Fitzroy Alfred Reffell was born 1Q/1899 in St George Hanover Square, The eldest son
of William Alfred Reffell (1877-1944) and Ethel Elizabeth Dawson (1877-1946).In 1911 his father was
a taxi driver and the family lived at 24 Sutherland Street Belgravia. He was unmarried and
awarded the 1915 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser's Battle), also known as the Ludendorff
Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front which marked the deepest
advances by either side since 1914. The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance
of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming resources of the United
States could be deployed later that year. They also had the advantage of nearly 50 divisions freed
by the Russian surrender.
On 21 March 1918, the Germans launched the last major offensive against the British Fifth Army. By the
end of that day the British had lost nearly 20,000 dead and 35,000 wounded, and the Germans had
broken through at several points. After two days Fifth Army was
in full retreat. As they fell back, many of the isolated redoubts were left to be surrounded
and overwhelmed by the following German infantry.
On 24 March
the Germans are held back in desperate fighting round Bapaume, they cross the Somme between Peronne and
Ham, and take Nesle and Peronne. Further south they captured Guiscard and Chauny. After a few days however,
the German advance began to falter, as the infantry became exhausted and it became increasingly difficult
to move artillery and supplies forward to support them. On 5 April the operation was cancelled. By the
standards of the time there had been a substantial advance, but it was however a Pyrrhic
Panel 7 to 10 Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France