Private Edmund Gains Bland, 203290

  • Batt - 1
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 1878
  • Died - 21/03/1918
  • Age - 39

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Edmund Bland an accounts clerk, born 1846 in Leicester and his wife Elizabeth, born 1849 in Atherstone, Warwks. Edmund Gains was born in 1878 in Leicester, he had one sibling, a sister Gertrude E., born 1877 in Leicester, in April 1881 the family home was at Eminson Villa, St. Margaret’s, Leicester. In April 1891 Edmund was a scholar and was residing in the family home at 6, Clarendon Park Road, Knighton, Leicester, together with his parents and siblings, Gertrude and Madeline, born 1887 in Leicester. In March 1901 Edmund was employed as a pupil chartered accountant, and was residing in the family home at Northleigh, Clarendon Park Road, Leicester, in the Ecclesiastical Parish of Knight, St. Mary Magdalene, together with his parents and siblings, Gertrude and Madeline. In April 1911 Edmund was employed as a chartered accountant and was residing in the family home at 65, Howard Road, Leicester, together with his wife of two years, Ellen Louisa, born 1877 in Loughborough, Leics., and their daughter Nora Gains Bland, born 1911 in Leicester. The Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys published a Roll of Honour on the 31st January 1920 and an entry shows that he had been a pupil at the school between 1891 and 1893. The War Diary for today records that the Battalion were near Vaulx. On the 20th March at midnight a telephone message was received from the Brigade Major ordering the Battalion to “Stand To” in battle positions at 5.30am on the 21st March in accordance with instructions laid down in the 71st Infantry Brigade Defence Scheme. At the time working parties were out as follows:- 6 officers and 216 other ranks from B, D and HQ’s Company’s. 1 officer and 76 other ranks from A Company. 1 officer and 76 other ranks from C Company. Working parties were ordered to return by Brigade Major. At 4.30am B and A Company’s left camp for the assembly area (I.3.C.) 5 officers and 110 other ranks strong. The working parties not having returned from work. At 5.30am the positions were taken up in the assembly area, C Company were already in position. A heavy bombardment commenced at 5.00am. Apparently the alarm this time was a genuine one. At 6.30am 6 officers and 216 other ranks of B, D and HQ’s Company’s reported in assembly area. They had not returned too long from working parties (5.15am). and were somewhat exhausted, having marched five miles each way to work, and having done a heavy nights work. Some shelling of Battalion assembly area during the morning, but no casualties were sustained. No news was received from A Company whose battle position was 1 platoon in C.29.a. Company less one platoon in Vaulx – Morchies line. At 7.30am wire received from Brigade advising that enemy were concentrating in Corn Hill Valley. At 9.30am Commanding Officer visited Brigade HQ’s and received verbal instructions to move 2 Company’s owing to the enemy having driven in the left front of the Brigade sector. At 10.40am C and D Company’s were ordered to move. Officer Commanding C Company to go to right Battalion HQ’s and place his Company at the disposal of the Officer Commanding 9th Norfolk Regiment, and D Company to hold the trench running from Lagnicourt Switch and C.29.b. 10.90 to C.29.b. 90.70 to cover the southern exits from Lagnicourt, and trenches C.29.b. 90.70 to C.30.a. 30.80. The reasons for the move were that information had been received that the enemy was in Lagnicourt, and these two Company’s were sent forward to protect the left flank of the Brigade, as apparently Lagnicourt Switch was not held and enemy had broken through, reaching C.28.b. 90.90 and the strong point C.29.a. between 10.00 and 11.00am. At 10.57am C and D Company’s moved off to take up their new positions. At 2.00pm nothing of note occurred in the vicinity occupied by Battalion HQ’s and B Company until at 1.40pm orders came from Brigade that B Company was to be ready to move into the Vaulx – Morchies line and take up a position between Lagnicourt – Maricourt Wood Road and Vaulx Wood. Order to move received at 2.00pm. At 2.10pm B Company moved off, followed immediately by Battalion HQ’s, move steadily carried out despite very heavy Machine Gun fire in the neighbourhood of Vaulx Wood. The Company and Battalion HQ’s reached the trench with comparatively few casualties. B Company took up a position rather too much to the left, but they arrived just in time to eject a few of the enemy who had managed to force an entry into the Vaulx – Morchies line. The line was too thickly held on the left of our front, and very thinly on the right. Attempts made to side step to the right were fraught with difficulty owing to the trench not being continuous, and the gaps to cross when one had to go over the open were swept by Machine Gun fire and marked down by enemy snipers. No touch could be obtained with the troops on the right of Lagnicourt – Maricourt Wood Road, owing to the fact there was no trench line for a considerable distance. At about 4.30pm a runner crossed this road with a message from the Officer Commanding 459th Field Company, saying they were holding the line on the right, but were, so far as they knew unsupported, as they had no touch with troops on either flank. At 5.30pm one Company of the 2nd South Lancashire Regiment (25th Division) reported in Vaulx – Morchies line, they were put in on left of Brigade sector. B Company side stepping to the right. Remainder of sector on right as far as Lagnicourt – Maricourt Wood Road held by a portion of the 509th Field Company, and one Company of the 11th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment (C Company commanded by Captain Spencer). At 6.40pm orders were received from Brigade that Battalion HQ’s should move at dusk to Brigade HQ’s in Vaulx, Brigade HQ’s is moving to H.12.d. between Vaulx and Beugnatre. At 8.00pm the move was completed HQ shared with 2nd South Lancashire Regiment, 8th Border Regiment, 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment and 1st East Kent Regiment (Buffs). So far, no news at all of A, C and D Company’s. One further Company of 2nd South Lancashire Regiment had been put in the Vaulx – Morchies line at dusk one immediately on each side of of the Lagnicourt – Maricourt Wood Road. At 8.30pm a runner arrived from A Company with the report that 1 platoon of A Company had been practically wiped out at strong point C.29.a. during the morning. The remainder of the Company are in battle position in Vaulx – Morchies line between Crucifix - Morchies and C.29.a. 30.20 9th Norfolk Regiment and 2nd Sherwood Foresters had also withdrawn to this line, and the disposition in the Brigade sector was:- right to left 9th Norfolk Regiment A Company and C Company, 2nd Sherwood Foresters, 459th Field Company 9 men with a Machine Gun, D Company (right at Morchies – Crucifix, left at C.29.c. 60.50), 2 Company’s of the South Lancashire Regiment, B and C Company of the 11th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and 1 Company of the South Lancashire Regiment. The left of the sector being in line with the north east corner of Vaulx Wood. The strengths of the various units and Company’s as far as known at the present time, A Company 1 officer and 70 other ranks, C Company 1 officer and 37 other ranks, D Company 3 officers and 112 other ranks, B Company 4 officers and 110 other ranks, Battalion HQ’s 4 officers and 40 other ranks. 9th Norfolk Regiment 120 all ranks, 2nd Sherwood Foresters 120 all ranks. Returns came up during the night and were sent to all Company’s. Lieutenant G. Mansfield returned from leave and joined D Company. Lieutenant Frampton 71st Trench Mortar Battery joined our D. Company. Casualties, other ranks A Company 6 killed, 22wounded, 24 missing, B Company 2 killed, 7 wounded, C. Company 4 killed, 12 wounded, D. Company 2 killed, 10 wounded, 1 missing. Officer’s killed Lieutenant, Acting Captain J. H. Harbottle, Lieutenant C. F. Atter, Lieutenant C. T. Lancaster, 2nd Lieutenant G. A. Roberts, 2nd Lieutenant N. G. Fidoe. Officer’s wounded Lieutenant C. H. Watson, 2nd Lieutenant A. G. Escudier, 2nd Lieutenant W. Jones. Officer’s missing Lieutenant J. O. Vessey M.C., 2nd Lieutenant T. C. A. Clarke.

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Place of death - France
  • Birth Place - Leicester
  • Other Memorials - Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College War Memorial
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Leicestershire Regiment
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - Morchies Mil. Cem., France
  • Born - Leicester
  • Enlisted - Leicester
  • Place of Residence - 65 Howard Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, England

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