Thursday, 16 April 2015

L is for Lagnicourt

My husband's paternal  grandmother's cousin William Stanley Plowright (1893-1917) died at Lagnicourt, France on 26 March 1917.

I wrote about William, his death and memorial in last year's A to Z blogging challenge at V is for Villers-Bretonneux.

Lagnicourt was 3 1/2 miles in front of the Hindenburg Line. The battle in which William was killed was a difficult fight but a notable battle and a success for the Australians.  This battle was part of the Battle of Arras on the Western Front in April and May 1917. William was one of 160,000 casualties on the allied side and the Germans suffered 125,000 casualties.

On the same day that William died, a Tasmanian, Percy Cherry (1895-1917), won a Victoria Cross at Lagnicourt. The award was granted posthumously for Cherry's actions during an attack on the French village of Lagnicourt which was strongly defended by German forces. Cherry was with the 26th Battalion while William was with the 58th.

The ruins of the Lagnicourt Church in September 1917, showing the extensive shell damage the building sustained. Australian War Memorial image E04580



Today the village of Lagnicourt is a farming community with a population of about 300. It was totally rebuilt after World War I. Before the war in 1911 the population of the village was about 575. It had been over 800 during much of the nineteenth century.