Author Topic: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)  (Read 4484 times)

Offline PhilipG

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According to the records, this officer died of wounds whilst in German hands on the 25th May 1918 and is buried in  Rethel French National Cemetery.   His parents lived in Oldham.   His name does not appear in "Officers taken Prisoner".  However, there is an entry in that book under the heading of the Royal Berkshire Regiment indicating that a lieutenant R.B. Gilliat was made captive on the 27th May 1918 and died at Sevigny the following day.   I could be persuaded that "the two Gilliats" - R.V. & R.B. - are the same person.

Research reveals that the 2nd Royal Berks. were in battle on the 27th May 1918 north of Berry au Bac, a battle which was later designated the "Battle of the Aisne : 27th May - 6th June 1918".    Their casualties were very heavy.

Any comment on the foregoing would be appreciated. PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2017, 07:10:05 PM »
Philip,
RB is a misprint, you are right to think that they are one and the same person. There isn't a "RB" in the London Gazette or in the MiCs. The War Diary 2nd Berkshires states that Lt RV Gilliat joined the battalion on 16.04.1918 ex 10th Manchesters. His MiC has him as 3/10th Bn.

According to the German records in the Red Cross files, he died on the 28th May of a GSW to the Abdomen at the Field Hospital Sevigny. The 28th would seem to be the correct date, it has been crossed out and replaced by the 25th in the Graves Concentration Report. There isn't a mention on the 25th in the War Diary of him becoming a casualty.

Charlie

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2017, 08:44:48 PM »
De Ruvigney's and Soldiers Effects also give his date of death as the 28th. Soldiers Effects is usually very accurate, all this would suggest to me that the date recorded by the CWGC is wrong.

Charlie
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 08:51:00 PM by charlie »

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 07:06:51 AM »
Charlie,

Thank you for that brilliant research.  PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 11:35:08 AM »
Charlie,

The 1918 Battle of the Aisne and the later Battles of the Marne (20th July - 2nd August 1918) do not appear to have called for the involvement of any Manchester Regiment battalions, although from time to time, names of officers in the Regiment in those battles emerge.  An example is part of the casualty list for the 2nd Berkshires on the 27th May 1918 where the names of three officers of the Manchesters are recorded as being taken as POW's on that date.   They are:-

Lt E.S.Haighton, Lt. R.de C McDonnell and Lt. Oscar Wild.

It would be interesting to learn whether or not you have any info. on these officers.  PhilipG.



Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 01:04:47 PM »
Philip,
Lt Eric Starkie Haighton
10th Bn att 2 Royal Berkshires.
Joined 2 Berks on 17.04.1918
Taken 27.05.1918, Berry au Bac
Born - 18.08.1897 Colne ?
Address - Stanryd, Colne Rd, Nantwich
Held at Rastatt and Transferred to Stralsund- Dünholm, the list is dated 06.07.1918

Lt Randall AMJ de Courcey McDonnell
16th Bn att 2 Royal Berkshires
Joined 2 Berks 17.04.1918
Born - London 28.04.1897
Taken 27.05.1918, Berry au Bac
Transferred from Rastatt to Stralsund- Dünholm on a list dated 10.07.1918

Lt Oscar Wild

10th Bn att 2 Royal Berkshires
Joined 2 Berks 17.04.1918
Taken 27.05.1918, Berry au Bac
Born - 07.03.1893 Swinton
Address - Avondale, Temple Drive, Swinton
Transferred from Rastatt to Stralsund- Dünholm on a list dated 04.07.1918

Lt McDonnell was quite hard to find in the PoW lists, I've attached his index card.
I made a mistake with Lt Galliat, he arrived at 2 Berks on the 17th as well.

Charlie



« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 01:06:54 PM by charlie »

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2017, 03:53:37 PM »
Charlie,

Thank you once again for the trouble you have taken.   It is many years since I first started to visit this battlefield and do some research as to what went on there.  Interestingly, for the first time, French, British, Italian and US troops were involved here in a joint campaign against the German Army. PhilipG.

(In a British cemetery in the region - alas I cannot remember which one - I found the grave of a WW2 RNZAF pilot buried alongside a French civilian.    Ideas of a Lysander aircraft dropping off spies immediately came to mind).

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2017, 04:26:30 PM »
Philip,
The following Manchesters Officers were also transferred to 2/Berkshire on the 17th April:

Lt HG Senior, 8th Bn, KiA 28.04.1918
Lt WHC Rooke, 10th Bn
Lt RH Tautz MC, 10th Bn
Lt EH Horncastle, 10th Bn, KiA 27.05.1918
Lt EN Whittaker, 1/10th Bn
2/Lt JL Carter, 8th Bn, wounded April 1918
2/Lt J Breakwell, wounded April 1918
2/Lt EK Moore, 9th Bn, DoW 25.04.1918

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2017, 07:21:25 AM »
Charlie,

 Thank you.   I note that the names of Lieutenants Senior and Horncastle are inscribed on the Soissons Memorial.  PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 11:58:03 AM »
Persuasions from the the French Command that the "Chemin des Dames Front" was a "suitable and quiet"region for the resting and training of reinforcements after the heavy losses by the British in March/April 1918, resulted in 5 British divisions being sent to the area, the idea being that there they could be made ready to take part in future active operations.   A month later the German Army went on the attack on the 27th May 1918 forcing the British to retreat some 5 miles.

Two reinforcements from the Manchester Regiment had been sent from the 4th Manchesters to the 1st Bn. Worcestershire Regt.   They were 2nd Lt. Donovan Richardson McCallum Smith and Lt. Paul Wrey Gardiner.  Both officers were killed in action on the 27th May 1918.

On that day the 1st Worcesters held trenches across the main road from Berry au Bac to Corbeny.  The enemy attack began at 5am in misty conditions.  Very fierce fighting followed.  German tanks appeared but were smashed by anti-tank guns firing at very close range.  As the Worcesters' flanks were being overrun the battalion was "rolled up" from all sides and from that time onwards it would appear that the battalion then ceased to exist, except for a few stragglers who managed to come back.

Lieutenants Smith and Gardiner have no known grave and are commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.

The 1st Worcesters were part of the 8th Division (24th Brigade) as were the 2nd Berkshires (25th Brigade),previously mentioned.   Brigadier-General R.H.Husey commanding the 25th Brigade was wounded on the 27th May 1918 and taken prisoner. He died of his wounds on the 30th May.   PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 11:38:48 AM »
The reference in the previous post suggests that the "anti-tank guns firing at very close range" could be other than field guns?    PhilipG.

Offline sphinx

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 02:46:46 PM »
Philip,

In 1918 the British didnt have a dedicated AT gun, but used 13, 18 & 60 pdr guns firing HE shells.

They did have of course AT rifles, AT grenades and even used toffee apple 2" mortar heads as AT Mines.

For those feeling a little more adventurous Stokes Mortar rounds could be dropped from buildings on top of German tanks.

regards

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 04:26:10 PM »
Sphinx,

Many thanks for your very helpful remarks.  The later counter attacks listed as the Battles of the Marne (20th July - 2nd August 1918 were part of the "Advance to Victory 1918", the success of which was one of the turning points of the Great War.  Years ago I was puzzled as to why there were four names of Manchester Regiment officers on the Soissons Memorial - Gardiner, Horncastle, Senior & Smith.  Thanks to Forum help I now know the reason.     Regards, PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 11:17:45 AM »
On the 1st July 1916 the 20th Manchesters were in the Bois Francais trenches at Fricourt.   On their left flank was "A" company of the 7th battalion of the Green Howards under the command of Major R.E.D.Kent.  The 20th Manchesters and the 7th Green Howards were under orders to attack at 2.30 pm.    However, Major Kent gave orders for his company to attack at 8.30 am, with the result that very heavy casualties were incurred (including Major Kent) from the enemy strong point at Wing Corner.  No explanation as to why Major Kent disobeyed orders was discovered.    As the Green Howards' history reports, the subsequent British artillery fire was hampered by the knowledge of men lying out in No Man's Land and, no doubt, affected the subsequent attack by the 20th Manchesters. 

It would seem that Major Kent recovered from his wounds, achieving the rank of Lt. Col. and taking command of the 4th battalion Green Howards.    On the 27th May 1918 the battalion was in action on the Chemin des Dames front at La Hutte and suffered very heavy casualties - "by 8.0 am nearly the whole battalion had been killed or captured, amongst the dead being Lt.Col. Kent."   No attachments from the Manchester Regiment appear to have been the case in this instance.   Colonel Kent's name is recorded on the Soissons Memorial.

I noticed, however, that the 7th Leicestershires went into action near Berry au Bac and two officers of the Manchesters were taken prisoner whilst serving with that battalion on the 27th May 1918.   They were 2nd Lieutenants A.W.Acocks and F.N.Morgan.  PhilipG

Offline charlie

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Re: Lt. Robert Vincent Gilliat : 10th Manchesters (attd. 2 Royal Berks.)
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2017, 07:48:56 PM »
I noticed, however, that the 7th Leicestershires went into action near Berry au Bac and two officers of the Manchesters were taken prisoner whilst serving with that battalion on the 27th May 1918.   They were 2nd Lieutenants A.W.Acocks and F.N.Morgan.  PhilipG

Philip,
Do you have anymore information on these two Officers please? I am having difficulty finding their link to the Manchester Regt.

Charlie