Author Topic: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters  (Read 3602 times)

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2019, 08:16:49 PM »
Mack,

Re raft & straw.

Thank you.   A friend of mine (Lt.Col. Rtd. RASC - Suez & N.Ireland etc.) ventured the following possibility.

A suitable amount of hay would be totally encased within a waterproof sheet of canvas of the kind seen on military vehicles today.  In WW2 I travelled in the back of many lorries protected from rainfall by canvas sheeting of that type.   If that theory is correct, I presume that the troops crossing the river on such a contraption would just be clinging to the device and getting partially wet in doing so, if only briefly.  What do you think?   PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2019, 01:37:52 AM »
that would work,i know because when I was about 10yrs old,me and my pals used to hang around on the old clay pit near my village,it was huge and had plenty of places to float a raft,one of my mates came up with the idea of piling up two bundles of thick cardboard and wrapping them in a old piece of tarp that had all been dumped down the pit,we tried it out and it floated but we didn't have any way of sealing it and it came apart,but it did work,i still remember that piece of tarp,it had UCP tripe works stencilled on it,the UCP was also in my village

mack

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2019, 08:01:25 AM »
Mack,

Many thanks for your helpful contribution.   PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2019, 11:01:46 AM »
Mack,

Re your endeavours at the clay pit.

Your attempted use of a tarpaulin at the pit, indicates that the use of this material, coupled with an ability to seal, must surely have been the type of sheeting used by the sappers to build their raft.  Again many thanks.  PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2019, 11:22:04 AM »
who needs modern technology Philip,when you have a lump of straw a bit of old tarp and a pot of glue,chuck in a few clever REs and you have full scale river assault,the british army at its best

mack

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2019, 11:18:48 AM »
To continue.     On the 14th September 1914 the 2nd Manchesters were ordered forward to the Chivres Spur.   This area was in enemy hands and held extremely strongly.  Indeed, the German forces had even garrisoned an ancient fortification known as Fort de Conde.  Advancing along the Ste. Marguerite to Chivres road, the 2nd Lancs. Fusiliers came up against heavy fire from the region of Chivres village, together with that from the Spur.   The battalion's advance was halted and the British Army in this region could go no further.   At nightfall the 2nd Manchesters came up to relieve the Fusiliers.

Fate was to decree that it would be several years before the Allies would again reach the position the Lancs. Fusiliers and the 2nd Manchesters had so gallantly fought over that day.    On the 20th September the Manchesters were relieved for a well earned rest, crossing the RiverAisne once again and eventually, around the 1st October, journeying to Abbeville and beyond.    PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2019, 12:18:16 PM »
I don't know how many Victoria Crosses were awarded for the Battle of the Aisne, but I see that one such decoration was given to a soldier - F.W.Dobson - of the Coldstream Guards for a brave deed on the 28th September 1914 at Chavonne, east of Vailly sur Aisne.   Apparently, Haig was not in favour of the award being made, but was overruled by the King and a VC was indeed given to Dobson.

I wonder if any decorations were awarded to soldiers of the 2nd Manchesters who were in action during the Aisne battles?  PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2019, 07:15:40 PM »
Philip
I posted a list some years ago,search 2nd manchesters awards 1914,that should bring up the list

mack

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2019, 08:36:40 PM »
Mack,

Thank you very much.  Found the thread.  PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2019, 12:00:58 PM »
After leaving Chivres-Val, the group set off for Cerny on the Chemin des Dames.  The first stop was at Vailly British Cemetery to see the grave of Brig.Gen. N.D.Findlay who was KIA on the 10th Sept. 1914 - the first Brigadier- General to be killed during the Great War.  From then on, the battle area of Soupir and beyond was studied.   A visit was also made to the Vendresse British Cemetery where Brig.Gen. R.H.Husey is buried, a casualty of the 2nd Battle of the Marne.  He had been reported missing, but subsequently it was found that he had died as a POW a few days after capture.

The German forces had destroyed all the bridges over the Aisne, but it was discovered that the remains of the bridge at Bourg-et-Comin could be be negotiated by the sappers repairing the adjacent Oise-Aisne aqueduct.  This task was carried out by the 23rd & 26th Field Coys. R.E. on the late afternoon of the 13th September 1914 enabling British cavalry to go forward.  Visiting the location, I again realised the expertise of the Royal Engineers employed on that particular task and similar duties, which enabled the British advance to proceed.

The next stop was at Soissons and its Memorial to the Missing and to list the names of any Manchesters engraved on its panels.     PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2019, 09:32:40 AM »
To properly view the Soissons Memorial a gate key was required.  Fortunately, "the leader" had made appropriate arrangements and access was achieved, enabling the few names of Manchester Regiment men engraved on its panels to be listed.  Clearly, they had been in action in the 2nd Battle of the Marne 1918 and this led to extensive research, ably assisted by members of the forum.  This produced a picture, that although the Manchester Regiment as such did not take part in the battles of the Marne, men of the Manchesters attached to other regiments most certainly did and in some cases died in doing so.

I noted that Brigadier-General C.T.Martin's name was recorded on the memorial's panels.  He died on the 27th May 1918.   This makes a total of three officers of this rank who died during the campaigns mentioned in this thread - 2 KIA & 1 DOW.   PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2019, 02:44:10 PM »
 With regard to the B.E.F. wounded.    The practice was to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield and bring them into a Regimental Aid Post, but one of the problems that faced such soldiers was the difficulty of reaching them.    It seems that the German snipers did not recognise the Red Cross arm bands and in those circumstances, stretcher bearers could not always reach all wounded.  Various types of accommodation were located to use as RAP's.  14th Field Ambulance set up a post in a farm close to Ste. Marguerite, which because of enemy fire could only be reached from one direction.  Perhaps this location was called Julien Farm where Sgt. Rothwell, mentioned in a recent thread, was buried?

In regard to the provision of rations for the wounded, whilst it seems issues for the RAMC personnel came up regularly, rations for their wounded patients were never issued, thus hindering the recovery of the slightly wounded.    The British Army moves in a mysterious way.                 PhilipG.


Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2019, 02:59:44 PM »
In conclusion, I understand that B.E.F. casualties numbered over 13,000.    That is a rather dire figure.    PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2019, 11:29:27 AM »
Following some further research, I found a description of the state of the battle-scarred wounded as they were carried into a RAP.   These men had come straight from the fighting.  They were very dirty, some were covered in blood from their wounds and as they entered the post it was clear that the simple medical facilities which were available to them were inadequate.   Tragically, it was obvious that some were so badly wounded that they would be disabled for life.   What was to be their future?     They were brave men.     PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: Following the B.E.F. and the Manchesters
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2019, 04:00:11 PM »
I‘ve attached a portion of the coloured map contained in the Official History (1914 Vol 1 maps, map 31), which clearly shows the course of the stream leading to the mil. (posts 12 & 13)

Digressing slightly from the Manchesters, I found the introduction to 1914 Vol 2 of the OH very interesting as it deals with the mobilisation of the BEF, the call up of reservists, the expansion of the Army and the difficulties faced. It is hard to imagine in today‘s world that car and motorcycle drivers/riders were classed as specialists and that the Army only had 80 motorised vehicles.

 https://archive.org/details/3edmilitaryopera02edmouoft

Charlie
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 07:00:35 AM by charlie »