Lance Sergeant William Russell

Lance Sergeant William Russell, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in Belgium on 26th October 1917 during the Third Battle of Ypres and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Flanders, Belgium. He had enlisted in Alnwick. He fell in an attack on the German positions at ” Angle Point ” and ” Chemin House ” in the Pilckem sector of the Front. Weather conditions were very bad with heavy rain and deep mud, the incessant shelling having destroyed the fragile Flanders drainage systems. ( see photographs ). In the face of heavy machine gun fire and with incredible gallantry some ground was captured but could not be held and the Battalion had to fall back to their previous positions. Losses were heavy with 9 Officers and 96 Other Ranks killed and 1 Officer and 150 Other Ranks wounded. The final photo 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 the Division had fought its first action of the War nearby on 26th April 1915 only days after landing on the Continent.

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