peter stevenson

Peter's Frontline Walk page

Fundraising for Army Benevolent Fund
raised of £1,600 target
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Event: Frontline Walk, from 15 October 2014 to 19 October 2014
Army Benevolent Fund

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In October I will be undertaking the Frontline Walk, a 3 day event covering over 100 Km, across the battle fields of Northern France and Belgium.  The challenge ends with the moving ceremony and last post at the Menin Gate, 100 years on from the start of the Battle of Ypres.

I am walking for the Nott's and Derby (The Sherwood Forester) regiment, in particular 59931 Pte George Whittaker of the 15th Sherwood Foresters, my maternal great grandfather, a POW during the war. 

Pte Whittaker was captured by the Germans at Maricourt on the Somme, approx 4pm on 24 March 1918.  The Germans having launched the Kaiserschlacht, their largest offensive on the Somme front on 21 March.  The regiment War Dairy recounts having only arrived in Maricourt at 6am the morning he was captured.

"24: Noon. Ordered to counterattack. Moved forward and held the advancing enemy, with 15th Cheshires on the right. There was no touch with any troops on the left. The enemy went round this way, outflanking the two front Companies, who had very few survivors. At 6pm, ordered to withdraw to fresh positions on the Curlu-Maurepas road."

Pte Whittaker kept a dairy of his captivity, which has been donated to the IWM archive.  Upon capture he was stripped of hid equipment, whilst tending to casualties.  The wounded were collected and marched to German HQ nearby. The POWs were then marched to Hamborn, Germany.  Theu were given their first meal late on 27th of March and arrived in Munster on 02 April.

During captivity the POWs were made to work, hard labour, often over 12 hours shifts.  Food given to them was basic and occasionally boosted with Red Cross Parcels.

His last entry is dated 25th September and there is no record of his release date.

In contrast, his brother also served with Notts and Derby's Regt, 3rd (reserve) Battalion, held in reserve initially in Plymouth and then Sunderland as part of the Tyne Garrison.

During the war, the Sherwood Foresters had 33 battalions in service, of which 20 served overseas: mainly on the Western Front, but also in Gallipoli, Italy and the Middle East. Over 140,000 men served in the regiment, which lost 11,400 killed. The regiment won 57 battle honours and 2,000 decorations, including nine Victoria Crosses.

I am also raising funds for ABF the Soldiers Charity.  Who support soldiers’, veteran’s and their family who can find themselves in difficulty due to injury, sickness, redundancy or even the end of their Army career.

About the charity

Army Benevolent Fund

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We exist to give a lifetime of support to the wider Army family, regardless of where or when a soldier served. We act swiftly and efficiently in providing support in the form of grants to those who find themselves in real need. We also provide grants to charities who support the wider Army family.

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Total raised
+ £193.00 Gift Aid
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