Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Remembering Worcs Ccc Players Killed On The Somme

Remembering Worcs Ccc Players Killed On The Somme

Many Worcestershire CCC supporters will have seen on television the moving centenary commemorations from the massive Thiepval Memorial in northern France, on July 1, 100 years since the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Sir Edwin Lutyens, designed the memorial for more than 72,000 British Empire servicemen who died in the several battles of the Somme, but have no known grave.

On Pier and Face 5, A and 6C, are carved the names of Worcestershire CCC players, Lt AW Isaac, and Lt WB Burns who were serving with the Worcestershire Regiment.

Arthur Isaac,42, and Billy Burns,32, were killed 100 years ago today (July 7 1916) in hand to hand fighting close to the ruined church at Contalmaison, about three miles south east of Thiepval, and near the massive Lochnagar Crater.

The official 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment report said: “Enemy artillery pounded the village and machine guns fired in from higher land on both sides.

"Fighting stubbornly from house to house, the survivors were forced back.

"A desperate struggle raged round the ruins of the church, where a party of the 1st Worcestershires, inspired by two brave subalterns, 2nd Lt AW Isaac, and 2nd Lt WB Burns, fought on until all were overwhelmed.

"The resistance continued until ammunition was exhausted.”

Today, Contalmaison is a small quiet village situated in open countryside of arable fields and isolated woods, between Albert and Bapaume.

The brick church with a short spire has been rebuilt, and on the mown grass nearby is one of all too many roadside memorials and CWGC cemeteries that dot the region.

More details about Arthur Isaac and Billy Burns may be found on pages173-174 of 'Pears 150' which is on sale at the Worcestershire Supporters' Association Shop on matchdays at the back of the Basil D'Oliveira Stand.