Monchy-le-Preux, 1917

The 8th (Service) Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment was formed in Beverley on 22 September 1914. On 16 November 1916, it was transferred to 8th Brigade,3rd Division and at the end of April 1917 was part of Allenby’s Third Army, preparing to throw itself into the Third Battle of the Scarpe.

I don’t know when George COLLING joined the East Yorks or how much fighting he’d experienced on his journey to Monchy-le-Preux. When I wrote yesterday’s post I didn’t know where his life had ended but this morning mentioned his anniversary to Graham, my next door neighbour. When I returned from my walk there was a note in my letterbox giving the following information (the source may be Everard Wyrall’s The East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War 1914-1918) –

The Third Battle of the Scarpe, 1917, is of special interest to all East Yorkshiremen, for the third Victoria Cross won for the Regiment was gained by a young officer in the terrible struggle for Oppy Wood.

2nd Lieut. John Harrison MC, VC, 11th (S) Bn East Yorkshire Regiment, Oppy, France, 3rd May 1917.

The 8th East Yorkshire Regiment relieved the 1st Royal Scots in the front line on the night of 30th April/ 1st May, 1917. The line taken over was on a north and south line immediately east of Monchy-le-Preux, thence round the south–eastern exits of the village. It was a noisy part of the line and Monchy was heavily shelled intermittently throughout the 1st May.

Continuing the line from south to north, the main objectives of the Third Army were Cherisy, St Rohart Factory, Bois du Vert, Bois du Sart, Plouvain Station, Square Wood.

The Bois du Vert and Bois du Sart, to be attacked by the 8th Brigade, lay east of Monchy. The 2nd Royal Scots (right) and the first Royal Scots Fusiliers (left) were the attacking troops of the Brigade, the 7th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (right) and 8th East Yorkshire (left) being in support.

The attack began at 3.45 am on 3rd May, the enemy quickly replying with his barrage.

The 8th East Yorkshires were forced up behind the Royal Scots Fusiliers; the 7th KSLI were on the right of the East Yorkshiremen.

From the 4th May the 8th East Yorkshires were in the Brown Line near Monchy taking no active part in the Battle, and at the close of May were billeted in Izel-les-Hameau.


George was killed on the first day of the battle, the 3rd, and his body not recovered. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial with over 34,000 other casualties. His parents had died before the war began.


The stone has not worn well and is very difficult to read, let alone photograph successfully.


In affectionate remembrance of JOHN COLLING, the beloved husband of MARGARET COLLING, who died Dec 24th 1910, aged 59 years.

‘His weary hours and days of pain

His troubled sleepless nights are past

The ever patient worn out frame

Has got eternal rest at last.’

‘With Christ which is far better.’

Also MARGARET COLLING, wife of the above, who died Feb 12th 1913, aged 59 years.

‘Rest on dear mother, your work is o’er,

Your willing hands will toil no more.

A loving mother true and kind

No one on earth like you we find.’

Also of GEORGE COLLING, son of the above, who was killed in action in France, May 3rd 1917, aged 26 years.

‘Though death divides, still memory clings.’

John was a fisherman, as the fine carving of a herring coble in sail on the headstone indicates.


Find this branch of the COLLINGs on Filey Genealogy & Connections and FamilySearchTree.

Syrian Airstrike

I mentioned yesterday that some reports suggested that UK regime missiles were fired into Syria (from Jordan) a few days ago, causing the 2.6 magnitude “earthquake” explosion. It seems to be accepted now that Israeli F15s delivered the missiles. Why were they not shot down by Syrian or Russian air defense systems? Russia has an agreement with the United States – not to fire upon US planes in Syrian airspace. It appears that the American regime gave Israel transponder codes that fooled Syrian defense that the planes were American F15 “Eagles”. This duplicity puts Ol’ Cryin’ Wolf Netanyahu’s already notorious IRAN LIED Powerpoint presentation in a new light. It also gives Syrian and Russian air defense the green light to shoot down any American planes their systems lock onto in future. Not good. Rusian and Iranian restraint can only stretch so far.