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Thread: 100 Years Ago Today

  1. #3601


    Wow this is reply number 3600 and view number 298, 787

    Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read what we publish every day. Less than two months to go now...

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  2. #3602


    Quote Originally Posted by Hedeby View Post
    Wow this is reply number 3600 and view number 298, 787

    Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read what we publish every day. Less than two months to go now...
    No Chris the thanks must go to you, Neil and Rob for all the work that you have put into this gargantuan project
    Sorry Chris but Rep gun seems to be jammed.
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  3. #3603


    Should have 299,000 by the time we leave for Donny tomorrow. Not a bad circulation for a one page news-sheet.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  4. #3604


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    Right busy day today so this will be done in installments, hope to catch up with a few of the Doncaster early arrivals at some point this evening ....

    20th September 1918

    The Battle of Megiddo

    During the early hours of 20 September 1918, the Desert Mounted Corps secured the defiles of the Carmel Range. The 4th Mounted Division passed through these to capture Afulah and Beisan, complete with the bulk of two depot regiments. A brigade of the 5th Mounted Division attacked Nazareth, where Liman von Sanders's HQ was situated, although Liman himself escaped. In the late afternoon a brigade from the Australian Mounted Division occupied Jenin, capturing many retreating Ottomans. The 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, of the 5th Mounted Division, captured the port of Haifa on 23 September. Once nothing stood between Allenby's forces and Mustafa Kemal's Seventh Army in Nablus, Kemal decided that he lacked sufficient men to fight the British forces. With the railway blocked, the Seventh Army's only escape route lay to the east, along the Nablus-Beisan road that led down the Wadi Fara into the Jordan valley.

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    Yildirim Army Group carts and gun carriages destroyed by EEF aircraft on the Nablus-Beisan road

    On the night of 20–21 September the Seventh Army began to evacuate Nablus. By this time it was the last formed Ottoman army west of the Jordan and although there was a chance that Chetwode's XX Corps might cut off their retreat, its advance had been slowed by Ottoman rearguards. On 21 September, the Seventh Army was spotted by aircraft in a defile west of the river. The RAF proceeded to bomb the retreating army and destroyed the entire column. Waves of bombing and strafing aircraft passed over the column every three minutes and although the operation had been intended to last for five hours, the Seventh Army was routed in 60 minutes. The wreckage of the destroyed column stretched over 6 miles (9.7 km). British cavalry later found 87 guns, 55 motor-lorries, 4 motor-cars, 75 carts, 837 four-wheeled wagons, and scores of water-carts and field-kitchens destroyed or abandoned on the road. Many Ottoman soldiers were killed and the survivors were scattered and leaderless. Lawrence later wrote that "the RAF lost four killed. The Turks lost a corps."According to Chauvel's biographer, Allenby's plan for the Battle of Megiddo was as "brilliant in execution as it had been in conception; it had no parallel in France or on any other front, but rather looked forward in principle and even in detail to the Blitzkrieg of 1939." Over the next four days, the 4th Cavalry Division and Australian Mounted Division rounded up large numbers of demoralised and disorganised Ottoman troops in the Jezreel Valley. Many of the surviving refugees who crossed the Jordan were attacked and captured by Arabs as they approached or tried to bypass Daraa.

    As the Desert Mounted Corps and XXI Corps achieved their objectives, the units of XX Corps resumed their advance. Nablus was captured about noon on 21 September by the 10th Division and the Australian 5th Light Horse Brigade from XXI Corps. The British 53rd Division halted its advance towards the Wadi el Fara road when it became clear that the retreating Ottomans had effectively been destroyed by aerial attacks.

    German and Turkish aircraft had continued to operate from Daraa, harassing the Arab irregulars and insurgents still attacking railways and isolated Ottoman detachments about the town. At Lawrence's urging, British aircraft began operating from makeshift landing strips at Um el Surab nearby from 22 September. Three Bristol F.2 Fighters shot down several of the German aircraft. The Handley Page 0/400 ferried across petrol, ammunition and spares for the fighters and two Airco DH.9s, and itself bombed the airfield at Daraa early on 23 September and nearby Mafraq on the following night.

    The Vardar Offensive

    Operations subsequent to the Battles of Dobra Pole and Dorian: On 20 September, the 17th and 122nd French Colonial Divisions along with the 1st Serbian Army crossed river Crna. News of a breakthrough at Dobro Pole prompted the defenders of Doiran to abandon their positions and rush to the defense of their homeland, in order to prevent a future occupation by the Entente. On 21 September, the Allies became aware of the Bulgarian withdrawal after observing a series of fires and munition dump explosions on the Bulgarian positions, a pursuit by the British XII Corps was launched immediately. The Serbian advanced guard approached Krivolak, thus creating a wedge between the 1st Bulgarian and 11th German Armies in an effort to force the latter to retire towards Albania. The 2nd Bulgarian Army headed towards the Kosturino Pass avoiding direct engagement with the Allies. At 17:30 p.m. on 22 September, the Italian 35th Division under General Ernesto Mombelli joined the offensive, seizing Hill 1050 stronghold from the 302nd German Division and taking 150 prisoners. Fighting took place in Kanatlarci and along the Monastir–Prilep road, in Cepik, Kalabak and Topolčani as the Allies continued to advance towards Prilep. At 14:00 p.m. on 23 September, General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey announced that the initial plan of the operation was to be modified. The Italians were ordered to strike Kičevo with the aim of preventing the enemy forces stationed at Monastir from reaching the railroad hub in Uskub, the 11th Colonial French Division was instead tasked with securing Prilep. Half an hour later the French entered Prilep, to the east Franco–Serbian columns marched on Štip, Veles, Brod and through the Peristeri mountain range.

    On 24 September, Bulgarian infantry supported by artillery halted the advance of the Italian cavalry between Kruševo and the Buchin bridge. At 17:00 p.m., an Italo–Serbian assault resulted in the fall of Stepanci. On 25 September, the Sicilia Brigade captured Kruševo and the surrounding peaks after being reinforced by the 11th Colonial French Division. The Quadruple Alliance High Command set Uskub as the rallying point for its forces in Vardar Macedonia, intending to later strengthen them with units from Germany and Austria. The 30th and 156th French Divisions occupied Prevaletz and Drvenik respectively. On 25 September, a band of Bulgarian deserters who had previously fled from Dobro Pole arrived at Kyustendil, looting the city and putting the Bulgarian High Command to flight. The mass of retreating Bulgarian mutineers then converged on the railway center of Radomir in Bulgaria, just 30 miles (48 km) from the capital city of Sofia. On the evening of 26 September, Italian cavalry wrestled Goloznica from a Saxon infantry unit, later entering Drenovo where it received information of a Bulgarian withdrawal from Veles. On 27 September, the leaders of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union took control of these troops and proclaimed the establishment of the Bulgarian Republic. About 4,000–5,000 rebellious troops threatened Sofia the following day, in what came to be known the Radomir Rebellion.

    The Serbian Second Army having previously taken Štip, entered Veles, Kochana and Grlena. Uskub was protected by a garrison of six and a half battalions, four armored trains and four artillery batteries split between a mountain range south of the city and a position north of lake Kaplan. Between 27–28 September, the 1st and 4th French Colonial Regiments made their way through Drachevo and Pagaruza, successfully bypassing any sentries located in the 20-kilometre (12 mi) gap between the two Bulgarian formations that protected Uskub. At 4:00 a.m. on 29 September, French General Jouinot-Gambetta (fr) laid out the plan for the final stage of the offensive, the attack on Uskub. The assault was launched an hour later, French spahi utilized thick fog to advance on mount Vodna, however they were forced to regroup after facing heavy resistance. A pincer movement by the 1st Colonial Regiment created a bridgehead at river Vardar, while the 4th Colonial Regiment seized Lisici village. At 9:00 a.m., the spahis overtook Vodna, later shifting their attention towards the Kalkandelen road. The 1st Colonial Regiment joined the spahis, opening machine gun fire on the retreating 61st German Corps and causing numerous casualties. At 11:00 a.m., the French entered Uskub, detaining 220 Bulgarian and 139 German soldiers, while also seizing 5 guns and large amounts of ordnance.

    Under those chaotic circumstances a Bulgarian delegation arrived in Thessaloniki to ask for an armistice. On 29 September, the Bulgarians were granted the Armistice of Salonica by General d'Esperey. The Bulgarian downfall turned the strategic and operational balance of the war against the Central Powers. The Macedonian Front was brought to an end at noon on 30 September, when the ceasefire came into effect. The treaty included the full capitulation of the 11th German Army, bringing the final tally of German and Bulgarian prisoners to 77,000 and granting the Allies 500 artillery pieces. The Radomir Rebellion was put down, by Bulgarian forces, as of the 2 October, while Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria abdicated and went into exile the following day.

    The British Army headed east towards the European side of the Ottoman Empire, while the French and Serbian forces continued north. The British Army neared Constantinople and, without a force capable to stopping the advance, the Ottoman government asked for an armistice (the Armistice of Mudros) on 26 October. In Serbia, "Desperate Frankie" (as the British nicknamed d'Esperey) continued to advance and the Serbo-French Army re-captured the country, overrunning several weak German divisions that tried to block its push near Niš. On 3 November, Austria-Hungary was forced to sign an armistice on the Italian Front ending the war there. On 10 November, d'Esperey's army crossed the Danube river and was poised to enter the Hungarian heartland. At the request of the French general, Count Mihály Károlyi, leading the Hungarian government, came to Belgrade and signed another armistice.

    British soldiers executed members 26 members of the Baku Soviet revolutionary group in Baku, Azerbaijan, including leaders Meshadi Azizbekov, Meyer Basin, Prokofy Dzhaparidze, Ivan Fioletov, Grigory Korganov, Grigory Petrov, Stepan Shaumian, Mir Hasan Vazirov, and Yakov Zevin.

    The 26 Baku Commissars were Bolshevik and Left Socialist Revolutionary (SR) members of the Baku Soviet Commune. The commune was established in the city of Baku, which was then the capital of the briefly independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and is now the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The commune, led by Stepan Shahumyan, existed until 26 July 1918 when the Bolsheviks were forced out of power by a coalition of Dashnaks, Right SRs, and Mensheviks. After their overthrow, the Baku commissars attempted to leave Baku but were captured by the Centrocaspian Dictatorship and imprisoned. On 14 September 1918, during the fall of Baku to Ottoman forces, Red Army soldiers broke into their prison and freed the commissars; they then boarded a ship to Krasnovodsk, where they were promptly arrested by local authorities and, on the night of 20 September 1918, executed by a firing squad between the stations of Pereval and Akhcha-Kuyma on the Transcaspian Railway.

    Brigadier General Arthur Richard Careless Sanders CMG DSO (50th Brigade, 17th Division) is killed in action at age 41. He is killed by machine gun fire while on the way back to brigade headquarters after visiting posts in Quentin Redoubt.
    Captain Archibald Ballantine Henderson Dunlop MC (Cambridgeshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 23. His brother was killed in November 1917.
    Lieutenant Arthur Gwynne Hughes-Davies MC (Royal Welsh Fusiliers attached Machine Gun Corps) dies on service in Palestine at age 36. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Hughes-Davies Vicar of Bettus Cedewain.
    Lieutenant Waldo Esmond Warne-Smith MC (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 23. His older brother has been killed in action in August 1916.

    Adriatic: Austrian coastal submarine U-47 (ex-German UB-47) sinks French submarine Circe (1 survivor) off Albania.

    SM UB-47 was a Type UB II submarine or U-boat for the German Imperial Navy (German: Kaiserliche Marine) during World War I. UB-47 was sold to the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine or K.u.K. Kriegsmarine) during the war. In Austro-Hungarian service the B was dropped from her name and she was known as SM U-47 or U-XLVII as a member of the Austro-Hungarian U-43 class.

    UB-47 was ordered in July 1915 and was laid down at the AG Weser shipyard in Bremen in September. UB-47 was a little more than 121 feet (37 m) in length and displaced between 270 and 305 tonnes (266 and 300 long tons), depending on whether surfaced or submerged. She was equipped to carry a complement of four torpedoes for her two bow torpedo tubes and had an 8.8-centimeter (3.5 in) deck gun. As part of a group of six submarines selected for Mediterranean service, UB-47 was broken into railcar sized components and shipped to Pola where she was assembled and launched in June 1916, and commissioned in July. Over the next year the U-boat sank twenty ships, which included the French battleship Gaulois and two Cunard Line steamers in use as troopships, Franconia and Ivernia. The German Imperial Navy was having difficulties in finding trained submarine crews and offered to sell UB-47 and a sister boat UB-43 to the Austro-Hungarian Navy. After the terms were agreed to in June 1917, both boats were handed over at Pola. When commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the B in her designation was dropped so that she became U-47 or U-XLVII. She sank an additional three ships in Austro-Hungarian service through the end of the war. U-47 was ceded to France as a war reparation in 1920 and broken at Bizerta that same year.

    In November 1916, the German Imperial Navy, having a hard time finding trained submarine crews, inquired to find out if its ally Austria-Hungary was interested in purchasing some of its Mediterranean submarines. A general agreement led to protracted negotiations, which stalled over the outflow of Austro-Hungarian gold reserves to Germany. But, with all of the details worked out, the two parties agreed on the sale of UB-47 and sister ship UB-43 to Austria-Hungary in June 1917.

    When handed over by the Germans on 21 July, UB-47 was in a "worn out condition". Despite the rough condition of the boat, the U-boat was commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy on 30 July 1917 as SM U-47, dropping the B from the U-boat's former designation. Linienschiffsleutnant Otto Molitor was installed as the U-boat's new commander.[4] U-47's first success in Austro-Hungarian service came nearly six months later when, on 12 January 1918, Molitor torpedoed the French steamer Mica from Saigon just short of her destination of Milos. In early April, Linienschiffsleutnant Freiherr Hugo von Seyffertitz replaced Molitor as commander of U-47, and a month later, von Seyffertitz achieved his first success as U-47's commander. The British steamer Itinda, a 5,203 GRT ship built in 1900, was sunk north of Susa, Libya, with one man killed. The next victory for von Seyffertitz and U-47 came in September. On the 20th U-47 launched a torpedo attack against the submarine Circé off Cattaro, sinking the French boat. At the end of the war, U-47 was at Cattaro. In her Austro-Hungarian Navy career, U-47 sank two merchant ships of 6,467 gross register tons, and sank a single warship of 351 tonnes (345 long tons) displacement. U-47 was ceded to France as a war reparation in 1920, towed to Bizerta, and broken up there within a year.

    Russia: Sovnarkom repudiates Russo-Turk Treaty from March 3, 1918.
    Don*: Krasnov’s 20 Cossack regiments attack again, breaking Red South Front.

    Salonika: Bulgar First Army receives order to retreat in ‘a stunned silence’.
    Austria*: Vienna Neue Freie Presse mentions rumours of coming Italian offensive.

    (see above)
    Palestine: 2nd Indian Lancers seize Musmus Pass and their charge wipes out 516 Turks. Liman (in pyjamas) just escapes 13th Cavalry Brigade’s swoop on Nazareth (1,250 PoWs). 4th Cavalry Division seizes Jordan crossings after 70-mile ride in 34 hours. 3rd ALH Brigade captures Jenin with 1,869 PoWs. Allenby sees Lawrence at GHQ after latter’s RAF Bristol Fighter flight from Azrak.

    After a quiet couple of days - air action increased and the following claims were made

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    11 British airmen were lost on this day

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: A/L.Sgt. Harold Best (see 27th August) was confirmed in his rank.
    Pte. Walter Wardley (see 20th June) was reported by Sgt. John Stephenson (see 24th May) as being “unshaven on 6.30am parade”; on the orders of Capt. Paul James Sainsbury (see 26th August), he would be confined to barracks for two days.
    Pte. Tom Smith (see 7th July) was reported by Sgt. Arthur Ledgard (see 11th September) for “slackness on parade”; on the orders of Lt. Vincent Edwards MC (see 26th August) he would be confined to barracks for three days.
    Pte. Matthew Howard (see 7th July) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance to 23rd Division Rest Station; he had suffered an injury during a musketry competition on the range. In his own words Pte. Howard, “when running across the ground I fell over a piece of rock and sprained my ankle”. Howard’s version of events was confirmed by Sgt. Stanley Vyvyan Golledge (see 11th September) and Capt. John Edward Lennard Payne MC (see 26th August), both of whom had witnessed the incident. Pte. Howard would re-join the Battalion five days later.
    Cpl. Fred Greenwood MM (24522) (see 29th June) and Pte. John Blackburn (see 15th June) re-joined the Battalion from the Base Camp at Arquata Scrivia.
    Pte. Michael Hannigan (see 6th September), who had suffered a sprained ankle while in training two weeks’ previously, re-joined the Battalion from 23rd Division Rest Station.
    L.Sgt. George Heeley (see 2nd July), who had been wounded on 21st June, was transferred from 57th General Hospital in Marseilles to 16th Convalescent Depot, also in Marseilles.
    Pte. Gott Fielding (see 4th December 1917), serving with 3DWR at North Shields, was formally discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit for service on account of ‘neurasthenia’ (shellshock); he was awarded a pension of 13s. 9d. per week for six months, reducing to 8s. 3d. after six months at which point the award was to be reviewed.
    A payment of £2 14s. 8d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Alfred Spencer (see 16th May), who had been officially ‘missing in action’ since 20th September 1917 and was now presumed dead; the payment would go to his widow, Selena.

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    Last edited by Hedeby; 09-20-2018 at 16:48.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  5. #3605


    Come on chaps. We know you can do it. We need 900 hits by 8pm tomorrow night.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  6. #3606


    Let me know if we make it Neil because I will shortly be cut off from all communications with the front.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  7. #3607


    808 hits needed.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  8. #3608


    Thanks for the good read keep it up

  9. #3609


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    21st September 1918

    Three days earlier at Rossnoy, near Lempire Lance-Corporal Allan Leonard Lewis (Northamptonshire Regiment) is in command of a section on the right of an attacking line, held up by intense machine-gun fire. He sees that two guns are enfilading the line and crawls forward alone, successfully bombs the guns and by rifle fire makes the whole team surrender. Today he rushes his company through the enemy barrage, but is killed while getting his men under cover from heavy machine-gun fire. For his efforts on both days he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. He is killed at age 23.

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    Lance-Corporal Lewis is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois memorial near Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt as he has no known grave. The medal was handed to Lance-Corporal's Lewis's elder brother Frank by their mother. She made him promise that the medal would never be sold as she said that she lost a son, and she considered any profit from it would be blood money. Frank kept the medal in his home until his death. It was then agreed by the children of Frank that as he still had a brother, alive, he could hold the medal for his remaining days and then it was to be placed in a museum, either the regimental or local Hereford. When this brother died, the medal was assumed to be part of his estate and was kept by sole beneficiary of the will. Despite requests from Frank's close family, the medal was not returned and therefore not put into a museum.

    As the centenary of Allan's sacrifice approaches (September 21st 2018), the A L Lewis VC Memorial Fund has been set up. Their purpose is to raise funds to honour him with a life-size bronze statue to stand in the Old Market, Hereford. He remains Herefordshire's only county-born VC recipient.

    Captain Edward Walter Bethell (West Surrey Regiment) is killed in action at age 26. His younger brother has been killed in the Battle of Jutland and they are sons of Admiral ‘the Honorable’ ‘Sir’ Alexander E Bethell.
    Captain Arthur Edward Adderley Buller (Norfolk Regiment) is killed in action at age 35 in Palestine. He is the son of the late Reverend R W Buller and has a brother who will be killed in August 1918.
    Captain John Tristram Yarde MC (Bedfordshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 24. He was the Head of Bedford School and Captain of Boats and rowed for Christ College, Cambridge.
    Captain Charles Eric Hatfield MC (East and West Kent Yeomanry) is killed at age 31. He is the son of first lady Mayor of Margate.

    Vardar Offensive – Serbian forces advanced on the town of Krivolak, Macedonia to drive a wedge between the German and Bulgarian forces

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    Britain: War Minister warns Haig vs heavy casualties due to poor recruiting at home, but the Field Marshal resolves to continue planned offensive.
    Cambrai: British 12th and 18th Divisions (with 9 tanks) capture Le Petit Priel farm, east of Epehy. 119 Australians of 1st Battalion refuse to attack and go to rear.


    Salonika: 2 RAF DH9 observers report 500 Bulgar wagons and lorries in retreat at 1040 hours. Bulgar morale plummets as they burn stores. Italians seize Hill 1050 after 1530 hours, advance 6 miles until September 22. Only 5,000 Bulgar PoWs so far.


    Palestine – Last serious infantry action: 10th Division captures Nablus, where Allenby meets Chetwode. RAF massacre Turk Seventh Army column in Wadi Fara descent to Jordan. Mopping up (until September 24) yields 87 guns, 55 lorries and 842 wagons.


    Palestine – RAF’S MOST DEVASTATING 1914-18 BATTLEFIELD INTERVENTIONS: Bristol Fighters and SE5s (105 planes in theatre) in 4 hours block, massacre or disperse Turk corps column descending to Jordan, 9 1/4t bombs and 56,000 MG rounds delivered in over 84 sorties (2 aircraft lost).
    Macedonia: RAF (45 serviceable planes) bomb Bulgars fleeing through Kosturino defile to Lyumnitas, at least 700 killed, 300 wagons destroyed; then attack Kryesna Pass and block Kresni defile (September 28*-29). Total of 782 bombs dropped until September 29.

    Again air combat was limited over the Western Front

    The following claims were made

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    These included a hat trick for Leutnant Paul Baumer of Jasta 2 - all three planes were DH.9s

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    A dental assistant before the war, "The Iron Eagle" (Der Eiserne Adler) had his pilot's license when he entered the army. Bäumer served in an infantry regiment before his transfer to the German Air Service. He was injured in a crash at Vivaise airfield on 29 May 1918. Bäumer was one of only five recipients to be awarded both the Blue Max and the Golden Military Merit Cross. After the war, he became a dentist and continued flying. He was killed while performing an aerobatic display. äumer claimed heavily, reaching 18 victories by year end. He was commissioned in April 1918. On 29 May Bäumer was injured in a crash, breaking his jaw, and he returned to the Jasta in September. With the arrival of the Fokker D.VII he claimed even more success, including 16 in September. Nicknamed "The Iron Eagle", he flew with a personal emblem of an Edelweiss on his aircraft. He was one of the few pilots in World War I whose lives were saved by parachute deployment, when he was shot down in flames in September. He received the Pour le Mérite shortly before the Armistice and was finally credited with 43 victories, ranking ninth among German aces.

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    However despite the lack of aerial combat the RAF still lost 22 airmen on this day

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: Ptes. Ernest Ashness (see 31st July) and John Griffiths (see 17th June) departed on seven days’ leave to Lake Garda.

    Pte. Vernon Barker (see 5th September) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance to 23rd Division rest Station, suffering from diarrhoea; he would be discharged and re-join the Battalion after five days.

    CQMS Maurice Harcourt Denham (see 15th September), who had been discharged to the Convalescent Depot at Lido d’Albano a week previously, was re-admitted 38th Stationary Hospital in Genoa; he was now suffering from influenza.

    21st September 1918: General Monash Pushes His Troops To Mutiny

    Soldiers from a machine-gun position established in the fighting in the ruins of Péronne, photographed on 2 September 1918." An Australian Lewis gun detachment cover a street in Peronne after the 5th Division captured it on 2/3 September 1918. Two of the men appear to be holding Mills bomb grenades.

    The AIF suffered several mutinies during the course of the First World War. Some arose due to dissatisfaction with conditions and discipline in training camps such as at Casula Camp in January 1915 or Etaples in September 1917.

    The bulk of the mutinies, however, arose from the situation facing the AIF in September 1918. The flow of new recruits had now slowed to a trickle, 1914 and 1915 enlistees were granted leave to Australia, and Lieutenant General Sir John Monash is pressing the Australian Corps forward, hard on the heels of the retreating Germans. Australian battalions that should have consisted of nearly one thousand men were barely able to muster a few hundred. The British command were aware of the state of Monash's corps and offered him the chance to slow the tempo of his operations but he refused; Monash (along with many allied generals) believed that the Germans were just about broken, but so too were Monash’s own forces.

    On 14 September 1918, the 59th Battalion was ordered back into the line, after a week of continuous operations, just as it had settled down for a rest. The men initially refused to go forward but were eventually convinced by their officers to obey their orders. A similar incident occurred on 21 September when all but one member of "D" Company refused to take part in an attack as a protest against the battalion being sent back into combat when it had been about to be relieved. The mutiny quickly spread throughout the battalion and when it went forward again it did so with only ten officers and 84 men; 119 had gone missing. The members of the company were subsequently imprisoned for desertion; this was the AIF's largest incidence of "combat refusal" during the war and formed part of a general weakening in the force's discipline due to the stresses of prolonged combat forced upon them by Monash.

    Further mutinies occurred after an order was promulgated on 23 September 1918 to disband the 19th, 21st, 25th, 37th, 42nd, 54th and 60th Battalions to reinforce others. All but the 60th refused to disband and on 27 September Monash postponed the order until after the coming attack on the Hindenburg Line. All of the battalions so ordered eventually disbanded. These events have entered Australian folklore as “soldiers' strikes” but as instances of mass disobedience against the lawful authority of commissioned officers, they were, plain and simply, mutinies.

    Mutiny was one of only two charges for which AIF soldiers could be executed. No charges were ever laid for the 59th Battalion or the disbandment mutinies, but all 119 members involved in the 1st Battalion mutiny were tried, and all but one found guilty.

    Seemingly to avoid the application of the death penalty, all were tried with desertion and not mutiny. In any case, the end of hostilities caused Monash not to enforce the sentences.

    There were more mutinies on the 15 October when around 127 men of 1 AIF were charged with mutiny and desertion. 11 were found Not Guilty; the rest received sentences according (mainly) to rank. Privates received 3 years in jail. L/Cpls received 5 years (a few got slightly more, at 7 or 8 years) and Cpls received 8 years to 10 years. All NCOs were also reduced to the rank of Private.

    On the 18 October 78 men of 3 Aus Tun Coy were charged with mutiny and disobedience. All received 2 years Hard Labour - suspended.

    A small number of Australians were also charged with mutiny on the 22 December and received between 2 years (hard labour) and 5 years Penal Servitude.

    There are also other significant dates of mutinies in 1919.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  10. #3610


    679 last big effort please.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  11. #3611


    300,002 where did that come from? many many thanks to all our readers (or those spamming the refresh button, lol)

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  12. #3612


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    22nd September 1918

    Dashing home from the Doncaster 2018 festivities back to the typewriter in time to post before the midnight hour....

    British forces seize passages of Jordan north of the Dead Sea and close the enemy’s last means of escape, 25,000 prisoners and 260 guns are taken. Two Turkish armies are virtually wiped out.

    Lieutenant Colonel John Francis Sartorius Winnington DSO (commanding 1st/4th Northamptonshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 42. He was on the first team for the Worcester Cricket Club in 1908.

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    On 22 September, on the western side of the Jordan River, the Ottoman 53rd Division was attacked at its headquarters near the Wadi el Fara road, by units from Meldrum's Force. This force consisted of the New Zealand Mounted Brigade (commanded by Brigadier General W. Meldrum), the Machine Gun Squadron, the mounted sections of the 1st and 2nd British West Indies Regiment, the 29th Indian Mountain Battery and Ayrshire (or Inverness) Battery RHA. Meldrum's force captured the commander of the 53rd Division, its headquarters and 600 prisoners, before defeating determined Ottoman rearguards to capture the Jisr ed Damieh bridge. The Ottoman Fourth Army had remained in its positions until 21 September, apparently unaware of the destruction of the Ottoman armies west of the Jordan until refugees reached them. That day, Liman ordered the Fourth Army to retreat to Daraa and Irbid, about 18 miles (29 km) to the west. The Fourth Army began to retreat from the Jordan and Amman on 22 September in increasing disorder due to attacks by British and Australian aircraft on 23 September which caused heavy casualties to the retreating troops on the roads between Es Salt and Amman. On the same day, Chaytor's Force advanced across the Jordan River to capture Es Salt.

    On 25 September the Ottoman troops who had reached Mafraq by train from Amman, but who could proceed no further because the railway ahead was demolished, came under heavy aerial attack which caused many casualties and much disorder. Many Ottoman soldiers fled into the desert but several thousand maintained some order and, having abandoned their wheeled transport, continued to retreat northwards towards Daraa on foot or horseback, under constant air attack.

    Chaytor's Force captured Amman on 25 September.[81] The Ottoman detachment from Ma'an, also trying to retreat northwards, found its line of retreat blocked at Ziza, south of Amman, and surrendered intact to the Anzac Mounted Division on 28 September, rather than risk slaughter by Arab irregulars.

    “ I desire to convey to all ranks and all arms of the Force under my command, my admiration and thanks for their great deeds of the past week, and my appreciation of their gallantry and determination, which have resulted in the total destruction of the VIIth and VIIIth Turkish Armies opposed to us. Such a complete victory has seldom been known in all the history of war. ”
    — E. H. H. Allenby General Commander in Chief EEF 26 September 1918

    The Vardar Offensive

    At 17:30 p.m. on 22 September, the Italian 35th Division under General Ernesto Mombelli joined the offensive, seizing Hill 1050 stronghold from the 302nd German Division and taking 150 prisoners. Fighting took place in Kanatlarci and along the Monastir–Prilep road, in Cepik, Kalabak and Topolčani as the Allies continued to advance towards Prilep. At 14:00 p.m. on 23 September, General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey announced that the initial plan of the operation was to be modified. The Italians were ordered to strike Kičevo with the aim of preventing the enemy forces stationed at Monastir from reaching the railroad hub in Uskub, the 11th Colonial French Division was instead tasked with securing Prilep. Half an hour later the French entered Prilep, to the east Franco–Serbian columns marched on Štip, Veles, Brod and through the Peristeri mountain range.

    The Red Army established the 1st Insurgent Division

    The 44th Kievskaya of the Red Banner Rifle Division of Nikolay Shchors, or 44th Kievskaya for short, was an elite military formation of the Soviet Union. Although it was an elite formation, the division was destroyed during the Winter War, after being ordered to help the 163rd Infantry Division break a Finnish siege on the Raate road. On 30 November 1939, it was part of the Special Rifle Corps, 9th Army, together with the 54th Rifle Division. The unit is also famous for being the one of the first military formations out of which was formed the short-lived Soviet Ukrainian Army (1918–1919). It was formed by the order no.6 of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine on September 22, 1918, as the 1st Insurgent Division along with the 2nd Insurgent Division. The 1st Insurgent Division was formed out of insurgent squads of Tarashcha and Novgorod-Sieversky uyezds. The chief of division (nachdiv) was appointed N.Krapivyansky and the chief of staff S.Petrikovsky (Petrenko).

    Initial order of battle
    1st Red Cossacks Regiment (Vitaly Primakov)
    2nd Insurgent Regiment, later called Tarashcha (V.Balyas, later M.Barona, and then V.Bozhenko)
    3rd Insurgent Regiment of Bogun, later called simply Bogun (Nikolay Shchors)
    4th Insurgent Regiment (Ya.Kisel)

    By the end of September the Division grew to 6700 bayonets, 450 sabers, 14 [artillery] guns, and from 10 to 18 machine guns "Maxim", 5 to 6 Colt, 20 to 30 Lewis. Because of that, selected regiments were reorganized into brigades. However, the name for the units were nominal as the brigade's headquarters were never formed, and functions of kombrigs were performed by the regimental commanders (colonel).

    1st Brigade of Red Cossacks (1st Regiment and 2nd Regiment) (Vitaly Primakov)
    2nd Brigade (3rd Bogun Regiment and 2nd Tarashcha Regiment) (Nikolay Shchors)

    Around that time at the divisional headquarters a security company was formed out of some 700 soldiers. That new unit was planned to be transformed into the 5th Regiment and used as a reserve. Also the 4th Insurgent Regiment was recommissioned as the 6th Insurgent Regiment (commander T.Chernyak) and along with the 1st Regiment of Red Cossacks was soon transferred to the 2nd Insurgent Division. In their places, were created the 3rd Insurgent Regiment, later called Novgorod-Sieversky (T.Chernyak) and the 4th Insurgent Nezhyn Regiment (P.Nesmeyan) transformed out the security company.

    The 44th Rifle Division participated during the Soviet invasion of Poland in autumn 1939. Later, during the Finno-Russian Winter War, the division was sent to the Finnish front as reinforcement for the Soviet 163rd Rifle Division which had attempted to advance into central Finland and become surrounded after capturing the town of Suomussalmi and was suffering heavy casualties. The 163rd Division, which was running short of food, was almost completely annihilated in combat with the Finnish 9th Infantry Division before the 44th Rifle Division could reach its position. With no ski troops, the 44th Rifle Division was completely road bound in the deep snow. The Finns, mounted on skis, and carrying superior arms (submachineguns), were able to break the route of march of the 44th Division on the road leading to Suomussalmi. By breaking the division into pieces along the road, after Finnish radio intelligence had confirmed that the whole division had entered the Raate road, the Finns were able to annihilate the entire unit. According to Robert Edwards, the division's Commander A. Vinogradev managed to escape, but later, on the orders of Stalin's emissary, Lev Mekhlis, he was shot for incompetence following a sham trial. Of the 44th Division's 17,000 troops, 1000 were captured and 700 escaped. The rest died.

    Other records suggest that Commander (kombrig) Alexei Vinogradov was sentenced in January 1940 to the Highest Degree of Punishment (VMN) by the Military Tribunal of the 9th Army. along with his chief of staff Onufri Volkov. On January 11 he was publicly executed in front of formation.

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    Serbia: Serb Second Army reaches Negotino on river Vardar, 20 miles north of line from September 14. Prilep-Gradsko rail line cut, d’Esperey orders cavalry pursuit.

    Palestine: NZ Mounted Brigade seizes Jisr-ed*-Damieh Jordan bridge with 786 PoWs. Djemal Kuchuk belatedly orders Fourth Army retreat east of Jordan while Colonel Oppen’s 2,000 Asia Corps (700 Germans) survivors ford Jordan (night September 22-23).

    Trans-Jordan: 2 Bristol Fighters and 1 DH9 reinforce Arab Army east of Deraa, destroy 2 German two-seaters and a Pfalz scout. Handley Page joins on September 23 with fuel and spares and bombs Deraa rail station. West of Jordan RAF drop 411 bombs and fire 30,000 MG rounds at Turk fugitives.

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    The top performance in the aerial war was from the Australian, Captain Ross MacPherson "Hadji" Smith MC & Bar, DFC & 2 Bars 1st Squadron AFC, who claimed four victories on this day in his Bristol Fighter 1229

    After serving with the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at Gallipoli, Smith transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in 1917 and was posted to 67 Squadron in Egypt. Flying the B.E.2e, he scored his first victory on the morning of 1 September 1917, shooting down an Albatros D.III near Beersheba. Flying the Bristol Fighter, Smith and his observers were credited with 10 more victories in 1918. His final victory was a two-seater, forced down behind enemy lines on the morning of 19 October 1918. Landing beside the enemy aircraft, Smith quickly set it on fire while his observer trained a machine gun on the stunned crew. Before his death in 1922, Smith and his older brother Keith were knighted for completing the first flight from England to Australia in 1919. He was killed in a crash at Brooklands during a practice flight in preparation for an attempt to fly around the world. Smith was inducted into the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame in 2012.

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    Military Cross (MC)
    Lt. Ross Macpherson Smith, Aust. Light Horse R., attd. Aust. R.F.C.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when his pilot descended to the rescue of an officer who had been forced to land. On landing he held the enemy at bay with his revolver, thus enabling his pilot to rescue the officer and to safely fly away his machine.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 11 May 1917 (30064/4594)

    Military Cross (MC) Bar
    Lt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C., Aust. Light Horse R. and Aust. F.C.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was one of two pilots who carried out a remarkable series of photographs in one flight, completely covering an important area of forty-five square miles. On a later occasion he successfully bombed an important bridge head from a low altitude, and his work throughout, as well as his photography, has been invaluable and characterised by the most consistent gallantry.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 24 August 1918 (30862/9905)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C. (Australian L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
    Lt. Walker Alister Kirk (Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
    During the months of June and July these officers [Smith and his observer, Lieut. Walter Kirk] accounted for two enemy machines, and they have been conspicuous for gallantry and initiative in attacking ground targets, frequently at very low altitudes. The keenness and fine example set by these officers cannot be over-estimated.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 February 1919 (31170/2046)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Bar
    Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C., D.F.C. (Australian L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
    During the operations prior to October, 1918, he took part in numerous engagements involving flights of 150 to 200 miles, and succeeded in doing extensive damage to the enemy's hangars, railways, etc. Captain Smith displayed most consistent gallantry with marked ability in all his work, whether bombing by night or day or in personal encounters in the air. Whilst operating with the Sheriffian forces he destroyed one enemy machine and brought down two others out of control in the desert.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 February 1919 (31170/2034)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Second Bar
    Capt. Ross Macpherson Smith, M.C., D.F.C. (Australian L.H. and Australian F.C.). (EGYPT)
    On 19th October this officer, with Lieut. A. V. McCann as observer, engaged and drove down an enemy two-seater. As it appeared to land intact he descended to a low altitude and, with machine-gun fire, forced the occupants to abandon the machine; he then landed alongside it, and while his observer covered the enemy officers he set light to their machine and completely destroyed it. To have effected a landing in an unknown country, many miles in rear of the enemy's advanced troops, demanded courage and skill of a very high order.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 8 February 1919 (31170/2033)

    In addition the following claims were made...

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    A total of 12 British airmen were lost on this day

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    The trawler Elise (Skipper Henry James) blows up two miles northeast of St Mary’s Lighthouse, Blyth while escorting a convoy when struck by a torpedo fired by UB-34. Fourteen are killed including her skipper and Seaman Cecil Robert Sharman at age 20 whose brother was killed in March 1916.

    Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Hoysted Bradley DSO
    (Royal Army Medical Corps attached 15th Field Ambulance) is killed at age 34. He is the son of the Reverend Canon W H Bradley.
    Captain John Sutcliffe Jowett (Manchester Regiment) dies of wounds received in action on 18th August at age 24. He served with the East Lancashire Regiment at Gallipoli and had a twin brother who died of wounds in June 1916.
    Captain Keith Andrews Brown (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 22. His brother will die in November.
    Lance Corporal William Martin Rogers (Australian Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 25. He is a former Australian rules footballer who played three games with Carlton in 1913.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  13. #3613


    Chris is too modest to mention that at the Doncaster 2018 dinner, last night, Rob (Flying Officer Kyte) awarded him a special medal for his dedicated service in producing 'The Sniper's Times'. Rob deserves one in his own right, as well, but he could hardly award one to himself.
    Last edited by Naharaht; 09-23-2018 at 00:07.

  14. #3614


    For services Editing the Sniper's Times news sheet, as a War correspondent, and also extending the readership to over the 300,000 mark yesterday evening.

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    Neil was also presented with the Medal and citation but unfortunately could not be there to receive it personally.

    The Bar reads Sniper's Times.

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    Last edited by Flying Officer Kyte; 09-23-2018 at 13:44.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  15. #3615


    I shall wear it with pride and display it in the squadron office Wing Commander.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  16. #3616


    Hopefully with more modesty than I did, lol

    Thanks Rob

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  17. #3617


    Congratulations to both you guys,. a well deserved award. Shouldn't Kitey get one as well? He has also edited quite a few editions.
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  18. #3618


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    23rd September 1918

    The end really is in sight now as we enter the last 50 days of the war...

    Lieutenant Colonel Auriol Ernest Eric Lowry (commanding 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at Arleux at age 25. His brother Cyril died of wounds in his arms in March of this year and their oldest brother was killed in June 1915 on Gallipoli. Also their only nephews and sons of their sister will be killed in Burma in World War II.

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    Lieutenant Colonel Charles Edward Ridley Holroyd Smyth DSO MC (Dragoon Guards, commanding 15th Durham Light Infantry) dies of wounds at home received during an attack at Villers Guislain at age 36. He is the son of Colonel and Lady Holroyd Smith.
    Lieutenant Colonel James Meldrum Knox DSO (commanding 1st/7th Royal Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action in Italy at age 40. He is the son of James Knox JP.
    Captain Henry Russell Weeks (Welsh Regiment) dies of wounds received five days before at age 24. His brother died of wounds last November.
    Captain Philip Pipon Braithwaite (Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached Jacob’s Horse) is killed in Palestine at age 38. He is the son of Canon Philip Richard Pipon Braithwaite.
    Captain George Ernest Cornaby MC (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend W Arthur Cornaby.
    Lieutenant Cyril Robert Nichols (East Surrey Regiment attached Trench Mortar Battery) is killed. His brother died of wounds in October 1916.
    Flight Cadet Harold Kingsley Percival (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend G C Percival.
    Signal Boy Arnold Augustus Flory (HMS Eaglet, Royal Naval Reserve) dies at home at age 16. His two brothers were killed in action earlier this year. The three boys are sons of the Reverend Henry William Flory Vicar of St Matthew’s Littleport.

    Battle of Megiddo – The 15th Cavalry Brigade with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force captured Haifa, Palestine from the Ottomans.

    Vardar Offensive – Italian forces struck Kičevo, allowing French forces to occupy Prilep, Macedonia.

    Palestine: 500 British cavalry capture Acre and Haifa with 889 PoWs and 18 guns. Liman arrives in Damascus (stay until September 29), sends staff to Aleppo on September 25.
    Trans-Jordan: NZ Mounted Brigade occupies Es Salt and the Arabs Maan.

    Russia: Helfferich resigns as German Ambassador.
    Western Urals: Ufa State Conference elects 5-man compromise Directorate including ex*-Tsarist corps commander General VG Boldyrev as White Siberian C*-in-C.

    Serbia: French Cavalry Brigade Jouinot-Gambetta begins 57*-mile 6-day advance from Novak, C-in-C gives Uskub (Skopje) as their objective, reaches evacuated Prilep at 1300 hours. Serb Second Army forces the Vardar despite stiff resistance.

    Western Front: 13 German bombers raid RAF Marquise depot, destroy or damage 99 aircraft (172 casualties; night September 23-24).

    Marquise housed 1 Aeroplane Supply Depot, ex St Omer, from April 1918, following the retreat during the spring offensive. Part of 1 Aircraft Depot, it served to supply machines to units on the northern part of the front and was an exceptionally busy place. Other elements of 1 AD were also based on Marquise, 1 Aircraft Repair Park whose function was self explanatory and the Reception Park which received machines flown in from England.

    The Aircraft Depot

    When the RFC was formed in May 1912, with its constituent Military and Naval Wings, it was recognised that squadrons in the field would need dedicated support beyond that provided by the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough. This task was assigned to the Line of Communications Workshop, later to become the Flying Depôt and ultimately the Aircraft Park, under which title it was deployed to France on the outbreak of war, reaching Boulogne on 18 August 1914.

    When it arrived in France, the Aircraft Park comprised just 12 officers, 162 other ranks, four motorcycles and four aeroplanes in crates. The Official History records that on disembarkation the port landing officer sent an urgent wire to GHQ, 'An unnumbered unit without any aeroplanes which calls itself an Aircraft Park has arrived. What are we to do with it?' Despite the unpromising start, the Aircraft Park soon proved itself invaluable in the constant struggle to keep the RFC's handful of aircraft available to support the rapidly moving armies. During the confusion of the first months of the war, the Air Park found itself constantly on the move. However, by the end of October 1914, after five changes in location, it arrived at St Omer where it would remain for nearly four years.

    As the war grew in scale and intensity, so did the logistic demands. The Aircraft Park came to resemble, in the words of its commander, 'A gigantic factory and emporium', repairing everything from aircraft to wireless equipment and vehicles. The range and quantity of spares to be handled created immense difficulties. The stores section was responsible for requisitions ranging from complete aircraft to horse rakes and lawnmowers for keeping aerodromes trim. By July 1915, the Aircraft Park had become too unwieldy to satisfy the demands placed upon it, a second park being established at Candas to cater for the southern squadrons. Both parks were supplied by rail from port depôts based at Boulogne and Rouen respectively. Even with these changes, it was evident that unless St Omer and Candas were relieved of some of their heavy repair work and the increasingly large range of stores they were now required to hold, there was no possibility that they could sustain a mobile role. In December 1915 it was decided to convert St Omer and Candas into fixed supply and repair depots and to create three new air parks in the army rear areas to provide mobile support to the flying squadrons. St Omer was retitled No 1 Aircraft Depot (AD) and Candas No 2 AD.

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    The Chaplain leads the singing at No. 2 Aeroplane Supply Depot
    Rev James Rowland Walkley taking a service from the cockpit of a RAF F.E.2b, No. 2 Aeroplane Supply Depot, RAF Bahot, France, September 1918

    At this stage, St Omer comprised some 1000 technical personnel (including MT workshops in the town itself on the Rue Therounne and a sub-site at Arques, some two miles away, engaged in kite balloon repair and the production of hydrogen) organised into a wide range of repair and stores sections holding three month’s stock of aeronautical and transport stores. The depot received, modified and issued direct to the front line new aircraft, maintained an attrition reserve and overhauled and reconstructed aircraft, balloons and vehicles. In this regard, the importance of salvage cannot be exaggerated. Wastage rates at the beginning of the war were relatively low, about 10% per month, but by June 1916 they had reached 47.7% per month, rising to a staggering 64.6% during the Battle of the Somme. In order to keep 1800 aircraft in the field (the size of the RAF at the Armistice) it was calculated that 1500 new aircraft would have to be delivered to France each month.

    The importance of St Omer and its sister depôt 2 AD at Candas in maintaining the operational effectiveness of the RFC during the Battles of the Somme and Third Ypres cannot be exaggerated. In the face of rapidly growing attrition, every aircraft that the depôts could repair or rebuild and every component or engine that could be salvaged was crucial. Thus, during September 1917, at the height of the Third Battle of Ypres, St Omer and Candas, working day and night, issued 930 aircraft, reconstructed 116 and erected 113. By the October of that year the volume of new aircraft deliveries (then averaging 400 a month) and the quantity of repair and salvage work had reached a level that necessitated the creation of separate Aeroplane Supply Depôt (ASD)s, alongside the main depôt, responsible solely for aircraft receipt, issues and repairs.

    Attached to the Depôt was the Pilots’ Pool that undertook ferry and flight test duties as well as providing refresher and conversion flying. It also served as a holding flight for recently arrived pilots awaiting posting to an operational squadron. Cecil Lewis, who was based St Omer in March 1916 describes the airfield as simply buzzing with activity. Reporting directly to Lieutenant W.F.C. Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick, OC the Pilot’s Pool, he flew a variety of aircraft types as well as witnessing comparative trials with a captured Fokker.41 Charles Cochran-Patrick had been based at St Omer since December 1915. His duties were wide and also included instructing and the conduct of experimental trials. However, his most notable achievement was probably the shooting down, on 26 April 1916, of an LVG two-seater of FA5 over Hazebrouck while flying his personal Nieuport 16. This was the first, and only, aerial victory achieved during the war by 1 AD.

    Up to this point the depôt had consisted of only temporary sheds ands a number of Bessonneau hangars. However, contracts were now raised through the RE Works Directorate for the construction of workshops and repair sheds, including a dope shop and carpenters’, fitters’ and sailmakers’ shops as well as four small fuselage sheds. Further extensions were provided in 1917, including larger sheds, a Power House and 13 ‘B’ type hangars. The attached sketch shows the layout of the site in March 1918 – shortly before it was evacuated.

    A significant works programme was also put in hand at Arques to cope with the increase in the demand for hydrogen as the number of RFC kite balloon sections deployed on the Western Front rapidly grew from 1916 onwards. Hydrogen supplies had originally been obtained through the French authorities but increasing difficulties were encountered as consumption grew. To provide an assured supply, it was decided to create a local generating capacity at Arques, adjacent to the canal, some four miles from 1 AD.

    Early in 1916, Colonel Robert Brooke-Popham had written to the War Office arguing for the provision of two Silicol Plants and compressors capable of producing 50000 cubic ft of hydrogen per week. These plants were to be provided by the Admiralty together with the additional gas cylinders to increase the total number available on the Western Front to 8000. Empty cylinders were delivered to Arques by lorry and full cylinders returned direct to the kite balloon sections. At this stage several large balloon sheds had been erected, but over the next two years numerous additional buildings were constructed to provide for the hydrogen producing plant and the handling of gas cylinders. In addition, fully hutted camps were provided for officers and other ranks, including WRAF.

    Although only small quantities of oxygen were required by the RFC in the first years of the war (in general for welding), with the introduction of higher performance aircraft from 1917 onwards an increasing amount of compressed breathing oxygen was required – ultimately reaching 25000 cubic ft per day. The installation of an electrolytic plant at Arques addressed this need – as well as allowing a further increase in hydrogen production.

    By March 1918, the St Omer depôts had grown into an immense enterprise. Over 4300 technical personnel (nearly 10% of the total strength of the RFC in France and Belgium) were directly employed in maintaining, modifying, repairing and salvaging aircraft and associated equipments. The scale of this operation and the haphazard development since the beginning of the war did not make for a pretty sight. Arthur Gould Lee, who was based in the Pilot’s Pool during 1917, described the depôt as an ugly sprawling place with scores of Bessonneau canvas hangars and workshops with rows and rows of Nissen huts.

    The German Spring offensive led to a major relocation of the fixed repair and supply depôts. Even before the full extent of the German advance was known, thought had been given to placing the aircraft depôts closer to the Channel Ports. In late March 1918, 1AD was directed to find a suitable site adjacent to the St Omer to Calais railway and canal or the Calais to Boulogne railway. As an immediate step, a reserve stock of spares was created to keep the northern squadrons supplied if a move was deemed necessary (equivalent to some 250 lorry loads). As the military situation deteriorated, Robert Brooke-Popham decided to implement these plans. The advanced section of 1AD was ordered to Guines on 11 April 1918 – an existing site occupied by 4 ASD – while the stores section went to Desvres. Further moves out of St Omer occurred on 15 April, when 1 ASD and its repair section moved to Marquise and the MT Repair Shops were dispatched to join those of 2AD. The War Diary of the St Omer Area Commandant recorded that the evacuation of the heavy units had proceeded very satisfactorily, 1 ASD being cleared in three days. The evacuation of the St Omer site was completed on 10 May 1918 when the residual depôt elements moved to Guines – leaving only the Hydrogen Silicol plant and tent stores at Arques from the original depôt.

    Even in the midst of this turbulence, the supply system did not falter such that 208 Squadron, who had burnt their entire compliment of Sopwith Camels when their airfield was overrun in heavy fog on 7 April 1918, was issued by the depôts with 20 new machines within 48 hours.

    Palestine: RAF (at least 22 attack) drop 6 1/4t bombs and fires over 33,000 MG rounds east of Jordan (resumed on September 25 with 39 sorties).

    again there were only a small number of claims on this day, including

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    The above includes a hat trick for the 20 Squadron team of Lieutenant Nicholas Stewart Bolton and 2nd Lieutenant Harold Leslie Edwards DFC. With 21 confirmed Kills Harold Edwards was one of the highest scoring observers of the war, incredibly all 21 kills were Fokker D.VIIs. They were flying Bristol Fighter E2213

    A chauffeur from Ontario, Harold Leslie Edwards joined the army on 16 December 1915. Wounded on 8 April 1917, he transferred to the Royal Air Force after serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in France and Belgium. As an observer flying Bristol Fighters with 20 Squadron, Edwards was credited with downing 21 Fokker D.VIIs before he was wounded in action, taking a bullet through the lungs on 21 October 1918. When the war ended, he returned to Canada and became a car salesman.

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    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    2nd Lieut. Harold Edwards. (FRANCE)
    When on offensive patrol, during 16th September, this officer with nine other machines, engaged twelve enemy scouts. In the combat that ensued he destroyed one, his pilot accounting for a second, and they took part in destroying a third. In all 2nd Lieutenant Edwards has accounted for nine enemy machines, setting an excellent example of gallantry worthy of high praise.

    31 British Airmen were lost on this day (partly as a result of the bombing of No.2 Aircraft Depot)

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  19. #3619


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    Tuesday 24th September 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 49 days

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    Colonel John Cridlan Barrett VC, TD (10 August 1897 − 7 March 1977) was 21 years old, and a lieutenant in the 1/5th Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
    On 24 September 1918 at Pontruet, France, during an attack, owing to the darkness and smoke barrage, Lieutenant Barrett found himself advancing towards a trench containing numerous machine-guns. He at once collected all available men and charged the nearest group of guns and in spite of being wounded, gained the trench, personally disposing of two machine-guns and inflicting many casualties. Notwithstanding a second wound he then climbed out of the trench to fix his position and locate the enemy, then ordered his men to cut their way back to the battalion, which they did. He was again wounded, very seriously.

    He later became a surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary and achieved the rank of colonel after serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War II.

    His VC is on display at the Royal Leicestershire Regiment Museum Collection in the Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester.

    Today we lost: 995

    Today’s losses include:

    • A Baronet who will be succeeded by his younger brother who will be killed at El Alamein in 1941
    • An Olympic Gold medal rowing team member
    • A Battalion Commander
    • Multiple sons of members of the clergy including one who is a Military Chaplain
    • A 7-victory ace
    • The son of an Admiral
    • A man shot at dawn for murder
    • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    • Lieutenant Colonel Rex Hamilton Leyland (commanding 2nd Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 33.
    • Major Aubrey Hugh Darnell DSO (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 32. He is the son of Chaplain to the services the Reverend Francis Aubrey Darnell.
    • Captain Gilbert John Strange (Royal Air Force) a seven-victory ace is shot down near Cambrai and killed at age 19.
    • Lieutenant John Herbert Roberts (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Air Force) is killed in action. He is the only son of the late Reverend Herbert Roberts Vicar of East Lulworth.
    • Lieutenant Everard Lindesay Brine (Hampshire Regiment attached Dunsterforce) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of Admiral Brine.
    • Lieutenant the Reverend John Morrison (Cameron Highlanders) is killed by a shell at age 33. He is the son of the Reverend Murdo Morrison.
    • Second Lieutenant John Paterson (Essex Regiment) is shot at dawn for murdering Sergeant Harold Collison a Royal Military Policeman who was attempting to arrest him for desertion.
    • Second Lieutenant Gerald Bardsley Taylor (Leicestershire Regiment attached Durham Light Infantry) becomes the third brother to be killed in the Great War. His brothers were both killed in 1916.
    • Second Lieutenant Raymond Charles Page (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 41. His brother was killed last month.
    • Rifleman Thomas Earl (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed in action at age 25. He has had two brothers previously killed in the Great War and though none of their bodies will be identified they are commemorated on different memorials.
    • Private Michael Cox (Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in July 1915.

    Air Operations:

    Captain Donald Ronald MacLaren (Royal Air Force) and his patrol of three machines attack a formation of six enemy scouts, although the latter are protected by sixteen other enemy aircraft at a higher altitude. Firing a burst at point-blank range, he shoots down one in flames. Captain Allan Hepburn (Royal Air Force) and Second Lieutenant Horace George Eldon shoot down an enemy Fokker VII near Habourdin.

    Lieutenant David Ingalls claims his fifth victory, to become the first U.S. Navy ace in history and the only one of World War I.

    Royal Air Force LtCol Richard Bell Davies makes the first true aircraft carrier landing in history, landing a Sopwith 1½ Strutter on the bare steel flight deck of HMS Argus in the Firth of Forth.

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    General Headquarters:

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:


    Royal Flying Corps Losses today 48, of which the following 20 are recorded:

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    Claims: 15 confirmed (Entente 11: Central Powers 4)

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    Home Fronts:

    Germany: Kaiser visits Kiel U-Boat School, speaks to 400 U-Boat officers and minelayer crews.

    4th War Loan authorized.

    Army educational scheme issued. Churchill first meets S Sassoon.

    Western Front:

    Germany: OHL informs Berlin Govt that armistice talks inevitable.
    Somme: Anglo-French attack on 4-mile front east of Vermand to within 2 miles of St Quentin. British 1st and 6th Divisions with 20 tanks attack Quadrilateral and Fresnoy (northwest of St Quentin); French capture 2 villages to west. BEF’s best week of the war for taking POW, 30,441 (until September 30).

    French and British co-operate in attack in St. Quentin sector, good progress made, in spite of strong resistance, around hamlets of Salency (Noyon) and Gricourt.

    Allies within two miles of St. Quentin.

    French capture Francilly-Selency and Dallon; approach Giffecourt.

    Southern Front:

    Allies continue to advance on both sides of Vardar river.

    Bulgarians offer strong rearguard resistance.

    French advance beyond Prilep and Serbians approach Babuna Pass.

    Tunstills Men Tuesday 24th September 1918:

    Beregana Camp, south-east of Thiene.

    Pte. Hiram Tasker (see 20th June) was appointed (unpaid) Lance Corporal.

    Pte. Smith Stephenson Whitaker (see 26th August) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance to 23rdDivision Rest Station, suffering from scabies.

    Ptes. James Pidgeley (see 22nd July) and John William Procter (see 16th July) were transferred from 16thConvalescent Depot at Marseilles to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    L.Cpl. Victor Munnery (see 11th September), who had suffered a shrapnel wound to his right elbow two weeks’ previously, was transferred from 24th Casualty Clearing Station to 62nd General Hospital at Bordighera, near Ventimiglia.

    Pte. Frederick George Westlake (see 14th September), who had suffered an accidental gunshot wound to his right foot a month previously, was transferred from 9th Casualty Clearing Station to 62nd General Hospital at Bordighera, near Ventimiglia.

    Pte. Ernest Mudd (see 15th September), who had been under treatment for inflammation to his left knee for the previous two weeks, was transferred from 39th Casualty Clearing Station to 62nd General Hospital at Bordighera, near Ventimiglia.

    Capt. Bob Perks DSO (see 20th April), who had been in England since having been wounded on 20thSeptember 1917, left England en route to re-joining 10DWR in Italy.
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    Capt. Bob Perks DSO

    Lt. Col. Robert Raymer (see 28th May) was transferred to command 5th (Pioneer) Battalion South Wales Borderers; he would have ten days’ leave to England before taking command.

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    Lt. Col. Robert Raymer

    Lt. Andrew Aaron Jackson (see 15th September), who had suffered wounds to his right shoulder during the trench raid on 26th August, and was currently under treatment at Lady Cooper’s Hospital, Hursley Park, Winchester, appeared before an Army Medical Board at Winchester. The findings of this Board are unknown but he appears to have remained in hospital.

    Lt. George Stuart Hulburd (see 20th July) appeared before a further Army Medical Board, which, as previously recommended, classified him as category Cii. Under this category he would be regarded as fit for garrison duty at home, being “free from serious organic diseases; able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes”.

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    Lt. George Stuart Hulburd

    Maj. Harry Robert Hildyard (see 3rd August) was formerly appointed Assistant Provost Marshal with Northern Command.

    The War Office replied to Capt. Herbert Sparling MC (see 10th September), who had been severely wounded on 18th October 1917, having his left leg amputated below the knee, regarding his offer to continue his military career, “I am directed to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 11th September 1918, and to inform you in reply that in view of the finding of the Medical Board held on 10th September, whilst the offer of your further services is appreciated, there is no opportunity of utilizing them in any capacity until you are passed by the medical authorities as fit for some form of military duty”.

    Pte. William Postill Taylor (see 22nd August), serving with 3DWR at North Shields, was discharged from Brighton Grove Military Hospital, Newcastle-on-Tyne and re-joined his Battalion.

    Sgt. Harry Clark (see 11th May), who had been on an officer training course at no.19 Officer Cadet Battalion at Pirbright, was transferred to 6th (Reserve) Battalion, London Regiment at Blackdown; the reason for his transfer is unknown.

    Pte. Alfred Heath was formally discharged from the Army under King’s Regulations, paragraph 392 (xix), which would indicate a man discharged after serving 18 years in the army. In the absence of a surviving service record I am unable to make a positive identification of this man or to establish any details of his service with 10DWR.

    The London Gazette published notice of the award of the Military Cross to Capt. Henry Kelly VC
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    (see 18thSeptember), which he had been awarded following the trench raid in June; “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in charge of a company and a half in a raid. Despite a bright moon, he successfully assembled his party and attacked, killing a large number of the enemy and capturing thirty-one prisoners and two machine guns. His gallantry and fine leadership were largely responsible for the success of the raid”.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    General Allenby's troops in pursuit of Turkish 4th Army approach Amman on Hejaz railway. Arab forces cut the line farther north and press enemy in retreat from Maan. 40,000 prisoners and 265 guns taken.

    Palestine: 4th Cavalry Division takes 8,000 PoW at Jordan fords (September 23-24), Kemal only just escapes.

    Battle of Meggido ends.

    Naval Operations:
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    Railway strike, which began in South Wales, spreads to other lines; Great Western, Midland and London and South Western affected.

    Yugo-Slav charter signed at Agram.

    Resignation of Japanese Cabinet announced.

    Anniversary Events:

    1788 After having been dissolved, the French Parliament of Paris reassembles in triumph.
    1789 Congress passes the Judiciary Act of 1789, establishing a strong federal court system with the powers it needs to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution and federal law. The new Supreme Court will have a chief justice and five associate justices.
    1842 Branwell Bronte, the brother of the Bronte sisters and the model for Hindley Earnshaw in Emily's novel Wuthering Heights, dies of tuberculosis. Emily and Anne die the same year.
    1862 President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus against anyone suspected of being a Southern sympathizer.
    1904 Sixty-two die and 120 are injured in head-on train collision in Tennessee.
    1914 In the Alsace-Lorraine area between France and Germany, the German Army captures St. Mihiel.
    1915 Bulgaria mobilizes troops on the Serbian border.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 09-24-2018 at 07:48.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  20. #3620


    Rest of pics to be uploaded tonight, apologies.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  21. #3621


    Quote Originally Posted by Skafloc View Post
    Lieutenant David Ingalls claims his fifth victory, to become the first U.S. Navy ace in history and the only one of World War I.

    Found this photo of David Ingalls:

  22. #3622


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    Wednesday 25th September 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 48 days
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    Colonel Donald John Dean VC OBE (19 April 1897 – 9 December 1985) was a private with the 28th London (Artists Rifles) Regiment in the Ypres Salient and during the Battle of the Somme. In October 1916 he was commissioned into the Royal West Kent Regiment and fought at Vimy Ridge and around Givenchy.

    He was 21 years old, and a Temporary Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    During the period 24 September–26 September 1918, north-west of Lens, France, Lieutenant Dean with his platoon held an advance post established in a newly captured enemy trench. The post was ill-prepared for defence and the lieutenant worked unceasingly with his men consolidating the position, under very heavy fire. Five times in all the post was attacked and on each occasion the attack was repulsed. Throughout the whole of this time Lieutenant Dean inspired his command with his own contempt of danger and set the highest example of valour, leadership and devotion to duty.

    He later achieved the rank of colonel and served in the Second World War. Dean was among the last to leave the port of Boulogne in 1940. Later he served in Madagascar and Italy, earning two Mentions in Despatches and a promotion to full colonel in 1945. He also served as a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent.

    In 1923, Dean married Marjorie Wood. They had one son and one daughter.

    Today we lost: 687

    Today’s losses include:

    • The son of an Admiral
    • The son of a member of the clergy
    • A man whose widow has lost her second husband to the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    • Second Lieutenant Charles Baldwin Drury Wake (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed by shell fire at age 19. He is the only son of Admiral Sir Drury St Albyn Wake KCIE CB was educated at Rugby School (Head of his house) and a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Second
    • Lieutenant George Iliff (Royal Air Forces) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Alfred Iliff of South China.
    • Sergeant Christopher Loomes (Sherwood Foresteres) is killed in action. His widow’s first husband was killed in August 1916.
    • Lance Corporal Frank Garraway (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 18. His three brothers have already been killed in the Great War.

    Air Operations:

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    US ace Edward ‘Eddie’ Rickenbacker joined and later led the elite 94th ‘Hat in the Ring’ Squadron in 1918.

    Western Front: Rickenbacker awarded CMH

    Germany: 4 DH9s of No 110 Squadron lost in raid on Frankfurt (bombed from 17,000ft) to 50 fighters.

    General Headquarters:


    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:

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    Royal Flying Corps Losses today 28, of which the following 20 are recorded:

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    Claims: 113 confirmed (Entente 83: Central Powers 30)

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    Other Casualties:

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    Home Fronts:

    Bulgaria: Tsar Ferdinand orders Stamboliski freed to clam mutineers in Sofia; 1,500 casualties as loyal cadets and German 217th Division from Odessa and Varna disperse them.

    ‘Italy’s Day’ in London.

    Western Front:

    Sharp local fighting renewed in neighbourhood of Selency (two miles west of St. Quentin).

    Surprise attack by enemy near Moeuvres and Epehy are repulsed.

    Artillery actions on French front.

    Southern Front:

    Bulgaria proposes an Armistice, but General Franchet d'Esperey, (Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces) declines any suspension of hostilities.

    Serbians in posession of Babuna Pass, they capture Veles and Ishtip, press on to Uskub.

    British cross Bulgarian frontier at Kosturino. Over 10,000 prisoners and 200 guns.
    End of battle of the Vardar.

    French and Serbs capture vital Bulgar supply centre of Gradsko on the Vardar with 19 guns and 40 locomotives; General Pruneau of 17th Colonial Division ‘My poilus have their clothes in rags and most … are barefooted’ (September 26). Cavalry Brigade Jouinot-Gambetta reaches Babuna Pass and strikes north through mountains for Uskub covering 11 miles on September 26.

    British XVI Corps cross Bulgar frontier
    and enter Kosturino. Bulgar deserters try to seize GHQ at Kurstendil and commandeer trains to go home, GHQ moves to Sofia on September 27.

    Tunstills Men Wednesday 25th September 1918:

    Beregana Camp, south-east of Thiene.

    A/Sgt. Horace Dewis MM (see 1st August), serving with the RAF, was confirmed and paid according to his new rank, having previously held it unpaid.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    In Palestine British cavalry reach Sea of Galilee in pursuit of Turks, who are fleeing towards Damascus.

    East of Jordan British cavalry occupy Amman on Hejaz railway. Total of prisoners 45,000 and 265 guns.

    2,750 Anzac soldiers capture Amman with 2,563 pow and 10 guns. 400 ALH (78 casualties) storm Semakh rail station south of Lake Galilee with 364 pow (including c.150 Germans) and 1 gun. Tiberias surrenders. EEF haul since September 19 are 45,000 pow and 260 guns.

    Naval Operations:

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    Yugo-Slav State recognised by Italy as independent.

    Anniversary Events:

    1396 The last great Christian crusade, led jointly by John the Fearless of Nevers and King Sigismund of Hungary, ends in disaster at the hands of Sultan Bayezid I's Ottoman army at Nicopolis.
    1598 In Sweden, King Sigismund is defeated at Stangebro by his uncle Charles.
    1775 British troops capture Ethan Allen, the hero of Ticonderoga, when he and a handful of Americans try to invade Canada.
    1789 Congress proposes 12 new amendments to the Constitution.
    1804 The 12th Amendment is ratified, changing the procedure of choosing the president and vice-president.
    1846 American General Zachary Taylor's forces capture Monterey, Mexico.
    1909 The first National Aeronautic Show opens at Madison Square Garden.
    1915 An allied offensive is launched in France against the German Army.
    1918 Brazil declares war on Austria.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 09-25-2018 at 00:32.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  23. #3623


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    Thursday 26th September 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 47 days

    Today we lost: 632

    Today’s losses include:

    · An RAF pilot killed in a tragic accident
    · A 6-victory ace
    · A man played cricket for the Hampstead Cricket Club
    · A man whose brother was killed in May 1917

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Captain William Harold Haynes DSO (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed at age 23. He is taxiing his Camel on his home field at night when he accidentally turns the plane into a ditch but crawls away unscathed. He then goes to the front of the machine to check the damage when his mechanic who has run over inadvertently triggers the guns killing Captain Haynes instantly.
    · Lieutenant William Benson Craig DFC (Royal Air Force) a 6-victory ace is killed at age 23.
    · Second Lieutenant Cyril Howard Eiloart (Irish Guards attached Guards Machine Gun Regiment) is killed in action. He played cricket for the Hampstead Cricket Club and was a member of the Incognici team which toured America. His brother was killed in May 1917.

    Air Operations:

    Germany: 4 Handley Pages of No 216 Squadron damage railways and bridge at Metz-Sablon causing delays and dislocation for 24 hours.

    Western Front: Mitchell’s 842 US aircraft vs 302 German for Meuse-Argonne Offensive (until November 11), but weather restricts close support. Germans claim 63 Allied aircraft for loss of 3.
    Eleven aircraft of 40th Squadron bomb and strafe Lieu St. Amand aerodrome, setting airplanes and hangars on fire.

    General Headquarters:


    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:


    l Flying Corps Losses today 28, of which the following 20 are recorded:

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    Claims: 93 confirmed (Entente 54: Central Powers 39)

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    Western Front:

    Great Franco-American attack on 40-mile front, from middle of Champagne to the Meuse.

    French under General Gouraud, Americans under General Pershing. Both armies advance several miles, capture Montfaucon, Varennes and many villages.

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    US soldiers with French FT-17 tanksmarch into their deployment areas in the Meuse-Argonnen sector.

    France – FOCH LAUNCHES GENERAL OFFENSIVE: 1st Phase (until October 15). Battle OF MEUSE-ARGONNE (until November 11): After 3 hour barrage 37 Franco-American divisions attack at 0530 hours on 40-mile front from Champagne to Meuse with 705 tanks available, average advance 3 miles. AEF gas effort: 800 million rounds (1600t) mustard gas and phosgene; 10,600 gassed (278 deaths; until November 11).

    The Meuse Argonne Offensive (26 September - 11 November 1918) was an Allied offensive with the aim of pushing the German Armies further east from their positions at the Hindenburg Line, cutting the Germans off from their important rail routes supplying their front line sectors. The Allied attack comprised a total of 37 French and US divisions opposing 24 German divisions. There were three fortified German lines, two of which were breached by 5 October. Another assault was started up again on 14 October by the First and Second US Armies but they suffered heavy casualties without making progress. Once again on 1 November the Allied offensive started up and the third German defensive line was breached. As the advance progressed northwards the towns of Mézières, Charleville and Sedan were recaptured.

    US forces comprising nearly 1,200,000 troops launch the Meuse-Argonne offensive with air support from the Army Air Service. The battle lasts until the Armistice on November 11. The observations squadrons have a difficult time over the dense and hilly Argonne terrain. The fighter squadrons are grouped effectively to deal with the massed Geschwader.

    The Meuse-Argonne Offensive (also known as Battles of the Meuse-Argonne and the Meuse-Argonne Campaign) was a major part of the final Allied Offensive that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from September 26, 1918 until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It was one of a series of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which brought the war to an end. The battle cost 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. It was the largest and bloodiest operation of World War I for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which was commanded by General John J. Pershing, and the deadliest battle in American history. U.S. losses were exacerbated by the inexperience of many of the troops and the tactics used during the early phases of the operation. Meuse-Argonne was the principal engagement of the AEF during World War I.

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    Gun crew from Regimental Headquarters Company, 23rd Infantry, firing 37mm gun during an advance against German entrenched positions.

    The logistic prelude to the Meuse attack was planned by then Colonel George Marshall who managed to move American units to the front after the Battle of St. Mihiel. The September/October Allied breakthroughs (north, centre, and south) across the length of the Hindenburg Line – including the Battle of the Argonne Forest – are now lumped together as part of what is generally remembered as the Grand Offensive by the Allies on the Western Front. The Meuse-Argonne offensive also involved troops from France, while the rest of the Allies, including France, Britain, and its dominion and imperial armies (mainly Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), and Belgium contributed to major battles in other sectors across the whole front.

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    German soldiers drawing water

    The French and British armies' ability to fight unbroken over the whole four years of the war, in what amounted to a bloody stalemate, is credited by some historians with breaking the spirit of the German Army on the Western Front, a view which ignores the German Spring Offensive of 1918. The Grand Offensive, including British, French, and Belgian advances in the north along with the French-American advances around the Argonne forest, is in turn credited for leading directly to the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

    On September 26, the Americans began their strike north towards Sedan. The next day, British and Belgian divisions drove towards Ghent (Belgium). British and French armies attacked across northern France on September 28. The scale of the overall offensive, bolstered by the fresh and eager, but largely untried and inexperienced, U.S. troops, signaled renewed vigor among the Allies and sharply dimmed German hopes for victory.

    The Meuse-Argonne offensive was the biggest operation and victory of the American (AEF) in World War I. The bulk of the AEF had not gone into action until 1918. The Meuse-Argonne battle was the largest frontline commitment of troops by the U.S. Army in World War I, and also its deadliest. Command was coordinated, with some U.S. troops (e.g. the Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd Division and the 93rd Division) attached and serving under French command (e.g. XVII Corps during the second phase).

    The main U.S. effort of the Meuse-Argonne offensive took place in the Verdun Sector, immediately north and northwest of the town of Verdun, between September 26 and November 11, 1918. However, far to the north, U.S. troops of the 27th and 30th divisions of the II Corps AEF fought under British command in a spearhead attack on the Hindenburg Line with 12 British and Australian divisions, and directly alongside the exhausted veteran divisions of the Australian Corps of the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF). With artillery and British Tanks, the combined three-nation force, despite some early setbacks, attacked and captured their objectives (including Montbrehain village) along a six-kilometre section of the Line between Bellicourt and Vendhuille, which was centred around an underground section of the St. Quentin CAnal and came to be known as the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. Although the capture of the heights above the Beaurevoir Line by October 10, marking a complete breach in the Hindenburg Line, was arguably of greater immediate significance, the important U.S. contribution to the victory at the St. Quentin Canal is less well remembered in the United States than Meuse-Argonne.

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    Sedan-Verdun and Vicinity: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, September–November 1918

    The American forces initially consisted of 15 divisions of the US First Army commanded by then General John J. Pershing until October 16, and then by Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett. The logistics were planned and directed by then Colonel George C. Marshall. The French forces next to them consisted of 31 divisions including the Fourth Army (under Henri Gouraud) and the Fifth Army (under Henri Mathias Berthelot). The U.S. divisions of the AEF were oversized (12 battalions per division versus the French/British/German nine battalions per division), being up to twice the size of other Allies' battle-depleted divisions upon arrival, but the French and other Allied divisions had been partly replenished prior to the Grand Offensive, so both the U.S. and French contributions in troops were considerable. Most of the heavy equipment (tanks, artillery, and aircraft) was provided by the European Allies. For the Meuse-Argonne front alone, this represented 2,780 artillery pieces, 380 tanks, and 840 planes. As the battle progressed, both the Americans and the French brought in reinforcements. Eventually, 22 American divisions would participate in the battle at one time or another, representing two full field armies. Other French forces involved included the 2nd Colonial Corps, under Henri Claudel, which had also fought alongside the AEF at the Battle of Sanit-Mihiel earlier in September 1918.

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    Gen. John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Force (A. E. F.)

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    Lt. Gen. Hunter Liggett, Commander of First Army

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    Lt. Gen. Robert L. Bullard, Commander of Second Army

    The opposing forces were wholly German. During this period of the war, German divisions procured only 50 percent or less of their initial strength. The 117th Division, which opposed the U.S. 79th Division during the offensive's first phase, had only 3,300 men in its ranks. Morale varied among German units. For example, divisions that served on the Eastern front would have high morale, while conversely divisions that had been on the Western front had poor morale. Resistance grew to approximately 200,000–450,000 German troops from the Fifth Army of Group Gallwitz commanded by General Georg von der Marwitz. The Americans estimated that they opposed parts of 44 German divisions overall, though many fewer at any one time.

    The Allied objective was the capture of the railway hub at Sedan that would break the railway network supporting the German Army in France and Flanders.

    "During the three hours preceding H hour, the Allies expended more ammunition than both sides managed to fire throughout the four years of the American Civil War. The cost was later calculated to have been $180 million, or $1 million per minute. The American attack began at 05:30 on September 26 with mixed results. The V and III Corps met most of their objectives, but the 79th Division failed to capture Montfaucon, the 28th ‘Keystone’ Division’s attack virtually ground to a halt due to formidable German resistance, and the 91st ‘Wild West’ Division was compelled to evacuate the village of Epinonville though it advanced 8 km (5.0 mi). The inexperienced 37th ‘Buckeye’ Division failed to capture Montfaucon d’Argonne.

    Southern Front:

    British enter Strumitsa (Bulgaria).

    Serbian cavalry, striking east from Ishtip, capture Kochana.

    Bulgarians make hard fight to retain Uskub.

    Bulgaria: North of Kosturino at 0800 hours (95°F in shade) Derbyshire Yeomanry meets Bulgar car with white flag and Todorov letter to Milne. Bulgar capital Sofia still 130 miles and five mountains ranges to north. Bulgaria requests armistice.

    Serbia: Serb cavalry capture Kocharia, Drina and Morava Divisions liberate Veles after hard fighting vs 4 German battalions. Allies now have 10,000 pow and 200 guns.

    Tunstills Men Thursday 26th September 1918:

    Beregana Camp, south-east of Thiene.

    Starting out at 7pm, the Battalion marched thirteen miles south, via Villaverla and Costabissara, to billets in Creazzo.

    Lt. John William Headings (see 15th June 1917), the Battalion Quartermaster, was injured in an accident, as described in Headings’ own statement: “At Creazzo about 9.30pm on 26th Sept. on the road near to the transport lines. It was dark and the road narrow. To avoid one of our limbers proceeding in the opposite direction, I sidestepped and was thrown into a deep gully at the roadside, the weight of my body being thrown onto the left knee”. A statement was also taken from Rev. E G Selwyn, Chaplain attached to 8Yorks (the statement was taken by the acting adjutant, 2Lt. Cyril Edward Agar, see 27th July): “On the night of Thursday Sept 26th 1918 I was walking two paces behind Lt. Headings along the narrow lane leading to the village. A limber was coming up from the opposite direction and there was no room to pass in the road. Seeing what looked like a shallow gutter on the right side of the road, Lt. Headings stepped with his right foot into it; but the gulley was far deeper and wider than could be seen in that light, and, with his right foot finding no hold, he came down heavily on his left knee on the edge of the gulley”. Lt. Headings was admitted via one of the local Casualty Clearing Stations to 11th General Hospital in Genoa.

    Pte. Arthur Wood (29040) (see 27th July), who had been posted back to England from 5DWR, was posted to Northern Command Depot at Ripon, but would have one weeks’ leave before reporting for duty.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    Allenby meets corps commanders at Jenin, orders advance on Damascus.

    Trans-Jordan: 10th Cavalry Brigade at Irbid fails vs Turk Fourth Army flank guard. Arab Army (3,000 men) crosses Hejaz Railway north of Deraa (Colonel Oppen’s 700 Germans reach, railed to Riyak on September 27), takes 2 stations and over 600 PoWs.

    Naval Operations:

    U.S.S.'s "Tampa" sunk on convoy duty (117 lost).

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    Railway strike in England ended.

    Count Tisza's Mission to Bosnia a complete failure.

    Anniversary Events:

    1580 Sir Francis Drake returns to Plymouth, England, aboard the Golden Hind, after a 33-month voyage to circumnavigate the globe.
    1777 The British army launches a major offensive, capturing Philadelphia.
    1786 France and Britain sign a trade agreement in London.
    1820 The legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone dies quietly at the Defiance, Mo., home of his son Nathan, at age 85.
    1826 The Persian cavalry is routed by the Russians at the Battle of Ganja in the Russian Caucasus.
    1829 Scotland Yard, the official British criminal investigation organization, is formed.
    1864 General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his men assault a Federal garrison near Pulaski, Tennessee.
    1901 Leon Czolgosz, who murdered President William McKinley, is sentenced to death..
    1913 The first boat is raised in the locks of the Panama Canal.
    1914 The Federal Trade Commission is established to foster competition by preventing monopolies in business.
    1918 German Ace Ernst Udet shoots down two Allied planes, bringing his total for the war up to 62.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 09-26-2018 at 02:40.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  24. #3624


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    27th September 1918

    Lieutenant James Edward Maddox MM (Cheshire Regiment) is instructing a class in throwing live bombs. One of the men after withdrawing the pin from a Mills No V Mark 1 Grenade accidentally drops the grenade in the trench and then apparently through fright falls on it. Lieutenant Maddox with great presence of mind immediately pulls the man off the grenade seizes it and throws it over the parapet where it explodes almost immediately saving the man’s life. For his actions Lieutenant Maddox will be awarded the Albert Medal.

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    “Sanders Keep” is a German fortification two kilometers south west of Graincourt-Les-Havrincourt between the Hermies and Havrincourt roads. Today it is stormed by the Guards regiments. Among those killed in the battle is

    Captain William Herbert Gladstone MC (Coldstream Guards) he is the son of the Reverend Stephen Edward Gladstone Rector of Barrowby and the grandson of the late Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.
    Second Lieutenant Alexander Grant (Grenadier Guards) is killed at age 19. He is the son of Alexander Grant KC.

    During this operation (part of Battle of Canal du Nord) Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby (Coldstream Guards) is detailed to capture a canal crossing but when the canal is reading the leading platoon comes under annihilating fire from a strong enemy post under the bridge on the far side of the canal. Captain Frisby with Lance Corporal Thomas Norman Jackson and two others climb down into the canal under intense fire and succeed in capturing the post with two machines and twelve men. They then give timely support to a company which has lost all its officers and sergeants, organizing the defences and beating off a heavy counter attack. Both men will be awarded the Victoria Cross, though Lance Corporal Jackson will be killed at age 21 during the operation.

    "Sanders Keep" was a German fortification 2 kilometres South-West of the village, between the Hermies and Havrincourt roads. It was stormed by the Scots Guards on the 27th September, 1918, and after the fight the British and German dead were buried on the battlefield by the Guards Division Burial Officer. There are now nearly 150, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, a small number are unidentified. The cemetery covers an area of 755 square metres and is enclosed by a stone rubble wall." Looking at the Cemetery reports, I have found that most of the casualties, as suggested, are dated 27/09/1918. But instead of Scots Guards, as stated on CWGC, the men are a real mixture of Coldstream, Grenadier, Scots, Welsh and Irish Guards, plus a few random chaps from other units.

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    Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby VC (17 September 1885 – 10 September 1961) was an English Stockbroker and recipient of the Victoria Cross. Frisby was born on 17 September 1885 at New Barnet, Hertfordshire, he was educated at Haileybury. He became a member of the London Stock Exchange in 1911. Frisby joined the Hampshire Regiment as a Private in 1916 and was later commissioned in Coldstream Guards in March 1917. Frisby was 33 years old, and an acting captain in the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 27 September 1918 at the Battle of Canal du Nord, near Graincourt, France, Captain Frisby was in command of a company detailed to capture a canal crossing, but when the canal was reached, the leading platoon came under annihilating fire from a strong enemy post under the bridge on the far side of the canal. Captain Frisby with a lance-corporal (Thomas Norman Jackson) and two others, climbed down into the canal under intense fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine-guns and 12 men. Then having consolidated his objective he gave timely support to a company which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organising the defences and beating off a heavy counter-attack.

    After the war he spent much of his time tuna fishing. He has been described as Britain's most famous tuna fisherman and on one day in the 1930s caught five tuna, including a 659 pounds (299 kg) specimen. Frisby's participation in the Wedgeport International Tuna Tournament is described by Max Ferguson in his memoir And Now... Here's Max. Frisby had married Audrey Grant in 1911 and they had one son. His wife died in 1960 and Firsby died on 10 September 1961 aged 75. His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Coldstream Guards Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London.

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    Thomas Norman Jackson VC (11 February 1897 – 27 September 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross. Born 11 February 1897 to Thomas Edwin and Emma Jackson, of Swinton, Rotherham. He was 21 years old, and a lance corporal in the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, British Army during the First World War when he performed an act of bravery at the battle of the Canal du Nord for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

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    For most conspicuous bravery and self sacrifice in the attack across the Canal du Nord, near Graincourt.

    On the morning of 27 September 1918, Lance-Corporal Jackson was the first to volunteer to follow Captain C.H. Frisby across the Canal du Nord in his rush against an enemy machine-gun post. With two comrades he followed his officer across the canal, rushed the post, capturing two machine-guns, and so enabled the companies to advance. Later in the morning, Lance Corporal Jackson was the first to jump into a German trench which his platoon had to clear, and after doing further excellent work was unfortunately killed. Throughout the day this NCO showed the greatest valour and devotion to duty, and set an inspiring example to all.

    — London Gazette, 27 November 1918
    His grave is at Sanders Keep Military Cemetery, Graincourt-les-Havrincourt.

    His Victoria Cross is displayed at The Coldstream Guards Regimental Headquarters, Wellington Barracks, London.

    At Flesquières, France, when his company is held up during the advance by heavy machine-gun fire, Corporal Thomas Patrick Neely VC (Lancaster Regiment) realising the seriousness of the situation, at once under point-blank fire, dashes out with two men and rushes the gun positions, disposing of the garrisons and capturing three machine-guns. Subsequently, on two occasions, he rushes concrete strong-points, killing or capturing the occupants. His actions enabled his company to advance 3,000 yards along the Hindenburg support line. For his actions today he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross as he is killed three days later in action at Rumilly-en-Cambrésis, just south of Cambrai, France.

    Thomas Patrick Neely VC MM (28 March 1897 – 1 October 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross. Neely was 21 years old, and a Lance sergeant in the 8th Battalion, The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place at Flesquières, France during the battle of the Canal du Nord for which he was awarded the VC.

    “On 27 September 1918 at Flesquières, France, when his company was held up during the advance by heavy machine-gun fire, Corporal Neely realising the seriousness of the situation, at once under point-blank fire, dashed out with two men and rushed the gun positions, disposing of the garrisons and capturing three machine-guns. Subsequently, on two occasions, he rushed concrete strong-points, killing or capturing the occupants. His actions enabled his company to advance 3,000 yards along the Hindenburg support line”
    Neely was killed three days later in action at Rumilly-en-Cambrésis, just south of Cambrai, France, on 1 October 1918. He was buried at Masnieres British Cemetery in Marcoing, France

    There were yet more Victoria CRosses awarded as follows...

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    George Fraser Kerr VC, MC & Bar, MM, (8 June 1895 – 8 December 1929) was a Canadian soldier who served in World War I. Kerr was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    Enlisting in September 1914, Kerr became a lieutenant in the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War. On 27 September 1918 at Bourlon Wood, France, 23-year-old Kerr performed an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the battle of the Canal du Nord.

    Lieutenant Kerr acted with conspicuous bravery and leadership during operations, giving timely support by outflanking a machine-gun which was impeding the advance. Later, when the advance was again held up by a strong point, and being far in advance of his company, he rushed the strong point single-handed, capturing four machine-guns and 31 prisoners.[

    He later achieved the rank of Captain.

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    Graham Thomson Lyall VC (8 March 1892 – 28 November 1941) was an English-Canadian soldier. Lyall was a recipient of the Victoria Cross.

    Lyall was born in Manchester and joined the Royal Navy to study mechanical engineering. However he was discharged from the Navy after suffering an ear infection. He emigrated to Canada, settling in Welland, Ontario, then moving to Chippawa, where he worked for a power company. He enlisted in the Canadian Militia in August 1914.

    Lyall was 26 years old, and a lieutenant in the 102nd (North British Columbians) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War at the battle of the Canal du Nord when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 27 September 1918 north of Cambrai, France, Lieutenant Lyall led his platoon in the capture of a strong-point, together with 13 prisoners, one field-gun and four machine-guns. Later, leading his men against another strong-point he rushed forward alone and captured the position single-handed, taking 45 prisoners and five machine-guns. The completion of his final objective resulted in the capture of 41 prisoners. On 1 October in the neighbourhood of Blecourt, he captured a strongly defended position which yielded 60 prisoners and 17 machine-guns. During both these operations, on attaining his objectives, Lieutenant Lyall tended the wounded under fire.

    Lyall returned to the UK in 1919 and joined the British Army. He achieved the rank of Colonel during World War II before dying of a heart attack at Mersa Matruh, Egypt, on 28 November 1941. Lyall is buried at Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery, Egypt located 10 miles east of Libyan border (plot XIX, row B, grave 2).

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    Field Marshal John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort, VC, GCB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, MVO, MC (10 July 1886 – 31 March 1946) was a senior British Army officer. As a young officer during the First World War he was decorated with the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of the Canal du Nord. During the 1930s he served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff (the professional head of the British Army). He is most famous for commanding the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in the first year of the Second World War, which was evacuated from Dunkirk. Gort later served as Governor of Gibraltar and Malta, and High Commissioner for Palestine and Transjordan.

    John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker was born in London. His mother was Eleanor, Viscountess Gort née Surtees (1846–1933; later Eleanor Benson), who was a daughter of writer Robert Smith Surtees. J. S. S. P. Vereker's father was John Gage Prendergast Vereker, 5th Viscount Gort (1849 –1902). The title of Viscount Gort, which J. S. S. P. Vereker inherited upon the death of his father, was named after Gort, a town in the West of Ireland and the Prendergast Vereker family were members of the Anglo-Irish nobility. His father was also a descendant of figures prominent in the British American colonies, including Thomas Gage and Margaret Kemble, as well as the Schuyler, Van Cortlandt, and Delancey families.

    J. S. S. P. Vereker grew up in County Durham and the Isle of Wight. He was educated at Malvern Link Preparatory School, Harrow School, and entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in January 1904. As Viscount Gort, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards on 16 August 1905, and promoted to lieutenant on 1 April 1907. In November 1908, Gort visited his uncle, Jeffrey Edward Prendergast Vereker, a retired British army major, who was living in Canada, at Kenora, Ontario. During a moose hunting trip, Gort slipped off a large boulder, causing his rifle to discharge; the bullet injured a local guide, William Prettie, who later died of his wound in Winnipeg. Gort returned immediately to England. Gort commanded the detachment of Grenadier Guards that bore the coffin at the funeral of King Edward VII in May 1910. He was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order for his services in that role.On 22 February 1911, Gort married Corinna Katherine Vereker, his second cousin; the couple had two sons and a daughter, before divorcing (1925). Their eldest son, Charles Standish Vereker, was born on 23 February 1912, and served as a lieutenant with the Grenadier Guards, before committing suicide (26 February 1941). A second son, Jocelyn Cecil Vereker, was born on 27 July 1913, but died before his second birthday. Gort's daughter, Jacqueline Corinne Yvonne Vereker, who was born on 20 October 1914, married (June 1940) The Honourable William Sidney, later the 1st Viscount De L'Isle.

    On 5 August 1914, Gort was promoted to captain.He went to France with the British Expeditionary Force and fought on the Western Front, taking part in the retreat from Mons in August 1914. He became a staff officer with the First Army in December 1914 and then became Brigade Major of the 4th (Guards) Brigade in April 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross in June 1915.[ Promoted to the brevet rank of major in June 1916, he became a staff officer at the Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force and fought at the Battle of the Somme throughout the autumn of 1916. He was given the acting rank of lieutenant colonel in April 1917 on appointment as Commanding Officer of 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards and, having been awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in June 1917, he led his battalion at the Battle of Passchendaele, earning a Bar to his DSO in September 1917.

    On 27 November 1918, Gort was awarded the Victoria Cross, for his actions on 27 September 1918 at the Battle of the Canal du Nord, near Flesquieres, France.

    Victoria Cross citation

    Captain (Brevet Major, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel), 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards

    Citation: For most conspicuous bravery, skilful leading and devotion to duty during the attack of the Guards Division on 27th September 1918, across the Canal du Nord, near Flesquieres, when in command of the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, the leading battalion of the 3rd Guards Brigade. Under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire he led his battalion with great skill and determination to the "forming-up" ground, where very severe fire from artillery and machine guns was again encountered. Although wounded, he quickly grasped the situation, directed a platoon to proceed down a sunken road to make a flanking attack, and, under terrific fire, went across open ground to obtain the assistance of a Tank, which he personally led and directed to the best possible advantage. While thus fearlessly exposing himself, he was again severely wounded by a shell. Notwithstanding considerable loss of blood, after lying on a stretcher for awhile [sic], he insisted on getting up and personally directing the further attack. By his magnificent example of devotion to duty and utter disregard of personal safety all ranks were inspired to exert themselves to the utmost, and the attack resulted in the capture of over 200 prisoners, two batteries of field guns and numerous machine guns. Lt.-Col. Viscount Gort then proceeded to organise the defence of the captured position until he collapsed; even then he refused to leave the field until he had seen the "success signal" go up on the final objective. The successful advance of the battalion was mainly due to the valour, devotion and leadership of this very gallant officer.

    Subsequent to this he became known as "Tiger" Gort. He won a second Bar to his DSO in January 1919.[21] He was also mentioned in despatches eight times during the war.

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    The Battle of Canal du Nord was part of the Hundred Days Offensive of the First World War by the Allies against German positions on the Western Front. The battle took place in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, along an incomplete portion of the Canal du Nord and on the outskirts of Cambrai between 27 September and 1 October 1918. To prevent the Germans from sending reinforcements against one attack, the assault along the Canal du Nord was part of a sequence of Allied attacks at along the Western Front. The attack began the day after the Meuse-Argonne Offensive commenced, a day before an offensive in Belgian Flanders and two days before the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. The attack took place along the boundary between the British First Army and Third Army, which were to continue the advance started with the Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Line, Battle of Havrincourt and Battle of Epehy. The First Army was to lead the crossing of the Canal du Nord and secure the northern flank of the British Third Army as both armies advanced towards Cambrai. The Third Army was also to capture the Escaut (Scheldt) Canal, to support the Fourth Army during the Battle of St. Quentin Canal.

    Construction of the Canal du Nord began in 1913 to link the Oise River to the Dunkirk–Scheldt Canal. When the First World War began, work stopped with the canal in varying stages of completion. During their retreat, the Germans made the area along the canal north of Sains-lès-Marquion virtually impassable, to dam and flood the naturally swampy ground. The only passable ground was to the south, where a small 4,000 yd (2.3 mi; 3.7 km) section of the canal between Sains-lès-Marquion and Mœuvres remained largely dry, on account of its incomplete state. Even in a partially excavated state, the dry section of the canal was still a serious obstacle. The canal was approximately 40 yd (37 m) wide, with a western bank that was between 10 and 15 ft (3.0 and 4.6 m) high and an eastern bank about 5 ft (1.5 m) high. The British First Army (General Henry Horne) was forced to stop its offensive until a route was secured across the canal. The British assault on the Drocourt-Quéant Line on 2 September 1918 resulted in the Germans being overrun along a 7,000 yd (4.0 mi; 6.4 km) front. Several formations in the German forward line quickly yielded to the British advance but then the British met more resolute opposition from regiments of the German 1st Guards Reserve Division, 2nd Guards Reserve Division and the 3rd Reserve Division. To gain observation of all bridges over the Sensée River and the Canal du Nord, the British attack was supposed to continue the following day but the Germans forestalled the British by withdrawing along a wide front.

    Oberste Heeresleitung (OHL, the German army high command) had ordered the 17th Army to retreat behind the Sensée River and the Canal du Nord on the night of 2 September and the 2nd Army to withdraw to the Hindenburg Line the following night. Further to the south, the 18th and 9th Armies were to follow in succession, resulting in the abandonment of the salient gained during the Spring Offensive by 9 September. In the north the 4th and 6th Armies retreated between Lens and Ypres, abandoning the Lys salient and the gains made during the Battle of the Lys. British air patrols on the morning of 3 September reported seeing no Germans between the Dury Ridge and the Canal du Nord. The Third Army was able to occupy the towns of Quéant and Pronville unopposed and saw that the Germans were withdrawing on a wide front. As the British advanced to the new German front line they reported that the east bank of the Canal du Nord was strongly held and that the canal crossings had been destroyed except at Palluel, where the Germans held a bridgehead on the western side of the canal.

    On 3 September Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies Généralissime Ferdinand Foch outlined the future course of the Allied offensive campaign along the Western Front. To avoid the risk of having extensive German reserves massed against a single Allied attack, Foch devised a plan for a general offensive between Verdun and the Belgian coast.[9] The plan called for Allied attacks at four separate points in the German line, to be launched on four successive days. Army Group Flanders under King Albert I of Belgium would conduct the most northern operation and attack German positions in Flanders and move towards Ghent and Bruges.[2] The British First and Third Armies would attack and cross the Canal du Nord, move across the northern extension of the Hindenburg Line and capture the city of Cambrai, a crucial German communications and supply centre. The British Fourth Army and French First Army would attack the Germans along the Saint-Quentin Canal in an effort to breach the Hindenburg Line between Holnon and Vendhuile. To the south, the First United States Army and French Fourth Army would mount the Meuse-Argonne Offensive between Reims and Verdun, moving along the Meuse River and through the Argonne Forest.

    The Canal du Nord defensive system was the German's last major prepared defensive position opposite the British First Army. It was nevertheless a significant obstacle as the Germans had taken measures to incorporate the unfinished canal into their defensive system. Beyond the damage done to make crossing the canal as difficult as possible, north of Mœuvres a lesser arm of the Hindenburg Support Line, the Canal du Nord Line, ran directly behind the east side of the canal. The greater arm of the Hindenburg Support Line crossed the canal at Mœuvres and thus remained well established on the eastern side of the canal south of Mœuvres. This was supplemented by the Marquion-Cantaing Line which ran along a north-south axis one mile east of the canal and the Marcoing Line located just west of Cambrai. The attack on the Canal du Nord was to begin on 27 September 1918, a day after the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one day before the offensive in Flanders and two days before the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. The British First Army was operating in a framework whereby its main task was to secure the northern flank of the British Third Army. The British Third Army was tasked with securing the Escaut (Scheldt) Canal so as to be in a position to support the British Fourth Army during the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. On the British First Army front, the Canadian Corps would lead the attack under the direction of Arthur Currie, crossing the largely dry canal on a front of only 2,700 yards (2,500 m) between Sains-lès-Marquion and Mœuvres. Once over the canal the corps was to capture the Marquoin Line, the villages of Marquion and Bourlon, Bourlon Woods lastly secure a general line running from Fontaine-Notre-Dame to Sauchy-Lestrée. Currie separated the Canadian Corps' objectives into two phases; the first to take Canal du Nord and Bourlon Wood, the second taking the bridges at Canal de l'Escaut and "high ground near Cambrai".

    In an attempt to make the Germans second guess or question the location of the main assault, XXII Corps was instructed to engage German positions along the Canal du Nord between Sauchy-Lestrée and Palluel. Likewise, VII Corps and the remainder of XXII Corps were instructed to carry out minor attacks north of the Scarpe River to prevent the Germans from moving units from that area to the location of the main attack. If the Canadian Corps was successful in its advance the intention was to immediately and quickly exploit the territorial gain with the support of the British Third Army's XVII, VI and IV Corps. Over the next week, Currie and Byng prepared for the engagement. Two divisions were sent south, to cross the canal at a weaker point, while Canadian combat engineers worked to construct the wooden bridges for the assault. The bridges were necessary because where the Canadians were crossing the Canal du Nord was flooded and the only locations that had no flooding were being guarded by the German defences. Currie had the Canadians cross mostly through flooded area, but included a "narrow strip" of unflooded area to hit the German flank.

    At 5:20 on the morning of 27 September, all four divisions attacked under total darkness, taking the German defenders of the 1st Prussian Guards Reserve Division and the 3rd German Naval Division by absolute surprise. By mid morning, all defenders had retreated or been captured. Stiffening resistance east of the canal proved that only a surprise attack had the possibility of ending in victory. The Canadian Corps had the important objective of capturing Bourlon Woods, the German army used the high ground of the woods for their guns. The objectives of the Canadian Corps were reached by the end of the day, including the Red, Green and Blue lines. The British attack was supported to the south by the French First Army during the Battle of Saint Quentin (French: Bataille de Saint-Quentin). (However this attack was a secondary attack, and did not start until after the Canadian Corps had penetrated the German defenses along the canal.) Because of Canal du Nord's capture, the final road to Cambrai was open.

    The battle penetrated a majority of the defenses of the Hindenburg Line and allowed the next attack (the Battle of Cambrai (1918)) to complete the penetration and begin the advance beyond the Hindenburg Line. Twelve Victoria Crosses, the highest military decoration for valour awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, were awarded for actions during the battle.

    The Meuse-Argonne Offensive

    OnSeptember 27 most of 1st Army failed to make any gains. The 79th Division finally captured Montfaucon and the 35th "Santa Fe" Division captured the village of Baulny, Hill 218, and Charpentry, placing the division forward of adjacent units. On September 29, six extra German divisions were deployed to oppose the American attack, with the 5th Guards and 52nd Division counterattacking the 35th Division, which had run out of food and ammunition during the attack. The Germans initially made significant gains, but were barely repulsed by the 35th Division's 110th Engineers, 128th Machine Gun Battalion, and Harry Truman's Battery D, 129th Field Artillery. In the words of Pershing, "We were no longer engaged in a maneuver for the pinching out of a salient, but were necessarily committed, generally speaking, to a direct frontal attack against strong, hostile positions fully manned by a determined enemy."[12] The German counterattack had shattered so much of the 35th Division—a poorly led division, most of whose key leaders had been replaced shortly before the attack, made up of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas—that it had to be relieved early, though remnants of the division subsequently reentered the battle. Part of the adjacent French attack met temporary confusion when one of its generals died. However, it was able to advance 15 km (9 mi), penetrating deeply into the German lines, especially around Somme-Py (the Battle of Somme-Py (French: Bataille de Somme-Py)) and northwest of Reims (the Battle of Saint-Thierry (French: Bataille de Saint-Thierry)). The initial progress of the French forces was thus faster than the 3 to 8 km (2 to 5 mi) gained by the adjacent American units, though the French units were fighting in a more open terrain, which is an easier terrain from which to attack.


    Meuse-Argonne: Franco-American advance slows. Montfaucon behind Michel Stellung and Varennes (Crown Prince’s 1916 Verdun observation point) captured, 23,000 PoWs.
    Flanders: Battle of Flanders Ridges begins (until October 10).
    Cambrai*: BEF ATTACKS HINDENBURG LINE with Third (15 divisions) including 16 tanks (5 lost) and First Armies (12 divisons) on 14-mile front from 0530 hours. Battle of Canal du Nord (*until October 1): British within 3 miles of Cambrai as 4th Canadian Divison and 2 tanks capture Bourlon with Wood. Two other villages fall in 3-mile advance, including Graincourt to Guards Briagde; 10,000 PoWs and 200 guns taken. Rupprecht writes that peace must be made in winter. US 106th Regiment (27th Division) loses 1,540 of 2,000 men attacking three outposts of Hindenburg Line.


    North Russia: Allied Archangel advance blocked by far larger Red force at Nizhne-Toimski after 60-mile push, retreat to Borok and dig in until September 28.
    Southern Russia: Stalin signals Trotsky for 30,000 rifles, 150 MGs and 50 guns or else retirement east of Volga.

    Palestine: Australian Mounted Division begins ride for Damascus by crossing Jordan.
    Trans-Jordan: Arab Army cuts in at Sheikh Saad, makes 2,000 PoWs and wipes out 2,000 Turks in revenge for Tafas village massacre.

    Western Front: 57 RAF squadrons with 1.058 aircraft support BEF assault on Hindenburg Line; 6 fighter squdrons make low-lying attacks using 70t bombs and 26,000 MG rounds; 3 German airfields attacked. Germans claim 44 Allied aircraft for loss of 10. Handley Pages drop 6t bombs on Busigny rail junction (night September 27-28)

    Captain William Henry Hubbard (Royal Air Force) while flying at altitudes between two and fifteen hundred feet engages and silences many anti-tank guns, thereby rendering valuable service. He at the same time completes a detailed and accurate reconnaissance of the area, locating the position of our troops. Lieutenant Gerald Anderson and Second Lieutenant Thomas Sydney Chiltern (Royal Air Force) bring down a Fokker D VII at Lambersart.

    The Royal Air Force established air squadrons No. 263, No. 264, No. 266, and No. 267.

    263 Squadron: The squadron was formed in Italy on 27 September 1918 from flights of the Royal Naval Air Service after that service's amalgamation with the Royal Flying Corps to form the RAF. It flew Sopwith Babys and Felixstowe F3s from Otranto reconnoitring for submarines escaping from the Adriatic Sea into the Mediterranean Sea. The squadron was disbanded on 16 May 1919

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    264 Squadron: No. 264 Squadron RAF, also known as No. 264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron, was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. The squadron was first formed during the First World War, from two former Royal Naval Air Service flights, No. 439 and No. 440, on 27 September 1918 at Souda Bay, Crete. It performed anti-submarine patrols with the Short 184 floatplanes, over the Aegean. 264 Squadron was disbanded, following the end of the war, on 1 March 1919. On 8 December 1939 it was re-formed at RAF Station Martlesham Heath to bring the Boulton Paul Defiant fighter into service. Operations began in March 1940 when the squadron started convoy patrols. After initial successes, the Luftwaffe soon realised that the Defiant was vulnerable to frontal attack, and the squadron started to have heavy losses of aircraft and crew. At the end of May 1940 the squadron was withdrawn from day fighting operations and began to train in the night fighter role. It was called into action again in day fighting at the height of the Battle of Britain, but again suffered losses and returned to night fighting. After a number of moves around England, including Luton Airport, in May 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Colerne to operate the de Havilland Mosquito II, later trading them in for the later Mark VI. The Mosquitos were operated as night fighters in the west of England, and on day patrols in the Bay of Biscay and western approaches.

    In 1943, after concentrating on night intruder missions, the squadron operated in support of the Bomber Command, defending bomber formations against enemy night-fighters. In 1944 it re-equipped with the newer Mosquito XIII and returned to defensive roles. In June it carried out patrols over the Normandy beaches, until returning to night patrols from western England in the western approaches. As the Allied forces advanced, the squadron became part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force providing night patrols. By the end of the war it was carrying out patrols over Berlin from its airfield at Twente in the Netherlands. It was disbanded at Twente on 25 August 1945.

    266 Squadron: The squadron was formed from No's 437 and 438 Flights at Mudros, Greece on 27 September 1918 to carry out anti-submarine patrols in that area, flying Short 184s and 320s along with Felixtowe F.3s. In February 1919 it was transferred to the Caucasus on HMS Engadine. It operated from Petrovsk and from HMS Aladar Youssanoff and Orlionoch as part of the British Caspian Flotilla. It was withdrawn on 27 August 1919 and disbanded on 1 September 1919 at Novorossisk.

    The squadron was reformed on 30 October 1939 at RAF Sutton Bridge as a fighter squadron. The squadron was one of the Rhodesian gift squadrons and was named 266 (Rhodesia) Squadron in honour of the gift. Originally it was equipped with the Fairey Battle light bomber, but soon after in January 1940 it received the Supermarine Spitfire and became a fighter squadron. It was in action over Dunkirk in early June and fought in the Battle of Britain. To rest the squadron it was moved north to RAF Wittering to carry out patrols over France. In January 1942 the squadron moved to RAF Duxford and re-equipped with the Hawker Typhoon. The squadron changed role to fighter-bomber in support of the Normandy invasion and flew also armed reconnaissance missions in support of the invasion forces. The squadron moved along with the fighting forces and was disbanded at Hildesheim, Germany on 31 July 1945. In May 1944 the squadron was based at Needs Oar (Needs Ore) Advanced Landing Ground at Beaulieu in the New Forest, they were one of four such RAF British and Commonwealth squadrons flying Hawker Typhoons based here in the build-up to D-Day. A total of some 150 aircraft were based here in the build-up to D-Day, along with over 900 ground crew. During the spring and summer of 1944, it is estimated that the airfield was so busy that aircraft took off or landed every 45 seconds. As with many of the ALGs along the south coast, the airfield was totally vacant by July and would not be used as an airfield again. No. 266 Squadron were visited by the Rhodesian Prime Minister on 18 May 1944.

    On 27 August 1944 the squadron and No. 263 Squadron RAF Typhoons with Spitfire escort was mistakenly ordered to attack the Royal Navy 1st Minesweeping Flotilla off Cap d'Antifer, Le Havre, with the result that HMS Britomart and Hussar were sunk and Salamander was irreparably damaged, killing 117 sailors and wounding 153 more.

    267 Squadron: The squadron was formed at RAF Kalafrana, Malta on 27 September 1918 from Nos. 360, 361, 362 and 363 Flights as an anti-submarine unit flying patrols in the Mediterranean Sea until the end of hostilities and remained at Malta until being renumbered No. 481 Flight on 1 August 1923.

    On 19 August 1940, the squadron was reformed from the Communications Unit at RAF Heliopolis, Egypt as a transport squadron for operational duties in Egypt. In August 1942, operations extended to transport throughout the Mediterranean area and also undertook supply-dropping missions to resistance fighters in Italy and the Balkans, including Operation Wildhorn, the operation to bring back parts of a recovered V-2 rocket from Poland. The squadron moved to Italy in November 1943 and later to India in February 1945 during the Fourteenth Army's final offensive during the Burma campaign. The squadron disbanded on 30 June 1946, although continued operations until 21 July.

    Reformed on 15 February 1954 at RAF Kuala Lumpur, Malaya as a transport support and communications squadron. It was renumbered No. 209 Squadron on 1 November 1958. The squadron was again reformed as a transport squadron on 1 November 1962 at RAF Benson with No. 38 Group until being disbanded on 30 June 1970.

    The highest scoring ace of 22 Royal Air Force is killed in action east of Cambrai along with observer who is also an ace. Captain Samuel Frederick Henry ‘Siffy’ Thompson MC DFC (Royal Air Force) is a thirty-victory ace while his observer

    Samuel Frederick Henry Thompson was the son of Samuel W. and Florence A.J. Thompson. His father was a registered medical practitioner in Greenwich, London. Thompson served with the Royal Army Service Corps before he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. A Bristol Fighter pilot, he was the highest scoring ace in 22 Squadron. He shot down thirty enemy aircraft before he was killed in action.

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    Military Cross (MC)
    T./Lt. Samuel Frederick Henry Thompson, Gen. List., R.A.F.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a fighting pilot. During recent operations he destroyed five enemy machines. He showed great courage and skill, and by his keenness and dash set a fine example to all.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918 (30901/11024)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Lieut. (T./Capt.) Samuel Frederick Henry Thompson, M.C. (A.S.C.).
    This officer has carried out numerous offensive patrols, displaying the most marked bravery and determination. His boldness in attack and utter disregard of personal danger affords a most inspiring example to his brother pilots. Since June last he has destroyed eleven enemy aeroplanes.

    Lieutenant Thomas Clifford John Tolman is also killed at age 21. He is an eight-victory observer ace.
    Lieutenant Gavin Black Motherwell McMurdo (Royal Air Force) is killed at home at age 19. His two brothers will both die on service in 1919.
    Sergeant Thomas Proctor (Royal Air Force) an observer ace with five victories is killed in action when his BF2b is shot down near Abancourt by German ace Fritz Classen.

    In total 35 British airmen were lost on this day, including

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    In total 3 British aces were lost on this day and one German - Leutnant Fritz Rumey of Jasta 5. He was a 45 victory ace

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    When the war began, Rumey was serving with the 45th Infantry Regiment. After serving with the 3rd Grenadier Regiment on the Russian Front, he transferred to the German Air Force in the summer of 1915. Serving first as an observer with FA(A) 219, he completed Jastaschule and was assigned to Jasta 2 in May 1917. The following month, he joined Jasta 5. He was wounded in action on 25 August 1917 and again on 24 September 1917. Rumey's 25th victory came on 26 June 1918, when he shot down a Sopwith Camel flown by Canadian ace Edward Eaton. Three days later, in his last dogfight, Rumey's Fokker D.VII was badly damaged when he collided with an S.E.5a flown by South African ace George Lawson. Rumey jumped from his plane but was killed when his parachute failed to open.

    Amongst the claims posted today we see a hat-trick for Leutnant Paul Baumer of Jasta 2 (kills 33, 34 and 35), there was also a hat-trick for Lieutenant George Riley of 3 Squadron RAF (10, 11 and 12) this feat would earn him the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

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    2nd Lieutenant George Raby Riley received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 5205 on 7 September 1917. He was wounded on 20 April 1918.

    Military Cross (MC)
    "T./2nd Lt. George Raby Riley, R.A.F.
    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He obtained four direct hits on a long line of enemy transport, and afterwards caused havoc among them with his machine gun. Several times he attacked troops and transport from low altitudes; also he brought down one enemy machine and drove another out of control."
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 16 September 1918 (30901/11006)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    "Lieut. (A./Capt.) George Raby Riley, M.C. (FRANCE)
    An officer who shows the greatest dash and gallantry in leading low-bombing and defensive patrols. On 27th September he obtained two direct hits with bombs on an enemy balloon on the ground, which set it on fire. Later he attacked another balloon in the air,
    shooting it down in flames."

    Today's claims

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    and finally...

    Captain Tunstill's Men: Billets in Creazzo.

    Creazzo was to be the base for training ahead of the projected return to France, but the area had both advantges and disadvantages as referred to in the official Divisional History: “The new area had many recommendations. Billets were good and the Division enjoyed a well-earned rest during a week of perfect weather. But the projected transfer of the Division to France, where the armies had broken away from the old trench lines, made training in the tactics of open warfare and urgent matter. The new area had not been organised for training and the close cultivated country made it most unsuitable for practice in open warfare”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  25. #3625


    Another mammoth edition today Chris!
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  26. #3626


    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Another mammoth edition today Chris!
    Thanks Rob... good job I don't have to go to work anymore, lol

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  27. #3627


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    28th September 1918

    Interesting day today with one of the greatest 'if only' moments in modern history (see Private Tandey section)

    During the advance to Piccadilly Farm near Wytschaete, Sergeant Louis McGuffie (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) single-handedly enters several enemy dugouts and takes many prisoners. During subsequent operations he deals similarly with dugout after dugout forcing one officer and twenty-five other ranks to surrender. During the subsequent consolidation of the first objective he pursues and brings back several of the enemy who are slipping away and he is also instrumental in rescuing some of our own soldiers who are being led off as prisoners. Later in the day, while commanding his platoon he leads them in capturing many prisoners. Sergeant McGuffie will be killed in less than a week during a shelling. For his actions Sergeant will be awarded the Victoria Cross

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    He was 25 years old, and an Acting Sergeant in the 1/5th Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    On 28 September 1918 near Wytschaete, Belgium, during an advance Sergeant McGuffie entered several enemy dug-outs and, single-handed, took many prisoners. During subsequent operations he dealt similarly with dug-out after dug-out, forcing one officer and 25 other ranks to surrender. During the consolidation of the first objective, he pursued and brought back several of the enemy who were slipping away and was also instrumental in rescuing some British soldiers who were being led off as prisoners. Later in the day, while commanding a platoon, he took many more prisoners, but was killed by a shell a few days later.

    He was killed in action at Wytschaete, Belgium on 4 October 1918

    Major William James Gordon Burns DSO (Canadian Field Artillery) is killed by a shell splinter while on a recon at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend Robert N Burns. The James Burns award is presented annually to a student with overall A standing in a Second Year which included 3.0 Science courses at the University of Toronto.

    The 5th Battle of Ypres

    The Fifth Battle of Ypres, also called the Advance of Flanders and the Battle of the Peaks of Flanders (French: Bataille des Crêtes de Flandres) is an informal name used to identify a series of battles in northern France and southern Belgium from late September through October 1918. After the German Spring Offensive of 1918 was stopped, German morale waned and the increasing numbers of American soldiers arriving on the Western Front gave the Allies a growing advantage over the German forces. To take advantage of this Marshal Ferdinand Foch developed a strategy which became known as the Grand Offensive in which attacks were made on the German lines over as wide a front as possible. Belgian, British and French forces around the Ypres Salient were to form the northern pincer of an offensive towards the Belgian city of Liège. The British Second Army had followed up some minor withdrawals and had fought the Action at Outtersteene Ridge on 18 August, after which there was a lull and Allied troops in the area were well rested by late September.

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    The Groupe d'Armées des Flandres (GAF, Flanders Army Group) attacked at 5:30 a.m. on 28 September, after a 3-hour artillery preparation, with 12 Belgian divisions, 10 British divisions of the Second Army and 6 French divisions of the Sixth Army. The British attacked on a 4.5 mi (7.2 km) front up to the Ypres–Zonnebeke road, from where the Belgian army attacked on a line north to Dixmude. The Allied attacks quickly penetrated the German defences and advanced up to 6 mi (9.7 km). The Germans were swiftly driven back. Much of the ground west of Passchendaele, which had been abandoned during the withdrawal of early 1918, was recaptured. Rain began to fall but by the evening the British had taken Kortewilde, Zandvoorde, Kruiseecke and Becelaere; Belgian troops had captured Zonnebeke, Poelcappelle, Schaap Baillie and Houthulst Forest. On the southern flank, minor operations by three British divisions advanced to St. Yves, Messines and the ridge from Wytschaete to Hollebeke. The German front line ran from Dixmude, to Houthult, Becelare, Zandvoorde and Hollebeke.

    Messines, Terhand and Dadizeele fell on 29 September and by the next day, despite the captured ground becoming another slough of mud, all of the high ground around Ypres had been occupied by the Allies. By 1 October, the left bank of the Lys had been captured up to Comines and the Belgians were beyond a line from Moorslede to Staden and Dixmude. The advance continued until 2 October, when German reinforcements arrived and the offensive outran its supplies. Due to the state of the ground, 15,000 rations were delivered by parachute from 80 Belgian and British aircraft.

    The British suffered 4,695 casualties, the Belgians 4,500 "net" casualties from among 2,000 killed and 10,000 men ill or wounded. The Allies advanced up to 18 mi (29 km), with an average advance of 6 mi (9.7 km) and captured c. 10,000 prisoners, 300 guns and 600 machine-guns.

    Henry Tandey VC, DCM, MM (born Tandy, 30 August 1891 – 20 December 1977) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the most highly decorated British private of the First World War and is most commonly remembered as the soldier who supposedly spared Adolf Hitler's life during the war. Born with the family name of Tandy, he later changed his surname to Tandey after problems with his father, therefore some military records have a different spelling of his name.

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    Tandey enlisted into the Green Howards Regiment on 12 August 1910. After basic training he was posted to their 2nd Battalion on 23 January 1911, serving with them in Guernsey and South Africa prior to the outbreak of World War I. He took part in the Battle of Ypres in October 1914, and was wounded on 24 October 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. On discharge from hospital he was posted to the 3rd Battalion on 5 May 1917, before moving to the 9th Battalion on 11 June 1917. He was wounded a second time on 27 November 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele. After his 2nd period of hospital treatment he returned to the 3rd Battalion, on 23 January 1918, before being posted to the 12th Battalion on 15 March 1918, where he remained until 26 July 1918. On 26 July 1918 Tandey transferred from the Green Howards to The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). He was posted to their 5th Battalion on 27 July 1918.

    Henry Tandey was born at the Angel Hotel, Regent Street, Leamington, Warwickshire, the son of a former soldier whose wife had died early in their child's life. He attended St. Peters' primary school in Augusta Place, Leamington. He also spent part of his childhood in an orphanage before becoming a boiler attendant at a hotel. Tandey enlisted into the Green Howards Regiment on 12 August 1910. After basic training he was posted to their 2nd Battalion on 23 January 1911, serving with them in Guernsey and South Africa prior to the outbreak of World War I. He took part in the Battle of Ypres in October 1914, and was wounded on 24 October 1916, at the Battle of the Somme. On discharge from hospital he was posted to the 3rd Battalion on 5 May 1917, before moving to the 9th Battalion on 11 June 1917. He was wounded a second time on 27 November 1917, during the Battle of Passchendaele. After his 2nd period of hospital treatment he returned to the 3rd Battalion, on 23 January 1918, before being posted to the 12th Battalion on 15 March 1918, where he remained until 26 July 1918. On 26 July 1918 Tandey transferred from the Green Howards to The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). He was posted to their 5th Battalion on 27 July 1918.

    Distinguished Conduct Medal
    On 28 August 1918, during the 2nd Battle of Cambrai, the 5th Battalion was in action to the west of the Canal du Nord. Tandey was in charge of one of several bombing parties on the German trenches. As the forward parties were being held up Tandey took two men and dashed across open ground (No man's land) under fire and bombed a trench. He returned with twenty prisoners. This action led to the capture of the German positions and Tandey was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on 5 December 1918, the citation read:

    34506 Pte. H. Tandey, 5th Bn., W. Rid. R.

    (T.F.) (Leamington). He was in charge of a reserve bombing party in action, and finding the advance temporarily held up, he called on two other men of his party, and working across the open in rear of the enemy, he rushed a post, returning with twenty prisoners, having killed several of the enemy. He was an example of daring courage throughout the whole of the operations.[5]

    On 12 September the 5th Battalion was involved in an attack at Havrincourt, where Tandey again distinguished himself. Having rescued several wounded men under fire the previous day,[6] Tandey again led a bombing party into the German trenches, returning with more prisoners. For this action Tandey was awarded the Military Medal (MM) on 13 March 1919.[7]

    Victoria Cross
    Tandey was 27 years old and a private in the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment when he performed the actions which earned him the Victoria Cross (VC).

    On 28 September 1918, during a counter-attack at the canal, following the capture of Marcoing, France, his platoon was stopped by machine-gun fire. Tandey crawled forward, located the gun position and with a Lewis gun team, silenced it. Reaching the canal crossing, he restored the plank bridge under heavy fire. In the evening, he and eight comrades were surrounded by an overwhelming number of the enemy. Tandey led a bayonet charge, fighting so fiercely that 37 of the enemy were driven into the hands of the remainder of his company. Although twice wounded, Tandey refused to leave until the fight was won,[8] eventually going into hospital for the third time on 4 October 1918.

    An eyewitness, Private H Lister, recounted the episode:

    On 28th September 1918 during the taking of the crossing over the Canal de St. Quentin at Marcoing, I was No.1 of the Lewis gun team of my platoon. I witnessed the whole of the gallantry of Private Tandey throughout the day. Under intensely heavy fire he crawled forward in the village when we were held up by the enemy MG and found where it was, and then led myself and comrades with the gun into a house from where we were able to bring Lewis gun fire on the MG and knock it out of action. Later when we got to the canal crossings and the bridge was down, Pte Tandey, under the fiercest of aimed MG fire went forward and replaced planks over the bad part of the bridge to enable us all to cross without delay, which would otherwise have ensued. On the same evening when we made another attack we were completely surrounded by Germans, and we thought the position might be lost. Pte Tandey, without hesitation, though he was twice wounded very nastily, took the leading part in our bayonet charge on the enemy, to get clear. Though absolutely faint he refused to leave us until we had completely finished our job, collected our prisoners and restored the line.[6]

    His VC was gazetted on 14 December 1918, the citation read:

    No. 34506 Pte. Henry Tandey, D.C.M., M.M., 5th Bn., W. Rid. R. (T.F.) (Leamington).

    For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during the capture of the village and the crossings at Marcoing, and the subsequent counter-attack on September 28th, 1918. When, during the advance on Marcoing, his platoon was held up by machine-gun fire, he at once crawled forward, located the machine gun, and, with a Lewis gun team, knocked it out. On arrival at the crossings he restored the plank bridge under a hail of bullets, thus enabling the first crossing to be made at this vital spot.

    Later in the evening, during an attack, he, with eight comrades, was surrounded by an overwhelming number of Germans, and though the position was apparently hopeless, he led a bayonet charge through them, fighting so fiercely that 37 of the enemy were driven into the hands of the remainder of his company.

    Although twice wounded, he refused to leave till the fight was won

    Hitler incident
    Although disputed, Adolf Hitler and Tandey allegedly encountered each other at the French village of Marcoing. The story is set on 28 September 1918, while Tandey was serving with the 5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment, and relates that a weary German soldier wandered into Tandey's line of fire. The enemy soldier was wounded and did not even attempt to raise his own rifle. Tandey chose not to shoot. The German soldier saw him lower his rifle and nodded his thanks before wandering off. That soldier is purported to have been Adolf Hitler. The author David Johnson, who wrote a book on Henry Tandey, believes this story was an urban legend.

    Hitler apparently saw a newspaper report about Tandey being awarded the VC (in October 1918, whilst serving with the 5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment), recognized him, and clipped the article.[12]

    In 1937, Hitler was made aware of a particular Fortunino Matania painting by Dr Otto Schwend, a member of his staff. Schwend had been a medical officer during the First Battle of Ypres in 1914. He had been sent a copy of the painting by a Lieutenant Colonel Earle in 1936. Earle had been treated by Schwend in a medical post at the Menin Crossroads and they remained in touch after the war. The painting was commissioned by the Green Howards Regiment from the Italian artist in 1923, showing a soldier purported to be Tandey carrying a wounded man at the Kruiseke Crossroads in 1914, northwest of Menin. The painting was made from a sketch, provided to Matania, by the regiment, based on an actual event at that crossroads. A building shown behind Tandey in the painting belonged to the Van Den Broucke family, who were presented with a copy of the painting by the Green Howard's Regiment.

    Schwend obtained a large photo of the painting. Captain Weidemann, Hitler's adjutant, wrote the following response:

    I beg to acknowledge your friendly gift which has been sent to Berlin through the good offices of Dr. Schwend. The Führer is naturally very interested in things connected with his own war experiences, and he was obviously moved when I showed him the photograph and explained the thought which you had in causing it to be sent to him. He was obviously moved when I showed him the picture. He has directed me to send you his best thanks for your friendly gift which is so rich in memories.

    Apparently Hitler identified the soldier carrying the wounded man as Tandey from the photo of him in the newspaper clipping he had obtained in 1918.

    In 1938, when Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler at his alpine retreat, the Berghof, for the discussions that led to the Munich Agreement, he noticed the painting and asked about it. Hitler replied: That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again; Providence saved me from such devilishly accurate fire as those English boys were aiming at us.

    According to the story, Hitler asked Chamberlain to convey his best wishes and gratitude to Tandey. Chamberlain promised to phone Tandey in person on his return, which apparently he did. The Cadbury Research Centre, which holds copies of Chamberlain's papers and diaries, has no references relating to Tandey from the records of the 1938 meeting. The story further states that the phone was answered by a nine-year-old child called William Whateley. William was related to Tandey's wife Edith. However, Tandey at that time lived at 22 Cope Street, Coventry, and worked for the Triumph Motor Company. According to the company records, they only had three phone lines, none of which was at Tandey's address. British Telecommunications archive records also have no telephones registered to that address in 1938. Historical research throws serious doubts on whether the incident actually ever occurred. Hitler took his second leave from military service on 10 September 1918 for 18 days. This means that he was in Germany on the presumed date of the facts.[24] Having a great sense for theatrical drama, Hitler may well have created the story upon seeing the painting for propaganda reasons and to contribute to his mythical status.


    The Red Army defeated the last of the People's Army of Komuch at Simbirsk, Russia, ending with many of the White forces retreating eastward.
    Vardar Offensive – Aleksandar Stamboliyski, leader of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union, organized between 4,000 to 5,000 mutinying Bulgarian soldiers to threaten the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. Meanwhile, the Allies took Veles and other cities in Macedonia and prepared to launch an assault on Uskub.
    North Russia Intervention – Revolutionary leader Nikolai Tchaikovsky was freed from imprisonment and allowed to form a new government in Provisional Government of the Northern Region, Russia which included the cities of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk. He was replaced in 1919

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    Soviet army officer Vasily Blyukher became the first recipient of the Order of the Red Banner (an award he would receive four more times) for his campaigns against the White movement during the Russian Civil War.

    Blyukher was born into a Russian peasant family named Gurov in the village of Barschinka in Yaroslavl Governorate. In the 19th century a landlord gave the nickname Blyukher to the Gurov family in commemoration of the famous Prussian Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819). As a teenager, he was employed at a machine works, but was arrested in 1910 for leading a strike, and sentenced to two years, eight months in prison. In 1914, Vasily Gurov — who later formally assumed Blyukher as his surname — was drafted into the army of the Russian Empire as a corporal but in 1915 was seriously wounded in the Great Retreat, and excused military service. He then went to work in a factory in Kazan, where he joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He took part in the Russian Revolution of 1917 in Samara.

    In late November 1917 he was sent into Chelyabinsk as a Red Guard commissar to suppress Alexander Dutov's revolt. Blyukher joined the Red Army in 1918 and was soon a commander. During the Russian Civil War he was one of the outstanding figures on the Bolshevik side. After the Czech Legion Revolt started, in August–September 1918, the 10,000-strong South Urals Partisan Army under Blyukher's command marched 1,500 km in 40 days of continuous fighting to attack the White forces from the rear, then join with regular Red Army units. For this achievement in September 1918 he became the first recipient of the Order of the Red Banner (later he was awarded it four more times: twice in 1921 and twice in 1928), his citation saying: "The raid made by Comrade Blyukher forces under impossible conditions can only be equated with Suvorov's crossings in Switzerland." After the force rejoined the Red Army lines in the 3rd Red Army area, Blyukher's force was reorganised as the 51st Rifle Division, which he later led to further triumphs against Baron Wrangel in November 1920. After the Civil War he served as military commander of the Far Eastern Republic from 1921–22. From December 1921, he took personal command of the campaign to remove the remnants of anti-Bolshevik forces east of the Amur river. In 1922−24, he was commander of the Petrograd military district.

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    Salonika: Armistice talks begin at 1600 hours including General Lukov and Bulgar Finance Minister who hope for neutral status but d’Esperey unyielding.
    Serbia: French 57th Division occupies Ochrid.
    Dolomites: *Austrian attack in Val Guidicaria repulsed.

    Flanders – FINAL BATTLE OF FLANDERS (until November 11): Allied Flanders Army Group (King Albert, CoS General Degoutte) of 28 divisions with 2,550 guns (12 Belgian with 170,000 men, 10 BEF, 6 French divisions) after 3-hour barrage advances on 23-mile front. Houthulst Forest (4-mile advance) and Wytschaete captured with 4000 PoWs. Belgian 4th Carabineers storm Passchendaele. British Second Army fights Fourth Battle of Ypres (until October 2), in 4 1/2-6 mile advance (9 miles by end of September 29) recaptures Gheluvelt and Messines.
    Aisne: Italian troops cross east of Conde in surprise night attack.

    East Africa: Lettow recrosses river Rovuma into German East Africa, opposite Nagwamira (8 hippos shot for meat to celebrate return). Kartucol reaches river Lugenda.

    North Sea: British ships and aircraft attack Zeebrugge. 11 German destroyers evacuate port on September 30 and reach Germany thanks to moonless nights, shoals and rough weather which thwart Harwich Force.
    Britain: *Swan Hunter yard launches first fabricated ‘straight line’ ship SS War Climax, 31 weeks from laying keel.

    Western Front: Udet destroys 2 US-crewed DH and receives bullet graze. Lieutenant F Rumey (45 victories) of Jasta 4 killed in action. Bogohl 3 and other German units drop 167,154lb bombs. Most crews carry out 3 sorties (night September 28/29). RAF loss of 424 men since September 15 severest of war, average 15.5 per 100 planes flown (1,404 serviceable).
    Palestine and Syria: RAF bomb Damascus airfield from new Kuneitra landing ground, supplied with fuel by air. Aircraft land at Damascus on October 1.
    Flanders: *24 RAF squadrons support final Allied advance, helped by radio telephone. 6 main rail targets attacked, 27 aircraft lost in low-flying attacks.

    Captain G B Bailey and Lieutenant Joseph William Greig Clark (Royal Air Force) are detailed to watch and report on progress made by the 57th Division in its advance towards the Schelde Canal. They reconnoiter the area in front of the infantry from a height of 400 feet and discover that the enemy has withdrawn to the east of the canal. Realizing that the infantry might advance more rapidly, they drop a message on the advancing men, urging them to press on at once as they will find no opposition. The aircrew then returns to the Division Headquarters and drop a message informing them of their action. On returning to the infantry they notice that they are all advancing hurriedly towards the canal, on reaching which the infantry are able to seize the crossings. In spite of this the enemy has been able to get into a trench line east of the canal.

    Lieutenant Robert Allan Caldwell dives down to 400 feet over Catteniers – then seven to eight miles over the line which he observes to be congested with lorries, guns and limbers. Flying the streets he drops four bombs separately, each with great affect. He then fires 350 rounds in all at assemblies of troops near Catteniers and on roads westwards. Seeing our troops advancing and skirmishing west of Noyelles, he five times attacks the enemy holding the bridgehead at Noyelles from 100 feet, greatly encouraging our New Zealand troops who are engaged and assisting them to discover the line held by the enemy.

    Lieutenant Archie Buchanan (Royal Air Force) in an engagement with fifteen Fokker biplanes, owing to engine trouble is compelled to remain under his flight; he nevertheless accounts for two enemy machines, attacking one under its tail, causing it to crash, and driving another down out of control. Captain Allan Hepburn and Lieutenant Marshall shoot down a Fokker V II near Leuze-Ath.

    A German air raid on an allied aerodrome just outside Boulogne scores a direct hit on a dormitory killing 85 men.

    American marine pilot Everett R. Brewer and observer Harry B. Wershiner become the first U.S. Marine Corps personnel to shoot down an enemy plane in aerial combat, using an Airco DH.9 aircraft, but both were badly wounded during the engagement

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    The following claims were made on this day, including a large number of American claims

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    28 British airmen were lost on this day, including...

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  28. #3628


    Good job, keep up the good work.

  29. #3629


    Thanks Mike - not long left to go now

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  30. #3630


    Thanks Mike - not long left to go now

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  31. #3631


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    29th September 1918

    Australian Corps attacks at St Quentin supported by approximately 150 tanks of the 4th and 5th tank brigades. American divisions launch the initial attack, with the Australian 3rd and 5th Divisions intended to “leapfrog” through the American forces. The inexperienced Americans do not clear German positions as effectively as they might have (due to the confusion created during the attack on 27th September). This forces the advancing Australians to fight for the ground that the Americans had planned to have already taken. In the confusion of battle, some American pockets that had been left without effective leadership willingly went along with the Australians as they advanced and there are documented accounts of soldiers from both nations fighting alongside each other in ad-hoc mixed outfits. The British 46th Division crosses the St Quentin Canal (defended by fortified machine gun positions), capturing 4,200 German prisoners (out of a total for the army of 5,300).

    The Battle of St. Quentin Canal

    The Battle of St Quentin Canal was a pivotal battle of World War I that began on 29 September 1918 and involved British, Australian and American forces operating as part of the British Fourth Army under the overall command of General Sir Henry Rawlinson. Further north, part of the British Third Army also supported the attack.[8] South of the Fourth Army's 19 km (12 mi) front, the French First Army launched a coordinated attack on a 9.5 km (6 mi) front.[9] The objective was to break through one of the most heavily defended stretches of the German Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line), which in this sector utilised the St Quentin Canal as part of its defences. The assault achieved its objectives (though not according to the planned timetable), resulting in the first full breach of the Hindenburg Line, in the face of heavy German resistance. In concert with other attacks of the Grand Offensive along the length of the line, Allied success convinced the German high command that there was little hope of an ultimate German victory

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    Breaking the Hindenburg Line by William Longstaff

    Rawlinson wanted the Australian Corps, under the command of Lieutenant General Sir John Monash, with its well-earned reputation, to spearhead the attack. Monash was unhappy, because his Australian force was by now short of manpower and many soldiers were showing signs of strain, having been heavily engaged in fighting for several months. There had been some episodes of mutiny by troops who were feeling unfairly put upon. Monash was however very pleased when Rawlinson offered him the American II Corps (the U.S. 27th and 30th Divisions), which still remained at the disposal of the British command, since American divisions were twice the numerical strength of their British counterparts. U.S. Corps commander Major General George Windle Read handed command of his American force for the duration of the action to Monash. However, the American soldiers lacked battle experience. A small group of 217 Australian officers and N.C.O.s was assigned to the U.S. troops for advice and liaison. The British high command considered that German morale was suffering badly and that their capacity to resist was much weakened. Monash believed that the operation would be "more a matter of engineering and organisation than of fighting". Whilst there had been some evidence of poor German morale from previous operations, this proved to be a dangerous assumption.

    Monash was tasked with drawing up the battle plan. He would use the Americans to breach the Hindenburg Line and the Australian 3rd and 5th Divisions to follow behind and then exploit the breakthrough. Monash intended to attack the Hindenburg Line south of Vendhuile where the St Quentin Canal runs underground for some 5,500 m (6,000 yd) through the Bellicourt Tunnel (which had been converted by the Germans into an integral part of the Hindenburg Line defensive system). The tunnel was the only location where tanks could cross the canal. Where the canal runs underground, the main Hindenburg Line trench system was sited to the west of the line of the canal. Two British corps, III and IX, would be deployed in support of the main assault. To Monash's plan Rawlinson made a very significant change: IX Corps would launch an assault directly across the deep canal cutting south of the Bellicourt Tunnel. This plan originated with Lieutenant-General Sir Walter Braithwaite, commander of IX Corps. Monash felt such an assault to be doomed to failure and would never have planned for it himself, believing it to be too risky. This view was shared by many in the 46th (North Midland) Division of IX Corps, which was tasked with spearheading the assault. The Germans believed the canal cutting to be impregnable.

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    After the German Spring Offensive, British Empire, French, and American counterattacks during the Hundred Days Offensive brought the Allies back up against the outposts of the Hindenburg Line by the autumn of 1918, close to the village of Bellicourt, where the Battle of Épehy was fought on 18 September 1918.

    Monash's plan assumed that the Hindenburg outpost line would be in Allied hands by the date set for the start of the battle. Whilst the Australians had already captured it in the southern part of the front (from where the 30th American Division would launch its attack), the northern section of the line was still in German hands. The 27th American Division was ordered to attack on 27 September, to finish clearing German forces from outposts in front of their line, including the strong points of The Knoll, Gillemont Farm, and Quennemont Farm. Commander in Chief Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig initially opposed using the Americans to take the outpost line, wanting to preserve them for the main attack. He was persuaded by Rawlinson to change his mind. The British III Corps had previously failed to capture the outposts, but that failure had been attributed by Rawlinson to the tiredness of the troops. Rawlinson was convinced that the Germans were at breaking point and managed to persuade Haig that this was so. The American soldiers were inexperienced and problems were compounded by a shortage of American officers (there were only 18 officers in the 12 attacking companies – the remainder were absent receiving further training).

    The U.S. attack was unsuccessful. Monash asked Rawlinson for permission to delay the main attack due on 29 September, but this was refused because of the priority given to Marshal Ferdinand Foch's strategy of keeping the Germans under the relentless pressure of coordinated assaults along the front. As a result of the confusion created by the failed attack (with the corps command being unsure of where the American troops were), the battle on 29 September on the American 27th Division front had to be started without the customary (and highly effective) close artillery support. The British artillery commander argued that attempting to alter the barrage timetable at this late stage would cause problems and the American divisional commander Major General John F. O'Ryan was also concerned about the possibility of friendly fire. All of the Allied commanders therefore agreed to proceed with the original artillery fire plan. The result was that the barrage would now start at the originally-intended jump-off point, some 900 m (1,000 yd) beyond the actual starting point of the infantry, leaving them very vulnerable during their initial advance. 27th Division was required to make an advance greater than any that had been asked of its highly experienced Australian allies, an advance of some 4,500 m (5,000 yd) in a single action. In an attempt to compensate for the lack of a creeping barrage Rawlinson provided additional tanks. However, the absence of a creeping barrage in the 27th Division sector was to have a very detrimental effect on the initial operations of the battle on the front opposite the tunnel.

    Main assault of 29 September

    Brigadier General J V Campbell addressing troops of the 137th Brigade (46th Division) from the Riqueval Bridge over the St Quentin Canal
    The battle was preceded by the greatest British artillery bombardment of the war. Some 1,600 guns were deployed (1,044 field guns and 593 heavy guns and howitzers),[35] firing almost one million shells over a comparatively short period of time.[36] Included in these were more than 30,000 mustard gas shells (the first use of a British-made version of this weapon). These were specifically targeted at headquarters and groups of batteries.[35] Many of the high explosive shells fired had special fuses which made them very effective in destroying the German barbed wire.[37] The British were greatly helped by the fact that they were in possession of highly detailed captured plans of the enemy defences (especially useful for the IX Corps sector).[20] Monash's battle plan for 29 September envisaged breaking through the main Hindenburg Line defences, crossing the canal tunnel mound, breaching the fortified Le Catelet–Nauroy Line beyond that, and reaching the Beaurevoir Line beyond that (the final fortified line) as the objective on the first day.[24] Monash had originally intended to capture the Beaurevoir Line on 29 September, but Rawlinson removed this as a first day objective, considering it overly ambitious.[38]

    King George V at Riqueval Bridge, the scene of the exploit of the 137th Brigade when the 46th Division crossed the St. Quentin Canal cutting on 29 September 1918. (photo taken 2 December).
    Attack over Bellicourt Tunnel
    On 29 September, the two American divisions attacked followed by the two Australian divisions, with approximately 150 tanks of the 4th and 5th Tank Brigades of the British Tank Corps (including the newly trained American 301st Heavy Tank Battalion, which was equipped with British tanks) in support of the four divisions. The objective of the Americans was the Le Catelet-Nauroy Line, a defensive line east of the canal. Here the Australian 3rd Division (behind the U.S. 27th) and 5th Division (behind the U.S. 30th) were intended to "leapfrog" through the American forces and press on towards the Beaurevoir Line. Australian 2nd Division was in reserve.

    On the left of the front, where the U.S. 27th Division began at a disadvantage, none of the objectives was met on the first day and the Americans suffered severe losses. The 107th Infantry Regiment suffered the worst casualties sustained in a single day by any U.S. regiment during the war.[40] Rather than leapfrogging through the Americans, the Australian 3rd Division became involved in a desperate fight for positions that should already have been captured had Monash's plan run to timetable. Despite some individual acts of heroism the lack of progress on the left of the front had an adverse effect on the progress of the right of the front too. As the American 30th Division and then the Australian 5th Division moved forward whilst the units to their left did not, they had to contend with German fire from the side and rear as well as from ahead. An added difficulty was thick fog across the battlefield in the earlier stages of the attack which led to American troops passing by Germans without realising that they were there, with the Germans causing severe problems to the Americans following the assault wave. Fog also caused problems for infantry/tank cooperation. The 30th Infantry Division broke through the Hindenburg Line in the fog on 29 September 1918, entering Bellicourt, capturing the southern entrance of Bellicourt Tunnel and reaching the village of Nauroy, but the troops only managed to hold onto part of Nauroy.

    The advancing Australians came across large groups of leaderless, disoriented Americans. Bean wrote: "By 10 o'clock Monash's plan had gone to the winds....From that hour onward...the offensive was really directed by Australian battalion or company commanders at the front..."[46] The 30th Division won the praise of General Pershing, who wrote: "... the 30th Division did especially well. It broke through the Hindenburg Line on its entire front and took Bellicourt and part of Nauroy by noon of the 29th." There has since been considerable debate over the extent to which the American forces were successful. Monash wrote: " this battle they demonstrated their inexperience in war, and their ignorance of some of the elementary methods of fighting employed on the French front. For these shortcomings they paid a heavy price. Their sacrifices, nevertheless, contributed quite definitely to the partial success of the day's operations..."The objective of U.S. II Corps, the Catelet-Nauroy Line, was not captured by the Americans. During the battle, Monash was furious about the performance of the American divisions. Late on 29 September Rawlinson wrote: "The Americans appear to be in a state of hopeless confusion and will not, I fear, be able to function as a corps, so I am contemplating replacing them...I fear their casualties have been heavy, but it is their own fault."

    Meanwhile, on the right of the Bellicourt Tunnel front the Australian 32nd Battalion under the command of Major Blair Wark established contact with the 1/4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, of 46th Division, which had crossed the canal and were now present in force east of the Hindenburg Line.

    By this stage in the war the Tank Corps had suffered greatly and there were fewer tanks available for the battle than had been deployed in the Battle of Amiens in August. Eight tanks were destroyed when they strayed into an old British minefield but the 29 September attack also highlighted the high vulnerability of tanks to strong German anti-tank measures. In one instance four heavy tanks and five medium tanks were destroyed in the space of 15 minutes by German field guns at the same location. This was during the attempt to subdue severe machine gun fire coming from the Le Catelet–Nauroy Line in the vicinity of Cabaret Wood Farm and showed the danger posed by German field guns to tanks operating without close infantry support (because the crew had very limited visibility and often could not see a threat which those outside the tank could see). The tanks could protect the infantry but they also needed the close cooperation of the infantry to alert them to the danger of concealed field guns. In the case of this attack, the machine gun fire was so severe that the infantry were ordered to withdraw, leaving the tanks well forward of them and prey to the German field guns.

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    Men of the American 30th Infantry Division at rest with German prisoners following the capture of Bellicourt, 29 September 1918. In the background are British Mark V tanks (with 'cribs' for crossing trenches) of the 8th Battalion, Tank Corps, which was one of four battalions of the 5th Tank Brigade allotted to the 5th Australian Division and American Corps for the operation.

    The attack across the canal cutting, also known as the Battle of Bellenglise, saw IX Corps (commanded by Braithwaite), on the right of the American and Australian Divisions, launch its assault between Riqueval and Bellenglise. The assault was spearheaded by the 46th (North Midland) Division under the command of Major-General Gerald Boyd. In this sector the St Quentin Canal formed an immense, ready-made anti-tank "ditch" and the main Hindenburg Line trench system lay on the east (German) side of the canal. IX Corps was supported by tanks of the 3rd Tank Brigade, which had to cross Bellicourt Tunnel in the 30th U.S. Division sector and then move south along the east bank of the canal. IX Corps had to cross the formidable canal cutting (which increased in depth as it approached Riqueval until its very steep banks, strongly defended by fortified machine gun positions, were over 15 m (50 ft) deep in places), and then fight its way through the Hindenburg Line trenches. The 46th Division's final objective for 29 September was a line of high ground beyond the villages of Lehaucourt and Magny-la-Fosse. The British 32nd Division, following behind, would then leapfrog the 46th Division. Following a devastating artillery bombardment (which was heaviest in this sector), and in thick fog and smoke the British 46th (North Midland) Division fought its way through the German trenches west of the canal and then across the waterway. The 137th (Staffordshire) Brigade spearheaded the attack.

    The ferocity of the creeping artillery barrage contributed greatly to the success of the assault, keeping the Germans pinned in their dugouts. The soldiers used a variety of flotation aids devised by the Royal Engineers (including improvised floating piers and 3,000 lifebelts from cross-Channel steamers) to cross the water. Scaling ladders were used to climb the brick wall lining the canal. Some men of the 1/6th Battalion, the North Staffordshire Regiment, led by Captain A. H. Charlton, managed to seize the still-intact Riqueval Bridge over the canal before the Germans had a chance to fire their explosive charges. The 46th Division captured the village of Bellenglise, including its great tunnel/troop shelter (which had been constructed as part of the Hindenburg Line defences). By the end of the day the 46th Division had taken 4,200 German prisoners (out of a total for the army of 5,100) and 70 guns.

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    Soldiers of the 30th American Infantry Division and the 15th Australian Brigade (5th Australian Division) at the southern entrance of the Bellicourt Tunnel at Riqueval near Bellicourt. It was captured by the 30th American Division on 29 September 1918. (Photographed 4 October 1918).

    The assault across the canal met all of its objectives, on schedule, at a cost of somewhat fewer than 800 casualties to the division. The great success of the day had come where many had least expected it. The 46th Division assault was considered to be one of the outstanding feats of arms of the war. Bean described the attack as an "extraordinarily difficult task" and "a wonderful achievement" in his official Australian war history. Monash wrote that it was "an astonishing success...[which] materially assisted me in the situation in which I was placed later on the same day". Later in the day the leading brigades of the 32nd Division (including Lt Wilfred Owen of the Manchester Regiment) crossed the canal and moved forward through 46th Division. The whole of the 32nd Division was east of the canal by nightfall. On the right of the front in IX Corps sector, the 1st Division, operating west of the canal, had the task of protecting the right flank of the 46th Division by clearing the Germans from the ground east and north-east of Pontruet. It met with fierce German resistance and heavy enfilade fire from the south. On the evening of the 29 September orders were issued for IX Corps to seize the Le Tronquoy Tunnel defences to allow the passage of the XV French Corps over the canal tunnel. The following day, the 1st Division advanced under a creeping barrage and early in the afternoon the 3rd Brigade of the division linked up on the tunnel summit with the 14th Brigade of the 32nd Division, which had fought its way forward from the German side of the canal.

    At Terhand, Belgium, when the right flank of his company was held up by enemy machine-guns, Lance-Corporal Ernest Seaman (Inniskilling Fusiliers) goes forward under heavy fire with his Lewis gun and engages the position single-handed, capturing two machine-guns and 12 prisoners, and killing one officer and two men. Later in the day he again rushes another enemy machine-gun post, capturing the gun under very heavy fire. He is killed immediately afterwards, but it was due to his gallant conduct that his company was able to push forward to its objective. For his efforts he will be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

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Size:  2.3 KB Classified as unfit for active front line service Seaman ended up as a baker in the Army Service Corps of the British Army. It was not until late in the war that he was allowed to join a front-line unit.

    He was 25 years old, and a lance-corporal in the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 29 September 1918 at Terhand, Belgium, when the right flank of his company was held up by enemy machine-guns, Lance-Corporal Seaman went forward under heavy fire with his Lewis gun and engaged the position single-handed, capturing two machine-guns and 12 prisoners, and killing one officer and two men. Later in the day he again rushed another enemy machine-gun post, capturing the gun under very heavy fire. He was killed immediately afterwards, but it was due to his gallant conduct that his company was able to push forward to its objective.

    A copy of his medal is held in the Officers Mess at The Royal Logistic Corps Museum (Camberley, Surrey, England). The original is kept in a bank vault. Ernie is commemorated at Tyne Cot Cemetery (Panel No. 70), the memorial to the 36th Division at the Ulster Tower near Thiepval on the Somme, Felixstowe War Memorial (Suffolk), and the Scole War Memorial (Norfolk).

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    During the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt Lieutenant Colonel Bernard William Vann (commanding 1st/6th Sherwood Foresters) leads his battalion with great skill across the Canal du Nord through a very thick fog and under heavy fire from field and machine guns. On reaching the high ground above Bellenglise the whole attack is held up by fire of all descriptions from the front and right flank. Realising that everything depends on the advance going forward with the barrage Colonel Vann rushes up to the firing line and with the greatest gallantry leads the line forward. By his prompt action and absolute contempt for danger the whole situation is changed, the men are encouraged and the line swept forward. Later, he rushes a field-gun single-handed and knocks out three of the detachment. The success of the day is in no small degree due to the splendid gallantry and fine leadership displayed by this officer. He will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross as he will be killed near Ramicourt by a sniper on 3rd October when leading his battalion in attack. He is an ordained minister who played football for Northampton Town, Burton United FC and Derby County from 1906-7.

    Lieutenant Colonel Bernard William Vann, VC, MC & Bar (9 July 1887 – 3 October 1918) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was the only ordained clergyman of the Church of England to be awarded the VC in the Great War as a combatant.

    On the outbreak of war, he volunteered as a British Army chaplain but, frustrated by difficulties and delays, enlisted in the infantry instead, initially in 28th (County of London) Battalion of The London Regiment, (The Artists' Rifles) and was commissioned into the 1/8th Bn,[6] The Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) on 1 September 1914 and became Lieutenant on 26 April 1915.

    He was awarded the Military Cross in 1915. "At Kemmel on 24 April 1915 when a small advance trench which he occupied was blown in, and he himself wounded and half buried, he showed the greatest determination in organising the defence and rescuing buried men under heavy fire, although wounded and severely bruised he refused to leave his post until directly ordered to do so. At Ypres on 31 July 1915, and subsequent days, he ably assisted another officer to hold the left trench of the line, setting a fine example to those around him. On various occasions he has led patrols up to the enemy's trenches and obtained valuable information."[9] On 25 September 1915, Vann's brother Arthur was killed at Loos.

    In 1916 He received a second award of the Military Cross "for conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a daring raid against the enemy's trenches, himself taking five prisoners and displaying great courage and determination. He has on many previous occasions done fine work."

    VC action
    He was 31 years old, and an Acting Lieutenant Colonel commanding 1/6th Battalion Sherwood Foresters when he was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 29 September 1918 at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt, France, where he led his battalion across the St Quentin Canal through thick fog and under heavy fire. He secured his troops' advance by rushing up to the firing line and leading the line forward himself.

    For most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and fine leadership during the attack at Bellenglise and Lehaucourt, on September 29th, 1918. He led his battalion with great skill across the Canal de Saint-Quentin through a very thick fog and under heavy fire from field and machine guns. On reaching the high ground above Bellenglise the whole attack was held up by fire of all descriptions from the front and right flank. Realising that everything depended on the advance going forward with the barrage, Col. Vann rushed up to the firing line and with the greatest gallantry led the line forward. By his prompt action and absolute contempt for danger the whole situation was changed, the men were encouraged and the line swept forward. Later, he rushed a field-gun single-handed and knocked out three of the detachment. The success of the day was in no small degree due to the splendid gallantry and fine leadership displayed by this officer. Lt. Col. Vann, who had on all occasions set the highest example of valour, was killed near Ramicourt on 3rd October, 1918, when leading his battalion in attack.

    — The London Gazette No. 31067, 14 December 1918

    He was killed in action, four days later by a sniper at Ramicourt, France, on 3 October 1918. He is buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery.


    Germany: Ludendorff severely depressed; he and Hindenburg insist on armistice and new government; Kaiser agrees.
    Cambrai: BEF RIGHT WING (Fourth Army, 17 divisions) and FRENCH LEFT (First Army, 14 divisions) ATTACK HINDENBURG LINE in dense fog. BEF fires all-time record of 943,947 shells (since noon September 28). Canadians suffer 2,089 casualties.
    Somme: British Fourth Army offensive (now 39 BEF and 2 US divisions vs 41 German) on 12-mile front begins with 1,600 guns. Battle of St Quentin Canal (until October 2): British 46th Division (800 casualties) fights across it in epic style at Bellenglise using boats, ladders and 3,000 life belts from Channel ferries, advances 3 1/2 miles taking 4,200 PoWs (of 5,300 total) and 70 guns (of 100 total) in 2 1/2 hours. 5th Australian and US 30th Divisions storm Bellicourt Tunnel defences to north (141 tanks support, including US 301st Battalion in British Mk Vs, but 75 hit).
    Flanders: Belgian 4th Division recaptures Dixmude but 9th Division repulsed six times from Westroosebeke (evacuated September 30).

    Serbia: French Cavalry Brigade Jouinot*-Gambetta (3,000 troopers) captures Serbia’s second city Uskub (Skopje) in heavy rain at 0900 hours by advances from north and south with 339 PoWs and 5 guns; German armoured train escapes fighting. 3 French aircraft take news to Salonika. Main Serb Army still 30 miles to south, but close to Bulgar frontier south of Kustendil and storming Bulgar position 11 miles northeast of Veles, Greek 14th Division occupies Yenikoi after 382 casualties. BULGARIA SIGNS SEVEN-CLAUSE ARMISTICE at 2210 hours. Austrian 9th Division from Italian Front still 50 miles north of Uskub.

    Syria: Turco-German rearguard of 1,500 soldiers in trucks delays 3rd ALH Brigade at Sasa (until September 30), but eventually loses 350 PoWs. Liman sends Kemal to Riyak (northwest of Damascus).
    Trans-Jordan: Turk II Corps (4,602 soldiers and 14 guns) marches into Amman to surrender to Chaytor’s Force (terms agreed on September 28).

    North Sea: Coastal submarine UB-115 (oil patch sighted by rigid airship R29) sunk off Sunderland by depth charges from several Royal Navy destroyers (including HMS Ouse) and trawlers.

    Western Front: 337 RAF aircraft (17 squadrons) support BEF Fourth Army’s rupture of the Hindenburg Line although smoke and mist hampers them; 5 German balloons shot down, 6 fighters for loss of 3 including fight between 20 German and 29 RAF fighters, although Germans concede only 2 losses for 8 Allied.

    German ground-attack aircraft of Schlachtstaffel 3 intervened to support German troops in danger of being overrun by United States Army forces in the Argonne Forest, France. A German officer on the ground reported that the German air attack caused the American troops to break off their attack and scatter "in wild flight."

    Four aces were killed on this day:

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    2nd Lieutenant Franck Luke Jnr.

    Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the "Arizona Balloon-Buster" was the leading ace in the United States Air Service at the time of his death. After aerial combat training at Issoudun, France, Frank Luke, Jr. was assigned to the 27th Aero Squadron under Harold Hartney on 25 July 1918. Often flying alone or with his sidekick Joseph Wehner, he shot down 18 enemy balloons and planes in just 18 days. After flaming three German balloons on 29 September 1918, Luke's SPAD XIII (S7984) was shot down by ground fire. Resisting capture, he shot it out with approaching German soldiers and was killed near the crash site. After the war, Luke's remains were reburied at the Romagne Military Cemetery. Luke Field in Hawaii and Luke Air Force Base near Glendale, Arizona were named in his honor.

    "Man, how that kid could fly! No one, mind you, no one, had the sheer contemptuous courage that boy possessed. I know he's been criticized for being such a lone-hander, but, good Lord, he won us priceless victories by those very tactics. He was an excellent pilot and probably the best flying marksman on the Western Front. We had any number of expert pilots and there was no shortage of good shots, but the perfect combination, like the perfect specimen of anything in the world, was scarce. Frank Luke was the perfect combination." Harold Hartney, Commanding Officer, 1st Pursuit Group

    "He was the most daring aviator and greatest fighter pilot of the entire war. His life is one of the brightest glories of our Air Service. He went on a rampage and shot down fourteen enemy aircraft, including ten balloons, in eight days. No other ace Britain's Bishop from Canada, France's Fonck or even the dreaded Richthofen had ever come close to that." Edward Rickenbacker

    Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
    The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank Luke, Jr., Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near St. Mihiel, France, September 12 to 15, 1918. Lieutenant Luke, by skill, determination, and bravery, and in the face of heavy enemy fire, successfully destroyed eight enemy observation balloons in four days.
    General Orders No. 34, W.D., 1919

    Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) - Oak Leaf Cluster
    The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank Luke, Jr., Second Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Etain, France, September 18, 1918. Immediately after destroying two enemy observation balloons, Lieutenant Luke was attacked by a large formation of German planes, Fokker type. He turned to attack two, which were directly behind him, and shot them down. Sighting an enemy biplane, although his gasoline was nearly gone, he attacked and destroyed this machine also.
    General Orders No. 34, W.D., 1919

    Medal of Honor
    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Murvaux, France, September 29, 1918. After having previously destroyed a number of enemy aircraft within 17 days he voluntarily started on a patrol after German observation balloons. Though pursued by 8 German planes which were protecting the enemy balloon line, he unhesitatingly attacked and shot down in flames 3 German balloons, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and the hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended to within 50 meters of the ground, and flying at this low altitude near the town of Murvaux opened fire upon enemy troops, killing 6 and wounding as many more. Forced to make a landing and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, who called upon him to surrender, he drew his automatic pistol and defended himself gallantly until he fell dead from a wound in the chest.

    Lieutenant Nicholas Stewart Bolton 20 Squadron RAF - A six victory Bristol Fighter Ace - Nicholson Stewart Boulton was killed in action, shot down by Josef Mai of Jasta 5. Listed in both the Birth Registry Index & 1901 England Census

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    Captain Edward Barfort Drake
    209 Squadron RAF (Sopwith Camel) Flight Sub-Lieutenant Edward Barfort Drake received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3907 on 26 October 1916. Scoring his 4th victory on the evening of 27 June 1918, he shot up a Pfalz D.III over Warfusée. His opponent, Helmut Steinbrecher, jumped from the burning plane, becoming the first pilot to successfully deploy a parachute in combat. Two months later, Drake was reported missing in action. It was supposed that his Sopwith Camel (E4376) was shot down by ground fire.

    2nd Lieutenant Leslie Edwin Mitchell 62 Squadron RAF. An eight victory Bristol Fighter Ace.

    There were a number of Hat-tricks on this day, including Frank Luke (see above) and a second in three days for Paul Baumer of Jasta 2

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    The following claims were made on this day

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    It was one of the worst days of the war for the RAF with 41 losses, including...

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    Bulgaria signed an armistice with the Allies.

    Terauchi Masatake resigned as Prime Minister of Japan after failing to bring order in the country following weeks of riots over rice prices in the rural Japan. Hara Takashi, who openly renounced his noble background in early adulthood, was appointed Prime Minister to appease the citizenry by becoming the first commoner to be appointed to the office.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  32. #3632


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    30th September 1918

    Amazing as it seems the war will be over in less than six weeks....

    On 27th September, when his company commander and all other officers of his company have become casualties, Lieutenant Samuel Lewis Honey (Manitoba Regiment) takes command and skillfully reorganized it under very severe fire. He continued the advance with great dash and gained the objective. Then finding that his company has suffered casualties from enfilade machine-gun fire he located the machine-gun nest and rushed it single-handed, captured the guns and ten prisoners. Subsequently he repeled four counter-attacks and after dark again went out alone and located an enemy post, lead a party which captured the post and three guns. Yesterday he led his company against a strong enemy position with great skill and daring and continued to display the same high example of valor and self-sacrifice. He dies of wounds received today during the last day of the attack by his battalion. For his actions he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

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    Samuel Lewis Honey went by his middle name, Lewis. He was born on 9 February 1894 in Conn, Ontario [part of the County of Wellington] to Reverend George Edward Honey and Metta Blaisdell.[1] Honey was a schoolteacher in civilian life, and planned on attending Victoria College, University of Toronto, for an Arts degree. War interrupted these plans, and Lewis answered the call to arms.

    Lewis originally joined the army as a non-commissioned soldier, enlisting 22 January 1915. He earned the Military Medal raiding German trenches on 22 February 1917, and covered his platoon and another in the face of heavy grenade fire. Lewis wrote that his party deserved recognition as much as he did. Lewis fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, earning the Distinguished Conduct Medal for leadership and maintaining morale in the face of extremely heavy fire. He was recommended for a commission after the battle, and Lewis earned his commission in 1918. Lewis remained modest about his role, stating in correspondence to family that he was simply lucky. He was 24 years old, and a lieutenant in the 78th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War. On 21 September 1918 at Bourlon Wood, France, he performed a deed at the battle of the Canal du Nord for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    For most conspicuous bravery during the Bourlon Wood operations, 27th September to 2nd October, 1918.

    On 27th September, when his company commander and all other officers of his company had become casualties, Lt. Honey took command and skilfully reorganised under very severe fire. He continued the advance with great dash and gained the objective. Then finding that his company was suffering casualties from enfilade machine-gun fire he located the machine-gun nest and rushed it single-handed, capturing the guns and ten prisoners. Subsequently he repelled four enemy counter-attacks and after dark again went out alone, and having located an enemy post, led a party which captured the post and three guns. On the 29th September he led his company against a strong enemy position with great skill and daring and continued in the succeeding days of the battle to display the same high example of valour and self-sacrifice. He died of wounds received during the last day of the attack by his battalion.

    — London Gazette
    King George V authorized the Victoria Cross posthumously. Lewis was buried in Pas de Calais, France, at the Queant Communal Cemetery.

    James Crichton, VC (15 July 1879 – 22 September 1961) was an Irish-born soldier and a recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC)

    Born in 1879 in Northern Ireland, Crichton served with the British Army during the Second Boer War, and later emigrated to New Zealand. Following the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the New Zealand Military Forces and served with the Army Service Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign and on the Western Front in a field bakery. He transferred to the infantry in May 1918 and was awarded the VC for his actions during the Hundred Days Offensive. He went to London in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and again nearly 20 years later for the VC centenary. He died in 1961 at the age of 82.

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    Crichton was born in Carrickfergus, in Northern Ireland, on 15 July 1879. His family moved to the mining hamlet of Northrigg by Blackridge in what is now West Lothian, Scotland, when he was young. By the age of 10, he was working in a coal mine. Nicknamed Scotty, he joined the British Army by enlisting in the Royal Scots Regiment at the age of 18. Two years later, he transferred to the Cameron Highlanders. He remained with the Highlanders for five years, including a period in South Africa during the Second Boer War, before returning to civilian life. He later moved to New Zealand and settled in Auckland where he worked as a cable splicer with the Post Office and Telegraph Department.

    Following the outbreak of the First World War, Crichton volunteered for the New Zealand Military Forces and was sent to the Middle East with the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in October 1914. Promoted to corporal, he was posted to the New Zealand Army Service Corps as a baker in the 1st Field Bakery. He served in the Gallipoli Campaign and, at its conclusion, was promoted to quartermaster sergeant. Two months later, he was promoted again, to warrant officer, 2nd class, before being sent to the Western Front as part of the New Zealand Division.

    In May 1918, having served with the bakery for over three years, Crichton harboured a desire to serve with the infantry. He relinquished his rank as a warrant officer and transferred to the infantry. He later stated that he had been selected for officer training, but a senior officer in the Auckland Infantry Regiment offered to arrange his transfer if permission was obtained. It was made clear to him that he would be reduced in rank if he was to proceed with the transfer. Initially placed in the 3rd Entrenching Battalion, one of the training units of the New Zealand Division, he was transferred to the Auckland Infantry Regiment and posted to its 2nd Battalion with the rank of private in late August 1918.

    During the Hundred Days Offensive, on 30 September 1918, Crichton's platoon was trying to force a crossing of the Scheldt River, near Crèvecœur, when it came under machine-gun fire. He was wounded and his platoon commander and senior non-commissioned officer were killed. Crichton was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for his subsequent deeds. The VC, instituted in 1856, was the highest gallantry award that could be bestowed on a soldier of the British Empire. The citation for his VC read:

    For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when, although wounded in the foot, he continued with the advancing troops despite difficult canal and river obstacles. When his platoon was subsequently forced back by a counterattack he succeeded in carrying a message which involved swimming a river and crossing an area swept by machine-gun fire, subsequently rejoining his platoon. Later he undertook on his own initiative to save a bridge which had been mined, and, though under close fire of machine-guns and snipers, he succeeded in removing the charges, returning with the fuses and detonators. Though suffering from a painful wound he displayed the highest degree of valour and devotion to duty.
    — The London Gazette, No. 31012, 15 November 1918

    After he returned to his company commander to report his successful deactivation of the demolition charges, Crichton attempted rejoin his platoon but was ordered to remain behind at company headquarters. He then assisted stretcher bearers transporting wounded soldiers before the gravity of his wounds became apparent and he was taken, despite his protests, to a field hospital. He was later evacuated to England for further treatment. Promoted to sergeant, he was still recovering from his wounds when the war ended. Crichton's VC was the last to be won by a serviceman of the NZEF during the First World War. He, together with three other New Zealanders who had been awarded the VC, received his medal from King George V in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 27 February 1919. He returned to New Zealand in June 1919 and shortly afterwards was formally discharged from the NZEF.

    Edward John Francis Ryan, VC (9 February 1890 – 3 June 1941), better known as John Ryan, was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross.

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    He was approximately 28 years old, and a private in the 55th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 30 September 1918 at the Hindenburg Defences, France, when the enemy succeeded in establishing a bombing party in the rear of the battalion's recently won position, Private Ryan, on his own initiative, organized and led a party of men with bombs and bayonets against the enemy. He reached the position with only three men and they succeeded in driving the enemy back. Private Ryan cleared the last of them alone, finally falling wounded himself.

    His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial (Canberra, Australia).

    Flanders: British troops 2 miles away from Menin.
    Cambrai: British in Cambrai outskirts; six villages captured. German incendiarists at work. BEF first uses mustard gas, vs Hindenburg Line. Foch, back from Flanders sees Haig at Arras.
    Cham*pagne: French capture Marfaux-Aure and St Marie-a-Py as Fifth Army attacks.
    Argonne: AEF heavily engaged as its ill-organized motor and horse transport becomes increasingly traffic-jammed. Allied maximum advance now 8 miles with 18,000 PoWs and 200 guns.
    German September losses 236,200 men. Total 160 Allied divisions (+57 in reserve) vs 113 German front-line divisions (+84 in reserve), but only 59 German divisions classed as ‘fit’. British Army adopts 24-hour clock (French Army throughout) from midnight September 30-October 1. During September 10 more German divisions disbanded (3 more early October) to strengthen depleted remainder. Lack of horses reducing medium batteries from 4 guns to 3.

    BULGARIA HOSTILITIES CEASE AT NOON, conceding Allied occupation of key points and use of railways vs remaining Central Powers; Bulgarian Army to be reduced to 3 divisions and 2 cavalry regiments. British September sick admissions 9,855 (mainly flu and malaria); 3,137 wounded.
    Albania*: Italian cavalry patrols reach river Skumbi.
    Serbia*: German Alpenkorps (from Western Front) reaches Nis with 219th (Saxon) Division (from Eastern Front) behind.

    Syria: Arab flags flown in Damascus as Turks retreat north on two roads and Germans blow ammo dumps. Australian Mounted Division blocks Barada Gorge (Beirut road) and takes 4,000 PoWs; 5th Cavalry Division makes 1,294 for 10 casualties; Arabs take 600 from Turk Deraa column after Lawrence fetches 4th Cavalry Division artillery.
    Mesopotamia: Turk Sixth Army estimated at 13,725 soldiers (more than 4 divisions), 154 guns and 237 MGs.

    The Desert Mounted Corps staged successful cavalry charges at Kaukab and Kisew, Palestine as part of their advance on Damascus

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    The Desert Mounted Corps was an army corps of the British Army during the First World War, of three mounted divisions renamed in August 1917 by General Edmund Allenby, from Desert Column. These divisions which served in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign had been formed by Australian light horse, British yeomanry, and New Zealand mounted rifles brigades, supported by horse artillery, infantry and support troops. They were later joined by Indian cavalry and a small French cavalry detachment.

    The Desert Mounted Corps (DMC) comprised the ANZAC Mounted Division, the Australian Mounted Division and the Yeomanry Mounted Division, with infantry formations attached when required, as had Desert Column. In the first month of its existence, the corps continued training and patrolling no man's land preparing for manoeuvre warfare. Their first operations would be the attack, along with the XX Corps of the Battle of Beersheba. Having captured their objective they were involved in a series of battles, before the old Gaza to Beersheba line was finally broken a week later. During the pursuit they fought two Turkish armies at the Battle of Mughar Ridge before advancing to capture Jerusalem during the Battle of Jerusalem in December 1917.

    In 1918, units of Desert Mounted Corps participated in the Capture of Jericho in February, the First Transjordan attack on Amman in March and the Second Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt in April, while occupying the Jordan Valley during the summer. As a result of the Spring Offensive on the Western Front the corps went through a reorganisation, when the majority of the British yeomanry regiments were dismounted and sent as infantry reinforcements to France. The Yeomanry Mounted Division and the 5th Mounted Brigade were disbanded, to be replaced by Indian cavalry regiments, which formed the 4th Cavalry Division and 5th Cavalry Division. They arrived in the Jordan Valley in May to join the corps and in September with four divisions, participated in the major offensive operations of the Battle of Sharon, a section of the Battle of Megiddo. The subsequent pursuit to Damascus followed by the Pursuit to Haritan, advances of almost 600 miles (970 km) into Turkish territory, resulted in the capture of 107,000 prisoners and over 500 pieces of artillery. At the end of October, the Armistice of Mudros ended the war against the Ottoman Empire and the corps became an occupation force in Syria. By March 1919 units were patrolling Egypt during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. The Desert Mounted Corps was disbanded in June 1919.

    Atlantic: U-boats sink US SS Tieonderoga (121 of 243 soldiers lost).

    The third USS Ticonderoga was a steamship in the United States Navy which served as a cargo ship.

    She was originally built as Camilla Rickmers, a steamer, in 1914 by Rickmers Aktien Gesellschaft, at Bremerhaven, Germany, and operated by Rickmers Reederei & Schiffbau Aktien Gesellschaft. She was seized by United States Customs officials in 1917; turned over to the Navy; fitted out as an animal transport; renamed Ticonderoga; and commissioned at Boston in the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) on 5 January 1918, Lt. Comdr. James J. Madison, USNRF, in command.

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    Ticonderoga departed Boston on 16 January and reached Newport News, Virginia, three days later. There, she loaded a cargo of automobiles, trucks, animals, and sundry other Army supplies before moving north to New York City to join a convoy which sailed for France on 20 February. Ticonderoga entered port at Brest on 7 March and began discharging her cargo. She completed unloading operations and departed France on the 23rd to return to the United States. She arrived at New York on 8 April and the following day headed for Norfolk, Virginia, to undergo repairs and take on cargo before returning to New York on the 30th. On 3 May, Ticonderoga steamed out of New York harbor once more, bound for Europe. She reached Brest on 18 May and proceeded southeast along the coast of France to the Gironde estuary where she unloaded her cargo and took on ballast for the return voyage. The transport put to sea on 10 June and entered Hampton Roads 15 days later. Ticonderoga took on another Army shipment at Newport News and joined an east-bound convoy at New York on 12 July. She delivered her cargo at the Gironde estuary once more, laying over there from 28 July to 21 August before heading home.

    Battle with U-152
    Ticonderoga loaded another Army cargo at Norfolk between 5 and 19 September. She then steamed to New York where she joined a convoy bound for Europe. On 22 September, Ticonderoga cleared New York for the last time. During the night of the 29th and 30th, the transport developed engine trouble and dropped behind the convoy. At 05:20 the following morning, she sighted the German submarine U-152 running on the surface; and she cleared for action. For the next two hours, her gun crews fought the enemy in a losing battle. The U-boat's gunners put her forward gun out of commission after six shots, but the 6-inch gun aft continued the uneven battle. Almost every man on board Ticonderoga, including her captain, suffered wounds. Eventually, the submarine's two 5.9-inch guns succeeded in silencing Ticonderoga's remaining gun. At 07:45, Ticonderoga slipped beneath the sea. Of the 237 sailors and soldiers embarked, only 24 survived. Twenty-two of those survivors were in one lifeboat and were picked up by the British steamer SS Moorish Prince four days later. The other two, the executive officer and the first assistant engineer, were taken prisoner on board the U-boat and eventually landed at Kiel, Germany, when U-152 completed her cruise. Ticonderoga′s name was subsequently struck from the Navy list.

    Lieutenant Commander James Jonas Madison received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Ticonderoga.

    Adriatic*: Otranto Barrage completed.
    North Sea: British seaplane squadron over Heligoland Bight.
    Allied and neutral shipping lost to U-boats in September: 79 ships (48 British with 521 lives) worth 186,600t (British 136,859t). U-boat figure 91 ships worth 171,972t including 38 ships of 42,693t in Mediterranean (including last Austrian score, 16 ships worth 5,004t); 9 U-boats sunk.

    German submarine SM U-102 struck a mine and sank in the North Sea with the loss of all 42 crew.
    German submarine SM UB-127 struck a mine and sank in the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of all 34 crew

    Royal Navy torpedo boat HMS Seagull collided with another vessel in the River Clyde, Scotland and sank. HMS Seagull was a Sharpshooter-class torpedo gunboat of the British Royal Navy. She was built at Chatham Dockyard from 1888–1891. She was converted to a minesweeper in 1908–1909 and continued these duties during the First World War. Seagull was sunk in a collision with a merchant ship on 30 September 1918.

    Western Front: During September German airmen make 130 parachute descents as new Heinecke equipment comes into general use. RAF September loss (excluding IAF) a record 235 aircraft (French 59). German loss 115 aircraft (excluding September 21-23 and 30). Jasta Boelcke scores its monthly record of 46 kills for loss of 2 pilots.
    Bulgaria: RAF photo*-recon flight to Sofia.

    The RAF founded air squadron no. 138: No. 138 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force that served in a variety of roles during its career, last disbanded in 1962. It was the first 'V-bomber' squadron of the RAF, flying the Vickers Valiant between 1955 and 1962. No. 138 Squadron RAF was originally to be formed as a fighter unit on 1 May 1918, but formation was suspended until officially formed on 30 September 1918 as a fighter-reconnaissance squadron at Chingford, and was disbanded there on 1 February 1919. They exclusively flew the Bristol F2b fighter.

    During World War II, it was reformed in 1941, from the expansion of No. 1419 Flight, and was the first squadron of the Royal Air Force Special Duty Service. In February 1942 the squadron's Lysander flight and a number of its Whitleys were hived off to make the nucleus of 161 (Special Duty) Squadron. Based initially at RAF Stradishall, in March 1942 it moved to its permanent home at the clandestine airbase at RAF Tempsford. The squadron dropped supplies and agents for the SIS and the SOE to Axis occupied territory. From October 1941 there served several all-Polish volunteer crews. Between 1 April 1943 and November 1943 the squadron included Polish Special Duties Flight, as C Flight.[9] It carried out this role until March 1945 when it was reassigned to Bomber Command, operating under No. 3 Group. It was disbanded on 1 September 1950.

    On 1 January 1955 the squadron was reformed as the first squadron to be equipped with the Vickers Valiant strategic nuclear bomber, based at RAF Gaydon and later moving to RAF Wittering. It flew them from Malta during the Suez Crisis of October 1956, and was finally disbanded on 1 April 1962

    One British Ace was lost on this day:

    Captain Cecil Vernon Gardner DFC 19 Squadron RAF - he flew a Sopwith Dolphin and on this day died of his wounds.

    The son of James and Hannah Gardner, Cecil Vernon Gardner was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (on probation) on 19 July 1917. In 1918 he flew Sopwith Dolphins with 19 Squadron. On 27 September 1918, he claimed his tenth victory but was shot down by Gustav Borm and died from his wounds three days later.

    Lieut. (T./Capt.) Cecil Vernon Gardner.
    A bold and skilful leader, who has carried out many offensive patrols, proving himself at all times to be a brilliant fighting pilot. During recent operations he has accounted for eight enemy machines.

    It was overall, a much quieter day in the air. The following claims were made

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    14 British airmen were lost on this day

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    Germany: Chancellor Count Hertling and all Ministers resign.


    USA: Wilson tells Senate woman suffrage ‘a vitally necessary war measure’.
    Britain: Bonar Law opens ‘Feed the Guns Campaign’ to raise second £1-Billion war loan.

    Captain Tunstill's Men:

    Billets in Creazzo.

    Training continued.

    Pte. Samuel Smith (see 22nd September) re-joined the Battalion from 23rd Division Rest Station, following treatment for scabies.
    Pte. Francis Titcombe (see 26th August), who had been wounded on 26th August, was evacuated to England; he would be admitted to Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancs.
    Cpl. Stephen Grady (see 24th June), serving with 69th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery, was reprimanded having been reported “absent from 9pm tattoo roll call until 11.20pm same day”.
    L.Cpl. Ernest Gee (see 29th June), serving in France with 2DWR, was discharged from 13th Convalescent Depot at Etaples, following treatment for influenza, and was posted to ‘F’ Infantry Base Depot, also at Etaples.
    Pte. Stanley Barker (see 15th September), who was home on leave, was admitted to Bradford War Hospital, suffering from scabies.

    A medical report on Cpl. William Foulds (see 4th September), who had been at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, for the previous three weeks, stated that, “General condition fairly good; neck condition doing well; recommednded Auxiliary Hospital for one month and disposal”.

    Pte. John Beaumont (see 23rd June), who was home on leave from the Motor Transport Section of the Army Service Corps in France, was admitted to Southport Infirmary, suffering from boils to his right arm.
    Lt. Stanley Currington (see 10th July), serving with the RAF, was promoted Acting Captain.
    2Lt. Arthur Kilburn Robinson (see 26th March), serving with the York and Lancaster Regiment, was transferred to the RAF to serve as an Observer.

    Casualties for the month were officially recorded as being:

    Killed 1
    Accidentally killed 0
    Died of wounds 2
    Wounded 9
    Accidentally wounded 0
    Missing 0

    The official cumulative casualty figures since arriving in France in August 1915 were thus:

    Killed 280
    Accidentally killed 5
    Died of wounds 23
    Wounded 1,377
    Accidentally wounded 53
    Missing 189

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    Last edited by Hedeby; 09-30-2018 at 11:58.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  33. #3633


    30th September 1918

    Amazing as it seems the war will be over in less than six weeks....
    Well they did promise it would be over by Christmas.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  34. #3634


    I heard that last year and the year before that Colonel, and come to think of it, the year before that too.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  35. #3635


    Can you confirm then WingCo that the lads will be home by Christmas this year then?
    See you on the Dark Side......

  36. #3636


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    Tuesday 1st October 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 42 days

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    Robert Vaughan Gorle VC (6 May 1896 – 9 January 1937) was born in Southsea on 6 May 1896. Gorle was a temporary lieutenant in "A" Battery, 50th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery at Ledeghem, Belgium, when he performed the deed for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    Young Mr Gorle won his award on 1 October. It was the fourth and last battle of Ypres when 50th Brigade supported an attack at the village of Ledegham. The attack began at 06H15 for about 30 minutes of artillery fire. Neither allied troops to the left or right of the British troops had been able to make any progress against the enemy, even with the artillery. This resulted in the line of British troops faltering and beginning to retreat to the north of Ledegham. Upon seeing this, Mr Gorle took it upon himself to charge his gun at the enemy and fire over open sights, not once but three times. When the 38th (Ulster) division saw such gallantry and bravery in the face of the enemy infantry, they rallied to Gorle, and his men with the 18-pounder, and overcame the enemy machine gunner nests on Hill 41. Gorle was decorated nine months and 18 days later in the Quadrangle of Buckingham Palace by King George VI on 19 June 1919. It was a proud moment for his family after his father, Major Harry Vaughan Gorle D.S.O A.S.C., had only narrowly missed being awarded the V.C. too, receiving instead, the DSO for his efforts in the Boer Wars in South Africa.

    His citation in the London Gazette of 14 December 1918 reads:
    For most conspicuous bravely, initiative and devotion to duty during the attack on Ledeghem. on 1st October, 1918, when in command of an 18-pdr. gun working in close conjunction with infantry. He brought his gun into action in the most exposed positions on four separate occasions, and disposed of enemy machine guns by firing over open sights under direct machine-gun fire at 500 to 600 yards' range. Later, seeing that the infantry were being driven back by intense hostile fire, he, without hesitation, galloped his gun in front of the leading infantry, and on two occasions knocked out enemy machine guns which were causing the trouble. His disregard of personal safety and dash were a magnificent example to the wavering line, which rallied and re-took the northern end of the village.

    After the war Gorle returned to Africa, eventually settling in Southern Rhodesia where he was appointed as Sergeant-at-Arms to the Southern Rhodesian Legislative Assembly. He died on 9 January 1937 of yellow fever and was buried in Stellawood Cemetery, Durban, South Africa.

    His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum.

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    William Merrifield VC MM (9 October 1890– 8 August 1943) was a native of Brentwood, Essex, who had emigrated to Canada for employment. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Canadian Expiditionary Force (CEF) on 23 September 1914 and in 1917, at 27 years of age, was transferred to 4th (Central Ontario) Battalion, CEF, as a replacement. He went on to win the Military Medal (MM) for his conduct during the Battle of Passchendaele in November of that year.
    On 1 October 1918 at the battle of the Canal du Nord in France, only a month before the armistice, Sergeant Merrifield was trapped with his comrades under the fire of two German machine-gun posts. Merrifield gathered up bombs (grenades) and single-handedly attacked and destroyed the two machine guns. Dashing from shell-hole to shell-hole, he killed the occupants of the first post and, although wounded, continued to attack the second post and with a bomb killed the occupants. He refused to be evacuated and led his platoon until he was again severely wounded. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic actions.

    After being discharged in April 1919, William Merrifield moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where a school is named after him in recognition of his service to his country.

    William Merrifield died in Toronto, Ontario on 8 August 1943, and is buried in West Korah Cemetery, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

    The Merrifield VC and accompanying medals were donated to the Canadian War Museum by the Merrifield family in November 2005. The Sgt Merrifield VC medal set consists of the Victoria Cross, the Military Medal, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1920, the Victory Medal 1914-1919, and the King George VI coronation medal,1937. There is a small display at the William Merrifield VC Armouries in Brantford, Ontario, Canada featuring a reproduction medal.

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    Frederick Charles Riggs VC MM (28 July 1888 – 1 October 1918) was born in Springbourne, Bournmouth, and was adopted by Mrs G. Burgum when he was about five years old. He grew up in the Malmesbury Park area of Bournemouth, and was one of two recipients of the Victoria Cross from Capstone Road; the other being Cecil Reginald Noble. A nearby neighbourhood of Bournemouth is named Charminster, and has led to the confused suggestion that Noble lived in the village of Charminster in Dorset.

    Riggs was 30 years old, and a Sergeant in the 6th Battalion, The York and Lancaster Regiment at the battle of the Canal du Nord when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 1 October 1918 near Epinoy, France, Sergeant Riggs, having led his platoon through strong uncut wire under severe fire, continued straight on and although losing heavily from flanking fire, succeeded in reaching his objective, where he captured a machine-gun. Later he handled two captured guns with great effect and caused 50 of the enemy to surrender. Subsequently, when the enemy again advanced in force, Sergeant Riggs cheerfully encouraged his men exhorting them to resist to the last, and while doing so was killed.

    His Victoria Cross is displayed at The York and Lancaster Regiment Museum contained within the Clifton Park Museum in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

    Today we lost: 2,289

    Today’s losses include:

    • A Victoria Cross winner
    • Multiple battalion commanders
    • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    • The grandson of a member of the clergy
    • The grandson of the 15th Viscount Hereford
    • A man whose nephew will be killed in 1945
    • A published author
    • The son of a Member of Parliament
    • The son of a former Member of Parliament
    • The son of a Justice of the Peace
    • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    • Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Bridcutt DSO (commanding 2nd Royal Irish Rifles) is killed.
    • Lieutenant Colonel Robert Romney Gordon Kane DSO (commanding 1st Munster Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. He is the son of Judge R R Kane.
    • Major Geoffrey De Bohun Devereux MC (Auckland Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of ‘the Honorable’ Henry De Bohun Devereux and grandson of the Reverend Robert Devereux 15th Viscount Hereford. His brother was killed in the South African War.
    • Major Roderick Ogle Bell-Irving DSO MC (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 27 during the Battle of Cuvillers, near Cambrai. His battalion is surrounded and unsupported after gaining its objective and is forced to retire. Major Bell-Irving is wounded and suffers a broken leg before being seen to be helped off the field by two Germans as a prisoner. His body will later be found with a bullet wound to the head. His nephew will be killed in action in March 1945.
    • Captain William Fowler Templeton (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. During the war he published a volume entitled Songs of the Ayreshire Regiment.
    • Lieutenant Allan Adam (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at Marcoing at age 24. He is the younger son of the Reverend James Allan Adam.
    • Lieutenant Norman Bank (King’s Own Scottish Borderers attached Royal Air Force) is killed at age 22. He is the son of Arthur Septimus Bank JP.
    • Second Lieutenant Reginald Horace Mansfield (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds at age 26. His brother was killed last August and they are sons of the former Member of Parliament for Spalding Lincolnshire.
    • Second Lieutenant Robert Murphy (Irish Rifles) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in July 1916.
    • Sergeant John **** (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 25. He is one of three brothers, all of whom fell including one who died of wounds in April 1917.
    • Lance Corporal Clifford Kitchen (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 31. His brother died of wounds on Malta in September 1915.
    • Private George Chase Ricketts (Manitoba Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. His brother was killed in April 1915.
    • Private William Daniels (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 27. His brother was killed last October.
    • Private Edwin Fereday (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed on Salonika at age 22. His brother died of wounds in May 1917.
    • Private Lawrence Nuttall (Royal Lancaster Regiment) is killed in action. His two brothers have been previously killed in the Great War.
    • Private Tom Hadley Houghton (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at Canal du Nord at age 28. His brother was killed in August 1917.
    • Private Cyril Gurl (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in March 1917.
    • Private Harry Noble Cordiner (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed last June.

    Air Operations:

    Western Front: Fine weather all day. Only 11 of 49 DH9s reach and bomb Aulnoye rail junction after midnight, mainly due to engine trouble, but 18 of 21 bomb it in the morning, exploding ammo train. In October Major-General Salmond, GOC RAFin France complains DH9 day bomber so inadequate it has ‘to accept battle when, and where, the defending forces choose …’.

    Flanders: RAF drop c.24t bombs and destroy 16 German aircraft.

    General Headquarters:

    Royal Flying Corps casualties today:

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today 40, of which the following are recorded:

    Second Lieutenant John Stephen King (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend William Richard Cambridge King Rector of Swainswick. The original wooden cross which marked his grave in France is now in St Nicholas Church Cholderton.

    Lost the same day in the 13th squadron is Lieutenant Martin Joseph Sheehan second son of Captain Daniel Desmond Sheehan (known as D D) MP for Mid-Cork, Ireland killed at age 22. He went to Canada in 1913, and he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a private in 1915. He came overseas with his battalion in 1916, and transferred as a cadet to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and later obtained his commission. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and saw considerable service in France and Italy with the 13th Squadron. His brother Daniel Joseph Sheehan was killed serving with the RFCorps on 10th May 1917.

    Second Lieutenant Robert Ellerton Thompson (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 18. He is the son of the Reverend H V Thompson.

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    Claims: 38 confirmed (Entente 28: Central Powers 10)

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    Home Fronts:

    Germany: Ludendorff tells staff ‘Our own Army is .. heavily infected with the poison of Spartacist Socialist ideas’. U-boat Programme feasibility study in Cologne.

    Britain: RFP 129% (up 13% due to meat, butter, milk and egg rises). Maximum horse ration 7-13lb per day. In October Film Mrs John Bull Prepared.

    Austria: Row in Reichsrat as Prime Minister Hussarek proclaims reconstruction.

    USA: Senate rejects women’s suffrage third time.
    During October Flu pandemic at height
    (October 2-3) suspends draft in several cities, shuts war plants; 14,636 army cases (300 deaths) in last 24 hours, total 88,461 (1,877 deaths). Student Army Training Corps opens in over 500 colleges.

    Western Front:

    At four o’clock on the morning of October 1, 1918, Max von Baden arrived in Berlin to take office as the new German chancellor, after conflict within the German military and government leadership causes his predecessor, Georg von Hertling, to resign.

    Although the Allies had breached the mighty Hindenburg Line—the heavily fortified defensive zone envisioned as the last line of German defenses on the Western Front—in the last days of September 1918, German forces in general continued to hold. The news that German ally Bulgaria had sought and been granted an armistice, however, caused German Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff to lose his once-steely nerve. At a crown council convened by Kaiser Wilhelm II at Spa on September 29, Ludendorff demanded that the German government seek an immediate armistice based on the Fourteen Points outlined by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson the previous January. This abrupt switch by Ludendorff—who until then had claimed the German forces were far from defeat—and his direct appeal to the Kaiser angered government leaders like Hertling, who arrived too late to actively participate in the meeting and promptly resigned the chancellorship.

    When von Baden arrived in Berlin the next morning, he made it clear that his policy was not to seek an armistice until the German army was able to re-establish its stability at the front. He argued that by suing for peace Germany would forfeit its post-war negotiating power, stating that “a request for an armistice makes any peace initiative impossible.” Baden, an aristocrat appointed by the kaiser, quickly implemented necessary constitutional reforms in Germany, undermining the power of the military’s Third Supreme Command—and of Ludendorff in particular—in the hopes that a more moderate and democratic Germany could negotiate more favorable armistice terms with the Allies. Despite his initial resistance, von Baden himself contacted Wilson on October 4 to seek an immediate armistice. Over the next few weeks, pressured by the leftist Social Democrats, von Baden oversaw the creation of a German republic and Kaiser Wilhelm’s abdication on November 9, and then announced his own retirement, handing control to the Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert.

    Somme: BEF about to break through Hindenburg Line last defences after 7-mile advance since September 27. This Wotan position runs west of Lille, Douai and St Quentin to Reims. Behind, Germans have begun 2 other positions: Hermann (Ghent-ValenciennesLe Cateau-Aisne) and Antwerp-Meuse Line (west of Antwerp and Brussels to Mezieres and Sedan). Ludendorff sends staff officer Major Bussche to Berlin to explain to new Chancellor military situation makes peace moves essential. German casualties since March 21 are 1,222,299 soldiers, and German Ninth Army disbanded due to shortened front.

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    A camouflaged British 6 inch Mark 7 Field Gun in action near Hargicourt, 1 October 1918.

    Battle of Canal du Nord ends:
    In the five days of fighting from 27 September to 1 October, the Canadians had taken 7,059 prisoners, and 205 guns. They had faced 13 German divisions as well as numerous independent machine gun units. As Currie stated, “We had gone through the last organized system of defences on our front, and our advance constituted a direct threat on the rear of the [German] troops immediately to the north of our left flank, and their withdrawal had now begun.” Although the city of Cambrai was still in German hands at the beginning of October, their primary defence lines were over run and it was only a matter of time before an Allied attack on Cambrai was launched.

    Artois: Germans evacuate Lens and Armentieres (night October 1-2). British 2nd Division captures Mont sur l’Oeuvre. Canadians (over 1,000 casualties) fight another mile forward north of Cambrai, have captured over 7,000 pow and 205 guns since September 27, from up to 12 German divisions.

    Champagne: French Fourth Army (Gouraud) advances on 14-mile front.

    British progress and take ground south of Le Catelet; stiff fighting near Bony and south of Cambrai.
    French take part of St. Quentin.

    Germans fall back from Reims-Aisne plateaux; steady French advance in Champagne; Flanders ridge occupied and Ledeghem seized by British.

    A fire breaks out at No. 36 Casualty Clearing Station at Rousbrugge, Belgium and quickly reaches the operating theater where a surgeon is performing an abdominal operation. The lights go out and the theater is quickly filled with smoke and flames but the operation is continued by the light of an electric torch Miss Alice Batt (Voluntary Aid Detachment), Sister Gertrude Walters Carlin, Staff Nurse Harriet Elizabeth Fraser both of the Territorial Force Nursing Service and Sister Gladys White (British Red Cross Society continue the work of handing instruments and threading needles with steadfast calmness thereby enabling the surgeon to complete the operation. Afterwards all four do splendid work in helping to carry men from the burning wards to places of safety. During this time ether bottles and nitrous oxide cylinders are continually exploding filling the air with fumes and flying fragments of steel. For their actions the four nurses will be awarded the Albert Medal.

    Southern Front:

    Austrians take defensive measures on their southern frontier in consequence of Bulgarian Armistice.
    Italians occupy Berat and push rapidly forward in Albania.

    Tunstills Men Tuesday 1st October 1918:
    Billets in Creazzo.

    Training continued.

    Pte. Richard Harrison (see 26th August) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance to 23rd Division Rest Station, suffering from scabies; he would be discharged and re-join the Battalion ten days’ later.

    Pte. Willie Davenport Frame (see 22nd September) was transferred from 9th Casualty Clearing Station to 11th General Hospital in Genoa; he was suffering from “P.U.O” (pyrexia, or high temperature, of unknown origin).

    Pte. Sidney John Rainbow (see 16th September), who had been under treatment at 39th Casualty Clearing Station for pneumonia, was transferred to 29th Stationary Hospital in Cremona.

    Pte. George Ingle (see 3rd September) was discharged from 9th Casualty Clearing Station and posted to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Pte. Alfred Charles Dolphin (see 7th August) was discharged from 62nd General Hospital at Bordighera, near Ventimiglia and posted to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Pte. Jonas Yoxall (see 4th September) was posted from Convalescent Depot at Lido d’Albano to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Cpl. Mark Butler (see 11th September), who had been wounded on 11th September, was transferred from 29th Stationary Hospital in Cremona to the Convalescent Depot at Lido d’Albano.

    Cpl. Joseph Dunn (see 31st May), who had been in England since April having been taken ill while serving with 2nd/7th DWR, was posted to 3DWR at North Shields.

    A payment of £2 15s. 7d. was authorised, being the amount due in pay and allowances to the late Pte.Ben Beaumont (see 27th September 1917), who had been officially ‘missing in action’ since 27thSeptember 1917; the payment would go to his father, Benjamin.

    The October edition of the Slaidburn Parish Magazine would include reference to a letter received from RSM Charles Edward Parker, MM (see 28th September)

    “I have had a very interesting letter from RSM C.E. Parker, who joined up in September 1914, and has won the DCM and the MM. I am glad that he asks for our prayers that he might be guided aright. We heartily congratulate him on his wonderful record”.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    7th Indian Division enters Haifa, Tyre (October 4) and Sidon (October 6).

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    Turkish officers captured by the 3rd Australian Light Horse during the fall of Damascus.

    Syria: FALL OF DAMASCUS (population c.250,000). 3rd ALH Brigade enters before 0630 hours, Lawrence and Arabs at 0730 hours; but both claim to be first. 13,746 Turks surrender to 6,000 DMC and 28 guns. Lawrence makes Shukri Pasha military Gouverneur.

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    Australian aircraft had reconnoitred Damascus for the first time on 27 September when they saw the railway station filled with hundreds of carriages and engines. Retreating columns and transport were also seen on the roads from Deraa and north from Jisr Benat Yakub. During the afternoon of 28 September, Damascus aerodrome was bombed and burnt and the following morning Damascus was being evacuated All during 30 September long columns of retreating Ottoman and German soldiers had passed through Damascus.

    By midnight on 30 September, the Australian Mounted Division was at El Mezze 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west, the 5th Cavalry Division was at Kaukab and the 4th Cavalry Division was at Zeraqiye 34 miles (55 km) south of Damascus on the Pilgrims' Road with the 11th Cavalry Brigade at Khan Deinun with the Arab forces north east of Ashrafiye. Chauvel ordered the 5th Cavalry Division to the east of Damascus.

    The Australian Mounted Division moved west of the city to block the road to Beirut and the road north to Homs, Hama and Aleppo and occupy the city, while the 5th Cavalry Division moved to the south of the city to cut the road from Deraa. Macandrew's 14th Brigade, 5th Cavalry Division held the Kaukab ridge captured by the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments. Barrow's 4th Cavalry Division and an Arab force were in action against the remnant Fourth Army around Khan Deinun. Arabs were reported camped at Kiswe, a few miles to the south of the city.

    According to Sergeant M. Kirkipatrick of the 2nd New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron:
    German machine gunners, defending the suburbs, were quickly rooted out by our active horse artillery, while we galloped between the cultivation and the arid hills. Suddenly encountering a sharp and well-directed fire, we swerved abruptly into these hills, where the enemy, picketing the heights, were as quickly dispersed. From these hills we obtained a magnificent view of the city which 'The Prophet' thought 'A Paradise,' fortunately for his belief, he went not down, neither did the wind blow his way. Away to the south-east we could see a great converging column of the enemy struggling on to reach the city. They were the 20,000 Turks from the Deraa Base. Most of the fugitives were bagged by our Division ere they reached what they had fondly hoped was their haven of refuge.
    — Sergeant M. Kirkpatrick 2nd New Zealand Machine Gun Squadron

    At 02:00 on 1 October a troop of the Gloucester Hussars (13th Cavalry Brigade) with a Hotchkiss rifle section was ordered to capture the wireless station at Kadem. They were unable to capture it before it was destroyed. From the west of Kadem the troop witnessed the destruction of the wireless station and the railway station before arriving at the headquarters of the Australian Mounted Division.

    A half hour after the troop had set out, the remainder of the 13th Cavalry Brigade (5th Cavalry Division) at Kaukab, advanced to Kiswe arriving just before 04:30 at Deir Ghabiye mistaking it for Kiswe. One squadron of Hodson's Horse in the vanguard pursued and captured about 300 Ottoman soldiers before riding on into Kiswe to capture another 300 prisoners. After the brigade arrived at Kiswe they were ordered back to Kaukab. Having sent back 700 prisoners under escort the Hodson's Horse squadron advanced with machine guns and Hotchkiss rifles at the gallop, towards a 1,500 strong Ottoman column moving towards Damascus about .75 miles (1.21 km) away, assuming the rest of the 13th Cavalry Brigade would reinforce them. Artillery of the 4th Cavalry Division, following the Ottoman column up the Pilgrims' Road, came to the squadron's support and enabled them to extricate themselves with the loss of one Hotchkiss gun and several horses.

    After the Barada gorge was blocked retreating columns were still escaping Damascus to the north along the road to Aleppo. A large column of Ottoman troops consisting of the 146th Regiment, the last Ottoman formation to leave Damascus on 30 September, marched out of Damascus along the Homs road to Rayak north west of Damascus during the night. They followed the III Corps, the 24th Division and the 3rd Cavalry Division to concentrate there, together with troops on the last Ottoman train which left the city about 21:00 on 30 September. Only von Oppen's force which had travelled by train to Riyak before the Barda Gorge was closed and the 146th Regiment marching to Homs remained "disciplined formations.

    The independence of Syria was proclaimed and the Hejaz flag raised over the Governor's palace by the Emir Said Abd el Kader, who formed a provisional council to rule the city until Prince Feisal took command. Hughes writes that "GHQ instructed troops to allow Prince Feisal's force into the city 'first', even though the EEF had won the battle and reached Damascus before the Arabs. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade had bivouacked outside the city the night before, having establishing picket lines to restrict entry to the city to all except Sherifian Regulars. With orders to cut the Homs road, the brigade entered Damascus at 05:00 on 1 October 1918.

    The 10th Light Horse Regiment as 3rd Light Horse Brigade advanced guard, descending a steep slope to the bottom of the Brada Gorge to arrived at the Dummar Station where several hundred Ottoman soldiers surrendered. At the Baramkie railway station, they captured 500–1,000 prisoners on a train about to leave for Beirut.Having cleared a way, they crossed the gorge and galloped into the city with drawn swords. As they rode through the city they passed the Baramkie barracks containing thousands of soldiers who did not interfere with their movements, but the streets were filling with people who forced them to slow to a walk.

    At the Serai, Hall of Government or Town Hall Major or Lieutenant-Colonel A.C.N. Olden, commanding the 10th Light Horse Regiment accepted the surrender of the city from Emir Said Abd el Kader. Olden later described the scene as a "large gathering, clad in the glittering garb of eastern officialdom, stood, formed up in rows." Emir Said told Olden he had been installed as Governor the previous day and he now surrendered Damascus to the British Army.

    Damascus was in a state of revolt; both the civil and military administrations had completely broken down and Olden warned that the shooting must be stopped. He requested a guide to show the Australian light horsemen through the city to the Homs road.

    Independence was declared while about 15,000 Ottoman and German soldiers were still in Damascus, including Jemal Pasha, the commander of the Fourth Army. Allenby reported to King Hussein, Prince Feisal's father, on 1 October, informing him that they had entered the city and had captured over 7,000 prisoners.The Arab army arrived in Damascus at 07:30, after the 10th Light Horse Regiment had left the city, with T.E. Lawrence who drove into Damascus with Auda, Sherif Nasir, Nuri Shafaan, Emir of the Ruwalla and their forces. They met at the Town Hall and declared their loyalty to King Hussein, Prince Feisal's father.

    The Arabs subsequently proclaimed a government under King Hussein, raising their own flag and installing an Arab governor before Allenby's troops arrived. According to Hughes, "the turmoil surrounding Damascus's fall, political (as opposed to military) decision-making devolved to a small group of comparatively junior British officers operating in the field. Lawrence was part of this group. He appeared to act, on occasion, independently but he was isolated from GHQ and London. Lawrence and his colleagues had to make decisions quickly in difficult and explosive situations."
    Shukri Pasha was subsequently appointed Military Governor of Damascus. French and Arab claims which would take up a great deal of Allenby's time, were complicated by this Arab action and caused the French to distrust Prince Feisal. This first Arab Administration ceased within days and Ali Riza Pasha el Rikabi took over. French and Italian officers also arrived in Damascus were French, representing the interests of their countries as well as the independent American representative with the EEF, Yale, who reported feeling that he was being obstructed.

    Allenby reported to the War Office by telegram on 1 October, informing them that the Australian Mounted Division had entered Damascus, and that the Desert Mounted Corps and the Arab Army had occupied the town. His report concluded that "the civil administration remains in the hands of the existing authorities, and all troops, with the exception of a few guards, [had] been withdrawn from the town." According to a letter he wrote to his wife, he intended to set out to Damascus the following day, remaining there until 4 October.

    At 06:40 on 1 October Hodgson, commanding Australian Mounted Division ordered Bourchier's Force; the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments to patrol the western outskirts of Damascus south of the Barda Gorge. A barracks containing 265 officers and 10,481 men surrendered to the 4th Light Horse Regiment. These prisoners were marched to a concentration camp outside the city, while 600 men who were unable to walk and 1,800 in three hospitals were cared for. Guards were posted on the main public buildings and consulates until they were relieved by Sherifial troops.
    Desert Mounted Corps had captured a total of 47,000 prisoners since operations commenced on 19 September. Between 26 September and 1 October, the corps captured 662 officers and 19,205 other ranks About 20,000 sick, exhausted and disorganized Ottoman troops were taken prisoner in and around the Damascus. Nearly 12,000 prisoners were captured in Damascus before noon on 1 October 1918 as well as large numbers of artillery and machine guns. The 4th Light Horse Brigade captured a total of 11,569 prisoners in the city. The 5th Cavalry Division took charge of 12,000 Ottoman prisoners. Prisoners were walked out of Damascus to a camp.

    Allenby estimated that 40,000 Ottoman soldiers had been retreating towards Damascus on 26 September. The pursuit by Desert Mounted Corps had captured half of them. Falls writes that "this great cavalry operation in effect finally decided the fortune of the campaign.

    The official Australian historian,Gullett, describes the scale of the victory: "the great Turkish and German force in Western and Eastern Palestine had been destroyed, and our prisoners numbered 75,000. Of the 4th, 7th and 8th Turkish Armies south of Damascus only a few thousand foot-sore, hunted men escaped. Practically every gun, the great bulk of the machine guns, nearly all the small-arms, and transport, every aerodrome and its mechanical equipment and nearly every aeroplane, an intricate and widespread telephone and telegraph system, large dumps of munitions and every kind of supplies – all had, in fourteen swift and dramatic days been stripped from an enemy who for four years had resisted our efforts to smash him. It was a military overthrow so sudden and so absolute that it is perhaps without parallel in the history of war. And it is still more remarkable because it was achieved at a cost so trifling."

    After taking the surrender of Damascus, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade moved north along the Homs road. They were involved in virtually continual skirmishes throughout the day, in short but severe engagements. They pursued the Ottomans, fighting several engagements on 1 October when they captured 750 prisoners and several machine guns.
    Meanwhile, the 13th Cavalry Brigade (5th Cavalry Division) advanced to the east of the city to the Homs road, where they gained touch with the 14th Cavalry Brigade which had passed through Damascus at 10:30 also through the Bab Tuma gate to deploy outposts.

    Naval Operations:

    Germany: During October 179 operational U-boats. Largely propaganda ‘Scheer Programme’ (October 1) envisages increasing monthly U-Boat production from 13 to 37 boats (December 1919) building 376-450 U-Boats using 69,000 workers and 11 yards.

    Britain: Only 257 (5.1%) of 5,018 Royal Navy warshipson convoy escort duty.

    USA: Shipping Board has 3,115 ships of 17,276,318t building.

    Arctic: British flag raised at Ebeltoff Harbour, Spitzbergen.

    Black Sea: c.200 Germans take over Russian battleship Volya; 4 destroyers; 2 torpedo boats; and 1 auxiliary cruiser, Volya enters service on October 15. By October 26 Berlin urging return to Russians.

    North Sea, Channel: Flanders U-boat Flotilla recalls all 8 boats at sea for return to Germany, 4 others scuttled until October 5.

    Mediterranean Sea: Allies establish net and mine barrage across Straits of Otranto.

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    Wages (men and women) Committee begins.

    German majority programme issued.

    Baron Husarek (Austrian Prime Minister) on situation: open to Peace offers; great row in Reichsrath.

    Milk to be controlled in Great Britain.

    Anniversary Events:

    331BC Alexander the Great decisively shatters King Darius III's Persian army at Gaugamela (Arbela), in a tactical masterstroke that leaves him master of the Persian Empire.
    1273 Rudolf of Hapsburg is elected emperor in Germany.
    1588 The feeble Sultan Mohammed Shah of Persia, hands over power to his 17-year old son Abbas.
    1791 In Paris, the National Legislative Assembly holds its first meeting.
    1839 The British government decides to send a punitive naval expedition to China.
    1847 Maria Mitchell, American astronomer, discovers a comet and is elected the same day to the American Academy of Arts---the first woman to be so honored. The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery.
    1856 The first installment of Gustav Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary appears in the Revue de Paris after the publisher refuses to print a passage in which the character Emma has a tryst in the back seat of a carriage.
    1864 The Condor, a British blockade-runner, is grounded near Fort Fisher, North Carolina.
    1878 General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of New Mexico Territory. He went on to deal with the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid and write Ben-Hur. His Civil War heroics earned him the moniker Savior of Cincinnati.
    1890 Yosemite National Park is dedicated in California.
    1908 The Ford Model T, the first car for millions of Americans, hits the market. Over 15 million Model Ts are eventually sold, all of them black.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 10-01-2018 at 14:35.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  37. #3637


    Quote Originally Posted by Skafloc View Post
    Can you confirm then WingCo that the lads will be home by Christmas this year then?
    I wouldn't be prepared to go that far Colonel, but they may well be home for next Christmas.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  38. #3638


    Been playing catch up since arriving home from Canada. Wow - just reading it all is a marathon, let alone putting it all together and posting it. Congrats to you guys for the achievements - especially the medals. Thoroughly deserved. I've said it before, but I'll keep saying it over and over, thanks for all the hard work and the interesting reads.

  39. #3639


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    Wednesday 2nd October 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 41 days

    Today we lost: 1,391

    Today’s losses include:

    • A 6-victory ace
    • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
    • Multiple sons of member of the clergy
    • A Welsh International Hockey and Football player
    • A highly reputed violinist
    • A man whose death will make his wife a two time Great War wido

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    • Lieutenant Herbert Palmer (Lancers) is killed at age 30. His brother was killed in August 1915 on Gallipoli.
    • Second Lieutenant Henry Skelton (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 22. His brother will be killed next month.
    • Sergeant Cecil Francis Edwin Godby (Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. He is a violinist of repute in the County of Somerset.
    • Sergeant Charles Isidore Laugeard DCM (Hampshire Regiment attached Irish Rifles) is killed in action. His widow’s first husband Gunner Walter Gaudin Mason (Royal Garrison Artillery) was killed in May 1915.
    • Lance Corporal George Bursey (Newfoundland Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed two years earlier.
    • Private Newton Marsden Shaw (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) dies of wounds received in action at age 18. His brother was killed in April 1918 and his parents will be with him when he dies.
    • Private Hugh Nelson Cannell (Wellington Regiment) is killed in action. He is the son of the Reverend W Cannell.

    Air Operations:

    Flanders: 80 Allied aircraft drop 15,000 rations (13t) from 300ft in 4 hours to leading Franco-Belgian troops in swamp terrain. German communications bombed (October 3-4).

    Albania: RAF
    from Andrano in heel of Italy make 4 raids on Durazzo (total 29 aircraft), drop 6,280lb bombs.
    Aircraft of No.82 and No.218 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force (Armstrong Whitworth FK8s & de Havilland DH9s) are detailed to carry food to French and Belgian troops whose reserves are exhausted. 15,000 rations are dropped in bags of earth to prevent damage.

    American technicians successfully launch a guided missile, “the Bug” at Dayton, Ohio.

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    The Kettering Bug was an experimental, unmanned aerial torpedo, a forerunner of present-day cruise missiles. It was capable of striking ground targets up to 121 kilometres (75 mi) from its launch point, while traveling at speeds of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). The Bug's costly design and operation inspired Dr. Henry W. Walden to create a rocket that would allow a pilot to control the rocket after launch with the use of radio waves. These designs would be the precursor to the modern-day missiles.

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    The United States Army aircraft board asked harles Kettering of Dayton, Ohio to design an unmanned "flying bomb" which could hit a target at a range of 64 kilometres (40 mi). Kettering's design, formally called the Kettering Aerial Torpedo but later known as the Kettering Bug, was built by the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company. Orville Wright acted as an aeronautical consultant on the project, while Elmer Ambrose Sperry designed the control and guidance system. A piloted development aircraft was built as the Dayton-Wright Bug.

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    Full size model on display at National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio

    The aircraft was powered by one 4-cylinder, 40-horsepower De Palma engine. The engine was mass-produced by the Ford Motor Company for about $40 each. The fuselage was constructed of wood laminates and papier-mâché, while the wings were made of cardboard. The "Bug" could fly at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). The total cost of each Bug was $400.

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    The Bug was launched using a dolly-and-track system, similar to the method used by the Wright Brothers when they made their first powered flights in 1903. Once launched, a small onboard gyroscope guided the aircraft to its destination. The control system used a pneumatic/vacuum system, an electric system and an aneroid barometer/altimeter.

    To ensure the Bug hit its target, a mechanical system was devised that would track the aircraft's distance flown. Before takeoff, technicians determined the distance to be traveled relative to the , taking into account wind speed and direction along the flight path. This was used to calculate the total number of engine revolutions needed for the Bug to reach its destination. When a total revolution counter reached this value a cam dropped down which shut off the engine and retracted the bolts attaching the wings, which fell off. The Bug began a ballistic trajectory into the target; the impact detonated the payload of 82 kilograms (180 lb) of explosives.

    The prototype Bug was completed and delivered to the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army in 1918, near the end of World War I. The first flight on October 2, 1918 was a failure: the plane climbed too steeply after takeoff, stalled and crashed. Subsequent flights were successful, and the aircraft was demonstrated to Army personnel at Dayton.
    "The Kettering Bug had 2 successes on 6 attempts at Dayton, 1 of 4 at Amityville, and 4 of 14 at Carlstrom."
    Despite some successes during initial testing, the "Bug" was never used in combat. Officials worried about their reliability when carrying explosives over Allied troops. By the time the War ended about 45 Bugs had been produced.
    From April 1917 to March 1920 the US Government spent about $275,000 on the Kettering Bug.

    A full-size reproduction of a Bug is on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It was constructed by Museum staff members, and went on display in 1964.

    General characteristics

    • Payload: 82 kg warhead (180 lb)
    • Length: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
    • Wingspan: 4.5 m (15 ft)
    • Height: 2.3 m (7.7 ft)
    • Loaded weight: 240 kg (530 lb)
    • Powerplant: 1 × V-4 piston engine, 30 kW (40 hp)


    • Cruise Speed: 80 km/h (50 mph)
    • Range: 121 km (75 mi)

    General Headquarters:


    Royal Flying Corps/Allied casualties today:


    Royal Flying Corps Losses today 26, of which the following are recorded:

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    Captain Maurice Lea Cooper (Royal Air Force) a 6-victory ace is killed at age 19. Lieutenant Clement Wattson Payton DFC (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in July 1916 and they are sons of the Reverend Joseph Wattson Payton Vicar of Calton.

    Second Lieutenant Alan Thompson Watt Boswell (Royal Air Force) is killed in action at age 28. He is a former Welsh International Hockey and Football player.
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    Others Lost/WIA:

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    Claims: 32 confirmed (Entente 23: Central Powers 9)

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    Western Front:

    Germany: Bussche briefs Reichstag party leaders: sustained Allied attacks on whole Western Front make formation of reserves impossible; OHL can no longer make good losses suffered; Germany can continue for some time inflicting heavy losses and implementing a ‘scorched earth’ policy, but she cannot win the war. Every day reduces likelihood of acceptable peace terms.

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    Britain: 3,017 BEF officer weekly casualties since September 25, second highest of war.

    Argonne: Surrounded US ‘Lost Battalion’ (308th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division) holds till relief (until October 7), 194 survivors from over 600.

    Flanders – Fourth Battleof Ypres ends: Allies stopped short of key objectives (Roulers junction and Menin), but gain 11,000 PoWs, 300 guns and 600 MGs for 4,500 Belgian and 4,695 British casualties.

    Somme: French First Army’s left wing (XV Corps) liberates a ruined St Quentin.

    First and Fifth Armies continue the advance in the Artois region, liberating the French coalfields, Lens and Douai.

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    Map st Quentin canal attacks prior to 2nd

    On 2 October, the British 46th and 32nd Divisions, supported by the Australian 2nd Division, planned to capture the Beaurevoir Line (the third line of defences of the Hindenburg Line), the village of Beaurevoir and the heights overlooking the Beaurevoir Line. While the attack succeeded in widening the breach in the Beaurevoir Line, it was unable to seize the high ground further on. However, by 2 October, the attack had resulted in a 17 km breach in the Hindenburg Line.

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    Part of British IX Corps sector, showing the St Quentin Canal and the villages of Bellenglise, Magny-la-Fosse, Lehaucourt, Le Tronquoy and Pontruet. The 32nd Division, which had crossed the canal, linked up with the 1st Division (attacking from the Allied side) above the Le Tronquoy canal tunnel.

    Germans withdraw on wide front north and south of La Bassee Canal; British recapture Armentieres.

    French eject enemy from St. Quentin.

    Advance north of the Vesle to near Cormicy.

    Lille being evacuated.

    French capture Challerange (Argonne).

    Eastern Front:

    M. Litvinov arrives at Bergen (Norway).

    M. Kucharzewski appointed Polish Prime Minister.

    Southern Front:

    Tunstills Men Wednesday 2nd October 1918:

    Billets in Creazzo.

    Training continued.

    Pte. Thomas Alfred Simpson (see 25th August) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance and 24th Casualty Clearing Station to 51st Stationary Hospital; he was suffering from influenza.
    A postcard was sent to Capt. **** Bolton MC (see 29th September) who had recently departed on thirty days’ leave to England. The postcard, posted from Vicenza and addressed to Capt. Bolton at 8 Gloucester Street, London, S.W.1, appears to be from someone with whom he had struck up a friendship whilst billeted in Creazzo; “I am very sorry that your departure has been so ready. I present to you my salutations, also for my family, and thanking you for your amiability. We have already consumed the tea that you had presented us. I wish you a good recreation and I hope to see you again in Creazzo”.

    2Lt. Keith Sagar Bain (see 16th September), who had suffered wounds to his right leg and buttock during the trench raid on 26th August, was transferred from an Officers Convalescent Hospital in Portofino to 11th General Hospital in Genoa, suffering from jaundice.

    Pte. James Arthur Markinson MM (see 3rd May), serving in France with 2DWR, was posted to First Army Rest Camp for two weeks.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    Syria – Last Australian action:
    9th ALH takes 1,481 PoWs, 3 guns and 26 MGs; only 17,000 of 100,000 Turks have escaped north. Lawrence’s Arabs disperse Algerian-Druze riot in Damascus.

    Marshall told to begin Tigris advance without delay. Trading with enemy limits raised in Baghdad and Basra districts.

    Naval Operations:

    Adriatic: Allied Fleet (3 Italian battleships; 3 Italian and 5 British cruisers; 16 British and 7 Italian destroyers; 8 Italian torpedo boats; 4-6 MAS boats) shells Durazzo, 3 Austrian destroyers and torpedo boats slightly damaged in harbour (Austrian evacuation ordered September 28). Hospital ship allowed out. Austrian U-31 torpedoes cruiser Weymouth‘s stern off.

    Western Mediterranean: U-Boat shells and sinks Spanish SS Francoli (292 lost) off Cartagena.

    British and Italian warships bombard Durazzo, destroy Austrian base and ships and two submarines.

    German submarine shells and sinks Spanish S.S. "Francoli" off Cartagena.

    The Admiralty Chartered Oil Tanker Arca is torpedoed and sunk by the U-118 forty miles northwest of Tory Island. The ship catches fire and patrol boats are unable to render assistance due to a storm. Fifty-two of the crew are killed including Gunner Kenneth MacLeod who drowns at age 33. His brother will die on service in September 1919.

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    Allies recognise belligerent status of Arab allies in Palestine and Syria.

    Grand conference in Berlin under Kaiser's presidency.

    Anniversary Events:

    1263 At Largs, King Alexander III of Scotland repels an amphibious invasion by King Haakon IV of Norway.
    1535 Having landed in Quebec a month ago, Jacques Cartier reaches a town, which he names Montreal.
    1862 An Army under Union General Joseph Hooker arrives in Bridgeport, Alabama to support the Union forces at Chattanooga. Chattanooga's Lookout Mountain provides a dramatic setting for the Civil War's battle above the clouds.
    1870 The papal states vote in favour of union with Italy. The capital is moved from Florence to Rome.
    1871 Morman leader Brigham Young, 70, is arrested for polygamy. He was later convicted, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
    1879 A dual alliance is formed between Austria and Germany, in which the two countries agree to come to the other's aid in the event of aggression.
    1909 Orville Wright sets an altitude record, flying at 1,600 feet. This exceeded Hubert Latham's previous record of 508 feet.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 10-02-2018 at 16:13.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  40. #3640


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    Thursday 3rd October 1918

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    Armistice Countdown 40 days

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    William Harold Coltman, VC, DCM & Bar, MM & Bar (17 November 1891 – 29 June 1974) was born at Rangemore, a village on the outskirts of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, and baptised at All Saints, Rangemore on 27 December 1891. He worked as a market gardner. He became a member of the Plymouth Brethren, and taught in the Sunday School in the village of Winshill. He volunteered for the British Army in January 1915, during the opening months of the First World War. He served in The North Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s), in the 1/6th Battalion.
    Lance corporal Coltman was 26 years old and a stretcher bearer, when the following deed took place in France, for which he was awarded the VC.

    For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty. During the operations at Mannequin Hill, north-east of Sequehart, on the 3rd and 4th of Oct. 1918, L.-Corp. Coltman, a stretcher bearer, hearing that wounded had been left behind during a retirement, went forward alone in the face of fierce enfilade fire, found the casualties, dressed them and on three successive occasions, carried comrades on his back to safety, thus saving their lives. This very gallant NCO tended the wounded unceasingly for 48 hours.

    Coltman was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 22 May 1919.
    The first award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was made for gallantry over a period of days in July 1917. The London Gazette citation reads:

    Conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in evacuating wounded from the front line at great personal risk under shell fire. His gallant conduct undoubtedly saved many lives, and he continued throughout the night to search for wounded under shell and machine gun fire, and brought several in. His absolute indifference to danger had a most inspiring effect upon the rest of his men.

    The second award of the DCM was made for conduct in September 1918, only a week before his actions that earned him the VC. The citation read:

    On the 28th September, 1918, near the St Quentin Canal, near Bellenglise, he dressed and carried many wounded men under heavy artillery fire. During the advance on the following day he still remained at his work without rest or sleep, attending the wounded, taking no heed of either shell or machine-gun fire, and never resting until he was positive that our sector was clear of wounded. He set the highest example of fearlessness and devotion to duty to those with him.

    The Military Medal (MM) is gazetted when awarded but no citation is given. Coltman was still a private at the time of this award. The award was made for rescuing a wounded officer from no-mans land in February 1917. The officer had been commanding a wiring party during a misty night. The mist cleared and the party found themselves under fire, the officer was wounded in the thigh and Coltman immediately went out to bring the man in.

    The second award of the MM was gazetted in August 1917. This award was for conduct behind the front lines in June 1917and covered three separate instances of gallantry in a short period in June 1917. On 6 June an ammunition dump was hit by mortar fire causing several casualties, Coltman took responsibility for removing Verey lights from the dump. The following day he took a leading role in tending men injured when the company headquarters was mortared. A little over a week later, a trench tunnel collapsed trapping a number of men. Coltman organised a rescue party to dig the trapped men out.

    Prior to any of his decorations Coltman was Mentioned in Dispatches for his work.

    After the war, Coltman returned to Burton and took a job as a gardener with the town's Parks Department. During the Second World War he was commissioned in the Army Cadet Force in 1943and commanded the Burton ACF; he resigned his commission in 1951. He retired in 1963 and died at Outwoods Hospital, Burton, in 1974 at the age of 82. His medals, including his Victoria Cross, are on display at the Staffordshire Regiment Museum, Wittington Barracks, Lichfield, Staffordshire.

    There is a monument to Coltman at the Memorial Gardens, Lichfield Street, Burton. The Coltman VC Peace Wood is at Mill Hill Lane, Winshill.

    A road has been named in honour of Coltman in Tustall, along with roads named after another Victoria Cross recipient, John Harold Rhodes, and R.J. Mitchell, the designer of the Supermarine Spitfire, all from Staffordshire.

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    William Henry Johnson VC (15 October 1890 – 25 April 1945) was was 27 years old, and on 3 October 1918 at Ramicourt, France, he performed the deed for which he was awarded the VC.

    Johnston was a sergeant in 1/5th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (The Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment).

    His VC was gazetted on 14 December 1918 with the following citation-
    No. 306122 Sjt. William Henry Johnson, 1/5th Bn., Notts. & Derby. R. (T.F.) (Worksop).
    For most conspicuous bravery at Ramicourt on the 3rd of October, 1918.
    When his platoon was held up by a nest of enemy machine guns at very close range, Sjt. Johnson worked his way forward under very heavy fire, and single-handed charged the post, bayoneting several gunners and capturing two machine guns. During this attack he was severely wounded by a bomb, but continued to lead forward his men.
    Shortly afterwards the line was once more held up by machine guns. Again he rushed forward and attacked the post singlehanded. With wonderful courage he bombed the garrison, put the guns out of action, and captured the teams.
    He showed throughout the most exceptional gallantry and devotion to duty.

    He was also awarded the French Medaille Militaire.

    He was in the Home Guard during World War II, but had to resign due to ill-health
    His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Sherwood Foresters Museum, Nottingham Castle, England.

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    Joseph "Joe" Maxwell, VC, MC & Bar, DCM (10 February 1896 – 6 July 1967) was an apprentice boilermaker before the war, Maxwell returned to Australia in 1919 and worked as a gardener. In 1932, he published Hell's Bells and Mademoiselles, a book written in collaboration with Hugh Buggy about his war experiences. Attempting to enlist for service during the Second World War, Maxwell was rejected on the grounds of his age before enlisting under an alias in Queensland; his identity was discovered, and after a short period in a training position, he sought discharge. In 1967, aged 71, he died of a heart attack.

    Maxwell was born in the Sydney suburb of Forest Lodge, New South Wales on 10 February 1896 to John Maxwell, a labourer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Stokes. A member of the Senior Australian Army Cadets for three years, he worked as an apprentice boilermaker at an engineering works near Newcastle upon leaving school. For two years, he served as a member of the Citizens Military Forces, and on 6 February 1915, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force enticed by the prospects of better pay.

    Having received his initial training at Liverpool Camp, Maxwell was allotted to "B" Company of the 18th Battalion as alance corporal, and embarked for Egypt aboard HMAT Ceramic on 25 May 1915. The 18th Battalion trained in Egypt from mid-June until mid-August, before proceeding to Gallipoli, where they landed at Anzac Cove on 22 August. The battalion fought its first battle on the same day, staging an attack on the Turkish-held Hill 60. The engagement lasted until 29 August, with half of the battalion becoming casualties, and Maxwell briefly assuming the duties of a stretcher bearer.

    Maxwell served at Gallipoli with his unit until 2 December, when he was admitted to 5th Field Ambulance and evacuated from the peninsula suffering from jaundice. Admitted to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, he remained there until 11 December, when he was posted to a convalescent camp at Ras el Tin. He rejoined the 18th Battalion on 5 January 1916, which had been evacuated from the Gallipoli Peninsula on 20 December the previous year and posted to Egypt. On 4 February, Maxwell was admitted to the Australian Dermatological Hospital, Abbassia with venereal disease. He returned to his battalion four days before it embarked for France, and the Western Front on 18 March.
    Arriving in Marseilles, France, Maxwell was admitted to 7th Australian Field Ambulance and then transferred to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital following wounds sustained during battle. He was moved to the 1st Convalescent Depot on 2 May, and then discharged to Base Details eleven days later. He was later found guilty of breaking ranks at the 07:30 parade on the same day and being absent without leave from 08:00 until 13:00 on 24 May; for this transgression, he was reduced to the ranks. Rejoining his battalion on 1 June, he took part in the Battle of Pozieres and received a promotion to sergeant in October.

    Suffering synovitis to his right knee, Maxwell was hospitalised for two days and posted to a training battalion in England on 28 November 1916. He stayed there for five months before embarking for France on 9 May 1917 and rejoining the 18th Battalion five days later. Maxwell was only briefly in France before being selected for officer training. Shortly after arriving in England, he attended a boisterous party with a group of soldiers. The military police raided the party and called the local police for assistance after confronting Maxwell's group. Maxwell was fined £20 and sent back to his unit for his actions.

    Maxwell was again selected for officer training, and on 5 July, he was posted to No. 6 Officers' Cadet Battalion. He was promoted to company sergeant major on 7 August, before rejoining the 18th Battalion on 11 September. Nine days later, he was engaged in action near Westhoekduring the Third Battle of Ypres when he performed the deeds that earned him the Distinguished Conduct Medal. In the battle, the commander of a platoon was killed; Maxwell took command and led it into attack. Noticing that one of the newly captured positions was under heavy fire, Maxwell dashed to it and led the men to a safer and more tactically secure position, thus minimizing casualties.

    Commissioned in the field as a 2nd lieutenant on 29 September 1917, Maxwell took part in the engagements around Poelcappelle, Belgium, the following month. He earned promotion to lieutenant on 1 January 1918 and was admitted to the 7th Australian Field Ambulance on 10 January suffering scabies. Having been discharged from the hospital, he rejoined the 18th Battalion on 17 January.

    On 8 March 1918, Maxwell commanded a scouting patrol that was operating to the east of Ploegsteert. Having obtained the required information, he ordered the patrol to withdraw. He and three of his men were covering the withdrawal of the main body when he noticed about thirty Germans nearby. Recalling the patrol, he led an attack against the party, which had sheltered in an old trench; the Germans quickly withdrew, leaving three dead and one wounded prisoner of war. Maxwell was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during this engagement, news of which was published in a supplement to the London Gazette on 13 May 1918.

    Throughout the spring of 1918, the 18th Battalion was involved in operations to repel the German offensive. Maxwell took part in these actions until he was granted leave and went back to England on 17 July. He returned to France and rejoined the 18th Battalion on 1 August, before taking part in the Battle of Amiens where he was to earn a Bar to his Military Cross. On 9 August, the battalion was preparing to attack near Rainecourt. Maxwell took command of the company after all of its other officers became casualties. Under his leadership, the company was able to attack on time, despite being subjected to heavy fire. A tank that preceded the advance immediately became the object of enemy fire and was knocked out by a 77 mm gun. Maxwell, who was in close proximity, rushed over and opened the hatch, allowing the crew to escape. After escorting the tank commander to safety, Maxwell returned to lead the company in the attack, which succeeded in reaching and consolidating their objective. The award of the bar was published in a supplement to the London Gazette on 1 February 1919.

    On 3 October 1918, the 5th Brigade—of which the 18th Battalion was part—became engaged in its last battle of the First World War when breaching the Hindenburg Line close to Beaurevoir and Montbrehain. While taking part in this battle, Maxwell was a member of the attacking party along the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme line when he performed the acts for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

    Early in the advance, Maxwell's company commander was severely wounded, resulting in Maxwell assuming control. Reaching the German barbwire defences under intense machine-gun fire, the company suffered heavy casualties, including all of the officers except Maxwell. Pushing forward alone through a narrow passageway in the wire, Maxwell captured the most dangerous machine gun, killed three Germans and took another four as prisoners; thereby enabling the company to move through the wire and reach their objective. Shortly afterwards, it was noticed that the company on their left flank was held up and failing to advance. Gathering a party of men, Maxwell led the group in an attempt to attack the German force from the rear. They soon came under heavy machine gun fire, and, single-handedly, Maxwell dashed forward and attacked the foremost gun. Firing his revolver, he managed to shoot five of the crew and silence the gun.

    Later in the advance, Maxwell learnt from an English-speaking prisoner that a group of Germans in the adjacent post wished to surrender, but were afraid to give themselves up. Accompanied by two privates and the prisoner—who was to act as an interpreter—Maxwell approached the post. The three Australians, however, were immediately surrounded by a group of twenty German soldiers and disarmed. They seemed set to become prisoners themselves, before an artillery barrage fell on the position. Taking advantage of the resulting confusion, Maxwell pulled out a concealed revolver and shot two of the Germans before escaping with his men under heavy rifle fire; one of the privates was subsequently wounded. Organising a party of men, he immediately attacked and captured the post.
    The full citation for Maxwell's Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 6 January 1919, it read:

    War Office, 6th January, 1919
    His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men: —
    Lt. Joseph Maxwell, M.C., D.C.M., 18th Bn., A.I.F.
    For most conspicuous bravery and leadership in attack on the Beaurevoir-Fonsomme line near Estrees, North of St. Quentin, on the 3rd October, 1918.

    His company commander was severely wounded early in the advance, and Lt. Maxwell at once took charge. The enemy wire when reached under intense fire was found to be exceptionally strong and closely supported by machine guns, whereupon Lt. Maxwell pushed forward single-handed through the wire and captured the most dangerous gun, killing three and capturing four enemy. He thus enabled his company to penetrate the wire and reach the objective. Later, he again dashed forward and silenced, single-handed, a gun which was holding up a flank company. Subsequently, when with two men only he attempted to capture a strong party of the enemy, he handled a most involved situation very skilfully, and it was due to his resource that he and his comrades escaped.
    Throughout the day Lt. Maxwell set a high example of personal bravery, coupled with excellent judgment and quick decision.

    The 18th Battalion was training away from the frontline when the Armistace was declared on 11 November 1918. On 8 March 1919, Maxwell was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V in the ballroom of Buckingham Placae. He headed for Australia on 1 May aboard HT China, disembarking at Melbourne on 8 June and proceeding to Sydney, where he was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 20 August.
    Following demobilisation, Maxwell worked as a gardener in Canberra, Moree and the Maitland district. Having described himself as a reporter, Maxwell married 19-year-old tailoress Mabel Maxwell (unrelated) in a Catholic ceremony at Bellevue Hill, Sydney on 14 February 1921. The marriage produced a daughter, Jean, before being dissolved in 1926 upon Mabel's instigation.

    On 11 November 1929, Maxwell attended the New South Wales Dinner for recipients of the Victoria Cross in Sydney, and 1932 saw the publication of Hell's Bells and Mademoiselles, a book written in collaboration with Hugh Buggy about his experiences in the war. At the time, Maxwell was working as a gardener with the Department of the Interior in Canberra. The book was a success, but Maxwell soon spent what money he made from it. In the late 1930s, he wrote the manuscript for a second book entitled From the Hindenburg Line to the Breadline. The book was never published and the manuscript was lost when it was lent to someone to read.

    In 1933, Maxwell acted as a defence witness in the trial of Alfred Jamieson, who was accused of housebreaking. Maxwell was Jamieson's former platoon commander and testified that Jamieson had been of good character but had been strongly affected by the war.

    After the outbreak of the Second World War, Maxwell made several attempts to enlist, but was unsuccessful due to his age, and deteriorating health. He eventually travelled to Queensland, where he enlisted under the alias of Joseph Wells on 27 June 1940. However, his identity was soon discovered and he was given a training position; dissatisfied, he took his discharge on 9 September 1940.

    In 1952, Maxwell joined the contingent of Victoria Cross recipients invited to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. On 6 March 1956, describing himself as a journalist from Bondi, Maxwell married widow Anne Martin, née Burton, in Sydney. Three years later, he attended the Victoria Cross centenary celebrations in London, before later re-visiting the battlefields in France. In 1964, together with his wife, Maxwell attended the opening of the VC Corner in the Australian War memorial, Canberra. He was determined that his Victoria Cross would not wind up in the collection, believing that the award would be devalued by "lumping" them together.

    On 6 July 1967, Maxwell collapsed and died of a heart attack in a street in his home town Matraville, New South Wales. He had been an invalid pensioner for some time. His funeral service took place with full military honours at St Mathias Anglican Church, Paddington. Having been cremated, his ashes were interred at the Eastern Suburbs Crematorium in Botany. Anne Maxwell presented her husband's medals to the Army Museum of New South Wales at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, and subsequently the medals, together with a portrait and a brass copy of his VC citation, were unveiled by the Minister of Defence, Allan Fairhall. In 2003, Maxwell's medals were presented to the Australian War Memorial on a permanent loan basis.

    (Ed Note: If ever a film should be made, it should be this guy......what didn’t he do in the army?)

    Today we lost: 1,666

    Today’s losses include:

    • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
    • A 21-victory ace
    • A member of the clergy
    • Multiple sons of members of the cleryg
    • A Military Chaplain
    • The son of a Baronet

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    • Captain Charles Robert Reeves Hickey DFC (Royal Air Force) is killed in a midair collision with Second Lieutenant Schomberg Edward Matthey when he dives through a cloud southwest of Ramscapelle. Captain Hickey dies at age 21. In April of this year he forced down a Rumpler C near Wulpen and after landing beside it, was attempting to protect his prize from Belgian citizens when the German aircraft exploded killing several bystanders and injuring Hickey. Hickey was a twenty-one-victory ace.
    • Captain the Reverend Frederick Wystans Hipkins MC (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 32. He is the Rector of Bamford-in-the Park and the son of the Reverend Frederick Charles Hipkins.
    • Captain Humphrey Stuart King MC (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at Le Catelet at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend John King Rector of Crock and was a June 1914 graduate of Durham University as a Divinity Student.
    • Lieutenant Jack Aubrey Sykes (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 19. His two brothers lost their lives last year in the Great War.
    • Lieutenant John D C Gould-Taylor DFC (Australian Flying Corps) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend W Gould-Taylor.
    • Lieutenant Charles Julian Mann (Hussars) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Edward Mann, the 1st Baronet and had been educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
    • Lieutenant George Richard Lancelot Baillie (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend William Baillie.
    • Lieutenant John MacKay (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) dies of wounds. His two brothers were killed in 1915.
    • Second Lieutenant Homer Harding (Indian Army Reserve of Officers) dies in India. He is the last of three brothers who lose their lives in the Great War. A final brother will be lost in the sinking of submarine M1 in November 1925 as a result of collision with a Swedish steamship.
    • Chaplin the Reverend Charles Robertson is killed at age 39. Chaplain Eric Oswald Read (Doresetshire Regiment) is killed at age 30.
    • Sergeant Alex Polson MM (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 21. His brother died on service at home in January 1915.
    • Private Zaccheus Simpson (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 35. His brother was killed in September 1916.
    • Private Herbert Howden (North Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in January 1917.
    • Private George Alfred Beard (Dorsetshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in August 1915.
    • Private William Ethelbert Abbott (Australian Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend John Thomas Henry Abbott Vicar of Mulllaghdun Enniskillen.
    • Private George Borthwick (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed on Salonika at age 26. His brother was killed July 1916.
    • Private Hugh eland Clatworthy (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in January 1916.

    Air Operations:

    Lieutenant Robert Allan Caldwell (Royal Air Force) drops four bombs into Beauvois and then descends to 100 to 200 feet, firing 400 rounds into the enemy trenches which we are attacking south of Cambrai.

    In attempt to lure Belgian "balloon-busting" ace Baron Willy Coppens to his own destruction, German troops load the basket of an observation balloon with explosives and have their artillery open fire on Allied positions in order to attract him to the balloon. When he arrives and attacks, the Germans detonate the explosives. Although Coppens' blue Hanriot HD.1 flies through the explosion, he emerges uninjured.

    The Kingdom of Bavaria brings together four fighter squadrons – Jastas 23, 32, 34, and 35 – to form its first Jagdgeschwader (fighter wing) IV. Eduard Ritter von Schleich is its first commanding officer. It is the fifth Jagdgeschwader in the German armed forces, and the last to be formed during World War I.

    General Headquarters:


    Royal Flying Corps/Entente casualties today:

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    Royal Flying Corps Losses today 29, of which the following are recorded:

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    Claims: 41 confirmed (Entente 31: Central Powers 10)

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    Other Losses:
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    Western Front:

    Somme and Cambrai –Battle of Beaurevoir Line
    (until October 5): British Fourth and Third Armies attack on 8-mile front including tanks and 2nd Cavalry Division, capture Le Catelet and 350 guns.

    Continuing attacks from 3 to 10 October (including those by the Australian 2nd Division capturing Montbrehain on 5 October and the British 25th Division capturing the village of Beaurevoir on 5/6 October) managed to clear the fortified villages behind the Beaurevoir Line, and capture the heights overlooking the Beaurevoir Line – resulting in a total break in the Hindenburg Line.

    "A" Company, 3rd Battalion, with 5th Brigade, 2nd Australian Divisions, Australian Corp, 4th Army. A Company, 3rd Battalion had 8 tanks in action on 3rd October.
    A Company
    Section - Capt O’Dowd PR
    A263, Cyprus III
    A325, Crieff
    Section - Capt Keppel-Palmer MC
    A223, Comme-Ci
    A237, Ceylon II
    A247, Comme-Ca, 2Lt Finsburg GMM
    A225, Cirencester
    A231, Carnaby or Carnary
    A388, Casa
    Also 2Lt Arundel FH
    “Crieff” is given the census number A326 on 29th September.
    “Comme-Ci” is incorrectly given the census number 233 in the narrative.
    A231, is called Carnary in the War History

    The 5th Australian Brigade’s attack on the Beaurevoir line and village. 17th and 20th AIF Battalions. The tanks were to pass through the infantry when the Beaurevoir line was then and then proceed ahead of the 17th and 20th Australian battalions and secure the high ground to the North and North West of Beaurevoir village until the infantry had consolidated. The Company left the lying up point between 7:25 and 7:40am after being informed that the Beaurevoir line had been breached. The tnask went along the North side of the main Estrees-LeCateau Road, then around the north of Estrees to crossings made over the Masnieres - Beaurevoir trench system by heavy tanks and pioneers.

    Four tanks failed to make it over the Masnieres - Beaurevoir trench system:
    A263 ditched in a trench at B25d.8.1. Capt Dowd crossdecked to A325. A237 broke down. A388 was penetrated by an AT bullet which wounded all three crew, two crew were left at the dressing station and the wounded driver rallied the tank. A231 broke down at the cross roads. The remaining four tanks all crossed the Masnieres - Beaurevoir trench system in B27 central and almost immediately came under heavy Mg and shell fire. The infantry asked the tanks to deal with a strongpoint in B.27.c.7.8. which was holding up the advance. A325 and A223 were both set afire by heavy small arms fire and bombs whilst close to the strongpoint at B27.c.7.7, all the crewmen were wounded. A225 was hit and then capsized into a German dug out at b27c central. A247 was hit and knocked out at B27c central, the crew were all wounded, Capt Keppel-Palmer was later killed by a bomb, the driver and gunner were captured.

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    In the Report on operations the Battalion commander states that the Whippets were misused by being tasked to deal with the strongpoint, a task better suited to heavy tanks. recommended that the aeroplane markings on the front should be dispensed with as being too obvious and aiming point, that all whippets be armed with a light gun and that all whippets should be commanded by an officer when going into action.

    The Australian Corps was subsequently withdrawn from the line after the fighting on 5 October, for rest and reorganisation. They would not return to the front before the Armistice on 11 November.

    Meuse and Argonne: Gallwitz stalls US advance, after 7-mile gain, on Apremont-Brieulles line.

    Champagne: French take Challerange. US 2nd Division storms key Blanc Mont Ridge (15 miles northeast of Reims) until October 4 to aid Gouraud’s hitherto stalled advance for 5 miles (until October 10) taking c.2,000 pow for 6,300 casualties.

    Germans withdraw from Lens-Armentieres line and past La Bassee.

    Stiff fighting by French north of St. Quentin, north-west of Reims and in Champagne.

    British capture Gheluwe; French and Belgians reach Hooglede.

    Brutal order by Ludendorff re: prisoners. (See Political).

    Successful Allied air fighting, 55 German planes down.

    The 1st King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry capture Prospect Hill.

    • Private William Hubert Darwin (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed in July 1915.

    Eastern Front:

    The Ufa (southern Urals) loyal Government declare all Soviet treaties void and propose All-Russian Constituient Assembly.

    Fighting in the Urals.

    Japanese reported to have joined Semenov at Ruchlevo (Siberia); 1,500 Magyar prisoners.

    Southern Front:

    Hindenburg writes to Chancellor ‘As a result of the collapse of the Macedonian Front … there is no longer a prospect of forcing peace on the enemy’.

    Serbia: 19,000 Bulgars surrender to Italian 35th Division and French 11th Colonial Division at Sop; 7,000 Bulgars surrender to Serbs who drive back Austrian 9th Division.

    Italian Front: British raid on Northern Asiago sector, heavy fighting and 500 Austrian pow on October 11.

    Tunstills Men Thursday 3rd October 1918:

    Billets in Creazzo.

    Training continued.

    L.Cpl. William (Billy) Hoyle MM (see 11th September) re-joined the Battalion following hospital treatment for ‘dental caries’.

    Pte. Samuel Garside Hardy (see 22nd August 1917) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance and 28thCasualty Clearing Station to 62nd General Hospital at Bordighera, near Ventimiglia; he was suffering from dysentry.

    Pte. Alfred Shaw (see 14th September) was posted from 16th Convalescent Depot in Marseilles to the Base Depot at Arquata Scrivia.

    Pte. Frederick Thorn (see 22nd August), serving as an officer’s servant at XIV Corps reinforcement camp, was admitted to 9th Casualty Clearing Station, suffering from bronchitis.

    Mrs. Elizabeth Goodship, mother of Pte. John James Goodship (see 21st June), received a postcard from her son, confirming that he was a prisoner of war in Germany, having been captured during the trench raid on 21st June.

    2Lt. Conrad Anderson (see 23rd July), who had been serving with a battalion of the Dukes in France (details unknown), left his battalion having reported sick.

    Pte. Robinson Butterfield (see 16th January 1917) was formally discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit for service due to his wounds; he would be awarded the Silver War Badge. In the absence of a surviving service record it is not known when, and under what circumstances, he had been wounded.

    Pte. Trayton George Harper (see 5th June), serving with 3DWR at North Shields, was formally discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit for service due to his wounds; he would be awarded the Silver War Badge and a pension of 8s. 3d. per week, to be reviewed in one year.

    Pte. Fred Smith (23056) (see 6th March) serving with 3DWR at North Shields, was formally discharged from the Army as no longer physically fit for service due to his wounds; he would be awarded the Silver War Badge and a pension of 11s. per week, to be reviewed in one year.

    Asiatic, African, Egyptian Front:

    Syria: Allenby visits Damascus and meets Feisal for first time
    , tells him France will be protecting power in Syria, but he can set up military administration Aqaba-Damascus east of Jordan. An exhausted and disillusioned Lawrence asks for leave and departs for Cairo on October 4.

    Naval Operations:

    The submarine L10 (Lieutenant Commander Alfred Edward Whitehouse age 30) is in the vicinity of a German convoy which had been attacked by British destroyers the previous night. This afternoon a number of German ships are spotted searching the area for survivors and L10 signals her intention of attacking the German squadron which consists of the destroyers S33 and S34 and two torpedo boats heading from Zeebrugge to Germany. S34 strikes a mine with the result that the other ships were forced to ignore the danger of mines to rescue the sinking destroyer’s crew. L10 moves in and fires a torpedo at S33 which severely damages the destroyer but initial thoughts of another mine are dispelled by the Germans when L10’s conning tower broaches the surface. S33 manages to bring her guns to bear and sinks the submarine through shelling.

    The tanker S S Eupion is torpedoed and sunk ten miles west of Loop Head, River Shannon and sunk. Eleven of the crew survive the sinking but die in a lifeboat afterwards including:

    • Third Officer Christopher Clark who is one of three brothers and their brother in law who all lose their lives in the Great War

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    Germans witholding ratification of Prisoners of War Agreement because of Germans interned in China.

    Sir G. Cave Chairman of Inder-departmenal Prisoners of War Committee.

    General Moiner appointed Governor of Paris.

    Germany: Prince Max of Baden (Kaiser’s second cousin) becomes last Imperial Chancellor
    , also replaces Hintze as Foreign Minister; Hindenburg urges peace at his first council.

    Bulgaria: TSAR FERDINAND ABDICATES in favour of son Boris, who signs decree demobilizing Army and issues peaceful manifesto on October 6. Ferdinand’s train told to leave Austrian territory on October 5, leaves for Coburg on October 6.

    Rumania: Provisional National Council forms National Council of Unity (France recognizes on October 12).

    Anniversary Events:

    1739 Russia signs a treaty with the Turks, ending a three-year conflict between the two countries.
    1776 Congress borrows five million dollars to halt the rapid depreciation of paper money in the colonies.
    1862 At the Battle of Corinth, in Mississippi, a Union army defeats the Confederates.
    1873 Captain Jack and three other Modoc Indians are hanged in Oregon for the murder of General Edward Canby.
    1876 John L. Routt, the Colorado Territory governor, is elected the first state governor of Colorado in the Centennial year of the U.S.
    1906 The first conference on wireless telegraphy in Berlin adopts SOS as warning signal.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 10-03-2018 at 03:22.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  41. #3641


    I now hand over the baton to Chris and I will be back in around a fortnight.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  42. #3642


    Thanks very much Colonel Skafloc.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  43. #3643

  44. #3644


    Many thanks guys. Sean is now safely home. So once Monday is out the way and we get Sean back to Glasgow Airport next Thursday (7.5 hour round trip has worn me out today!), I should be good to go.

    See you on the Dark Side......

  45. #3645


    Good to see Sean is back in the fold Neil. Please pass on my best wishes.
    Try not to overdo things.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  46. #3646


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    4th October 1918

    Apologies but today's edition will be done in stages as I am multi-tasking (yes I am a bloke) and cooking at the same time, so here goes...

    George Morby Ingram, VC, MM (18 March 1889 – 30 June 1961) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Ingram became Australia's final recipient of the Victoria Cross during the First World War following his actions during an attack on the village of Montbrehain in France. Leading a platoon during the engagement, he instigated several charges against a number of German strong points that eventuated in the seizure of ten machine guns and sixty-two prisoners, as well as inflicting high casualties.

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    Born in the Victorian town of Bendigo, Ingram was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner upon leaving school. Joining the militia at the age of fourteen, he later settled in Melbourne where he worked as a building contractor. Following the outbreak of the First World War, Ingram enlisted in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force and served on New Guinea before receiving his discharge in early 1916. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on the same day, he embarked for the Western Front. He was decorated with the Military Medal following his actions as a member of a bombing section during an attack on Bapaume. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1918, Ingram returned to Australia in 1919 where he was discharged soon after. Re-settling in Melbourne, he was employed as a foreman for a building contractor company. Enlisting for service in the Second World War, he was allotted to the Royal Australian Engineers and achieved the rank of captain before being placed on the Retired List in 1944. Ingram died in 1961 at the age of 72.

    On 10 December 1914, Ingram enlisted as a private in the 3rd Battalion, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force at South Yarra. Initially posted for service on the newly captured German territory of New Guinea, he returned to Australia 6 December 1915, and was discharged on 19 January with the rank of corporal. That same day, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and was allotted to the 16th Reinforcements of the 24th Battalion as a private. In October, Ingram embarked with the unit from Melbourne aboard HMAT Nestor. Arriving in France, he was appointed acting corporal and joined the 24th Battalion in January 1917.

    On the night of 15/16 March 1917, Ingram took part in the battalion's attack on the village of Bapaume during the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. Posted to a bombing section during the engagement, he became involved in a fight with German troops who outnumbered his unit. Making effective use of their grenades, the unit was able to hold off the German attack. Later during the assault, the German forces returned in large numbers, forcing the bombing section to retreat. Ingram, in conjunction with two others, covered the party's withdrawal which thus minimised casualties. For his actions during the battle, Ingram was awarded the Military Medal, the citation noting his "... great courage and initiative ...". The announcement of the award was published in a supplement to the London Gazette on 11 May 1917.

    Promoted to temporary sergeant on 18 March, Ingram fell ill in April and was hospitalised in Britain until June when he was deemed fit to return to his battalion. He was hospitalised once again in September after dislocating his knee, and upon returning to his unit on 10 October he was made company sergeant major. It was at this time that the Australian focus for the remainder of the year was to be the Ypres sector in Belgium, and as such the 24th Battalion participated in the Battle of Passchendaele. During this time, Ingram was recommended for a commission in the 24th Battalion as a second lieutenant, which was confirmed on 20 June 1918. Three days later, however, he was once again admitted to hospital suffering from an illness, and as such was unable to assume his duties as an officer until 12 July when he returned to the battalion

    On 4 October 1918, the 24th Battalion took part in the attack that captured the Beaurevoir sector in France, and was, therefore, expecting to have a rest the following day when the unit was unexpectedly ordered to take part in another attack. The assault was to commence at 06:05 from the village of Remicourt, and lead to the capture of Montbrehain by the 21st and 24th Battalions with tanks to provide support. The action was to prove the final engagement for the Australian infantry during the war, and it was during this attack that Ingram was to earn the Victoria Cross; the sixty-fourth, and final, Australian to do so during the First World War.

    At the designated time, the two infantry battalions commenced the attack under the cover of an artillery barrage. The advance was heavily counter-attacked by German machine gun and artillery fire, but the Australians managed to continue despite the late arrival of the tanks. Approximately 100 yards (91 m) from the German trenches, the 24th Battalion's B Company—in which Ingram was commanding a platoon—became the object of severe sniper and machine gun fire, halting the unit's advance. Under the cover of a Lewis Gun, Ingram dashed ahead of his men and led them against the German strong point. After a fierce fight, the platoon succeeded in capturing nine machine guns and killing all forty-two Germans who had occupied the line; Ingram accounting for at least eighteen of them himself.

    Soon after, the company came under heavy fire from an old quarry occupied by over one hundred German soldiers who possessed as many as forty machine guns. Severe casualties were sustained as they began to advance for attack, including the company commander who fell seriously wounded. Taking command of the attack, Ingram rallied the men and rushed forward. Jumping into the quarry, he charged the first post himself, shooting six German soldiers and capturing a machine gun. The German forces were soon overcome, and thirty troops subsequently surrendered. While his men were clearing up the remaining German positions, Ingram scouted ahead in search of machine gun nests in the village. He soon located one positioned in a house, which had been firing through the cellar ventilator. Managing to enter the house, he shot the gunner through the ventilator. He fired several more shots into the cellar before rushing to the head of the cellar stairs. By thus cutting off any means of escape, a further thirty Germans were taken prisoner.

    The battle for Montbrehain raged until 20:00 that night, during which time the line had been linked up and consolidated. The casualties of the 24th Battalion had been so high that two companies of the 27th Battalion had to be attached for support; the 24th Battalion left the frontline for the last time on 6 October.

    The full citation for Ingram's Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 6 January 1919, it read:

    War Office, 6th January, 1919.

    His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men: —

    Lt. George Morby Ingram, M.M., 24th Bn., A.I.F.

    For most conspicuous bravery and initiative during the attack on Montbrehain, East of Peronne, on 5th October, 1918. When early in the advance his platoon was held up by a strong point, Lt. Ingram, without hesitation, dashed out and rushed the post at the head of his men, capturing nine machine guns and killing 42 enemy after stubborn resistance.Later, when the company had suffered severe casualties from enemy posts, and many leaders had fallen, he at once took control of the situation, rallied his men under intense fire, and led them forward. He himself rushed the first post, shot six of the enemy, and captured a machine gun, thus overcoming serious resistance. On two subsequent occasions he again displayed great dash and resource in the capture of enemy posts, inflicting many casualties and taking 62 prisoners. Throughout the whole day he showed the most inspiring example of courage and leadership, and freely exposed himself regardless of danger.

    Ingram was promoted to lieutenant on 24 October, and was training away from the frontline with his battalion when the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918; thus ending the war. On 25 February 1919, Ingram was decorated with his Victoria Cross by King George V in the ballroom of Buckingham Palace. Boarding a troopship bound for Australia soon after, he arrived in Melbourne on 5 March and was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 2 June.

    Lieutenant Robert Allan Caldwell (Royal Air Force) destroys an enemy balloon in flames north of Bohain at 5,000 feet in spite of very heavy anti-aircraft fire. On the way home he descends to 50 to 100 feet and creates great confusion and does much damage to the enemy infantry, transport and artillery marching westwards to counter-attack, returning with his machine again much shot about. While flying on a low bombing raid Lieutenant Wilfred James Jenner (Royal Air Force) is shot through both legs. Although suffering great pain, he continues his flight and drops his bombs on the objective before returning to his aerodrome.

    Lieutenant Horace George Eldon (Royal Air Force) achieves his final victory as an observer while flying with Lieutenant I G Fleming when they shoot down a Fokker V II southeast of Lille. Lieutenant Gerald Anderson and Second Lieutenant Thomas Sydney Chiltern (Royal Air Force) also bring down their last victim when they shoot down a Fokker D VII at Quesnoy.

    An attack is carried out by 23 Camels of 28 and 66 Squadrons at the training school of the Austrian Air Force at Campoformido with phosphorus and high explosive bombs causing a great deal of damage. Some aircraft of the school which come up to attack the formation are also shot down. Two of 28’s Camels are shot down and the pilots killed.

    Lost Battalion – With no way to escape and German soldiers shooting the army unit's messengers, the lost units of the 77th Infantry Division resorted to using carrier pigeons to get word back to headquarters. One carrier pigeon nicknamed Cher Ami managed to get to base despite being severely wounded from a shell burst. It carried the message to call off a "friendly fire" barrage that also gave the unit's position: "We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heavens sake stop it.

    The Lost Battalion is the name given to the nine companies of the United States 77th Division, roughly 554 men, isolated by German forces during World War I after an American attack in the Argonne Forest in October 1918. Roughly 197 were killed in action and approximately 150 missing or taken prisoner before the 194 remaining men were rescued. They were led by Major Charles White Whittlesey. On 2 October, the 77th launched an attack into the Argonne, under the belief that French forces were supporting their left flank and two American units including the 92nd Infantry Division were supporting their right. Within the 77th sector some units including Whittlesey's 1-308th Infantry were making significant headway. Unknown to Whittlesey's unit, the units to their left and right had been stalled. Without this knowledge, the units that would become known as the Lost Battalion moved beyond the rest of the Allied line and found themselves surrounded by German forces. For the next six days, suffering heavy losses, the men of the Lost Battalion and the American units desperate to relieve them would fight a terrific battle in the Argonne Forest.

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    Members of the "Lost Battalion" in late October 1918 near Apremont.

    The battalion suffered many hardships. Food was scarce and water was available only by crawling, under fire, to a nearby stream. Ammunition ran low. Communications were also a problem, and at times they would be bombarded by shells from their own artillery. As every runner dispatched by Whittlesey either became lost or ran into German patrols, carrier pigeons became the only method of communicating with headquarters. In an infamous incident on 4 October, inaccurate coordinates were delivered by one of the pigeons and the unit was subjected to friendly fire. The unit was saved by another pigeon, Cher Ami, delivering the following message:


    Despite this, they held their ground and caused enough of a distraction for other Allied units to break through the German lines, which forced the Germans to retreat.

    The men of the 77th Division, who held the Charlevaux ravine, which became known as the "pocket", were mostly from New York City. The 77th Division is known as the "liberty" division due to the Statue of Liberty patch they wore, but in WW1 they were usually referred to as the "Metropolitan" division because of where most of the men hailed from. Most of the enlisted men were recent immigrants or were poor working class from the streets of New York City fighting from a young age for food. These attributes acquired on the streets are seen by some historians[who?] as one of the reasons that this group survived in the Argonne.

    The 77th Division was trained at what became a prestigious camp called Camp Upton, located in Suffolk County on Long Island. Charles Whittlesey, an east coast lawyer, was assigned as a battalion commander in the 77th upon completion of his officer's training. The camp was located a half mile from the town of Yaphank, New York. "Yaphank? Where the hell is Yaphank?" was a common expression heard amongst the new recruits of Camp Upton.

    While universally known as the "Lost Battalion", this force actually consisted of companies from 4 different battalions - A, B, C Companies of the 1st Battalion 308th Infantry Regiment (1-308th Inf); E,G, H companies of the 2nd Battalion 308th Infantry (2-308th Inf); K Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 307th Infantry Regiment (3-307th Inf); and C, D Companies of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion. All of these companies belonged to the 154th Infantry Brigade of the 77th Infantry Division and with a strength of approximately 545 men was a battalion-sized force. Major Whittlesey was the battalion commander of 1-308th Inf, the senior officer present, and he assumed command of the entire force once he realized it was surrounded.

    The Argonne Forest was seized by the Germans at the early stages of the war. They had set up defensive positions throughout the forest, using a string of networked trenches. These defences started with a roughly 550-yard (500 m) deep front line which "served as not much more than an advanced warning system". Beyond the first line, which consisted of trenches, shell holes, and listening posts, the Allies would have to push through the dense forest to the main battle lines. The next battle line, which was about 1 mile (2 km) in depth, had turned back all Allied attacks over the last four years. This battle line, which consisted of wired trenches that were firmly held, was referred to by the Germans as "Hagen Stellung" ("Hagen position"). The Next German battle line, referred to as the "Hagen Stellung-Nord" ("Hagen position-North"), was "basically a machine-gun-covered, pre-sighted artillery target." This was a very well entrenched location utilizing both natural and man-made barriers. Together, these two battle lines formed what was known as "Etzel Stellungen" ("Etzel postions").

    The Hagen Stellung-Nord formed the most difficult problem. Over the years, the Germans had pre-sighted every square inch of the area in case of a hostile takeover. Should attackers take the Hagen Stellung-Nord, they came immediately into danger of annihilation by German artillery. No occupier could remain there for long. The Germans also spread barbed wire for hundreds of miles. At various points, it was higher than a man’s head and several, even many, yards deep. The Germans also placed barbed wire at the bottom of rivers and small streams to prevent any troop movement across these areas.

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    The Meuse-Argonne Offensive began on the morning of September 26, 1918. General Evan Johnson, the commander in charge of the Argonne part of the offensive, had a "no retreat" command for his divisions:

    It is again impressed upon every officer and man of this command that ground once captured must under no circumstances be given up in the absence of direct, positive, and formal orders to do so emanating from these headquarters. Troops occupying ground must be supported against counterattack and all gains held. It is a favorite trick of the Boche to spread calling out "retire" or "fall back." If, in action, any such command is heard officers and men may be sure that it is given by the enemy. Whoever gives such a command is a traitor and it is the duty of any officer or man who is loyal to his country and who hears such an order given to shoot the offender upon the spot. "WE ARE NOT GOING BACK BUT FORWARD!" –General Alexander.

    On 1 October, Whittlesey was given his orders: first, he was to advance north up the Ravine d’Argonne until it ended, at the Ravin de Charlevaux. Upon reaching it they were to continue across the brook and take the Charlevaux Mill. Behind this mill was the Binarville-La Viergette road. The securing of the mill was imperative to seize control of the road and a rail line that ran parallel to the north of it. This road was crucial because it allowed for the movement of supplies to the Allied soldiers. The railway was crucial because it would cut off one of the Germans’ major supply routes. The plan was to have the first battalion lead the assault, led personally by Whittlesey. They would be supported by the second battalion, led by Captain McMurtry. Just after 5:00 pm on that evening the attack came to a halt and the men dug in for the night.

    On the morning of 2 October, the final orders came at around 05:00. The main objective was still the Binarville-La Viergette road. The attack was to start at 07:00, to give time for the fog to lift and the men to eat. Whittlesey and McMurtry ordered Companies D and F to remain along the western ridge to become a containing force. The rest of the first and second battalions would continue along a prominence known as "Hill 198" to complete a flanking maneuver on the enemy. The problem was that on the hill there was a double trench line of German soldiers. The plan was that once the two battalions took the hill they would then send back companies E and H to create a line to Companies D and F.

    By the night of 2 October, after a long day of fighting, Major Whittlesey received information that the men had found a way up the right of Hill 198. At around this same moment the French experienced a massive counterattack by the Germans and were forced to fall back exposing the left flank of the 308th. The same occurred on the right flank with the other American Division, causing the 308th to be outflanked on both sides. However, they did not discover this until shortly after they reached the peak of Hill 198. The hill was now in their control; however, it was too quiet for Whittlesey. He realized that he could hear nothing of the 307th that was supposed to be on their flank. "Either they had broken through the line as well and reached their objective over there, or they had been licked and fallen back. The former would be good news for the 308th ... The latter, however, was unthinkable; orders forbade it..."

    Whilst this was happening, to the rear of the main action George W. Quinn, a runner with the battalion was killed while attempting to reach Major Whittlesey with a message from Whittlesey's adjutant, Lieutenant Arthur McKeogh. Whittlesey earlier in the day had sent McKeogh back about 150 yards (140 m) with 15 men with light machine guns to silence German machine gunners who had cut communications between Whittlesey's battalion and the American rear during the night. The Germans were taking ground from which they could surround Whittlesey's men. McKeogh's undelivered message asked for a mortar to use against the strong German position. Quinn was found four months later to have killed three German soldiers who had mortally wounded him before he could reach Whittlesey.

    The men dug in on Hill 198 and created what is known as "the pocket" in what was a fairly good defensive position. The two best companies were on the flanks, with support from the weaker companies. A single company took up the front of the pocket. The rear was the least protected from attack and was defended by only a few riflemen and several machine guns. The hill sloped steeply from the front of the pocket, making it difficult for Germans to bomb the battalion from that direction. The biggest flaw in their position was that their holes were dug too close together, and too many men were occupying the holes at the same time. This created easy targets for mortars and snipers. By about 22:30, Whittlesey realized that Hill 205 was still occupied by the Germans on the left, and the ravine to the right was also full of enemy soldiers. The morning of 3 October was spent trying to re-establish contact with the flanks and with the companies that were left behind. Whittlesey sent out runners to the French and American units that were supposed to be on his flanks. None of the runners returned, neither from the flanks nor from trying to connect with the companies that Whittlesey had left behind. All were killed or captured by the enemy. The more time that passed without any messages the more Whittlesey was coming to the conclusion that they were actually surrounded. However, the Germans were not attacking; the German forces within the ravine believed that they were outnumbered by the Americans. That afternoon, the Germans attacked from all sides. "A single one up front might not have been so bad, but there were others on the flanks, and sniper fire ringing out as well." At this time, Captain Holderman, an officer working with Whittlesey, realized the predicament that the men were in. The German forces had nearly doubled and were closing in on them. Their communication line was cut and so they could not receive supplies of food or ammunition. Holderman tried to lead an assault out through the back of the pocket, but failed to break out, incurring heavy casualties in the process. This infuriated Whittlesey, but seeing that there was nothing he could do he simply sent the survivors back to their defensive positions. Next came a grenade assault followed by mortars raining in on them, but the Americans did not stagger. Another attack came a little after 17:00, and it lasted for about 45 minutes. After this attack was over, the Germans began to settle down for the day. The Americans had suffered many casualties, but inflicted similarly heavy losses on the attacking Germans.

    On the morning of 4 October, patrols were sent out on their morning routes, and Whittlesey was unsure that any of the carrier pigeons had actually made it through. He was unsure if command actually knew of the desperate situation that was unfolding. Whittlesey believed that his orders to hold this position still applied, because the position was the key to breaking through the German lines. There has been much controversy among different historians regarding how it occurred, but Whittlesey and his men were shelled by their own artillery. Some believe that Whittlesey had relayed the wrong coordinates, while others believe that Whittlesey had gotten the coordinates right and the artillery's aim was off. Whittlesey released his final carrier pigeon, named Cher Ami, to call off the barrage. "A shell exploded directly below the bird, killing five of our men and stunning the pigeon so that it fluttered to the ground midway between the spring...and the bridge we crossed to get into the Pocket."

    The pigeon managed to take flight again and despite being severely wounded, successfully delivered the message: "We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heavens sake stop it." Cher Ami had been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, and had a leg hanging only by a tendon. The pigeon was tended to by army medics, and was considered a hero of the 77th division for helping to save the lives of the 194 survivors. As soon as the Allied shelling had stopped, the Germans launched an attack. After many losses and much hand-to-hand combat, the German forces were driven back once again. Although many had been killed or captured, the unit still remained intact, but morale was low and sickness was setting in. Many men only had a few bullets left and no food. Bandages were being taken off of the dead and reused on the wounded. A package was reported to have been dropped in for the men to resupply, but all reports point to it falling into German territory. Water was accessible, but getting to it required exposing oneself to German fire.

    From 5–8 October, the Germans continued to attack. They also sent messengers asking for the 308th to surrender. Whittlesey did not respond. There were many controversies at the time as to what he had done, but records indicate that he said and did nothing. At least one surrender demand carried by an 18-year-old soldier, captured by the Germans and then released to carry the message, said "the suffering of your wounded men can be heard over here in German lines, and we are appealing to your humane sentiments to stop....please treat (the messenger) as an honorable man. He is quite a soldier. We envy you." The same memoir states that Whittlesey wrote in his official Operations Report in capital letters, "No reply to the demand to surrender seemed necessary."

    While Whittlesey and his men tenaciously defended their position, their parent 154th Brigade and the entire 77th Division launched a ferocious series of attacks to get to them. But with each attack, these efforts grew weaker and weaker as the combat power of the 77th ebbed. In the first 4 days of these attacks, the rest of the 308th infantry alone lost 766 men.

    The news of the Lost Battalion's dilemma reached the highest levels of AEF command. While the 77th's power ground down, a powerful U.S. force under General Hunter Liggett's I Corps (United States) was being put together. The veteran 28th Infantry Division was oriented to reach Whittlesey and the fresh 82nd Infantry Division was moved to reinforce the 28th's flank. Meanwhile, Pershing ordered Liggett reinforced by the 1st Infantry Division "The Big Red One" which had received some replacements and some rest after St Mihiel. Observing the movement of the 1st Division, the Germans ordered a Prussian Guards Division to reinforce their forces in the sector. The Germans also sent an elite battalion of "Storm Troopers" reinforced with flamethrowers to aid the Germany Infantry attacking Whittlesey.

    For the next few days, the Pocket held firm and the powerful American attacks started to push the Germans back and the 77th Division was now trying to infiltrate troops into the pocket. Whittlesey, meanwhile, asked for a volunteer to sneak through the lines and lead back help. Private Abraham Krotoshinsky undertook this mission and skillfully left the pocket by a circuitous route to the north which ultimately led to an infiltrating company of the 307th Infantry. Krotoshinsky acted as a guide to lead this group to help rescue the trapped company and establish a route for further fresh troops to come into the pocket. So on 8 October, the 77th relief force had linked up with Whittlesey's men. Immediately upon their relief, Whittlesey was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

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    Monument to the Lost Battalion in the Argonne Forest, France

    Of the over 500 soldiers who entered the Argonne Forest, only 194 walked out unscathed. The rest were killed, missing, captured, or wounded. Major Charles White Whittlesey, Captain George G. McMurtry, and Captain Nelson M. Holderman received the Medal of Honor for their valiant actions. Whittlesey was also recognized by being a pallbearer at the ceremony interring the remains of the Unknown Soldier.

    T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion

    The T. A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant explosion, sometimes called the Morgan Munitions Depot explosion or similar titles, began at 7:36 pm on Friday, October 4, 1918, at a World War I ammunition plant in the Morgan area of Sayreville in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The initial explosion, generally believed to be accidental, triggered a fire and subsequent series of explosions that continued for three days, totaling roughly 6 kilotons, killing roughly 100 people and injuring hundreds more. The facility, one of the largest in the world at the time, was destroyed along with more than 300 surrounding buildings, forcing the evacuation and reconstruction of Sayreville and neighboring South Amboy. Over a century later, explosive debris continues to surface regularly across a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) radius

    Damage to the plant was estimated to be US$18 million and the US Government paid $300,000 in insurance to area residents, or respectively about $300 million and $5 million in 2018 dollars. According to a 1919 government report, the explosion destroyed enough ammunition to supply the Western Front for six months, estimated at 12 million pounds (6 kilotons) of high explosives. (The plant had started production just three months earlier, and the war itself ended just one month after the explosion.) While hundreds of detonations were spread over three days, the totality of the event ranked as one of the largest man-made non-nuclear explosions in history. Some of the strongest individual blasts, from exploding railcars of ammunition, broke windows as far away as Manhattan and Asbury Park, more than 25 miles (40 km) distant.

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    A man standing in the crater caused by the explosion

    France: Allies announce capture of 254,012 PoWs; 3,669 guns; 23,000 MGs between July 15 and September 30.
    Meuse and Argonne: US advance resumed west of river, takes Hill 240 and 4 villages in mile or so advance. ‘… Bullard’s Corps forces the enemy back to the Kriemhilde positions south of the Bois de Forest’ (US communique). An US 1st Division battalion has 242 men left out of 820, 3rd Division takes 1,366 casualties vs Curel Heights. Lull follows on October 5 after 8*-mile advance.

    Britain: British Government learns Turkey has cabled Berlin that she is about to seek peace.
    East Persia*: Inspector-General of Communications ****son reaches Juzzah border railhead, cables need for 14,600 camels or 1,450 vans.

    East Atlantic: U-boat sinks Japanese liner Hiramo Maru (292 lost) off Ireland.
    Med*iterranean: British convoy escorts and SS Greenland‘s gunfire sink coastal submarine UB-68 southeast of Malta, her commander Doenitz (U-boat leader in WW2) a PoW, having sunk 7 ships or 16,993t including one from this convoy.
    North Sea: Harwich Force hoping to find returning U-boats only finds 2 armed trawlers to sink.

    Royal Navy submarine HMS L10 was sunk in the Heligoland Bight by two German destroyers with the loss of all 38 crew

    HMS L10 was built at Dumbarton by William Denny. She was assigned to serve in the North Sea against German surface units counteracting German efforts to sow mines in British waters. Her greatest success led to her destruction, when on the morning of 3 October 1918, aged just under four months, the L10 surfaced in the Heligoland Bight with the mission of intercepting a German raiding party. This group, consisting of the destroyers S34, S33, V28 and V79 had been delayed in the Bight because the S34 had detonated a mine. The other destroyers were crowded round their damaged comrade, and so it was easy for L10's commander, Alfred Edward Whitehouse to sneak into position and put a torpedo into the S33, which began to sink. Unfortunately, as she fired, the L10 rose suddenly to the surface and was seen instantly by the V28, S33, S 60 and V79. Although she turned and tried to flee, L10 was not fast enough to escape her pursuers and was rapidly chased down and sunk at 11:03 (CET) with all hands. S33 was scuttling by a torpedo from S52. L10 was the only L-class boat to be lost during the First World War.

    Switzerland: Germany and Austria send armistice pleas to US President Wilson via Berne on basis of 14 Points.

    Italy: 48 Sopwith Camel fighters (no casualties) bomb Austrian flying schools at Campoformido, southwest of Udine and Egna, south of Bolzano (October 5), destroying over 13 aircraft.

    Major Arthur Holroyd O’Hara Wood (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed at age 28 when his Camel collides with that of Second Lieutenant Lorn Lamond Saunders while on a patrol over Saint-Quentin. He is the 1914 Australasian Tennis Open Champion and he scored the first victory for 4th Australian Flying Corp on 24th January 1918. Lieutenant Saundres is also killed.

    Lieutenant John Weston Warner DFC (Royal Air Force) is killed in action when his Sopwith Camel is shot down over Busigny. The 19-year old is an eight-victory ace.

    John Weston Warner was living in Sowerby, Yorkshire in 1901. In an obituary published in Flight magazine, his family residence was listed as Thorp Arch, Yorkshire.

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Lieut. John Weston Warner. (FRANCE)
    This officer has carried out numerous, offensive patrols and low flying attacks on enemy ground targets, displaying on all occasions the real offensive spirit, and, when acting as flight commander, he has proved himself to be an excellent leader, full of initiative and courage. He has accounted for six enemy aeroplanes.

    The French Ace Adjutant Pierre Delage was also killed on this day. Badly wounded whilst serving in the infantry, Delage transferred to the French Air Service.

    Chevalier de la égion d'Honneur
    "Pilot of Escadrille Spa93, a model of bravery and initiative to the end. On 4 October 1918, during the course of a difficult combat over enemy lines, he fell gloriously for France after having downed one of his adversaries. Two wounds, Médaille Militaire and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur for feats of war. Five citations." Légion d'Honneur citation

    The following claims were made on this day

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    There were two hat-tricks on this day both by RAF pilots of 213 Squadron

    Captain John Edward Green DFC 213 Squadron RAF - flying Sopwith Camel B7270

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    John Edmund Greene joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. Toward the end of 1917, he was posted to 13 Naval Squadron where he scored 15 victories flying the Sopwith Camel. Shot down by Carl Degelow on 4 October 1918, Greene survived but ten days later he was killed in action when he was shot down over the Belgian lines. His body was buried at the crash site.

    Captain Colin Peter Brown DFC & Bar also of 213 Squadron RFC. He was flying Sopwith Camel D8177. His actions of today would earn him a bar to his DFC

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    The son of John and Margaret Brown, Colin Peter Brown served with the Royal Naval Air Service and was posted to 13 Naval Squadron in 1917. Flying Sopwith Camels, he scored 14 victories by the end of the war. Squadron Leader Brown received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 14226 at Yorkshire Aviation Services Country Club on 18 August 1936.

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Lieut. Colin Peter Brown (Sea Patrol).
    Was engaged in a bombing raid on an enemy seaplane base by night, and dropped his bombs from a height of 500 feet, causing considerable destruction. Shortly afterwards he bombed an enemy aerodrome in daylight, also from a height of 500 feet, and then descended to 300 feet and destroyed an enemy machine. On arriving at his aerodrome fifty-nine bullet-holes were found in his machine. He has since then destroyed two enemy aeroplanes. Lieutenant Brown has been engaged in several other aerial fights, and has proved himself a gallant and resourceful flight leader.
    Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 September 1918 (30913/11249)

    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Bar
    Lieut. (A./Capt.) Colin Peter Brown, D.F.C. (Sea Patrol FLANDERS.)
    A fine fighting pilot and brilliant leader who has destroyed thirteen enemy aircraft. On 4th October he led his formation of fifteen scouts to attack a superior number of the enemy. Nine of the latter were destroyed, Captain Brown, single-handed, accounting for three.

    It was another very tough day however for the RAF with 40 lives lost including

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: (Co-incidentally I was only in Grassington this very afternoon - editor)

    The weekly edition of the Craven Herald reported news of the death of Pte. Walter Limmer (see 12th September), who had died of wounds on 12th September.


    It is with deep sympathy and regret that we report the death in action of Private Walter Limmer, the youngest son of Mrs. Limmer, Grassington, and the second to fall in action. Another brother is wounded in hospital, and one is serving in France. Pte. Limmer enlisted in September 1914, went out to France in August 1915, and was transferred to Italy in November of last year. He came home on leave on August 10th in the best of health. He was a fine type of manhood. He was married whilst at home and much sympathy is extended to his young wife. He had acted as officer's servant, and in a letter to his wife his officer says the sad event took place on September 11th while serving with the British Expeditionary Force in Italy.

    The letter adds:- "I write on behalf of No. 4 Platoon and myself to express my deep sympathy in your great bereavement. I personally feel the loss very much, as perhaps you know he has been my batman for some months now, and consequently we have been much together in the trenches, and naturally got to know each other very well. We had just moved to a new camp on the 11th , and your husband had only reported an hour before to me from leave. He had just finished tea when a shell came over that gave us no chance, and burst in the midst of us. Walter, I found, was badly wounded in his head. We immediately dressed his wounds and rushed off to the doctor, but I don't think he ever regained consciousness until the following day, when he died at 4-30; at any rate he did not suffer any pain. I assure you we all miss him very much because he was always cheerful and willing to do anything I asked of him. You will be glad to know that he is buried in a very pretty cemetery in a pine wood. We have made a very nice cross for his grave. Be assured his resting place will be looked after as far as we are able. Yours very truly, G.C. Sugden.

    Lieutenant-Colonel F. W. Lethbridge, of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, writes very appreciatively of the deceased soldier, and says:- "He was a good and a gallant soldier, and it is particularly sad that he should have been hit just after returning from leave. Please accept the sincerest sympathy of myself and all my fellow officers in your terrible bereavement. Your consolation must be that your husband died doing his duty for his King and Country."

    In another letter a pal says:- "He was always one of the cheeriest, best and bravest - an example of what a really good soldier should be. The regiment can ill afford to lose men of his type.

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    Last edited by Hedeby; 10-04-2018 at 15:28.

    Never knowingly under gunned !

  47. #3647


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    Late one tonight folks, but better late than never...

    5th October 1918

    The Pursuit to Haritan

    The Pursuit to Haritan occurred between 29 September and 26 October 1918 when the XXI Corps and Desert Mounted Corps of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) pursued the retreating remnants of the Yildirim Army Group advanced north from Damascus after that city was captured on 1 October during the final weeks of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. The infantry and corps cavalry advanced from Haifa and Acre to capture the Mediterranean ports at Beirut and Tripoli between 29 September and 9 October. These captures enabled the inland pursuit to be supplied when the Desert Mounted Corps' 5th Cavalry Division resumed the pursuit on 5 October. The cavalry division occupied one after the other, Rayak, Homs, Hama. Meanwhile, Prince Feisal's Sherifial Force which advanced on the cavalry division's right flank, attacked and captured Aleppo during the night of 25/26 October after an unsuccessful daytime attack. The next day the 15th (Imperial Service) Cavalry Brigade charged a retreating column and attacked a rearguard during the Charge at Haritan near Haritan which was at first reinforced but subsequently withdrew further north.

    Following the victory at the Battle of Megiddo on 25 September the Yildirim Army Group was forced to withdraw towards Damascus. The commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force General Edmund Allenby ordered Lieutenant General Henry Chauvel's Desert Mounted Corps to pursue these retreating columns. Followed by the 5th Cavalry Division, the Australian Mounted Division pursuit took them via Kuneitra and the 4th Cavalry Division pursuit took them inland to the Hejaz railway where they joined forces with Prince Feisal's Sherifial Force after their captured Deraa. Several rearguards were attacked and captured at Irbid by the 4th Cavalry Division Jisr Benat Yakub, Kuneitra, Sa'sa', Kaukab, the Barda Gorge by the Australian Mounted Division and Kiswe by the 5th Cavalry Division. After Damascus was captured the remnant Yildirim Army Group were pursued along the road to Homs and attacked by light horsemen at the Charge at Khan Ayash.

    While the Yildirim Army Group was retreating back their lines of communication were shortened facilitating supply while Desert Mounted Corps was getting further away from their base and their lines of communication had to be extended. The pursuit north from Damascus began with the advance along the Mediterranean coast by the XXI Corps north from Haifa and Acre to capture the ports at Beirut and Tripoli through which supplies could be transported to support Desert Mounted Corps advance. While the Australian Mounted Division continued to garrison Damascus the 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions continued the pursuit towards Rayak and Baalbek as the advance along the coast was progressing. From Baalbek the 4th Cavalry Division could not continue due to sickness and remained to garrison the area while the 5th Cavalry Division, was reorganised into two columns and reinforced by a number of armoured cars continued the pursuit with Prince Feisal's Sherifial Force covering their right flank to Homs and Hama. By 22 October the armoured cars were 30 miles (48 km) south of Aleppo with the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade catching up on 25 October just before Sherifial forces captured Aleppo. Early in the morning of 26 October the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade continued the pursuit to Haritan where they charged Ottoman rearguards which proved too strong. By that evening, the 14th Cavalry Brigade had arrived and the strong Ottoman rearguard withdrew as a result. On 27 October the Australian Mounted Division was ordered to advance to Aleppo. They had reached Homs, when the Armistice of Mudros was announced, ending the war in the Sinai and Palestine theatre of the First World War.

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    Falls Sketch Map 41 Pursuit from Damascus to Aleppo 1 to 28 October. The Australian Mounted Division advance from Damascus to Homs 29 October to 1 November not shown.

    After an RAF attack on Rayak, Liman von Sanders withdrew the Rayak force on 2 October sending most of his troops including Colonel von Oppen's Asia Corps under the command of Mustapha Kemal to Aleppo, to prepare a defence. This force retreated to Homs via Ba'albek on their way to Aleppo; the first place offering the possibility of a strong defence, while the remnant Fourth Army prepared a rearguard defence of Homs.

    The Seventh Army's III Corps' 1st and 11th Divisions and XX Corps and the 48th Infantry Division, were still intact and conducting a fighting retreat by 6 October. The 1st and 11th Divisions had been reorganised into the new XX Corps, which included one complete Turkish regiment. The country north from Damascus, with its grand mountains and fertile valley and slopes, was described as being more beautiful than that to the south of the city. The Nahr el Litani or Leontes river flowing south between the parallel ranges of the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon enters the sea between Tyre and Sidon. Along the valley cattle, sheep and goats grazed and barley and wheat were grown with oats in the north. The only breaks in the north-south Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges occur from Damascus to Beirut and from Homs to Tripoli.

    On 5 October the advance north was resumed although supply would be difficult. Allenby anticipated capturing the ports of Beirut and Tripoli, which would improve supplying rations to Desert Mounted Corps. "Nevertheless his decision [to continue the pursuit] was born of rare ambition and resolution." It would be a "bold move" as the British Empire troops would be well beyond range of support from the rest of the EEF.

    Allenby briefed Chauvel on his Aleppo campaign plans at Chauvel's new headquarters in a former Yilderim Army Group building in the south–western suburbs during his day-trip to Damascus on 3 October. The Australian Mounted Division commanded by H. W. Hodgson was to garrison Damascus, while the 5th Cavalry Division commanded by Major General H.J.M. MacAndrew and the 4th Cavalry Division commanded by Major General G. de S. Barrow advanced to Rayak 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Damascus, to establish a new forward line to stretch east to Beirut. The 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions left Damascus together on 5 October without wheeled transport and guns which rejoined at Khan Meizelun 15–18 miles (24–29 km) from Damascus and 3,500 feet (1,100 m) above sea-level after passing through the city. The Sherwood Rangers regiment which had been on the lines of communication at Kuneitra rejoined the 14th Cavalry Brigade, 5th Cavalry Division. The 12th Light Armoured Motor Battery and the 7th Light Car Patrol also joined the divisions.

    From Khan Meizelun the 4th Cavalry Division moved to Zebdani on the railway between Damascus and Rayak while the 5th Cavalry Division moved towards Rayak by the main road through Shtora. On the march towards Shtora, "A violent storm, lasting several hours, burst as soon as bivouac was reached and lasted the greater part of the night. This did not improve matters as regards the malaria outbreak, which was by then almost at its height.

    more to follow in the coming days...

    Liberation of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro

    After a series of remarkable successes against Austria-Hungary in 1914, Serbia was ultimately defeated during the autumn of 1915 by German, Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian forces. The entire country was occupied, but remnants of the Serbian army succeeded in reaching the Adriatic harbours of Albania, from where they were evacuated by the Allied powers. Albania was also occupied by the Central Powers, as was Montenegro after a short campaign in January 1916. These events prompted France and Britain to transfer troops from the Gallipoli Campaign to Greek Macedonia. The Macedonian Front was thus established in an effort to support the Serbian army to reconquer Vardar Macedonia.

    Despite several Allied offensives, the Macedonian Front remained more or less fixed until September 1918, when the Vardar Offensive succeeded in piercing the enemy lines at the Battle of Dobro Pole on 15 September 1918. As Bulgaria did not have the forces to conduct a defense in depth, the Allies advanced quickly into Vardar Macedonia. On 29 September, Skopje (Uskub) was taken, and on the same day Bulgaria capitulated. This meant the total collapse in the Balkans for the Central Powers, as Bulgarian soldiers formed the overwhelming part of their forces there. The only units left, where the German 11th Army, which also contained an important number of Bulgarian soldiers who decided to side with the Allies, and the Austrian-Hungarian XIX Corps in Albania. They had no option but to withdraw to the north, pursued by the Allies. Especially the Serbians were highly motivated to liberate their country and take revenge for their crushing defeat in the winter of 1915.

    The Allied forces advanced in four directions.

    In the center, the 1st Serbian Army under Petar Bojovic and parts of the French Armée d'Orient under Paul Prosper Henrys marched straight towards Belgrade. The Germans tried to block the advance at Niš, but to no avail. Vranje was liberated on 5 October, Niš on 11 October and Belgrade by the Serbian Army on 1 November 1918. Here, the Serbian Army halted their advance, because further north, Austrian-Hungarian authority had already evaporated and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs had officially been proclaimed on 29 October 1918.

    The 2nd Serbian Army under Stepa Stepanovic, together with French troops headed towards Kosovo. Pristina was liberated by the 11th French colonial division on 10 October, and Peć on 17 October. By 3 November, the border with Bosnia was reached. Colonel Dragutin Milutinović was appointed at the head of a Serbian force, named the Scutari troops (later Adriatic troops) to liberate Montenegro. But when he advanced into Montenegro, he found the country already freed by Montenegrin paramilitary forces. The Serbians under Milutinović arrived in Podgorica on October 31, and after a last skirmish, the Austrian-Hungarian occupation force also evacuated Cetinje and the rest of the country on November 4.

    In Albania, the Austrian-Hungarian XIX Corps under Karl von Pflanzer-Baltin had no choice but to withdraw to the north, to avoid being surrounded by the advancing French and Serbians on their left flank. Furthermore, evacuation over sea had become impossible after the Allied bombing of Durrës on 2 October. The Italian 16th Army corps (CSIO) supported by the French 57th division advanced from the south. They conquered Berat on 1 October, Durrës on 16 October, and finally Shkodër on 30 October. From the east the French 11th colonial division, 30th infantry division, Italian 35th infantry division and Greek 3rd and 4th infantry division crossed into Albania and took Elbasan on 8 October. The Austrian-Hungarian XIX Corps withdrew to Kotor where they laid down their arms after the Armistice on 3 November.

    Somme and Cambrai: British 25th Division (Fourth Army) with 6 tanks captures Beaurevoir; Germans retire from Scheldt Canal. Kaiser Order of the Day mentions peace offer, but urges continued stern resistance. The Times, London ‘Our Armies in the West hold the front from the east of Ypres to the north of St Quentin. Since August 8 we have advanced practically at every point.’ BEF has captured 35,000 PoWs and 380 guns since September 27 and broken through Hindenburg Line in 9 days on 30-mile front. Victorious Australian Corps withdrawn to rest after capturing Montbrehain, having captured 29,144 PoWs and 388 guns since March 27 (21,243 casualties including only 79 missing), liberated 116 towns and villages since August 8, engaged 39 German divisions (30 twice or more, 6 disbanded).
    Artois: German First and Third Armies fall back on entire front, French finally occupy Moronvilliers Massif. Guillaumat replaces Berthelot (to Bulgaria) in command of French Fifth Army.

    Serbia: Serb First Army liberates Vranje 50 miles south of Nis and liberates Leskovac (October 7) south of Nis having taken 3,000 Austrian PoWs. Serb Second Army begins transfer from Bulgar frontier west to Montenegro and Albania (until October 20).

    Northern Channel: AMC Otranto (Orient Co) carrying US troops (431 lost} sinks in collision, destroyer HMS Mounsey rescues 596 men. (see more tomorrow)
    Eastern Mediterranean: French Syrian Squadron occupies Beirut, then Tripoli and Alexandretta (both on October 14).

    German submarines SM UB-10, SM UB-40, SM UB-59, and SM UC-4 were scuttled when they could not be moved along with the other retreating Imperial German Navy vessels from the Zeebrugge and Ostend ports in West Flanders, Belgium.


    Today saw th death of one of the most iconic early aviators - called by some the 'First of the Air Aces' - Eugène Adrien Roland Georges Garros

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    Eugène Adrien Roland Georges Garros was born in Saint-Denis, Réunion, and studied at the Lycée Janson de Sailly and HEC Paris. He started his aviation career in 1909 flying a Demoiselle (Dragonfly) monoplane, an aircraft that only flew well with a small lightweight pilot. He gained Ae.C.F. licence no. 147 in July 1910. In 1911 Garros graduated to flying Blériot monoplanes and entered a number of European air races with this type of machine, including the 1911 Paris to Madrid air race and the Circuit of Europe (Paris-London-Paris), in which he came second. On 4 September 1911, he set an altitude record of 3,950 m (12,960 ft). The following year, on 6 September 1912, after Austrian aviator Philipp von Blaschke had flown to 4,360 m (14,300 ft), he regained the height record by flying to 5,610 m (18,410 ft). By 1913 he had switched to flying the faster Morane-Saulnier monoplanes, and gained fame for making the first non-stop flight across the Mediterranean Sea from Fréjus in the south of France to Bizerte in Tunisia in a Morane-Saulnier G. The following year, Garros joined the French army at the outbreak of World War I.

    Reports published in August 1914 claimed Garros was involved in the "first air battle in world history" and that he had flown his plane into a Zeppelin, destroying the airship and killing its pilots and himself. This story was quickly contradicted by reports that Garros was alive and well in Paris. Such early reports maintained that an unidentified French pilot had indeed rammed and destroyed a Zeppelin, however, German authorities denied the story. Later sources indicated the first aerial victory against a Zeppelin occurred in June 1915 and that earlier reports, including that of Garros, had been discredited.

    In the early stages of the air war in World War I the problem of mounting a forward-firing machine gun on combat aircraft was considered by a number of individuals. The so-called "interrupter gear" did not come into use until Anthony Fokker developed a synchronization device which had a large impact on air combat; however, Garros also had a significant role in the process of achieving this goal.

    As a reconnaissance pilot with the Escadrille MS26, Garros visited the Morane-Saulnier Works in December 1914. Saulnier's work on metal deflector wedges attached to propeller blades was taken forward by Garros; he eventually had a workable installation fitted to his Morane-Saulnier Type L aircraft. The Aero Club of America awarded him a medal for this invention three years later. Garros achieved the first ever shooting-down of an aircraft by a fighter firing through a tractor propeller, on 1 April 1915; two more victories over German aircraft were achieved on 15 and 18 April 1915. On 18 April 1915, either Garros's fuel line clogged or, by other accounts, his aircraft was downed by ground fire, and he glided to a landing on the German side of the lines. Garros failed to destroy his aircraft completely before being taken prisoner: most significantly, the gun and armoured propeller remained intact. Legend has it that after examining the plane, German aircraft engineers, led by Fokker, designed the improved interrupter gear system. In fact the work on Fokker's system had been going for at least six months before Garros's aircraft fell into their hands. With the advent of the interrupter gear the tables were turned on the Allies, with Fokker's planes shooting down many Allied aircraft, leading to what became known as the Fokker Scourge.

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    Garros finally managed to escape from a POW camp in Germany on 14 February 1918, after several attempts, and rejoined the French army. He settled into Escadrille 26 to pilot a Spad, and claimed two victories on 2 October 1918, one of which was confirmed. On 5 October 1918, he was shot down and killed near Vouziers, Ardennes, a month before the end of the war and one day before his 30th birthday. His adversary was probably German ace Hermann Habich from Jasta 49.

    Garros is erroneously called the world's first fighter ace. In fact, he shot down only four aircraft; the definition of "ace" is five or more victories. The honour of becoming the first ace went to another French airman, Adolphe Pégoud, who had six victories early in the war.

    The Austrian Air Force training school at Egna in the Adige Valley is bombed by 22 Camels of 28 and 66 Squadron.

    Captain G B Bailey and Lieutenant Joseph William Greig Clark (Royal Air Force) carry out a pre-arranged artillery shoot with 274th Siege Battery. They range the battery, and the battery then goes on to fire for effect, obtaining two direct hits on the target causing a fire on the roadside in the battery position. The 274th Siege Battery then puts out “T” on completion of the shoot. During this time the aircrew observes two hostile batteries active. On one of these they carry out a very successful ANF attack, obtaining a direct hit on No. 2 pit. During the fire for effect the whole battery position is demolished. By now visibility is becoming extremely poor and Captain Bailey decides to work from a point above the hostile battery, although there is a patrol of eight Fokker biplanes in the vicinity and there is a strong west wind blowing. The enemy aircraft attack and Lieutenant Clark shoots down one, which he sees fall out of control and burst into flames on hitting the ground. The remainder of the formation is driven off and the ANF shoot is completed.

    The following claims were made on this day

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    In total the RAF lost 17 men on this day

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    and finally - more from Captain Tunstill's men

    Capt. Bob Perks DSO (see 28th September) re-joined the Battalion, more than a year after having been wounded during the attack on the village of Veldhoek on 20th September 1917.

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    Capt, Bob Perks DSO
    Image by kind permission of Janet Hudson
    L.Sgt. Harold Best (see 20th September) and Pte. Newton Dobson (see 26th August) departed on seven days’ leave to Lake Garda.

    Pte. John William Kirby (see 28th May 1917) was admitted via 69th Field Ambulance and 39th Casualty Clearing Station to 51st Stationary Hospital; he was suffering from influenza.

    Ptes. William Shirtcliffe Mallinson (see 28th July) and Herbert Stanley Smith (see 16th June) were admitted via 69th Field Ambulance and 9th Casualty Clearing Station to 23rd Division Rest Station; both were suffering from scabies. Pte. Smith would be discharged and re-join the Battalion after two days, but Pte. Mallinson would remain under treatment.

    Pte. Farrand Kayley (see 20th August 1917), brother of Tunstill’s recruits John (see 27th March 1916) and Job Kayley (see 29th July 1916), who was serving in France with 1st/6th Battalion West Ridings as a transport driver, returned to England on two weeks’ leave.

    Lt. Charles Frederick Wolfe (see 14th July), former Transport Officer to 10DWR, now serving with the ASC, was posted to 435th H.T. Company, based at Chatham.

    Pte. Willie Holmes (see 27th August), who had been admitted to hospital whilst home on leave, was discharged from the War Hospital in Dewsbury and posted to Northern Command Depot at Ripon. Within days of reporting he would be admitted to the Camp Hospital for further treatment to the boils and carbuncles which had seen him admitted previously.

    A medical report was prepared on the condition of Pte. Walter Eary (see 28th September), who was being treated for a laryngeal tumour at Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancs. It was noted that, “An oesophygal bougie (tube) could not be passed through the thyroid level and caused some blood-stained mucous to be brought up. There is some cough with blood-stained expiration. There is very marked dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing). The disease is probably malignant”.

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    Never knowingly under gunned !

  48. #3648


    Thanks Chris - interesting reports. That was one big bang at Gillespies
    RIP Roland Garros

  49. #3649


    Another very big issue. No wonder it was a bit delayed Chris.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  50. #3650


    Hence I am starting early today...

    Never knowingly under gunned !