DOCKRELL, Benjamin Philip Augustus

No.452070, Rifleman, Benjamin Philip Augustus DOCKRELL
Aged 29

2nd/11th (County of London) London Regiment (Finsbury Rifles)
attached to 6th (City of London) Battalion (Rifles), London Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 8th August 1918

Benjamin Philip Augustus Dockrell was born in Horseheath (Linton Q4-1888 3B:493), baptised in All Saints, Horseheath on 21st October 1888, son of Arthur and Sarah Harriet DOCKRELL (née CLARKE ). The memorial is the only place where the surname is Dockerell.

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Cottage, Horseheath with his father Arthur DOCKRILL [34] farm labourer; his mother Sarah [34]; brother Herbert [9]; sisters Rose [7] and Delilah [5]. All were born in Horseheath. The enumerator has used 'i' instead of 'e' in the surname.

1901 census...Aged 12, errand boy on farm, he was in Horseheath with his parents (father now roadman, mother now recorded as born in Debden, Essex); brother Herbert C [19] horsekeeper; widowed grandmother Harriet DOCKRELL [72] born Horseheath.

1911 census...Aged 22, farm labourer, he was in Horseheath with his parents (mother recorded as born Debden, Essex) and sister Georgina M (Deliliah) [25] born Horseheath. One of the 5 siblings had died.

He enlisted in London,while resident in Pimlico.
Some confusion as to his battalion, as some records have him in the 11th Bn,London Regiment (CWGC and the medal rolls. The 1st/11th Battalion were not in BEF, but the 2nd/11th (Finsbury Rifles) were, but not operating where he was buried. Considering where he was first found it is more likely that he was at least attached to the 6th Battalion since that was just where they were. In addition the Army Register of Soldiers Effects has him in the 6th Battalion, London Regiment.

Based on him being with the 6th Battalion:- The plan was for 4 tanks to go north and south of MALLARD WOOD, 1 to go south of the wood and 1 through Sailly Laurette and along the road to Chipilly. It took four hours to assemble but at 4 am, on a clear morning, suddenly heavy mist fell. A few casualties from shellfire and machine guns on the tape line. The barrage came down at 4:20 am and they advanced into the thick mist, visibility down to 20 yards. At this time the tanks were not with them.Losing sense of direction in the mist they followed the barrage. The enemy put up some resistance but were soon overcome and many prisoners taken. By now the companies were getting mixed and the attack was being drawn SE. The main resistance now was on the right flank, but a tank coming from Sailly Laurette was a great help. As the mist lifted it appeared a party of the 6th Bn were at the Quarry east of the wood, which although seemingly free of the enemy was also not occupied by our troops. 3 officers and 60 men of the 6th Bn were sent to reinforce the 7th on the left flank and a company of the 6th were sent to secure and hold the high ground south of the wood. The next evening they handed over to the Americans at the Chipilly Ridge.
The operation on the 8th and 9th had cost the London Regiment 12 officers and 308 other ranks across the 6th, 7th and 8th battalions involved.

Benjamin was buried here and re-interred in Harbonnieres in 1920
He was identified on his cross as in the 6th Battalion
The Orange line was their objective on 8th August

photo: Rodney Gibson

Benjamin Dockrell is buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, grave 8:H:14

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

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