Lambs to the slaughter

A trench raid team after a good night's work (note the weapons and the bandages on knees, etc., as they would have crawled across to the German trenches at night)
A trench raid team after a good night's work (note the weapons and the bandages on knees, etc., as they would have crawled across to the German trenches at night)
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SEVERAL readers have been in touch with a host of information on Lance Corporal Charles Lisher, featured previously in Looking Back.

Nick Ward, from Littlehampton, is a full-time Great War battlefield guide and military genealogist, currently working on a World War One heritage project.

He said the army number, SD/2137, signifies he was a ‘Lamb’.

“These were the Sussex ‘Pals’ raised by Claude Lowther and much can be read online about them,” he added.

On June 30, 1916, the battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment were involved in a diversionary attack called the Battle of Boar’s Head, which cost 1,100 casualties in just a few hours and is known as ‘The Day Sussex Died’.

“He was an original and unless he was sick on that day, he would have been involved in that terrible slaughter of Sussex men,” said Mr Ward.

“It would seem he was awarded the Military Medal at some point, according to Commonwealth War Graves and other records, however it does not appear on his Medal Index Card, which strikes me as odd and a little more research would be required to confirm this award.”

Records state he was killed in action on March 8, but the 13th Battalion war diary does not support this, as the official write up for this day, when they were holding the line near the River Somme, said ‘Quiet night’.

Mr Ward believes either the date of death is incorrect, or L/Cpl Lisher was attached elsewhere that day. However, he noted a trench raid on March 9, when five casualties were recorded, one missing and four wounded.

“Trench raids were a nasty business and only the bravest and most experienced men would have been used and L/Cpl Lisher would have met the criteria, so my guess is he was the missing man and his body was recovered some time later and then recorded for the wrong day.”