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13th Bn. K.R.R.C. Oct/Nov 1918, 22 Military Medals awarded


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I have been researching A/204195 Private Creswell John Gilbert Taylor MM 13th KRRC - a “good name” for family studies if ever there was one.

Creswell Taylor was born c1898 in East Ham, Essex and grew up at Upton Park with his family. His father was a “cardboard box maker”. The son followed in the family trade and when he enlisted in August 1916 he gave his trade as a “cardboard box cutter”. He joined the 13th Battalion of the KRRC in France in August 1917 and, with the exception of a brief spell of home leave over Christmas/New Year 1918/19, remained there until January 1919.

He took part in the operations east of BUCQUOY with “C” Coy. in August 1918 but was gassed on 22nd August. He was evacuated via 49th Field Ambulance to the 9th General Hospital and then to 12th General Hospital, Rouen. His name appears in the Roll of Honour for 13th Bn.

His surviving service record is not complete and what remains is badly water damaged. He is certainly not yet back with the 13th Bn. on the 14th October 1918. However jump forward to the London Gazette of 17th June 1919 and he is in a list of KRRC men awarded the Military Medal (MM).

An initial search of the bound copy of the 13th Bn. War Diary at the Winchester “Rifles Museum” did not come up with Taylor’s name. However, when the Rifle Brigade and KRRC War Diaries were moved to the Hampshire Record Office for preservation, a file of “Duplicate Diaries” from 1918 was found. When I explored these papers, those for November 1918 were more comprehensive than the bound copy. The file contained papers and a map relating to an attack to capture the village of LOUVIGNIES-LE QUESNOY on 3/4 November 1918, the last significant action for the 13th Battalion in WW1. More exciting was the final pages of the War Diary for November 1918, listing the names of those awarded gallantry medals. No less than 22 MM awards were listed, one of which was for A/204195 Private C. Taylor.

Howard Williamson in “The Great War Medal Collectors Companion” states that the MM awards Gazetted in the LG of 17 June 1919 are mostly awards for the battles of October 1918, whilst those for the last big attack on 4th November seem to be largely in the Gazette of 23 July 1919. However there are no awards to 13th Bn KRRC that I could find in this latter LG.

However, looking through the War Diary, there seems to be just three significant actions that could be candidates for the 22 MMs. Firstly in October, the advance on the MASNIERS-BEAUREVOIR line in which 13th Bn. attacked MEZIERS FARM and the sunken road to the north of the farm on 8th October. The 13th captured over 300 prisioners. The 13th Bn. took part in a delayed attack on 22/23 October to capture the villages of NEUVILLE, VITERLAN & SALESCHES. “B” and “C” companies both reached their objectives. The third is the attack and capture of LOUVIGNIES-LE QUESNOY on 3/4th November.

Taylor’s MM cannot be for the 8th October action as he was still at Base Depot six days later after his gassing, leaving the possibility of either the 22/23rd October or the November 4th attack.

The latter was a particularly bloody affair with prolonged hand to hand fighting in enemy trenches and in the cellars of houses in the wrecked village. One NCO was reported to have killed 3 Germans in a cellar using a hand axe ! The War diary reports that - “In many cases as soon as our men were within hand to hand fighting distance, the enemy surrended, but here and there more determined resistance was met and considerable bayonet work took place. On the right front (“C” Coy.) about 70 dead Germans were counted. The Field Ambulance informed our M.O. that an unusually large number of enemy wounded passed through suffering severe bayonet wounds.”

The full list of MM awards to 13th Bn, KRRC from the War Diary for November 1918 was –

C/4719 Sjt. Hayhow, J.

R/4275 Sjt. Monk, R.

R/9062 Sjt. Smith, J

R/33718 Cpl. Allen, F

A/2947 Cpl. Bowen, E.

R/11060 Cpl. Lockwood, H.

R/43865 Cpl. Rowley, H.A.

13081 Cpl. Wright, G

R/12325 Pte. Cadomy,C.W.

A/203516 Pte. Darling, W

R/39655 Pte. Dear, C.

A/205482 Pte. Edbrook, A.C.

R/35209 Pte. Godway, R. (Godwin in Diary)

S/5021 Pte. Hall, J.

56575 Pte. Harding, A.N.

A/202314 Pte. Hopkins, A.T.

56484 Pte. Johnson, B.A.

R/3118 Pte. Martin, H.J.

S/204075 Pte. Mountier, S.

R/38319 Pte. Platt, R.W.

6/588 Pte Roach, J.

A/204195 Pte. Taylor, C.

Can anyone add anything more to the award of these 22 MMs, all to 13th Bn, KRRC in the last month of the war? Can any be attributed to a particular action ? Thanks in advance.


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