20th London Regiment (Blackheath and Woolwich), 15th September 1916
Edinburgh University Roll of Honour
Extract from the above 1921 publication – Maxwell, Wellwood (b 1890). Cargilfield and Rugby. Student of Law, 1912-14. Royal Field Artillery (T.), 1st Lowland Brigade, 2nd Lieutenant (five years). Artists’ Rifles, 1915. 20th London Regiment, 2nd Lieutenant October 1915. France March 1916. Died of wounds at High Wood, near Flers on the Somme, on 16th September 1916.
Further Military and Civilian Research
Before the war he is shown as working at Richard Brown & Company, Accountants, Edinburgh.
- 17 January 1915 – Territorial Force Reserve, Royal Field Artillery – Lieutenant Wellwood Maxwell, from the 1st Lowland Brigade, Royal Field Artillery to be Lieutenant – London Gazette – 16 January 1915.
- 2 November 1915 – The following to be 2nd Lieutenant, Private Wellwood Maxwell from the London Regiment – London Gazette dated 1 November 1915.
- 14 March 1916 – entered the French / Belgium Theatre of Conflict.
War Diary for the 20th London Regiment
The War diary for the 20th London Regiment for the 14th and 15th September 1916, the day Wellwood was killed, states:-
14th September 1916
- Moved from North-East corner of MAMETZ WOOD and took over from 17th London.
15th September 1916
- Midnight – Battalion formed up along edge of wood ready to move. Hot tea and rum served out to men. One Sergeant and 6 men wounded by the accidental explosion of a ‘Mills’bomb. Men each carried 2 Mills bombs – 2 Iron Rations and one days rations – pick and shovel placed behind haversack on back and 2 sandbags.
- 0100hrs – Moved off by platoons in file and took up positions in shell holes and open ground on slopes of HIGH WOOD behind SUPPORT LINE. Passed new armoured cars on way up. No casualties – A Company remained with Battalion H.Q. In CHESTER STREET. 19th LONDON also took up positions in front of us and on same ground. 17th and 18th London Regiments had gone up previously and taken over the line from 142nd Brigade. 140th Brigade took up position on our right – 30th Division were on our left.
- 0445hrs – H.Q. Moved up to SUPPORT LINE. Combined Battalion H.Q. Was formed in one dugout.
- 0600hrs – 17th and 18th London attempted to lie out in front of their front line so that 19th and 20th London Regiments could come up and take their places but owing to growing light were seen and fired on suffering heavy losses.
- 0610hrs – 2 armoured cars moved forward through wood.
- 0620hrs – 19th and 20th London moved up but found 17th and 18th London had not evacuated their trenches so had to get into SUPPORT LINE already crowded with H.Q. RS Staff, Signallers, Runners etc and most of the men laid down along the edge of the wood. These also lost heavily having been seen.
- 0620hrs – “ZERO” – attack could not proceed owing to heavy Machine Gun, rifle and shrapnel fire. One armoured car broke the axle of its rear wheels in manoeuvring through the continuous line of shell holes and ? Undergrowth and could not get forward so stayed and effectively used its HOTCHKISS 6pounder and machine guns. The other car manoeuvred badly along the GERMAN SWITCH LINE and stuck there. Later the crew set fire to it and left.
- 0630 – 1130 hrs – Wounded men were evacuated, trenches cleared and men reorganised.
- 0900hrs – Colonel Hamilton of 19th London killed in attempting to lead some of his men forward.
- 1100 – 1130 hrs – Our artillery banged enemy trenches on left of wood.
- 1130 hrs – Barrage lifted and Captain Read with 2 platoons moved into these trenches.
- 2 Lieutenant Nelson brought up more men as soon as he could and then all moved forward and blocked the trenches when they entered the wood.
- Captain HUTCHINSON and Major TRINDER of 18th London then advanced from the front line – (Major TRINDER was killed in doing this). The two parties worked towards each other and the enemy garrison surrendered.
- 2 Lieutenants MAXWELL and NELSON bombed down enemy trenches and cleared the wood entirely. (2nd Lieutenant MAXWELL was wounded badly doing this).
- Captain READ then gathered some men together of all Battalions in the Brigade and went forward and took up a line in front of HIGH WOOD some 100 yards away, having received an order from Brigade not to go on to STARFISH LINE which was his intention of doing.
- The rest of the day was spent in digging in under heavy fire and A Company was sent to the right to link up with the 140th Brigade and lost heavily in doing so.
- About 500 prisoners were taken by the Division. The enemy casualties were very heavy.
- 20th London Regiment – 13 Officers and about 250 men were killed, wounded and missing.
- 2 Officers killed and 2 missing and 40 men killed and missing.
- 2 Lieutenants HALL and HALFORD killed – 2 Lieutenant Maxwell died of wounds later. 2 Lieutenants NELSON AND COWDEROY – missing.
- Wounded – Captain MUIR- Lieutenant BISHOP – 2nd Lieutenants PEGG, BXALL, MURAY, HILL, WOOD, STEVENSON.
Wellwood Maxwell was buried at Millencourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.
Editors Note – Most of the documentation I have seen, including the personal family memorial at his home church have his date of death as 16th September, however, on looking at the 20th London Battalion War Diary, it appears the date of death as being the 15th September, as stated on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission page.
Wellwood Maxwell was born c.1890. The following family information is taken from the 1901 Census.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father – Wellwood Maxwell, born c.1858 at Buittle, Kirkcudbrightshire – Land Proprietor.
- Mother – Annie L. Maxwell, born c.1862 at Terregles, Kirkcudbrightshire.
- Brother – Aymer Maxwell, born c.1892 at Buittle, Kirkcudbrightshire.
- Sister – Winifred Maxwell, born c.1899 at Buittle, Kirkcudbrightshire.
His address on the Probate documents were given as Kirkennan, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
Wellwood Maxwell was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.
Wellwood Maxwell is honoured and remembered on personal memorial plaque within Buittle Parish Church, near Dalbeattie, Dumfries and Galloway, Cargilfield Prep School – Board War Memorial, Gamekeeper’s Road, Edinburgh and Rugby School Chapel Memorial, Lawrence Sheriff Street, Rugby, Warwickshire.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Wellwood Maxwell
- A Street Near You website – Wellwood Maxwell
- I.W.M. – Memorial Plaque, Buittle, near Dalbeattie – Wellwood Maxwell
- Find a Grave – Wellwood Maxwell
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Medal Index Card.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- London Gazette dated 16 January 1915.
- London Gazette dated 1 November 1915.
- National Probate Index – 1917.
- Dumfries and Galloway Standard newspaper 23 September 1916.
- Dumfries and Galloway Standard newspaper 10 January 1917.
- Gloucestershire Echo – 15 May 1915.
- 20th London Regiment War Diary.
- Imperial War Museum War Memorials Project.
- Edinburgh University Roll of Honour
- Vincent Stuart
- Marie Victorine (Grave Photograph.)