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Remembered Today:

Yeomanry In Salonika


Gardenerbill
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Break through.

Although the British and the Greeks failed in the eastern sector; on the 21st further west the Serbians supported by the French and Italians succeeded in breaking through. The RAF reported columns of troops heading north, the enemy were in retreat and they had abandoned their trenches in the Doiran sector.

The same day the Derbys moved to W shore of L. Ardzan and the next day on to Grey Rocks north of lake Ardzan on the Gjevgeli map about 3km east of Smol. At 5 a.m. the next morning they are on the move passing through the deserted enemy lines about 4km east of the River Vardar. They passed through Stojakovo and Bogdanci, finally catching the Bulgarian rear guard in Furka Dere about 2km north east of Bogdanci on the Valandovo map, where they sit tight and wait until Greek infantry arrive.

Meanwhile the Surreys had moved through the town of Doiran and on to Kara Ogular a village in a valley about 2km north west of Lake Doiran before withdrawing to camp in a nearby ravine.

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Chasing the Bulgarians

Leaving the Greek infantry to deal with the Bulgarians at Furka Dere, on the morning of the 24th the Derbys are on the move again. Heading north east they move into the next valley north of Bogdanci passing through Dedeli and Cestovo and patrolling the villages of Tartali, Rebrovo & Vallandovo on the opposite side in the foothills of the Belasica Planina just 4-5 km SW of Kosturino.

In the village of Piravo a hospital of wounded prisoners is liberated and once again the Bulgarian rear guard are encountered this time at Tarteli (marked on the Valandovo map as Tatarli). The Bulgarians are engaged until the Greek infantry arrive when the regiment withdraws for rest.

Also on the 24th the Surreys move across the Blaga plain towards Visoku Cuka, a high point in the Belasica Planina Mountains about 9km N of L Doiran on the Dova Tepe Map. They get as far as ‘Ridge loop’ (can’t find this place) then back to lake Doiran shore for the night.

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Return to Kosturino

The main road to Kosturino was under shell fire, so on the 25th the Derby ‘A’ Squadron moved into a ravine E of Dedeli-Kosturino road following the ravine on to Kajahli and Dorsale Des Arbres. The results of RAF bombing and strafing filled the ravines and gullies, with dead Bulgarians, animals and abandoned equipment everywhere. ‘A’ squadron was Joined by ‘C’ at Conevert De Cepelli Piton and together they passed through Kosturino, at an unnamed ridge they once again encountering the Bulgarian rear guard. On cue the Greek infantry arrived and the Derbys returned to Kosturino and bivouacked for the night.

On the same day the Surreys supported the left flank of the 65th Brigades attack on Visoka Cuka. This involved a 3 mile gallop to ridge loop along an exposed road under shell fire. At ridge loop they made contact with the 9th East Lancs and waited for 3 hours in cover for the order to make a dismounted attack on Visoka Cuka. Instead the order came through to return to Lake Doiran, where they remained for the next 3 days. Casualties during the gallop were 2 men dead and 14 wounded, 8 horses killed, 27 wounded and 12 missing.

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The Dash for Strumitza valley.

According to the Derbyshire History, there were 2 roads through the mountains from Kosturino into the strategically important Strumitza valley. “C” Squadron would take one and the rest of the regiment the other with “B” squadron in advance. On the 26th they all set off, after a couple of miles a staff car containing Bulgarian officers under a white flag passed “B” squadron, although the Bulgarians wanted peace the orders were to push on. With the Greek infantry pressing them hard a troop of “C” squadron galloped down into the plain and entered the town of Strumitza to a surprisingly friendly welcome. By the afternoon the whole regiment was in the valley but the Bulgarians shelled the roads resulting in some casualties amongst the transport section.

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The date in post #79 was incorrect I have edited it. To continue the story:

On th 27th the Derbyshire Regiment heads east down the Strumitza valley toward Petric and halts for night at Bosiljovo, the aim is to cut off the Bulgarian retreat from the Struma valley. The next day the regiment is on the move again on route to Jenikoi, here the Bulgarian infantry and artillery are encountered again. Thr regiment bivouacked at Borihovo.

Meanwhile rumours of the Bulgarian officers under flag of truce motoring through the lines reached the Surreys and the same afternoon they moved via Masauli and Dedeli to Cestovo, just a few kilometres south of Kosturino, where they bivouacked for the night.

Note: I Couldn't find Masauli but it could be a misreading of Hasanli.

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The last Battle?

On the 29th September, before dawn the Derby “C” squadron move out to establish contact with enemy. The squadron found itself between the Bulgarians and the Greek infantry in a difficult position and withdrew, observing the battle all day. The regiment bivouacked for the night again at Borihovo.

Also on the 29th the Surrey Yeomanry moved through the Kosturino pass to Strumitza.

At morning parade on the 30th the Derbys orders are to “stand fast”, then a report arrives of the Bulgarian unconditional surrender. The armistice is officially signed on 1st October and fighting in the Balkans comes to an end.

A new Brigade

By mid October the Derbyshire and Surrey Yeomanry along with the Lothian and Border Horse are back in the Struma valley at Orljak and a new mounted brigade is formed. Orders are to move East with the intention of attacking the Turks from Europe. At the end of October the new brigade had got as far Dadeagatch just 5 miles from the Turkish border, but before they could engage the enemy on the 31st of October the Turkish armistice is signed.

As we all know the Germans surrendered less than a fortnight later. There was no sea transport available for the Yeomanry regiments so they had to march back to Salonika where they waited their turn to be demobilised and sent home, the last group leaving in May 1919.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Conclusion

Before starting this topic my understanding of cavalry activity in the Great War was somewhat limited. I knew they were very active in the autumn of 1914 on the Western front but barbed wire and static trench warfare in 1915 side lined them, with many Yeomanry units subsequently converted to infantry. When I discovered that my Grandfather’s MT Company supplied Yeomanry units operating in the Struma valley I wanted to find out more about what they were doing. Reading the histories of the Surrey Yeomanry and the Derbyshire Yeomanry was a real eye opener. The Surreys served on the Western front with the 27th and 28th Divisions before they moved to Salonika and the description in post #7 confirmed my understanding of their limited behind the lines activity. In Macedonia it was a different story, here the Yeomanry units were fully active throughout the campaign. Initially out on reconnaissance and intelligence gathering patrols, frequently coming in contact with enemy cavalry and infantry units, then once the front line was established patrolling the outpost line in the Struma valley and finally at the vanguard of the pursuit of the retreating Bulgarians that lead to their surrender.

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I really enjoyed this thread..

Among my late father's family papers was this battered relic

post-50-0-72518400-1415447544_thumb.jpg

labelled 'uncle Billy prewar DERBYS yeomanry'

The family lived in Osmaston near Ashbourne and owned the post office, were church sextons....

post-50-0-72984100-1415448061_thumb.jpg

I think Billy was my great-uncle William Harvey Fielding (1895-1950) Private 1613 1/Derbyshire Yeomanry later L/Cpl P10780 Mounted Military Police.

The medal rolls helpfully list theatres and dates of service: it's the MMP roll from 1920...

3 12.4.15 - 10.10.15

2b 11.10.15 - 1.7.17

3 2.7.17 - 11.11.17

Presumably some of this service is Salonika? Do any of your resources name 'Private Fielding'?

Thanks for a great thread - Strutt on order!

Simon

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I really enjoyed this thread..

Among my late father's family papers was this battered relic

attachicon.gifuncle Billy prewar DERBYS yeomanry .jpg

labelled 'uncle Billy prewar DERBYS yeomanry'

The family lived in Osmaston near Ashbourne and owned the post office, were church sextons....

attachicon.gifFielding - John Harvey - outside Osmaston Post Office.jpg

I think Billy was my great-uncle William Harvey Fielding (1895-1950) Private 1613 1/Derbyshire Yeomanry later L/Cpl P10780 Mounted Military Police.

The medal rolls helpfully list theatres and dates of service: it's the MMP roll from 1920...

3 12.4.15 - 10.10.15

2b 11.10.15 - 1.7.17

3 2.7.17 - 11.11.17

Presumably some of this service is Salonika? Do any of your resources name 'Private Fielding'?

Thanks for a great thread - Strutt on order!

Simon

I have attempted to track down every DY man. He is on my database. Also has the 1917 Army Number 75133. Interestingly I do not have him on the 1914-15 Medal Star roll, yet his MIC shows a disembarkation date of 12th April 1915 in Egypt. Only 8 other DY men have this disembarkation date - the bulk of the regiment disembarking on 27th April 1915. It is possible there is a supplementary list that I have not yet found as none of the eight (now nine) men appear on the 1914-15 Medal Star roll.

The DY war diary is fairly unusual as it was kept from 5th Aug 1914 and covers eight months when the Regiment was still in the UK.

MG

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Fascinating. I think William worked with horses at Osmaston Manor - presumably where he learned to ride.

post-50-0-49876400-1415452183_thumb.jpg

The manor belonged to the Walker family and was demolished in 1964.

Out of interest, who are the eight men missing from the 14-18 roll?

And '2b' is Salonika?

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Some nice photos. If you have any photos relating to the DY I would be interested. I am trying to do an illustrated DY war diary and have a few photos already.

Here are the men who disembarked before the main body. There are more than 8. It seems I only have managed to trace the 1914-15 roll for the main body. This was done before the rolls became available online so probably worth updating. The spreadsheet has 1,772 men on it. It was build from the roll, and a trawl of MICs on Ancestry.

Edit: In case the image is too small:

2428 Pte Cooper Percy

1771 Pte Edgson William A

1776 A/Sgt Hardington George H

1446 L/Cpl Holmes Fred E

1157 Sgt Butterley John Wilfred

1809 Pte Bott George James Sherwin - 30 pages of his service record survive.

1532 Cpl Briddon

1842 Pte Cashman John

1830 Pte Gill John

1938 Pte Hainsworth Frank

1835 Cpl Holding Joseph

2341 Sgt Johnson Thomas

755 Pte Farmer Francis L

1865 Pte Gell Edward

462 SSM Pitman F A

1378 Pte Hall V S

All have MICs with disembarkation dates and I have not traced the roll they are on. None appear to have made it with the DY past the 1917 number change which might be a factor. I would have expected to still find them on the DY roll for 1914-15 Star. MG

post-55873-0-29552400-1415454793_thumb.j

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  • 2 years later...

Thought you might be interested in this which I recently discovered - the local paper has my great uncle's initial wrong but it is undoubtedly him. Weller and Roe both worked at Osmaston Manor as he did, Roe's service number very close to his, all three on a Roll of Honour. 

 

Best 

 

Simon

 

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal - Friday 17 December 1915 p.11
OSMASTON-BY-ASHBOURNE SOLDIER'S EXPERIENCE


A letter was received by Mr. H. Fielding, Post Office, Osmaston-by-Ashbourne, on Monday last, from his son, Trooper F. Fielding, (sic) Derbyshire Yeomanry, now serving with the British forces abroad. It is dated Nov. 29, and it the writer says:—We moved from the last camp on Tuesday last, and the weather has been awful since then, snow and frost and very rough. We heard that Bill Weller is the other side of the hill with the “Royal Scots,” but we haven't had time to go and see him yet. We had a big mail in yesterday. We had to move the horses into a gully yesterday, for they were nearly frozen to death same as we are. I’m not much in need of money out here. No one who hasn't been so far from home can realise what home does mean, I can tell you. Bill Roe and myself think different from what did when we left home. We have seen the good and bad in different countries, but there isn’t any to beat old England. Have been wishing I had kept the warm clothes I threw away in Egypt. Two chaps have just been brought in frozen with cold. I can tell you the “guards” in England were play to the “guards” out here. Never had a shave a wash for a week. Everyone is as well as can be. One kid has just been and pinched bit of wood make fire for a shave, but we haven't much time for shaving, as the horses need all our attention. 


Thomas William Roe 
Born Edlaston, Derbyshire in 1893, son of John William bricklayer, and Mary Annie: listed as ‘painter on estate’ in Osmaston census of 1911. 
Served in ‘D’ Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry from 28th March 1913, also Military Mounted Police Corps and the Pay Corps with serial numbers: 1610, P/7650
Deployed to theatre ‘2b’ on 12th April 1915 and is recorded as being treated for malaria in Cyprus in October.   
Treated for dysentery in May 1916, at No. 5 Canadian Hospital Kalamaria: ‘The summer of 1916 was difficult. At that period “we have been very busy in hospital, 1300 pts [patients]. Enteritis, dysentery, malaria. We had one death in officers ward from dysentery” writes Sister Nurse Laura Gamble in her diary on July 22.’ 
Discharged 1st December 1917.

 

William Willis Weller
Born in Groombridge Kent on 25th March 1886, by 1911 one of the twelve gardening staff at Mentmore Gardens, in Leighton Buzzard. Worked as part of the gardening staff at Osmaston Manor.
Served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers 1/8th (Service)Battalion with the service number 14377, rising to the rank of Company Quarter Master Sergeant. The 8th Battalion was formed at Ayr on 1 October 1914 as part of K3 and came under orders of 77th Brigade, 26th Division. Moved to Codford St Mary and went into billets in Bristol in November 1914. Moved to Sutton Veny in April 1915.  
Weller landed at landed at Boulogne with the Battalion on the 20 September 1915, and accompanied their redeployment to Salonika by November 1915. Later served with 2nd Battalion while attached to the 1/4th, and was mentioned in dispatches.  

He was demobilised on the 27th May 1919, and died in Hendon in September 1969 


The Derbyshire Advertiser February 6th, 1915 p.7
OSMASTON AND YELDERSLEY ROLL OF HONOUR. AMENDED LIST. 
ALLEN, F., King’s Royal Rifles. 
BOSTON, J., Army Medical Corps. 
BELL, C., Army Service Corps. 
BROWNSON, H., Corpl. Derbyshire Yeomanry. 
BROWN, B. Royal Scots. 
BROWN, C., Royal Field Artillery. 
BROWN, L., King’s Liverpool. 
BDOKLAND, C. Royal Scots Fusiliers. 
DAWSON, J. P.O. British Naval and Marine Expeditionary Force (Air Section). 
EVANS, G., 4th N. Mid. Howitzer Brig. (Terrs.). 
EVANS, E., R.F.A. 
FELTHAM, P., Territorials. 
FIELDING, W., Derbyshire Yeomanry. 
GAMBLE, A., R.F.A. 
GILMOUR, A., 4th Dragoon Guards. 
HAWKSLEY, S., Royal Engineers. 
HOOSON, H., 4th N.M. Howitzer Brig (Terrls.). 
HARDING, Captain South Wales Borderers. 
HUNT, J., R.F.A. 
HOLLOWAY, J., Royal Marine Light Infantry. 
LAW, A., Sherwood Foresters. 
NEWMAN, 4th N.M. Howitzer Brig. (T.). 
PITMAN, A., S. Sgt.-Major Derbys. Yeomanry. 
ROE, W., Derbyshire Yeomanry. 
RUST, W., R.F.A. 
SANDERSON, H., Army Service Corps. 
SANDERSON, W., R.F.A
TAYLOR, A., Sherwood Foresters. 
TAYLOR, A., Derbyshire Yeomanry. 
TULLY, W., Gordon Highlanders. 
THOMAS, H., Sherwood Foresters. 
WALKER, P. A. C., Lieut, (deceased). 
WELLER, W., Sergt. Royal Scots. Fusiliers. 
WILSON, S. 
WILLIAMSON. H., Royal Scots. 
WRIGHT, H. FitzHerbert, Captain North Mid. Howitzer Brigade (Territorials). 
WRIGHT, P. E. Fits Herbert, Captain Bedfordshire Regiment. 
WRIGHT, E. B FitzHerbert, Major 4th North Midland Howitzer Brigade (Territorials)
We are pleased to notice that Wm. Weller late of Osmaston Manor Gardens has been promoted to sergeant.
 

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Here... alive and kicking

 

Simon - many thanks for posting this. another piece of the DY jigsaw gratefully received.

 

I never cease to be amazed about the wide range of units men served in who came from Derbyshire. Royal Scots, Royal Scots Fusiliers, Gordon Highlanders and all in the volunteer period.

 

Interesting to see the Fitzherbert Wrights doing their bit.

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Update 

 

Stunned to find my great uncle's War Medal for sale the day before my 50th birthday, bought and on its way. 

WH Fielding.jpeg

1914_Militaria(1).pdf

2017-08-31-17-37-56.jpg

Edited by Simon_Fielding
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31 minutes ago, Simon_Fielding said:

Update 

 

Stunned to find my great uncle's War Medal for sale the day before my 50th birthday, bought and on its way. 

 

 

 

Simon. Congratulations. It is nice to see something like this reunited with the family. 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi

I have just started to research the grandfather of a friend, who told me yesterday that he had a won a Military Medal in either the Boer War or WWI, she didn't know which, but he had served in both. She said his name was Frederick William Cuff and he was in Derbyshire Yeomanry. She asked me, as I research my family history, if I could find out why he had been awarded the medal and anything else about him.  As usual families never spoke of these things. I don't have much experience with military history, so I hope someone can guide me.

 

I have found he was born Castle Donington, Derbyshire in 1878. I have attached a document I've which says he was awarded the MM in WWI. It has Salonika on it. He was a sergeant in 1/1st Derby Yeo (T.F.) and his no was 75729 (formerly 1899). It has the date 18-6-1917 on it. (I have found he is listed as MM in the Supplement to London Gazette of that date.) It also says "Registered Paper 0137/3640". 

 

So far I've found no mention of this in the local newspapers, which are all on FMP, despite him being a member of a local well-known butchery family business.  However, I found his name among a list of others who left Derby on 9.31a.m. train to Aldershot with The Imperial Yeomanry when he had enlisted for The Boer War!

 

My friend doesn't have a computer, so I was hoping the citation would be on-line and I'd be able to tell my friend today what he's won the medal for. But I now realise it's not as easy as that!

 

It looks from some of the posts on here that some of you may be able to help me. 

 

Coincidently my dad was also a sergeant in the Derbyshire Yeomanry but in WWII in North Africa, Italy etc. I have a case full of letters from him to my mum during WWII, which I propose to transcribe next year. I also have a few pages of the war diaries I have transcribed when on a visit to Kew, if anyone is interested in these. One is DY leaving by ship from Port Glasgow and the other pages are the soldiers' preparations for a Christmas party for Italian children who were in an orphanage.

 

As I'm new to this site, apologies if I've posted this in wrong place!

 

Karen

CUFF FW Military Medal.jpg

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I have researched the DY in reasonable detail. The full citations for the MM were not posted in the London Gazette, just the names rank and number and unit. The Derbyshire Yeomanry War History 1914-1919 lists him under the List of Honours on page 208 and incidentally gets the date wrong: 30th March 1917.

 

He enlisted between 15th September and 9th October 1914 if the number sequence is any indication.

 

He was part of the original Regiment that went to Egypt in April 1915. It is highly likely he also served at Gallipoli. The only mention of him in the published history are in the Appendices of the Honours   Fragments of the war diary survive  - it is very poorly maintained and has very large gaps between Gallipoli and Salonika  June 1916 but there is no mention of him. 

 

You could try the Derby Telegraph as it has a number of articles on DY men during the War. 

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  • 4 years later...

I know it's been a few years but thank you to all who particpated in this thread, it has helped me learn about my 2x great-grandfathers experiences during the war. I already found a newspaper article when he sends a letter to his wife describing his experience in Gallipoli so it was great to learn about the regiment in Salonika. His name was Richard Reid, he survived the war and died in 1978, aged 95.

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