The Manchester Regiment Forum

The Great War => 1914 - 1918 => Topic started by: PhilipG on September 03, 2019, 10:11:47 AM

Title: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 03, 2019, 10:11:47 AM
The battalion history refers to an officer by the name of Taylor on the 2nd April 1917 attacking the quarry at Manchester Hill, thus assisting the H.L.I. to advance.    Could this be Captain Leonard Taylor MC & bar who was in the action at Joncourt?     I am assuming that as a 2nd Lieutenant, Taylor was awarded the MC for bravery at the quarry.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: charlie on September 03, 2019, 11:28:05 AM
Philip,
The Officer decorated for his bravery, according to the report on the actions of 2nd April, was 2/Lt Harry Taylor. He was awarde an immediate MC Gazetted on 25 May 1917.

Capt. Leonard Taylor was decorated for his bravery near Parvillers on 10 August 1918 - MC LG 7th November 1918. The bar to his MC was Gazetted on 15 February 1919, this was awarded for his bravery at the Fonsomme Line on 1/2nd October 1918.

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: Timberman on September 03, 2019, 01:00:14 PM
He also was awarded a second bar to the MC
for his actions on the 4th of November 1918.

Click on the picture to make it bigger

Timberman
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 03, 2019, 01:19:22 PM
Charlie & Timberman,

Many thanks indeed for your information.    Some interesting points arise.    PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 07, 2019, 10:22:11 PM
I see from the battalion history regarding the action at Parvillers le Quesnoy and Damery Woods (the woods seem to have disappeared now), that Major Marshall was wounded.    Wilfred Owen in a letter to his mother refers to his superior officer as "he of the 10 wounds".     PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 11, 2019, 11:28:33 AM
Returning to the attack over the Sambre-Oise canal.      On the 4th November 1918, two brigades of the 32nd Division, namely the 96th Brigade of which the 2nd Manchesters and the 16th Lancs. Fusiliers formed a part and the 14th Brigade of which the 1st Dorsets were one of the three battalions making up that brigade, were ordered forward to attempt a crossing of the canal.         The canal at Ors provides room for lock facilities and in November 1918 the lock was spanned by "an old bridge".    That bridge marked the boundary between the two brigades.    Some 200 yards south of this bridge during the battle and covered by small arms fire from the 1st Dorsets firing from adjacent village  houses, the 206 Field Coy. Royal Engineers was able to cross the canal by constructing a floating bridge supported by kerosene tins.    Immediately, the 1st Dorsets crossed over the canal and in doing so captured 150 prisoners.

By 8.30 am Division ordered the Manchesters and Lancs. Fus. to cross by this bridge and by noon two companies of the Manchesters were alongside troops of the 14th Brigade.    It would now seem that these Manchesters were commanded by Captain Leonard Taylor.     Would these companies be  "A" and "B" ?       PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 11, 2019, 01:10:00 PM
In the Dorsetshire Regiment's History the writer makes the following comment:-

"The 14th Brigade attack was not only completely successful, but contrary to the expectations of the Divisional Staff, who had looked to the 96th Brigade for success".      The writer continues.   "During the night the Dorsets had side-slipped, taking over a portion of the front held by the Manchester Battalion while the Royal Scots extended their left."     The writer concludes. "The whole of our Battalion was then in and about the village of Ors".   

I thought the observation made by the writer was brilliantly phrased and the text made me smile as I typed it and realised the underlying message the author was sending to the reader.     PhilipG.

Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 13, 2019, 11:37:43 AM
I was expecting that the last line of Reply No. 6 would excite comment, but my sense of humour, weaned on service in WW2, where deeply buried subtlety could be found, makes me realise that my sense of humour is not necessarily that of others.   Here is the author of the Dorsetshire Regiment's Great War History, a regiment recruited from Thomas Hardy's beautiful county and the home of Lawrence of Arabia, having "a dig" at those battalions recruiting in the industrial north.   Perhaps the writer was mindful of the support given to the Manchesters in 1917 when the Dorsets captured Holnon and went on to take Cepy Farm which enabled the 2nd Manchesters to capture a trench in the Hindenburg Line.   Just a thought, of course.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: mack on September 13, 2019, 05:13:53 PM
ive just clicked to it Philip,ime usually quick to pick up on these things but I completely missed that ;D ;D

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 13, 2019, 05:38:32 PM
Mack,

Thanks.   The key word is "contrary", of course.  PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 14, 2019, 11:20:55 AM
Division had asked Lt. Col. J.N.Marshall, incidentally formerly the 2 i/c of the 2nd Manchesters, to make an assessment of the chances of a successful crossing of the canal by the Manchesters & Lancs. Fusiliers.   The colonel's assessment was totally unfavourable, but his opinion was overruled and in the words of Volume V of the Official History, the crossing by the Manchester and the 16th Lancs. Fusiliers "was unsuccessful".   The History has a footnote recording the award of Victoria Crosses to the following :

Captain AHC Waters and Sapper A.Archibald of 218 Field Coy. RE, Lt.Col. JN Marshall (Irish Gds.) - posthumously -  C.O.of the 16th Lancs. Fus. and lastly 2nd Lt J.Kirk of the 2nd Manchesters.   (Not mentioned is 2nd Lt. FA Robins, of the 1st Dorsets who was the first to cross the "Dorsetshire Bridge" -  a name given to the floating bridge by the Official History to the bridge constructed by the 206th Field Coy. RE.)     PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 18, 2019, 10:44:05 AM
In the Regimental History of the Lancs. Fusiliers published in 1949, there is a note concerning the award of the VC to Lt.Col. J.N.Marshall.   It seems that the War Office ruled that as the colonel belonged to the Irish Guards and was only attached to the Lancs. Fus., the award must be credited to the Irish Guards.    Perhaps reluctantly, the Fusiliers had to reduce their harvest of Victoria Crosses to 17.     However, it would seem that another VC was won by the regiment in WW2 bringing back the total to 18 again.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: Tim Bell on September 18, 2019, 02:14:27 PM
Hi Philip,

There seems to be contrasting themes here. Lt Col Marshall's VC was attributed to the Irish Guards even though his valour was recognised on attachment to the Lancs Fusils, yet Capt Richard Wain's VC was attributed to valour with the Tank Corps, even though he was attached from Manchesters. Both posthumous awards.

Could this have anything to do with family wishes perhaps?

Tim
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 18, 2019, 04:52:56 PM
Tim,

Quite a mystery.  I can only assume that the Manchesters at the appropriate time, and for whatever reason, did not take up the matter with the War Office concerning Captain Wain's original commissioning in the 25th  battalion.    Colonel Marshall was buried in the cemetery at Ors on the 8th December 1918 in the presence of a Major-General, a Brig-General and officers from the 15th & 16th Lancs. Fus. and 2nd Manchesters, so his name was well known in Division and Brigade HQ.           PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: mack on September 18, 2019, 05:41:05 PM
could it be that capt wain was no longer a officer in the 25th manchesters,the 25th had become a training reserve battalion by the time he won his VC,i don't think they award gallantry medals to training battalions.

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 19, 2019, 10:09:44 AM
Mack,
As mentioned above it is quite a mystery.   The Irish Guards was raised in 1900 and during WW1 four VC's were conferred upon it, including that won by Marshall.   The whole affair involved King George V.     This resulted in His Majesty's Private Secretary writing to the Adjutant General, asking that the Colonel of the Regiment (Lancs. Fus.) be informed "how impressed His Majesty was when he heard that during the Great War 17 Victoria Crosses were conferred upon the Regiment".

I can only assume that the Brigade of Guards persuaded the "War Office" to agree to the action taken, a similar action in the case of Captain Wain, if taken by the Manchesters, being unsuccessful.

PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: Tim Bell on September 19, 2019, 10:59:06 AM
Some interesting thoughts from Mack & Phillip.
In the context of significant changes in Ireland at the time I wonder of political expediency was part of the motive to allocate the VC to an Irish Regiment.
Lt Col Marshall had been brought up in Manchester, but it would certainly have suited the Unionist cause to see his Award recognised as Irish.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: mack on September 19, 2019, 07:17:43 PM
in the case of captain wain,there wasn't a battalion they could award his VC to other than the tank corps because it no longer existed,the irish guards/Manchester problem was between two existing regiments

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 20, 2019, 12:09:14 PM
Mack,
Thank you and I note what you say,of course.  (However, whilst the battalion was disbanded, we must remember that the Manchester Regiment still existed).   Looking at the CWGC site for Captain Wain, I think the detail shown thereon gives a clear picture of his being commissioned in the Manchester Regiment, but attached to the Tank Corps when he won the VC.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 22, 2019, 08:08:36 AM
I understand that the Manchester Regiment have fourteen members who were awarded the Victoria Cross, including eleven in WW1.   Would it be possible, please, to ascertain if Captain Wain's name is included in that WW1 list?      PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: mack on September 22, 2019, 09:09:56 AM
his medals and those of the other three tank corps VC winners were displayed at the tank museum in july last year,hes not listed in the Manchester VCs list,his family still own all his medals

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: mack on September 22, 2019, 10:59:07 AM
when captain wains grave in fifteen ravine cemetery was exhumed,it was found to be empty,when his commanding officer wrote to his family,he told them that he was buried next to his tank along with his No2 Lt Charles William Duncan,its obvious that the grave was just a memorial,but who made it,all his crew were killed except one man who was badly wounded,if this man survived he couldn't possibly have dug the grave,he would have been evacuated through the chain of wounded casualties long since

capt wain was granted a commission in the 17th Manchesters on 16th july 1915,he was in A.coy during the attack at Montauban on 1st july 1916,and was seriously wounded leading his men

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: PhilipG on September 22, 2019, 11:41:09 AM
Mack,

Re Reply 20 thank you.  That indicates that the Manchester Regiment did not follow the practice undertaken by the "War Office" re the Lancashire Fusiliers as advised in Reply 11.   Thanks again.  PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: Timberman on September 22, 2019, 06:21:51 PM
Just going back to the original question about Harry Vivian Taylor.

He went to France as Private 5746 with the 20 Royal Fusiliers
in 1915 no other date on his MIC. He was then commissioned
into the Manchester Regiment?
He was with the 2nd Bn when he was awarded the MC in April 1917.
On the first of July 1917 he joined the 17th Bn. He was promoted to
Captain 6th of November 1917. He died on the 22 of March 1918.

Harry Taylor was gazetted for his MC on 26/5/17.  His citation reads
 “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He gallantly led his
company against several machine guns and succeeded in putting 6 of
them out of action, thereby undoubtably saving his battalion from
many casualties. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.” 
This action took place on 2nd April 1917, at Manchester Hill, near
Francilly-Selency.  The 2nd Battalion War Diary provides further
details.  “…Punctually at zero hour, with the first streak of dawn,
the line advacned to the attack and was immediatley met by heavy
rifles and machine gun fire.
This came principally from the Quarry and therefore A Coy suffered most.
2/Lt H Taylor who was in command of the two platoons of A Coy at once
changed direction half right and attacked the Quarry on the flank which
he captured taking 4 machine guns and in addition 2 more machine guns
in a trench adjoining the quarry…”  He was originally posted missing and
presumably assumed killed on 22/3/18 near St Quentin.  He is buried in
Savy Cemetery.  Aged 24, Harry was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Taylor,
of “Netherly,” Rivington Road, Pendleton. Born 29/1/1894. Harry has originally
enlisted in the 20th (Public Schools) Battalion Royal Fusiliers Number 5746.
He is commemorated on the Memorial Plaque at St James Church Hall, Eccles
Old Road, Hope.  Also Old Salfordians Memorial.


 Timberman
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. Taylor : 2nd Manchesters
Post by: Tim Bell on September 24, 2019, 12:26:01 PM
Helpful summary Neil.  I'm disappointed I hadn't spotted the 17th Bttn sooner.