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Tracing a relative

Good afternoon - I'm trying to get some of the service history of my Great Uncle G/589 Frank Henry TERRY who died in action at Arras on the 9th of August 1917, I was wondering if you had any archives which may 'fill in some of the gaps'.

Thanks and regards

Pete Terry

Re: Tracing a relative


There is contradiction regarding his forename. His medal rolls and Soldiers Died in the Great War refer to him as Harry whereas the Commonwealth war Graves Commission refer to him as Frank Henry.

His service record has not survived so there isn't much information available on him. From Soldiers Died in the Great War we know he was born in Charing Heath and that he enlisted at Ashford. His service number G589 indicates that he joined The Buffs in late August or early September 1914. He was posted to the first of The Buffs' service Battalions, the 6th Battalion, and went overseas with them on 1/6/1915. The Battalion's first action was at the Battle of Loos in October 1915 where they suffered heavily. In March 1916 a member of the Battalion, William Cotter won the Buffs' only VC of the conflict. They fought in the Battle of the Somme with their first involvement being at Ovillers on 3/7/1916. In April 1917 they were in the first attack at the Battle of Arras.

On 9/8/1917 the Battalion were in camp at Beaurains near Arras. Four officers and 86 Other ranks had volunteered to take part in a raid on the German Lines. They had been training for the raid for a week. The raid commenced at 19:45 and they succeeded in entering the German trenches, killing Germans, destroying dug-outs and taking 80 prisoners. Heavy enfilade machine gun fire hampered their advance. The party returned to the camp at 03:00 the following morning and were played in by the drums. Thirty eight Buffs officers and men were killed, wounded or missing.

The records show that 16 men were killed on the raid. Only one, Second Lieutenant Francis Sowter is buried in a marked grave. The rest have their names inscribed on the Arras Memorial or (wrongly) the Menin Gate Memorial.

Mick Mills