Sergeant James Piercy M.M.

Sergeant James Piercy M.M., 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in France on 14th November 1916, aged 22, during the Battle of the Somme. He had been born in Berwick and was the son of Andrew and Jane Piercy of 77 West End, Tweedmouth and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. He fell in the attack on ” Gird Line ” and ” Hook Sap ” which was intended to capture high ground near the infamous Butte de Warlencourt. After fierce hand to hand fighting the attack was only partially successful and cost the Battalion 2 Officers and 19 Other Ranks killed and 4 Officers and 101 Other Ranks killed. In addition 2 Officers and 103 Other Ranks were posted missing. In Great War parlance missing usually meant dead.  By November the ground had turned into a glutinous quagmire making movement very difficult for men and guns as the photos show.  The photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918 when it was transferred to the 42nd ( East Lancashire) Division as a Pioneer Battalion.  It was erected near the village of Wieltje in the Ypres Salient where nearby the Division had fought its first action on the 26th April 1915 during the Battle of St Julien only days after landing on the Continent. The colour image shows a peaceful Somme landscape today.

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