The Battle of Delville Wood took place between 15th July and 3rd September 1916 , and has particular significance for Weaverham because Lieutenant Stuart Long, the son of the vicar of Weaverham, died there on the 9th of September.
He is commemorated on the plaque erected in St Mary’s Church in Weaverham, along with other parishioners who died in the First World War. There is more information about them on this excellent Flickr photo stream : https://www.flickr.com/photos/34476320@N02/12031761776/
The centre panel of the plaque is dedicated to Lieutenant Long.
Who in the Great War laid down their lives
God their King and their Country
GRANT THEM O LORD ETERNAL REST
A complete list of the names on this memorial ( and better photographs ) are available on the excellent Carls Cam site: http://www.carlscam.com/warmem/weaverhamwm.htm
Lieutenant Long’s obituary was published in the Northwich Guardian.
This transcript is incomplete – the first part is missing.
… the Rev. Francis Long, Vicar of Weaverham. He was 20 years of age. Some time before the war broke out, he joined the R.I.A. (? )
In January 1915 he received a commission in the South Lancashire Regiment and was promoted lieutenant in May of the same year. He had fifteen months at the front. He was educated at the Craigs, Windermere and the Manchestrer Grammar School, and was ??? as a civil engineer in the office of his ?? Colonel W. Compton Hall, at Preston . He was wounded with a shell shot on August 14th but quickly recovered and rejoined his battalion.
He was also remembered in Ulula – The Manchester Grammar School Magazine.
Francis Stuart Long-, too, has added his name to our long- Roll of Honour. He was the son of the Vicar of Weaverham. His former class-mates and his old Form Masters will always remember him for his keenness in all matters relating to mechanical engineering. He seemed to have been born with the love and knowledge of engines; and to meet him on the station platform while waiting for his train, and ask him a question or two about the locomotive was to discover where his interest lay, and to see how clearly Nature had marked out the line of his future career. Circumstances, fortunately, enabled him to follow his natural bent, and he was in the office of his uncle at Preston when the war broke out.
One of his schoolmasters writes : — ” W e have nothing but happy memories of him here. He was very dutiful. He always met one with a glad look in the morning ; his eye was single, his whole nature was full of light. I feel sure he has died a death which he was prepared to meet, and from which he did not shrink.”
The War Diary for the South Lancashire Regiment for the period of the engagement in which he died is transcribed below:
August 28 2:30 PM transport moved by road back to MERICOURT.
August 29. moved at 1 ½ hours notice to fresh billet ERCOURT leaving FRESENNEVILLE 3 PM. Marched in thunderstorm and arrived very wet
30th of August resumed March and entrained PONT REMY 1 PM detrained MERICOURT 5 PM and bivouacked in Open Field E7.Still raining and men are very wet.
August 31 1:35 PM.Moved:Fresh bivouac E 12a. Standing by under short notice to move.
September 1. In bivouac E 12a.(Shell 62 D NE) training resumed.
September 2/4. Standing by under the short notice to move.
September 5. Moved up and relieved 72nd Inf btn.in front of DELVILLE WOOD.
Btn. Disposition:Front line 1/5Loyal North Leics Regt.on Right. 1/5 K.O. Royal Lancs Regt. On Left. 1/5 South Lancs Right in support in Check Line S23a, 1/10th Liverpool Rifle in reserve in front of MONTAUBAN. 1/5 South Lanc Regt. Relieved 8th West Kent Regt.Relief complete 7PM.
September 6. Check line cleaned and improved and front line visited.
September 7. Btn out at night digging strong points 300+ in advance of front line trenches held by 1/5 Loyal North Lancs Regt. Four Strong Points dug and communication trench from original front line 15 Right Strong Point . Casualties 4 officers and 40 O. Ranks
September 8. Strong Points were garrisoned by 1 officer and 20 O.R. and communication trenches held by 2 officers and 60 O.R. About 10 a.m. an enemy 5.9 Battery heavily enfiladed new communication trench and badly damaged it.
During the night Strong Points were completed and connected up under very accurate sniping fire. In spite of this work was well done and fully completed. Casualties 4 officers 45 O.R.
September 9. After completion of digging , relieved 1/5 Loyal North Lancs. Regt. And completed relief by 5 A M. 164 Bde attacked ALE an HOP ALLEY
(Contd on next sheet.)
On our right at 4.45 P M. attack failed and enemy pressed our Barricade N E corner of DELVILLE WOOD. “C” Coy sent up from support and barricade held. During the night Patrols were unable to get touch along E edge of WOOD with 164 Inf. Bde position not clear as enemy were reported to be bombing their way through E side of WOOD
September 10. Still trying to get in touch with 164 Bde but were unable to do so. At night communication trench was re dug and communication trench between Strong points deepened. Our right flank was protected at night by four Posts along E side of WOOD, lying in open, with trip wires in front of them. Remainder Bde. relieved by 123rd Inf Bde, 41st DIVN. We were attached to 164 Inf Bde and held the same line. One officer and 15 O.R. captured in front of our Strong Point.
September 11. Bomb attack by 164 Inf. Bde on ALE and HOP VALLEY failed. We gained 30+ of ALE ALLEY and held the same with new barricade. During he night a new line of Strong Points was dug 150+ in advance of the first line of Strong Points in spite of the severe strain the Btn had gone through. The men dug excellently. A new Strong Point was dug midway between the Right Strong Point and ALE ALLEY.
Setember 12. Still trying to get touch with 164 Bde along E edge of wood. During the night 164 Bde established a Strong Point in E side of wood, and at last gained touch with us.
September 14/13. Night. Relieved by the 8th Kings Royal Rifles 14th DIVN. Relief complete at 2 AM.
Casualties 5th to 12th inclusive 12 officers and 150 O R
September 13. Marched back to transport lines about F8n, arriving 4 am
11:15 am. Marched to rest camp at D18a.
September 14/15 In camp resting.
The Memorial Orchard in Thorn Wood between Hartford and Weaverham was established to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War. A dedication ceremony will be held at the Orchard on Monday 12th September at 1 P.M. This date was chosen to mark the centenary of the death of Lieutenant Long.
For more information on the Memorial Orchard see www.orchard.weaverham.org.uk