TILBROOK, Stanley James

No.18005, Private, Stanley James TILBROOK
Aged 20

6th Battalion, Connaught Rangers
formerly 43414, 7th. Royal Irish Fusiliers
formerly 45240, 7th. Royal Irish Rifle
formerly 4701, 1st. Hertfordshire Regiment
formerly 9707, Essex Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 21st March 1918

Stanley James Tilbrook was born in Helions Bumpstead (Risbridge Q2-1897 4A:741) son of Ambrose and Alice Jane TILBROOK (née HOLMES). It is difficult to be 100% sure here as Alice Jane Holmes was declared to be aged 30 when she married Ambrose TILBROOK in Paddington in 1890. A year later in the census in Helions Bumptead she was 22, then in 1901 was 42 and in 1911 she was 46. In that time Ambrose became Edward for 1910 but his age remains reasonably consistent. The records of Stanley's siblings make it more than proable that this is the same family group though.

1901 census...Aged 3, he was at Helions Farm, Helions Bumpstead with his father Edward TILBROOK [37] farmer, born Haverhill; his mother Alice [42] born Clare; brother Henry [9] and sisters Winifred [7] and Olive [5]. All the children were born in Helions Bumpstead.

1911 census...Aged 13, he was still at school, living at Helions Farm with his parents (father now Ambrose); brother Henry [19] assisting on farm; sister Olive [15] and a visitor Lawford HOLMES [40] born Clare (his uncle ?)

He enlisted in Haverhill.
He died on the first day of the German Spring Offensive, the Kaiserschlacht. Everywhere in the Allied line was confusion and retreat. The onslaught of massive numbers of Germans aimed at ending the war before the American reinforcements arrived in strength. The Germans swept forward with storm troops, breaking through our lines, leaving strongpoints to be dealt with by follow up troops. The British were weakened at this stage of the war by only having three battalions to a Brigade, whereas the Germans were able to add to their number the troops released by the collapse of the Russian Army.
During this period battalion war diaries, where found, tend to be rather sketchy and vague. The 6th Connaughts however have a very extensive typed up report from their CO before he was wounded himself on the 28th. Far too long to be included here, it does record that the battalion were in Villers Faucon, the HQ receiving a direct hit at 8.30 am, wounding some, but no deaths. By mid day it was reported that Ronnsoy had been taken. They were ordered to counter attack, but this proved fruitless with no support and a couple of tanks acting independently before being knocked out. Falling back they were then told the order had been given cancelling the counter attack but for some reason it had not reached them. The whole day appeared to be one of confusion and orders and counter orders.

CWGC records give the death toll for the 6th Connaught Rangers that day as 78, 52 of them with no known grave.

photo: Roy Beardsworth

Stanley Tilbrook is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, panel 77

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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