Caleb Winsor was born in Hurst early in 1889 to Phoebe Sophia Jacobs.
Two years later his mother married William Charles Winsor.
In 1901 the family were living at 57 Wykeham Road, Earley, Reading and
by that time Caleb had four step sisters:
Martha, Alice, Florence and Beatrice.
By 1911 the family had moved a short distance up the road 155 Wykeham Road.
Caleb's father William was working at the Huntley & Palmer factory as an "oven feeder".
At that time Caleb was serving with the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment in Meerut, India.
2nd Battalion was stationed at Jhansi, India when war broke out and moved to Deolali on 4th September.
Five days later they were on the move again, this time to Bombay, arriving on the 14th September.
They then embarked on the troopship S.S. Dongola, sailing for England on 20th September.
The Battalion arrived at Liverpool on 22nd October 1914 and entrained for Winchester, destined for Hursley Park Camp where they joined 25th Brigade, 8th Division.
They marched to Southampton on 4th November and Alfred embarked for France on S.S. Kingstonian, along with
arriving at Le Havre the following day.
After a short march they reached base camp outside Le Havre with an establishment of 30 officers and 978 other ranks.
The Battalion entrained for Strazeele on 9th November and moved from there to billets at Merville, eventually arriving at Estaires on the 14th November.
From Estaires they relieved the 1st East Surreys on the front line trenches, working in rotation with 2nd Rifle Brigade.
The Battalion suffered terribly from trenchfoot and illness caused by the damp conditions and abrupt change of climate.
Rest periods were taken two miles behind the lines at billets in Laventie.
2nd Battalion was in the front line during the truce of Christmas 1914 and fraternised with Bavarian soldiers in No Man's Land.
The first three months of 1915 were spent on rotation in the trenches before the Battalion took part in their first major engagement at the
Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
They suffered heavy casualties with 75 men killed, 223 men wounded and seventeen missing.
After a summer of front line duty the Battalion again went on the attack in September.
Their unsuccessful advance at the
Battle of Loos
cost 131 men killed, 206 wounded and 60 missing.
The Battalion had been decimated and fell back into Divisional reserve to replenish its complement and train the fresh drafts of men.
In early 1916 they were based south west of Armentieres and again spent some time in the trenches.
On 27th March the Battalion was withdrawn to Divisional reserve at Sailly-sur-la-Lys and next day travelled by train to Longeau Station, Amiens.
From there they marched about ten miles to billets in Flesselles.
After a few days they moved westwards to Millencourt near Albert.
For the next three months the Battalion served in the trenches on the Somme front until on 22nd June 1916 they were withdrawn from the front line in readiness for the imminent offensive.
The barrage commenced a week before the large scale attack that later became known as the
First Day of the Somme.
Over the next few days around forty men arrived to make up the Battalion numbers.
On 30th June the Battalion paraded at 9.15 p.m. before moving forward to the assembly points for the next day's attack.
At 6.25 a.m. on 1st July the bombardment intensified and at 7.30 a.m. it lifted from the German front line trenches.
Whistles blew and the men climbed out of the relative safety of the trenches and moved forward across No Man's Land.
The target for 2nd Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment was the village of Ovillers on which they advanced with 2nd Lincolnshires.
The story of the day is told in the Battalion War Diary:
2ND BATTALION ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT|
SATURDAY 1st JULY 1916, OVILLERS
Attack on OVILLERS. |
The Battalion took up its assembly position in accordance with Brigade Operation Order No. 100.
The 2nd BN LINCOLNSHIRE REGT was on the left and the 2BN DEVONSHIRE REGT on right.
Our own wire was not sufficiently cut and parties were immediately sent out by Companies to clear it.
At 6.25am the intensive bombardment began as scheduled.
At about 7.15am the enemy opened rifle and machine gun fire on our line; this fire was probably drawn by the 2nd DEVON REGT which at about this time attempted to line up in front of their parapet.
At 7.20am Companies began filing down trenches and getting ready for the assault.
At 7.30am the three assaulting Companies advanced to attack the GERMAN line.
They were met by intense rifle and machine gun fire which prevented any of the waves reaching the enemy lines.
A little group on the left of the Battalion succeeded in getting in, but were eventually bombed out.
At about 7.45am the COMMANDING OFFICER (LT COL A.M. HOLDSWORTH) and SECOND IN COMMAND (MAJOR G.H. SAWYER DSO) were wounded in the sap on the left of our front, the COMMDG OFFICER handed over Command of the Battalion to 2nd LIEUT C. MOLLET (ACTG ADJT) by this time the parapet was swept by rifle and machine gun fire which prevented any exit from our trenches.
The enemy replied to our intensive bombardment by barraging the front line from about 6.35am onwards.
No message was received from other Battalions in immediate vicinity.
At about 11am the order came from Bde Headquarters to "stand by" and await further orders.
About 200 men of the Battalion were collected on the right of the front line and in the assembly trenches off ULVERSTON Street.
At about 12.30pm news was received that the Brigade would be relieved.
At about 3pm Major Hon R. BRAND, 2nd Rifle Brigade arranged to take over all the front line and with the sanction of the Brigade the Battalion was withdrawn to RIBBLE STREET.
On relief by the 37th INFANTRY BDE, the Battalion marched back to bivouac in LONG VALLEY.
TWO LEWIS GUNS were damaged, Steel Helmets proved invaluable and in numberless cases saved mens lives.
The following casualties occurred amongst Officers.
KILLED IN ACTION.-|
LIEUT A.J.G. GOODALL.
2nd LIEUT S.S. SCHNEIDER.
DIED OF WOUNDS.-|
LT COL A.M. HOLDSWORTH.
MAJOR G.H. SAWYER DSO.
CAPTAIN B. HAYE.
CAPTAIN J.A. CAHILL.
LIEUT W.C. ADAMS.
2nd LIEUT W.S. MACKAY.
2nd LIEUT J.V.R. OWEN.
2nd LIEUT R.G. GREEN.
2nd LIEUT W. GALE.
CAPTAIN H.T. ROWLEY.
CAPTAIN R.C. LEWIS.
LIEUTENANT B.S. ROBINSON.
LIEUT O.G. PAYNE.
2nd LIEUT H. GODFREY.
2nd LIEUT B.H. BELCHER.
2nd LIEUT P.G. SHIRREFF.
2nd LIEUT M.I. HEMING.
2nd LIEUT S.H. BEDFORD.
3 DIED of WOUNDS.
2nd Battalion suffered 437 casualties on the First Day of the Somme and were withdrawn from the battle next day.
One of those killed was Caleb Winsor; he was twenty-seven years of age.
Also killed was nineteen year old
who grew up in Hurst and belonged to the same Battalion as Caleb.
Two days later
died fighting over the same ground when 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment tried unsuccessfully to take Ovillers.
Caleb has no known grave and is commemorated on the