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Remembered Today:

1st Leicestershire Battalion, D.C.M. award - south of Lagnicourt, 22 March 2018 - info on action


D-Wain

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My grandfather, Douglas Willmott Wain was awarded a DCM with the 7th Btn Leicestershire.   He was a runner with 3 Platoon of A Company.  The "Tiger" site has him listed as being in 1st Btn (I am working on correcting now), but I suspect just a transcription error based on his medal card and a letter he wrote to the Tiger newsletter when he came back in 1940 wanting to visit former mates from the Great War.  

Here is his info from the Tiger site:

 

https://www.royalleicestershireregiment.org.uk/entity/127663-wain-douglas-willmott-dcm?q=

 

In reading some of the Epehy:  Hindenburg book by Mitchinson, it seems like possibly the actions of my grandfather could have occurred in the the 3rd week of March in the Epehy actions when there was substantial movements of the 7th/8th battalions in defence.  I note some of the other DCMs listed in the Gazette on the same date were from 7th Btn Leicestershires at Epehy in March 1918.   We are working on mounting his medals properly, with some details of course.  One anomaly in the medals is his 1914-15 Star has a rosette stitched in it - I am not sure why he would have done that as of course not appropriate for that medal  (and would be called out on it - maybe why?), but in researching seems not the only time this has been seen.

Edited by D-Wain
Revising title
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The pre-publication annotated citations for the D.C.M. gives the place and date of the action. Image courtesy National Archives download - Gazette of the D.C.M. 

 

Wain, Pte. D., Leic. R., D.C.M..JPG

 

Edit:- Apologies, just noticed this was your first post - welcome to the forum!

Edited by HarryBrook
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22 hours ago, HarryBrook said:

The pre-publication annotated citations for the D.C.M. gives the place and date of the action. Image courtesy National Archives download - Gazette of the D.C.M. 

 

Wain, Pte. D., Leic. R., D.C.M..JPG

 

Edit:- Apologies, just noticed this was your first post - welcome to the forum!

Thanks much.   This site is a great resource and much appreciate you figuring that out, as went down the Archives path several time but missed that one.  Much thanks.  I will have to research that location and date and see what I can come up with as far as the action.   It does say he was in 1st in there as well, so I suppose this is where there error is coming from (if it is, but the info below shows otherwise).   The medal card (National Archives) shows that he landed in France on 29 July 2015, which matches the landing of the service batallions, whereas the 1st was over earlier.    Further to, I take in "windy" would mean talks alot in England?  In Canada would mean something else...

Wain, D.W. Medal Card 11388.jpg

 

Below is from the "The Green Tiger" journals as found on the The Royal Leicestershire Regiment Site:  https://www.royalleicestershireregiment.org.uk/archive/journals

 

1940lettertoeditor.png

Edited by D-Wain
citing sources, entered July 29, 2015
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Spoiler

 

Epehy of course would qualify as south of Langnicourt in terms of geography (although not close in battlefield terms), but does this make sense as far as how they note these citations?

Edited by D-Wain
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11 hours ago, D-Wain said:

It does say he was in 1st in there as well, so I suppose this is where there error is coming from (if it is, but the info below shows otherwise).   The medal card shows that he landed in France on 29 April 2015, which matches the landing of the service batallions, whereas the 1st was over earlier.

I don't believe the references to the 1st Bn. to be in error.  His BWM and Victory Medal Roll entry shows overseas service with both the 7th and 1st Bns. Leicestershire Regiment so I would assume that, at some point during the war, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion.

 

Steve

 

 

Capture.JPG

[Image sourced from National Archives ref, WO 329/934 courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk]

Edited by SteveE
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The Sheffield Evening Telegraph of 14 November 1918 (on Findmypast) carries a report of a medal presentation ceremony at Weston Park Sheffield at which Lt Gen Sir John Maxwell (standing in for the King who was unable to come) presented medals to a number of men from a number of regiments.  The list of DCMs includes Pte Douglas Wilmot (sic) Wain 1st Leicester Rgt (sic).

 

Max

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Great stuff guys.   So it is clear he was in both the 1st and 7th Battalions (I recall him have shrapnel still in him, I will have to see if my dad recalls, perhaps why he was transferred).   I will have to get the diary for the 1st Btn for that day, 22 Mar 18 and see what I can glean - a little more challenging as unknown what company at this point.   I am working on getting his Canadian service records - perhaps some of the Great War stuff carried over as originals were apparently in the fire.

 

Duncan B.

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The only Leicestershire Regt. men awarded the D.C.M. seen in the same issue of the London Gazette as Douglas Wain, and in the same area of operations, were 1st Battalion:-

 

14024 L/Cpl. L. Bayley - Nr. Lagnicourt 21. 3. 1918

7869 C.S.M. C. Billson (a bar to the D.C.M.) - S. of Lagnicourt 21.3.1918

7669 Cpl. J. H. Harvey, 1st Battn. attached 71 Trench Mortar Battery - Nr. Lagnicourt 21.3.1918

 

The place of the action was probably a general location taken from the location stated in the recommendation for the award. There were many awards made for actions in the 3rd Battle of Ypres which merely state "E. of Ypres" and the date. 

 

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, HarryBrook said:

The only Leicestershire Regt. men awarded the D.C.M. seen in the same issue of the London Gazette as Douglas Wain, and in the same area of operations, were 1st Battalion:-

 

14024 L/Cpl. L. Bayley - Nr. Lagnicourt 21. 3. 1918

7869 C.S.M. C. Billson (a bar to the D.C.M.) - S. of Lagnicourt 21.3.1918

7669 Cpl. J. H. Harvey, 1st Battn. attached 71 Trench Mortar Battery - Nr. Lagnicourt 21.3.1918

 

The place of the action was probably a general location taken from the location stated in the recommendation for the award. There were many awards made for actions in the 3rd Battle of Ypres which merely state "E. of Ypres" and the date. 

 

36 minutes ago, HarryBrook said:

Thanks for your efforts on that - so the area checks out.  Getting closer and hopefully diary will help when I get a chance to review.

 

 

 

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Hi Duncan,

 

His Silver War Badge Record (Ancestry link) shows an enlistment date of 1st September 1914, and that he was discharged due to sickness.

 

image.png.cc1efa32689e93bdaf796f7253a8babf.png

Image sourced from Ancestry

 

For "392 (xvi)" - see here

 

Fold3 (link) have a pension index card which might give a pointer towards sickness/wounds. Unfortunately I don't subscribe to their site. but they do offer free trials.

 

Given the date of his DCM action, it would have been awarded for his actions during the relative chaos of the 2nd day of the massive 1918 German Spring Offensive - broad overview link. On Ancestry the 1st Bn war diary for March 1918 starts here. It would very likely be augmented by the 71 Brigade HQ and 6 Division HQ (General Staff) diaries - here and here. The diaries will also be available to download from the National Archives for a modest fee - search page here. Diaries are easier to download from the National Archives as you get a 'chunk' covering a time period as a single pdf file, whereas on Ancestry you have to download each individual page as a single jpeg image. Unfortunately, I can't post direct links to the diaries at TNA at the moment as I'm currently getting an error message.

 

In terms of mapping his service, I think that the problem that you are left with is when precisely Douglas left the 7th Bn, and when he joined the 1st. 

 

Regards

Chris

 

 

Edited by clk
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Many thanks, Chris, as with all of the records found so far, this is very enlightening and will cue off some of those links.   I have ordered some of the diaries from the Archive site (and Amazon has as well I note) but need to get the one for this period.  I did find this link (not sure if putting these links here are copacetic, let me know) of a memorial page of Lieutenant Christopher Francis Atter of 1 Btn C Company which has some quite good detail of the first days action in which he and many men from his and other companies were killed.  http://www.leicestershirewarmemorials.co.uk/war/casualty/view/28758 

Strength after day 1 from the above link:  "The strengths of the various units and Company’s as far as known at the present time, A Company 1 officer and 70 other ranks, C Company 1 officer and 37 other ranks, D Company 3 officers and 112 other ranks, B Company 4 officers and 110 other ranks, Battalion HQ’s 4 officers and 40 other ranks."   I also note in the above diary summary that 71 Trench Mortar Battery is mentioned as per HarryBrook's post above.  Getting close to this one story I feel - quite rewarding to put a more permanent display together with the medals (my father is getting up there now and getting nostalgic - his dad didn't tell him a whole lot I don't think).

Photo of medals below:  I don't understand why he would have the rosette on the 1915 medal.   Obviously would have a story behind doing it, as would be called out for sure, so wonder if anyone has any ideas on why... 

IMG_20200122_1039582.jpg

Edited by D-Wain
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Success:

 

From the ward diary of March 22, 1918 (Archives - WO95/1622)

 

 

WarDiary-wardiarynote.jpg

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The citation list for awards during the march actions were also listed (citation same as above):WarDiary-Medal-11388.jpg.c6915f849c7dc9193de0caba147e4813.jpg

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4 hours ago, MaxD said:

My close contact at the "Tiger" site will no doubt be pleased to know that their entry is now not in doubt!

 

Max

Yes, I'm very appreciative that he has already updated the info for the link I put in the initial thread and thanks to the folks helping here

Edited by D-Wain
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I am working on putting together some sort of informative mount for the medals (or duplicates) - might be more a project for me than anything, but I'm sure others would appreciate.   I've located this map circa 21 March 1918 trench map of area that one can get digital copies for printing which considering as using as a background

 

https://maps.nls.uk/view/101465149,

 

But is there anywhere one can get a digital versions of contemporary maps - specifically this one attached (snippet of part of map from Archive WO95/1622).   I assuming not, but asking just in case there is rather than trying to cobble together some sort of lower res version:

map-snippet.jpg

Edited by D-Wain
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58 minutes ago, MaxD said:

McMaster

 

http://lt1.mcmaster.ca/ww1/wrz4mp.php?grid=57c

 

There are some here that have the two sheets together.  Download info below each map as you select them.

 

Max

Terrific!   Thanks again.

 

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Hi Duncan, you will find an account of the battle and a map showing the locations of each company of the 1st Leicesters in. "A History of the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Leicestershire Regt in the Great War" by Colonel H C. Wylly. CB.  There is a lot in there to read, so it might be worth you getting a copy. I nearly forgot to add that on the 21st March 1918,  the 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions Leicesters, (the 9th Batt having been disbanded and its officers and men being used to re enforce the 6th,7th and 8th Battalions) were taking a hammering and retreating from Ephehy and Pezieres. Casualties from the Leicester Brigade being 31 officers and 1200 men.  Regards, Bob.

2020506-001.jpg

Edited by Bob Davies
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Thanks Bob, for taking an interest in my post and adding that map which I haven't seen yet.   I am going to pick book up - probably a hard cover if I can find one at a reasonable price.  I note the Col. Wylly pretty much has the diary stuff from those days verbatim in some of the book I could view, and clearly the map too that you attached as per below (71st Brigade War Diary - 1st Battalion WO95/1622 ). 

 

image.png.8be78e8f27fae33dcd2ec7a93ec21574.png

 

 

"The Kaiser's Battle" by Martin Middlebrook looks to have some good first account stuff in it too, so going to pick up that as well as some others.   In the book he does mention that the Leicestershire regiments and accompanying divisional units and support overall held their ground and stymied the offensive objectives in their sectors.  Likewise the book that I found that is fully available online that has the divisional perspective with a fair amount of detail on the 71st Bridage is a "A Short HIstory of the Sixth Division" Edited by Major-Gen T. O. Marden - pages 44-52 refer to the actions in the area.   Based on his accounts, unit movements of course chaotic in the area, but it would be good to have some sort of map as per your attachment with the locations and movements of the other units which I'm trying to sort out and wade through - obviously I am particularly curious as to where the the 11 Essex commanding officer (headquarters) was supposed to be where the message was intended to be delivered on the 22nd, where its HQ wound up, and where (and what) batteries the message delivered to. 

 

Edited by D-Wain
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Further to 6th Division batteries involved, this is snippet from above referenced war diary regarding barrage support for raiding party on 16th March on "Magpies Nest", so I assume some or all same batteries supporting on 21/22 March:

image.png.f233116d0aff7f8303dd1830c76b1f1e.png

 

This is a snippet (a moderator can advise if too much and I will shorten) from  " A Short HIstory of the Sixth Division" Edited by Major-Gen T. O. Marden regarding the 21/22 actions - so I assume there must be some detailed diaries of same somewhere, perhaps can collate to the DCM account:

image.png.c560f202b1313e656323b96034b76470.png

 

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I'm curious if this authority leads to another line of inquiry, ie. recommendation details?   How is to this to be interpreted?

Snippet from - 71st Brigade War Diary - 1st Battalion Leicesters WO95/1622

image.png.cc13847891796863321ca50fa5cfdf94.png

 

Edited by D-Wain
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Happy to help and pass on information that I have Duncan. I believe it is a good thing to remember these men. In the book I mentioned there is a report from Capt S. T. Hartshorne commander A Coy 1st Batt Leicesters. 22nd March at 2 45 pm mentions a message being sent to the O.C. 11th Essex from the 1st Batt Leicesters. A company of the 11th Leicesters were there,  also 2nd Foresters and the 9th Norfolks and the 71st TM battery. I am sure you know most of this from other researching you have done. Regards, Bob.

3 hours ago, D-Wain said:

I'm curious if this authority leads to another line of inquiry, ie. recommendation details?   How is to this to be interpreted?

Snippet from - 71st Brigade War Diary - 1st Battalion Leicesters WO95/1622

I do not know what this would mean..

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On 04/02/2020 at 15:25, Bob Davies said:

22nd March at 2 45 pm mentions a message being sent to the O.C. 11th Essex from the 1st Batt Leicesters. A company of the 11th Leicesters were there,  also 2nd Foresters and the 9th Norfolks and the 71st TM battery. I am sure you know most of this from other researching you have done. Regards, Bob.

 

Thanks Bob - yes, a lot further along than was before I started.  The other members finding the date and verifying battalion (at the time of award) definitely narrowed it right down.  I had diary first, but clearly that book would have led to same conclusion - the passage you quoted is verbatim from diary which is in post 12 above.   Right now just trying to sort out the movements of the units in the area on those days as trying to pin down where he was sent to and where he wound up (in more detail than what the citation reads above).  I would like to map out the whole action of the 71st (with emphasis on 1st Leicesters) on a presentation of some sort.  

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On 29/01/2020 at 04:25, SteveE said:

I don't believe the references to the 1st Bn. to be in error.  His BWM and Victory Medal Roll entry shows overseas service with both the 7th and 1st Bns. Leicestershire Regiment so I would assume that, at some point during the war, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion.

 

Steve

 

 

Capture.JPG

[Image sourced from National Archives ref, WO 329/934 courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk]

 

On further inquiries of my father (as I had heard my grandfather had shrapnel in his body when visiting one time) - he for sure had a bullet fragment migrate out of his face at the age of 60 as they were at the hospital as they removed it.  The story that I'm hearing from my mom and dad was at that time he indicated to doctors at that time that had been shot in the face which messed up all his teeth (he had full dentures through his life as they knew him). 

 

I'm wondering whether anyone has any records of this wounding - perhaps why he has transferred?

 

I understand as per post 10 might be some docs available somewhere to find out somewhere if there is more to it.   I'm obviously interested in what action wounded, but also what periods he was in each battalion.

 

 

Edited by D-Wain
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