PAMMENTER, William Manning

No.473009, Private, William Manning PAMMENTER
Aged 19

2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
formerly 34843, East Surrey Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 29th March 1918

William Manning PAMMENTER was born in Quy in 1899 (Chesterton Q1-1899 3B:452), son of Emma PAMMENTER (née MANNING).

1901 census...Aged 2, he was at High STreet, Stow cum Quy with his father Thomas PAMMENTER [32] horsekeeper on farm; mother Emma [42]; brothers Charles [20] domestic gardener, Elijah [14] domestic groom and Thomas [10]; sisters Mary [8], Dorothy [6], Emma [5] and Ellen [1]. All were born in Stow cum Quy

His father died in 1908

1911 census...Aged 12, at Main Street, Stow cum Quy with his widowed mother; brother Thomas John (horseman on farm); sisters Matilda May and Emma, both general servants. and Ellen Mary. There were two boarders, Isaac ROBINSON [12] and George Wolsten Holme [9] both Bradford born.

He enlisted in Cambridge.

A last gasp attempt by the Germans began the Battle of Arras (III) at the end of March 1918.
The entry in the battalion's war diary for the 25th March explains that the battalion was arranged so that "D" company formed a defensive flank to the Sherwoods and the line to the north, but it was unavoidable that a large gap should exist between "C" and "D" companies. The 4th Yorks were put into the gap but it was too late to deter a determined attack by the Germans forcing the battalion to withdraw a considerable distance. "A" company held their position but became surrounded and had to fight their way out. This action enabled the whole line to withdraw to the railway embankment near Marchelepot. The battalion lost 31 men during this battle. On the 26th the order was given to retire to defend Rosieres. The enemy pursued resulting in the loss of 10 men. The following day the enemy attacked to the right exposing the flank. A small party was formed and issued a counter attack re-establishing the line and driving back the enemy beyond their original position. A further 8 casualties were reported this day. The Germans launched an overwhelming attack on the 28th this time to the left of the Brigade, causing a complicated withdrawal and change of direction towards Caix. The enemy advanced very rapidly and practically surrounded the high ground that the Brigade now occupied. They found a way out of this tight spot and marched 16 miles to Jumel. 7 men lost on 28th. (the 7th Battalion also lost 6 men). On the 29th the battalion was resting, so it seems that William actually died of wounds. William Fison died in the same operation, apparently after here

This retreat before the Germans was harshly judged by some, but some time later a different perspective was recorded:
The offensive saw a great wrong perpetrated on a distinguished British commander that was not righted for many years. Gough's Fifth Army had been spread thin on a forty-two-mile front lately taken over from the exhausted and demoralized French. The reason why the Germans did not break through to Paris, as by all the laws of strategy they ought to have done, was the heroism of the Fifth Army and its utter refusal to break. They fought a thirty-eight-mile rearguard action, contesting every village, field and, on occasion, yard ... With no reserves and no strongly defended line to its rear, and with eighty German divisions against fifteen British, the Fifth Army fought the Somme offensive to a standstill on the Ancre, not retreating beyond Villers-Bretonneux

photo: Rodney Gibson

William Pammenter is commemorated on the Pozières memorial, panels 54 to 56

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details