Private William Herbert Waite, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

July 2, 2017

 

Remembering the Fallen:  on this day in 1916, Private William Herbert Waite, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) was killed in action on the Somme.   He had enlisted on the 5th of September, 1914, and was sent to France the following February.   He fought at the battle of Hill 60 in April of 1915, which proved at first to be a successful assault involving hand-to-hand combat.  The battalion suffered over 400 casualties.  Two weeks later the Germans launched a chlorine gas attack, capturing the ground they had lost, and the battalion suffered 350 more casualties.  By dawn on the day of his death, the British had lost over 21,000 men (more casualties than in the Crimea, the Boer War, and Korea combined).  It was noted that for every yard captured, two men were lost, and they had captured three square miles of territory.  There were cease-fires so that the wounded could be collected, but many of the dead remained where they fell – the wounded who made it to a medical facility had a good chance of survival, 80% returned to the fighting or were sent home.  Unlike many of his comrades, Private Waite was found and is buried in the Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, in France.  William, from Halifax, was 21 years old. 

 

 

 

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December 11, 2018

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