Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers


Bob Coulson
 Share

Recommended Posts

Would anyone have any info on the actions of the 4th Batt'n at the time of the end of March 1916 in the St Eloi area.

Would be grateful for any help/leads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob, you may already know Rev E. Noel Mellish was awarded a VC for this action, while serving as a padre to this battalion:

During the period 27/29 March 1916 at St. Eloi, Belgium, Captain The Reverend Noel Mellish went backwards and forwards under continuous and very heavy shell and machine-gun fire between our original trenches and those captured from the enemy, in order to tend and rescue wounded men. He brought in 10 badly wounded men on the first day from ground swept by machine-gun fire. He went back on the second day and brought in 12 more and on the night of the third day he took charge of a party of volunteers and once more returned to the trenches to rescue the remaining wounded.

http://www.chapter-one.com/vc/award.asp?vc=856

A friend of mine, a fellow guide, whom I think you met on the Armistice Day tour last year also has an interest in the action and battlion; email me off thread for his details.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Action took place on 27th March. 4/RF along with 1/Northumberland Fusiliers had the objective of straightening the line at St Eloi and cutting away the German salient which encroached on the lines to a depth of 100 yards and frontage of 600 yards. Attack preceded by firing of 6 large mines. The explosion was heard in towns many miles away and many Germans were killed. 30 seconds after the mines went up the infantry attacked. The 1/NF met with little opposition but the 4/RF not so. Attack started at 4.15am with W & X Coys on left and Y and Z on right. After the mines went up they were met with heavy rifle, MG and artillery fire. Germans seemed to be on the alert and the 4/RF lost heavily, however, they stormed the uncut wire and took the first trench line. But they were so weakened they could get no further and the ground was consolidated. Rest of the day spent in artillery fire so intense it was impossible to relieve the battalion until midnight when small parties of the 2/Royal Scots got through. Relief not completed until 6am, March 28th.

Casualties: 10 officers and 255 OR. Capt Moxon, 2nd Lts Tothill, Howard, Boddy and Perrier killed and Lt Hardman DoW.

Source: Royal Fusiliers in the Great War, O'Neill. There is a two page description of the action + map in the Official History (1916 Vol 1)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Incidentally, Private Donald Fraser of the 31st Battalion CEF gives a good description of taking over this battlefield when the 3rd Division pulled out; it appears in his book The Journal of Private Fraser (now reprinted by CEF Books and available from Ray Westlake).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...