To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

Royal Navy-tn


Able Seaman

Sydney Rodney Cyril Vince


Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Anson Bn. R.N. Division

(Above Sydney in uniform of Army Reserve before transfer to Anson Bn.)


History Vince-Sydney-6tn




25.  The 25th October and night 25th/26th were brilliantly fine, but at on the 26th the weather suddenly broke and rain was continuous throughout the day.  The already heavy going was thereby made considerably worse, and the difficulties of the attack proportionately increased.

26.  Thanks to the careful preparations, which had been made, the assaulting troops were formed up without a hitch and practically without casualties.

       The attack was launched at  Two minutes later the enemy put down 

his barrage exactly on the line expected.  As the troops had been assembled in front of this line, little damage was done by the enemy fire, and the advance was not checked.

           By it was reported at Divisional Headquarters that the Anson Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel H.F. KIRKPATRICK) had captured VARLET FARM * and 50 prisoners after a stiff fight, and half an hour later a pigeon message (despatched at was received from Lieutenant CARELESS, 1st Royal Marines, saying that he had captured BANFF HOUSE and was consolidating a position 150 yards in front of it.

           In the centre, progress had not been so marked, and our attack appeared to be held up at about V.27.d.central, on the road between BRAY FARM and WALLEMOLEN.

27.    About midday it was established that the Anson Battalion was consolidating in the neighbourhood of SOURCE TRENCH and an unconfirmed report stated that portions of the Howe Battalion had been seen pushing forward towards SOURCE FARM, all going well.

          The situation of the Marine Battalions at this time was not quite clear but it appeared that the 1st Royal Marines (Lieutenant Colonel H. Zanne  D.S.O.) had gained their objectives on the left but were still held up in the centre, just east of the WALLEMOLEN – BRAY FARM road.  There was practically no news of the 2nd Royal Marines (Lieutenant Colonel G. C. WAINWRIGHT) but they had apparently been held up on the same line, where their companies were now intermixed with those of the 1st Battalion.

28.     At 2pm. information was received from the 3rd Canadian Division that their advanced troops had been forced back and that they now held the line of the first objective and wished to form an S.O.S. line just in front of this area.  It was, at the time, impossible to agree to this plan so far as the inter-divisional boundary was concerned as the location of the Howe detachment, which had been seen going forward was still uncertain.  About however, it became obvious that we had no troops east of SOURCE TRENCH.  The Canadian Division was informed accordingly and the artillery covering the right of our front was given an S.O.S. line 400 yards in front of the first objective.  Later in the day the sole survivors (15 men) of the detachment, which had succeeded in reaching the neighbourhood of SOURCE FARM, rejoined their battalion through the Canadian lines.  They reported that they had suffered heavy casualties from rifle and machine gun fire during their advance and that their officers had been killed.  The survivors had endeavoured to consolidate their position and gained touch with the Canadians on their right, but the heavy German counter-attack had eventually compelled all the troops in this neighbourhood to withdraw.

29.     The remainder of the Howe Battalion were now reported to be intermixed with the Anson Battalion in the neighbourhood of VARLET FARM and SOURCE TRENCH, having found it impossible owing to heavy rifle and machine gun fire, to make any further advance.


30.     Towards nightfall a message was received at Brigade Headquarters from O.C. 1st Royal Marines that his troops in BANFF HOUSE had been forced to withdraw and that he now held BERKS HOUSES as his most advanced post, whence his line turned back westward to the shaft.  Orders were at once issued for the line to be re-established by the reserve company, but this operation was only partially successful and our most advanced post on the left flank, during the night of 26th/27th, was just west of BRAY FARM.  

             Later information shows that early in the morning of the 26th elements of the 2nd Royal Marines, supported by consolidating machine guns, had succeeded in crossing the PADDEBEEK east of BANFF HOUSE in the face of considerable opposition and had established themselves about 200 yards beyond the stream.  Here they were subjected to considerable rifle fire and sniping from both flanks, and especially from the north of the LEKKERBOTERBECK, and about midday a strong party of the enemy attempted to work round their flank from the north.  The Marines’ rifles were so choked with mud that practically none of them could be fired, but the attack was beaten off by the machine guns and, when the machine guns had become clogged with mud, by the rifles of the machine gunners.**  Towards evening, after they had suffered heavy casualties, and lost all their officers, this detachment finding both its flanks in the air, unfortunately decided to fall back across the PADDEBEEK and there can be little doubt that it was the sight of these men retiring which accounted for the withdrawal from BANFF HOUSE.

31.     About 6 pm. information reached the G.O.C. 188th Infantry Brigade that the Anson and Howe Battalions had been suffering heavy casualties from enemy fire and were much disorganized.  He accordingly decided to relieve them by his counter-attacking battalion (Hood Battalion, Commander A.M.ASQUITH, D.S.O.).  This battalion was in a position of readiness near INCH HOUSES and had not been employed during the day.  The relief was carried out without incident, the Anson Battalion being withdrawn to IRISH FARM while the Howe Battalion was kept near ALBATROSS FARM as a reserve.

*   Some time after its capture this building, which was at first mistaken for the concrete building shown on the map as VARLET FARM, proved to be a concrete pill-box some 200 yards further east at the southern end of SOURCE FARM.  The mistake caused a great deal of confusion at the time but was a very natural one.  The concrete building shown at VARLET FARM did not exist in reality and except for a few scattered bricks, all the farm buildings had completely disappeared.  SOURCE TRENCH was also indistinguishable and owing to the flooded shell holes in the neighbourhood, the farm moat could scarcely be recognized.

**    Up to this moment the machine gunners’ rifles had been in their covers and in consequence were not badly choked with mud.



26th October 1917




Officers Letter

Below is the letter copy, sent to Sydney's sister about his death.  A similar one was sent to his mother a month or so earlier.


A copy of a letter sent

 from Cyril’s Officer:-

December 1st 1917

Dear Madam

In answer to your letter I would like to say that I wrote to Mrs Vince on Oct. 30th concerning your brother. However once again permit me to offer the sympathy of the entire battalion who feel your loss greatly.

As his officer I found that he was a splendid soldier quick to obey any orders given to him and it is with the utmost insurance when I say that he was a credit to his battalion.

Here are some particulars which no doubt will be of interest to you.

On Oct 26th 1917 at 5.40 a.m. we attacked along the Paddebeek Valley, your brother being attached to my command. Our objective was a strong point known as Varlet Farm and it was and it was while we were waiting for the final barrage to lift off the farm (having then travelled 400 yds) that your brother was killed.

I saw him fall, but whether the result of a shell or machine gun fire, I could not say being at the time under a concentration of both. Perhaps it would interest you to know that my command took the farm and adjacent pill-boxs; capturing 2 officers and 32 other ranks & I am sure that though not with us at present his soul now rests in peace, content with the knowledge of achievements, in which he took such a splendid interest whilst in this life.

In conclusion I would like to say to each of you independently & more especially  to his Mother, the heart felt grief expressed by all his comrades and those who knew him was most touching to those who saw it & I am sure that you must .........    


Buckingham Palace Scroll



Great War Memorial Plaque

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War Medals





The roll of honour in St. Peters Church Monks Eleigh, Suffolk.



Panel 2 to 3 and 162 to 162A.

Tyne Cot Memorial







Alfonso Vince

Stanley Vince

Sydney Vince

Alfonso Vince

Stanley Vince

Sydney Vince

Suffolk Regiment

Manchester Regiment

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