Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby martyn6747 » Thu May 05, 2011 9:15 pm

Hello there - I have tried to post this piece many times and each time I am eventually logged out - can you help ?

At least 15 members of the 1st Border Regiment were killed in a bombardment during the late evening of April 6 1916 as the Germans isolated Mary Redan prior to a text book trench raid that ended with the 29th Division losing over a 100 men that night, there were prisoners taken - and no doubt many casualties evacuated, the South Wales Borderers suffered the worse and many of them were buried in Mesnil Ridge. 13 of the Borders were buried in Auchonvillers com cem which was very close to where they fell. In the centre of that line of headstones lies my children's Great Great Grandfather Pte.JW Jeffs
service no 7340. James William Jeffs joined the army in 1906 ( Hackney). We know little of his service record until he went into Belgium ( possibly as a Reservist) with the 2nd Border Reg in 1914. He was married with two small children and lived in East Ham. We know his WW1 story generally speaking - but do not know what the Borders were actually doing when they were hit by shell fire - or exactly where they were. Tipperary Avenue or First Avenue perhaps ?
We would like to find out more and we would like to know more of his early service record if possible to complete his story.
We have Jack Sheldon & Ralph Whiteheads books which speak of the trench raid - but the Borders get less of a mention than the Welsh lads who were holding the line.
Any help of course would be appreciated
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby kerchi » Fri May 06, 2011 8:59 pm

Martyn,

By the sounds of it you'll need to contact the Border Regiment museum, either by phone or by using the contact page on their website to see if they can assist you with more detailed information as you already know more information than I have from the war diary and from Wylly's book The Border Regiment in the Great War.

This is all I have from the war diary:


6th April 1916 - The firing line
Reopening of BROADWAY communications trench between POMPADOUR and ESSEX Street completed. A patrol of 5 other ranks under Lt. E. A. CROSSLAND 13th DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY (attached) which left our trenches at 2130 on the 5th did not return till dawn on the 6th. Lt. E. A. CROSSLAND and one other rank failed to return.

Enemy artillery show activity. 'D' Coy. ordered to join Battalion tonight
2050 A party of the enemy attempted to bomb ROONEYS Sap.
2055 Heavy bombardment opened by enemy on communication trenches in our sector Enemy machine guns also show activity
2115 Capt. MEIKLEJOHN reports enemy infantry attacking on our front
2117 Our artillery retaliate, machine guns fire increases both enemy and our own
2147 All Companys report no infantry attack
2153 Communications with Brigade by telephone interrupted
2159 Bombardment of our communication trenches decreases slightly
2204 'A' Coy report although bombardment is heavy - no casualties so far
2205 Enemy machine gun fire increases
2228 Bombardment decreases appreciably
2230 Bombardment ceases altogether


You say you know little of his service record until 1914, does this mean you have a copy of it but it doesn't provide much useful information? Knowing where he might have been (exactly) is going to be difficult to find and contacting the museum is probably the best next course of action.

Regarding the being logged out problem, were you logged out whilst making a post? You should only be logged out automatically after a set amount of time of inactivity.

Chris
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby martyn6747 » Sat May 07, 2011 12:28 pm

Thanks for the replies - the story I know however owes much to Steve Eastwood at the Border Museum - who told me many years ago that Private Jeffs originally joined up in 1906 - Steve also told me of Jeffs Great War involvement with the 2nd Borders in 1914/1915 - he suffered a gunshot wound in the arm at neuve chapelle before rejoining a year later in the 1st Borders only a few days before his death on the 6 April.
Many years ago I red the war diary at the PRO but seem to remember little detail in it.
Notable article's I have red mean I know of Lt Crossland and Rooneys sap too. But detailed information as to the 15 lost Borders location is difficult to come by - also Jeffs early service record - it's just a shame that the British didn't record everything in the sort of detail as the Germans did so that I could complete the story of Grandads short life.

Thank you once again
Martyn
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby kerchi » Sat May 07, 2011 4:14 pm

Martyn,

I did wonder where you got that information about the 15 Border men. The war diaries I have noticed can be, at times, extremely vague and give little to no useful information at all and other times there will be 3 or 4 pages just on one bit of action with minute details as to there whereabouts and what they were doing at regular intervals; just a shame the bit you're interested in is not one of those sections.

If you do find out more about Pte. Jeffs, do keep us updated. Sorry I couldn't be of much help.

Chris
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby martyn6747 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:37 pm

I am back after a long break and hope to add to the details I have for Great Grandfather
At the outbreak of War 7340 Private JW Jeffs was recalled as a reservist to serve in the 2nd Battalion the Border Regiment in August 1914. He embarked with the Battalion for the Western Front on 5 October and was serving with D’ Company when they sailed aboard the SS Minneapolis. The Battalion disembarked at Zeebrugge on 6 October and entrained to Bruges.
Soon the Battalion were heavily involved in the First Battle Ypres and on the 19 October were entrenched at Kruiseik Hill and apparently surrounded on three sides at one point with Germans mown down in swaths during a desperate defence of the crucial position – this was one of many notable actions during October.
In November they marched to Locre and in December were involved in the Christmas truce.
In January Pte Jeffs was ill with trench foot during a miserable cold and wet winter but worse was to follow when in March he received a gunshot wound left arm at the Battle of Neuve Chappelle
Jw Jeffs, we believed, returned to blighty until approximatly one year later when he rejoined with the 1st Border Reg at thye start of April - on the 6th he was killed near Auchonvillers
I am still trying to uncover more facts about his Service particularly Dec – March 1914/15 - and the actual date of his rejoining in 1916 –
but my story is slowly building and of course any help from any kind experts is always much appreciated
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby plbramham » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:17 pm

Hi Martyn,
Give me a few days and I'll post a transcript of the 2nd Bn diary between December 1914 and March 1915.
For now here's a cutting from the diary for the period of the Xmas Day Truce, Regards Paul,
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2Bn dec 1914.jpg
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby martyn6747 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:46 pm

Thanks plbramham that's superb - I eagerly await your posts
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby plbramham » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:34 am

Martyn,
I've done the first three for December 1914 & Jan/Feb 1915 - March (longer one) will follow.
I've posted them in the 2nd battalion sub section of the First World War section, but just click these links to go straight there:

http://border-regiment-forum.com/viewto ... 6947#p6947
http://border-regiment-forum.com/viewto ... =47&t=2590
viewtopic.php?f=47&t=2591&p=6950#p6950

Didn't your great grandfather join the battalion until December 1914?, or was he also with them in October & November? ( I also have those two months diaries and will transcribe them later, after I've done the March 1915 ones)
Regards Paul
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby plbramham » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:43 pm

Martyn,
Here's the part of the diary - March 1915, where I guess your Great Grandfather was wounded: ( Again it's posted in the 2nd Bn subsection of WW1, but just click this link to go there)

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=2592&p=6952#p6952

I will be gradually transcribing the rest of the 2nd battalion diary so keep an eye open. I'll do the October and November 1915 ones next - I don't know if your ancestor was with the battalion at that time or if he did not join them until December?
Regards Paul.
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Re: Private J.W. Jeffs 1st Border Regiment

Postby plbramham » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:45 pm

Martyn,
Is this of any interest? - 1st battalion diary for 6th April 1916, the date you said your ancestor was killed. You wrote that you've read it before, but there was not much detail? - Well, actually to give a full page to one day is really pretty good detail compared with the majority of pages you see,
Anyway, hope this is of help, Regards Paul.
P.S. Click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading
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