Pimm, Victor Lionel: Service no. 53271


Digitized Service Record



18th Battalion Nominal Roll, April 1915.

Enlisted with the 18th Battalion, CEF, and was later transferred to the Imperial Forces. He as killed in action on November 10, 1916, while serving with the 2nd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince’s Own).

Detailed Biography by his great nephew.

Victor Lionel Pimm 1893-1916

Born 22nd of June 1893 at Vale of Health Studios, Hampstead, London NW3 he was also a talented artist, he went to Essex Ontario in Canada, then he joined up into the army for WWI, he was an officer in the West Yorkshire Regiment he is mentioned the history of the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was missing presumed died at Ypers, Belguim 1916. There is an entry in the History book of the West Yorkshire Regiment.

Victor Lionel Pimm (1893-1916), was another of the talented artists produced by the Pimm & Farrer family. He emigrated to Canada before WW1, and about 1913 visited his Aunt Nette (Antionette) in New York. he crosses the border at Detroit Michigan USA on the 23rd of December 1913, and he nominated his uncle Victor Van Tongelen who lived at 4945 Park Avenue New York. He had $40 on him. His first job was on a farm. When asked by the farmer’s daughter to drive her into town, he decked himself out in his Sunday best (he had brought out what he considered to be a good wardrobe) and was standing holding the horse’s head when she came out, looked him up and down and remarked “Gee, it’s plain to see you British dress for comfort and not for style”. With a partner he undertook the growing of tobacco, but caught malaria and while off sick, the partner lost the crop, ending the venture.

In 1914 he returned to England with the 2nd Contingent of the Canadian Army. He had two buddies with whom he made a pact not to accept commissions. One of them broke the agreement and the death rate of junior officers being high, was killed. The second did the same and was killed. Victor then followed and as a 2nd lieutenant in the West Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in 1916, near Ypres. Soon after he took command of his platoon, the Germans detonated a mine in his section, but their tunnel was short. Their follow-up attack thus ended in no-mans’ land. Victor’s men, chasing them back, entered the German trenches. A message to his company commander: “Have captured enemy position” was answered: “Stop playing the fool and get back to your own bloody trench”. The salient he had created was outflanked and could not have been held. Victor was engaged when he met his death. His sister Annie (Mrs. Wm. Kensett Styles), about to deliver a child, saw him standing by her bed with his head in bandages. The apparition spoke: “Tell her not to wait for me now”. The message could not be passed on, as the girl’s name and address were not known. (For the sceptical, the bandages seem fanciful, for Victor’s body was never found).

The Thiepval Memorial will be found on the D73, off the main Bapaume to Albert road (D929). Each year a major ceremony is held at the memorial on 1st July 1916 Historical Information: On 1st July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched, and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously, and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1st July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter. In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20th March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 31st July 1932. The dead of other Commonwealth countries who died on the Somme and have no known graves are commemorated on national memorials elsewhere. Info from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Name: Victor L Pimm Military Year: 1914-1920 Rank: Private Medal Awarded: British War Medal and Victory Medal Regiment or Corps: Canadian Infantry Regimental Number 53271 Sub Unit:18th Battalion

Essay compiled by Victor John Styles VLP’s great nephew

(Used with permission from author.)

London Advertiser. December 28, 1915. Page 2.

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