Private 31912 William Edward Affleck Clements
1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment
William was born in Hungerford and was the son of Alfred and F.L. Clements, of Newtown Road, Hungerford. He enlisted at Newbury.
He was killed in action on Wednesday, 21 Aug 1918, age 18, and is buried in Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, Pas de Calais, France. It is believed he may have been a postman in Hungerford before enlisting.
[His original army number was 8/11257 which indicates he may have served with another battalion before joining the 1st Battalion].
- Cap Badge of The Devonshire Regiment
The Battalion War diary reads:
The battalion left Coigneuz Huts at 8.30pm, picked up New Zealand guides at Sailly au Bios who took the battalion to the S.E. corner of Biez Wood, where guides from 37 Division were waiting.
Battalion arrived in assembly positions about 1.00am. The Company Commanders reconnoitred the approaches to the front line. The barrage commenced at Zero Hour 4.55 am Companies commenced to move forward, the idea being to reach 37 division objectives about Z+ 80 minutes and to push on from there, with another creeping barrage at Z+90 minutes.
Battalion HQ left its assembly position at 5.05am; there was practically no enemy shell fire. Thick fog covered the whole country. No 1 Company encountered resistance in the front German system, overcame it and passed on. No parties of 37 Division were ahead of us at this time. Halfway across no-mansland having lost direction of attack owing to the fog, units were beginning to become mixed. About 6.30am Battalion HQ were forced to take cover in an old German Trench owing to the fire of a tank which had lost its way.
Patrols were pushed out in front and along the Puisieux-Achiet le Petit Road to get in touch with troops at Achiet. About noon No 4 Company sent in to see that 2 platoons were in touch with the unit on their left.
The Battalion captures 200 prisoners and 20 machine guns.
Casualties: Officers 1 killed, 6 Wounded, Other Ranks 6 Killed, 5 Missing, 2 Gassed, 65 Wounded.