Though the fate and the celebrity of the officer casualties of the 7th Battalion is well known, there is not much written about the 50 other ranks who died during the attack or later, as a result of wounds received that day. One young soldier killed that day, was Private Arnold Garwood.
Arnold, was the 15th and final child of Amos and Ellen Garwood of Great Green, Brockley, near Bury St. Edmunds. An agricultural labourer by trade, Arnold enlisted into D Company, 7th Suffolk in November 1914, walking the seven miles from the village, to the Depot to enlist. He joined the Battalion at Aldershot shortly afterwards, being given the number 15874 upon arrival.
Arnold went with the Battalion to France in May 1915 and was involved in D Company's attack on the southern side of the Hair-Pin. Killed late on the afternoon of the 13th. Shot through the chest, he managed to drag himself into a communication trench from where he was bandaged up and taken by stretcher to the Dressing Station, but he sadly died on the way. He was 19 years old.
Just over 4 weeks later, the first public news of his death was announced in the Bury Free Press under the title of "Brave Brockley Brothers" and told of the death of Arnold, and of his brothers Fred and Robert who were both serving at the front. Whether his family had received official notification of his death at this point, is unknown.
Six months later on the 4th April 1916, again in the Bury Free Press, a letter was published which shed more light on the events surrounding his death. It ran "...he was shot in the abdomen while getting over a German barricade, during a bombing attack on October 13th 1915. He crawled down a communication trench and was then bandaged up and taken on to a dressing station but died on the way. He was buried by some men of another regiment, probably behind their trench but I have been unable to trace his grave. I have replied for Captain Henty as Pvt. Garwood was in the Company that I now command. I knew him....he was an honest lad and a hard worker. He was mortally wounded while very pluckily getting over a barricade under heavy rifle and machine gun fire in spite of many men having been killed and wounded before him. It was due to men like him that the attack was as successful as it was. Yours truly, G.W. Deighton, Capt. OC D Company."
With grateful thanks to Colin Garwood for this family story that was originally published in the October edition of the Suffolk WFA Branch Briefing.
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
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