Lance Corporal 19825 Denis Augustus Westwood
26th Royal Fusiliers
Killed in Action 15 September 1916
Son of Mrs. Alice Clamp, of Westbrook Lodge, Boxmoor Herts.
Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 8 C.
Born: Hemel Hempstead.
Residence: Hemel Hempstead.
Enlisted: St Paul’s.
The 26th Battalion Royal Fusiliers was formed in ‘London on 17th July 1915 and mainly consisted of bank clerks and accountants’. The battalion was under the command of the 41st division. It first landed in France in May 1916 and was involved in this raid. Later in the war the battalion further went to Italy in late 1917, but returned to France in early 1918.
On 15th September 1916, Denis Westwood of the 26th Royal Fusiliers, was killed whilst advancing on ‘Switch Trench’ on the front of Delville Wood on the infamous Somme battlefield.
The attack began at 6:20am on 15th September despite the fact that the battalion had been on a tiring march the day before the attack without any rest or sleep. The 26th Battalion started ‘within 80 yards of the first objective’ so were advancing through friendly artillery at the time. By 6:50am, the first objective was taken with ‘very little opposition’, as one account of the event recorded. The Artillery barrage at the second objective had stopped by 7:45am and the infantry advanced towards the enemy trench. A number of ‘casualties were suffered here from hostile rifle and machine gun fire’. With the aid of a tank the village of Flers was taken, however all of the officers involved in the offensive were lost in doing so. During the assault for the 3rd objective, all troops were withdrawn, when they were under heavy fire, to the Flers Trench, at which point the enemy began an artillery barrage on the whole front. It has been suspected that Dennis Westwood died during one of the attacks on the day.
In memory of those lost in the offensive on the village of Flers on 15th September 1916, there is a memorial to the 41st Division in the village of Flers, Somme.
By Florin Reid and Robert Wells
30 June 2015
Westwood's name on the Thiepval Memorial(Photo: Richard Grayson, 27th March 2012.)