Oliver Burbage Archer

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom

General information


Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom
 —  Lancashire Fusiliers, 18th Bn. (2nd South East Lancashire)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Houthulst Forest, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 55A

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Oliver Burbage Archer was a - thirty-four-year old farmer from Old, a village in Northamptonshire - who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele. Oliver worked on the family farm together with his brother Albert, his mother Elizabeth and his sister Emily, till he was enlisted in the army. He first served with the Northamptonshire Yeomanry and was later transferred to Lancashire Fusiliers, 18th Battalion (2nd South East Lancashire). Early October 1917, Oliver’s Battalion was in the north of France. It entrained for Flanders on 15 October, where it was to attack on the 22nd.

On 22 October the 18th Lancashires took up position for the attack at Angle Point, south of the Houthulst Forest. The Battalion operated in close support to the 23rd Manchesters, on the right, and 17th Lancashire Fusiliers, on the left. It was the 18th Lancashires’ task to fill up the gap between these two Battalions and to keep in touch with them.

At zero hour, 5.35 a.m. Oliver’s Battalion moved off. The Battalion advanced too close to the allied barrage and suffered several casualties to friendly fire. Shortly after the attack had started the Manchesters, on the right, were already held up by machine-gun fire. When the 18th Lancashires continued their advance they consequently exposed their right flank to the German machine-guns, suffering heavy casualties. Having advanced too far in the Houthulst Forrest, with the right flank up in the air, an entire Company of the 18th Lancashires, was in danger of being cut off, and was forced to retreat from the Forest. In the meantime the left half of the leading wave had reached its objective, establishing positions along Conter Drive, in touch with the 17th Lancashires. To close the gap on the right, reinforcements of the 20th Lancashire Fusiliers were sent up to the Angle point - Aden House line.

As the attack had been checked, all positions were consolidated. A German counterattack in the afternoon was fend off with the support of the artillery, and the fighting died down.

Private Oliver Burbage Archer, 34, was killed in action during the attack on the Houthulst Forest. In total 30 men of the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers were killed in action, 43 men went missing and 181 men were wounded. Oliver has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 5

"Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Uniform, 2018, pg. 140-141.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The long long trail
Sources used
War Diary
Further reference