Grover, Walter Ernest (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 10441
Department
Sound
Production date
1988
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 210, Number Of Items 7
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

Purchase & License
Object description

British private served with 2nd Bn Sussex Regt on Western Front and in Germany, 1916-1919

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Folkestone, 1897-1915: education; reactions to Boer War, 1899-1901; work with railway station newspaper kiosks; brothers' wartime military service; work as mail sorter with Post Office; background to enlistment under Derby Scheme, 15/5/1916; mother's activities cooking for soldiers in billets; parents' reactions to family war service. Periods with 3rd East Kent Yeomanry Depot at Canterbury and Crowborough Camp, 5/1916-8/1916: nature of training; contrasts with infantry; volunteering for draft. Period at Infantry Training Depot at Etaples, 8/1916: journey out; bayonet training; question of relevance of training; gas masks; opinion of instructors; conditions of service; reports of post-war mutiny,1918; reputation of Somme area; move to Albert, 8/1916. Recollections of operations and conditions of service with 2nd Bn Royal Sussex Regt in Somme area, 8/1916-2/1917: warning not to use common ruse to indicate location in letters to GB; war damage in Albert; stories illustrating discipline in regular unit; developing pride in unit; lack of experience. REEL 2 Continues: march up to Mametz Wood; nature of ground conditions; story of German shell fire during carrying party up to High Wood; temporary graves; gas sentry duty; account of attack on Wood Lane Trench, High Wood, 9/9/1916, equipment carried, advance under fire across No Man's Land, hold ups, German corpses; casualties and story illustrating unfair system of awarding medals; successful attack supported by tanks on Eaucourt l'Abbaye in Flers sector, 26/9/1916; German sniping; casualties from German enfilade fire; introduction of creeping barrage technique; effects of German fire during attack on Wood Lane Trench, 9/9/1916; casualties; rest period, 10/1916; lice problem; effects of winter conditions; trench feet problem. REEL 3 Continues: carrying parties and wiring parties during periods in support lines; question of wanting 'Blighty wound'; problems in staying awake on sentry duty; attack of impetigo in groin area; muddy conditions and question of 'spit and polish'; aerial warfare and view of German aircraft shooting down observation balloon; conditions of service in transport; story illustrating state of morale; reads poem on death of battalion postman delivering mail from GB prior to attack on Wood Lane Trench, 9/9/1916. Recollections of operations on Western Front, 5/1917-6/1917: move to Messines sector, 5/1917; story of sergeant losing false teeth bathing in pond; reserve role during attack on Messines, 6/6/1917; move to Nieuport area; isolation of units across Nieuport Canal following German attack, 26/7/1917; training for abandoned combined operations landing on Ostend based at Clippon Camp, 8/1918-10/1917; relationship with sailors; training on scaling mock up sea wall; acting as life guard; question of German awareness of possible attack. REEL 4 Continues: Recollections of operations in Ypres area, 10/1917-4/1918: GB leave and rejoining unit in Poelcapelle sector; outpost nature of front line; muddy ground conditions and story of getting lost acting as guide to ration party; situation; water supply; rat problem; vulnerability of German pillboxes; story of close escape from German shellfire; latrines; reads poem illustrating duty on burial party; state of morale; reaction to news of Russian revolution; question of French mutiny, 1917; question of shell shock; question of personal morale including fear of stomach wound, self inflicted wounds and religion; move to Bethune area, 3/1918. REEL 5 Continues: move to Bethune area, 3/1918. Recollections of German offensive in Cambrin sector, 9/4/1917: situation following retreat of neighbouring Portuguese troops; German barrage; close escape from minenwerfer shell; story of stretchering wounded soldier back for medical attention and subsequent award of Military Medal; attitudes towards medals; German gas shells; situation. Aspects of attack on Hindenburg Line in Somme area, 8/1918: successful attack supported by Whippet Tanks; German POWs; development of open warfare conditions; German booby traps; declining physique of German troops; question of casualties; special friend. Aspects of attack on Sambre Canal, 4/11/1918: open nature of fighting; difficulty and casualties whilst crossing dyke in front of canal; capture of loch; close escape from German machine gun fire; question of use of bayonet; attitude to German troops. REEL 6 Continues: attitude to German troops; souvenirs; poem illustrating personal morale during attack as end of war approached. Recollections of GB leave, 11/1918: train journey; baths and delousing; Armistice Day celebrations, 11/11/1918; question of date of Remembrance Day; reads poem reflecting on casualties immediately before Armistice; rejoining unit. Recollections of period in Cologne area, Germany, 1918-1919: prior march with band through Belgium; relationship with German civilians; duties; gym activities; German methods of overcoming shortages; duties as officer's servant for commandant of POW camp; floating swimming bath on Rhine; attitude of German POW officers. REEL 7 Continues: political situation; sauerkraut. Various aspects of operations on Western Front, 1916-1918: minor injury from bomb dropped on billets; toe bruised by shrapnel; state of health and question of malingering; rum ration and story illustrating effects of double ration; story of playing cards and soldier's grenade ruse to steal stakes; recreations including gambling, concert party and marching songs; question of letter and parcel contact with GB; cigarette smoking and ration; opinion of Portuguese and Australian troops; importance of Regular Army, 1914. Effects of war service and background to post-war work as upholsterer.

Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM

  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML
  • Embed HTML