About Albert Henry Doubell
DOUBELL, ALBERT HENRY
Date of Death:21/03/1918 Age:23
Regiment/Service:South African Infantry
Panel Reference: Panels 95-98. Memorial:POZIERES MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of C. J. and A. H. Doubell, of 5, Randall St., Uitenhage, Cape Province. From:Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Private Albert Henry DOUBELL
Son of C and AH Doubell, of 5, Randall St, Uitenhage, Cape Province (Source : C.W.G.C.)
Killed in action on the 21st March 1918 (German attack on Quentin Redoubt and Gauche Wood) - Age 23.
The following is a summary of the SA Brigade (including 1st Regiment) activity for the 1918 period when Albert Henry Doubell was killed, taken from: http://www.militariacollector.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=38
December 1917 The SA Brigade prepares for the upcoming “Great German Attack” (Somme Retreat).
3rd December 1917 The 2nd and 4th Regiments moved into the front lines on the east slope of Quentin Ridge extending from Gauche Wood, on the right to a point near the head of Flag Ravine. The 1st Regiment were in support and the 3rd Regiment in reserve. Heavy shelling took place during December on this area. Casualties during this time cost the Brigade an average of 30 men a day.
8th December 1917 During the night the 2nd and 4th Regiments were relieved by the 1st and 3rdRegiments with the 4th becoming the reserve and the 2nd the support regiment.
13th January 1918 SA Brigade comes out of the line for a ten-day rest.
23-30th January 1918 On the 23rd January the 2nd and 3rd Regiments moved into the front line, followed by the 1st and 4th Regiments the next day.
31st January 1918 All four battalions relieved for a much needed month’s rest.
17th February 1918 Brigade attends the Delville Wood memorial service.
18th February 1918 The 3rd Regiment disbanded, its remaining troops dispersed to the other three Regiments, the reason being that there were just not enough replacements coming through.
12th March 1918 The Brigade moved up to the front east of Heudicourt. The South African sector covered 2,000 yards between Quentin Redoubt to just south of Gauche Wood. The 2nd Regiment on the right and the 1st on the left held the forward zone, with the 4th Regiment in reserve although still in the “battle zone”. The battlefield had been divided into zones behind the Main Line of Resistance. The Yellow or reserve line, the Brown line being the final line of the “battle zone” and the Green line some three miles to the rear.
21st March 1918 At 04:45 am precisely the Germans with thirty-seven divisions started to attack. There was a major attack on the B Company of the 2nd Regiment inGauche Wood but they held on bravely. The Germans reached a little height called Chapel Hill but as this little hill commanded the area known as the Yellow Line it had to be retaken. Early in the afternoon A Company 2nd Regiment were sent forward but made no progress. At 05:30 pm A Company 4th Regiment made a spirited attack onChapel Hill and took it. The Brigade fell back to the “Yellow Line” with the three companies of the 1st Regiment in the left of the front line with a company in the Brown Line. On the right three companies of the 4th Regiment were also in the Yellow Line and on Chapel Hill, and the remaining company was at Revelon Farm. Two companies of the 2nd Regiment were assisting the 4th Regiment at Chapel Hill and the remainder were in the Brown Line. So ended the first day of the German attack.
22nd March 1918 Under cover of heavy artillery the Germans advance and retook Chapel Hill and Revelon Farm. By 4.30 pm the Brigade fell back to the Brown line. B Company of the 2nd Regiment with its heroic commander Captain Green of Delville Wood fame were destroyed, fighting to the last.
23rd March 1918 At 02:00 am the SA Regiments fell back to “Green Line” and were in fact now a divisional reserve. Due to a wavering front all men were once again called back to the front. Withdraw was the order of the day and overnight the whole line withdrew to new positions. Casualties over the first two days of battle had been about 900 all ranks.
24th March 1918 By dawn on Sunday the South African regiments were holding an area near the northern point of the Marrieres Wood. The brigade was soon to add another broken woodland name to the already proud defences of Delville and Gauche Woods. The Brigade strength was now down to only five hundred. Giddy with lack of sleep, grey with fatigue, poisoned by gas and tortured by a ceaseless bombardment the men faced new perils. With limited ammunition the South Africans defended their positions all day. Some time around 4:15 pm there was a fresh assault on the last 100 troops still standing, many of them wounded and with virtually no ammunition left. The brigade almost ceased to be. The survivors were taken prisoner. The Officer Commanding the 1st Regiment Lieutenant-Colonel F.H. Heal D.S.O. had died alongside his men. It is recorded that even the German Headquarters admired the last stand put up by the South African Brigade.
25-27th March 1918 The final remnants and depleted companies that had gone astray continued to fight alongside other brigades. On the night of the 27th March the whole division was withdrawn from the line.
During April SA Brigade received 960 new drafts in preparation for the upcoming Battle of the Lys.