1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Rev. Edward Victor Tanner

Contributed by: Ninety Years of Remembrance, on 2008-10-31

Rev. Edward Tanner
First Name Rev. Edward Victor
Surname Tanner
Year of Birth Unknown
Year of Death Unknown
Regiment Worcestershire Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence Littleton, Winchester, Hampshire

Rev. Edward Victor's Story

Edward Victor Tanner was posted Army Padre to the 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (100th Brigade, 33rd Division), towards the end of 1916. He joined the Battle of the Somme in late January 1917 before moving to Arras in April 1917, and then to the Ypres Salient. He was involved in the Battle of the Passchendaele and later the defence of Neuve Eglise (June 1918) during the German Spring Offensive.

One of the most exacting jobs [...] was that of writing to anxious or bereaved relatives.

Diary Extracts

April 12th 1918, [...] In the early afternoon at Stoney's request, Pointon and I went into Neuve Eglise proper to see if we could find suitable cellars for BHQ and the aid post as it became clear that a Boche attack was imminent. [...] Eventually we reached the Brasserie and here found a deep roomy cellar of a ruined cottage which would serve admirably as an aid post, so we returned to HQ and reported to the C.O. accordingly. [...] All the time that we were moving the shelling was incessant. One went right through the roof of the house in which I slept last night and from which the women had been clearing their valuables this morning. This strafe cost us 11 casualties. [...] Meanwhile the first Boche attack had been repulsed by our companies, and as it got darker the shelling grew less and things became a bit quieter.

April 13th 1918, A quiet night was followed by one of the most thrilling days of my existence. Just as we were finishing breakfast in H.Q. cellar in the Basserie, an orderly came running down the steps and said to the C.O. "the enemy are in the village, Sir, and are coming up from three directions." The Boche were coming up both the main street and also up the side road where our 'Hostelry' and Coffee Bar had been. We discovered afterwards that the troops on our right and left flanks had given way and the Boche were on both sides of us. The H.Q. signallers and runners formed up across the road and fired at the enemy while the C.O. and the rest of us hurried across the square, past the church to the rear of the village in the direction of Dranoutre. Our field guns, which had been brought right up to the edge of the village, were being rushed back at full speed and only just evaded capture, and the troops were retiring on all sides. I stayed with the Doc and Aid Post Sergt (Leigh) and staff. Some men a little to the right became panic stricken and started to run for their lives, but Sergt Leigh and the rest of us shouted to them and told them to keep their heads and not to be such fools. Panic spread like measles, and if they had been allowed to go on the retirement would have developed into a disorderly rout. As we made our way out of the village there was a perfect din of shelling and the cracking of rifle fire on all sides, and as soon as we got clear of the last houses we were followed by a hail of machine gun bullets. A lot of men were hit. The Boche evidently had possession of the high ground on our left. One man had had his leg smashed by a shell and was being carried along on a stretcher. After we had gone about three-quarters of a mile or so we came to an old trench system with a lot of old wire and took up our position behind it and the Doc and I dressed the wounded in an old trench on the side of the road. The man with the smashed leg was one of the first to be attended to. It was obvious that he could not live long and he knew it, but was extraordinary plucky. Practically the last thing he said to me was "Tell my Mother I died painlessly."

Published by the BBC with permission from the Imperial War Museum. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders. The IWM would be grateful for any information leading to copyright holders whose details are not currently known.

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