30 March 2018

18139 Pte E Trower - accidentally shot by comrade

Other rank casualties mentioned in war diaries are uncommon but nevertheless are extremely helpful when they do appear.

The 13th Essex Regiment war diary reports the following casualties for the 30th January 1916. I have expanded forename initials to full names where known, and added additional information in parentheses. Unfortunately, the Essex Regiment did not expand forename initials on the British War and Victory Medal rolls which is why so many Essex Regiment men can be difficult to trace back. None of these men has a surviving service record.

17948 Pte James Calnan (later 45515, Northamptonshire Regiment)
17252 Pte Richard Bull (KiA with the 13th Essex on 13th November 1916)
17229 Pte John W Smith (later 30214 MGC; later ET/49594 ASC)
17917 Pte C W Kunkel (medal index card gives E W Kunkel, and this is probably Ernest William H Kunkel; later 60927, Essex Regiment)
18203 Cpl George Therin (enlisted 15th February 1915, discharged 25th April 1917; wounds)
18533 Pte Albert Henry Day (DoW with the 13th Essex on 17th August 1916)
17386 Pte R Cook
17296 Pte S F Smith (medal index card gives Frederick J Smith. Enlisted 15th January 1915, discharged 30th August 1918)
18139 Pte E Trower

The regimental number range of these men extends from 17917 to 18533; approximately 3rd February 1915 to the 6th March 1915. All of these men were original members of the 13th (Service) Battalion, The Essex Regiment. Regrettably there is no further detail on how the unfortunate Private Trower came to be accidentally shot by his comrade. He appears to have survived the war, however, and one can only hope that he lived to a ripe old age, recounting in his dotage how some members of his old battalion could be more of a threat than the Germans.

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