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Remembered Today:

Derbyshire Yeomanry and 33rd Battalion MGC


Jonathan D'Hooghe

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Jonathan D'Hooghe

My ‘day job’ took me to Wirksworth today where I spied a little old bookshop! Walked out with ‘The Derbyshire Yeomanry War History 1914-1919’ (First Edition Hardback Circa 1920) and a beautiful First Edition with hand drawn colour plates ‘ History and Memoir of the 33rd Battalion Machine Gun Corps and of the 19th, 98th, 100th and 248th Machine Gun Companies.’ Written and illustrated by members of the battalion 1919.

If these units are of interest, I will be happy to look up details for you. Both books have lists of names - officers, medal awards, deaths etc.

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It is a fine history. You might find an SSM H Gillott MM C de G, MiD twice. My grandfather. Lived in Water Lane in Wirksworth. A modest man who did some extraordinary things. A pre war territorial. He unveiled the Cromford war memorial in the 1920s. One of only 26 DY men of 326 who stayed it out at Gallipoli. A part timer who did his bit. MG.

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Bother I was going to pop in last week but decided instead to go later in the month when I take Granddaughter on her Lowland leaders course.

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Jonathan D'Hooghe

Thank you for your comment Martin. I have not had chance to read the DY book in detail yet but your grandfather is listed in the rolls at the end of the book.

He was mentioned in Sir Charles Munro's Despatches of 13 July 1916 and again in Lieut.-Gen Milne's Despatches of 25 October 1917. The MM was an immediate award made 'In The Field' on 1 October 1917. Are his awards still in the family?

Steve, sorry to have pipped you on this one!

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Jonathan D'Hooghe

Martin - you may have seen this before but a very quick google search for your grandfather threw up this page http://www.crichparish.co.uk/WW1roll/leamills/gillottfrederic.html

I assume Frederick was Herbert's brother.

At the bottom there is an extract of a letter from your grandfather to his parents 'In a letter to his father and mother, Mr and Mrs H.Gillott, of Water Lane, Cromford, Sgt Herbert Gillott states that Trooper Boseley was wounded in the leg, and taken to a base hospital, Sgt Gillott had a narrow escape, a bullet going through his sleeve and singeing his arm.'

Also on the same web site under the section about Wilfred Boseley is a photo of Herbert. I am sure you will have seen all of this!!

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Steven Broomfield

Out of interest, what number is your 33rd MGC history? It was issued in a limited numbered edition.

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Jonathan D'Hooghe

Steven, it is No. 765 of 1600

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Steven Broomfield

Thanks. I can't remember what mine is. I'll try and remember to look (this was discussed a while ago but I can't remember where).

Is that a record for the number of times 'remember' can be used in three sentences?

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Martin - you may have seen this before but a very quick google search for your grandfather threw up this page http://www.crichparish.co.uk/WW1roll/leamills/gillottfrederic.html

I assume Frederick was Herbert's brother.

At the bottom there is an extract of a letter from your grandfather to his parents 'In a letter to his father and mother, Mr and Mrs H.Gillott, of Water Lane, Cromford, Sgt Herbert Gillott states that Trooper Boseley was wounded in the leg, and taken to a base hospital, Sgt Gillott had a narrow escape, a bullet going through his sleeve and singeing his arm.'

Also on the same web site under the section about Wilfred Boseley is a photo of Herbert. I am sure you will have seen all of this!!

Yes, all seen thanks. It was this history that sparked my interest in the Great War. There is an interesting account of a Troop level cavalry charge at some Bulgarian infantry in Macedonia who turned out to be armed with MGs and cut the DY to pieces. Some small scale heroics and a bunch of MMs. Despite surviving Gallipoli intact he was blown off is horse in Macedonia late in the war by artillery fire. He is mentioned a few times in the history - he was originally the SNCO in the MG Section - usually an unpopular appointment pre war as the Yeomanry still were strongly influenced by ideas of the Arme Blanche and riding for the G in GAP. I have his medals and a cigarette case inscribed by Lt Col Strutt (author of the History) in recognition of his services during the war and the reformation of the Regt in the 1920s. Family lore claims he was a very good shot (originally a farming family) and while on patrol managed to take out a German Staff Officer at long range. The Germans/Bulgarians scarpered and the body was recovered with some useful maps. This allegedly was the story behind one of his MIDs but it is not mentioned in the history or diary, so I suspect it might be a myth. That said, we have no idea why he was awarded the MM or Croix de Guerre, although these might simply have been quota medals or awards for cumulative actions. I would like to think it was for something specific. The action described in the letter was the assault on Scimitar Hill on 21st Aug 1915. The MGs were carried by hand across the Suvla Plain the night before and involved 50 men per MG section such was the weight of ammunition. Somewhere there is an account by the Sherwood Rangers MG Section Sgt on the same jaunt - all 14 regiments consolidated their MGs on Chocolate Hill. It was their baptism of fire. There are a surprising number of snippets on the MG Section of the DY, including a pre-war photo and another in Egypt after Gallipoli. I have often wondered if it was based in WIrksworth. Logic would suggest Derby but there were plenty of Wirksworth/Cromford men in the Section.

One interesting connection with Wirkswirth is that the Helles Memorial panels at Gallipoli are made of Hopton Wood Stone, a particularly hard wearing stone that the IWGC used for its durability; it comes from a limestone quarry just above Wirksworth along the Via Gelia. There are some DY men and some Sherwood Foresters whose names are carved in these panels 2,000 miles from their home.

The DY was fairly unusual in that it kept a diary from 5th Aug 1914, i.e. many months before deploying overseas. While this is not unique, it is reasonably rare and it consequently provides detailed insight into the Yeomanry's time in the UK before embarking for Egypt and Gallipoli. This is why I think the History (based on the diaries) is so interesting in the phase prior to going overseas.

I have a database of 1,762 men of the DY built up from the various medal rolls and surviving pension and service records. It was done some time ago and I think has nearly exhausted all the easy sources of info. Occasionally I manage to add one or two more pieces of the jigsaw.

Separately, there are also some interesting photos of the Belper Troop mobilising at the station which have been posted on this forum.

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Jonathan D'Hooghe

Martin, thank you for the additional info. It will help me when I get to read the book in its entirety. I was also very pleased to hear that you have all of his medals etc. still in the family. He certainly was a special soldier.

Incidentally, 6 men all received immediate MM's on 1st October 1917. They were 75041 Sgt C H Mansfield, 755574 Sgt F Pratt, 75779 Private J Mansfield, 75871 Private V S Jones, 75053 Sgt H J Gillott and 75031 Sgt J H D Wright.

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Martin, thank you for the additional info. It will help me when I get to read the book in its entirety. I was also very pleased to hear that you have all of his medals etc. still in the family. He certainly was a special soldier.

Incidentally, 6 men all received immediate MM's on 1st October 1917. They were 75041 Sgt C H Mansfield, 755574 Sgt F Pratt, 75779 Private J Mansfield, 75871 Private V S Jones, 75053 Sgt H J Gillott and 75031 Sgt J H D Wright.

If memory serves, most of them were named in the action (Fielden's Troop charge) and I sometime wondered if he had been involved and his name dropped off the list. All MMs awarded in the same London Gazette announcement and a high correlation with that particular affair. Note how close all the Sgts' Army Numbers were too.

Derby Museum has a reasonable collection of DY photos from the Great War. They also have a copy of the roll that I built and I donated an original diary written by Tpr Cooling which was also transcribed. Mostly Macedonia but reads well in parallel to the History and the War Diary. MG

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