily any attempt to advance to Flers support but 200 yards of this line were captured and the left flank blocked by dusk.

The 8 KOYLI then joined hands with elements of the Canadians on their left. The Germans offered stiff resistance-from dusk to 2300 no less than 7 attacks were repulsed.

At 1615 one company of the 9 Yorks and Lancs attempted to take the centre objectives which were the trenches north and south of the Baupaume road.
Whilst this portion of Flers trench was secured, the Flers support trench was trickier as it was covered by the village of Le Sars.

In the event only the portion south of the road was secured and a block was placed on that side of the road to protect the left flank.

If the assault had gone well the village of Le Sars would have been captured but it became abundantly clear this would now be a separate operation.  

That night the 70th Brigade was relieved by the 69th Brigade.

2nd October 1916.

The New Zealand Division

The New Zealand Division had completed its consolidation by dawn on 2nd. The 2 Auckland regiment came up and assisted the 2 Canterbury in this.

The New Zealanders soon found out that the Londoners with them were cut off as the enemy was still in their rear in the Abbey buildings and to the east of the Abbey. The Londoners were supplied with food by the New Zealanders in the meantime.

The 2nd New Zealand Brigade was withdrawn during the night and replaced by the 3rd New Zealand Brigade.

47 Division

Time was lost assembling the 23rd Battalion in the cold wet night and crowded trenches and the Battalion was not ready until had received final orders at 0400.
Advancing in four waves in broad daylight the Battalion had little chance of success and incurred 170 casualties from Machine Gun fire -the attack proving utterly futile.31

The 23rd Battalion returned to the start line and was withdrawn at Dusk.

Heavy rain set in 1100 on the 2nd and continued throughout the next 2 days.

A heavy downpour followed throughout the next 24 hours. Several trenches, freshly dug, had of course no duckboards, existing trenches had been battered to dust  by the guns of both sides and the dust now turned to thick clinging mud, later becoming the consistency of soup32  

The 1/18th was also ordered to prepare for an attack early in the morning but luckily for them no attack was undertaken that day-heavy sniping was however reported “from derelict tank” -it is not known which one.33

During the day Lt Wakley, Jacob and Foot were still trapped in no mans land and as another bid to reach British lines was made, Jacob was shot in the chest. (Possibly by a sniper in one of the tanks) The bullet entered 2 inches to the right of the middle line opposite the lower end of his sternum and exited over his left ribs in line with his nipple.

The plight of Jacob and Lt Wakley can only be imagined as both were now both wounded and unable to move any distance unaided. Here in the middle of the raging battle the men stayed throughout the day and night.

During the day the advanced parties of the 19th and 20th London were contacted by runner after their positions became known -from midnight on the 1st the parties were resupplied from Flers line -one Vickers and three Lewis guns were sent forward as none of the original guns survived the initial attack. As we have seen they also received aid from the New Zealand Division to their extreme right.34

These advance parties were incredibly vulnerable as the Germans were still in the Abbey cellars and in positions to the east of the Abbey.

During the night of the 2nd patrols from 18th London confirmed the Flers line was still held as confirmed by the wounded being brought in.
The Germans were stated to be firing on any British parties collecting wounded and attempting to clear the battlefield.35

It is reported that several men subsequently lost their lives trying to rescue Jacob,Foot and Lt Wakley and this may have happened during this period.36

50 Division

The 50th Division had completed its tasks before dawn of the 2nd .The 9 DLI had captured its second objective by 0100 on the 2nd, and the 6th and 9th DLI formed a block on their right using bombers and Mortars where the 47th division had failed to get forward and exposed their flanks- and where the Germans now probed relentlessly.

During the night the relief of 151 Brigade of the 50th division by 149 Brigade was ordered. The relief was aided by a thick mist. 6 Northumberland relieved 5 Northumberland, 4 Northumberland relieved 8 DLI/ and 5 Border Regiment and 7 NF relieved 6 and 9th DLI. This was all completed by 2100.37

23 Division

In the 23rd division sector, consolidation took place of the captured positions and by dawn of 2nd October Flers trench was occupied along the whole of the 23rd Division front, and Flers support was held south of the Baupaume road. The Germans continued to deliver probing attacks.38

3rd October 1916

47th Division

At around 1130 to 1200 on the 3rd patrols of the 18th London (which relieved the 17th. at about that time) reported the Germans had largely cleared out and there were few troops in the trenches covering the Abbey.

At about 1500-1530 The 18th Battalion moved two companies up- opposed initially by machine gun fire- through the Flers line and the Abbey to link with the 20th London, which had tenuously held its forward positions beyond the Abbey buildings throughout, and also to link on its left in Flers trench with 151 Brigade.
The objectives were reached by 1610.

The area was consolidated with the aid of two companies of the 17th –these arriving at 0045 - the Germans then shelled the area heavily all night.39

50 Division

68th brigade 23rd Division relieved the 149 Brigade 50 Division from approx 2200 on the 3rd.

23rd Division

In the 23rd Division area the 69th Brigade carried out two small operations to capture the Flers support line and Flers trench to the south of the Bapaume road where the Germans had regained a foothold the previous day.
These operations were carried out in the evening of 3 October.
The attack on Flers support north of the Baupaume road was carried out by two companies of 10 DWR and failed in the face of heavy German firepower.

The 8 York and Lancaster mounted a simultaneous bombing attack in Flers trench and though a small portion of trench was taken it could not be held.40

4 October

The New Zealand Division

On the 4th the New Zealand Division was relieved by the 41st Division, thereby ending its involvement in the Somme Battles. It had sustained 130 casualties on 1 October alone and over 7000 casualties from the start of operations on 10th September. 41

47 Division

As the Infantry moved forward they were able to rescue Jacob, Lt Wakley and George Foot . Lt Wakley is recorded by others as being brought in and back at the Loop by 4th October. Wakley himself said he was actually bought in on October 4th.42

The Great War says of this time:

On October 4th the abbey was furiously shelled and the entire place carried by British Infantry crawling through deep, grey slime puddles and by water pools that had once been shell craters. Nearby a battalion of Bavarians made a fierce stand in the huge abbey vaults: they hid in dark corners waiting with bomb and rifle, but were cleared out“..the conquerors, ....found the vaults a paradise after days and nights of continual rain”

23rd Division

By the 4th October following the relief of the 50th Division, 23rd Division held Flers trench for 1000 yards south of the Baupaume road, and 400 yards north of it.
Flers support was held for 1000 yards from the south of the road.

Subsequent operations at Eaucourt are of little concern to us here but on 4th October operations began to consolidate the area around the Abbey and prepare for the capture of Le Sars-due to bad weather this was put back to the 7th October.

From the 4th onwards the weather mercifully improved and the 140th Brigade 47 Division took over the line from 141st Brigade in readiness for a general attack on Le Sars. Many of the units we have encountered went on to fight in this operation.

Conclusion of the battle

The Capture of Eaucourt L’Abbaye was concluded by the 4th October. Though it was rated as no more than an inconvenience in the overall scheme of operations a great deal can be learned from the study of it. I shall make no attempt to fully analyse the battle but look at only the key points.43
The conduct of operations showed many differences from tactics employed in July. For example, the use of creeping artillery barrages and Tanks. Where the creeping barrage was closely followed by the infantry the attack was successful. Where the tanks could be used to neutralise remaining Machine Guns the attack was also successful.

The timing of the attack also showed the extent of the lessons learned from 1 July: the timing attack was copied from the French as their experience showed that mornings were best used for bombardment and a mid afternoon attack allowed consolidation of objectives gained over dusk. The 1 July attack of course went in at dawn.

However, the worst of the tactical problems of the Western front also asserted themselves: poor communications meant that effective control of the battle was lost once the attack commenced, and many opportunities were therefore lost. Movement of large units in the congested trenches was difficult and this led to delays in moving and forming up for attack.
The skill of the Germans in constructing defence positions was also shown by the number of Machine Guns which survived the artillery bombardment.44
Sadly the attack of the 23rd London’s on the 2nd showed the worst of the tactical thinking on offer and the attack should never have been mounted.45

 The two Tanks made a great contribution to the assault but were too few and started too far behind to help all the Infantry. However it showed what could be done.

The German view of events at Eaucourt l’Abbaye is instructive;

“The loss of this place was no surprise to me” wrote Crown Prince Rupprecht “when I last talked with General Bulow I emphasised that the trenches to the south of the village formed a narrow salient and were untenable. But General Below refused to order them to be abandoned for they enabled us to bring a good cross fire to bear on the ground to the front.”

The British official history further states that the Germans (“Bavarian sources”) regarded Eaucourt l’Abbaye as lost on the afternoon of the 1 October 46 -though the place was still doggedly defended .The Germans in general were becoming increasingly worried by the progress being made by the British in the Somme area and were hoping that the onset of winter would give them some respite..

The Capture of Eaucourt l’Abbaye was over. Le Sars was to fall following repeated assault on 7 October. The British were to advance little further on the Baupaume road despite their efforts before the Battle of the Somme was shut down in mid November.

We shall now return to Jacob and Lt Wakley.
Lt Wakley was taken initially to Bicourt field hospital where the shell fragments were removed and he was evacuated to England on 17 October.
He was taken to Princess Henry of Battenberg’s hospital in London where his septic leg continued to give concern. The leg was eventually amputated at the hip in January 1917 and in May 1917 he was fitted with an artificial leg.

Wakley was promoted substantive Lt on 1 Jul ’17 and was later employed at the War Office from August that year. He was employed by Directorate SD7 on what was described as “highly technical work -checking drawings related to design and to prepare diagrammatical sketches of ideas submitted”  

Wakley was placed on the retired list at his own request on account of ill health caused by wounds 14 Feb 1919 and was awarded a Silver War Badge on 30th April 1921.

Wakley went on to have a successful career in Mechanical engineering-he died on 22 June 1978 in St Peter Port, Guernsey.

On 11 Oct Jacob was transferred to 9th Gen Hosp (Rouen) on 12 Oct and evacuated on 16 Oct via the Hospital Ship “Mahens”. He was first in hospital at King George Hospital then the Adelaide Hospital in Dublin from 18 Oct to 18 Dec 1916. 

For his devotion and actions during the action at Eaucourt l’Abbaye and 15 September Jacob was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (gazetted on 14 November 1916.This was followed by the MM (gazetted on 9 December 1916) which covered his actions on the 15th September.

Jacob was posted on 19 Jan 1917 to the Depot at Bovington, then to the Recruiting Depot at Wareham on 26 Jan 1917. Jacobs’s wounds had clearly rendered him unfit for further overseas service.

Jacob was posted to Tank Corps Depot as Acting/Sgt on 13 Apr 1918, and then attached from 14 to 29 Oct with the Cameron Highlanders at Inverness. He was
transferred to Z Class Reserve 19 Feb 1919 and later medically examined at the Military Hospital at Wareham-this indicated less than 20% disablement and weakness from the wound so Jacob received no pension.

A different fate awaited Gunner Foot. Later joining D Battalion, Foot was promoted Lance Corporal. He fought at Cambrai, being killed on 20 Nov 1917 whilst fighting in D51 “Deborah” as she made her way through the German occupied village of Flesquieres . After his death, Lt Frank Heap, his tank commander, wrote to Charles Foot stating he” was killed instantly and painlessly.  We buried him two days later where he had fallen”   Heap indicates that he expected Foot to be commissioned.  Foot was buried, along with four other members of the Deborah crew, at Flesquieres Hill Cemetery.  He is commemorated on the war memorial at Great Missenden. 47

George Foot

After discharge Jacob took over his father’s building and sculpturing business on his father’s death in 1929, and his company built Whitehaven Bus Station- only the second covered Bus Station in England when it was built.

Jacob married Lydia Jackson (a teacher) in the June quarter of 1931. They had no children.

Jacob continued to run his highly successful business and was remembered as an extrovert character; however he appears to have made little of his war service.

Jacob died after a long illness at 3 Hensingham Road, Whitehaven on 23rd October 1950 aged 64. His funeral was at 11am on 26th October 1950 at St. Nicholas Church, Whitehaven, followed by interment in grave 1V10 at Whitehaven Preston Quarter Cemetery.

Jacobs’s medals are held at the Tank Museum and he was also presented with a gold watch on his return to Whitehaven by the town council of which his father was a member for many years. Of his actions in what had been a packed month in France he had this to say in his thank you letter:

It is very difficult to give you any idea as to our experiences, but with regard to Myself I only did my duty and what is expected of every man, viz., to play the game straight.
I still have trouble with my wounds, but hope to be strong and well again in a month or two.
Again thanking you with the Council for kind expressions.48.

Until 1929 there was a preserved Mark IV female tank in the park at Whitehaven and I wonder if Jacob ever went to see it and recall the actions in which he had played such a great part. I do not know if Jacob ever kept in touch with Lt Wakely or any of his wartime comrades. I like to think that he did.
British Losses and Casualties at Eaucourt L’Abbaye compiled from unit war diaries

47 Division

17th London 1-4th October officers, 3 killed 4 wounded, other ranks 23 killed, 137 wounded, 100 missing

18th unknown (not recorded)

19th killed 2 officers 38 OR, DOW 3 other ranks, wounded 6 off, 220 OR, missing 35 OR.

20th unknown

23rd 170 casualties on 2 October comprising 5 OR killed, 7 officers 76 OR wounded, 75 OR missing.

Killed –5 officers, 69 OR
Wounded-17 officers, 433 OR
Missing-210 OR

23rd Division

70 Brigade –1 October, 30 officers, 770 OR killed, wounded and missing

69 Brigade-3 October, 5 officers, 30 OR killed, 5 officers 130 OR wounded
29 OR missing.

50th Division

6 DLI unknown

9 DLI 1st -3rd October

1st October -one officer wounded, 2 OR killed, 45 wounded

2nd October -2 OR killed, 1 missing, 3 wounded

3rd October -2 OR missing

Killed -4 OR
Wounded- 1 officer 48 OR
Missing- 3 OR

Total 50 Division casualties 10 Sep-3 October 4,072 casualties

New Zealand Division

1-3rd October

2 Canterbury 11 officers, 164 men (6 and 28 killed respectively)

2 Otago 10 officers 175 men (4/33 killed)

Total NZD

Killed -10 officers, 61 OR
Wounded -11 officers, 278 OR
Total British and NZ losses at Eaucourt L’Abbaye 1-3 October:

Killed -1,020 approx (based on an analysis of the Soldiers died in the Great war database I believe this to be an accurate total for soldiers killed in operations around Eaucourt l’Abbaye 1-3rd October 1916 )

Wounded-918 approx (figures incomplete)
Missing -242 approx (figures incomplete)

German Losses

Incomplete -though the 17th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment reported losses of 22 officers and 1624 men during this period.

Orders of battle Eaucourt L’Abbaye 1st October 1916

British Forces

III Corps
GOC Lt General W P Pultenay

23rd Division (NA)
GOC Maj-general J M Babington

68th brigade: 10 NF, 11NF, 12 DLI, 13DLI

69th brigade: 11WY, 8 GH, 9GH, 10DWR

70th brigade: 11 SF, 8 KOYLI, 8 York and lancs, 9 York and Lancs

Pioneers: 9 south staffs

50th (Northumberland division (TF)
GOC: Major general P S Wilkinson

149 brigade; 1st/4th NF,1st/5th NF,1st/6 NF, 1st/7 NF

150 brigade: 1st/4 east yorks,1st/4th GH,1st/5 GH,1st/5th DLI

151 brigade: 1st/5 border r,1st/6 DLI, 1st/8th DLI, 1st/9 DLI

Pioneers :1st/7th DLI

47th Division (TF)
GOC major-general C stL.Barter

140 brigade:1st/6th London (city of London),1st/7th London (city of London),1st/8th London (Post office rifles),1st/15th London (civil service rifles)

141 Brigade:1st/17th London (poplar and Stepney rifles): 1st/18th London (London Irish rifles),1/19th London (St Pancras),1/20th London (Blackheath and Woolwich)

142 Brigade:1st/21st London (first surrey rifles),1/22 London (the Queens),1/23rd London,1/24th London (the queens)

Pioneers: 1/4th RWF

XV Corps

GOC Lt General H S Horne

The New Zealand Division

1st NZ Brigade: 1 Auckland, 1 Otago, 1 Wellington

2nd NZ Brigade: 2 Auckland, 2 Canterbury, 2 Otago,2 Wellington

3rd NZ brigade: 1 NZRB, 2 NZRB, 3 NZRB, 4 NZRB

Pioneers: NZ Pioneer Bn

German forces at Eaucourt l’Abbaye

6 Bavarian Reserve Division

17th Bavarian reserve Infantry regt

21st Bavarian reserve Infantry reg

20th Bavarian reserve Infantry reg

Part of the 6 Bavarian Reserve Division -but not engaged at Eaucourt L’Abbaye until the night of 2/3rd October- when it relieved the 21st Bavarian Reserve Regiment-was the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry regiment (the List regiment) of which Adolf Hitler was a member.
Hitler was with the regiment at the time and whilst not in the immediate front line was of course exposed to artillery fire. On the 5th a British shell hit the dispatch runner’s dugout in the village of le Barque (2km approx from the trench lines).Hitler was hit by a shell splinter in his left upper thigh. Hitler was evacuated from the front and went to hospital near Berlin where he remained for 2 months.

(Hitlers first war -Thomas Weber pp153-159)

(See also Jack Sheldon pp323-324)

4 Erzatz Division

Detachments of 362 infantry Regiment


1- The official nomenclature is reproduced in Liddle p172-173

2 -Details of Jacob from the first tank crews website of Stephen Pope which is hereby acknowledged. This website contains biographies of all those of C and D Companies HBMGC who fought at Flers

3 -The first tank crews and Campbell p110-11

4 -Early tank evolution is well covered in, for example, Pullen, Pidgeon, ,the Tank Corps, Munitions part III, Fletcher- Landships and Smithers, a new Excalibur

5 -for more detail see the First tank crews website and Pidgeon Vol 1

6 -Details of the Somme battle and its build up are in Barton, Thompson and Military Operations 1916 volume 1 as well as the contemporary” the Great war” volume 8-Eaucourt is pp 163-64 .Flers is well covered in Military Operations 1916 Vol 2 pp 288-369 and in Pidgeon vols 1 and 2.

7-Lt Arthur Edmund Arnold. Born Carn near Llandudno. North Wales Apr - Jun 1892 second son of William and Ellen Arnold. In 1901 living in "Causeway" 124 York Road, Llandudno, father was a Norfolk born Draper who employed two living in servants. Served in Inns Of Court OTC initially joined D Company (No 5912) then served in 5 and 6 Companies, attained the rank of Lance Corporal in the Corps. Commissioned into Liverpool Regt 20 Jan 1916; transferred to MGC 17 April 1916.  Awarded MC for his action at Flers for conspicuous gallantry in action. He fought his tank with great gallantry and went to the assistance of another tank. Later he rescued a wounded man, and although himself wounded (in the knee), he brought his Tank safely out of action (LG supplement dated 14 Nov 1916, page 11045). He returned to the UK with Sumers and joined F Bn. T/Capt whilst comding a section 12 Apr 17. he then deployed the Bn on 20 May to France, where it established its base to Auchy-Les-Hesdin.  On 1 Jun the Bn moved to Wailly (the Corps Driving School) for two weeks then to the Corps Gunnery School at Merlimont for live firing; Mark IV tanks were then drawn from Erin and taken back to Auchy before deploying to the Ypres Salient.  He was in command of either 8 or 10 section of 18 Company for the 61st Divi assault to the north east of St Julian. Wounded and taken prisoner on 22 Aug 17, therefore “Relinquished acting rank of Capt on losing comd of a section on 23 Aug 1917”.  Later, during his time as a POW at Freiburg, he met his younger brother Clement who had been captured following the successful action at Villers-Brettonaux on 8 Aug 1918 when he was commanding the Whippet Tank”Musical Box”(and for which Clement was awarded the DSO).  Repatriated on 6 Dec 18. Relinquished his commission on  account of ill health caused by wounds (Inns of Court records show he was wounded twice) 10 May 1919, and  retains the rank of Capt. Inns of Court records shows his address as  The Causeway, Deganwy Ave, Llandudno. Later became a farmer, married with one daughter.  Wrote article in 1963 (in French) on Flers-Courcelette – see Liddell Hart papers. Settled in South Africa
Details from the first tank crew’s website. Lt Arnolds account of the action is in Fletcher tanks and trenches p9

8-details of all the crew can be found on the first tank crew’s website

9-Eaucourt l’Abbaye is dealt with by Pidgeon Tanks on the Somme P39, military operations 1916 Vol 2 p 427 and McCarthy pp 128-130.
Panoramas and maps of the area are shown in Barton pp 298,279,272,258 and 234.

The divisional histories cited all give valuable details.
23-pp 105-112
47-pp 69-72
50-pp 164-170
NZD pp 110-123

10-47 division history p69

11-for details of the activities of the NZD on the western front see The NZD by Col Stewart- pp110-123 refer to this action.

12- For more details and contemporary photos of the activities of the NZD on the western front see Grey “From the uttermost ends of the earth”- pp237-241 refer to this action

13- 2 Lt George Bown.  Born Jul-Sep 92 in Mudford near Yeovil, the eldest son of Walter Bown. He followed his younger brother Cyril into the West Somerset Yeomanry, was promoted Sergeant and then commissioned on 2 May ‘15. He was attached to MGC from 16 Apr 16 and less than 6 months later was in action. Awarded MC for action on 15 Sep for conspicuous gallantry in action. He fought his Tank, which was disabled, with great gallantry, reaching his third objective. He put two machine guns out of action. Promoted T/Lt 1 Oct ‘16; he took part in the action towards Eaucourt L'Abbaye; his tank became ditched and Bown fired it to prevent its capture by the Germans - the crew returned to their lines unharmed. On 7 Oct, whilst undertaking a recce prior to the attacks in the Auchonvillers / Hamel area, he was injured by artillery fire and evacuated.  He returned to the UK with Summers in Dec ’17 and posted to F Bn.  He was appointed A/Capt whilst comding a Sect 12 Apr 17 (LG 16 May ‘17) and deployed with the Bn on 20 May to France.  He fought at 3rd Ypres and then dislocated his shoulder whilst being thrown around inside a moving tank. He was evacuated to a hospital in York and therefore missed the battle of Cambrai . Promoted T/Capt from 19 Oct 18, he relinquished rank of T/Capt on ceasing to be employed with the Tank Corps 16 Mar 21. Home address shown as Cornhill, Sherborne in Dorset.  In 1922 he went sugar planting in Cuba. He met Gladys Menzies on the boat out, and they were married in 1922. They returned to England in 1926, and George became a successful farmer in Dorset until retiring to live in Blandford. 

Details from the first tank crew’s website

14-Sampson letter to tank museum 1971

15-Lt wakley service papers and first tanks website)

16 -47 division p70, Pidgeon tanks on the Somme p42

17 -23rd Londons war diary

18-(50 Division history p166) Pidgeon Somme p42 says the observer was Maj J Chammier of 34 sqn RFC-at the time the squadron were equipped with BE2e aeroplanes.

19-Pidgeon p42

20 -war diaries of both units

21 -war diary 17 Londons

22-war diary 20 Londons

23-Grossman,August and Merkt Dr, Das K B Reserve Infanterie Regiment Nr 17, 2 vols 1923-6,ii,p 61- cited Duffy, p 247.

24- George Charles Foot MGC.  born 3 Sep 1897 in Regents Park, London.  George enlisted at Aylesbury and served with the Welsh Regt before joining the MGC.  He was awarded the DCM “for conspicuous gallantry in action.  He displayed great courage and determination fighting with his tank.  Later he remained for 30 hours with a wounded officer under heavy fire”.   The citation was published in the London Gazette on 14 November 1916.

Jacobs’s citation, also published on the 14th November was “for conspicuous gallantry in action. He showed great courage and determination fighting with his tank. Later he was very severely wounded trying to rescue a wounded officer.”

Interestingly”The Great war”vol 8, Wilson and Hammerton” contains an account of the action at Eaucourt pp163-164.Of the tanks it has this to say...

“...One monster that could not move farther operated as a stationery fort, the wounded skipper lying with 2 of his men in a shell hole for 2 days”

32016 Gnr F J Roberts was awarded the MM for his action on 2 Oct 1916-his fate is unknown after the war. He may have been with Glaister and Foot but this is by no means clear. He was certainly part of the crew of D16.

Information from the first tank crews website unless indicated..

25-woods diary and Sampson letter /wd of d company

26-20 London war diary

27 -20 London war diary

28- 20 London war diary

29-Military operations 1916 vol 2 and the 50th division pp165-171

30-the 23rd division and war diaries

31- 23rd war diary and 47 Division. The 47 division history pp70-71mentions that on the night of the 1st October the German Battalion that met the attack of 141 brigade was expecting relief that night and left its positions before its relief arrived. Quickly realising the error two companies were rushed into position, one went east of the village and was stopped by the barrage and forward troops of the 141 brigade and the other went west and got into position in time to meet the attack of the 23rd. “they (the Germans) were helped to save the situation by a dark night of pouring rain and our ignorance of newly gained ground which we had hardly seen in daylight

32-50 Division p169

33-18th London’s war diary

34-war diaries respective units

35-war diaries 18 London

36-Sampson letter

37- War diaries and 50 division p169

38-the 23rd division and war Diaries

39-47 division, war diaries and military operations

40-war diaries and 23rd division

41-the NZD p119 and Grey p240

42-Wakely service papers and Sampson letter -also Captain Woods diary, also” the Great war” volume 8-Eaucourt is pp 163-64

43-interested readers can consult a variety of works including the authors own, Chappell, Military Operations 1916 vol 2 p567-579 and Duffy.

44-for a detailed discussion of tactics in 1916 see Chappell p104 and- for artillery effectiveness v German defences- p38

45- Military operations 1916 vol 2 p 432 –“Major-general G F Gorringe arriving directly from Mesopotamia took over command of the 47th division on 2 October from Brigadier General  W H Greenley.”

46-cited Duffy p247 and p 431 Military Operations 1916 vol 2.

47-"D51 Deborah", is the only WWI tank to have been recovered from the French battlefields in 1998, eighty years after she was buried. Five of the crew died when she was hit by German artillery fire, including Gunner  Foot.  
I am greatly indebted to Mr Vince McGarry and the other members of the Deborah group for the information regarding Foot and his role in the Wakely rescue.

48 - The following references to Jacob Glaister appear in the Whitehaven Town Council Minutes:

13 Dec 1916 Minute 2349
Gunner Jacob Glaister, of the H.S. Machine Gun  Corp, son of Councillor Glaister, and a native of the Borough, having been awarded the Military Medal and the Distinguished Conduct Medal for two conspicuous acts of bravery, with His Majesty’s Forces in France, it was
RESOLVED- That the Town Clerk convey to Councillor Glaister and his son the Congratulations of this Council on the Distinctions gained, and express the hope that Gunner Glaister may have a speedy recovery from the very serious wounds he received whilst serving his Country at the Front.
10 Jan  1917  Minute 2356
The following letter was read;-
88 George Street, Whitehaven, January 9th 1917
Dear Sir,
Please accept my thanks for your letter of the 15th ult. Enclosing copy of resolution passed by the Town council in reference to the Military distinctions conferred upon my son, and shall be glad if you will convey my thanks to the Council for their congratulations and good wishes for his recovery. 
Yours respectfully,
Jacob Glasiter
To Thomas Brown Esq.,
Town Clerk, Town Hall, Whitehaven
16 Jan 1917 Soldiers Memorial Committee Minute 10
Gunner Jacob Glaister having been awarded the D.C.M. and M.M. and Private Robert Dixon the D.C.M. it was
RESOLVED- That Municipal recognition be taken of the honours gained, and that they each be presented, at a meeting to be held at a later date, with a Gold Watch bearing a suitable inscription.

14th Feb 1917 part Minute 2369
Bovington Camp, Wareham, Dorset, January 10th 1917
Dear Sir,
I received your letter of the 15th ult., and in reply to contents I should like to say that I appreciate the kind references made by the Mayor at the Council Meeting.
It is very difficult to give you any idea as to our experiences, but with regard to Myself I only did my duty and what is expected of every man, viz., to play the game straight.
I still have trouble with my wounds, but hope to be strong and well again in a month or two.
Again thanking you with the Council for kind expressions.
I remain, yours truly.

10th April 1918 Minute 2511
The Mayor, on behalf of the Council, and Burgesses, presented to Gunner Jacob Glaister a Gold Watch, subscribed in recognition of the Military Distinctions gained by him, and described in the “London Gazette” as follows:-
“On the 14th November 1916, awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry in action. He shewed great courage and determination fighting with his Tank. Later he was severely wounded trying to rescue a wounded Officer.”
“ On the 9th December 1916, awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the Field.”
NOTE- Councillor Glaister sat on the Street and Sanitary Committee, the Hospital Sub-Committee, the Housing Committee, the Education Committee and on the Joint Burial Committee, as well as the Full Council and the General Purposes Committee.
The Presentation was not reported in the “Whitehaven News”.

I am indebted to Mr Stuart Nicholson –the archivist for the Parish of Whitehaven-for the above.

Further reading and sources

The following were consulted during the preparation of the article.

The Somme-the unseen Panoramas Peter Barton, 2011 edition

Band of brigands ,Christy Campbell

The Somme 1916-crucible of an Army Mike Chappell

Instructions for the training of Divisions/Platoons for offensive action” and
“The tactical employment of machine guns and tanks in the first world war”, Shaun Corkerry (ed) 2000/2002

Through German eyes-the British and the Somme 1916 ,Christopher Duffy

The History of the great War-Military Operations France and Belgium 1916 Vol 1-and appendices  Brigadier General Sir James Edmonds 1932

Tanks and Trenches-Ed David Fletcher 1998 reprint

Landships –David Fletcher 1992

From the uttermost ends of the earth John H Grey Christchurch NZ 2010

When the barrage lifts ,Gerald Gliddon 1990

The 1916 battle of the Somme  Peter Liddle,1992

The Somme-the day by day account-Chris mcCarthy

The History of the great War-Military Operations France and Belgium 1916 Vol 2-and appendices Captain Wilfred Miles 1938

The Tanks at Flers-vols 1 and 2, Trevor Pidgeon 1995

Tanks on the Somme-From Morval to Beaumont Hamel-Trevor Pidgeon 2010

The landships of Lincoln Richard Pullen ,2007

Track prints Richard Pullen ,2009

The First Tank Crews website by Stephen Pope.

The German Army on the Somme 1916 by Jack Sheldon

A new Excalibur A J Smithers

1916 the Somme experience Julian Thompson 2006

The Tank Corps Major Clough Williams –Ellis and A Williams-Ellis, 1919

The Great War volume 8  ed Wilson and Hammerton amalgamated press 1917

The official history of the Ministry of Munitions vol XII,1921, reprinted Naval and military Press 

Archive material provided by the tank museum

Captain Woods diary
War diary of D company HSMGC
Letter from Lt Sampson’s Grandson 1971 relating to his grandfathers recollections of D Company HSMGC 1916 and later.

War diaries

47 Division

17 London regiment PRO/WO 95 /2737
18 London regiment PRO/WO 95 /2737
19 London regiment PRO/WO 95 /2738
20 London regiment PRO/WO 95 /2738

23rd London regiment PRO/WO 95 /2744

50th Division
151 Infantry Brigade
PRO WO 95/2840

23rd Division.
68 Infantry brigade PRO/WO95/2182
69 Infantry Brigade PRO/WO95/2184

Divisional  histories

The History of the 47th (London) Division 1914-19, A H Maude 1922, reprinted Naval and Military press 

The 50th division 1914-19, Everard Wyrall 1939, reprinted Naval and Military press 

The New Zealand Division1916-19 Col H Stewart, 1920, reprinted Naval and Military press 

The 23rd Division, Lt-Col H R Sandilands 1925, reprinted Naval and Military press 


I wish to thank the following for their assistance:

Mrs Janice Tait -the librarian of the tank museum for her kind help and her provision of many documents.
Photos of Jacob also kindly provided by the Tank Museum.

The National Archives for the provision of Lt Wakley’s service papers and the war diaries of the 47th Division, 50th Division and 23rd Division.

Mr Stuart Nicholson –the archivist for the Parish of Whitehaven- for details of Jacobs’s burial and life. for Jacob Glaisters service papers and other family details.

Mr Stephen Pope.

Mr Vince McGarry and the D51 Deborah project

Mrs Freda Howson

Technical data-mark 1 female tank

Male: 28 tons (28.4 tonnes)
Female: 27.4 tonnes
32 ft 6 in (9.94 m) with tail
13 ft 9 in (4.33 m) [male]
8 ft 0.5 in (2.44 m)
8 (commander, driver, two gearsmen and four gunners)

0.23–0.47 in (6–12 mm)
Female: Four .303 Vickers machine guns
Female: Two .303 in Hotchkiss machine guns
Daimler-Knight 6 cylinder sleeve valve petrol engine
105 hp
Male: 3.7 hp/tonne
Female: 3.8 hp/tonne
primary gearbox:2 forward and 1 reverse
secondary:2 speeds
6.2 hours endurance
4 miles per hour maximum