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Time: 8:49:18 AM
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Good evening from the u.k. My name is Simon Furnell and i live in Newbury,Berkshire,England. For the past 18 months or so i have been researching my Great-Grandfathers service during the first world war and a very interesting journey it has been. He was P.t.e 73313 Oscar Furnell,214th Company The Machine Gun Corps and was killed in action on the 24th of April 1918 at Hangard wood approximately 2 miles from Villers-Bretonneux. He had been in action for about 13 months before his death,arriving in France in March 1917 and serving not only at Bullecourt during the attack on the Hindenburg Line in June 1917 but at The 3rd Battle of Ypres for about 3 months up until the end of 1917. He was based near La Fere when the Germans launched the Kaiserschlact on March the 21st 1918 and somehow ended up at Villers-Bretonneux sometime during April 1918.The rest of his division was trapped the other side of the river Oise and had to fall back with the French army on the extreme right of the British and Commonwealth held line. It seems that he had to fall back some 40 miles to get to Villers-Bretonneux and was in the frontline at Hangard Wood when the German gas and artillery barrage fell on them at 3.30am. The Germans attacked at 6.00am on the morning of the 24th of April and pushed the British out of the wood and out of Villers-Bretonneux. I wasn't aware that it was one of the very few actions that the Germans used tanks during world war one until i stumbled on this website so for that i must say thank you. It adds even more interest to the story of a groom from a very rural area in England who left his wife and 4 children and served on the western front surrounded by so many different people from all over the world. I am also searching for another relative of mine who emigrated to Australia after the 1st world war. His name was Joseph Curry and he emigrated in the early 1920's.He was a private in the 8th West Yorks when he won the Military Medal,The Croix de Guerre and we think the Belgium Order of Leopold during the attack at Solesmes on October 20th 1918. He was so disgusted with the way that England became after the war that he took his medals,threw them on the fire and moved across the otherside of the world. I would be interested to hear from anyone who had relations that served in the Hangard Wood/Villers-Bretonneux area during April 1918.My Great-Grandfather was a member of 173rd Brigade,58th(2/1st)London Division part of 3 Corps of the 5th Army. He was a "Nasho" one of the first British Conscripts of the 20th Century. Congrats on your website. Regards. Simon Furnell.