1st/5th Seaforth Highlanders, 21st April 1917
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
The following is an extract from De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour:-
Brodrick-English, James Falconer, Lance-Corporal, 1/5th (Territorial) Battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany’s), only son of the late Arthur English, Solicitor, by his wife, Mary (Kamsahd, Sleights, county York), elder daughter of the late Reverend John Barry Brodrick, M.A., for 51 years Rector of Sneaton, near Whitby; born Sleights, York, 26 February 1892; educated Bramcote, Scarborough, and Epsom College; was employed on the staff of the National and Provincial Bank at Middlesbrough; joined the Seaforth Highlanders 14 September 1914; served with the Expeditionary Force in France from April, 1915; was offered a commission, but refused to take it, and died at Camiers 21 April, 1917, from wounds received in action at the Battle of Arras on the 9th. Buried in the Military Cemetery at Etaples.
His Captain wrote: “He was an exceedingly fine fellow, cheerful, diligent and very efficient; this latter point I cannot bring out too thoroughly. He was one of those men who will be sadly missed by those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.”
James Falconer Brodrick-English enlisted in September 1914 at London, Middlesex. He served within the Seaforth Highlanders, the 5th Battalion and his military numbers were 868 followed later by 240234 and achieved the rank of Lance-Corporal. He served in the France / Belgium Theatres of War from 1 May 1915, and was to serve in the Machine Gun Section of the 5th Seaforths.
He died as a result of his wounds aged 25 years and was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.
Report on Operations 5th Seaforth Highlanders – Battle of Arras – 9th April 1917
The War Diary of the 5th Seaforth Highlanders has a Report on Operations for the Battle of Arras – The following is abridged copy of it for the 9th April, the day James received his injuries which were later to be fatal.
9th April 1917
At ZERO hour (5.30 a.m.) No.s 5 and 13 Platoons advanced from SPOOK STREET and followed the last wave of BLACK LINE troops. In ‘No Man’s Land’ the officer in charge of this party was wounded and could not carry on. The platoons advanced over the first and second German Lines, but were held up in front of the third German Line for about 45 minutes by machine gun fire. During a cessation of machine gun fire the two platoons advanced to the BLACK LINE after having suffered heavy casualties. On getting 25 yards beyond the BLACK LINE an explosion took place at point A.30.a.8.9., which disorganised the attack for half an hour. It is not known what caused the explosion, but immediately afterwards six of the enemy advanced to surrender. Sergeant Ross believed they had blown the mine and then came out to give themselves up, so he ordered his men to fire, and the enemy were all killed.
To machine guns in the NEW BLACK LINE continued to give trouble, so the N.C.O.’s (Sgts Ross and Elder) decided to work up the railway which runs under a bank. This manoeuvre was successfully carried out, and a Lewis Gun was brought to enfilade the NEW BLACK LINE towards the left. Many Germans were killed there, and the party worked its way towards the left, capturing the machine guns and Battalion Headquarters. The only enemy left alive were a Stretcher Bearer and a wounded man in the dugout.
The objective was reported gained at 8 a.m., but this report did not reach Battalion Headquarters till 2.30 p.m., the runner having missed his directions. ‘A’ Company on the right and ‘C’ Company on the left moved from SPOOK STREET at ZERO plus 4, and, with the exception of 1 N.C.O. and 15 men on No.1 platoon who carried right on to the German 1st Line, all duly assembled in Old French Trench. This trench received much hostile shelling in parts, and to avoid casualties some men were moved to shell holes immediately in front, where they remained till ZERO plus 30, when first wave moved forward in artillery formation. Casualties now became heavy, one platoon commander being killed and three wounded before the first German line was reached. The second wave advanced at ZERO plus 34. These times were corroborated with several watches.
Between 1st and 2nd German lines heavy machine gun fire and trouble with snipers was met with. The enemy still being in German 3rd line the BLUE LINE troops became involved in the fighting and much time was lost. During the fighting alone, A Company had 90 Other Ranks casualties and became much disorganised. C Company used all their rifle grenades trying to clear a machine gun out. A message was received at 9.15 a.m. asking for mare rifle grenades and a Stokes gun to be sent forward. This was done and at 11 a.m. C Company reported machine gun retiring up ALLGAUER WEG. A Lewis Gun was turned on the retiring enemy and casualties inflicted. C Company then advanced towards BLUE LINE along with a few men of A Company.
B and D Companies (3 platoons each) were in assembly position in French trench at 10.45 a.m., but as the situation was obscure they were ordered to remain in position and await orders. At 10.55 a.m. B and D Companies were ordered to push on as fast as possible to BLUE LINE – Bombing parties to take communication trenches. This order was followed by a further order to the effect that operations would be carried out according to original programme – B and D Companies to push on and make up on the standing barrage beyond the BLUE LINE. As many men of A and C Companies as could be collected were to be taken on with BLUE LINE troops.
The advance was slow, and a machine gun at junction of ALLGAUER WEG and BLUE LINE gave trouble. The advance was carried on in two parties to work round the machine gun, which evidently noticed the manoeuvre and retired.
The BLUE LINE was taken at 2.15 p.m.; touch with 8th Argylls on right and 7th Argylls on left being gained, the advance was carried forward towards the BROWN LINE. The enemy were now holding REGIMENT WEG. This trench was carried at 3.15 p.m., B Company taking seven officers, including one of high rank, also several men in a large dugout at B.19.d.2.8. The officers and men were sent down under escort of two men of B Company. On the way down one of the escort was wounded and the party of prisoners was taken over by an escort of 7th Argylls.
Posts were pushed forward from REGIMENT WEG and the position consolidated. H.Q. moved forward to a dugout in the BLUE LINE at 4.15 p.m. The 5th Gordons having come up to REGIMENT WEG, A and C Companies were withdrawn to the BLUE LINE and consolidated.
The night 9th/10th passed quietly and the Battalion was relieved on the evening of the 10th by the 7th Gordons.
James Falconer Brodrick-English was born on 26 February 1892.
In the 1911 Census his family was shown as:-
- Mother – Mary Ann Brodrick-English, born c.1853 (widowed).
- Sister – Janet Sharpe Brodrick-English, born c.1901.
In the 1901 Census he is shown as James F. English and is a Boarder at Bramcote School, Scarborough.
James is honoured and remembered on the following memorials:-
- Sleights Parish Memorial Cross, Sleights, North Yorkshire
- National Provincial and Union Bank of England Memorial, City of London.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – James Falconar Brodrick-English
- Find a Grave – James Falconar Brodrick-English
- A Street Near You website – James Falconar Brodrick-English
- Lives of the First World War – James Falconar Brodrick-English
- Imperial War Museum – National Provincial and Union Bank of England Memorial
- Imperial War Museum – Sleights Cross War Memorial, Sleights, North Yorkshire
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Medal Index Card
- Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
- Banffshire Herald dated 5th May 1917
- De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
- Seaforth Highlanders Medal Roll – 1914-15 Star
- Seaforth Highlanders Medal Roll – British War and Victory Medals
- 1901 Census
- 1911 Census
- 1914-15 Star Awardees
- Vincent Stuart