Burgh Next Aylsham
On a road that I travel quite often, between Westwick and Aylsham, the small village of Burgh Next Aylsham is driven through. There is a war memorial sat on a verge on a T-junction that records the loss of just three men, but, to my mind, three too many. This is their story.
William Hubert Postle became Rifleman, B/200099, serving with the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade. William died of wounds on 12th December 1916 at the age of 20. He was born and enlisted in East Dereham and resided in Burgh Next Aylsham.
William did not go to war until late on and certainly did not serve overseas prior to 1916. During the period that he died the battalion moved into the line south-east of Lesbeoufs on the Somme. During that period the battalion had a terrible time in what was described as a position of only being ‘battle trenches’. Over the period of 10th – 12th December 1916 they lost a few men to enemy action but a large number to sickness.
William was the son of John and Mary Ann Postle of Burgh Next Aylsham. He is now laid to rest in Grave II. E. 11 in Grove Town Cemetery Meaulte.
Robert Charles Quadling served as Private 34581 in the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. Robert died of wounds on 18th April 1917. He was born in Cawston in Norfolk and resided in Gillingham in Norfolk and enlisted in Norwich. He was also a later entrant to active service.
On 9th April 1917 the 8th Battalion took part in the opening phase of the Battle of Arras. The history of the Royal Fusiliers noted this about that time.
‘Zero was at 5.30 a.m. on Easter Monday. Wire-cutting had begun nearly three weeks before, and on April 4th the preliminary bombardment started. On the 8th, a fine cold day, the shelling seemed to die down ; but in the dark of the Monday morning it began with extra- ordinary intensity, and the troops moved forward. Strange but very welcome rumours were heard by those Fusiliers left behind in Arras, and the troops of cavalry trotting by seemed to give point to them.
On the Arras battle front there were a number of Fusilier battalions waiting to take their part in the struggle. Farthest north were the 8th and 9th Battalions (12th Division), just above the Arras-Cambrai road.
The 8th and 9th Battalions reached their objectives, and with small loss took a considerable number of prisoners. The 8th was the left support battalion of the brigade, and the men moved off so rapidly after the barrage that in many cases they became merged in the assaulting battalion, the 7th Royal Sussex. The front German line was reached without a single casualty. The attack went exactly according to programme. The enemy put up a resistance at two strong points, but they were outflanked, and at 10 a.m. the whole objective was taken with two machine guns and 129 prisoners. The total casualty list was 175 killed, wounded and missing (only 7 of these last). On the right, the 9th Battalion also gained all objectives and captured two machine guns and 220 prisoners. C Company captured 150 of these in one dug-out. But the dug-outs were unhealthy places. One of them, in the Middlesex area, was suddenly blown up by the explosion of a mine ; and as a consequence German dug-outs were afterwards forbidden. These positions, the ” Blue Line,” were at once consolidated.’
Robert was the Husband of R. Quadling of Lamas near Buxton and is now laid to rest in Grave II. G. 15 Duisans British Cemetery.
Robert Stackwood became Private 14784 in the Norfolk Regiment and he died on 5th May 1916 at the age of 22. He is listed as having served in the 9th Battalion. However, at this time, the 9th Norfolks were in France and Robert did not make it that far. He died in Lakenham Military Hospital and his battalion, listed in his soldiers effects register noted that he was serving in the 10th (Reserve) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. This battalion served at home all through the war
Robert was born in Burgh Next Aylsham and enlisted in Norwich and was the son of John and Jane Stackwood, of Burgh Next Aylsham. He is now laid to rest in Grave 25. 151 in Norwich Cemetery.