ADAMS, Victor William

No. 11321, Private Victor William ADAMS
Aged 25

1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
presumed killed on Monday, 27th May 1918

Born in 1892 (Qtr 2 Bury St Edmunds 4a:754), son of William and Ellen ADAMS (née KEMP)

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at 32 Southgate Street, BSE with his grandfather, widower Benoni KEMP[60] born Wickham Market, his uncle William KEMP [23] clerk; his aunt Lillie P KEMP [19] stationer's assistant born BSE; his father William ADAMS [41] joiner/carpenter, born Custon, Yorks; mother Ellen [31]; sisters Ellen [9], Dorothy [5] Olive Victoria [3] and Christine [2], all born in BSE.

1911 census...Aged 18, he was a private in 2nd Bn, Sherwood Foresters at Crown Hill Fort, Plymouth, Devon. His parents were at 55 Southgate Street, BSE, father now foreman builder; sisters Dorothy Beatrice [15], Olive Victoria [13], Violet Christine [12], Marjorie Lily [5] and Elsie Vivian [2], brother Frederick Donald [9]. One of the 9 siblings had died.

The pension card has his mother at 55 Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds

He enlisted in BSE.

Major George Rowland Patrick Roupell, VC, CB (East Surrey Regiment) reported:-
May 27th, 1918 - The Sherwood Forresters left Roucy at 6:15am and marched towards La Pecherie Bridge via the Concevreux-Cormicy Rd and the Bois de Gernicourt.
Platoon marched at 200 distance.
There was very little hostile shelling until the road just into the Bois de Gernicourt but here the enemy were heavily shelling the road running through the wood towards the canal. The Battalion suffered a considerable number of casualties, one platoon being wiped out by two 5-9s which fell on the road in the middle of them, a certain number of gun limbers were knocked out on this road.

On reaching the North edge of the wood a man of the 24th Infantry Brigade was met who told us that the enemy were just coming down to the river. The commanding officer and the leading platoon pushed forward out of the wood and started to make their way to the canal. At the same time, the enemy put down a barrage along the line of the canal 300ft South of it consisting of HE and gas shells which caused a thick haze all along the canal.
The platoon was checked by a thick wall of wire and by the shelling and only five men reached the canal with the CO. The enemy, in large number, were advancing towards the river from the direction of Butte aux Vents and reached the edge of the canal on the North side of the river as we reached the canal and offered machine gun fire on our troops as they came down the ridge between the canal and the Bois de Gernicourt.
The enemy appeared to be very thick on the ground and were advancing in groups of about 25 men each with intervals and distances of about 100ft. As they reached the edge of the canal they lined up and moved to either flank looking for crossings.

A sapper was found near the bridge over the river and he demolished the bridge a few moments after we arrived (at about 7am).

A post was then formed on the South bank of the canal covering the demolished bridge over the river and the undamaged bridge over the canal and the CO then went back to take up a position on the ridge just behind (between the canal and the Bois de Gernicourt). Intermittent rifle and MG fire went on but the enemy made no attempt to cross the canal.
About an hour later, (8am), an officer and 12 men arrived, sent by the OC Sherwoods to strengthen the canal post and I moved off in the direction of Gernicourt. There was no garrison in Ouvrage Ouest, or in the trench between there to send, and Gernicourt (supposed to be manned by a French MG company).
Small parties of our men (25th Infantry Brigade) could be seen along the North bank of the canal immediately North of Gernicourt.

I made my way back to the Bois de Gernicourt and on the way a Machine Gun opened fire from the high ground just S.E. of Pontavert Bridge, South of the Canal.
The enemy must have crossed near Pontavert and by occupying the high ground enfiladed the position just taken up by the Sherwoods. I gather that the Sherwoods then fell back to the West edge of the Bois de Gernicourt and held on here till 12 noon. The machine guns of the 8th Btn which came up behind the Sherwoods went into position on this line.

On reaching PC Division I found the place unoccupied and when we got to the West edge of the wood we saw a party of about 20 Germans at the SW corner of the Bois de Gernicourt moving towards the Concevreux-Cormicy Rd. We hurried back to warn a French Machine Gun detachment in the SW corner of the wood but just before we reached them they ran out into the open, were fired on by the party of Germans, and surrendered.
We moved back through the wood to the Concevreux-Cormicy Rd and found a large number of stragglers moving from the wood towards Bouffignereux. A post was formed on the Bouffignereux road 200ft from the Concevreux-Cormicy Rd and fire was opened on the small party of Germans. About 1/2hr later the party retired towards the high ground near Pontavert bridge, probably forced to do this by the Sherwoods who formed a defensive flank facing West at the NW corner of the Bois de Gernicourt.

Two aid posts were doing a lot of work at the South end of the Bois de Gernicourt (one 1/C of the MO Sherwood Foresters) and motor ambulances were leaving from these two posts all the time I was there. Gunners who we met in the wood stated that all the guns North of the river had been lost and a large number destroyed by enemy shell fire.
As I came back through Roucy parties of the enemy could be seen moving from Pontavert, in the direction of Concevreux across our left flank, and parties of our own troops, 25th Division and 8th Division Lewis gun School were moving onto the Boufignereux – Roucy Line. At about 4 pm I visited Bouffignereux and our line then came along the North edge of the village, thence westwards along the North edge of the wood which lies just South of the railway from Bouffignereux to Roucy. The enemy were advancing in small parties all along the front and were being held up by Lewis guns and rifle fire about 400 ft in front of our line. Large bodies of the enemy could be seen collecting in the woods along the South bank of the canal.

From reports it appears that the Sherwoods in the Bois de Gernicourt and the garrison of Gernicourt defences held out till 12 noon and then fell back onto Hill 180. Major George Rowland Patrick Roupell, VC, CB

Victor ADAMS is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.

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