World War One Death Plaque to Arthur West

Via Flickr:Here we have the Death Plaque or Dead Man’s Penny named to Arthur John West.

There is only one Arthur John West on the excellent Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. The printed certificate from this is site forms the right hand side of the image. 147506 Gunner Arthur John West served in D Battery 47th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.  He died 6th July 1917 aged 34. He was from Mill Lane, Lower Beeding, Horsham, West Sussex and is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord. His Medal Index Card confirms his entitlement to a First World War Pair. This is also shown on the image.

Arthur John West KIA 1917 served with D Battery mentioned below.

Here is an extract from the excellent Long Long Trail website

Extract from war diary of 47 Brigade RFA

This section of the Long, Long Trail will be helpful for anyone wishing to find out about the day to day activities of the army.


This extract covers 20 May to 21 July 1915, the Brigade’s first weeks in France and operations at Ypres


20th May 1915. 9:20am. 
The 47th Brigade RFA (Kitchener’s 1st Army) left for Southampton, embarked, and proceeded to Havre, and disembarked 22nd May, 1915. Proceeded up country the same night and following morning, detraining at St Omer on 23rd May 1915 and thence by route march to billets at La Cloche. During this journey one Gunner of C Battery fell out of a truck and was killed. On 28th May 1915 Brigade proceeded to Strazeele and billeted there one night.

29th May 1915. 6am.
The Colonel and Battery Commanders went forward to Dickebusch to reconnoitre positions to be occupied at dark in relief of 107-108-109 Batteries.

The Adjutant brought the Brigade from Strazeele same afternoon arriving at Dickebusch at dusk (a distance of 18 miles). 9 pm. Each battery of 47th Brigade RFA put one section into action in relief of a section of a battery of the 23rd Brigade RFA the same night. The following night the remaining sections going into action thus completed the relief.

30th May 1915.
The batteries were engaged in registering their zones of fire etc, laying out lines for night firing, repairing and perfecting their gun positions.

1st June 1915.
During this period (to 10th June) the batteries were employed on carrying out a daily registration at the rate of three rounds per gun per day.

11th June 1915. 
A, B, C and D Batteries supported the 5th Divisional Artillery in registering as if for an attack on St Eloi and Hill 60. No extra ammunition was allowed.

16th June 1915. 3:45am.
A, B, C and D Batteries supported the 5th Divisional Artillery in an attack carried out by the V Corps to straighten out the line a little in the vicinity of Hooge. Artillery preparation commenced at 3:45am and finished at 4:15am. The role of the 47th Brigade was to keep down hostile fire as much as possible and to deny all known observing stations to the enemy.

17th June 1915. 1am. 
On the night 17th and 18th, about 1am, the Brigade was relieved in sections by the 146th Brigade RFA.

18th June 1915. 1am. 
Each unit of the Brigade proceeded independently to the commune of Watou, arriving about 2pm. Headquarters established at sheet 27 K.23.a.6.6, all units being in bivouacs within half a mile radius. Up to the 30th each unit carried out daily parades of drill order, gun drill, signalling, etc.

26th June 1915.
Sergeant Vincent A/47th appointed A/BSM of C/49th Brigade, vice BSM Culmer, wounded.

1st July 1915. 
Brigade still remained in rest area.

6th July 1915. 
On the nights of the 6th, 7th and 8th July 1915, each battery relieved the opposite batteries of the 46th Brigade RFA in action at Ypres, near the Sally Port. Lieutenant Colonel C.F Briggs-Price took the command of Group I, comprising A, B, C, D Batteries 47th Brigade and D/49th Howitzer Battery. The wagon lines of each unit and the Ammunition Column were located in the vicinity of Vlamertinghe.

8th July 1915. 
Each battery commenced to register their gun zones allotted to them and also search communication trenches. Gun detachment lived in dugouts.

9th July 1915. 6:30pm.
All Battery positions were heavily shelled with HE and gas . No casualty occurred but everyone suffered somewhat from the effects of the gas. Second Lieutenant Jenkins (Ammunition Column) removed to the Divisional rest area.

10th July 1915.
One Bombardier of D/47 was killed. One Bombardier and Gunner of C/47 wounded whilst laying telephone wire at Hell Fire Corner. D position was shelled throughout the morning with stink shells, and another Bombardier was wounded on Menin Road laying telephone wires.

12th July 1915.
On 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th, each battery continued registering, otherwise nothing of importance happened except the Germans continually shelled Ypres.

16th July 1915. 
Second Lieutenant D. Milne Thomson of the 14th Divisional Ammunition Column was posted to the 47th Brigade Ammunition Column vice Second Lieutenant W. Jenkins. Bombardier Hilton, Gunner Ashby, Gunner Clarke A/47th severely wounded by a shell bursting over battery.

17th July 1915. 
Nothing unusual to report.

19th July 1915. 7:00pm.
Third Divisional Artillery carried out an operation involving the capture of Y.21. 47th Brigade Ammunition column group stood by to render any assistance required. Retaliation was rather wild and erratic. Communication wires went at 7:45pm.

20th July 1915. 
In the evening, in anticipation of a counter-attack against the crater at Hooge, night lines were readjusted to — the Third Division which were co-operated with in a fairly heavy shelling.

21st July 1915. 
Considerable fire was directed against the 47th Brigade positions. D/47 Ammunition Column was hit, damaging 32 shells, but causing no explosion.

This transcribed extract from the war diary is from the original held at the National Archives in piece WO95/1887.

Named casualties:
The soldier that was accidentally injured in the rail journey from Le Havre is 83754 Gunner Charles Houghton, of Bath. He died of his injuries on 24 May 1915 and is buried in Le Treport Military Cemetery.
The Bombardier killed on 10 July 1915 was actually 21471 Gunner William Boot, aged 21, a native of East Kirby, Nottingham. He is buried in Ypres Town Cemetery Extension.
78822 Bombardier William Hilton died of wounds on 16 July 1915. A native of Leek in Staffordshire aged 20, he is buried in Poperinge New Military Cemetery



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