2nd Battalion 95th (Rifles)
Robert Exelby 2nd Batt. 95th Reg. Foot
Ex John Darwent Collection
Steel clip and later suspension ring.
The 95th Rifles were founded in 1800 as the Experimental Corps of Riflemen under Colonel Coote Manningham from Officers and OR’s drafted in from other Regiments, to provide marksmen, scouts and skirmishers. It entered the “Line” as the 95th in 1803. They were armed with the famous Baker rifle, accurate to about 200 yards, four times that of the standard Brown Mess musket, The Regiment was to eventually form 3 Battalions and earn an envious service record in South America, The Baltic, The Peninsular War and The Waterloo Campaign.
Robert Exelby was serving in the North Yorks Militia when he transferred to 95th Rifles on the 1st April 1809, for a period of 7 years being paid a bounty of £5 5 shillings. The North Yorks Militia having had Rifle Companies as part of its establishment since 1795, he would have been familiar with the drill of the Rifle Regiment, and wouldn’t have been an uncommon transfer. Indeed, Sir John Kincaid (who wrote Adventures in the Rifle Brigade) had served as an Ensign and Lieutenant in the same Militia for several years.
The 2nd/95th formed part of 2nd Division (3rd Brigade), along with the 52nd and 71st, two other Light Infantry Battalions. Exelby was in Captain John Garlies McCollough’s Company at Waterloo (who only had use of one arm, and was to lose the other due to wounds!).
The Division were originally formed behind the Nivelles Road, but in the afternoon it was ordered by the Duke of Wellington to form a 4 deep line and attack the swarm of French skirmishers who had driven in the artillerymen on the crest of the position. These were repulsed and the Division advanced to the left rear of Hougoumont. Here they were charged by the French cavalry and were forced to form square. Again and again the French charged but were successfully held at bay. Because of the threat from the French now in Hougoumont, the Division were withdrawn behind the crest of the main position. It was at this point that Napoleon sent his massed columns of French Imperial Guard Regiments, never been beaten before in battle, in one last desperate attempt to turn the battle in his favour. As they clashed with the 3rd Battalion Guards and prompted by the Colonel of the 52nd, the Division wheeled into position and poured fire into the flank. The Imperial Guard collapsed under such overwhelming firepower and the route of the Franch Army began!
A letter from an Officer in the 2nd Battalion, Lieutenant R C Eyre, to his mother gives a first-hand account:
Brussels, 28 June 1815
My dear Mother,
Notwithstanding you and I have not been very good correspondents, I think you do not quite forget me. I shall therefore write (as the state of affairs at present are a little out of the common way) and endeavour to give you some idea of how things have gone on here. You will see that I am not dead when you get this, but lest you should be tempted to hurry over the epistle (in order to find out how I am in the end) and thereby be in some measure insensible to the sublimity of the description I am about to give you, I tell you that I am in a very fair way of a recovery.
To commence I must likewise tell you that on the fifteenth our regiment were on outpost duty on the French frontier near Mons and were just getting into play with some French lancers when we were ordered to retire and with the whole of the division in that part of the country to march immediately to the Duke of Wellington’s headquarters, this was a distance of about fifty one miles!
We started about four o’clock in the afternoon, trudged on the whole night and arrived the next evening at the place of assembly for the British and Belgian armies. The first news we learned here was that the Prussian troops had been attacked and driven out of their cantonments, that after some hard fighting and the loss of some thousand prisoners they had retired upon the British army for support. We likewise found that our outposts (who kept up the communication with the right of the Prussian line) had been attacked and driven in, and that Lord Wellington had with the greatest difficulty checked the advance of the French upon Brussels, which he effected by lining a wood about ten miles in front of the town with those troops which composed its garrison, among which was our first battalion. The French army just then retired and we were ordered to follow them up and form a chain of sentries when they came to their position for the night.
On the seventeenth we had some hard skirmishing but no general attack was made on either side. That night we remained in a wood in advance. At day break on 18th we saw nothing of the enemy, it continued (as it had done all night) to rain tremendously! Our wounded were in a desperate situation, and those who were not wounded were like so many half drowned and half-starved rats. At about seven o’clock however to our great satisfaction the skirmishers were called in, and as a reward for our nocturnal labours, we had leave from General Adam who commanded our (Light) Brigade to plunder three farm houses which were near us! The idea of a fire was a most consoling one! Chairs, tables, sofas, cradles, churns, barrels and all manner of combustibles were soon cracking in the flames, our fellows then proceeded to the slaughter of all the living stock the yard contained, and in less than an hour we had as delicious a breakfast of beef, pork, veal, duck, chicken, potatoes and other delicacies as I ever made an attack upon.
This repast was just finished and our fellows had got themselves thoroughly dry when we were ordered to fall in and proceed as fast as possible with the 52nd and 71st Regiments (which comprised our brigade) to the front to protect three brigades of artillery which were ordered out to the edge of the hill on which the British and Belgic armies had taken up their position. About 11 o’clock a.m. the enemy commenced their attack with near three hundred pieces of cannon which they brought up in three different points, the whole of their fire was however directed to the point we occupied. Our cavalry then went to the front and was received in a warm manner by the enemy whose cavalry at this moment advanced to the amount of about thirty thousand! Our dragoons made some dashing charges, but from the immense superiority of numbers against them they were soon obliged to retire and make way for the advance of infantry. Before the columns in the rear had time to come up, the whole of the French cavalry in our part of the field made an attack upon our artillery. Our fellows defended them in gallant style, our brigade was however terribly weakened!
We had lost our general, and our regiment had lost three successive commanding officers (our two colonels and major). At this critical moment Lord Wellington sent the Guards and a brigade of the Brunswick Oels to support us.
Soon after the repeated huzza’s and determined conduct of the British soldiers convinced the enemy that our position could not be carried. Some fresh supports again coming up obliged the French cavalry to take themselves off and we were ordered to charge which threw them into the greatest possible confusion. About four o’clock we found that some divisions of Prussians had come up, made an attack, and turned the left flank of the enemy.
Things then began to wear a more favourable appearance. The whole British and Belgic army came up in squares; the French cavalry which had by this time got into a little order, then made another charge and were beaten back with an immense loss without doing us any harm. As soon as they had cleared the way a second time our whole army formed line.
The French Imperial Guards and the whole of their infantry advanced and (we flatter ourselves) were met in the most glorious style. The action was now become general and at its height. The fate of the day was at length decided by a charge of our whole army in line four deep. After a conflict which I cannot attempt to describe to you the French Imperial Guards gave way and their whole force were thrown into the utmost confusion. We followed them (shouting and keeping up a tremendous fire of musketry, shells and rockets) about seven miles during which pursuit a scene presented itself which I think hell itself could not surpass; about dusk we came up to two villages which our rockets had set fire to, here the French thought they may easily check our pursuit and with that idea brought about their whole artillery which they commenced loading with grape and round shot and poured them in on us from all quarters, their infantry likewise kept up a destructive fire of musketry.
If anything in the world would have damped the ardour of British troops this would have done it but their confidence in their general and encouraged as they were by success the devil himself would not have stopped them. They continued their huzzas and dashed through everything that opposed them. We now came to an immense hill where we found the consternation of the routed enemy so great that all classes of them, dragoons, infantry and artillery were mixed in one immense and confused mass. The greater part of their infantry threw down their packs and arms to be able to mount the hill they were then endeavouring to get over. Those we came up to ran into us as prisoners. Our lines then shortened pace to allow our cavalry and light troops to make a flank movement and get round to the other side of the hill, by this we succeeded in taking a great number of prisoners, a great part of their artillery and the whole of their provision and ammunition wagons.
It however gave us some hard work as the part of the French army we had cut off fought hard with the idea of joining their companions who were better at running than themselves. In this however they were foiled, and in this last movement (about half past nine at night) which gloriously concluded a well and hard fought day, I was fortunate enough to get wounded! A musket ball entered just below the wrist in my left hand, the bones leading to my thumb and forefinger are a good deal smashed, the ball is still in my hand. Some leather and velvet which was driven in from my sleeve and glove have been already extracted but there is too much inflammation to allow them to cut out the ball. I am however assured that there is no danger of losing the hand and that I shall in great measure recover the use of it. I have now given you a full description of the fight and shall conclude by saying a little more of myself. When I was wounded it was dark, my friend Drummond (who you have heard me mention) got a man of the band to assist me to the rear in quest of a surgeon but after wandering as far as my strength would allow me I found the attempt to find one useless and therefore got the man who was with me to search for some blankets among the packs of the unfortunate fellows who were pretty thickly scattered about us and after getting well wrapped up laid down for the remainder of the night. In this situation I suffered the most excruciating pains.
In the early part of the fight I was struck in the left knee by a piece of shell; whilst I kept myself in motion I felt very little from the blow which did not penetrate but after I had lain some time on the ground it gave me an immensity of pain as it was much swollen and perfectly stiff. At day break on 19th Drummond found me out and to my unspeakable joy procured a dragoon horse that was slightly wounded to take me to Brussels. I shall not attempt to describe the scene which presented itself in retracing the ground we had fought over. The whole of the French wounded were not taken from the field on the 24th (six days after the action). We had fourteen companies here of our regiment 6 of the first [battalion], 6 of the second and 2 of the third, and had lost 38 officers in killed and wounded. I have lost the whole of my baggage and horse in an attack by the French on the 17th. I am now in a very good billet. The people are very kind to me, they give me linen and clothes when I can get up. Give my love to Will if you have an opportunity of writing to him and make sure you and him between you write me a long letter by return of post. As soon as the ball is taken out of my hand I shall go to the regiment, it is now in Paris. You will see when I began this letter by the date, it is now 11th July and I think it is time it should start. Remember me to Mr Charles, and tell him when I go to England I will bring him a Flemish pipe and some Dutch tobacco which is much better than the tobacco in England.
Your very dutiful Son R C Eyre Direct to me: Lieutenant R C Eyre 2nd Battalion 95th Rifles bounded at Brussels Flanders.
Post Waterloo Muster roll shows Exelby as Servant to General McKenzie in Antwerp and returned to England with him in September 1815.
Discharged 23 April 1816 period of service expired.
Copy: Muster and pay records
Slight edge bruising
Royal Navy / Coast Guard
1915 Star & Victory Medal
Served on HMS Vindex – Seaplane Carrier
181267 Petty Officer 1 Frederick Rich
Born 1st March 1879 in Ermington, Devon. Frederick was a Labourer at the time of his enlistment on 22nd August 1894, aged just 15.
He served on various ships and land bases including:
HMS Devastation (Ironclad) – Feb 96 to Aug 96
HMS Hawke (Cruiser) – Aug 96 to Aug 99 (This would have included the Cruiser’s involvement in the Greco-Turkish War prompted by the Greek uprising on Crete)
HMS Cambridge – Nov 99 to May 00 (Gunnery School)
HMS Defiance – May 00 to Nov 00, Feb 01 to Nov 01 & Feb 04 to Sep 04 (Torpedo School)
HMS Magnificent (Pre Dreadnought Battleship) – Jan 02 to Feb 03
HMS Diana (Cruiser) – Oct 04 to Nov 06
HMS Europa (Cruiser) – Feb 08 to Aug 09
HMS Devonshire (Cruiser) – Aug 09 to Jun 11
HMS Warrior (Cruiser) – Jun 11 to May 12
It was at this time that Frederick was transferred to the Coast Guard:
Southern Irish Coast Guard – Ballycrovane – Jul 12 to Jul 14 – Rank, Leading Seaman / Boatman. (Infamous for the attack on the Coast Guard Station there in 1920)
HMS Wildfire / Pembroke I / Victory / HMS Jabiru – Aug 14 to Aug 15 (Promoted Petty Officer / Boatman)
MFA Vindex – Aug 15 to Mar 19 (Petty Officer 1st Class / Leading Boatman)
The Vindex was built in 1905 by Armstrong Whitworth, Newcastle upon Tyne as the Viking, a fast passenger ferry for the Isle of Man Steam Packet. Viking was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 26 March 1915 for conversion to a seaplane carrier, and was purchased outright on 11 November 1915. She was renamed HMS Vindex to avoid confusion with the destroyer HMS Viking.
Vindex was assigned to the Harwich Force in November 1915 and operated in the North Sea through 1917. A Bristol Scout flown by Flight Lieutenant Harold Towler made the first take-off from the ship on 3 November 1915 with the ship steaming at 12 knots; the aircraft only used 46 feet (14.0 m) of the flight deck and it was the first take-off by a landplane from a Royal Navy ship. On 25 March 1916 Vindex attempted to attack the Zeppelin base at Tondern with three Short Type 184 and two Sopwith Baby floatplanes, but the attack was ineffective. It did, however, draw out elements of the German Navy so it was repeated on 4 May with the addition of HMS Engadine. The two ships carried eleven Babies between them, each armed with 65-pound (29.5 kg) bombs, but eight failed to take-off; one hit the mast of an escorting destroyer and one had to return due to engine trouble. No damage was inflicted, but one Zeppelin was shot down by a cruiser when it sortied to find the British ships. On 2 August one of her Bristol Scouts unsuccessfully attacked the Zeppelin LZ17 with explosive Ranken darts, the first interception of an airship by a carrier-based aircraft in history. Vindex was to provide aerial reconnaissance with two of her seaplanes for a Coastal Motor Boat raid on 22 October 1916, but the operation was aborted because of fog.
The ship was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet at Malta in 1918, where she served until she was paid off in late 1919.
No indication of LSGC medal being awarded.
Copy Service Papers
Royal Navy – Submariner
Killed on Board K4 – “Battle of May Island”
Distinguished Service Medal (GVR) – “Submarine Service 1917”, 1915 Star Trio & LSGC
Awarded to 215872 Leading Seaman William Rowley
Distinguished Service Medal, G.V.R. (215872. W. Rowley. Lg. Sea. Submarine Service 1917)
1914-15 Star (215872, W. Rowley, L.S. R.N.)
British War and Victory Medals (215872. W. Rowley. P.O. R.N.)
Royal Navy L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 1st issue (215872 William Rowley, Ldg. Sean. H.M.S. Fearless.)
Original Admiralty transmittal letter for the Great War campaign medals.
DSM London Gazette 30th October 1917
Born 15th September 1883 in Newcastle Under Lyme in Staffordshire, William enlisted into the Royal Navy on the 15th September 1901, the day of his 18th Birthday.
He served on some of the pre-War Corvettes and Cruisers such as HMS Northampton, Cleopatra, Bonaventure and the Pathfinder, and the Battleships HMS London and Neptune up till January 1914. It was at this point that he switched to a career in the fledgling Submarine Service of the Royal Navy. He served aboard the Submarine Depot ships HMS Dolphin, Maidstone and Adamant before serving onboard E2 between 10th July 1915 and 31st March 1916.
“E2 was commissioned on the 13th July 1913, and in January 1914 she was assigned to the 8th Flotilla which initially operated out of Portsmouth, but moved to Harwich at the outbreak of the War. In January 1914, E2 was part of the 8th Submarine Flotilla at Portsmouth with the depot ship HMS Maidstone and on the outbreak of war in August 1914, the flotilla moved to Harwich in order to patrol the North Sea. In August 1915, E2 was sent to the Dardanelles to relieve E14. On the way there, E2 encountered the anti-submarine net the Turks had laid off Nagara and became entangled in it. Stocks, now promoted to Commander, maneuvered the boat in an attempt to free her, but this had not gone unnoticed by the Turks. Small boats began dropping bombs on the boat and these were joined by a destroyer firing shells into the water. None of these caused any damage or casualties aboard the boat and she freed herself, badly straining the deck gun mount in doing so. It took two days to repair it.” (Harwich and Dovercourt Website)
After another couple of stints aboard the Depot ships Europa and Dolphin he then served on the Submarine K4 from 1st January 1917. It was during this period that not only did William win his Distinguished Service Medal and awarded his LSGC, but was also promoted to Petty Officer on the 15th November. His LSGC must have been awarded sometime between 1st January and 15th November 1917 as it is named with the rank of Leading Seaman whilst attached to HMS Fearless (The ship responsible for the 13th Submarine Flotilla) – his previous 4 years character and ability assessment noted as RMG – Recommended for Medal and Gratuity.
On the 31st January 1917 the submarine K4 took part in what ironically was to be known as “The Battle of May Island”:
Around 40 naval vessels left Rosyth on the Firth of Forth, Scotland on the afternoon bound for Scapa Flow in Orkney where the exercise, EC1, involving the entire Grand Fleet would take place the following day.
The vessels included the 5th Battle Squadron of three battleships with their destroyer escorts, the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron of four battlecruisers and their destroyers, two cruisers and two flotillas of K-class submarines each led by a surface warship. The K class submarines were specially designed to operate with a battle fleet. They were large boats for their time, at 339 feet (103 m) long and were powered by steam turbines to allow them to travel at 24 knots on the surface, to keep up with the fleet.
The two flotillas were the 12th Submarine Flotilla, consisting of K3, K4, K6 and K7, led by Captain Charles Little in the light cruiser HMS Fearless, and the 13th Submarine Flotilla, consisting of K11, K12, K14, K17 and K22, led by Commander Ernest William Leir in the destroyer HMS Ithuriel.
Vice Admiral Beatty had moved the 12th and 13th flotillas of K class submarines in December 1917 from Scapa Flow to Rosyth in order to ensure that they were in a better strategic location from which to undertake operations.
At 18:30 hours the vessels weighed anchor, and the entire fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Evan-Thomas in Courageous steamed in a single line nearly 30 miles (48 km) long. At the head of the line was the Courageous, followed by Ithuriel leading the rest of the 13th Submarine Flotilla. Several miles behind them was the battlecruiser squadron containing HMAS Australia, HMS New Zealand, Indomitable and Inflexible with their destroyers. After these came the 12th Submarine Flotilla and bringing up the rear were three battleships, which were accompanied by a number of screening destroyers. The initial speed was 16 knots, but Evan-Thomas had ordered his forces to increase speed to 22 knots when they passed May Island, which lay just at the entrance to the Forth estuary.
All vessels were ordered to sail astern of each other, 400 yards (370 m) apart. To avoid attracting German U-boats, particularly as one was suspected to be in the area, after dark each vessel showed only a dim blue stern light accompanied by black-out shields that restricted the lights to one compass point either side of the boats’ centreline, and they also were all instructed to maintain radio silence.
The night was clear and the seas relatively calm, but the moon had not yet come up. As each group passed the Isle of May at the mouth of the firth, they altered course and increased speed to 20 knots.
At approximately 19:00 hours, Courageous passed May Island and increased speed, just as a low-lying bank of mist settled over the sea. As the 13th Submarine Flotilla passed the island, a pair of lights (possibly minesweeping naval trawlers) were seen approaching the line of submarines. The flotilla altered course sharply to port to avoid them, but the helm of the third-in-line K14 jammed for six minutes and she veered out of line. Both K14 and the boat behind her, K12 turned on their navigation lights. Eventually K14s helm was freed and she tried to return to her position in the line. The next submarine in line, K22, had lost sight of the rest of the flotilla in the mist and veered off the line, with the result that she hit K14 at 19:17 hours, severing the bow and breaching the forward mess deck, where two men were killed. Both stricken submarines stopped and carefully pulled themselves apart whilst the rest of the flotilla, unaware of what had happened, continued out to sea.
K22 radioed in code to the cruiser leading the flotilla to say that she could reach port but that K14 was crippled and sinking.
About fifteen minutes later, the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron passed the island and the two submarines. The captain of K22 ordered the firing of a red Very light, which ensured three of the four battlecruisers were able to avoid both submarines. However, the battlecruiser Inflexible bringing up the rear struck K22 a glancing blow at 19:43 hours before continuing on her way. The battlecruiser bent the first 30 feet (9.1 m) of the bow of K22 at right angles and wrecked the ballast and fuel tanks. She settled by the bow until only the conning tower showed.
Meanwhile, Leir, Captain of Ithuriel, had received and decoded the message about the first collision between the two submarines and turned back to help them. Leir sent an encoded message to the flag officer on HMS Australia at 20:40 hours, warning them of what was happening.
“Submarines K-12 and K-22 have been in collision and are holed forward. I am proceeding to their assistance with 13th Submarine Flotilla. Position 18 miles east magnetic from May Island”.
This could have made a difference and prevented the loss of at least some of those in the water, except that the primitive technology of the time meant that transmission was delayed until 21:20. The submarines behind Ithuriel turned to follow her, and the flotilla headed back towards the 2nd Battlecruiser Squadron, which then passed through the flotilla. It was only through emergency turns by both groups of vessels that further accidents were narrowly avoided.
As the 13th Flotilla reached the Isle of May, they encountered the outbound 12th Submarine Flotilla. Fearless, the leader of the 12th Flotilla, loomed out of the mist, and upon sighting the 13th flotilla attempted to avoid them by going “hard astern” and sounding the related alarm, but the cruiser was moving too fast to do so and collided with the starboard side of K17 at approximately 20:32 hours.K17 then sank within a few minutes, although most of her crew were able to jump overboard. Fearless launched her boats in a failed attempt to rescue any survivors, but the few found were recovered by one of the other submarines. The bulkheads bow of Fearless had to be shored up to prevent further flooding, but she was not in any danger of sinking and returned to Rosyth at a very slow speed. She was repaired and survived the war.
Upon hearing the sirens raised by Fearless which signalled that she had stopped, K4 also came to a stop, but the trailing boats did not. K3 narrowly missed K4 and then stopped three cables further on, but K6, despite going full astern, could not avoid a collision, ramming the broadside of K4 at 20:36 hours and nearly cutting the latter in half. The seriously damaged K4 sank with all of her crew; while going down, she was hit by K7 at 20:38 hours.
At this point the 5th Battle Squadron of three battleships and their destroyers passed through the area, unaware of what had happened, with some of the destroyers cutting down the survivors of K17 struggling in the water. Only nine of the 56 men originally on board the submarine survived, and one of these died of his injuries shortly afterwards.
Within 75 minutes, the submarines K17 and K4 had been sunk, and K6, K7, K14, K22 and Fearless had been damaged.
K14 was taken in tow by HMS Venetia and reached port.
Copy: Service papers, CWGC, RN War Graves Roll
A superb and Rare set of medals to a long serving member of the Submarine Service from the outset of WW1, lost in the most tragic of circumstances.
Australian Imperial Force
1st Tunnelling Company
WW1 Military Medal and Pair
Awarded to 3644 2nd Cpl James Edward Mobbs
Military Medal, G.V.R. (3644 Spr: J. E. Mobbs. Aust: E.)
British War and Victory Medals (3644 2-Cpl. J. E. Mobbs. 1 Tun. Coy. A.I.F.)
London Gazette 3rd July 1919
Born 1886 in Ashburnham, New South Wales, Australia, a Bee Farmer, James enlisted on the 3rd November 1915 at Holdsworthy, New South Wales, originally being posted to the 18th Battalion, he was then posted to the 4th Tunnelling Company on the 29th August 1916 in Wareham, England. On the 8th December 1916 he went AWOL and was given 24hrs detention. He was then in and out of hospital several times with a sprained back until he was posted to the 1st Tunnelling Company in France on the 9th May 1917.
After the Battle of Hill 60 (April–May 1915), Tunnelling companies of the Royal Engineers took up mining operations under the hill and the neighbouring ground on a much more ambitious scale. Deep mining under the German galleries beneath Hill 60 began in late August 1915, with the 175th Tunnelling Company, which began a gallery 220 yards (200 m) behind the British front line and passed 90 feet (27 m) beneath the German positions. The British underground works consisted of an access gallery (Berlin Tunnel) leading to two mine chambers, Hill 60 A (beneath Hill 60) and Hill 60 B (beneath The Caterpillar), to be loaded with explosives and detonated at the appointed time. The 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company took over in April 1916 and completed the galleries, the Hill 60 mine being charged with explosives in July 1916 and the branch gallery under The Caterpillar in October.
By October 1916, the mine under Hill 60 held 53,300 pounds (24,200 kg) of explosives and that under The Caterpillar 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg), despite water-logging and the demolition by a camouflet of 200 feet (61 m) of a German gallery above the British diggings, which endangered the British deep galleries.
The 1st Australian Tunnelling Company took over in November 1916 and maintained the mines beneath Hill 60 and The Caterpillar over the winter and months of underground fighting.
It was during one of these German counter-mine actions that James was wounded on the 26th May 1917. The War Diary entry for that day:
“At 8.45pm on 25-5-17 the enemy blew a heavy mine which cratered in No-man’s land between Anzac shaft and Cutting. Did considerable damage to our mining system in A, B, Beta and C galleries and broke some leads. The centre of the blow appears to be at the left of “B” and above enemy artillery active. No attempt was made by the enemy to occupy the crater. 3 men wounded.”
Further entry, on the 27th:
“2 entombed listeners were rescued last night. Usual noise in “A” have been reported by one of the rescued men. Leads repaired and tested, found all correct. 1 man wounded.”
James was evacuated on the 26th, suffering from Mine Gas poisoning, to 10th Casualty Clearing Station, but back with the 1st TC on the 4th July.
Mine Gas, or Carbon Monoxide (CO), was a constant problem for the tunnellers. Whenever an explosion occurred, CO was produced, the amount depending on the explosive used. On the surface the gas was allowed to dissipate, but in the tunnels it became trapped. A very small amount in the air, as little as 0.1%, was enough to incapacitate then kill.
When the mines were detonated at 3:10 a.m. on 7 June 1917, 990,000 pounds (450,000 kg) of explosives went off under the German positions, demolishing a large part of Hill 60 and killing c. 10,000 German soldiers between Ypres and Ploegsteert. This signaled the start of the Battle of Messines.
He was eventually promoted to 2nd Corporal on the 15th November 1918.
Lots more information about the life of a WW1 Tunneller can be found on this excellent website:
As the War Diary for the AIF 1st Tunnelling Company is available to download from the Australian Government website, there is lots of research potential in these medals for someone willing to invest some time in to the full story.
Mounted as worn.
Copy: Service papers, LG, War Diary Excerpts
36th Bengal Native Infantry
Indian Mutiny 1857-59
Officer & Freemason Grand Master
Awarded to Lieutenant Marmaduke Ramsay
Marmaduke Ramsay was born at Boulogne sur Mer on 10 March 1837, son of Sir Alexander Ramsay and Elizabeth. He was recommended for the H.E.I.C. Army by his uncle and guardian Lord Panmure and was gazetted Ensign in the 36th Bengal Native Infantry on 20 March 1855; Lieutenant, 31 May 1857; Captain, 20 March 1867; Major, 20 March 1875; Lieutenant-Colonel, 21 March 1881.
According to his own statement of service he was ‘present with my regiment the 36th Native Infantry on the occasion of its mutiny with the other troops stationed at Jullundar (sometimes spelt Jalandhar) in June 1857, and accompanied Brigadier Johnstone’s column in pursuit. Joined the Loyal Poorbeah Regiment, now 17th Bengal Native Infantry, on its being raised and served as Adjutant till January 1860. To Staff Corps 1861. Retired 22nd October 1882.’
Ramsay was a prominent freemason and was District Grand Master of the Punjab, 1874-1881; was appointed Grand Superintendent of the District Grand Chapter, Malta, 1881; District Grand Master Member of the Thirty-Second Degree, Malta, 1888; Eminent Preceptor of the Knights Templar of Malta, Melita Preceptory, and Intendant General of the Masonic Order of the Red Cross of Constantinople, in 1891.
Colonel Marmaduke Ramsay died on 23 January 1893, and is buried in Ta Braxia Cemetery, Malta. His grave marker funded by fellow Freemasons.
WW1 MM & Bar & Pair & WW2 Defence Medal
4th Worcestershire Regiment & 1st Warwickshire Regiment
Awarded to 40285 L/Cpl William John Keenan (19179 Serjeant on Pair)
LG MM – 11th January 1918
LG Bar – 11th February 1919
Born in 1896 in Tyrone, Ireland. He was living in Rahoran, Cole, Tyrone in 1911, as a Telegraph Messenger. He moved sometime in the next few years to settle in Rugby, Warwickshire.
The Rugby Advertiser, 27th November 1915, lists William enlisting at the Rugby Drill Hall under the Group System – Single Men (also known as the Derby Scheme), giving his address as 32 West Leyes, Rugby.
Posted to France, he won his first MM on the 9th October 1917 when the 4th went “Over the Top” at Langemarck, Ypres. From the War Diary:
“The barrage started at 5.20am moving at the rate of 100yds in 6 minutes. The Broembeek stream was crossed without difficulty, though it was sufficient obstacle to cause a good deal of disorganization among units. The leading coys (W & X) gained their objective to time, about 6am – although meeting with a good deal of opposition the advance was not hung up. During the first advance touch was kept with the Coldstream Guards on left and 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers on Right. News that first objective had been captured reached Btn HQ at 6.15am by wire. At 7am Btn HQ moved forward to Namur Crossing. The barrage shelled for about an hour in front of 1st objective and then moved forward at the rate pf 100 yds in 8 min to the 2nd objective. The second line companies pushed on close to the barrage and captured the 2nd objective with rather less opposition. This line was also consolidated and touch gained with the Irish Guards on the left and Royal Fusiliers on right. The 1st NFLD Reg then formed up behind this line and when after an hour the barrage moved forward again they followed it and captured the 3rd objective. The Battalion took 6 Officers and 200 OR prisoners and captured 5 machine guns. We lost likked 2 Officers, 20 OR, wounded 5 Officers 107 OR, Missing 40.
The War Diary entry for 28th October lists the awards to the Battalion for operations on the 9th October as 4 MC’s, 4 DCM’s and 26 MM’s (plus 4 from other units) – a hard days fighting indeed!!
The Bar to the MM was awarded for 4th September 1918 at Bailleul whilst William was attached to the Trench Mortar Battalion:
War Diary for that date:
“At 1.15pm Brigade HQ notified us that Companies were to be ready to move at short notice, as the 2nd Leinsters had reported the enemy massing for a counter attack. At 1.30pm 2 companies moved forward and reinforced the 2nd Leinsters and 2nd Hampshire (who had suffered fairly heavy casualties). At about 2.30pm the enemy counter-attacked but did not succeed in penetrating our lines except on the extreme left, where he entered the trench as was taken prisoner”.
William probably earned the Bar shelling this counter attack with his Trench Mortar Battery.
For the last few weeks of the war it looks like William was promoted to Serjeant and posted to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He then served as 06728 Hampshire Regiment, but this couldn’t have been for long – possibly just for his demobilization.
On his return back to England, he married Muriel Hill in Rugby in 1930, and on the 1939 register are shown living at 12 Brown Road, Rugby as a Railway Telephonist. Possibly awarded Defence medal for ARP services on the Railways?
He died in Rugby in 1985 of Heart failure, just 7 months short of his 100th birthday.
Comes with two Rare & Original 29th Division award certificates for the MM and Bar and a photograph of the recipient, mounted on velvet covered card.
Mounted for display.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, War Diaries, Newspaper articles, Marriage entry, 39 Register, Death Certificate, Irish Census Rolls.
Scarce to Regiment: £1395
Territorial Force War Medal
2/5th Cheshire Regiment
Killed in Action
Awarded to 659 Serjeant John Lee Whatmough
Born Bury in 1886, son of Samuel and Sarah Whatmough. The 1911 Census shows John living in Macclesfield and working as a Silk Printer in Langley. In 1912 he married Agnes Ethel Parker in Peckham, London.
Volunteering for overseas service he was posted to France with the Cheshire Regiment. During October 1917 he was discharged, time expired and returned home, by this time living at 2 Arbuthnot Road, New Cross, SE14.
He quickly re-enlisted, this time into a local Regiment, the 2/4th Royal Berkshire’s (Service Number 220001), and was posted back to France. Sadly he was killed by shrapnel on the 3rd December 1917, within a week of returning. The War Diary states:
“3rd December – Placed under orders of 183 Bde for use as storming and counter attack troops. Trenches severely shelled. Enemy attacks in great force taking place all round.”
The Heywood Advertiser 21st December includes Sjt Whatmough’s obituary and states he was killed by shrapnel whilst leading an attack. Also includes a (poor quality) photo.
Remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, Pension Card, CWGC, War Diary, Newspaper Articles, 1911 Census.
Scarce TFWM Casualty
1st Royal Dragoons / Mounted Military Police
Awarded to 8712 Pte J McQuillan
To France 8th October 1914 (Entitled to Clasp & Roses)
The 1st Dragoons formed part of 6th Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division and took part in these early actions:
The Antwerp Operations (9 – 10 October)
The Battle of Langemarck (21 – 24 October)
The Battle of Gheluvelt (29 – 31 October)
The Battle of Nonne Bosschen (11 November)
Transferred to the Mounted Military Police (service number P/15108)
A note on his MIC states he served Egypt 20-9-17 till 11-11-18
Copy MIC, Medal Roll
Indian General Service 1908 Medal
North West Frontier 1908
1st Northumberland Fusiliers
To 7367 Pte William Whitford
Edward VII in Field Marshalls Uniform, correctly engraved in running script (Calcutta Mint).
Born in Dipton, County Durham, in 1882, he enlisted into the Northumberland Fusiliers December 1900, in Newcastle, one month after his 18th birthday, giving his trade as a Miner.
He served in South Africa from July 1902 to Feb 1903 and again April 1903 to Dec 1903. From there he was posted to Maritius until Feb 1906. Moving on again, this time to India until Jan 1909 – earning his IGS.
Pte Whitford was Court Marshalled for Desertion between 09.04.01 and 09.06.01. His sentence was the forfeiture of all prior service.
He was again Court Marshalled for being Absent from Parade on the 21.01.02 and sentenced to 35 days confinement.
He was promoted to L/Cpl in Dec 1903, but then lost his stripe for misconduct 4 months later.
He transferred to the Army Reserve in 1909, time served, then re-engaging for 4 years in Feb 1913. He was mobilized in Newcastle in August 1914. Within days he was back in front of the CO and awarded 14 days detention.
He disembarked to France on the 12th November 1914 with the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. In November 1915 he transferred to the 2nd Battalion and quickly worked his way to Sergeant where he stayed until August 1918 when unfortunately he was yet again tried by Court Martial for Drunkenness and reduced to Corporal.
He was further reduced in December to Private for Neglect of Duty.
His Pension Card states he suffered from Myalgia, attributable to War Service. This gives his address as 45 Wilson Street, Gateshead.
Also Entitled to the 1914 Star Trio.
Includes copy: MIC, Medal Roll, Service Papers, Pension Card
1st Day of the Somme Casualty
BWM & Commemorative Death Plaque
15th Lancashire Fusiliers (1st Salford Pals)
Awarded to 10709 Pte Arthur Prince
Born 1886 in Manchester, he lived in Pendleton, Salford.
He was posted to France 23rd November 1915 (Thus entitled to 1915 Star Trio)
He was Killed on the 1st July 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial
With card envelope of issue and letter of condolence for Plaque.
Copy MIC, Medal roll, CWGC, SDGW, Pension Card, 1911 Census
First time on the market.
Brothers – Both Casualties
BWM & Victory Pair
7th Battalion Manchester Regiment
Awarded to 5082 Pte Frank Needley
Killed on the 18th August 1916 whilst attached to the 1st Loyal North Lancs, whilst attacking German Trenches at Mametz Wood.
Buried Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval.
17th Battalion Manchester Regiment (2nd City Battalion)
Awarded to 39884 Pte Charles Needley
Killed on the 22nd March 1918, during a German attack on their positions at Vaux & Savy Dugouts – HQ and A, B, C, & D companies expending all their ammunition in their defence
Buried Savy British Cemetery
Sons of Mrs Kate Needley of 8 Linton Street, Harpurhey, Manchester.
Copies MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Pension Card, War Diaries, Service Papers
1914 Star Medal & Genuine Bar
1st Battalion Manchester Regiment
Awarded to 1253 Pte James Alfred Eaton
Born 1889, Manchester. Lived Steele Street, Queens Road, Manchester (Miles Platting area)
Posted to France 27th August 1914
Discharged 3rd September 1916 due to Epilepsy (20% attributable to War Service)
Copies MIC, Pension Card, Medal Roll, SWB Roll, 1901 Census
Silver War Badge
14th Liverpool Regiment
Awarded to 41537 L/Cpl Sidney Smith
Born in 1893, he lived in Moston, Manchester
He was discharged on the 24th August 1918 due to wounds – Shrapnel to Forearm 70% disability, aged 24.
Entitled to BWM & Victory Pair
Copy MIC, Pension Card, SWB Roll
Distinguished Service Medal (GVR) – “Siege Guns Belgium” & 1915 Star Trio & MID
Royal Navy Siege Guns
Killed in Action
Awarded to 214738 AB James Fortune
James Fortune was born 7th December 1883 in Millwall, London, and enlisted into the Royal Navy 06th May 1901 as a Boy 2nd Class, promoted 1st Class 6th August 1901, and again on his 18th birthday to Ordinary Seaman
He spent time on various land-establishments and ships including HMS Woodcock and HMS Russell (including 5 days in the cells), until he was discharged, time expired on 6th December 1913. He would then have been transferred directly into the Royal Fleet Reserve as a Type B reservist. Under the Navy Reserve Act 1900 he was called back to the Royal Navy on the 2nd August 1914 – not much of a retirement!
AB James was attached to the Royal Navy Siege Guns in Belgium, which were large caliber, ex-naval guns (BL 9.2 inch) used for counter battery and coastal defence.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal in the London Gazette 7th August 1915 and also his Mentioned in Despatches in the same LG, an award from the Army.
He subsequently served on HMS Strongbow, an M-Class Destroyer. On Tuesday 17th October 1917, whilst escorting a convoy of 12 vessels from Lerwick to Bergen, the ship was attacked and sunk by the German Imperial Navy Cruisers SMS Bremse and SMS Brummer, in what later became known as the “Battle of Lerwick”. This particular action caused some controversy as the Germans were accused of shelling survivors of the Strongbow in the water, and firing broadsides at unarmed merchantmen who had stopped to pick-up survivors.
Remembered Chatham Naval Memorial
Slight edge bruise to DSM, Official correction to “Belgium” (which seems to be normal for these awards, for some reason). Copy MID emblem
DSM mounted for wear, others loose with original ribbons.
Copy Service Papers, CWGC, DSM award, 1911 Census.
Gulf 1990 – 1991
Bar “16 Jan to 28 Feb 1991”
Romanian Military Hospital
Named correctly in Impressed small sans-serif capitals to:
SG P S SARATEANU SP. MIL. CHR. 100
(SG – Sergeant)
Awarded to members of the 100th Romanian Surgical Military Hospital – a 200 bed field hospital.
This was the first time a nation from the former Soviet Bloc had fought alongside NATO. They had their own defensive force made up of Romanian Parachute troops.
Rare unit, mounted as worn.
1/1st North Somerset Yeomanry
Charles Baker Lived in Weston-Super-Mare, and Enlisted in Bath
Pte Baker was killed on the 11th April 1917 during the Arras Offensive. It was on this day that the 1/1st N.S.Y. participated in the attempted capture of Monchy Le Preux by the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division.
The Cavalry, in an attempt to seek a breakthrough, attacked Monchy in a fierce snowstorm, but whilst galloping through the village were met with heavy fire. The Cavalry then re-inforced the Infantry units dug into the ruined buildings and shell holes using their Hotchkiss MG’s.
It was thought the Germans were planning an out-flanking attack to the south of the village, which was very lightly held by survivors of the mornings attack, so a Squadron of the 1/1st NSY and 4 MG’s were sent as reinforcements. At some point during this attack Pte Baker would have been killed.
Lieutenant Alan Thomas, an infantry officer who visited Monchy on the evening of 12 April as part of the 37th Division described the scene:
“Heaped on top of one another and blocking up the roadway for as far as one could see lay the mutilated bodies of our men and their horses. These bodies torn and gaping had stiffened into fantastic attitudes. All the hollows of the road were filled with blood. This was the cavalry.”
Buried at Feuchy Chapel British Cemetery, Wancourt
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll
Scarce Yeomanry Casualty.
3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade
Frederick Blackman was born in Bognor, Sussex in 1903, aged 18 years and 6 months, a labourer / blacksmith by trade.
He was posted to Egypt between 12th December 1903 and 23rd November 1905
He landed in France 16th September 1914. He appears to have been wounded in the right shoulder (flesh wound) on the 15th October 1914. This was probably at the Battle of Armientieres. Although it is noted as a “Flesh Wound” it was serious for Rfm Blackman to be evacuated back to Bury St Edmunds Hospital, finally being discharged on the 15th January 1915. He was never to go back on active service, being discharged due to termination of engagement on the 5th January 1916 after 13 years of service.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, Service Papers
6th Dragoon Guards
Harry Hornbrook was born in Kilburn, London in 1893, and was serving as a prewar Territorial in the 6th Middlesex Regiment prior to enlisting into the 3rd Dragoon Guards in September 1913 (He must have got fed up with walking everywhere).
The Army being the Army, he was actually posted to the 6th Dragoons on the 17th January 1914.
He landed in France 16th September 1914.
Over the years he has a few entries in the Defaulters Book, going AWOL and not complying with an order.
In August 1917 he was hospitalised with a fractured lower jaw, occurring whilst on duty (not to blame) – possibly got kicked in the face by a horse? A few other spells in hospital with Scabies.
In March 1918 he was ordered to pay the value of a part worn rifle, for losing by neglect his own whilst in the field.
He was eventually discharged from service 31st March 1919 with Asthma & Bronchitis.
Copy MIC, SWB List, Service Papers
11th Kings Royal Rifle Corps
Robert Wood was born in Alnmouth, Northumberland in 1894, and lived in Alnwick – the son of William and Eleanor Wood 8 Wagon Way Road, Alnwick.
Rfm Wood Died of Woods on the 5th September 1916
Buried La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie
Note SDGW says he died with the 10th Battalion, but CWGC and the medal Roll states 11th Battalion
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll
9th East Lancashire Regiment / Military Foot Police
Charles Gartside was born in Shaw, near Oldham in 1889. He enlisted into the East Lancs Regiment on 5th September 1914 and was posted to France 4th September 1915. At some point he transferred to the Military Foot Police. He was discharged from the service on the 25th January 1918 with a “Derangement of the left Knee” and given a 40% disability pension.
Copy MIC, Medal roll, SWB List, Pension Card, 1901 Census
Army Service Corps
A very sad tale:
Albert Day was born in Luton in 1861. The 1881 Census shows him living in Luton and his Trade as a Straw Hat Maker and enlisted into the ASC in Pontypool in September 1915 aged 54.
He was posted to France on the 21st October 1915, and served at the 1st Field Supply Company. Pte Day had was returning from leave on the 23rd June 1916 to Wardrecques Train Station about 5.20pm, when he was seen to jump off the train whilst it was still moving (though slowly), as it had passed the platform. He was seen to fall, striking the back of his head. Getting back up he walked to the Sergeant’s Mess, where he was an Orderly – about 600 yards. He was found to have two small cuts on the back of the head, but continued to carry out his duties till 9.30pm. He appeared to be quite well, with only a slight headache.
The next morning he failed to appear for duties, his room was checked and the bed appeared to have been unslept in.
His body was later recovered from the Canal between Arques and Wardrecques, on the 27th. Cause of death was given as Drowning, with the injury to head possibly causing a mental disturbance which rendered him irresponsible.
Buried Aire Communal Cemetery
Entitled to 1915 Star Trio
Copy MIC, CWGC, Service Papers, 1881 Census, Photo of Headstone
11th Northumberland Fusiliers
Pte Burton was presumed Dead on the 7th July 1916, aged 28.
Comes with a poor quality newspaper cutting with a photograph which was posted by his mother asking for any information regarding her son, missing since 7th July. The Battalion was heavily involved with the attack at Contalmaison and Bailiff Wood on this day, with 31 killed, 187 wounded and 34 missing.
Buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La-Boisselle
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll, War Diary, Photos of Headstone
Nothumberland Fusiliers / Royal Engineers / Labour Corps
Charles Beard lived in Lindfield, Sussex. He enlisted into the Nothumberland Fusiliers in December 1915, aged 32, giving his trade as a Brick Layer. However on mobilization on the 9th July 1916 he was sent straight to the Royal Engineers Depot, with the rank of Sapper, as a “Skilled” Bricklayer. On 25th September 1917 he was then transferred to the Labour Corps.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, Service Papers
Kings Royal Rifle Corps / ASC
BWM & Victory Medal Pair
Albert Beard was born in London, and lived in Copenhagen Street, Islington. He enlisted into the KRRC in January 1917, aged 27, giving his trade as a Storekeeper. He was then posted to the BEF 03rd April 1917.
He was compulsory transferred into the MT section of the ASC 30th July 1918, where he became a Heavy Lorry driver.
He was finally discharged 29th April 1920
With original box and envelope of issue.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, Service Papers
1st/7th Middlesex Regiment
Awarded to 6395 Pte Robert John Smith
Robert Smith lived in Ridenhall, Norfolk and enlisted in Norwich.
Pte Smith Died of Wounds on the 21th August 1916. The 1/7th were involved in the Attack on Gommecourt from the 1st July, then in the Foncquevillers sector of the Somme at this time of his death.
Buried Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll, Photo of headstone
1st Middlesex Regiment
Edward Smith was born and lived in Holloway, London, and enlisted at St Pancreas
Pte Smith was Killed in Action on the 26th August 1916. It was at this time that the Battalion was occupying trenches at Delville Wood, under constant shelling from the Germans.
Buried Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll, Photo of headstone
1st Northumberland Fusiliers
Mark McKinley was born in Ashington, Northumberland, and enlisted in Newcastle. Although CWGC and SDGW state he was with the 1st Battalion, the Medal Roll and Soldier’s Effects show that he was with the 11th Battalion when he died (he also served in the 8th). His MIC states that his first theatre of war was 2b Balkans 10th July 1915 ties in nicely with the 8th’s landing at Gallipoli.
Pte McKinley Died of Wounds on the 11th July 1916, sustained from one of the Actions on the Somme.
Buried Carnoy Military Cemetery
Entitled to 1915 Star Trio
Copy MIC, CWGC, SDGW, Medal Roll, Soldiers Effects, Photo of headstone
East Lancashire Regiment / Labour Corps
Died due to TB
William Jones was born in Peterchurch, Herefordshire in 1897, and enlisted on the 19th October 1914. It appears from his pension records that he spent the time from his enlistment to 14th October 1917 in the 68th Welsh Division, Army Service Corps, in the UK – including 67 days in Cambridge Military Hospital with Syphilis!!.
He was eventually posted to France, but then seems to have been passed around between Regiments for a while – 18th West Yorkshire Regiment, 2/8th Lancashire Fusiliers, then more time in hospital until eventually ending up at the 13th (Garrison) Battalion East Lancashire Regiment. He was finally discharged due to sickness on the 27th December 1918, as physically unfit, with “Tuberculosis of the Lung” and sadly passing away on the 16th May 1919, aged only 22.
Note although his MIC states Labour Corps, I can’t find any evidence of him serving in this unit, only the Army Service Corps.
Buried Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, Pension Records, SWB list.
2nd West Yorkshire Regiment
Military Medal – from Brompton, Northallerton
Awarded to 41033 L/Cpl John Thomas Atkinson 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment
Entitled to BWM & Victory Pair.
Military Medal – LG 02nd November 1917, making this a 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele) award (probably Langemarck). The LG states he was from Northallerton.
Pte Atkinson was announced as wounded in the War Office Weekly Casualty List of 14th May 1918, from Brompton.
Comes with copies of MIC, Medal Roll, LG entries, Newspaper announcements for awards, & wound.
Court mounted for display.
Price: £355 (Price Reduced)
12th Manchester Regiment
34822 Pte James Henry Campbell
Pte Campbell was born in Manchester in 1889, and the 1911 Census shows him living in Neden Street, Clayton.
He is reported as being wounded in the War Office daily casualty list November 21st November 1918 (Number 5728). This edition is a very hefty tome and is listed in 14 parts and contains the names of thousands of Officers and Enlisted men who were killed or wounded.
London Gazette date 14th May 1919, and this states he is from “Bradford” – an area next to Clayton, Manchester (close to the modern day Etihad Stadium)
Also entitled to the BWM & Victory Pair.
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, 1911 Census, & LG
Price: £355 (Price Reduced)
7th Kings Own Scottish Borderers
1915 Star Trio
13958 Pte William Royds
Copy Service Papers, MIC (To France 09th July 1917)
1st Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
1915 Star Trio – Casualty
18266 Pte Joseph Allan
Died 11th February 1917. Born Glasgow.
Buried Bray Military Cemetery
Includes Copy of CWGC, SDGW, MIC
Comes with original ribbons, all on wrong medals – I’ve left them how they’ve come.
1st Battalion Welsh Regiment
1915 Star Trio
10701 Pte Joseph Sidney George
To France 18.01.15
Attached 857 Pack Company, 84th Brigade, Salonika
Born Bristol, 1895
Copy MIC, Medal Roll, 1911 Census
1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
BWM – Casualty
MM Winner (Very early Award)
9940 Cpl George Dobson
Born: 1896, Clerkenwell, London To France, 02.11.14 London Gazette: 03.06.16 (This is the first Gazette for MM awards and includes many early awards) Killed in Action: 17.06.17 whilst attached to 16th Trench Mortar Battery.
Buried Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe.
1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
BWM – Casualty
59194 Pte Reginald Blades
Born 1899, Louth, Lincolnshire Enlisted 18.08.17 in Lincoln, giving previous branch of service as Dental Corps, RFA, as having been a Dental Mechanics Apprentice as a civilian. Shown as wounded 08.04.18 with ICT Left Hand (Interconnective Tissue), whilst in France, which was serious enough that he had to return to England. He then returned to France and was Killed in Action on the 24.09.18
Entitled to Pair only
Father & Son
Father Northumberland Fusiliers BWM
57424 Pte Sam Butler Address on MIC 16 Tennyson Terrace, Peel Street, Morley, Leeds Entitled to Pair
Son Royal Air Force WW2 War and Defence Pair and Service Book
1108216 LAC Harry Butler
He was born on the 28.07.1920 Served as a Gunner in the RAFVR from 20.08.1940 to 24.04.46 and was based at North Witham.
The 39 Register shows Harry still living at home with his parents at 16 Tennyson Terrace.
2nd attached 9th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment
BWM – Officer Casualty
2nd Lt George Henry Gibson
Born 21.03.1895, Knottingley, and lived 25 Close Street, Hemsworth, Wakefield His occupation was School Teacher.
Enlisted as 36581 Lancashire Fusiliers and immediately appointed Acting Corporal. He was commissioned into the West Yorkshire Regiment on 28.02.1917 He was killed in action on 27.08.1917. Commemorated on the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Memorial, Wakefield.
Copy service papers, CWGC, ODGW, MIC
2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment
BWM – Casualty
49353 Pte Fred Joel Cowdell
Born: Sheffield, 1899 Lived: 69 Bridge Street, Morley, Leeds
Enlisted: 13.03.17 To France February 1918 Wounded Right Leg 23.03.18 Killed in Action 08.09.18
Copy of war diary for this date.
Machine Gun Corps
Awarded to 9994 Pte William Hutchinson Also served as 23506 West Yorkshire Regiment
1/5th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Military Medal, BWM & Victory Medals
Awarded to 13711 Pte George Ashcroft.
George Ashcroft was born and enlisted in Wigan, Lancashire, embarking for France 25.09.15 (and is thus entitled to the 1915 Star which is not with the group).
Pte Ashcroft was killed on the 30.11.17 when the 1/5th Battalion was serving in the 55th (West Lancashire) Divison in the ill fated Battle of Cambrai. The 30th November is the First day of the German Counter Attack which so took the British by surprise that the Division never really recovered from their almost complete route in the eyes of the British Command. The 1/5th War Diary for the 30th November records: “Heavy German bombardment along whole of front followed by strong flank attack. Front line Company’s surrounded, nothing definite known as to what exactly happened. Enemy seen approaching Gloster Road from direction of Sherwood Lane in great numbers at about 8am. Battn HQ made stand at Gloster Road until 8.30 am. Seeing themselves outflanked on both sides by the enemy they were forced to withdraw to Fourteen Willows where they dug in.” Casualties: 3 Officers Wd’d, 2 Officers Wd’d & Missing, 16 Officers Missing, 2 OR’s Killed, 27 OR’s Wounded, 384 OR’s Missing”
Commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
London Gazette for MM – 14th January 1918 – According to Williamson’s book, this is for October 1917, the Battle of Ypres
Copy MIC, MM CWGC, SDGW, London Gazette, War Diary Mounted for display
1915 Star Trio
26171 Pte William Charles Curds 11th Hussars (Acting Cpl on Pair)
Comes with a copy of his full service record which tells an interesting tail…. Curds was born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales about 1887. He enlisted in the same city in 1914, giving his trade as an electrician. He was then posted to the 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment until 23.02.15. It was at this point that his path took a slightly different turn than the norm. He was posted to the Egyptian theatre and stayed there for the next four years until being posted back to England on 28.02.19! During this time, his one journey home on leave from June to July 1916 nearly landed him a spell in prison and a court martial as he failed to report his whereabouts. He even earned a visit from the local CID. The reports that then go on between the Police, the Army and the Records Office does however help explain why he spent all this time in Egypt, and not in France with the rest of his Regiment. Pte Curds was the Groom to Capt Mayne who was Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. There is also a poignant letter from his worried wife asking is her husband is wounded as she had received a letter from him in hospital in Alexandria, but it didn’t say why. His medical records indicate a bought of Malaria. In late August 1918, close to the end of the war, Curds transfers to the Remount Service of the ASC in Kantara (Egypt), shortly afterwards being promoted to Acting Corporal (Paid).
Interesting group, one for the Regimental Collector. Copy MIC , Service Records A few edge knocks & impact marks as usually associated with Cavalry medals.
Machine Gun Corps
IGSM 1908 with Clasp “Afghanistan North West Frontier 1919”
124729 Acting Sjt George William Brooks MGC (Impressed naming with Official Correction to Rank)
Also served as 9292 Royal Sussex Regiment and entitled to 1915 Star Trio Entered 5g Asiatic Theatre – Hafiz on the Indian Frontier Copy
MIC & Medal Roll Scarce to have Indian Service from 1915 onwards.
Machine Gun Corps
IGSM 1908 with Clasp “Afghanistan North West Frontier 1919”
113342 Pte Percival Austin Brown MGC (Impressed naming)
Also served as 200950 Dorset Regiment and entitled to BWM & Victory Pair Lived 24 East Street, Blandford, Dorset
Copy MIC, Medal Roll & 1911 Census
Manchester Regiment – Officer
WW1 1915 Star Trio & WW2 War Medal (2 Lieut on Star / Captain on Pair) Ernest Wallwork
Appointed 2nd Lt 8th Battalion Manchester Regiment – February 1913 Captain Manchester Regiment – Dec 1915 Adjt Lanc Fusiliers Vol Bn – Nov 1918 Major (Ex Manchester Reg), Appointed Lt South Lanc Reg – May 1940 Relinquishes Commission Sept 1941
MIC confirms Egypt Sept 1st, so probably part of the advance party for the 42nd Division at Alexandra, and then hence forward to Gallipoli / Egypt / Western Front
Address on MIC given as Macclesfield Arms Hotel, Macclesfield, Cheshire Interesting group of medals.
1/8th Lancashire Fusiliers
Pair & Plaque – Officer Casualty
Lieutenant James Harper Simpson – 1/8th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
James Simpson was born in 1884, in Lancaster, the son of a Scottish Catholic Minster.
The 1911 Census shows the family living in Huddersfield with Simpson working as an Insurance Inspector.
In 1917, the Battalion was involved in the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. The Battalion War Diary for September 6th 1917, describes “D” Company 1/8th in support of 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers for their attack on Beck House and Iberian (strongly held German Pillboxes), and were responsible for the wiring and carrying parties during this attack. 2 Officers were killed in the attack and Simpson wounded. He was to die of his wounds on the 12th October 1917, and is buried in Outtersteene Communal Cemetery.
He is also commemorated on the Ledsham (Cheshire) Royal Sun Alliance Memorial, which is now located at the National Arboretum, Staffordshire.
Plaque comes with it’s waxed card envelope. Also included is a copy portrait photograph, CWGC, SDGW, War Diary, Medal Roll, MIC, 1911 Census, and copy photo of gravestone.
Medals and plaque in excellent condition.