Comment & Contact

Hope you liked the site & found it useful.

An appeal! I’m trying to find Sydney Rumball and George Rumball’s medal groups. Sydney’s is an M.C. plus WW1 1914-15 star trio, and his father’s group is the same, plus a Queen’s South Africa medal (and probably a couple of others).

My family remembered seeing them in the early 1940’s after George died, but where they went subsequent to that is anybodys guess. Any help in locating them would be enormously appreciated.

You can either contact me (Nick Powley) using the “comment” function below, or direct through the mail box:  nickpowley “at” icloud “dot” com

(Photograph: Sunset over the Lys battlefield. October 2006.)

37 Responses to Comment & Contact

  1. Eddie Guilmartin says:

    Great information on the site.

    My grandad was with the Irish Guards and am trying to trace his military history.
    His name was
    Sgt John George Byrne 1730.
    I believe he received a military medal for his action in Hazebrouck.
    Hope you can help.

  2. David Taylor says:

    Many thanks for the very interesting website. My father’s brother was Private Charles William Taylor 25786, 4th Btn Grenadier Guards. He was killed in the fighting around La Couronne on 13th April 1918 and is recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial. It is possible that he was in the company led by Captain TT Pryce VC.
    I recommend seeing the new film Journeys End, it gives an insight as to how awful conditions would have been.

  3. Barry Fox says:

    So much information. Thank you so much. Of course it prompts more questions. Can anyone help?
    Willis Fox (first Royal Dublin Fusiliers ) was gassed to death in the trench between Le Tir Anglais and La Papote on 11th of May 1918, waiting in reserve behind the Le Motte and Marquette defences.
    I’ve been to the site and been on Google satellite maps but find no sign where the trench was. Your Map One which might have given these details didn’t open for me; Your Map Two shows a thin green line across the field between the two places. Do you know if the line is a marker of the reserve trench?
    Do you know the relationship between Dublin Fusiliers of May and the battle of Hazebrouck in April.

  4. John Langford says:

    Very useful account, particularly the maps. Visiting later this year to find the place my Great Uncle Pte Richard Templeton 1st Bt Border Regt was killed on the 13th. He was a machine gunner. Body never recovered but I think I remember my Grandmother saying he had been killed in a railway cutting (ironic as whole family worked on railway). The war diary mentions a new railway cutting SE of Labis Farm, but I think that may be either confusion with a large drainage cutting or they meant NW. Assuming the railway connection is accurate then that puts him around the end of the 92/93 composite line near Celery Copse. Looking on Google street view, the railway looks more like a bank than a cutting, but might clearer when I walk the ground.

  5. Vivienne Pearson says:

    We are visiting Belgium next week to commemorate the centenary of my great uncle killed on 13 April 1918 I have a copy of the regimental diary he fought with 14 battalion Royal Warwickshires thanks to the information on your web site I am hoping that we can be near to the battle ground . He has no known grave his name is on the Ploehsteert memorial.If you have any other information that could be of use to us I would be really grateful to receive that Thank you

  6. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Tony,
    Glad you found the site useful. Have sent you a PM showing where the farm you’re looking for is located.
    Regards, Nick

  7. Tony Crowther says:

    Hi Nick,
    Thanks for sharing this fantastic site. I’ve recently been researching a relative who was lost on 13/4/1918 during the battle of Hazebrouck. His name was 2/Lt Thomas Crompton of the 1st battalion Queens (Royal West Surrey). He went missing according to his regiments diaries at around 8.45 am when his B company was manning a post near Meteren Becque. In the diaries it mentions a Belle Croix Farm. I’ve not been able to find this on any maps of the area though. Have you heard of it or know where it was?
    Once again, thank you for all the fantastic information you have provided. Tony

  8. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Tony – glad you found the site useful. If I can be of further help in any way, please let me know. Regards, Nick.

  9. Tony Parr says:

    Thanks Nick. You may well have gone a long way to solving the family mystery of what happened to my Grandfather Stanley Parr, a private in the 2RF. He was a born and bred Yorkshireman from Sheffield who somehow found himself in a Regular British Army battalion. Stanley may well have been in this battle. We know he was captured late in the war and imprisoned for a while at Fort MacDonald east of Lille with a large number of Portuguese POWs at the time. For this reason it seems likely that he was at the Battle of Hazebrouk. I note as well that Warwick Charlesworth, who has contributed here, had a relative who was captured at Hazebrouk and sent work in salt mines in Germany/Poland. So was Stanley.
    Stanley survived the war and made it back to Sheffield in 1919 but he never really recovered from exposure to gas and wound(s) and died in 1931 when my Dad was six years old.
    Thanks again for some great work.

  10. Dave Cole says:

    Nick, found this helpful after stumbling upon Aval Wood cemetery en route to Le Paradis from Ypres. Excellent work

  11. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Graham,
    If you look on map number 36a NE edition 6 (there is one on my map page) you can find Arrewage to the NNW of Merville – about half way between Merville and la Becque. It’s in square K10.
    Regards, Nick

  12. Graham Larken says:

    I came across your interesting site as part of my research into a relative who sustained a bullet wound in the neck at, according to his army service record, a place called ARRAWAGE in France on 14th April 1918. Apart from mentions in WW1 websites I have been unable to find out anything about that place and it is not on Google Maps today. I believe it was near La Becque. He was a 2nd Lt in the 12th Gloucester Regiment which I believe was part of the 5th Division at that time so I suppose that he may have been involved in the Battle of Hazebrouck. I will be grateful to know if during your research you have come across ARREWAGE.

    Thank You

  13. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Yannick – I’m very pleased that the website may be of use; please feel free to use anything you like. I have some unpublished material that I think may be of interest to you so I’ll send that to your email address. Wishing you every success with your project. Regards, Nick

  14. BENOIST Yannick says:

    Hello Nick,

    Each year, the descendants of British and Australian soldiers come to salute the memory of their ancestors who fought in or near MERRIS (Old berquin) and sometimes seek to reconstruct in their minds the last moments of their ancestors in our landscape.
    The association “at Heritage Merrisien Support Committee” in collaboration with the city of Merris has decided to present a draft “memory lane” to commemorate the centenary of these events in 1918.
    The hiking trail inaugurated on this occasion would become permanent.
    The maps and stories on your site “” of great interest to us in this process.
    Our question: Can you give us permission to use the content of your website to make information panels along the future hike circuit.
    Thank you for your reply.
    We remain at your disposal for any further rensignement.
    Yannick Benoist (FRANCE)
    Vice President of the Support Committee for Heritage Merrisien
    06 16 66 37 96

  15. Trevor Wilson says:

    Thanks Nick – I’m trying to find more information about my Australian great uncle William Drury who was in XXII Corps 49th Division (originally 4th Aust Lighthorse 10th Reinforcements). We have telegram sent 12/4/18 as he was wounded and sent to hospital at Etaples. Looking through Service Record and Histories, I’m thinking it may have been in Hazebrouck (or maybe Messines). Would appreciate any more information?

  16. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Roger, glad the site is of use. Please feel free to use whatever content you like. All the best, Nick

  17. Roger Blinko says:

    Thanks for an excellent site. I am writing up the history of my extended family one was at the defence of Meteren with the 31st Div and I would like to use one of your excellent hand drawn maps for this project. The pages will be private to the Blencowe Families Association members only. Of course full credit and a link to your site will be provided. Regards
    Roger Blinko

  18. Stephen Cooper says:

    Those with a rugby interest may like to know that Lt W A ‘Billy’ Millar, captain of the 1912 Springboks, was taken PoW with the 3/Coldstream on the 13th. His right arm was fractured. He was taken to Stralsund camp on the Baltic. Of the seven officers captured that day, he is the only one who was repatriated before the Armistice. Did he escape or was it the Red Cross intervention on account of his arm? I do not know, but Billy was made of tough stuff having been wounded in the Boer War, when a young man.

  19. Rex Fletcher says:

    Sirs..Samuel E Fletcher of the 4th company 4th guards…went missing on April 13th 1918…was he part of Captain TT Pryces company

  20. sonny nairn says:

    Nick great job,
    trying to find what happened to a relative captured at Vielle Chapelle 14 April 1918 L/Cpl John (Jack). Gordon Highlander just found records that suddenly came to light, been searching for quite some time and pretty excited to get recent stuff.
    Discovered he was taken to Gadenlegen then Linburg died in German military hospital from pneumonia and enteritis and buried in Lille Cemetery Southern which i visited.I can’t find war diaries for that particular event but know it was not far from Hazebrouck which you so well cover. Any info from anyone would be great.
    I believe the Battalion HQ was in Oblinghem and the Maistre Line gets mentioned in one account but unsure as to where that was.

  21. Karen Bearns says:

    I believe my great grandfather Thomas Simmonds from the Newfoundland Regiment was killed in this battle. He died April12/13 1918 and according to an accountI have read by a witness that he was last seen hit and dying east of the fighting at Neuve Eglise and Nieppe Rd by a railway track and a sandbag dugout east of the light railway. This is the most specific information that I have about his death. If anyone could provide any additional information regarding this area, I would greatly appreciate it.

  22. COLIN STEVENS says:

    Do you know anything about my grandfather who lost his
    life on 13 April 1918. 12749 Pte Frank Stevens who was in
    2nd Irish Guards. MWO CM STEVENS RETD CDN ARMY

  23. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Warwick,
    Apologies for the late reply. If you have the battalion diary I would also recommend getting copies of the brigade & division diaries; they usually provide the context in which the battalion diary was written, and also provide loads of additional information. The best account of the action of the Guards Brigade is ‘Hazebrouck – The Forgotten Battle’ by Geoffrey Blades in the Imperial War Museum Library. The ‘sources’ section of the site gives full details. Geoffrey spent a lot of time interviewing survivors & that comes though in this account.
    Best Wishes, Nick

  24. Warwick Charlesworth says:

    Dear Nick
    Like so many others have said thank you for a wonderful site. My father served in the 3rd battalion Coldstream Guards and was taken prisoner at this battle. I have just received the unit war diary covering this battle and the days in question. I note that Adrian Newton had a relative also in the 3rd battalion can you ask him which company if known. Hope this is not an imposition and do you know of other material I might find.
    Very many thanks this has filled in so many gaps for me as like so many my father talked little of his experience. He was sent from here to the Salt mines in Germany to finish his war.

  25. Nick Powley says:

    Hello Pat – glad there’s some information here useful to you. By all means take away whatever you wish. Regards, Nick

  26. Pat Barker says:

    Thank you for your reply about Haverfordwest.
    I’m arranging, as part of our St Mary’s Church Local history Week at end of August, a display linked to those from the town who died in WW1. Would you mind if I used some of the information from your website (which I would credit) in the entry for Sydney Rumball? I have seen the St Martin’s Church magazine of 1918 where the Vicar says;
    Sydney Rumball, Lieut. RIP, acolyte, devoted server, fought with great gallantry and received the Military Cross.

    Best wishes

    Pat Barker

  27. Nick Powley says:

    Hi Pat – Sydney’s Dad was promoted from the ranks and given a commission in the Pembroke Yeomanry. This later became a part of the 24th Battalion Welsh Regiment referred to in the biography section. The family moved from London to Haverfordwest to take up the promotion. Regards, Nick

  28. Pat Barker says:

    Have been reading your entry re Lieut GTS Rumball as I’m checking on WW1 casualties from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. He is on the St Martin’s Church war memorial. Apparently he attended Haverfordwest grammar School, but not sure why. Would you know?

    Best wishes

    Pat Barker

  29. Nick Powley says:

    Helle Russell; glad you found the web site useful. If you do visit the area, late Autumn is I think the best time to go, as there are no crops in most of the fields. You can then really appreciate ‘the lay of the land’. I’ll forward you on some of the RGLI related information that I’ve collected. Regards, Nick

  30. russell guille says:

    Thanks for the excellent website. I also am looking at the RGLI as many Sark men were killed in the Great War and the Lys claimed Pvte James Guille on 13-4-18 aged 19, no known grave. It must have been horrendous for the many youngsters thrown in at the deep end,and for the older ones trying to keep them alive. Unimaginable. I would be grateful if you had any specific info re the RGLI . Great detail on the maps which will be useful when I get to walk over the battlefield.

  31. Nick Powley says:

    Hi – if you go to the tab titled ’29th Divisional Action -Detailed Analysis & Maps’ this will show where the 3rd Coldstream Guards (3CG) we’re located throughout events on the 12th and 13th April. They’re down in the bottom left hand corner of the maps. The best Guards Brigade document on the subject is ‘Hazebrouck – The Forgotten Battle’ by Geoffrey Blades held in the Imperial War Museum. The catalogue number is listed in the ‘Sources’ tab. I thoroughly recommend making an appointment to view and read it. Regards, Nick.

  32. Adrian Newton says:

    Great site! The detail that you’ve put together, especially the maps, is excellent. My great uncle fought in the battle of the Lys:
    L/Cpl Frank Herbert Phipps . British Army 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards.

    Frank Phipps, the son of Mr and Mrs Frederick Phipps of Cowley, Oxford, was an 18 year old electrician when he signed on with the Coldstream Guards in October 1916. After completing basic training at Caterham, he was posted with the 3rd Battalion to France in May 1917. He died of a ‘penetrating wound to the chest’ sustained at the Battle of Hazebrouck on 13 April 1918. He died in 13 General Hospital, BEF, Boulogne, France, and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

    I was hoping to see on your maps where the Coldstream Guards might have been on the 13th. Can you help with this?

  33. Nick Powley says:

    Hi – yes; the 12th was an unfortunate day for the RGLI. The war diaries indicate that not many Guernseymen made it back after they we’re cut off. I’ll email you copies of the relevant diaries and anything else I have relating to this event. Regards, Nick.

  34. Jmachon says:

    Thank you for compiling such useful Information. I am researching the wartime trail of my grandfather and great uncle, both of whom fought with the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry. My great uncle fought in the battle of Lys with the 29th division. He must have been deployed at Hazebrouck. I was quite distressed to see on your site that by noon on 12 April the RGLI were cut off from the retreating forces. Were they able to retreat eventually? I know that the few Guernseymen who survived the battle of Lys were withdrawn to GHQ. Please could you guide my further research if you have suggestions of where to go to find out more. Many thanks

  35. Malcolm Wallis says:

    Good to discover this site. Will be re-visiting to read more detail. Visit the war grave at Aval Wood regularly to see the grave of my Uncle – Cyril Herbert Daniel Wallis of the Durham Light Infantry.

  36. admin says:

    I’m pleased you found the site useful. Good luck with your research & visit. If you would like copies of any of my research material I’ll be happy to provide. Regards, Nick.

  37. Dek767 says:

    Hoping to visit the area in June, 2011. Trying to pinpoint exactly where my Great Uncle William was fatally wounded. He was Private 18468 Private William Moss, 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. I know he was fatally wounded between 12th/27th April and died in St Omer. I have found this site perfect for researching the area. The maps are really useful.

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