1916 - Reginald Joseph Comley WW1

Reginald Joseph Comley the son of Joshua Comley a Police Constable and Emma nee Gray was born in 1890 in Oare, the youngest of seven children he was baptized on the 5th October 1890 at Wilcot church.

By 1901 the family had moved to Prospect Pewsey. Between 1901 and 1911 Reginald became a gardener and was employed in the pleasure gardens at Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire the country residence of Mr. and Mrs. Waldorf Astor, he left there in February 1912 and it is not known what he was doing after that before he enlisted at Maidenhead.

There are no service records but he was posted to the Princess Charlotte of Wales Royal Berkshire Regiment 6th Battalion Service No12758.

The battalion embarked for France on the 25 July 1915, during his enlistment he achieved the rank of Lance Sergeant.

The battalion had been in the Somme region since the summer of 1915 and was familiar with the Camily/Maricourt sector.  The troops moved into the forward trenches on the night of the 27th June 1916 expecting the start of a major offensive but it was delayed and they stayed in the trenches for the next 3 days.  They were positioned opposite the Casino Point machine gun nest under which had been placed a 5,000 Ib mine.  On the 1st of July 1916 some of the Berkshire men were already in No Mans Land when the mine was detonated at 7.28 the order being given to advance at 7.30 so they were showered with debris from the mine.  They managed to achieve their objectives but were let down by other units who should have been covering their flank.

On the first day of the Battle of the Somme the 1st July 1916 the battalion War Diary States:-

6th Service Battalion 53rd Brigade (8th Eastern) Div in attack South West of Montauban advancing under the falling debris of Casino Point Mine.  Mine, Bund and Pommiers trenches taken.  Heavy losses at the Loop – Casualties 351

This is where Reginald lost his life, killed in action at the age of 26 he is buried at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz.  Grave V111 K 4

He was awarded the 14-15 Star, the British Medal and Victory Medal.  His father Joshua was granted his war gratuities.