Born: London Colney.
Residence: Leverstock Green.
Son of Mrs Alice Ruth Fairbank of 49 St John’s Road, Boxmoor.
Pozieres Memorial, Panel 89.
Thomas Childs' name on the Pozieres Memorial
(Photo: Richard Grayson, 27th March 2012.)
Edward Fairbank's name on the Pozieres Memorial
(Photo: Richard Grayson, 2nd April 2019.)
Thomas Childs and Edward Joseph Fairbank were both Privates who fought in the Bedfordshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
An attack on the 30th June 1918 was carried out under a smoke screen and was successful. All objectives were gained and a large number of the enemy was killed, three machine guns were captured and 20 enemy soldiers were imprisoned. There were also successful bombings of a large number of dug outs that were filled with the enemy. This assault caused around 36 casualties. The days to follow were less successful and resulted in the deaths of Thomas Childs and Edward Joseph Fairbank.
Both Thomas Childs and Edward Joseph Fairbank were killed in action on 1st July 1918. We do not know the exact time they were killed but we know throughout the day, four attacks took place. The first attack, which took place at 2am was successful on the enemy’s behalf in taking posts. The second counter attack was at 7:30am and was organised by Lieut. H.B. Stewart with the 6th Queens on the left successfully regaining the posts. The third attack happened at 4:30pm after what has been referred to as a “long bombing contest”*, which resulted in the loss of previously gained posts. The final attack, which was an attack on the whole front, took place at 8:50pm. This attack was successful on the enemy behalf due to it driving the 12th division from their advanced position.
More conflict followed in the days to come that resulted in heavy shelling and casualties of 7 officers and 146 other ranks, making the 30th June to the 3rd July 1918 a period of heavy casualty and conflict, of which Thomas Childs and Edward Joseph Fairbank were victims.
2nd Bedfordshire Regiment War Diary, Catalogue Reference: WO 95/2042
By Lucinda Dodd and Anastasia Skopek
10th July 2018