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Remembered Today:

223rd Brigade, MC won 1918, which battle?


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I am requesting help regarding “A” Battery, 223rd Bde. deployment when 2nd Lt. William Lawson Hepher was awarded the M.C. It would have been after March 1918 (when Lawson was promoted to 2nd. Lt.) and before the medal citation date which reads: "1.11.1918 - For services rendered during the recent advance. During one period his battery was in action for 14 days."

From the clues "recent advance" and "in action for fourteen days", copies of original documents obtained from Lawson’s son, and the Order of Battle for The 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, my best guess would be: 26 Sept. - 9 Oct., 1918, being the Battles of the Canal du Nord and Cambrai, (both with the XV11 Corps). Correct me please, if I am barking up the wrong tree.

Your confirmation (or otherwise) on the above would be most appreciated.


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Hepher's MC was gazetted in the London Gazette of 11 January 1919 for an action east of Buequoy on 23 August 1918. The citation reads:

"HEPHER, 2nd Lt William Lawson, RFA SR, attd A/223rd (Home Counties) Bde, RFA TF. During an exceptionally intense period of shelling, when two detachments of his battery had been scattered, he took the place of No.2 at one of his guns and kept it in action during a S.O.S. call. His example of gallantry and devotion to duty at a very trying moment was most timely, and steadied the men, who were shaken by the heavy shelling."

He was decorated with the MC on 5 April 1919.

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Thank you for your interest and prompt reply. I had previously seen this citation in the Supplement to the London Gazette, 1 Sept. 1919 (page 624) but no mention of the action east of Buequoy. Can you give me further details linking Lt. Hepher with 23 August, 1918 ?

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CrestonWW1: The information on the date and location of the action in which Hepher won his MC is from the DSO/MC Gazette Books (WO 389) at The National Archives which for all DSO and MC awards that have a citation the gazette pages are annotated in ink with the date and location of the action.

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The registers in WO 389 can be downloaded for free from the National Archives Digital Microfilm project. See http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/digital-microfilm.htm

The ink annotation as seen in the register.


This is extracted from the War Diary of 223rd Brigade RFA:

Bucquoy 22nd August 1918

Enemy counter attacked on left of Brigade front. SOS was fired on two occasions and the attack was broken up.. 3 Re-enforcements posted from Base.
Casualties - 11 ORs wounded.
Bucquoy 23rd August 1918 - 5 pm
Two batteries moved forward to positions in G. A barrage was fired in support of an Infantry attack on Bihucourt which proved successful.
2/Lt. C. E. Cruickshank wounded to Hospital.
By 10 pm on 24th August they were at Achiet-Le-Petit.
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rflory & David,

Many thanks for your help in tying down the location of Lt. Hepher's MC award.

David, I also found your posting of 9 June, 2013:

"I have the War Diary for 223rd Brigade RFA (part of 63rd RN Divisional Artillery).

On August 21st to 23rd they were at Bucquoy, by August 24th had moved to Achiet-le-Petit. On the morning of August 25th they moved again and were in action near Grevillers by 1:30 pm. An enemy counter attack took place at 2:00 pm which was directly observed by the brigade and this attack was repulsed. The enemy counter attacked again at 3.00 pm but again were replused. For both counter attacks it is said the enemy sustained heavy losses. An SOS was received and answered the same day at 8:00 pm. By 5:00 pm on August 26th the advancing infantry of 63rd RN Division were attacking Thilloy and Ligny Thilloy."

The above actions may have been part of the "one period his battery was in action for 14 days".

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