Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Query: Sources - 1st Wiltshires, 21-25 March 1918


Recommended Posts

I would be most grateful if any participants in this forum could help me identify sources about the 1st battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment on 21-25 March 1918, when it was part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 25th Division.  I will be visiting the battlefield.  My research focusses on the actions of Captain R F Hayward MC (who received the VC) and his runner Private Tom Phillips (who received the MM).


The following is a preliminary list of the sources I have used (or will use) to build a picture of what happened to the 1st Wiltshires and its larger tactical context.  I would be happy to hear of any sources I have overlooked and any advice about further research, especially for any first-person accounts.


Archival Sources

25th Division War Diaries (WO 95-2225-3-1) includes:

25th Division summary account (written in April): pp. 3-13 (of 128)

War Diary: pp. 14-24 (of 128), pp.29-38 of 128 (may be duplicate), p.46 of 128 (sketch map of defensive positions)

25th Division War Diaries (WO 95-2225-3-2) includes messages:

pp. 11-31 of 132 (21 March), pp. 32-52 of 132 (22 March), pp. 53-59 of 132 (23 March),

pp. 60-70 of 132 (24 March)


7th Infantry Brigade War Diary (WO95-2242-4) includes:

p. 8-9, (index of appendices),  p. 10-11, typed bde war diary (inc. map references), p. 31 order for dispositions holding Army line (faint), p. 38 22 March, p.39 marked-up map with bde dispositions 22/3, pp. 75-76 appendix 24l 24 March to 7th Bde from 25th Div HQ, p. 88 map showing brigade frontage on 25/3, p. 102,  map showing brigade frontage 26/3.


1st Wiltshires War Diary (WO 95/2243-3_3) includes:

p. 79 of 108 (21 March 1918), p. 80 of 108 (22 March), p. 80 of 108 (23 March),  p. 81 of 108 (24 March) p. 82 of 198 (25 March)

IV Corps War Diary

War Diaries of other battalions in brigade


Published Sources

Astill, Edwin, 1st Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment in the Great War, A Commentary and Analysis of the War Diary., pp. 61-64, 118. 

Edmonds, Brigadier General Sir James E., Military Operations France and Belgium 1918 v. 1, The German March Offensive and its Preliminaries.  1935: Macmillan and Company. London, pp. 307-26, 384-87, 434-41, 481-87.

Gliddon, Gerald, VCs of the First World War, Spring Offensive 1918, The History Press,  pp. 36-38

Horsfall, Jack and Nigel Cave with the assistance of Phillipe Gorcynski, Flesqueires, Cambrai-Battleground Europe, 2003: Barnsley, Leo Cooper,  pp. 115-136, 173-182

Kenrick, Colonel N.C.E., D.S.O., The Story of the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s), 1963: Albershot, Gale & Poldren, pp. 120-21, 261-2

Kincaid-Smith, Lieut Col M., The 25th Division in France and Flanders, London, Harrison & Sons, pp. 138-58, 170-71, 186.

Middlebrook, Martin, The Kaiser’s Battle, 21 March 1918, the First Day of the German Spring Offensive, Allan Lane, pp. 156-59, p. 177-(describing event on 24/3 not 21/3), p. 307.

Oldfield, Paul, Victoria Crosses on the Western Front, Cambrai to the Battle of St Quentin 20 November 1917 to 23 March 1918, Pen & Sword, pp.133-37, 278-88.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi David, sounds like the most thoroughly-researched trip ever!  Edmonds is a great resource and while I don't have any additional sources, once you have a list of trench map coordinates you are keen to visit, I'm happy to assist you plot & convert to modern maps so that you can tour with a tablet, wireless dongle and georeferenced March 1918 trench map.  This is what I have done a few times in a different area.  Feel free to post some key ones.





Places where an action led to the award of a Victoria Cross

Link to comment
Share on other sites



I've found officer files for officers missing in action or taken PoW to sometimes provide useful sources.  The former often include short accounts or statements as to when or how officers were last seen; the latter should include statements as to how each officer was captured. They are hit and miss and some files have been weeded and these documents are missing. If you check the war diary and the lists of officer PoWs on Ancestry will give you a list of possible officers to search for on the Kew catalogue under WO339 or WO374.


Looking though the CAB 45 files for Fifth Army may also include accounts which were used as sources for the Official History by Edmonds. If you can identify battalion, brigade and divisional commanders who survived the war they may have been consulted and written letters for the OH; again hit and miss and hard to find amongst the large folders but they can give good results.  


Lord Guinness who wrote 'Staff Officer' was with 74th Bde, I haven't a copy to hand but his account might be useful for background on what might have occurred more widely in the division.


Machine gun companies and sections were spread across the divisional area; I'd suggest adding the 25th Bn MGC diaries to your lists; the Coy working with 7th Bde; likely A Coy, may provide insights.


I hope this helps; it may need a bit of work by a researcher at Kew.


Kind regards





PS. I found your books on the Germans in Normandy excellent resources, many thanks!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good search of the Imperial War Museum catalogue may also highlight personal accounts or sound recordings but the former may require a visit to London by a researcher. 


Likewise, communications with The Wardrobe in Salisbury, the regimental museum, may bear fruit if they have anything in their collections.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I am researching Sholto Ogilvie in WW1 , to produce a record for my family . By this time he was in command of 1st Wilts and this was his penultimate battle and I would be grateful for any information on this , including a good map .

At present I have nothing of use to you as I am just completing his very basic WW1 itinery / battles .  Then I will research his  personal information which may produce some useful detail .  Both he and Hayward collected many wounds and medals and kept up after the war .

I will also need to sort out some mapping softwear to help describe his itinery/where he got his wounds,promotions,and medals/mentions and to help when I visit ,  if you come across anything - I am digitally illiterate .

I am sorry that this is a request and that I am of no use to you at present .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome to the forum.


The Official History cited in post #1 has some great maps.  When you have compiled a list of places, you can use Google MyMaps free, to show his itinerary and the places he visited. 

Official History 1918 Volume 1 Map 7 23rd. March. Third Army (V, IV, VI, & XVII Corps)



This is unrelated to 1/Wilts but shows what is possible.  It can be entered in chronological order and even has options for measuring distance and asking for online driving directions :




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sholto Ogilvie was a remarkable man and a great soldier, earning not only multiple DSOs but the respect of those serving under him in 1917-18, including Tom Phillips, who, along with his company commander, remembered "The colonel and the MO" as having carried them through.


I would be grateful to know of anything in which Sholto Ogilvie wrote or talked about his wartime experiences.  With the plague etc. preventing research trips, I have not been able to follow up, but, in addition to the CAB and captured officers statements at Kew, I am looking forward to using the British newspapers database.  The Wiltshire Regiment's magazine might have some material, covering the annual Ogilvie dinner.


This is a lawyer-turned-soldier that deserves to have his story told.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...