The 10th Essex at the battle of Irles in March 1917

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 July 2017

Ruined houses in Irles, March 1917. Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Ruined houses in Irles, March 1917. Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

© IWM (Q 4994)

In the early months of 1917 the 10th Essex Regiment was active in the northern part of the extensive Somme battlefield.

In February, the enemy had begun withdrawing from parts of this region, and British forces occupied a number of villages without opposition.

The 10th Essex waited to see if the Germans would withdraw from the village of Irles, but by March 1 it was clear they would not give it up without a fight, probably because it lay on a spur of higher ground which gave them a significant advantage.

Resurrection Trench ran along the entire west side of Irles, and the 10th Essex occupied a part of it on the night of March 6.

On the eighth the Germans attacked throughout the day and drove them southwards down the trench.

It was imperative to remove the Germans from this trench by March 9 so it could be used for the general attack on Irles fixed for dawn on the 10th March.

At 2am Germans troops were spotted north west of Resurrection Trench and ‘B’ and ‘C’ companies of the 10th Essex drove them back with bombs and rifle fire.

The 10th then controlled the trench ready for the general attack on Irles.

At 5.14am on March 10 ‘A’ and ‘D’ Companies attacked the village from the north end of the trench with other regiments attacking from positions on every side of the village.

An effective barrage protected the troops as they rushed the village.

In half an hour the village was wrested from the Germans, 60 of whom were killed and almost as many captured. British forces now controlled a new front line.

Two young men from Redbridge died during this action. Private Arthur Frederick Pankhurst of 29 Newbury Terrace, Ilford was born in 1897. He is the son of Julia Ellen née Crouch and Sylvan Aaron Pankhurst, a metropolitan police constable.

The other was Private Albert Andrews of Newbury Park born in 1887. He is the son of Ann née Chandler and Thomas Andrews, a farm labourer.

We commend the brave actions of these men who gave their lives in this significant conflict.

Latest Ilford Stories

20 minutes ago

Dagenham & Redbridge Community Trust are running a female football showcase as they look to recruit new players ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Sophie Morton reviews match two on day seven of the tournament.


Dealers are using minicabs and taxi-hailing apps to drop off drugs to young people in Redbridge.

Would your child know what to do if they were being abused?

Yesterday, 20:48

County Championship, day one: Essex (yet to bat) trail Nottinghamshire (311-6) by 311 runs

Yesterday, 17:30

Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews match one on day seven of the tournament.

Yesterday, 17:09

A man has been jailed for life after stabbing his ex-girlfriend 19 times on the street outside her Seven Kings home in a “frenzied attack” fuelled by jealousy.

Yesterday, 16:00

The Highfield Road club didn’t need Nick Browne on Saturday as their openers chased down 233 with minimum fuss


An Ilford shoe retailer and podiatry practice is taking the next step with a move to a new shop just a few doors down.

Redbridge estate agents Sandra Davidson answer the common questions homeowners have when it comes to selling their home, and reveals how you can make sure the sale is stress-free

Redbridge Estate agents Sandra Davidson’s hassle-free service guarantees rental income for your property, whether it is occupied or not. Here they share details of the Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it can help you avoid the regular stresses associated with managing a let.

Newsletter Sign Up

Ilford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now