Linton in Pictures
A History of Linton
in Photographs
Available here

Over 115,000 British and Empire soldiers died during the five month Battle of the Somme, and casualties on all sides exceeded one million.

On July 1st three Linton men were killed near Albert in the first wave of General Haig’s offensive. Rowland Clarke aged 25 years of Townsend’s cottages (once opposite the Waggon and Horses pub), George Fitch aged 28 years and George Shore of Horseheath Lodge. Telegrams informing parents of their deaths reached the village within three weeks.

John Kemp who lived in the High Street was badly wounded on that day and lay in a field until it was dark before crawling back to our trenches. The first finger of his left hand was blown off and the others were shattered. He sustained wounds to his left arm and hip, and numerous bullets were lodged in his legs. He survived.

The battle raged on into August and three more Linton men were killed near Pozieres on August 8th and 9th. They all died in the same compact area during a German counter attack. Edward Noakes aged 30 years was a horsekeeper before the war and lived in the Grip. Frank Norton aged 25 years lived in the Balsham Road and had only been at the front for six weeks. Harry Goodwin lived in the Grip and was only 24 years old. He was declared missing and his despairing parents only received official news of his fate two months later.

On August 18th Arthur Pettitt was hit by a shell which exploded the ammunition he was carrying. His shoulder was demolished and he had fifteen bullets removed from his body. He also survived. Before the war he had been a coach builder for his adoptive father, Frederick Suckling of 22 High Street.

The offensive dragged on and the casualties still mounted. The names of two brothers called Dyson are inscribed on the Linton War Memorial. They were the sons of the ex-Linton police superintendent, Edward Dyson and were born at the police station in Symonds Lane. They had since moved away to Ware and Paddington and had both joined the Coldstream Guards in August 1914.

Herbert Dyson was 26 years of age and died in an attack on German trenches near Pozieres on September 15th. His younger brother Arthur Dyson was aged 23 years and was mortally wounded the very next day close to the trench where his brother had fallen.

Shortly before the battle fizzled out one last Linton soldier was killed near Albert. On October 16th Frederick Freestone aged 22 years from the Bartlow Road area was declared missing so his poor parents had to endure eight long months of anxiety and false hopes before he was officially pronounced dead.

Many of the above are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial opened in 1932 at the very spot named as the British army’s first day objective on July 1st, 1916.