Private Samuel Walton STREET


Regiment/Service:
South Staffordshire Regiment
Unit:
2nd Battalion
Service Number:
17414
Date of Death:
3 May 1917 - Died of wounds
Age:
21
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
South-west part of Churchyard.


Personal History:

Samuel was born in the March quarter 1896, the son of Richard (Labourer) and Louisa Street. In 1901 (Census RG 13/3269) Samuel was lodging with his parents and older brother, Percy, in the Wain family home at 4 Hobson's Court, Buxton.

By 1911 (Census RG 14/21233) the family had moved to 51 Fairfield Road, Fairfield, Buxton, and both boys were working as an "Errand Boy".

Samuel's older brother, Percy, was killed in action during The Battle of the Somme, on the 17th November 1916. Their father, Richard, died in the December quarter 1916, so Louisa lost her husband and both sons in a little over six months. [See: Footnote below]

Military History:
Samuel enlisted at Buxton into the South Staffordshire Regiment and although his Service Papers are lost, however, other men with similar Service Numbers it seems almost certain that he enlisted on the 6th/7th February 1915. 'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 27th January 1917 reported that Samuel and his brother, Percy, had: " ... been out at the front a long time ..." Samuel's's Medal Index Card indicates he was posted to France on the 29th September 1915.

At the start of the War the 2nd Battalion was stationed in Aldershot, part of 6th Brigade in 2nd Division. It was immediately posted to the Front and landed at Le Havre on the 13th August 1914. The Battalion were immediately in action at The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, closely followed by The Battle of the Marne; The Battle of the Aisne and, later in the year, The First Battle of Ypres.

After the Winter Operations of 1914-15, the 2nd Battalion saw action at The Battle of Festubert (15th - 25th May 1915) and The Battle of Loos, 25th September - 18th October 1915. It was during this Battle that Samuel joined his Battalion.

Samuel's Battalion also fought in the Battle of the Somme, which began on the 1st July. He would have first seen action during The Battle of Delville Wood, (15th July - 3rd September). The 2nd Battalion joined the Battle on the 20th July, and on the 27th came under heavy bombardment, followed by an unsuccessful German attack at 9.30 p.m. Later in the year Samuel's Battalion fought in the The Battle of the Ancre, between the 13th - 18th November.

The 2nd Division next saw major action during The Battle of Arras (9th April - 16th May 1917); in particular the phases later known as The First Battle of the Scarpe, (9th - 14th April); The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23rd -24th April) and The Battle of Arleux (28th - 29th April). 

It is not possible to determine where Samuel received his wounds from which he subsequently died. It could have been during the actions around Arras, however, 66 Officers and men of the 2nd Battalion were killed in action on the 17th February, many of whom have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

"February 17th was fixed for an attack on Baillescourt Farm, which, if won, would give us the command of the Western Baillescourt approaches to Miraumont. The Battalion left their billets in the evening of the 16th for the front line. The cloudy weather resulted in a pitch dark night, and the thaw made going very difficult. The Germans evidently expected an attack, and their artillery shelled the front and forming-up places continuously, so that the carrying parties were late in arriving. About 5.45 a.m. our barrage opened, and the assaulting lines began to crawl forward to get to their position in I. Trench. For some time the position was rather obscure. The Battalion had gained its objective, but was subjected to the German machine gun fire and casualties were heavy. Afterwards, it was discovered that the attack had been given away and the German line strongly reinforced with men and machine guns.

Of the ten Officers who went "over the top" to the attack one only returned uninjured, three returned wounded, two remaining at duty. 2nd Lieut. W. Wright was killed. Lieut. H. Chapman and 2nd Lieut. F. Cave were afterwards found killed, and Captains H.G. TateCaptain W.H.S. Douglas-Willan and 2nd Lieut. Oxlade were reported missing. The position won was consolidated, and what remained of the Battalion was relieved on the night of the 18th February by the 1st King's Liverpool Regiment. They then went into Brigade Reserve for the remainder of the month.

The Germans now had begun their retirement to their celebrated fortified line, and by the 28th February the British had pushed forward and occupied a number of villages, advancing as far as Serre. The British advance sustained few casualties, but here and there some German machine gun nests had to be cleared; and the enemy persistently shelled."

However, 'The Buxton Advertiser' reported that Samuel was wounded early in April 1917, receiving "... severe wounds through shrapnel  which blew away a shoulder ..." and after being treated at the Front he was further treated for his injuries at Manchester Royal Infirmary. This was where he died on the 3rd May and his body was returned home.

Samuel was buried with full Military Honours with an escort of Royal Engineers and now lies in Fairfield Churchyard, Buxton, near to his family home, where the 'Last Post' was sounded. The fact that his Medal Index Card is endorsed "Died" is rather inaccurate, as clearly he succumbed to wounds received in action rather than illness. His mother, Louisa, must have cut a tragic figure, having lost her husband and both sons in a little over six months.

Footnote:
· Samuel's older brother, Private 20552 Percy STREET, also served with the 2nd Battalion, South Staffs Regiment in France, and was killed in
   action on the 17th November 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

· Another Buxton man of the 2nd Battalion, Pt. 28527 Francis Charles WILLIAMS, was also Killed in the action described above
  on the 17 February 1917.

Sources:
· 'The Buxton Advertiser' - 9 November 1918
· "A History of the South Staffordshire Regiment (1705-1923)" [ASIN: B0013JOMLK] by James P. Jones, 1923

Link to CWGC Record
Samuel Street's grave
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