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

Remembered Today:

1/Somerset Light Infantry


horatio2

Recommended Posts

The grandfather of a friend was killed on 1/7/1916 and is buried in Serre No. 2 Cemetery: H.A. DERRICK, 5601, 1/SLI.

Apparently he had been earlier awarded the Military Medal but the family have no details of this award. Can any SLI or medal specialist help to identify the action for which this MM was given and London Gazette details (no luck there so far)? The medal itself is believed to be in the hands of a private collector.

Apparently DERRICK was a called-up reservist and Boer War veteran and had been in France since January 1915. He originally enlisted at Bridgend.

Thanks - in anticipation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The grandfather of a friend was killed on 1/7/1916 and is buried in Serre No. 2 Cemetery: H.A. DERRICK, 5601, 1/SLI.

Apparently he had been earlier awarded the Military Medal but the family have no details of this award. Can any SLI or medal specialist help to identify the action for which this MM was given and London Gazette details (no luck there so far)? The medal itself is believed to be in the hands of a private collector.

Apparently DERRICK was a called-up reservist and Boer War veteran and had been in France since January 1915. He originally enlisted at Bridgend.

Thanks - in anticipation.

Hi Horatio

Had a look at the Medal Roll - Award was gazetted on 28th July 1917, but no citation given- as was mostly the case at that period.

I have some extensive records of the Somersets but cannot find any more details of the award.

From his Regimental Number it appears he wqould have enlisted about 1899. I have note he was made a lance corporal in 1903 but other than that there is no other information before the War. If he served the normal 12 years he would probably have tranferred to the Reserve about 1911 and be recalled on Mobilisation.

The 1st battalion Casualty Book shows him arriving in France on 19th January 1915 and joining the unit which at that time was in the Ploegsteert Wood area, on 11th February

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Horatio

Had a look at the Medal Roll - Award was gazetted on 28th July 1917, but no citation given- as was mostly the case at that period.

I have some extensive records of the Somersets but cannot find any more details of the award.

From his Regimental Number it appears he wqould have enlisted about 1899. I have note he was made a lance corporal in 1903 but other than that there is no other information before the War. If he served the normal 12 years he would probably have tranferred to the Reserve about 1911 and be recalled on Mobilisation.

The 1st Battalion Casualty Book shows him arriving in France on 19th January 1915 and joining the unit, which at that time was in the Ploegsteert Wood area, on 11th February 1915.

He was originally shown as missing on 1st July 1916 but later a burial report was received from G.O.C.

Hope this is some help to you. If you want any more information on the Somersets please let me know and I will try to help

Brian

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brian, Very many thanks for all that. I think the LG problem was caused by the award coming more than a year after the man's death. I note that the Gazette header for his award states: "HM the K has been graciously pleased......award of MM.....to Men since deceased, who has been killed in action......subsequent to the date of the award of the MM to them by the C-in-C in the Field." So presumably Derrick's MM was for bravery in the Field after his arrival in France but not for 1 Jul 1916 - in fact ANY of the 1/SLI actions over a 16 month period.

I knew there was a Somerset LI expert out there somewhere!

H2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry

11th Brigade

4th Division

Regarding 1st July 1916.

"Sergeant A H Cook was among the first Somersets over the top and left us with this account of his fortunes:

The first line had almost reached the German front line, when all at once the machine guns opened up all along our front; fired with a murderous fire, and we were caught in the open, with no shelter; fire was directed on us from both flanks, men were falling like ninepins, my platoon officer fell (2nd Lt Tilley) he was wounded and captured. My platoon sergeant was killed which left me in charge of the platoon, this within five minutes of our advance.

We had to swing slightly to our left as to approach our objective direct was impossible, it meant going over some high ground which was being enfiladed by M. G. fire. I led the platoon on to the German first line, and after a breather went on to the second line. Here I lost control, the men were rushing here and there, from one shell hole to another, in their advance. The ground was covered with our dead, enfilade fire from the right played havoc with us all. Our guns had made an unholy mess of the German trenches, but very few dead could be seen, owing to the fact they were safely stowed away in their dugouts. Scarcely a square foot of ground had been left undisturbed, everything was churned up, there were huge gaps in the wire entanglements, but the dugouts were all practically safe. These were a revelation to us being most elaborately made, and down about thirty feet.

Mopping up parties were not clearing the trenches properly, as Jerry was popping up all over the place, behind and on our flanks and throwing grenades at us from all angles. A lot were seen to throw their hand in and were scattering back to our line, but the majority were mown down by their own guns. It was impossible to get any further without help. Rumour said that some had reached their objectives and were now cut off. Dead and dying were lying everywhere, there was one man just in front of us sitting on a mound shouting for help, he was covered with blood from head to foot. There was a peculiar position here, the ground in front was circular in shape, or nearly so, it must have been the "Quadrilateral," as it was defended on all sides and about the size of Piccadilly Circus. Communication trenches were everywhere, and just in front was a communication trench up which some British troops were moving. This seemed quite in order until I noticed some Germans with fixed bayonet, and then I realised that our fellows were prisoners, so I started picking off the escorts: this was very successful, and quite good fun being able to hit back, although I seemed to be the only one chancing my head over the top. Our men could have escaped, but I suppose they were fed up with it all, and only too glad to be out of the fighting. The troops were very discouraged at being held up. The 10th and 12th Brigades reinforced us, but they were met by withering fire and practically annihilated. Their wounded were everywhere, and the dead were heaped on top of each other, where the machine gun had caught them."

From: pages 27 and 28

Redan Ridge: Somme: Battleground - WW1

ISBN: 1844150550

Author: Michael Renshaw

regards

Richard

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...