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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

DCLI 1915


MelPack

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Hello

I am helping a friend with some research on his grandfather's service.

Pte John Butler 18286 was sent to France on 24/3/15 presumably as a replacement draft for either the 1st or 2nd Battalions (the DCLI Service Battalions did not arrive until some months later).

At some point in 1915 he was wounded by five machine gun bullets shattering his leg and was subsequently discharged as unfit for service in early 1916. John was given the five bullets by the RAMC surgeon who had operated on his leg and the same are still in the possession of the family.

Now the sting in the tail:

When John was alive (so no family mythology), he told my friend that when he was wounded that he was not engaged in anything as heroic as going over the top. Instead, his platoon or company was marching in column formation along a track and were 'ambushed' by a concealed machine gun. He was one of only a few survivors who managed to escape by crawling across a field.

Can anyone help on this one? It strikes me as very odd that with entrenchment that an infantry unit would be caught in the open like this.

Regards

Mel

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Machine guns had a fair old range, so the thing could have been some way off behind German lines. Especially as the Germans tended to occupy the high ground and had a good view over British positions.

Edwin

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He was possibly with the DCLI moving forward to help plug the gap east of Ypres during the Second Battle of Ypres after the gas offensive on the 22nd April 1915. This was a confused battle with many such encounters.

If you get a copy of the DCLI history that might help

Alan

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Machine-guns (and other weaponry) were often fixed and targeted on known night time lines of communication and then fired at random times - or perhaps when a relief was suspected as imminent or just completed. Perhaps they copped such a firing.

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I have read through my copy of the Regimental History and in does not mention anything about this inciden,it may be worth your while going to Kew and reading the War Diary..it seems Highly likely that your relative was wounded as the result of indirect M.G.Fire..also known to our M.G. Gunners as a Machine Gun Barrage.A designated ares would be saturated with concentrated MG fire from a number of MGs at varying times or when an Observer saw a Target of oppourtunity.My Grandfather also served in DCLI,but in 1st Batt,and he was also badly wounded in the Legs in 1915..being discharged in July 1916,as no longer fit for Military service.Good Luck in your search. :D

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Thanks everyone for your comments.

Plenty of food for thought there :P

Regards

Mel

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