Oswald Merton Blake

#36149, b. 1887, d. 14 April 1917

Individual's Timeline

Birth1887Oswald Merton Blake
Death14 April 1917Oswald Merton Blake

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

  • Occupation: Oswald was a compositor.

Census details

Military Career

Records show that Oswald Merton Blake served in the armed forces. Oswald was a Sergeant in the 1st Battalion of the Essex Regiment, having earlier transferred from the 36th Norfolk. He was Killed in action in France.

The Essex regiment were at Infantry Hill. The regiment and the Newfoundland Regiment were part of the First Battle of the Scarpe which ran from 9 – 14 April 1917.

An excerpt from military historian Jeremy Banning’s website that covers the history of this and other battles of WW1 says -

"Infantry Hill – the destruction of the Essex Regiment & Newfoundlanders

An attack was planned from the precarious Monchy salient. Just two battalions of men would attack up Hill 100 (named Infantry Hill by the British). Conditions were so bad in the village with the detritus from horse carcasses blocking the narrow roads that the attack was postponed until 5.30 a.m. on 14 April. The plan was to capture Infantry Hill. In hindsight this badly planned attack appears highly dangerous, almost suicidal. The Monchy salient was already surrounded on three sides by enemy forces. The attack, carried out by the 1st Essex Regiment and Newfoundland Regiment went in as prescribed. It started well and by 7.00 a.m. it was reported that Infantry Hill had been captured. However, in their first proper use of the new defensive employment of ‘elastic defence’ a German counter attack was delivered with such speed and precision that over 1000 Essex and Newfoundlanders were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

The web address for the complete story is - http://jeremybanning.co.uk/tag/essex-regiment/.