The Welsh Guards were formed in February 1915 by order of King George V and were the last of the Guards regiments to be created. The Guards Division consisted of the English Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards.
In August 1915 the First Battalion Welsh Guards sailed for France as part of the Guards Division and took part in the Battle of Loos in September 1915.
The Welsh Guards were involved in a number of further engagements in the First World War including the Somme (1916), Passchendaele (1917) and the attacks on the Hindenburg Line from Arras in 1918.
Since the First World War the Welsh Guards have had extensive experience in the Second World War 1939 – 1945 as well as operations in the Falklands War 1982, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
My father, Charles Edwin Greenhough, enlisted in the Welsh Guards on 7th June 1916 aged 18. He was given the regimental number 3873 and was mobilised in May 1917 being posted to the 2nd Reserve Battalion. He underwent basic training at Taworth Camp and then was moved to Ranelagh Camp, Barnes, London.
On 30th March 1918 3873 Private Greenhough was posted to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in France. By September 1918 the Battalion was attacking the heavily defended German Hindenburg Line and the regimental history records that Private Greenhough was captured on the night of 30th/31st October 1918. He was a prisoner of war until 3rd December 1918 and repatriated on 4 December 1918.
Cpl.J.Higgins’ Squad, Welsh Guards, October 1917
Back Row: A.Tanner;E.Taylor;J.E.Friday;A.Blanchard;T.E.Anderson;A.Cooper;J.George
Fourth Row: J.T.Goodwin;W.Hall;A.East;W.Sibley;D.G.Yates;W.Rawlinson;R.Phillipson;H.R.Anderson
Third Row: W.Thomas;E.Simpson;S.Allen;I.Lewis;Cpl.A.J.Blain;J.Merkin;W.D.Mills;H.G.Atkinson;W.J.Carter
Second Row: C.Williams;A.G.Betts;W.Norman;J.White;H.J.Crebbin;D.I.Evans;S.Beckett;A.Pitman
(T.S =Trained Soldier)
The names in bold were killed in action or died of their wounds in 1918 (see below)
I found the above picture of my father’s training squad in pristine condition below the brown paper lining of a wardrobe drawer while helping my mother clear out her belongings before she went into a nursing home. I did not know it existed until that moment – my father obviously put it there when he returned home from France in December 1918 and it never saw the light of day again. The picture is now framed and is displayed in our home in West Sussex.
Graves and Details of members of the Squad who lost their Lives
Died of wounds Saturday 24th August 1918
Buried in Two Tree Cemetery, Moyenneville, France
Henry James Crebbin
Born in the Isle of Man
Awarded the Military Medal
Killed in Action Tuesday 17th September 1918
Buried in Mœuvres Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France
The Military Medal (MM) was awarded to personnel of the British Army below commissioned rank for ‘acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire’. It was first established in 1916 with retrospective application to 1914. (Source: Wikipedia)
W.Thomas (William Thomas) Private 3989
Died Sunday 20th October 1918
Buried in Vertain Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France
A. Cooper (Alexander Cooper) Private 4123
Died Thursday 7th November 1918 Age 22
Buried in Awoingt British Cemetery, Nord, France