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Remembered Today:

51st (Highland) Division


Chris Noble

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Hi.

Having recently returned from studying the actions of the 62nd (West Riding) Divisions actions at Marfaux and Bligny I would like to pursue an avenue of research into the actions of the 51st (Highland) Divisions actions at Bois De Courton, with an avenue to walking the battlefield as I have walked the previous above on the northern bank of the river Ardre.

In particular, I am interested in the actions of the 1/6th Gordon Highlanders. What very little information I have was kindly provided to me by a member of the Forum a number of years ago from "the 6th Gordons in France and Flanders".

I would like to take this research further and explore if any Forum members have Brigade or Divisional histories as regards this action. From what little I can gleam from the information that I have some casualties were sustained 'by friendly fire'? French artillery or Italian?

Just as a postscript, has anybody actually have any experience of walking this part of the battlefield? And any experience they have can they impart any information as I am looking to complete my research in this part of the Ardre.

Kindest regards

Chris Noble.

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Chris,

I have a copy of the Battalion History of the 1/8th Royal Scots(Pioneer Battalion to the Highland Division) and also their War Diary.

If you narrow down your dates I'm happy to post extracts.

George

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Hi George.

Many thanks for replying to the thread, much appreciated.

Specific date i am interested in is the 23rd July, 1918 if you would be so kind.

Kindest regards, Chris.

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Hello Chris,

what is your special interest on this battle ? relative or unit ?

I live not far...

Florent

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Chris,

1/8th Royal Scots War Diary

22nd----------.According to Orders received Battalion went into the line at BOIS de COUTRON & relieved the 6th GORDONS.--------------.

23rd- Battalion holding line.Headquarters shelled heavily from 6 a.m. till 8 a.m. & position afterwards changed."B" Coy under Capt. PRINGLE attacked on a 250 yard front with 7th A&S HIGHLANDERS on their right and 4th GORDONS on their left.The two centre platoons of "B" Coy were caught in barrage and lost heavily.The Platoon on the right under 2nd LIEUT.R.P. FRASER,and a platoon on the left under 2nd LIEUT J.F. CRAWFORD got through the barrage & did excellent work.They reached their objectives,destroyed two machine gun nests and captured 28 prisoners.As the troops on the flanks failed to make any advance they had to withdraw as they were in danger of being cut off.The Company had 80 casualties.LIEUT. J.O CHISHOLM was severely wounded & subsequently died of wounds.2nd LIEUT J. OLIVER was also wounded.

George

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Chris,

I know this is out of the time peroid you are looking at but I was wondering if you have details on the 51st or 62nd Div during the fighting from the 27th to 30th July 1918.

My interest here related to the actions of the 22nd Corps Mounted Regt (aussie and NZ Cavalry) when they were given the lead on the 27th July in the capture of Bligny.

I have been trying to find a British account from the Infantry who both suported.

I have a number of accounts by aussie LH during this time period and in relation to the suport of the 51st and 62nd Divs.

Cheers

S.B

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S.B.

From the 8th R.S. War Diary

27th-Quiet at dawn.Division in co-operation with 62nd Division and French attacked at 6 a.m.,but found enemy had withdrawn.Battalion kept in reserve but not used.

28th-Battalion replaced under C.R.E."C"Coy,working on road at NANTEUIL.Other Companies making quarters habitable.Good progress made to-day by French and ourselves.Enemy back to and even beyond their old line.Weather unsettled & considerable amount of rain.Echelon "B" and Transport moved forward to NANTEUIL.

29TH-Beautiful morning."A" & "B" Companies engaged repairing track from BOIS de L'AULNAY to CHAUMUZY."C" Coy. worked on road between CHAUMUZY to NAPPES.

30th-"B" Coy out salving Machine guns and "C" Coy assists with burials.Allies still making good progress.2nd LIEUTs.P.A.F. LIDDLE and W.D. ARMSTRONG return from interview with R.A.F Officer.

George

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Chris, no problem, you are welcome to send me a PM.

I also study this battlefield, as I live not far. I have several war diaries copies if I can help... ( but I am looking for 8th West Yorks too).

SteveB.

I am interested in 22nd Corps mounted troops, especially Otago MR, during this period. There are some Otago MR graves on the cemeteries nearby, but I have absolutly no archives about. If you can help..

I have the NZ Cyclist battalion history which took Marfaux-Cuitron on 23rd July.

Have a good day

Florent

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Forent,

Do you have the 8th Royal Scots Diary?

If not,do you want any more extracts?

I'll gladly post,I have no direct interest in the action as my Uncle was killed in March 1918 whilst serving with the Battalion.

George

Add-re West Yorks,from 8th RS War Diary

26th-"A"& "B" were being bathed in the afternoon,when sudden orders received for Battalion to relieve 2/8th WEST YORKS tonight,in the line.Battalion,less Echelon B marched out of camp at 7 p.m. in a downpour of rain.Some shelling of roads,but relief completed without mishap.Battalion in reserve and holding spur of FORET de la MONTAGNE de REIMS,which French had held successfully for 3 days although partly isolated.Night quiet but very wet.

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George,

I just checked my archives and I have nothing about the 8th R.Scots.

I am interested in war diary entries from 19th to 23rf July if available.

Thanks a lot

Florent

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Hi Steve/Florent.

When i have some time, maybe this weekend, i will forward some info that i have.

Primarily, West Yorkshire Regiment information.

Kindest regards to all.

Chris.

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Florent,

Your wish is my command. :D

19th-Following on Secret Orders received at 5 a.m. for the Battalion to be at the Cross Roads one mile South of BRUGNY,a distance of 23 kilometres away,by 12.30 p.m. the Battalion resumed its march at 7 a.m.Weather very hot & men exhausted carrying packs & extra ammunition.It was found that the place mentioned could not be reached at the time stated,and LIEUT W.G. YOUNG,ASST.Adjutant was sent on ahead,but found no one with orders for the Battalion,so when the Battalion arrived at 3 p.m. it bivouaced in adjacent woods.

20th-Following on Secret Orders received during the night the Battalion paraded at 4 a.m. and marched to one mile North of BELLE VUE,passing through EPERNAY en route.distance about 20 kilometres-men very exhausted on arrival on accout of heat & extra ammunition carried.Packs were dumped at last halt."C" Coy,rejoined the Battalion at its destination at BELLEVUE.The Division with the 62nd Division on its right and the 9th French Division on its left attacked the enemy on a Battalion front and at the time specified had taken practically all its objectives."C" Coy were out repairing a road under the R.Es. but had to withdraw on account of shell fire.They had six men wounded.

Record of "C" Company's movements since entraining at TINQUES.

July 17th.Detrained at HERME and were motored in French busses to AVIZE,found no trace of Division there & were informed that 153rd Infantry Brigade were at CHOUILLY & marched to that place in the evening.Found that 154th Brigade were at CHOUILLY & that 153rd Brigade at PIERRY.Billeted in CHOUILLY for the night.

July 18th.Marched to PIERRY and Company met there by 2nd Lieut.W.G. CALDER who had preceded Coy. over night.He had been informed that Battalion was at MANCHY and Coy. continued its march to that place,but Battalion was not there.Men very exhausted & rations short.Coy billeted in MANCHY.

Record of "C" Company's movements contd.

July 19th.According to orders received Company moves to DIZY MAGENTA where men were bathed in MARNE canal.Orders received for Company to join 400th Field Coy R.E. in the vicinity of BELLE VUE which was reached in the afternoon.

July 20th.Company worked on artillery road through FOREST de REIMS along with R.Es.Work interrupted with heavy shelling.Coy rejoins Battalion.

21st-According to Secret Orders received at 4 a.m. Battalion,less Echelon B. left camp and marched a distance of about 8 kilometres and took up a position in BOIS de SARBRUGE just west on NANTEUIL.Shelling was encountered on the way & "C" Coy had 1 man killed and 7 wounded.Tools & Mess Stores came up by Transport & while these were being unloaded the Battalion suffered the following casualties by shell fire:"A" Coy.2nd LIEUT. R.A. JAMISON killed and LIEUT A.Mc,K.GORDON severely wounded 2 O.R. killed & 4 wounded."B" Coy.1 man killed & 4 wounded.Transport,1 man killed & 2 wounded.Bad day for the Battalion.

French have had a great success between SOISSONS and REIMS,enemy driven back over the MARNE.Situation on Divisional front reports very satisfactory.

22nd-Very noisy night with artillery fire.Communique received conveying thanks of XXII Commander and French Army Commander for the good work it had done during the last two days."B" Coy under Capt. PRINGLE sent to the 154th Brigade as supporting troops.According to Orders received Battalion went into the line at BOIS de COUTRON & relieved the 6th GORDONS."B" were attached to the 7th A&S HIGHLANDERS,and assisted REs. in cutting path in the woods.This continued till midnight when they received orders to take part in an attack with 154th Infantry Brigade next morning at 6 a.m.

23rd-see earlier post.

George

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Many Thanks George for this diary.

It will be a great addition for my records !

Florent

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Mates,

Thanks for your replys.

First we need to understand the fighting around the 27th July when after the 51st Div had attacked that morning and gained its objectives with only one German prisoner. the Corps commander believed the Germans were retiring and ordered the 62nd Div to take over the advance in the afternoon with the 22nd Corps Cav to conduct patrols to gain contact with the Germans.

The accounts I have all show British units of the 62nd Div over the next few days, around Bligny the 2/4 DWR and the 2/4 Hamp and between Bligny and Montagne the 5 Devon and 8 West yorks.

As to the Otago Sqn mate its a mystery to me. I have tried the NZ MR Assoc webb site to discover what they had and I have placed there some details I found in the discussion area if you would care to check it out that may help. Also there appear to be a unit history now being worked on so when it may came out is unknown

But there is little I can't find even its Sqn commander is not confirmed? I think it maybe Maj MITCHELL Gordon Ross 9/181 or it could be Capt MITCHELL Robert Francis 9/385.

Other officers are harder to find and I have but which ones comanded Troops during that time is unknown;

BELL William 9/462

COLBOURNE Linser 9/132 (arrived after this peroid)

BIGGAR James Edward 11/1623 Lt

DELANNEY Austin Anslem 12/337 2/Lt

DENNISTON George Gordon 9/918 2/Lt

GILMOUR Ernest Mabin 9/1178 2/Lt

HERBERT Alfred Squires 9/1001 2/Lt

JOHNSTON Amos William 3/2593 2/Lt

STEWART Eric George Duncan 11/1650 2/Lt

TODD Norman Theodore 12/2493 2/Lt

As to those that died at this time I also have had some trouble I have this man;

HUTCHINGS William Ernest 9/413 Far/Sgt

Also these men recieved medals during the fighting but as yet how is unknown;

WEAVER Peter 9/1747 Sig DCM

HORNELL William John 9/44 Pte MM

MacGIBBON Angus William 9/1198 Cpl MM

WILLIAMSON David George 9/1131 Cpl MM

WEAVER John 9/461 Sgt MSM

Any ideas will add the the sourses.

Mate is it posible to send me the details on the Cyc Bn history during this time to see what they say? The position of the Cyc Bn during these four days 27 to 30 July I am still not sure on.

Cheers

S.B

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