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Remembered Today:

Herbert S Seeley 10th Essex 28th Sept 1916


Moston
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I'm taking a guy who's grandfather was the above chap to the Somme in a few weeks.

He won a DCM on 28th Sept 1916 - presumably attacking Bulger Trench Thiepval? - is there anyway I can find out a bit more about his DCM? - I'd love to be able to get his grandson as close to the spot as possible.

Thanks in advance.

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The citation will be in the London Gazette. It is online and searchable.

Details very likely to be given in the battalion war diary.

Thank you....

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Here's the DCM citation, London Gazette #29837, 25 November 1916.

8252 L./Sjt. H. Seeley, Essex R.

For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a bombing attack against an enemy barricade with great courage and determination, achieving most valuable results. He was wounded.

Link to Gazette is Here

Steve

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Do you have his Medal Index Cards? Just in case you haven't here they are....

Top Image - Card for Campaign Medals.

Bottom Image - Card for DCM.

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Wow - wasn't expecting this level of response !

One point - the family say he got the DCM on 28/9/16 - why the Nov 1916 date on the card? - is that the date he was 'gazetted'?

No I haven't got the Medal Card so thanks for that ....I only found out the barest details yesterday from his Grandson who has never been to the Somme before - he asked me if I'd ever heard of 'Thiepval' before !?!?!?!

Anything I can discover to make his trip one to remember wil be brilliant.

(Re War Diary....Essex Regt Museum shut for refurb until Nov 2009 !)

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One point - the family say he got the DCM on 28/9/16 - why the Nov 1916 date on the card? - is that the date he was 'gazetted'?

In a word, Yes. Official recognition in London Gazette was 'usually' 2/3 months after the action for which it was awarded.

Steve

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Herbert Seeley was reported wounded four times during the war.

2.11.16 in the Time Times as Lance Sergeant

3.9.17 In the War Office Weekly List as Sgt

10.12.17 In the War Office Weekly List as Sgt

25.6.18 In the War Office Weekly List as CSM

Given the lag in reporting the first date fits with him being wounded on 28.9.16

The last date might indicate that he was wounded on 31.3.18, can't narrow down the middle two.

Although the museum is shut ,the curator, Ian Hook,is still about and now has functioning email again. Seeley was a prewar regular so Ian should have a fair amount of detail on him from the description books.

Regards

owen

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From the history of the 18th Division, pages 84 & 85:

Note that the date of the assault is the 26th September 1916.

A small party {of the 8th Suffolks} under 2nd Lieutenant S. H. Mason even reached a point well in advance of the battalion and started to dig themselves in under heavy fire from Medway and Bulgar Trenches. They hung on till 6.30 P.M., though Mason was killed and several his men were killed and wounded.

It is worth noting that the reserve company of the Suffolks reached No Man's Land in good time without a single casualty, thanks to judicious leading and care with regard to the enemy barrage.

On the left of the Suffolks the 10th Essex had also reached their objective, just beyond Thiepval village, well up to time and without serious losses, though not without a good deal of miscellaneous fighting in all the trenches. The enemy machine guns on their side of the village appeared, however, to have been dominated or destroyed by our artillery. During the hour's halt on this objective the reserve company of the Essex arrived, having given substantial help on the way to the company of the Norfolks that was engaged in clearing dug-outs of fighting Germans in the rear of the assault.

The padre of the 10th Essex, David Randell, went over the top with the second wave. The Boche machine-gun fire was now at its hottest. The padre and his party dropped flat, crawled into a shell-hole and then worked their way to another shell-hole. Soon after, the padre, working forward, startled three young Germans who had a machine-gun in a shell hole.

"I said 'pastor,'" says Randell, " and they looked at my badge and black tabs. One of them who spoke English a bit told me he had been to London. Then more men of the 10th Essex came along, and the three were taken prisoners. I got a saw-bayonet as trophy."

A brave N.C.O., Sergeant Seeley of the 10th Essex, dealt with one German bomb-stop, and then tried to take another. He was knocked down and bayoneted three times in the legs, but got away with the help of his men, and assisted in holding the bomb-stop first captured.

So far so good : the 53rd Brigade had reached its objective and made good everything to a depth of about 1,000 yards, and had done it by sticking close behind its barrage. On its left it was in touch with the {12th} Middlesex right, but when the arranged hour's halt ended and the brigade pushed forward towards Schwaben Redoubt, its final objective, it was found practically impossible to go on, as the north-west corner of Thiepval had not yet been cleared by the 54th Brigade {11th Royal Fusiliers area}, and the Essex were held up by every kind of fire from this area. A heavy fire was poured into the assaulting companies from Martin and Bulgar Trenches, and they were also enfiladed by machine-guns, so that although they actually advanced 150 yards, the battalion came to a standstill after suffering numerous casualties. Gallant efforts throughout the afternoon to bomb a way forward were unsuccessful, and at 8.30 P.M. the Essex were ordered to consolidate the positions already gained and await further instructions for attacking Schwaben Redoubt.

In the meantime the 54th Brigade had moved out at zero to assault the Thiepval position...... {etc.}

Nice bit of a mention there, but ouch.... :(

Steve.

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This is fantastic stuff chaps ! thank you all very much.

The 'grandson' and the son of this man are so very excited to hear all this for the first time. The 'son' is in his 80's now and has always wanted to go to France to see where all this happened.

I'm hoping that once the grandson has been then it'll be the son's turn.

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Although the museum is shut ,the curator, Ian Hook,is still about and now has functioning email again. Seeley was a prewar regular so Ian should have a fair amount of detail on him from the description books.

Regards

owen

Is this his e-mail? - if so I used it yesterday.

'pompadour@chelmsford.gov.uk'

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That's the one. I'd be interested in any details you get from Ian.

Good luck

Owen

Will do...the family have at least a picture of H Seeley in his hospital blues....I suppose they could take their pic as to what date that was from !

I'll let you have sight of what I can get.

(any info on how to post photo's on here by the way?)

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