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Help please with a Divisional Dispatch 56th London's 1917


Laceman

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Dear all,

 

I'm hoping that someone with experience of the type of document attached can give me a bit of help? All relating to Pte JOSEPH HENRY McNEAL - 1/3rd LONDON REGIMENT - No. 4494/251806

 

It's really a twofold question.

 

First off, could anyone tell me what the attached document is? It doesn't look grand enough to be 'Mentioned in Dispatches' and I'm thinking it's something similar but to a lesser extent??

 

Secondly, I am trying to determine the action to which the citation relates and of course what he did to receive it. I have had a good read of the 1/3rd London Regt war diaries and the operations a couple of weeks prior to the document (dated Dec 1917) all seem to revolve around Cambrai and the subsequent German counter offensive. The war diaries refer on the 1st/2nd December to a detailed account of operations on those two days but I can't find the account attached to the diaries. Would anyone know what those operations were or perhaps have a copy of the account?

 

As always, any help gratefully accepted. Thank you very much in advance.

 

Best wishes,

 

Chris.

Joseph Henry McNeal Divisional  Dispatch Front.jpg

Joseph Henry McNeal Divisional  Dispatch Back.jpg

War Diary 3rd London Regt Dec 1917.jpg

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The first document is a Divisional Certificate: most divisions had a similar system: less than a 'Mention' but still recognition.

 

The Division had been heavily involved in the German counter-attack at Cambrai and had suffered quite heavy casualties.

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What appears to be that report is in the 56 Div HQ diary  WO 95/2934 -  after Dec 1917 - if you are looking on Ancestry it is at image 785 of 807.

 

Max

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On 03/04/2020 at 16:46, MaxD said:

What appears to be that report is in the 56 Div HQ diary  WO 95/2934 -  after Dec 1917 - if you are looking on Ancestry it is at image 785 of 807.

 

Max

 

Hello Max, absolutely brilliant, thank you!

 

That's cleared me up to January 1918 perfectly but now I have hit a different snag. Not sure if you are able to help but in January 1918, the 1/3rd absorbed the disbanded 2/3rd London's and together they became the 3rd London's. Thereafter, the 3rd became part of the 173rd Bd, 58th Div but I can't seem to find the war diaries from that point on? I'm probably using the wrong search terms and muddling everything? I just keep rolling round and getting the 1/3rd up to the end of Jan 1918 and nothing past the merger.

 

I really need the info on the 3rd Bn from February and March because Joseph was recorded as a prisoner of war on the 21st March 1918 and working out when and where that happened is the last piece of my jigsaw with him. My uncle-in-law tells me that Joseph and one of his mates were sitting in a shell hole and having a cigarette during a respite in whatever action it was, when they looked up and were surrounded by Germans.

 

Don't worry if you can't help but if anyone is able to I'll be able to finish the essay on Joseph. That'll be two down and about 13 to go! :-)

 

Thank you again and best wishes,

 

Chris.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Laceman
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Max, you're a marvel.

 

Can't thank you enough.

 

I spent all morning getting nowhere. I'll have a good look right now.

 

Really, really appreciated.

 

All the best,

 

Chris.

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Spot on Max! It's very clear that the action was at Viry-Noureuil in the vicinity of the Crozat Canal. Looks like a very bad time for the battalion and the timing with the 21st of March is exactly right.

 

I'm not sure which company Joseph was with but from another account I have read, it was most likely one that was involved in the counter attack at Fargniers. 

 

Thanks again Max, I really was struggling without your help.

 

I'm starting to owe too many people too many beers on this forum.

 

All the best,

 

Chris.

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That's really helpful Max, thank you. I reckon that puts him around Tergnier judging by the entries in the war diary. Funnily enough, I just read some blurb which puts Hitler's regiment in the vicinity at the same time although I don't think he was directly involved in the battle until a few days later.

 

All the best and thanks again,

 

Chris.

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On 03/04/2020 at 16:33, Steven Broomfield said:

The first document is a Divisional Certificate: most divisions had a similar system: less than a 'Mention' but still recognition.

 

The Division had been heavily involved in the German counter-attack at Cambrai and had suffered quite heavy casualties.

I have a similar 56th  'Divisional Certificate' for my Grandfather. It led to him being awarded the MM.

 

My assumption is that the Certificate indicated that a man had been put forward for an award, type TBD.

 

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Hi Robert, thank you for that, it’s really interesting. I’ll have to see if I can find out where to look for some info? 
 

I expect there was so much going on at the time, that lots of recommendations didn’t result in a medal. Probably so many acts of extreme gallantry they’d have been awarding gongs by the lorry load if they recognised them all, although I’m sure all of them deserved one.
 

Food for thought though and very much appreciated. 

Edited by Laceman
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