No.B/200971, Rifleman, Claude PETTITT
Aged 19

1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade
formerly 13/5775, 17th T.R. Battalion
Killed in Action on Friday, 1st November 1918

Claude Pettitt was born in Woodditton (Newmarket Q2-1898 3B:334), son of David Nelson and Sarah Ann PETTITT (née SWANN).

1901 census...Aged 2, he was at 97 Church Cottages, Woodditton with his father David Nelson PETTITT [40] an agricultural labourer; his mother Sarah Ann [41]; brothers Richard, David, Luke [7], Stephen [5] all born in Woodditton. It seems a baby Stephen has died and the next son was also named Stephen. It is possible brother Charles was at Bury St Edmunds with the Suffolk Regiment.

1911 census... Aged 12 he was at 97 Church Cottages, Woodditton with his parents, brothers Charles, (now recorded as Samuel, a farm labourer), David Nelson (shepherd), Stephen and sister Daisy [7] born in Woodditton.

The pension card has his mother still at 97 Church Cottages.

He married Ellen (Nellie) SMITH in Newmarket in Q2-1911. She was later living in Saxon Street according to CWGC.

He was one of three brothers to die during the Great War.
Charles was killed in Belgium in 1917. see here

and Stephen died of wounds/illness in UK in 1915 see here

He enlisted in Newmarket.
Thanks to "stiletto_33853 " of the www.1914-1918 forum it appears that the 1st battalion of the Rifle Brigade were involved at Preseau, near Valenciennes in the 1st November 1918. Part of the Battle of the Sambre the attack had twice been postponed for 24 hours. The River Rhonelle had four bridges put across it for the right company of the Hampshires and the left platoon of "A" Coy of the 1st Rifle Brigade to form up on the west bank.
At 1 am the companies moved into position and the barrage began at 5:15. Unfortunately some guns fired short, causing about 40 casualties before the battalion was due to move. At 5:30 the leading companies moved off, extending to the left to join up with the platoon which had started on the west bank. Despite mist and the smoke from the guns, and some resistance from the enemy Preseau and Blue Line were reached, but they now had no other troops on either flank. "A" Coy with "B" Coy of the Somerset Light Infantry (now reduced to 20 men) began to mop up and consolidate the line. Before that was accomplished a strong counter-attack developed both from the NE and SE, the enemy getting round both flanks.
"B" Coy had lost all its officers and lost direction and very few men reached their objective. "C" and "I" companies, very weak, tried to hold a line 1,400 yards long with the enemy all around them, and fought their way back to the support line where the remnants joined up with "A" Coy and the Somersets. Here they did hold up the counter attack.
The battalion suffered casualties from some 15 low flying aeroplanes. They had captured a field battery and some trench mortars but lost them in the counter attack. About 100 of their prisoners also managed to escape.
They were relieved that night by the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, having had 51 men killed in the action.

Family memorial to the three brothers in Woodditton churchyard

photo; Pierre Vandervelden

Claude Pettitt is buried in Preseau Communal Cemetery Extension- grave B:20

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