Southwater War Memorial
677 Private Royal Sussex Regiment 11th Battalion
Landed at L’Havre 1st July 1915
25th July 1916. A five man patrol was sent into "Noman's land" in the evening where it is believed Peter was killed by a sniper.
34 (born Itchingfield)
Son of William and Mrs Caroline Gratwicke of Swains Cottage, Southwater
His younger brother Sidney was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field .
Another brother was interned in Holland after the Antwerp incident. Other brothers also served.
Peter Gratwicke was born, baptised and schooled in Itchingfield and at the time of the 1911 census was 28 years old, single, working as a brick setter and living with his parents at Swains Cottage, Southwater.
Signing up with and serving alongside his cousin Albert, although possibly in a different company, he would have also been in the trenches at Le Quesnoy when Albert was killed but his luck held just a little longer.
At the end of June 1916 the 11th Bn was mainly in a support role, manning observation posts and providing carrying parties, but not engaged in the main action. However, at the Battle of Boar's Head on 30th June 1916 when the sister battalions -the 12th and 13th suffered greatly, the 11th were asked to do more and provided the stretcher bearers required to remove the wounded from the field of battle, and then the burial parties to bury the dead.
Peter survived this and must have thought that luck was with him when the battalion were sent back to their billets on the 2nd July and spent the next week under a regime of cleaning and training. Various short spells in the trenches followed but with little action reported and very few casualties. but on the 25th July 1916, when the 11th Sussex were in trenches at Festubert, the CWGC roll states that Peter Gratwicke was killed in action.
According to the War Diary, German snipers were active during the day although their machine guns were quiet, and then at 6pm German artillery opened up on their positions in retaliation to an earlier British artillery bombardment. A five man patrol was also made into no man’s land that evening and although there are no reports of casualties, Peter Gratwicke may have been killed by a sniper or during the 6pm bombardment, or maybe on the patrol.
Peter was awarded the British War and Victory Medals for his service and is buried at le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoue, France.
Thanks to Barns Green “Service and Sacrifice” by Merve Goddard
Le Touret Military Hopital, Richebourg-L’Avoue, FRANCE