- Tyne Cot Memorial
- Panel: 2 A
Distinctions and medals
Henry, also known as Harry, Berry served in the Anson Battalion, part of the 188th Infantry Brigade of the 63rd Royal Naval Division. Henry was a Coal miner from Garndiffaith, Monmouthshire. He enlisted on May 3rd 1897, days after his 18th birthday. Henry joined the Royal Naval Division, and served at Gallipoli from August 1915 till the evacuation. He proceeded to France in May 1916.
Having arrived in Ypres on the 23rd of October, the battalion moved into the frontline south of Poelcapelle on the 24th of October. The Royal Naval Division attacked on the 26th with the 188th Brigade. The attack of the Brigade was carried by the 1st Royal Marines on the left and the Anson Battalion on the right. The 2nd Royal Marines were in support and the Howe Battalion was in reserve. Two Battalions of the 189th Brigade had been attached to the 188th Brigade. The Hood Battalion for counterattacks and the Hawke Battalion was in reserve.
The allied artillery put down a heavy barrage at zero hour, 5.40 a.m. The men left their jump-off line five minutes later, advancing behind the creeping barrage. The weather was bad and the men had to advance in the streaming rain. The terrain was littered with waterlogged shell holes. Notwithstanding the scarred landscape, the Battalions pushed on, and managed to keep in touch with the barrage. The 1st Marines on the left made substantial gains and they reported to have captured Banff House, by 7.20 a.m. Meanwhile the Anson Battalion moved towards Varlet Farm, and managed to occupy positions near the Farm.
The going had been very hard. Some men sank knee-deep in the mud, while advancing. On top of the boggy terrain, the assaulting parties were subjected to heavy machinegun fire, coming from positions across the Paddebeek stream. By 8 a.m. the centre of the attack, came to a standstill. The situation in the centre, became dire. So dire, that two companies of the Hood Battalion were sent forward to reinforce it. But this alone did not suffice and another company was sent forward, half an hour later, as the Germans threatened to cut off the first wave. No further advance was attempted. The battered and disorganized troops of the Anson Battalion weren’t able to continue the assault and consolidated positions between Bray Farm and Wallemolen.
Notwithstanding the small territorial gains, the 188th Brigade had captured five German strongpoints and the brigade had nearly gained its entire first objective apart from Banff House and Source Trench. The men were eventually relieved under the cover of darkness. The Anson Battalion had suffered heavy casualties. Two officers were killed, seven were wounded and one went missing. 260 other ranks were killed, wounded or went missing. Able Seaman Henry Berry was one of the men who lost his life during the attack on Varlet Farm. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. James was 20-years old.