The Hampstead Heavies
138th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Bully-les-Mines. Commemoration Ceremony
Major Paris, Estrées
Commemoration at Bully-les-Mines, France, April 2016
The authorities at Bully les Mines decided that, as part of the town's commemoration of the First World War centenary, there would be in 2016 an exhibition and ceremony devoted to honouring the British army, its actions at Bully, and especially those British soldiers who were killed at Bully and buried in the town's cemetery. It was hoped that as many as possible of the families of these soldiers would attend the ceremony and view the exhibition
The 138 Heavy Battery RGA was in the Bully area from April 1916 to May 1917 and was one of many units of the British army which have members buried at Bully. The War Diary records that the Battery's first fatal casualties, Gunners A F Baxter, G F Brickwell and A N Jinks, were killed by shelling on 29th May 1916 and were buried the same day with military honours in Bully Cemetery.
In November 2013, Alain Chaupin, one of the organisers in Bully , made contact through the website mentioning the proposed commemoration and asking whether contact details for the families of the three Gunners were available. Unfortunately, it was not possible to help him immediately on this point since at that time the men had only been identified in the War Diary. Subsequent searches did reveal their addresses on enlistment in 1915 but finding family addresses after 100 years was a much more difficult task.
Brian Bristow, third left above, with the Delegation Bullygeoise, 19th February 2014
Unfortunately, in the time available, it was not possible to locate the families of Gunners Baxter, Brickwell and Jinks. However, we were able to help Alain Chaupin and later David Robillard on other matters connected with the exhibition.