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Remembered Today:

Bertie James Platten D.C.M. Suffolk Regiment.


midshipmanrayley

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midshipmanrayley

Bertie James Platten 1890-1970 was born in Lowestoft and served as L/Cpl 17982 in 4th and 8th Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment.

There are 2 medal index cards for him, one with initials B.J. and the other Beites?

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal but I am struggling to establish the exact date of Gazetteing.

Found DCM dates 23rd October 1917 and 1918.

Beginning to wonder if a DCM and bar recipient. Can any member please enlighten me?

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Hi,

I think that the October 1917 EG is just the notification of the award. The citation in the LG of 26.1.1918 appears under the DCM section, rather than the "Bar" section. In WO 391/6/1 it is annotated for actions on 31st July 1917 at Glencorse Wood (part of actions of 3rd Ypres).

Given the date/place, it looks like he was with the 8th Bn. at the time.

Regards

Chris

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midshipmanrayley

Many thanks Graeme and Chris.

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midshipmanrayley

Many thanks Stabilis.

Very useful to know.

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  • 5 years later...
Helen wilks

Bertie james platten was my grandfather and my mum told me stories about him when he was in the first world War I never Met him as he died before I was born my family never knew he had medals not even mum knew and she is the only child left from my grandfather 

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Hi Helen,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Unfortunately, Bertie doesn't appear to have a surviving service file. However, from other near number men from his Regiment that do, it would appear that he probably joined up in January 1915.

 

17977 Hankin - attested 21.1.1915

17979 Seaman - attested 21.1.1915

17982

17988 Turner - attested 22.1.1915

17994 Wenham - attested 22.1.1915

 

As noted already the medal rolls indicate the Bertie served overseas with the 8th and [1/} 4th Battalions

 

image.png.e26623a8e32a66d4ba22188e244196e6.png

Image sourced from Ancestry

 

It's unclear when he was first sent overseas, but as he wasn't awarded a 'Star' medal, it would appear to have been at some time after 1915. The 8th Bn first arrived in France in  July 1915, so it seems that he was posted overseas as a reinforcement - possibly from the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. It's also not clear when/why he was transferred to the [1/} 4th Battalion. One possibility might be that he was one of the 233 'other ranks' that were transferred to it on 7.11.1918 when the 8th Bn was being broken up. Their war diary shows:

 

image.png.fe377e771cea81256b11dd988a9c43a3.png

Image sourced from the National Archives

 

With respect to his DCM award the annotated registers held by the National Archives shows:

image.png.8d8fe3356aabb4ef006569508ea33a80.png

 

image.png.fc4f19eae557b6005c0c37022c4aebd9.png

Images sourced from the National Archives

 

For 31.7.1917, the Battalion, Brigade HQ and Division HQ war diaries are available as free downloads from the National Archives - see herehere, and here.

 

If needed there is help on how to read map references here.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Edit:

If the regimental museum have his medals, I wonder if they might have more detail relating to his military service?

Edited by clk
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sadbrewer
13 hours ago, Helen wilks said:

Bertie james platten was my grandfather and my mum told me stories about him when he was in the first world War I never Met him as he died before I was born my family never knew he had medals not even mum knew and she is the only child left from my grandfather 

 

From The  Daily Mirror, 22nd October 1917, courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive. 

Edit...the MM reference was for the soldier in the article further down the page.

 

 

 

Screenshot_20210609-143738.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer
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For the wider picture -

 

Page 239 - 241  “The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927” by Lieutenant-Colonel C.C.R.Murphy

 

The battles of Ypres of 1917 began on the last day of July, the main blow being delivered by four Army Corps of the Vth Army, under General Sir Hubert Gough, attacking on a front of nearly eight miles. The front allotted to the IInd Corps (Lieut.-General Sir Claude Jacob) to which the 8th Battalion, belonged, extended from the Menin road to the Zillebeke-Zandvoorde road. This difficult stretch of country, especially the part when the Menin road crosses the ridge, was perhaps on the whole the scene of the most desperate fighting in the opening battle, although the depth of the British advance was greatest in the direction of Langemarck.

 

The intention was that as soon as the 30th Division had gained the Black Line, the 18th Division who were in support should go through them and carry on. The 53rd Brigade (Brig.-General H.W. Higginson) were then to attack the Green Line, and, if the situation developed favourably, the Red Line also. The 8th Battalion reached its assembly positions about 2 a.m. on July 31st, and by zero hour (3.50 a.m.) had established its headquarters at Wellington Crescent. During the latter stages of this move, enemy shells set fire to some dumps and a tank, lighting up the ground with remarkable effect. As “C” Company was passing through Zillebeke a shell burst amongst them, killing and wounding several of the men.

 

The troops of the attacking division, which the 53rd Brigade were to leapfrog when the first objective was taken, moved forward between the 8th and 24th Division. The 8th Suffolks and 6th Royal Berkshire Regiments, ready and expectant, waited for the front-line reports that would tell them the way was clear for their advance. “By a tragic mistake the 30th Divisional infantry wheeled to their left and assaulted Chateau wood instead of Glencorse wood. The misleading information that Glencorse wood was in our hands caused the 53rd Brigade to plunge into a fatal gap. One of the Suffolks’ scouts met, near the Menin road, an officer of the 17th Manchesters who reported that Glencorse wood had been captured. Contradiction came from Lieut. R.C. Bolingbroke who, before being wounded, penetrated as far as the line of the first objective. Bolingbroke reported that the enemy was still holding ground west of Glencorse wood.” (Source cited “History of the 18th Division” (Blackwood)).

 

Early in the morning Lieut. Bolingbroke went forward with the battalion scouts to clear Sanctuary wood and place signposts to guide the companies. They came under fire from a corner of the wood, Cpl. Fletcher being twice wounded. This was the work of a daring sniper, who did much damage before he was killed. Soon after 6 a.m.  Lieut. Bolingbroke sent back a message to say 30th Division were on the north side of the Menin road, and in Chateau wood.

 

As the troops advanced a barrage was encountered in the splintered remains of Sanctuary wood, on the further edge of which they came under a destructive machine-gun and rifle fire. A platoon of “B” Company, under Lieut. Chibnall, was the first to get up to Lieut. Bolingbroke. These two officers decided to attack the second line (Surbiton Villa) with such troops as they could collect, and without waiting for support. The line was taken, Lieut. Chibnall and Sgt. J. Mason, M.M., being killed, and Lieut. Bolingbroke wounded, at the head of the platoon. In the course of the severe fighting in the vicinity of Surbiton Villa, Pte. F.J. Read with a small party of “A” Company (Major H.A. Angier, M.C.) rushed a German machine-gun, killing the whole team.

 

The battalion got on to the Menin road near Clapham Junction and advanced several hundred yards beyond it, where they were checked and forced to take up a line of shell-holes. The attack practically finished here, as by this time the enemy were in great strength round Glencorse wood. While Major Fache was crawling up the Menin road with a runner, a cock pheasant alighted about fifty yards ahead of them, though shells were dropping everywhere. The runner shot the bird, carrying it out of action at the end of his rifle with great pride. It was possibly not the first time he had killed game without a licence.

 

By this time all our tanks had been put out of action. The battalion having advanced altogether nearly a mile and made a hard but availing fight to get still further, now dug themselves in. Thus ended, as far as the 8th Battalion was concerned, the battle of Pilckem Ridge, in which they sustained 177 casualties including the following officers:-

Killed: Lieut. R.S. Chibnall; 2nd Lieuts J.D. Wheeler and A.C. Savage.

Wounded: Captain G.L. Crandon, M.C.; Lieut. R.C. Bolingbroke, M.C., D.C.M.; and 2nd Lieuts W. Brown and L.C. Rae, the last named remaining at duty.

 

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