war memorial at dusk, photographed by Michelle Cooper




AW Ackehurst, courtesy Colin AckehurstWar diaries log the events and actions in which Regiments were involved. Private Ackehurst's nephew has summarised the war diary entries for the period when Private Ackehurst was at the Front Line and lost his life.

"After marching from Bernes on 29th January 1918 the 8th Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment relieved the 9th Royal Sussex Regt. in the front line trenches East of Hargicourt.  They took over the centre Sub-Sector of the Divisional front, this being held by 1st Brigade.  The relief was complete at 8:10 pm. 

On the 2nd February 1918 1 man was killed and 4 wounded by enemy shelling.  Pte A W Ackehurst, "B" Coy, was the soldier killed. 

The 8th Battalion were in the trenches from the 30th January to 2nd February until they were relieved by the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment.  The relief was completed by 7:30 pm.  The total casualties of the 4 days in the front line were 1 Officer wounded, 1 man killed and 11 wounded."

Here is the full extract from the War Diaries, kindly supplied by Private Ackehurst's nephew.

A W Ackehurst, wooden cross, courtesy Colin AckehurstExtract from 8th Battalion The Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment War Diaries: 

Jan 28th 1918 at Bernes - Large working companies supplied for work on GREEN LINE. 

Jan 29th 1918 at Bernes - The Battn. relieved the 9th Royal Sussex Regt. in the line E. of HARGICOURT, taking over the centre Sub-Sector of the Divisional front, this being held by 1st Brigade.  The relief was complete at 8:10 pm.  The front line was held by 3 Coys.  Dispositions of Coys. were as follows:- 

"B" Coy.    Left                "A" Coy. Centre

"D"  "        Right             "C"   "     Support 

Battn. Hdqrs. were situated N.W. of HARGICOURT at L.5.b.3.1.

On the march up to the trenches "C" Coy. came under shell-fire and 5 N.C.O's and 1 O.R. were wounded. 

Jan 30th 1918 in Trenches - The night was quiet.  At 2:30 pm the enemy shelled our front and support line with H.T.M's and 4.2 c.m. shells.  This was in retaliation for our H.T.M's which had been firing on their support line.  Owing to the full moon several enemy aeroplanes flew over between 10:30 pm and 12 m.n. 

Jan 31st 1918 in Trenches - The day and night were very quiet.  Col. Tringham D.S.O. left the Battn. to temporarily take over command of the 17th I.B.  Major Peirs D.S.O. assumed command of the Battn. 

Feb 1st 1918 in Trenches - Day and were very quiet, this was probably due to heavy mist.  Lt. SWAINE was wounded in the arm. 

Feb 2nd 1918 in Trenches - The night was quiet.  In the morning our own and enemy artillery and T.M's were more active.  In the afternoon the enemy shelled the Left Coy rather heavily with 5.9 cms.  1 man being killed and 4 wounded.  The Battn. was relieved by the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment in the Right Sub-Sector. Relief was complete at 7:30 pm. On completion of relief the Battn. was AW Ackehurst, courtesy Dover Expressdisposed as follows:-

"A", "B" and Battn. HQ at TEMPLEUX QUARRIES
"D" Coy                      at L.10.a.05.50
"C" Coy                      at L5.b.3.3 under the C.O. 1st North Staffordshire Regt. 

The total casualties of the 4 days in the front line were 1 Officer wounded, 1 man killed and 11 wounded.

The words on this beautifully made  cross read:

8th Battn The Queen's Regt


In Memory of

23200 Pte A. W. Ackehurst

Killed in Action Feby 2nd 1918 

beneath the words is the silhouette of the regimental badge: the Pascal Lamb, bearing the flag of St George.

AW Ackehurst, wooden cross erected at his grave, courtesy Colin Ackehurst

certificate in memory of Arthur Ackehurst, courtesy Colin Ackehurst. The verse on the certificate has the same words as the verse in the entry in the main portion of the website (ie "It is only the mother ..." etc

Private Arthur William Ackehurst now lies at Jeancourt Communal Cemetery, France

His grave lies to the right of the great cross. The words on the bottom of his gravestone read: "Loving Son and Brother, True and Kind. A Beautiful Memory Left Behind".

with thanks to Mr C. Ackehurst

Footnote: the premises of the funeral director and builder Mr Henry Freeman Caspall, for whom Arthur Ackehurst worked before enlisting, were situated at 115 Folkestone Road, Dover.  The picture shows the site of his house and business premises, destroyed by enemy action in WWII. Mr Caspall died "after a long illness most patiently borne" on 17 June 1943, at "Maycasholme", Whitfield Avenue, at the age of 75.

Mr and Mrs Caspall's son, Percy Robert Caspall, also lost his life in the Great War. He died on 29th May 1919, in India. 

advertisement for Mr Caspall, courtesy Dover Express gap in houses where 115 Folkestone Road used to stand, by Simon Chambers

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