This is my great uncle, Pte Thomas Richardson of the Seaforth Highlanders.
He and a group of friends, thoroughly enthused with war fever, had decided to enlist and signed up for King and country at the first opportunity that presented itself. I suppose this was how a group of Englishmen came to be in a Scottish division.
On Easter Monday, 9th April 1917, Tommy took part in the Battle of Arras. The major British assault of the first day was directly east of Arras, with the 12th Division attacking Observation Ridge, north of the Arras—Cambrai road. After reaching this objective, they were to push on towards Feuchy, as well as the second and third lines of German trenches. At the same time, elements of th3 3rd Division began an assault south of the road, with the taking of Devil's Wood Tilloy-les--Mofflaines and the Bois des Boeufs as their initial objectives.
The ultimate objective of these assaults was the Monchyriegel
, a trench running between Wancourt and Feuchy, and an important component of the German defences.
The day started with a preliminary bombardment of shells at 5.30 a.m. These were some of the 2,689,000 shells fired. When the time came to go over the top, it was snowing heavily. Allied troops advancing across no man's land were hindered by large drifts. It was still dark and visibility on the battlefield was very poor.
A westerly wind was at the Allied soldiers' backs blowing a squall of sleet and snow into the faces of the Germans.
The combination of the unusual bombardment and poor visibility meant many German troops were caught unawares and taken prisoner, still half-dressed, clambering out of the deep dug-outs of the first two lines of trenches.
Others were captured without their boots, trying to escape but stuck in the knee-deep mud of the communication trenches.
At some point during this day Thomas Richardson was killed. He was twenty one years old.
He is buried near Feuchy in the Pas de Calais.