Alfred John Driscoll: Third Battle of the Scarpe May 1917

Alfred John Driscoll was the son of a Thames lighterman/bargeman and he died of his wounds following The Third Battle of the Scarpe in May 1917.

Alfred John was born during January 1885 in Rotherhithe, London, England and was the brother-in-law of the husband of a niece of the wife of one of my great grand uncles on my mothers side of the family and the actual lineage is:

  • Alfred John Driscoll (1885 - 1917) - brother-in-law of husband of niece of wife of great grand uncle
  • Thomas Henry Driscoll (1851 - ) - father of Alfred John Driscoll
  • Maria Rebecca Caroline Driscoll (1877 - 1914) - daughter of Thomas Henry Driscoll
  • Manoel Edward Ferreira (1872 - 1937) - husband of Maria Rebecca Caroline Driscoll
  • Blanche Mae (May) Mariner (1886 - 1987) - wife of Manoel Edward Ferreira
  • George Mariner (1859 - ) - father of Blanche Mae (May) Mariner
  • Mary Marsh (1837 - ) - mother of George Mariner
    Ada Mariner (1869 - 1930) - daughter of Mary Marsh
  • Frederick W Priday (1868 - 1931) - husband of Ada Mariner
  • Nathaniel Priday (1830 - 1900) - father of Frederick W Priday
  • Joseph Priday (1853 - 1933) - son of Nathaniel Priday
  • Joseph Priday (1888 - 1954) - son of Joseph Priday - my maternal grandfather
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Joseph Priday - my mother
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Alfred John's father, Thomas Henry Driscoll was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey, England in 1851. Rotherhithe is on the sounthern bank of the Thams in London and is opposite Wapping. Until the late 1970's this was part of the London Docks and the area even today is full of quays and docks.

By 1871 at the age of 20 Thomas Henry was a Private in the British Army (67th Regiments) and stationed at The Citadel Barracks, Western Heights, Dover, Kent, England.

In 1877 Thomas Henry married Maria Garnett at St Saviour, Southwark, London. Maria was born in 1859 in Shoreditch, Middlesex, England. Thomas & Maria set up hom at 266 Commercial Rd, Peckham, Surrey, England and Thomas, having left the Army, was by 1881 working as a Cheesemongers Shopman.

By 1891 Thomas, Maria & family had moved to 78 Albion Road, Bermondsey, Surrey, England and Thomas had managed to become a self emploted bargeman/lighterman, operating out of Rotherhithe quays and they were still there in 1911.

St Marys Church RotherhitheThomas & Maria had seven children:

  • Maria Rebecca Caroline Driscoll (1877 – 1914)
  • Frederick Thomas J Driscoll (1880 – 1926)
  • Thomas George Driscoll (1881 – 1944)
  • Alfred John Driscoll (1885 – 1917)
  • Ellen Driscoll (1888 – 1889)
  • Horace Francis Bernard Driscoll (1890 – 1970)
  • Florence Driscoll (1893 – )

By the time he was 16, Alfred John was working with his father in the bargeman/lighterman business servicing London Docks.

On the 30th July 1910 when he was 25, Alfred John married Fanny Rose Manton Griffin at St Mary's Church, Rotherhithe, Surrey - the parish church of Rotherhithe. By this time Alfred John was working as an Engineers Fitter & Turner at Electric Lamp works and he and Fanny set up home at 41 Langthorne Street, Fulham Palace Rd, Fulham, Middlesex, England.

His Military Service

Alfred John enlisted in the British Army at the start of World War One, August 1914 at the Tottenham, Middlesex and was allocated to the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment, 1st 7th Territorial Battalion as a Private with regimental number T.F.202102.

The histoery of the 1/7th Battalion:

  • August 1914 : in Hornsey. Part of Middlesex Brigade in Home Counties Division. Moved on mobilisation to Isle of Grain.
  • September 1914 : left the Division and moved to Gibraltar, arriving 17 September.
  • February 1915 : returned to England. Moved to Barnet.
  • 13 March 1915 : landed at Le Havre and two days later attached to 23rd Brigade in 8th Division.
  • Between 23 June and 2 August 1915, amalgamated with 1/8th Bn.
  • 8 February 1916 : transferred to 167th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.

The history of 1/8th Battalion

  • August 1914 : in Hounslow. Part of Middlesex Brigade in Home Counties Division. Moved on mobilisation to Sheerness and then to Sittingbourne.
  • September 1914 : left the Division and moved to Gibraltar, arriving 17 September.
  • February 1915 : returned to England.
  • 9 March 1915 : landed at Le Havre and two days later attached to 85th Brigade in 28th Division.
  • Between 23 June and 2 August 1915, amalgamated with 1/7th Bn in 8th Division.
  • 27 August 1915 : transferred to 25th Brigade in 8th Division.
  • 23 October 1915 : transferred to 70th Brigade in same Division.
  • 9 February 1916 : transferred to 167th Brigade in 56th (London) Division.

The history of 56th (1st London) Division

The London Division was a formation of the Territorial Force. It was formed as a result of the reforms of the army carried out in 1908 under the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane and was one of 14 Divisions of the peacetime Territorial Force.

1914: The units of the Division had just departed for annual summer camp when emergency orders recalled them to the home base. All units were mobilised for full time war service on 5 August 1914. All of the infantry units left the Division during the period September 1914 - April 1915, most being sent independently to France as reinforcements for the British Expeditionary Force.

1915: The Divisional artillery was selected for service in France and transferred in september 1915 to 36th (Ulster) Division.

1916: In January 1916 the War Office authorised the re-formation of the London Division, now to be known as the 56th, in France.

The Division began to concentrate in the Hallencourt area on 5 February and was largely completed by 21 February. It then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

  • 1 July: The diversionary attack at Gommecourt *
  • 9 Septembe: The Battle of Ginchy *
  • 15 - 22 September The Battle of Flers-Courcelette *
  • 25 - 27 September: The Battle of Morval * in which the Division captured Combles
  • 9 - 11 October: The Battle of the Transloy Ridges *

The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917:

  • 14 March - 5 April: The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
  • 9 - 14 April: The First Battle of the Scarpe +
  • 3 - 4 May: The Third Battle of the Scarpe +  - Alfred John was critically injured during this action

The battles marked + are phases of the Battles of Arras 1917

Alred John Driscoll died from his wounds on the 9th May 1917 at a Military Hospital at Rouen, France.

His Burial

arthurjohndriscollDuring the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen, France. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city.

Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot.

A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920.

During the Second World War, Rouen was again a hospital centre and the extension was used once more for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation.

The cemetery extension contains 8,348 Commonwealth burials of the First World War (ten of them unidentified) and in Block "S" there are 328 from the Second World War (18 of them unidentified). There are also 8 Foreign National burials here.

The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Alfred John Driscoll (shown to be Lance Corporal in Commonwealth Garves Commission records) was buried in Plot II, Line 11A, St Sever Cemetery Extension Part II, Seine-Maritime, France.