Author Topic: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards  (Read 3107 times)

Offline PhilipG

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2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« on: August 05, 2020, 11:54:18 AM »
The War Diary for the battalion's stay in billets at Hancourt in the period 6th - 8th October 1918 gives the following advice of awards for bravery.

Lt.Col. G.M.Robertson DSO - Bar to DSO.        2nd Lt. A W Bowden - Military Cross.      22248 Sgt. M.Fisher MM - Distinguished Conduct Medal.

As the battalion was recuperating after battle at Joncourt the previous week, I am assuming the awards would not refer to that particular action.    Perhaps they were in respect of the battalion's actions during the last few days of August 1918 and took place during the "Advance to Victory" ?     Comments welcome.     PhilipG.

Offline mack

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2020, 12:39:39 PM »
philip
use the search facility and type in 22248,that will give you a bit more info

mack

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 11:28:55 AM »
Mack,

Thank you.   I followed your advice and visited the appropriate site. Alas, the writer seems to have had similar difficulties.   I await events where it may be possible to obtain the info. by reference to the awards to the two officers.   Surely, an award of a bar to a DSO warrants some explanation ?   In the meantime, I will have another look at the 2nd battalion's history, especially within the period of the "Last 100 days."     PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2020, 09:52:57 PM »
Philip,
Lt.Col. Robertson‘s bar to his DSO was awarded for his actions on 10 & 11 August 1918 near Parvillers-le-Quesnoy. The award wasn‘t Gazetted till 11 January 1919. His DSO was Gazetted on 3 June 1918.
Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2020, 11:19:47 AM »
 Charlie,
   Thank you once again for helping an old matrose in distress still aboard the Lockdown.     I note that on the 6th August 1918, King George V inspected the 96th Brigade at Proven, at which  Captain Taylor and 20 NCO's & men took their place as representatives of the battalion, prior to it being attached to the Canadian Corps on the following day.

At 4am on the 10th August, the battalion was in support of the attack by the 15th & 16th Lancashire Fusiliers, as you report, on Parvillers and also at Damery Woods, thereafter holding the outpost line until the night of the 11th August.   Major Marshall, he of the many wounds, was wounded again during this attack.   PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2020, 04:11:29 PM »
Philip,
I‘ve also drawn a blank with the date and place of Sgt Fisher‘s DCM award. The DCM citations with the date and place annotated in ink appear to cease in early October 1918, unfortunately his DCM was Gazetted on 5 December. I shall continue to try and track down 2/Lt Bowden‘s MC.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2020, 11:24:11 AM »
One of the battalions which had lost its Commanding Officer was the 15th Bn.Lancs. Fus.   It was commanded by Lt.Col. Henry K. Utterson DSO, MID (3) attached from the Dorsets, a son of a Major-General.   He is buried in Ignaucourt Churchyard and from the CWGC photograph, it would seem quite separately from other graves - a sad isolated location.   PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2020, 10:53:16 AM »
The War Diary entry for the 6th October 1918 relating to Hancourt has the following entry.   "Officers and Drums of the Battalion attended the funeral of the late Lieut. Colonel A.Stone DSO".  This entry relates to the Colonel's death in action at Ramicourt on the 2nd October whilst serving with the 16th Lancashire Fusiliers, which resulted in his body being transferred from the battlefield to rest in Hancourt British Cemetery.

I take it that the word "Drums" is a description of the group of bandsmen detailed for the ceremony and not necessarily an indication that musical instruments were readily available even though the battalion was on active service?    But I may be wrong.    PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 11:01:30 AM »
                                                                                        2nd Lt A W Bowden MC

The award of the Military Cross to this officer appears to be in connection with patrol work in August 1918 during the Advance to Victory in the region of Vermandovillers and Ablaincourt.  He was wounded on the 1st October during the fighting at Joncourt.     PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 11:49:31 AM »
Thanks Philip I‘ve found him with your help. The MC was awarded for his bravery on 26th August near Amiens.
The decoration was Gazetted on 11th January 1919.
Charlie

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2020, 08:56:46 PM »
I take it that the word "Drums" is a description of the group of bandsmen detailed for the ceremony and not necessarily an indication that musical instruments were readily available even though the battalion was on active service?    But I may be wrong.    PhilipG.

Philip,
As the photo clearly shows, the Corps of Drums of one of the Manchester battalions had its instruments available. I would therefore think that Drums refers to the Corps of Drums which would have provided appropriate music and probably sounded the Last Post.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2020, 10:41:33 AM »

Charlie,

Many thanks for that clarification.    It never occurred to me that a band of that size would accompany a battalion on active service.     My thoughts were that musical instruments held by the QM would be limited to say, bugles, and that the appropriate number of buglers would be called forward to carry out military procedures relative to the burial of an officer of that seniority.

My mind has turned to the March Retreat and the potential for "wastage" of musical instruments which must have taken place at that time.      PhilipG.

Offline charlie

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2020, 12:29:16 PM »
Philip,
I think it perhaps appropriate to explain what is shown it the photo. The photo shows the Corps of Drums of a battalion and not the Band. The instruments played by the Corps of Drums were only Drums, Bugles and Flutes, a Drummer would normally be required to be proficient on all three.

The war establishment of an infantry battalion such as the Manchesters in 1914 (the establishments of Rifle, Scottish and Irish battalions differed) allowed for 4 Drummers per company and a Drum Serjeant (Drum Major) who was on the establishment of the battalion HQ. The Drummers (the term includes Buglers) were trained riflemen and were an integral part of each company. The Drummers coming together to form the Corps of Drums as required.

There was no war establishment for Bandsmen, on mobilisation the band was broken up and the Bandsmen usually employed as stretcher bearers, the Bandmaster was not mobilised and remained at the depot.

Charlie

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2020, 05:35:44 PM »
Charlie,

I think I have got the picture, thank you again.    PhilipG.

Offline PhilipG

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Re: 2nd Manchesters : Hancourt - War Diary - Bravery Awards
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2020, 12:23:09 PM »
 On the 10th October 1918, 2nd Lt Wilfred Owen was acting CO of "D" Coy. 2nd Manchesters which was temporarily in billets in Hancourt.   He writes to his mother that in the early hours of that day,  a substantial number of reinforcements arrived, some of which he describes as "outgrown drummers".   He goes on to write that a number of these drummers were once waiters in the Officers' Mess in Scarborough when Owen was its Mess Secretary.   Possibly his description of these men indicates that they were previously awaiting the time when their ages qualified them for overseas service ?

Shortly afterwards the Manchesters' 2 i/c - Major J.N.Marshall took command of the 16th Lancs. Fusiliers, with Major J.L.Murphy replacing him in that role and then temporarily, assuming command of the battalion when Lt.Col.Robertson departed for England on leave.  By the 4th November both Marshall and Owen and perhaps some of Owen's drummers too, were to fall on the banks of the Sambre-Oise Canal.

PhilipG.