Friday 1st July 2016.
I’m sure that there will be enough written about the first day of the Battle of the Somme without me adding to it, but I can’t resist the temptation.
Sorry about the departure from normal content – I’ll get back to that soon.
Joseph Victor Plumb isn’t a famous name in military history. I first came across him on our local war memorial when we moved to a village near Peterborough. In the days before you could press a computer button and be given reams of information I read the local papers in the library to find out more about the names on the memorial (I was a very strange child). It seems that on 1st July Private Plumb stood in reserve with the rest of the 6th Northamptons and had a narrow escaped when a bullet holed his steel helmet. Having survived death by an inch he should have been saved for better things but instead, in the attack on Trones Wood 14 days later he qualified to have his name carved on a memorial.
Harry Carus worked for a grocer, and was a Sunday school teacher in his spare time when he joined up. He landed in France on 28th November 1915 and seems to have been quite a useful soldier because he was a Corporal by 1916. On 1st July he had 102 days to live.
The pictures show him with the lady referred to as “the late Ellenor Carus” by the Commonwealth War Graves details. She died of in the TB hospital at Lancaster in 1920. This sort of thing wasn’t uncommon as many widows did not live long after their husbands. The eldest of the three sisters is my grandmother. There is a bit more to the story than I’m telling here but this isn’t one of those books about miserable childhoods, and anyway, it could have been worse.
If you look at the memorial scroll sent by the government you will see that there is a line that says “Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten”.
This is ironic when you see they have misspelt his name.