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Remembered Today:

4th Btn Tank Corps Amiens 8/8/18


Simon_Fielding
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Looking for any accounts/memoirs especially concerning the winning of the DCM by Sgt Drinkwater.., Have the WD...

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From the Book of Honour:

Acting as a Hotchkiss gunner during August 8 and 9, he destroyed several machine gun crews and kept his gun going incessantly, picking up targets with great skill. He maintained fire against a nest of six hostile machine guns which were firing armour-piercing bullets at his tank. When in action at Beaufort Wood, on 9 August, a shell struck his tank on one side, breaking his arm; he managed to fire from the other side of the tank until the roof of the tank was smashed in by another shell, disabling the rest of his crew. Wounded for the second time, he still continued to assist his tank commander and, with indomitable spirit, he continued to rally his wounded comrades until their tank had been placed out of further danger.

He was also awarded the Medaille Militaire for the same event and actions.

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Brilliant- thanks! His service record says the 8th...I wonder which tank it was?

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I was just looking at that. Mention of Beaufort Wood suggests 10 or 11 Section, C Coy. Based on the reports I am going to say it was tank 9389, a female tank, name unknown. But it might have been 9134, originally an A Coy tank. There may be some 9134/9154 confusion going on.

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I think I can narrow it down to C Coy and either 9154 (a male) or 9389 (a female). Both had Hotchkiss machine guns and the 6 pounders in the male were also made by Hotchkiss.

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From the account, I'd put my money on 9389. My notes say that this tank was hit first on the rear of the right sponson, knocking it in. A second shell then came through the top and rear turret. The tank rallied nevertheless. For 9154 I have "direct hit and burnt out". The officer of 9389 was 2/Lt Churchill; that of 9154 was 2/Lt A. Mason.

Gwyn

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Hi, it may be possible to confirm this because the Battle History Sheets for this action were preserved by the commander of 4th Tank Bn, Lieut-Col Louis Henshall, and are now in the Imperial War Museum: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030013643

Unfortunately I don't have copies of them, but I noted that in 9154 two crewmen were killed and the officer and four men were wounded.

John

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Blimey - outstanding. As I mentioned in another thread, I have a picture of the redoubtable Sergeant Drinkwater I bought in an antique market in Gloucester about ten years ago:

post-50-0-35402000-1422316210_thumb.jpg

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Very interesting uniform - I see from the medal card he was previously in the 2nd and 16th Bn Rifle Brigade and this looks like some sort of ceremonial uniform. No doubt someone here will be able to identify it precisely.

How do you know this is Sgt Drinkwater - presumably there's an inscription, but does it give any more information please?

Gwyn, do you have full copies of the Battle History Sheets? if so I would have thought it should be possible to work this out. From my notes I see the one for 9154 was signed by Lt Moss Donald Barder, presumably the section commander, as the tank commander was wounded.

John

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Yes, that's me - thought I would start a specific thread on the action itself.

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Gwyn, do you have full copies of the Battle History Sheets? if so I would have thought it should be possible to work this out. From my notes I see the one for 9154 was signed by Lt Moss Donald Barder, presumably the section commander, as the tank commander was wounded.

John

John

No, sadly I don't. As you know the Henshall papers are voluminous and I couldn't copy everything I'd have liked. You're right that there may have been clues to this particular question that I missed, but then I didn't have this question in mind when I was looking at them. However, despite being naturally risk averse (i.e. boring), I'd put money on 9389 being the tank. Even more convincing, I'd put my money on 9389.

Gwyn

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9389 sounds good to me - any initials for 2/Lt Churchill?

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John Abell Vyvyan Churchill MC

Born Gloucester 19th December 1880

Educated Dulwich College

Served in the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa

“Admitted March 1906. Practising as Noon, Clarke & Churchill, of 31 Great
St. Helens, E.C. Served as Petty Officer, Royal Naval Air Service. Afterwards
obtained commission in the Tank Corps and promoted Lieut. Mentioned
in Dispatches. Awarded the M.C.”

(RECORD 0F SERVICE OF SOLICITORS AND ARTICLED CLERKS
WITH HIS MAJESTY'S FORCES 1914— 1919

Enlisted Royal Navy 12th December 1914

initially served in RNAS number 2709 with rank of Petty Officer (Mechanic) disembarked 10th April 1915

Served with RNAS Armoured Car Division

Transferred to ASC M2/132548 29th August 1915

Discharged to commission Tank Corps 27th July 1917

MC London Gazette 5th November 1918 p.13149

1920s resident 9, Westfield Park, Redlands, Bristol.

m. Norah Garbutt 25th June 1938

Died Bristol 17th December 1948

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http://tankmuseum.org/museum-online/medals/recipient/B423

TALES OF VALOUR
MILITARY CROSS
Military Cross

CHURCHILL John Abel Vivyan, (Temporary 2nd Lieutenant)

4th Battalion Tank Corps.

During the action along the Luce Valley on August 8th 1918, this officer handled his tank with great gallantry and skill.
He assisted in the capture of Demuin, after which he proceeded along the Luce Valley to Cayeux. He showed great daring in the way he fought hostile machine guns and many times cleared the way for the infantry when they were unable to advance against heavy machine gun fire. Suddenly encountering a hostile battery, he handled his tank so skilfully that he dispersed the personnel of it and enabled the guns to be captured by the infantry.
On August 9th, he again took his tank into action at Beaucourt, and again engaged a battery of field guns at a range of 200 yards. This battery obtained direct hits upon his tank, wounding most of the crew; nevertheless this officer remained at his post and, with the help of his two unwounded men, continued to fight his tank.
He set a splendid example of cheerfulness under most trying conditions.
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  • 2 weeks later...

post-56052-0-76811000-1423499652_thumb.j

post-56052-0-15471300-1423499654_thumb.j

Thought you may appreciate these !


post-56052-0-54974800-1423499834_thumb.j

And his medaille militaire certificate

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Very nice group Geoff, thanks for showing us this.

Andy

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