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little bob

11th Battalion Welsh Regiment .

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little bob

I wonder if anyone could help me with War Diary of the 11th Btn Welsh Regiment. I'm interested in the period October - November 1916. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Bob

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Bernard_Lewis

Have you checked the National Archives website - it might be downloadable for £3.30? That's the Cardiff Commercials Battalion, I think and I have the book that was written about it some years ago.

Is there a specific query you have?

Bernard

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jay dubaya

That's the period Stokey Lewis won his VC. I think I've got the diary, will have a look when I'm back home later

Jon

That's the period Stokey Lewis won his VC. I think I've got the diary, will have a look when I'm back home later

Jon

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little bob

Bernard

Have checked with the National Archives and they haven't yet digitised the diary for Salonika and Macedonia. The only diary available for the 11th Battalion is for the short time that they were in France, 6th September 1915 until 30th October 1915. Have asked them for a quote for paper copies for October and November, will probably need a mortgage or a bank loan or both. Is the book you are thinking of The Cardiff Pals edited by J E Davies and K Cooper? If so then I have a copy.

Bob

Jon

Spot on sir, It's information about the trench raid on 22nd October. Stokey Lewis's bravery that night was rewarded with the Victoria Cross.

Bob

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jay dubaya

Bob,

I don't have the diary for the period in question, sorry about that. Hopefully you're still on the same email address...I've sent you a related link to something you may not have seen before, if so it's a gem

Jon

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Bernard_Lewis

Yes, thats the book. I'll have a look at the Welsh Regiment history later today...

Bernard

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Bernard_Lewis

This might help:

The raiders, in four parties, issued by A 11 (see map on preceding page), traversed Macukovo (which was patrolled by us nightly) and made their way by Bangor Ravine to their respective assembly positions in front of the heavy wire protecting the Dorsale trenches, in which lanes had been cut by gun fire. The left flank guard under Major Jones, moving out by A12, occupied Cardiff Ravine, driving in a hostile patrol with the loss of 3 men to his party. The right flank guard under Captain Stewart, issued by A8, and established itself on Double Hill, Petit Piton and Chapeau de Gendarme. The 67th M.G. Company assisted the flank guards, and 2 officers and 20 other ranks of 127th Field Company, R.E., accompanied the raiding party to demolish machine gun emplacements and dugouts.

Captain Richards, Adjutant 11th Welsh, thus describes the raid:

The opposing forces were entrenched on each side of a considerable valley, and the lines being about 2,000 yards apart, the raid was a complicated and elaborate affair which took almost every man in the Battalion.

The most suitable part of the Mitrailleuses for a raid was a ridge called The Dorsale. It was heavily fortified and wired, bristling with machine guns and covered by cross fire from the rear. There were certain advantages in attacking this section, however, for it could be cut out from the main position fairly easily and an effective counter-attack was difficult from the enemy’s side.

By daylight the powerful works on The Dome commanded The Dorsale sufficiently to make such an operation impossible, bt by night it was just within the limits of reason. Nevertheless the risk was enormous, as every foot of ground was registered and the enemy had search-lights trained on every ravine and avenue of approach. On our side the difficulty of supplying the guns with ammunition was great; most of it had to be brought by pack animals, which meant that an unexpected expenditure of ammunition might lead to a sudden and grave shortage. In the event this fact was to add years to our lives. Prior to the raid, patrols under Lieut. H. Lawson Jones went out nightly, and on one occasion brought in a wounded man of the East L.ancs, who had been lying outside for 100 hours. Four raid.ing parties, a total of 8 officers and 120 men, made the raid, protected on each flank b about 100 men with Lewis guns and machine guns. There was also a local reserve. The raid was under the command of Major R. S. Hopkins. 70 guns supported the raiders. The night of 22nd-23rd October was fine and dry, but dark. At 9 p.m. the raiders cleared our wire and proceeded to their assembly positions. The left flank guard under Major Jones, chvided into two parties, one east and one west of Macukovo, met a hostile patrol wInch they routed with the loss to us of 3 wounded. The right flank guard reached its position unopposed. Both flank guards held on under the heaviest possible fire of guns, machine guns, and rifles.

It was just midnight when our artillery put down an intense barrage to which the enemy’s guns responded so terrifically that for three-quarters of an hour the raiders remained immobile. The signal for our guns to lift was to be two green Very lights. Unfortunately at that moment the enemy elected to send up a perfect orgy of green lights, which puzzled our batteries, and the 11th Welsh had to pass through our own barrage to reach the enemy’s wire through which gaps had been cut by our guns. Undaunted, the four raiding parties under Captains Eynon and Morgan, Lieutenant Phillips and 2nd-Lieutenant Turner dashed through the gap and hurled themselves on the garrison. A Homeric struggle ensued with our men victorious. The dugouts were bombed, 10 Germans (59th Regiment) being killed in one, and the only machine gun emplacement left standing was wrecked by the Royal Engineers attached to the party. A counter-attack was beaten off by bomb and bayonet. It was now 2 a.m. and our guns were nearly out of ammunition. Colonel Wingate asked for five more minutes. Four minutes had elapsed when a runner came in to say that the raid was successful and the raiders leaving the trenches. It was a near thing. Many of the batteries were down to their last shell. Triumphantly the raiders returned with 18 prisoners. 34 enemy dead had been counted in the Dorsale. Our casualties were comparatively light—Lieutenant E. H. H. Turner and 2 other ranks killed, Lieutenant F. C. Phillips and 19 other ranks wounded. The 127th Field Company lost 2 other ranks killed, and Lieutenant W. H. Yorke and 4 other ranks wounded.

It was during the withdrawal that Private Lewis won his V.C. He had been badly wounded by a bomb in the trenches, but in spite of his injuries had performed prodigies of valour. Now, hearing a man, worse wounded than he was, crying for help, he went back into the, danger zone to bring him in.

Congratulations were received from the General Officer commanding 22nd Division, and from the General Officer commanding XII Corps.

This first appearance of the 11th Welsh in an action of their own earned for them no little glory, and never were the traditions of the Welsh better upheld than on that bleak and lonely hillside of Greece.”

Eighteen prisoners had been dragged out of the enemy trenches, of whom three died on the way back and two were killed by the enemy counter-barrage. Three machine guns were found to be have been destroyed by our gun fire.

It was a most gallant and well planned affair, and Lieutenant-Colonel Wingate in has report wrote:

When fighting takes place, as it did on this night, at close quarters, there are always more opportunities for regimental officers and men to distinguish themselves, and the Welsh Regiment was not found wanting in this respect.”

Major R. S. Hopkins was rewarded with a D.S.O., Captains Eynon and Morgan and Lieutenant Phillips, together with the M.O., Captain T. McCosh (who had worked splendidly under a temlic barrage) were awarded the M.C., and L.-Corporal T. D. Cox (38310), L.-Corporal J. Nicholls (13299) and C.S.M. A. Tucker won the D.C.M. The latter had bayoneted three of the enemy in repulsing a counter-attack.

From Marden's History of the Welsh Regiment, transcription by Forum Pal Steve John.

Bernard

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little bob

Bernard

Thank you very much for the information about the raid on the night of 22nd October 1916. Pte., Lewis rescued Lt., Edgar Harold Holmes Turner, who had been seriously injured when signal flares he had been carrying ignited. Unfortunately Lt., Turner died the following day. On September 18th 1918 Lewis repeated his actions by bringing in another wounded Officer, Capt., Theodore Guthrie Morgan M.C. who had been shot through the thigh.

Bob

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