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Person Details
01 Feb 1896
West Bridgford Nottingham
He was the son of William Charles and Elizabeth Ann Willoughby of 3 George Road West Bridgford Nottingham. His father was an architect's draughtsman. He was the brother of Arthur Willoughby.
Educated at Nottingham High School. Member of Nottingham Boat Club.
06 Jul 1915
911321 - CWGC Website
1st Bn Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
The Battle of the International Trench, 6th July 1915 – also called the Battle of the Yser Canal. Commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. A soldier of the Somersets reported in a letter home on the 2nd July 1915: "When we went to the trenches the other day to do another spell we found a piece of paper with the word notice on it. When we came to examine it more closely we found it to have been left by the Rifle Brigade and it bore the following lines;" We are the boys of the Rifle Brigade, Doing our bit with rifle and blade. Holding the trenches at a well known spot, We're not satisfied with our little lot. Marking our fame in the sands of time, We are holding the Germs on the left of the line. As you should know (for its commonly known), That we belong to the Prince Consort's Own, Some say we're sweeps because of our dress, What do we care? We can abow all the rest, Yes show them how and they know we've had bags Just have a look at the old cap badge. At 5am on the 6th July 1915 the attack on International Trench commenced. Artillery fire opened a barrage on the German trenches, batteries and supporting positions. This combined artillery firepower consisted of one battery of 9.2in Howitzers, two batteries of 4.5 in Howitzers, one battery of 4.7 guns, one battery of 60 pounder guns and six batteries of 18 pound field guns. The 18-pound field gun situated in the frontline British trench engaged the German saphead opposite over open sights. Fire from these guns was divided into periods of 10 minutes each. An interval of 3 minutes observation was planned between each bombardment period. The first shell to be fired by the 9.2 Howitzer was a direct hit on the German parapet and blew a large portion into the air destroying the sandbags used in construction. Registration of the British guns over previous days had proved its worth and was now being utilised to good effect. The continuous storm of fire successfully cut the knife rest wire in front of the German trench and the defensive strongpoint at International sap was destroyed. The noise from the Artillery was said to be indescribable. At 5.20 am the German artillery commenced a counter barrage causing damage to the British positions and many casualties amongst the waiting occupants. At 6am the infantry assault began. B and C companies of the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade went over the top, crossed some 50 yards of no-mans-land and entered the German trenches with very little loss. The German positions were found to be smashed to pieces. German infantry was found hiding in dugouts and were engaged with bayonet and bomb. The Somerset Light Infantry now moved in support of the Rifle Brigade. C Company moved up to the Western support trench, B Company started digging communication trenches up to the captured line and H Company commenced the construction of a new fire trench behind a hedge to the Left of the captured position. At approximately 11.30 am numbers 10 and 11 platoons of the Somersets relieved a contingent of the Rifle Brigade in the captured trench and were utilised putting it into a state of defence. The trench and dugouts were reported as being full of German dead and littered with letters and parcels. It was evident a mail supply had recently taken place. Prisoners of the 215th Regiment ( Schleswig - Holstein ) were taken during the day and sent back to the British lines. Despite the hedges and some natural cover, work on consolidation was both overlooked and disrupted by heavy German fire from the natural defences at Pilckem. Research Simon Williams
Remembered on