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alandouglasbower

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I'm trying to find more about the action Acting Bombardier, Arnold Shelley (21310), was involved in when he was awarded his D.C.M. with the Royal Field Artillery. His service records are in a poor state at www.ancestry.com, and I'm struggling to find a mention of the action in various War Diaries.

This is what I have as a starting point:

 

 21310 actg. Bombr. A. Shelley, B. By., 59th Bde., R.F.A, (LG 21 June 1916).

For Conspicuous gallantry when his section maintained steady and accurate fire under a very heavy bombardment by the enemy until one gun was knocked out and the other ordered to withdraw. 

 

Would have it been for an action that took place in 1915? 

 

I believe he was also mentioned in despatches. 

 

Thanks,

 

Alan

Edited by alandouglasbower
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Alan,

 

his MID certainly appears to be in relation to service at Gallipoli. 

 

The DCM citation is probably also for Gallipoli - 59th Bde served in the "right hand" Royal Artillery command at Suvla Bay from August 1915.  This was their first entry into action.  After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, they had a period of rest in Egypt in early 1916 before being stationed to defend the Suez canal.  I am not aware of any serious fighting during that period, though the War Diaries would be able to confirm that.  They started on their journey to France at the end of June 1916.  So the only period of real combat I am aware of for which Arnold might have won his DCM would seem to have been at Gallipoli.

 

There are a number of older threads on the forum about 59th Bde, but one of possible particular interest are photos of their landing at Suvla Bay posted by Stephen Nulty some years ago which are here:  

 

regards,

 

David.

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Alan

If the event took place at Gallipoli then it was likely to have taken place on 7th November 1915. The following is from the 59th Brigade RFA War Diary:

 

'Enemy guns very active during morning. Right Section B/59 on CHOCOLATE HILL between 09.00 & 12.00 was very heavily shelled by a converging fire, about 400 rounds being fired at them.  One gun was disabled, one man slightly wounded & about 140 rounds of ammunition exploded. During the night this Section was sent to join up the Left Section on CHOCOLATE HILL. Rounds fired 134.'

 

Regards

Alan

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6 hours ago, David26 said:

nd I've just noted that another gunner from B/59, F Robinson (83314), was awarded the DCM at the same time with an identical citation.

and Robinson also appeared as mentioned in the same despatch    LG 13/7/16;

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Thank you all . I have not managed to access the war diary while they were in Egypt, and I was not sure how long it took for honors like the D.C.M. to be awarded. The description on November 7th does seem to be a good fit.

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7 hours ago, charlie962 said:

and Robinson also appeared as mentioned in the same despatch    LG 13/7/16;

That's interesting Charlie.  I wonder if Munro included all those who had won higher gallantry awards in his Dispatch? 

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Hi Alan,

 

Unfortunately, whilst the DCM registers do confirm the theatre, they don't confirm the date. F&F DCM awards are often hand annotated with a specific place and date.

 

image.png.799aa57022869c6547d805db1500a9d8.png

 

image.png.28ac57a4183decbabd2082e04266fd80.png

                                   image.png.adc159c9a65cf3479f9c326d50ced0e0.png

                                             Source of images: The National Archives - file WO 391/4

 

Regards

Chris

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David26, I notice you specialize on the Royal Field Artillery. Have you come across many of men suffering from lung ailments like bronchitis? Arnold Shelley was in hospital for months with bronchitis in 1917, and again had a reoccurrence in 1918.

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Chris (CLK),

 

He was promoted to a a bombardier on November 1st and to a corporal on November 12th 1915, so November 7th for the action looks spot on.

 

It's a pity his service records are in such a poor condition.

 

Alan

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Alan,

 

"specialize" sounds as if it might imply expertise, which I would certainly not claim to have!  There are so many members here who know so much more than I do.

 

Over the past couple of years, I have been looking at the people and events related to 59th Bde's sister brigade, 58th Bde.  I can only find a couple of them who I have been able to say contracted bronchitis.  But then living out, mostly in the open exposed to the elements or else underground in small dank confined spaces, is bound to cause all sorts of respiratory problems, so I'd suggest that bronchitis might well have been a pretty common complaint.

 

David.

 

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Hi Alan,

 

44 minutes ago, alandouglasbower said:

...so November 7th for the action looks spot on

 

On the balance of probabilities, the evidence does certainly seem to point that way.

 

Interestingly, it seems that 83314 Robinson never progressed past being a Gunner. I also wondered if there might be a MC award lurking somewhere for the Battery Commander. Would you happen to know his name?

 

Regards

Chris

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Hi Chris, I'm afraid I have not come across it so far. Later Arnold Shelly was in the 82nd Brigade RFA, and that information is readily available. I will let you know if I can figure it out.

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Others, including alantwo, have studied 59th Bde much more closely than me.  The few records I have suggest that

 

Capt P S Ashford was OIC B/59 in early 1915,  and that Maj Henry Pulleine Cowell was OIC B/59 at Gallipoli but died of wounds on 9 Aug 1915 (another thread on the forum has good photos of him, I seem to recall), but I don't know who succeeded Maj Cowell, I'm afraid.

 

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1 hour ago, clk said:

Hi Alan,

 

 

On the balance of probabilities, the evidence does certainly seem to point that way.

 

Interestingly, it seems that 83314 Robinson never progressed past being a Gunner. I also wondered if there might be a MC award lurking somewhere for the Battery Commander. Would you happen to know his name?

 

Regards

Chris

 

The Officer Commanding 'B' Battery should be Captain W.H.B. Atkinson but he is not mentioned in the War Diary. He is mentioned in the Army Lists and the Embarkation Returns. I don't have anything for him with an MC, but that doesn't mean he didn't receive one.

 

I will if I may correct David, but Major Cowell was Officer Commanding A/59. He did as David says die of wounds received on 9th August at Chocolate Hill and was buried at sea. There is an account of the incident by Lieutenant Colonel W.J.K Rettie DSO, commanding 59th Brigade RFA, in his treatise 'With the Field Artillery at Suvla Bay Landing'.

 

Hope that helps

 

Regards

Alan

 

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With regard to bronchitis, I've transcribed the Admissions and Discharge Books for HMHS Assaye, (yes, I should get out more) and out of a sample of 1300 men in December 1915, 43 men were diagnosed with bronchitis.

 

Regards

Alan

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Hi,

 

11 minutes ago, alantwo said:

The Officer Commanding 'B' Battery should be Captain W.H.B. Atkinson but he is not mentioned in the War Diary. He is mentioned in the Army Lists and the Embarkation Returns. I don't have anything for him with an MC, but that doesn't mean he didn't receive one

 

Thanks Alan,

 

I checked the MC index cards, and he doesn't appear to have been awarded one. So I guess a blind alley that can be ruled out.

 

Regards

Chris

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12 hours ago, clk said:

Hi,

 

 

Thanks Alan,

 

I checked the MC index cards, and he doesn't appear to have been awarded one. So I guess a blind alley that can be ruled out.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Hi Chris

 

Thanks for taking the time to check. Is there anything for Temporary Captain P.S. Ashford mentioned by David?

 

Kind regards

Alan

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On ‎23‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 22:37, alantwo said:

 

The Officer Commanding 'B' Battery should be Captain W.H.B. Atkinson but he is not mentioned in the War Diary. He is mentioned in the Army Lists and the Embarkation Returns. I don't have anything for him with an MC, but that doesn't mean he didn't receive one.

 

I will if I may correct David, but Major Cowell was Officer Commanding A/59. He did as David says die of wounds received on 9th August at Chocolate Hill and was buried at sea. There is an account of the incident by Lieutenant Colonel W.J.K Rettie DSO, commanding 59th Brigade RFA, in his treatise 'With the Field Artillery at Suvla Bay Landing'.

 

Hope that helps

 

Regards

Alan

 

Alan,

 

Thank you - my records obviously gone awry.

 

      David.

 

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Hi Alan,

 

On ‎24‎/‎05‎/‎2018 at 11:06, alantwo said:

Is there anything for Temporary Captain P.S. Ashford

 

I had a quick look at the MC index cards (National Archives free download here), but didn't see anything.

 

Regards

Chris

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19 hours ago, David26 said:

Alan,

 

Thank you - my records obviously gone awry.

 

      David.

 

 

Hi David

 

Not a problem, I'm often awry!

 

Alan

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18 hours ago, clk said:

Hi Alan,

 

 

I had a quick look at the MC index cards (National Archives free download here), but didn't see anything.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Hi Chris

 

Thanks for taking a look and the link, much appreciated. I've downloaded.

 

Alan

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