Henry Richard Pugh, Age 27
Private, 700, "C" Coy, 15th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Henry was born in Hughoffka, Russia and from what could be found out his mother Olga was of Russian extraction. The family had moved to Dawley, and Henry with his parents Richard Henry and Olga lived at The School House, Dawley.
Henry had enlisted in September 1914 whilst in Birmingham and had joined the 15th Battalion, which besides its army title was known as the 2nd Birmingham City Battalion or 2nd Birmingham Pals.
He had served in ‘B’ company and had seen action on the Some in 1916 and at Vimy Ridge in 1917 before the battalion was sent to the Italian front to help stem a Austrian/German break through at Caporetto just before Christmas 1917, they did not stay in Italy for long before being recalled to the Western front in France in Early 1918.
The 5th Division had arrived back from Italy and by April 7th assembled between Doullens and Frevent. On 11th April the Division entrained towards Aire, south-west of Hazebrouck. Now 1st Army reserve The German offensive towards the Lys made the situation critical. The Division was sent forward to hold a line on the eastern edge of Nieppe Forest opposite Merville and be ready for a counter-attack. After they began to dig in orders were changed their new line was to be Robecq through the Forest to La Motte Chateau. C Coy 15th Bn made contact with the Germans near Le Corbie and forced them back to the south side of the Lys, suffering nearly 100 casualties with 10 killed. (12th April). On the 13th repeated German attacks were beaten off. Same on April 14th - that evening 14th and 15th Bns were relieved over these two days 15th had sustained approx 80 casualties, including 25 killed
Henry was another soldier who had written to the Dawley news in Nov 1917 and in his letter he describes some of the conditions that he had been in, his says that “It takes him all his time to drag himself out of the mud in Flanders and to dodge Fritz ’s iron foundries, when we get out for a rest we are so done up that the only thing we are inclined to do is sleep. He goes on to say that he had met some KSLI ’s and had a talk with some boys from Ketley, Oakengates and Broseley who had told him that there were a lot of Dawley boys in their mob but he did not meet any of them”.
His two brothers also served Albert & Leonard, who both survived the war. I am indebted to Colin Pugh who has a large collection of paper work and photos of the brothers and was kind enough to let me borrow & copy them. Shown below is just some of Colin’s collection.
Henry’s last letter home is shown below, in it he is trying to reassure his family that he is alright, Henry had been extremely badly wounded by shrapnel on the 15th April 1918 and died in hospital four days later on the 19th April 1918. (See Dave shaw’s book)
The ofﬁcial telegram that no family ever wanted to receive, in it are the details of Henry dying of wounds on the 19/4/18, his body is interred at the Aire Communal cemetery in grave II.D. 32
Inscription added to head stone by: Mrs. O. Pugh, School House, Dawley, Shropshire.
O HAPPY SAINTS FOR EVER BLEST AT JESUS FEET HOW SAFE YOUR REST
WWI Medal Rolls Index Card
|Victory Medal||British War Medal||1914-15 Star Medal|