No.21405, Private, Harry OSBORNE
Aged 24

2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 23rd October 1916

Harry Osborne was born in Tuddenham (Mildenhall Q4-1892 4A:712) son of George and Eliza OSBORNE (née TIMBERS).

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at Bressenham Road, Kilverstone with his father George OSBORNE [56] shepherd, born Garboldisham; his mother Eliza [48] born Marlingford; brothers Ephraim [21] shepherd born Feltwell and John William [3] born Eriswell; sister Eunice [11] born Tuddenham.

1911 census...Aged 18, a shepherd, he was boarding at West Hall, Paglesham, Rochford, Essex with Samuel and Mary Ann LANCASTER. His parents were at Gt Saling, near Braintree with his sister Ellen Beatrice and brother John William and a niece, Helen Margaret COCKERTON [2] born Thetford.

From his pension card, his mother was at 45 Icklngham at the time of her claim

He enlisted in Warley, Essex.
The 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment were part of the 4th Infantry Division, which had been rested at the rear of the lines near Ypres, then in October 1916 it was returned to the Somme Battlefield to take part in the Battle of Le Transloy Ridge. On 23rd October the British continued its advanced towards Le Transloy. The battalion war diary has :-
"Assembly trenches- Zero hour 11:30 am. Zero hour postponed to 2:30 pm on account of heavy mist. At 2:30 pm assaulting troops went over the top, were immediately met with heavy M.G.fire. First 4 waves were stopped by German front line(these waves were destined for BROWN line, an imaginary line 700 yards from our trenches and about 50-0 yards behind enemy front line) and few crossed enemy front line.
2nd 4 waves starting from assembly trenches at 2:40 pm (destined for GREEN LINE (an imaginary line about 1200 yards in front of our line) were met by heavy MG fire and a light enemy barrage. Of the two companies forming these lines only about 30 men and w Lewis guns reached BROWN LINE where they started to dig in. Receiving no support from the flanks and rear and all officers and NCOs having become casualties the remains of this party had to withdraw(left Coy 4 men, right Coy 2 Lewis guns and about 12 men). By 9 pm the whole line had withdrawn back to original (assembly) trenches. A few men held out in shell holes etc until early morning.
Casualties 5 OR to F.A. Lt M R Robertson wounded, 2 OR killed, 1 OR wounded and 1 OR missing."

CWGC have a different tales to tell, recording 114 killed of the 2nd Essex, however the war diary does have a casualty detail for the 24th which gives 3 officers wounded and 1 missing and 17 OR killed, 72 wounded and 165 missing, so it appears that overall the figures are not so different. Especially so when it appears that only 12 men have identified graves.

Harry Osborne is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 10D
and also commemorated on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)

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

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