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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Alone in NML in daylight


Mark Foxe

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Sgt Richard John Garcia, 14th Battalion AIF – part of his recommendation for the DCM. “Near Bois Grenier night of 2nd 3rd July 1916: This NCO volunteered to go out while it was still daylight into “NO MAN’S LAND” to prevent enemy patrols from gaining information as to the presence or approach of our raiding party. He then fell into his place in the raiding party.”

This raises in my mind some questions on his ‘mission’ and what he would have been expected to achieve especially I would suspect that enemy patrols in daylight in NML would have been somewhat of a rarity.

Any suggestions on how this task could have been expected to be achieved, and any thoughts on the use of camouflage in NML, communications etc?

Incidentally, Garcia was awarded the DCM for his role in the raid once he had fallen into his place in the raiding party.

Mark

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Presumably he went out just before nightfall "while it was still daylight" so as to be ready in position to ambush any German patrols setting out just after dark and prevent them meeting or spotting the raiding party. NML could be quite broad in places and was by no means a barren strip so there could be bushes, long grass etc that a single man might use to make a concealed crossing. Patrols were often effectively advanced sentries and could be just one or two men who, if taken by ambush, might be silenced by a skilled and determined man without using a firearm.

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Thanks Centurion. Having read what NML near Bois Grenier looked like at this time you are correct in that there was rank long grass, some stumps of willow trees near a stream plus shell craters. However the concept of going out into NML during daylight by oneself to prevent enemy patrols gaining information almost appeared at first to be a tantamount to a suicide mission. Would he have been expected to fire off a few shots and high tail it back to his own lines, or perhaps throw a few Mills bombs and scurry on back?

Quite an adrenalin rush though, this type of individual volunteerism!

Mark

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