Serving again – 1916

In his first period of service, Patrick had the service number 7994. When he re-joined he was given a new number: 37708. There are a number of interesting details on the form. (Interesting to me at least!)
It might have been expected that Patrick would have returned to his relatives in Dewsbury when he was discharged from the Army in October 1915. He may have gone to see them, but his address on re-enlistment was 42 Grantham Road, Brighton. The entry for next of kin is crossed out. It is still possible to read the entry, which says, ‘Brother, address not known’. Underneath it says ‘Miss E Delves, friend, of 42 Grantham Road, Brighton, Sussex’. This is the lady that he met whilst in hospital in late 1914. The address in Brighton explains why he was sent to re-enlist in Chichester, just over 30 miles along the coast. The military system clearly needed to have a definite address for next of kin. It is not difficult to see why. A lot of telegrams had been sent since the war started containing bad news.
Patrick claimed to be 32 years and 6 months old. He was actually a year older. His occupation is given as a Porter.
The form asked whether he had a preference for any particular branch of the service. He answered this question by stating ‘Royal Field Artillery’. Over half the casualties of the war were caused by artillery. Patrick had been on the receiving end of shelling on a number of occasions. Clearly he felt that it was better to be inflicting the damage rather than experiencing it. It made no difference. He was assigned to his old Regiment. After a few weeks in England, he was sent back to the 2nd Battalion. (The 1st battalion, with whom he had served in 1915, was in the Middle East by this time. They were engaged in operations against the Turks in what was, at the time, called Mesopotamia. The modern name is Iraq.) Patrick landed in France on 13th November.
When Patrick arrived in France, the Somme Offensive was still in progress. It started on 1st July. It claimed the life of his cousin Edward on 25th July. Exhaustion, and bad weather, finally brought an end to the fighting a few days later. One particular part of the overall battle, known as the Battle of the Ancre, was still to take place.


Like so much of the countryside which was fought over, it looks so peaceful today. The photo was taken from the vicinity of Hawthorn Ridge Cemetery, looking towards the high ground above the River Ancre (where the Wind Turbines are now located)