Last day of the Somme

The final day of the Somme campaign was 18 November 1916, the 141st day of battles.

The day before, on 17 November 1916, D Company planned to send 6 tanks into action in support of the 32nd and 37th Divisions but 5 of them ditched on the way to the assembly point. One tank, commanded by 2Lt Partington, crossed the German front line at around 7am and was able to silence a number of German MGs.

On 18 November 1916 the Heavy Section Machine Gun Corps became the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps. The companies were to be expanded over the coming weeks to form 6 Battalions (A, B, C, D, E, F).

One response on “Last day of the Somme

  1. Martin Miles

    My great uncle William Joseph Miles was one of the machine gunners in this tank. After getting stuck on the German front line Hitchcock either gave the order to abandon the tank or to debus to “make touch” as in this account. The men who did get out (through the tiny rear doors in the cupola) where then engaged by the German defenders in close combat and both Hitchcock the commander and my great uncle were killed. Gunner Stanley was also severely wounded and died 3 days later in hospital. Lieutenant Hitchcock and gunner Miles are buried together in Mill road cemetery. I has the great privilege of telling Gunner Miles’ story as part of the Channel 4 program “Last Heroes of the Somme” broadcast on Nov 13th 2016.

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