Tag: First World War

Former St Peter’s Cheltenham War Memorial

I first spotted the church from the 41 bus going to Cheltenham and was always tempted to climb out and take a closer look. The building just has the impressive look about it. However, do not be deceived because it is no longer a church, and it has not been since after 2008. The building  is situated on the south side of the Tewkesbury Road (Google Earth co-ordinates:  51° 54.525’N,  2° 5.445’W) . It is now sign boarded as being a part of “The Rock Youth Charity“.  I took my first images of the church and War Memorial in June 2016.

The memorial can just be seen amongst the trees on the left of the photograph above. It was in a very poor condition and the names were almost illegible.

I went past there once more in October 2017 and there was light at the end of the tunnel as an official notice advised that the memorial was to be refurbished.  In December 2017 work was underway and I made a  mental note to get around there in the new year. That only happened at the end of May 2018 by which time the restoration was complete, the inscriptions and name panels were once again legible and the memorial was looking infinitely better than when I had last seen it.

More importantly it was now possible to read the names on it.

And, the inscription.

The memorial is referenced on the War Memorials Register of the Imperial War Museum.

Alas, our English weather tends to do it’s deed in all seasons and parts of it were already taking on a green hew, but the main thing is that hopefully it will once again become a focus for commemoration and no longer a stone object hidden amongst the trees.

DRW © 2018. Created 03/07/2018

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 06:10

The Machine Gun Corps Memorial

The Machine Gun Corps Memorial,  is located on the north side of the traffic island at Hyde Park Corner near the Wellington Arch. The memorial is also known as “The Boy David” as it depicts a 2.7m bronze statue of a nude David by Francis Derwent Wood.  The figure stands with one hand on his hip and the other resting on Goliath’s oversized sword.  On either side of the plinth are  bronze models of a Vickers machine gun, wreathed in laurels.

I have to be honest though, I did not really feel any connection to the memorial, unlike the Royal Artillery Memorial that conveys so much emotion in the oversized bronze figures that make up a part of the overall memorial. 

The memorial is inscribed:

ERECTED TO 
COMMEMORATE 
THE GLORIOUS 
HEROES 
OF THE 
MACHINE GUN
CORPS 
WHO FELL IN 
THE GREAT  WAR.

Below the inscription is a quotation from 1 Samuel 18:7:

“Saul has slain his thousands 
but David his tens of thousands
“.  

The memorial was originally erected next to Grosvenor Place, near Hyde Park Corner, but was dismantled in 1945 and eventually rededicated at its present location in 1963. It was upgraded to a Grade II* listed building (particularly important buildings of more than special interest) in July 2014.

DRW © 2013-2018. Retrospectively created 25/08/2018

Updated: 04/06/2018 — 06:20

George Allan Maling. VC

George Allan Maling (6/10/1888 – 9/07/1929), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving with the 12th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29371,  Page: 11448, reads: 

Temporary Lieutenant George Allan Maling, M.B., Royal Army Medical Corps.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the heavy fighting near Fauquissart on 25th September, 1915.

 Lieutenant Maling worked incessantly with untiring energy from 6.15 a.m. on the 25th till 8 a.m. on the 26th, collecting and treating in the open under heavy shell fire more than 300 men. At about 11 a.m. on the 25th he was flung down and temporarily stunned by the bursting of a large high explosive shell, which wounded his only assistant and killed several of his patients. A second shell soon after covered him and his instruments with debris, but his high courage and zeal never failed him and he continued his gallant work single-handed.

He died on 9 July 1929, at the age of 40, after suffering from pleurisy. He is buried in Chislehurst Cemetery,  Chislehurst, Kent. Section A, Grave 2017, and is commemorated with a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum. 

Capt. George Allan Maling. VC.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 12/07/2017. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions, © 2001, first issued 1916

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

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

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

Arthur Martin-Leake VC*

Arthur Martin-Leake (04/04/1874 – 22/06/1953) is one of three men who were awarded the Victoria Cross twice. 

While attached to the 5th Field Ambulance during the Second Boer War on 8 February 1902,  he was awarded his first VC for his actions at Vlakfontein,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27433, Page: 3176, reads:

“South African Constabulary, Surgeon-Captain A. Martin-Leake.

During the action at Vlakfonteiu, on the 8th February, 1902, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake went up to a wounded man, and attended to him under a heavy fire from about 40 Boers at 100 yards range. He then went to the assistance of a wounded Officer, and, whilst trying to place him in a comfortable position, was shot three times, but would not give in till he rolled over thoroughly exhausted. All the eight men at this point were wounded, and while they were lying on the Veldt, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake refused water till every one else had been served. “

He returned to service as a lieutenant with the 5th Field Ambulance when the First World War broke out.

He was awarded his second Victoria Cross during the period 29 October to 8 November 1914 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, whilst serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29074, Page: 1700 reads: 

“Lieutenant Arthur Martin Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 13th May, 1902, is granted, a Clasp for conspicuous bravery in the present, campaign: — For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the campaign, especially during the period 29th October to 8th November 1914, near Zonnebeke, in rescuing, whilst exposed to constant fire, a large number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy’s trenches.”

He retired from the army after the war and resumed his employment in India until he retired to England in 1937.  He died, aged 79, at High Cross, Hertfordshire and was buried in St John’s Church, High Cross. 

Commemoration plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum

There is a Memorial to Arthur Martin-Leake VC  and Cmdnt Gert Martinus Claassen at the farm Syferfontein. 

The Image of the Syferfontein monuments by user “Valhotel”, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Martin-Leake.  created 11/09/2013, (CC BY-SA 4.0)  

Cropped Image of the Syferfontein image by user “Valhotel”, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Martin-Leake.  created 11/09/2013, (CC BY-SA 4.0) 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 07/06/2017. Taddy cigarette by Card Promotions, © 1997, first issued 1902. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1915. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:19

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

Thomas Tannatt Pryce VC, MC*

Thomas Tannatt Pryce (17/01/1886 – 13/04/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions On 11 April 1918 at Vieux-Berquin, France while an acting captain in the 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30697, Page: 6057,  reads:

“Lt. (A./Capt.) Thomas Tannatt Pryce, M.C., G. Gds. For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice when in command of a  flank on the left of the Grenadier Guards. Having been ordered to attack a -village, he personally led forward two platoons, working from house to house, killing some thirty of the enemy, seven of whom he killed himself.

The next day he was occupying a position with some thirty to forty men, the remainder of his company having become casualties. As early as 8.15 a.m. his left flank was surrounded and the enemy was enfilading him. He was attacked no less than four times during the day, and each time beat off the hostile attack, killing many of the enemy.

Meanwhile, the enemy brought up three field guns to within 300 yards of his line, and were firing over open sights and knocking his trench in. At 6.15 p.m. the enemy had worked to within sixty yards of his trench. He then called on his men, telling them to cheer and charge the enemy and fight to the last. Led by Captain Pryce, they left their trench and drove back the enemy, with the bayonet, some 100 yards. Half an hour later the enemy had again approached in stronger force. By this time Captain Pryce had only 17 men left, and every round of his ammunition had been fired. Determined that there should be no surrender, he once again led his men forward in a bayonet charge, and was last seen engaged in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle with overwhelming numbers of the enemy.

With some forty men he had held back at least one enemy battalion for over ten hours. His company undoubtedly stopped the advance through the British line, and thus had great influence on the battle.” 

He has no known grave and 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.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:10

James MacKenzie VC

James MacKenzie (02/04/1889 – 19/12/1914) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 19th of  December 1914 at Rouges Blancs, France.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29074, Page: 1700 reads:

“8185 Private James Mackenzie, late 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards.

For conspicuous bravery at Rouges’ Blancs on the 19th December, in rescuing a severely wounded man from in front of the German trenches, under a very heavy fire and after a stretcher-bearer party had been compelled to abandon the attempt. Private Mackenzie was subsequently killed on that day whilst in the performance of a similar act of gallant conduct.”

He has no known grave and 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 reproduction by Card Promotions © 2003, first issued 1915.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:10
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