Category: France

Cyril Hubert Frisby VC

Cyril Hubert Frisby (17/09/1885 – 10/09/1961) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 27 September 1918 at the Battle of Canal du Nord, near Graincourt, France.

The Citation, recorded on the London Gazette of Supplement: 31034, Page: 14039, reads:

“Gds. (S.R.). attd. 1st Bn.
For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and devotion to duty in action on the 7th September, 1918, across the Canal Du Nord, near Graincourt, when in command of a company detailed to capture the Canal crossing, on the Demicourt-Graincourt road. On reaching the Canal this leading platoon came under annihilating machine-gun fire from a strong machine-gun post under the old iron bridge on the far side of the Canal, and was unable to advance, despite reinforcing waves. Capt. Frisby realised at once
that unless this post was captured the whole advance in this area would fail. Calling for volunteers to follow him, he dashed forward, and, with three other ranks, he climbed down into the Canal under an intense point-blank machine-gun fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine guns and twelve men.
By his personal valour and initiative he restored the situation and enabled the attacking companies to continue the advance.
Having reached and consolidated his objective, he gave timely support to the company on his right, which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organised its defences, and beat off a heavy hostile counter-attack.
He was wounded in the leg by a bayonet in the attack on the machine-gun post, but remained at duty throughout, thereby setting a splendid example to all ranks.”

He died on 10th September 1961 aged 75 in Guildford, Surrey and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:28

Evesham War Memorial

The principal war memorial in Evesham, Worcestershire, may be found in the Abbey park overlooking the River Avon.

 

The memorial is a wide one and it stands on the edge of a sloped embankment, so getting the whole memorial in from straight in front is almost impossible as the camera would no longer be able to see the lower half.

It consists of a curved limestone screen wall with a pedestal topped by a bronze sculpture of a soldier wearing his helmet at a jaunty angle and carrying a slung rifle with bayonet attached.

The soldier is the work of Henry Poole R.A and is a particularly good one because it really could be the poster figure for the Old Contemptibles that held the line in the opening months of the First World War.

There are four name panels (2 per side, World War 1 on the 2 inner panels), commemorating the men from Evesham that fought and died in the First and Second World Wars, and commemorative inscriptions.  It was unveiled on 7 August 1921.  Google Earth co-ordinates for the memorial are:  52.090656°,  -1.946112°.

The Memorial was restored in 2014 following a grant from War Memorials Trust.

The central dedication reads: 

TO THE

ENDURING MEMORY OF

THE GLORIOUS DEAD

OF THE

BOROUGH OF EVESHAM

WHO GAVE THEIR

LIVES FOR THEIR

COUNTRY IN THE

 GREAT WAR

 1914-1920

The War Memorials Register entry for the Memorial is 57,  The list of names is also available on that link. 

Not too far away between the Churches of St Lawrence and All Saints there is another War Memorial that could be easily overlooked. I believe these are called Calvarys.

The inscription is not very legible but there were poppy wreaths against the pedestal so the memorial is recognised.

 

Abbey Park.

DRW © 2018. Created 20/05/2018

Updated: 04/06/2018 — 06:20

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby VC

Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby (03/02/1885 – 25/09/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the first day of the Battle of Loos.

Arthur Kilby VC

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29527, Page: 3409 reads: 

“Captain Arthur Forbes Gordon Kilby, late 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment. For most conspicuous bravery.

Captain Kilby was specially selected, at his own request, and on account of the gallantry which he had previously displayed on many occasions, to attack with his company a strong enemy redoubt.
The company charged along the narrow tow-path, headed by Captain Kilby, who, though wounded at the outset, continued to lead his men right up to the enemy wire under a devastating machine-gun fire and a shower of bombs. Here he was shot down, but, although his foot had been blown off, he continued to cheer on his men and to use a rifle. 
Captain Kilby has been missing since the date of the performance of this great act of valour, and his death” has now to be presumed.”

Captain Kilby was killed on 25 September 1915, his  heroism was acknowledged by the German defenders who erected a memorial cross at the location of his death. His body was located on 19 February 1929 and interred at Arras Road Cemetery, Roclincourt, 

He is commemorated on a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

© DRW 2018. Created 01/01/2018. Reproduction Gallaher cigarette card first issued 1916, reproduced by Card promotions © 2003

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:22

Anketel Moutray Read VC

Anketell Moutray Read (27/10/1884 – 25/09/1915 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 25 September 1915 near Hulluch, France.

Ankettel Read VC

 

The Citation, published in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29371, Page: 11447 reads:

“Captain Anketell Montray Read, 1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment. 

For most conspicuous bravery during the first attack near Hulluch on the morning of 25th September, 1915.

Although partially gassed, Captain Read went out several times in order to rally parties of different units which were disorganised and retiring. He led them back into the firing line, and, utterly regardless of danger, moved freely about encouraging them under a withering fire. He was mortally wounded while carrying out this gallant work. 

Captain Read had previously shown conspicuous bravery during digging operations on 29th, 30th and 31st August, 1915, and on the night of the 29th-30th July he carried out of action an Officer, who was mortally wounded, under a hot fire from rifles and grenades. “

He is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, France. Born in Cheltenham, he is commemorated with a Memorial Stone at the Cheltenham War Memorial.

He is also commemorated on the War Memorial.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/01/2018. Gallaher cigarette card reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003, originally issued 1916. 

Updated: 16/01/2018 — 13:23

War Memorials in Painswick

While attempting to visit Stroud last weekend I ended up in Painswick in Gloucestershire instead, and while I was there I photographed two War Memorials.

The first was outside the parish church of Saint Mary in Painswick.

The memorial is surrounded by Yew trees, and I believe that there are 99 of them in this churchyard! unfortunately the weather was grey and gloomy and I did not take as many images as I would  have liked. It was designed by Arts and Craft architect Frederick Landseer  Maur Griggs and was erected in 1921 and commemorates the men from Painswick who lost their lives in the two world wars. 

The weathering of the stone has made the memorial hard to read, so it may be easier to have a look at the memorial inside the church.

What makes this memorial interesting is that it not only commemorates those who lost their lives in the two wars, but also those who served in it. The gold engraved names are of the former. I have darkened portions of the image to enhance legibility, 

It is a nice touch to know that all of those who served are on the ROH, and it is one of the few occasions that I have seen it done.  Unfortunately though there were chairs in front of the memorial so I was unable to get all of the plaques. I was also pressed for time so could not be picky about my pics.  The one thing I do know is that the village lost a lot of men in the wars, and I expect this church was the centre of the many memorial services that would have been be as a result of the wartime deaths. 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 30/09/2017

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:15

William Barnsley Allen VC. DSO. MC*.

 William Barnsley Allen (08/06/1892 – 27/08/1933) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions with the Royal Field Artillery, near Mesnil, France.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29802 Page: 10394, reads

“Captain William Barnsley Allen, M.C., M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.  
When gun detachments were unloading H.E. ammunition from wagons which had just come up, the enemy suddenly began to shell the battery position. The first shell fell on one of the limbers, exploded the ammunition and caused several casualties. 

Captain Allen saw the occurrence and at once, with utter disregard of danger, ran straight across the open, under heavy shell fire, commenced dressing the wounded, and Undoubtedly by his promptness saved many of them from bleeding to death.

He was himself hit four times during the first hour by pieces of shells, one of which – fractured two of his ribs, but he never even mentioned this at the time, and coolly went on with his work till the last man was dressed and safely removed. 

He then went over to another battery and tended a wounded officer. It was only when this was done that he returned to his dug-out and reported his own injury”

Lt. William Barnsley Allen. VC. DSO, MC*

He was also awarded the DSO and Military Cross, and later, a bar to his Military Cross.

He died of an accidental drug overdose in 1933 and is buried in Earnley Churchyard, Brackleham, Sussex and is commemorated on a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum.

DRW © 2017-2018. Created 12/07/2017. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

South African Heavy Artillery Memorial: Warrior’s Gate, Durban

75th (Natal) Siege Battery: Warriors Gate Durban

My quest to have a record of all of the South African Heavy Artillery Memorials is one step closer as I can now share images of the SAHA Memorial at Warrior’s Gate in Durban. Special thanks to Carl Hoehler for the  information on where these memorial could be found, as well as additional information on the 6 guns that made up the memorials to the South African Heavy Artillery, and to Shelly Baker for all the effort she took to find and photograph the memorial.

 

This 6-inch 26-cwt howitzers is one of 6 brought back from France and Flanders to be part of the memorials to the South African Heavy Artillery that were established in major centres in South Africa. It is to be found within “Warrior’s Gate” at the corner of Old Fort Road and Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, in Durban (GE Co-ordinates -29.851048°, 31.026746°). Unlike its counterparts in Johannesburg Zoo and Port Elizabeth, there was no dedication plaque to be seen. However, the tompion on the gun does give some indication of why it is there.

 

The weapon ties into the 75th (Natal) Siege Battery and from the images it appears as if it is in a very good condition, and it is heavily fenced off to prevent illicit harvesting of scrap metal. 

The 6 Memorials to the Heavy Artillery can be found in: (Open in new page)

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 08/07/2017. Images courtesy of Shelly Baker. 

Updated: 14/09/2018 — 09:00

Sir Walter Norris Congreve VC.

Walter Norris Congreve (20/11/1862 – 28/02/1927) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a Captain in the Rifle Brigade during the Anglo Boer War at the Battle of Colenso. Along with Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, Cpl George Nurse and  Harry Norton Schofield they were awarded the Victoria Cross for their attempt at “saving the guns” on 15/12/1899.

The Citation that was recorded in the London Gazette of Issue:27160, Page: 689, is about the actions of Captain William Congreve and Lieutenant Frederick Roberts. George Nurse is seemingly mention as an afterthought. The Citation reads:

“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—

The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve.

The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Lieutenant the Honourable F. H. S. Roberts (since deceased).

66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Corporal G. E. Nurse

At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.

About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.

Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot tbrough the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.

Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.

Corporal Nurse also assisted.”

Captain Congreve served held a series of command posts in Britain and Ireland and was served with distinction during World War I, deployed with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, and taking part in the Battle of the Aisne. He went on to command the 6th Division from May 1915 and then XIII Corps from November 1915. 

From 1924 to 1927, he served as the governor of Malta, where he died. He was buried at sea in the channel between the coast and Filfla Island.

Congreve’s son was Major William La Touche Congreve, VC – they are one of only three father and son pairs to win a VC (Frederick Roberts VC and Lord Roberts VC were also father and son) 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 14/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions, © 1997, first issued 1902. Biographical Information sourced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Norris_Congreve.

 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:17

James Thomas Byford McCudden VC, DSO*, MC*, MM

James Thomas Byford McCudden (28/03/1895 – 09/07/1918 ) was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30604, Page: 3997, reads:

“His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer: —

2nd Lt. (T./Capt.) James Byford McCudden, D.S.O., M.C., M.M., Gen. List and R.F.C.

For most conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance, keenness, and very high devotion to duty.

Captain McCudden has at the present time accounted  for 54 enemy aeroplanes! Of these 42 have been definitely destroyed, 19 of them on our side of the lines. Only 12 out of the 54 have been driven out of control. On two occasions, he has totally destroyed four two-seater enemy aeroplanes on the same day, and on the last occasion all four machines were destroyed in the space of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

While in his present squadron he has participated in 78 offensive patrols, and. in nearly every case has been the leader. On at least 30 other occasions, whilst with the same squadron, he has crossed the lines alone, either in pursuit or in quest of enemy aeroplane.

The following incidents are examples of the work he has done recently: —

On the 23rd December, 1917, when leading his patrol, eight enemy aeroplanes were attacked between 2.30 p.m. and 3.50 p.m. Of these two were shot down by Captain McCudden in our lines. On the morning of the same day he left the ground at 10.50 and encountered four enemy aeroplanes; of these he shot two down.

On the 30th January, 1918, he, single-handed, attacked five enemy scouts, as a result of which two were destroyed. On this occasion he only returned home when the enemy scouts had been driven far east; his Lewis gun ammunition was all finished and the belt of his Vickers gun had broken.

As a patrol leader he has at all times shown the utmost gallantry and skill, not only in the manner in which he has attacked and destroyed the enemy, but in the way he has during several aerial fights protected the newer members of his flight, thus keeping down their casualties to a minimum.

This officer is considered, by the record, which he has made, by his fearlessness, and by the great service which he has rendered to his country, deserving of the very highest honour.”

On 9 July 1918 McCudden was killed in a flying accident when his aircraft crashed following an engine fault. He is buried at the British war cemetery at Beauvoir-Wavans.

The wartime service and deaths of James McCudden VC and Edward Mannock VC were the subject of a documentary on the BBC entitled “Aces Falling

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 03/05/2017.  Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:09

William Hackett VC

William Hackett (11/06/1873 – 27/06/1916) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 22 June/23 June 1916 at Shaftesbury Avenue Mine, near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, France.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29695, Page: 7744, reads:

“No. 136414 Sppr. William Hackett, late Royal Engineers.

For most conspicuous bravery when entombed with four others in a gallery owing to the explosion of an enemy mine.

After working for 20 hours a hole was made through fallen earth and broken timber, and the outside party was met. Sapper Hackett helped three of the men through the hole and could easily have followed, but refused to leave the fourth, who had been seriously injured, saying ” I am a tunneller, I must look after the others first.”

Meantime the hole was getting smaller, yet he still refused to leave his injured comrade. Finally the gallery collapsed, and though the rescue party worked desperately for four days the attempt to reach the two men failed.

Sapper Hackett, well knowing the nature of sliding earth, the chances against him, deliberately gave his life for his comrade.”

His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. in Belgium, Panel 1. 

 

Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. Image courtesy of Ralph McLean and the South African War Graves Project.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/05/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2003, first issued 1916.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:13
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