Author Topic: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill  (Read 10779 times)

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2017, 12:29:21 PM »
Timberman,

2nd Lt. H.Gaukroger - Savy British Cemetery

As you know, Wilfred Owen was in action at Francilly Selency on the 3rd April 1917.   There is a well known connection between Owen and 2nd Lt. Gaukroger's death and you may again wish to visit the relative thread of 20th September 2013 under Gaukroger's name.  PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2017, 02:10:58 PM »
 Philip
 I've got to disagree as to the position of the 6 x 77mm field guns.
We seem to have two conflicting reports to the position of the guns.

Yours from the history of the 15th H.L.I. and mine from the history of the Manchester Regiment.

The following is from The Manchester Regiment Volume 11 1883-1922

Early in April 1917 the battalion came into action again. The objectives were Selency and Francilly-Selency. Punctually at zero hour the line advanced to the attack and was immediately met by heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. This came principally from the high ground to become known as Manchester Hill. Second Lieutenant Taylor, who was in command of two platoons of 'A' company successfully attacked and captured four machine guns and then a further two machine guns in an adjoining trench.
The attack on Francilly was successful but when the advance was continued 'C' Company and a part of 'B' Company suddenly came across a battery of 77mm field guns on the low ground NE of the village which was firing at point blank range. Captain Gerald Glover, attacking both in front and on the right, captured the battery after a hand-to-hand fight with the remaining gunners. An escort was left with the guns, the advance resumed, and Selency, about 1,250 yards beyond Francilly-Selency was captured at 6 am. Both Major Glover and Lieutenant Taylor were awarded the Military Cross for their actions that day. Private C E Overton, signaller of 'A' Company was recommended for the Victoria Cross but was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

It states clearly that it was NE of the village and not SE.
They had already captured Francilly-Selency and were advancing towards Selency
when they came upon the battery.
I think the Manchester's account is correct.

Timberman
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 02:20:29 PM by timberman »

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2017, 02:19:41 PM »

A bit more information with regard to the guns.

On the night of the 2nd efforts were made by the Adjutant Lieutenant
G. R. Thomas and some men with drag ropes to draw the guns out of
their position but proved to be impossible.

Timberman

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2017, 03:45:12 PM »
Philip
I just read the war diaries for the 2nd of April and there is very little written.
But after the events of the 2nd a full report of 3 pages was made by the
commanding officer were he thanks Capt H R C Green for the loan of his
note of events to allow him to make a full report.
It is from this report that the information in the history was taken.

The copies of the original that I had make it difficult to read, the ones down
loaded from the NA make a lot better reading.

Timberman 

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2017, 05:50:14 PM »
Timberman,

Thank you once again.   I am trying to discover where the 15th H.L.I. got it wrong, which requires the corners of three maps !!!   Do you agree, please, that on the map (Reply No. 10) upon which you have placed a red arrow is the Roman road and not the N29 at Selency?  The Roman road is dead straight from Bois des Roses to Vermand via Holnon.   Sorry to be a nuisance. PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2017, 07:47:28 PM »
Philip

Before the cross roads it is called Rue de la Chausse'e Romaine
(Roman Roadway) then it becomes Rue de l'Eglise (church street)
then has several names till it gets through Holnon when it reverts
back to Rue de la Chausse'e Romaine.

The picture is of the area of Selency with the missing roads in red.
Click on the map to make it bigger.

Timberman
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 08:05:28 PM by timberman »

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2017, 08:03:33 PM »
Philip
This second map shows the missing roads in more detail
and the blue star is the area of the guns just NE of Francilly-Selency.
Click on the map to make it bigger.
Timberman
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 08:05:43 PM by timberman »

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2017, 12:18:26 PM »
Timberman,

Thank you once again for the trouble you have taken.  I shall examine the H.L.I.'s account again.   In the matter of the captured German guns, I give an extract from a book published in 1932 written by the Trench Mortar Batteries' Reconnaissance Officer at 32 Division's Artillery HQ.   He writes:  "An enemy battery was captured near Selency, and here a great fight raged later in the day (2nd April) for the guns were not completely in our lines".

He goes on.  "A party of men brought in this enemy battery after dark.  Artillery horses and men under Captain Ward, of the 161st Brigade R.F.A. and a covering party of H.L.I., both under Major Lumsden, went into No Man's Land, but the Hun did so too and a great fight ensued round the guns.  Lumsden killed several himself..........".
He continues.  "The guns were captured and brought into our lines - one gun was damaged as the Hun had put some dynamite in the breach block and exploded it; but the others were uninjured."

On the 8th April he writes : "The Trench Mortars took the captured German 77mm. battery into action south of Savy.   They hit St. Quentin Cathedral with the first shot and altogether fired about 100 rounds."     PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2017, 04:22:11 PM »
Thank you for the additional back ground information Philip

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2017, 12:54:19 PM »
In re-reading the 15th H.L.I's account of the action at Francilly-Selency, I was amused by two of the historian's observations.   He remarks: "The Manchesters were always a stuffy battalion".  He refers to the Manchesters as "that Midland battalion".   I suppose that if you live in Glasgow the city of Manchester is in the Midlands.  PhilipG.

timberman

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2017, 01:38:08 PM »
Philip

I've on just found this again may be worth a visit from 2014.

http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=7865.0

Timberman

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2017, 07:27:13 PM »
Timberman,

Excellent.  I have been trying to find that 2014 topic on numerous occasions recently.  Clever man.  I will return to this interesting subject shortly. As regards craters.  I think Charlie is spot on. Take care. PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2017, 01:56:14 PM »
Timberman,

As I indicated, I failed under the Forum's search mechanism to find that thread of some three years ago.  Thanks for finding it.

The crater at the junction of the D68 and the now grassed over D683 was still there in February 1918.  I wonder if it was there on the 21st March 1918?   In that connection, I am thinking of  C.Heaton's account as to the attack authorised by Col. Elstob to stop the arrival of a battery of German guns coming up the D68 from St. Quentin.   PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2017, 02:35:30 PM »
Philip
Some photos which I hope will be of general interest regarding the mine craters.

The photos, although taken in March 1918, show the magnitude of the type of crater I suspect A Company came across. 1 and 2 are at the cross roads of the D1029 - Chemin de Fayet - and the now missing road just to the east of Selency. Photo 3 is on the St Quentin - Ham Road.

I imagine that the Germans were well prepared to bridge such obstacles on the 21st March 1918. To quote from the history of Feld Artillerie Regiment 99 "Group Kollm was able to quickly cross the cratered ground and trenches due to the work of the Engineers and was in position on Margerin Höhe (Manchester Hill) by 1600hrs ready to support the attack on the second line."

Charlie

Offline themonsstar

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Re: 2nd Manchesters at Manchester Hill
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2017, 04:37:03 PM »
Good pics Charlie