Richmond WW1 Diary 1 May 1917

Image of poppy

Death of John Springett, one of The Alberts dead | 

John James Springett grew up in The Alberts. His parents lived at 87 Albert Road and before that the family lived at 66 Princes Road.

John was married at the time of his death, with two daughters. His wife Edith later remarried and moved with the girls to Beatrice Road.

John was a Private in the 7th Battalion East Surrey Regiment when he was killed at Arras on 1 May 1917. The Battle of Arras lasted from 9 April 1917 – 6 May 1917

British, Canadian, Newfoundland, South African, New Zealand and Australian troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras.   The battle cost nearly 160,000 British and Commonwealth casualties and about 125,000 German casualties. The Canadians succeeded in capturing the strategically important Vimy Ridge.

The battle spawned one of the most famous short poems of the war, The General, by Siegfried Sassoon:

 

“Good morning, good morning,” the general said,

When we met him last week on our way to the line.

Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,

And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.

“He’s a cheery old card” muttered Harry to Jack

As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

 

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

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