Norman Sidney Culley

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Wycombe Marsh, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Lance Corporal
Service number:
Enlistment place:
Walton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
 —  Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 2/1st Bn. (Buckinghamshire)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

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


Tyne Cot Memorial
Panel: 96

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

The 61st Division had to attack on the 22nd of August 1917. They were in the front lines South of Sint-Julien, a hamlet near Langemarck. At zero hour, 4.45 a.m. the Division attacked with one Brigade, the 184th. The 184th advanced with the 2/1st and 2/4th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, with the 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment in support.
At 4.45 a.m. the artillery set in a creeping barrage behind which the Battalion started to push forward. The British barrage had to cover the advancing waves but was not as protective as it should have been. The volleys lacked direction and were not accurate at all, making little or no damage on the German side. This meant the British had to advance towards the unscathed German strongpoints and blockhouses, all manned by machineguns. The parties assigned to mop up the German strongpoints after the barrage were subsequently mowed down by German machinegun and rifle fire.
The parties were unable to perform their tasks under the heavy fire and with the exception of Somme and Aisne Farms the Germans remained in possession of all their strongpoints. Somme was captured by only four men of the Buckinghamshires. They were the only survivors of their entire platoon. The men who took Aisne Farm were unable to hold the position for long and it fell almost immediately due to a German counterattack.
Advancing proved very difficult. The Germans were still in position in the strongholds of Pond Farm and Gallipoli, respectively on the left and the right of the 2/1st Bucks. The Bucks with support of some men of the 2/5th Gloucestershire were able to consolidate a string of shellholes at Somme, making a line of defense at the Farm.
The Bucks and the Gloucesters were able to fend off three German counterattacks, whit the help of artillery, machinegun and rifle fire. But they were unable to advance any further. In the afternoon the Bucks held their positions and many of them fell victim to German sniper fire. The German snipers also made it impossible for English runners to reach the men in the field. The 2/5th Gloucester, left of the 2/1st Bucks took Pond Farm after heavy fighting, during which the farm changed hands a couple of times. By the evening the position at Pond Farm was firmly in British hands. This minor success relieved the pressure on the 2/1st Bucks’ left and the Battalion was able to straighten the line. At night the Battalion was relieved by the 2/7th Worcesters.
The Battalion had endured heavy losses and had only gained 150 yards. Of the 13 officers and 637 other ranks who went in to the field, 11 officers and 338 other ranks were reported as casualties. 39 of them were killed in action, 153 men were wounded and 146 men went missing.
We believe Lance Corporal Norman Sidney Culley was one of the 185 men who went missing or were killed in the fighting in the area of Somme Farm.

Files 2

Sources 2

2/1 Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (The National Archives, KEW (TNA), WO 95/3066/2).
Further reference
McCarthy C., The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account (London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995) pg. 58-61.
Sources used

More information 3