Bombers of the 18th

A photograph from the Toronto Telegram entitled “OUT OF SOMME BATTLE” shows 6 men who are bombers with the 18th Battalion. The photograph bears a caption and identifies the men by their initials and last name. Taking this source one can get excited that these men can be identified and connected to their service numbers.

Alas, this is not to be as, too often, the captions are full of errors. The fore and middle name initials do not often clearly identify the specific man, especially if they have a common surname. In addition, the captions often miss spell the surnames of the soldiers leading to errors in attempting to identify the men.

A group of six bombers who came out unscathed from the big battle on the Somme front. After a march of sixty miles, an aged woman at a house where they rested took the photograph. The men are in the Bombers’ Section of the 18th Battalion. Reading from left thei right they are:– Back row, A. Crammond [Cramond], A. Davis, J.F. Tulley; front row, F.R. Green, H. Kerwin, S. Blair. Source: Toronto Telegram. November 27, 1916 via Facebook page contribution by follower.

The photograph was published in November 27, 1916, just over 2-months after the 18th Battalion’s participation in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. This battle was the Battalion’s second major engagement, and though successful, very costly in casualties to the Battalion.

The War Diary does reflect that it did have an extensive route of marching in the latter part of September and was relatively static during October and November which would place the time of this photograph’s creation in that time-frame.

As to the soldiers identified (no all positively) the following soldiers were linked to 18th Battalion men:

Alexander Vincent Cramond – An original member of the 18th Battalion, he was promoted Corporal on June 22, 1916, which is congruent with the rank insignia on his battledress.

James Frederick Tulley – This soldier, originally of the 39th Battalion, was a replacement who arrived at the Battalion sometime after he was Taken on Strength on June 28, 1916. During the intervening time he became a Bomber.

Frederick Royal Green – This soldier enlisted with the 36th Battalion and was transferred to active duty with the 18th Battalion on February 5, 1916, and was wounded during the action on September 15, 1916, but returned to the Battalion on September 19.

The other soldiers are yet to be identified due to the reasons aforementioned.

This does not lose any utility or value of this photograph as we can now identify 3 more men who served with the Battalion and determine their roles during this part of their service. It also allows us to determine the photograph was taken from some time between September 19, 1916 and September 25, 1916, as the battalion marched, staring September 17, from the Brickfields (to the west of Courcelette) to Lavicogne, then to St. Leger du Dormarts, then back to Lavicogne, and then, finally to Albert on September 25, 1916.

2 thoughts on “Bombers of the 18th

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  1. Thanks for this Eric.

    It’s significant to my research of Pte. Robert Burgess DCM, as they were partially the reason he was awarded the DCM. When their officers had become casualties he took charge and led them to the objective. It’s nice to put a face to the men who were actually there.

    On another topic, but related – you never responded to my email to you that included a comprehensive war diary account of Sept 15, 1916. I wonder if maybe you didn’t receive it?


    Sent from my iPhone


    1. I will respond. I may have but if not I will send links to this question. There is no real summary of that battle from the 18th Battalion.

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