BURROWS, Samuel S.

1st World War
Attested at
Edinburgh, Scotland
Regimental Number
Lance Corporal
Date of Death
Age at Death
38 years
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        British Third Army
                                             British XVII Corps   
                                             257th Tunnelling Company
                                             Royal Engineers
SERVICE NO:                   158059
RESIDENCE:                    Edinburgh – Scotland 
DATE OF BIRTH:            Approximately 1880
                                             Seaforth – Tuckersmith Township – County of Huron
DATE OF DEATH:           March 24, 1918                    38 years approximately.
CEMETERY:                     Duisans British Cemetery – Etrun – 
                                             Pas de Calais - France
                                             VI     E     54
WIFE:                                 Mrs. Margaret Burrows – Stricklandgate – Kendal – Cumbria - England
PARENTS:                         Mr. Charles and Elizabeth Ann Burrows – Seaforth – Ontario
Enlistment:                         Edinburgh - Scotland
As Operation Michael was about to begin the 257th Tunneling Company was attached to XVII Corps.
Operation Michael was the German Offensive that began March 21, 1918 was a plan to crush and break the Allied lines. The British V Army very nearly was. By March 24th there were just small bodies of British soldiers left. During the day of March 24th the enemy brought down heavy artillery bombardments and by nightfall the majority of the line on the Somme front has been lost. The British V Army had done nothing but do endless retreats. At sunset Bapaume was lost and the enemy occupied it.
The 257th Tunnelling Company was originally part of the British V Army Troops – Royal Engineers which was formed in April 1916 as a Reserve Force, but then in October 1916 it became part of the British V Army. This force was largely destroyed in March 1918 duringthe German Offensive and in April 1918 was dissolved.
Tunnelling Companies originally were formed to dig attacking tunnels under the enemy front lines. In addition, they would dig deep dugouts to house troops, the digging of subways, the digging of cable trenches and as well dug underground chambers for signallers and medical personell.
In February they had moved to the caves / tunnels located around Arras and began to prepare the defences on the front line trenches and tunnels for the expected German Offensive.
The enemy offensive placed the men of the 257th in a very precarious position for a number of weeks. The enemy had the superior numbers and this enabled them to overrun the British front and very soon the men of the 257th became involved in the fighting. They now found themselves in a war of movement and day after day they quickly evacuated their camps and were always marching, digging and holding their posts, beating off the enemy attacks, counter-attacking, bombing, machine gunning and doing what the infantry did. In addition, they were tasked with the blowing of bridges and roads to stem the enemy advance.
From the above we must assume that Lance Corporal Burrows paid the supreme sacrifice on the battlefield and not under the battlefield in the tunnels on March 24, 1918 during the First Battles of the Somme at Baupaume.