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Picture of William Rutter
William Rutter
Lance Corporal - Service Number 12/3804

William was born on the 11th of October 1892 son of William and Mary Rutter and lived with his mother in Bowen Street Cambridge. Leaving school in September 1905, he headed for Onehunga and worked as a Carter. On enlistment he joined the Auckland Regiment serving as a Lance Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, A Company. He left with the 9th Reinforcements from Wellington on the 8th of January 1916. He sailed on HMNZT37 the SS Maunagui for Suez.
On the 21st of March 1918, the Germans launched a massive offensive, one last attempt to win the war before the Americans arrived. They planned to drive a wedge between the British and French and force the British back to the sea. The Germans swept the 5th Army back over the Somme battlefield of 1916 heading for Amiens. The 2nd Battalion rushed into the gap in the line. From the 26th of March the 2nd Battalion bore the brunt of the German attack at Mailly-Maillet and were in fierce fighting at La Signy farm. On the 30th, the Battalion launched a surprise attack at 2pm with no preliminary artillery bombardment. At zero hour a shrapnel barrage hit the German front line and the Battalion leapt out of the trenches and over the 200 yards of no man's land. With complete surprise the Battalion reached the German front line before the Germans were able to fire back. They set about the Germans with rifle, bayonet, and grenade and forced a retreat. Fighting was fierce and in one incident a German machine gun fired on a group of Waikato men and fourteen were all shot through the head. At the end of the attack the New Zealanders held the high ground and forced the Germans back down the valley. A very successful attack, with 140 Germans killed, 150 prisoners, 42 machine guns, and 2 mortars captured. William died of wounds on the 30th of March, 1918 (as did John Devitt another CHS old boy). He was 26 years of age. He is buried in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extention No 1 Block VI Row G Grave.25.