Private Daniel BLOOD
        

Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
16th (Service) Battalion (Chatsworth Rifles)
Service Number:
31886
Date of Death:
28 March 1918 - Died of wounds
Age:
29
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
I. E. 11.


Personal History:

Daniel was born in the December quarter 1887, the son of Thomas and Sarah Anne (née Bennett) Blood, of Harpur Hill, Buxton. He had five older brothers and sisters, Margaret Hannah, Sarah J., Samuel, Thomas and Mary Elizabeth and two younger siblings, William and Harry. (1901 Census RG 13/3271) (Four of the brothers - Harry was too young - enlisted.)

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21239) the family had moved from 26 to 18 Harpur Hill, and Daniel was working as a "Labourer".
In reporting Daniel's death, 'The Buxton Advertiser' of 13th April 1918 also stated that a third son had given up his life and another had lost a leg. Although not appearing on the Buxton memorial, the third brother to be killed was Samuel, on 21st October 1916. The same report gave Daniel's occupation as a "Butcher with the London Central Co.".

(Daniel's older brother, Thomas, was killed in action 26 July 1916 and another older brother, Samuel, on the 21st October 1916)
[See: Footnote below]

Military History:
Daniel enlisted into the Sherwood Foresters at Buxton (according to the SDGW database). In reporting his death 'The Buxton Advertiser' of 13th April 1918, stated that Daniel had enlisted in September 1915, and " .. served in France over two years." He was posted to France on the 16th March 1916. Sadly, his Service Papers have not survived.

The 16th (Service) Battalion (Chatsworth Rifles) had been formed at Derby on the 16th April 1915, by the Duke of Devonshire and the Derbyshire TF Association. It moved to Buxton on 4th May 1915 and then on to Redmires, near Sheffield, on the 8th June.  On the 2nd September 1915 (about the time Daniel enlisted) the Battalion moved on to Hursley, near Winchester, and were attached to 117th Brigade in 39th Division. From there it moved to Aldershot on the 30th September 1915 but soon moved again to Witley, all for training, before leaving Southampton for France on 6th March 1916, landing at Le Havre the same day.

The 16th (Chatsworth Rifles) Battalion played a prominent part in the Somme Battles, from August to the bitter end in November 1916. Their losses were heavy. Their finest hour, and certainly the period of their heaviest casualties, came in the 2nd Battle of Ypres and particularly the grim fighting leading to Passchendaele. It was for outstanding bravery during this battle that Corporal Ernest Albert Egerton (16th Battalion) was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Prior to that Battle, earlier in 1917, the 39th Division had fought in the Battles at Pilkem Ridge, Langemarck, Menin Road Ridge and Polygon Wood.

Just a week before Daniel died of wounds received in action 'Kaiserschlacht'  - the first day of the German Spring Offensive - had begun on 21st March 1918, beginning with the three day Battle of St Quentin (21st - 23rd March 1918), followed by The First Battle of Bapaume, (24th - 25th March) and The Battle of Rosières (26th - 27th March).

On the first day of the Spring Offensive Daniel's Battalion was located on the Fins-Gouzoucourt Road, just behind the front line. A heavy bombardment of gas and high explosive shells opened up on the front line at 4.30 a.m. on the 21st. The Battalion moved to assembly positions in Sorrel Wood at 7.00 a.m. prepared to support. Movement forward was restricted as, wearing their gas masks, visibility was further reduced by mist and the German gas.

The Battalion sought some respite on the hills between Sorrel and Nurlu, but had to pull back due to shell fire. After waiting all day, at 9.00 p.m. they withdrew to Langavesnes and spent the night digging 800 yds. [732 m.] of trenches. The morning of the next day, the 22nd, saw men from forward positions falling back through the newly dug lines after renewed enemy shelling, and by 11.30 a.m. Daniel's Battalion was also receiving shell fire and by 1.30 p.m. was itself in the front line. More and more retreating men came past them and German snipers and machine gunners swept their positions.

As the Battalion withdrew they were strafed by 12 enemy aircraft and by 4.30 p.m. that afternoon they were in a very exposed position and were forced to withdraw by Companies, leaving behind 20 men and a machine gun unit to cover their retirement. After a gallant resistance against enormous odds, they were overcome and their Commanding Officer killed. [Lt. Col. John Ryrie Webster, D.S.O., M.C.]

The Battalion had delayed the German advance, but with significant losses. Over the next few days as they withdrew further, they fought many further rearguard actions and at some time during the withdrawal Daniel was severely wounded and transferred to the Casualty Clearing Station at Namps-au-Val.

The Battalion History states that on the 28th itself they were ordered to withdraw to Cayeux, but in the vicinity of the Bois-de-Pienet came under heavy shellfire. The Battalion formed a defensive flank on the Marcelcave-Wiencourt line and repulsed a heavy German attack - the enemy suffering heavy losses. Later in the day they again moved back to near Aubercourt, with German shelling all the way.

There were no losses, other than Daniel, on that day, but 47 Officers and men of the Battalion were killed in action on the initial attack on the 21st/22nd March - known as 'Operation Michael', and a further 9 in the next 6 days. Only 7 of these have a known grave, the remainder are commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.

Daniel is buried at Namps-Au-Val Cemetery and at the end of March 1918, when the German offensive in Picardy began; the 41st, 50th and 55th Casualty Clearing Stations came to Namps-au-Val, remaining until the middle of April. Almost all the burials in the cemetery were carried out by one of these three CCS.

Footnotes:
· Daniel's older brother Private Samuel BLOOD, 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, was killed in action on 21 October 1916
  Samuel's name does not appear on the Buxton Memorial, but he is named on the Memorial at Glossop, Derbyshire, where he
  was living at the time of his enlistment. In the December quarter 1910 Samuel had married Sarah Anne Nixon. The 1911 Census
  (RG 14/21236) shows him working as an "Attendant" at Wyehouse, Corbar Road, Buxton. At the time this was being used as
  a Hospital, predominantly for Canadian service men. She was lodging at 41 Manchester Road, Buxton, (Census RG 14/21236)
  and they had a two year old son, Daniel.

  One of the many phases in the Battle of the Somme, 1916, was the advance on Ancre Heights. Samuel was in the front line
  that advanced in three waves and took its objective, but 12 Officers and 198 men of his Battalion were killed during the advance.
  Samuel was one of them and is buried in Stump Road Cemetery, Grandcourt.

· Daniel's older brother Private Thomas BLOOD, 94th Company, Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action on 26 July 1916.

· The youngest of the brothers to serve, Private 41463 William BLOOD, also enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment,
   rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. 'The Buxton Advertiser', 27 August 1918, reported that he had lost a leg whilst in action.

· The fourth family member in the photo - right - was the brothers' cousin, Private 25750 Robert BLOOD, originally 16th
   Battalion, later 2/7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters. He left a Diary outlining his Great War experiences which shows
   that he enlisted about 3rd May 1915 and went to France at the start of 1916, into the trenches at Lavantie then La Bassée
   canal and on to Festubert, on to the Bethune Front. He was wounded at Festubert and lay in no man's land for 4 hours,
   wounded in left leg, hip and knee, before being 'brought in by stretcher bearers at daybreak '. He was wounded was 'in a raid
   with great loss' and his diary also states that he was 'taken back to England on July 19th' (1916).

   Robert gives a little more detail later on when he returned to France with The 2/7s, seeing action at Peronne, Vimy Ridge and
   Pilckem Ridge, on the way to Passchendale Ridge, then on to Cambrai. The only locations mentioned after that are Kemmel
   Woods where they 'met the Germans' and 'drove them back beyond Nerva Glees, about 3 miles, taking 90 prisoners'.

   In 1922 Robert married Lily Mellor, the sister of Pt. 241566 James MELLOR, Sherwood Foresters Regiment, who died of wounds,
   26 March 1918. [Robert's life is the subject of a recently published book called "The Valiant", by Beverley Oakley.
   CLICK the image on the right to find out how to buy a copy of this excellent biography.]

· Another Sherwood Foresters and Buxton man, Pt 58640 Owen Williams, 12th Battalion, died in Namps-au-Val CCS on the
  same day and is buried near to Daniel in Grave I.A.27.

Sources:
· "The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914 - 1919" by W. C. C. Weetman (ISBN-10: 055909437X)
· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for extracts from the official history.
· The Buxton Advertiser, 27 August 1916 and 13 April 1918
· I am also grateful to Beverley Oakley for additional family details.


Link to CWGC Record
Daniel Blood's grave
The Blood family soldiers
poppy
Buxton Advertiser logo
The Blood Brothers were the subject of an article in the Buxton Advertiser in November 2013 - written by the site author

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