Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Battle of Albert, August 1918


richardp@comsine.co.uk
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all

My grandfather, Francis Proud, was a CSM in the 24th battalion of the London Regiment (142nd Brigade), probably C Company. He'd won a DCM in 1917, but was then severley wounded on the 22nd August 1918 by a high velocity shell at what I believe was the Battle of Albert. He was shipped home and that was the end of the war for him. For the 22 August 1918, the battalion's war diary says:

Attack on Happy Valley. Companies in position by 3.55 am. Battalion HQ at K10d S0.

6.45 am advance HQ under Lt Coombe established in gunpit K.12.a.

8.10 am HQ established L1a.3.2 Advance HQ established L.1.a.3.2. Runner sent to find Companies at 10 am.

12 noon first report from Companies by HQ runners.

A&B in Green Line 4 pm. Front line withdrawn to Brown Line owing to intense xxx MG fire and heavy shelling. SOS went up at 5.15 pm. CO of 23rd Battalion sends a situation report to Brigade and at 7 pm our artillery opened a covering barrage in front of brown line along Happy Valley.

(not sure I have transcribed all the references right - the writing is hard to read)

The 47th London Division History also says this:

22nd August: III rd Corps planned advance of 3000 yards from a line running from the Somme 1000 yards west of Bray to Albert. 47th Division started from line of old Amiens defences, east of Tailles Wood, about 2000 yards long and aimed at final objective called Green Line on high ground east of Happy Valley. 141st Brigade started at 04.45. 142nd Brigade passed through 141st on time, but came under heavy machine gun fire. 24th battalion suffered many casulaties from exposed left flank.

I'd like to be able to visualise where this exactly took place. I can locate Tailles Wood, Bray and Albert, but are there any maps from the time showing the planned advance and exactly where they started from? Also where exactly was the Green Line and the high ground east of Happy Valley and any ideas on where the brown line was?

Any help gratefully received and many thanks

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

This may not help but when I borrowed a copy of the 47th Div history via my local library (perhaps the Brtisih Library copy) I got the original 1920's version cpmplete with many large scale detailed maps......have you used the reprint version?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

This may not help but when I borrowed a copy of the 47th Div history via my local library (perhaps the Brtisih Library copy) I got the original 1920's version cpmplete with many large scale detailed maps......have you used the reprint version?

Sounds a good idea. The text I quoted was from a copy my father has and from which he himself made the transcript. I'll check with him as to whether there are maps with his edition and if not, I'll get a copy from my library.

many thanks Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

Not sure where you are located but the war diary of the unit, brigade and division which should be at the National Archives at Kew may also have maps from the 'operational orders' issued.

I've certainly sat there and found large scale maps of divisoinal attacks in War Diaries.

If you have any questions pm me....however I'm sure there will be some 47th Div forum members out there who will wade in!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

Forgot to mention....the Div History has been reprinted in recent years by Naval and Military Press and I don't know if the maps were done for the second version.....so it's important to get a first edition!

Perhaps a pal can naswer this question....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

Forgot to mention....the Div History has been reprinted in recent years by Naval and Military Press and I don't know if the maps were done for the second version.....so it's important to get a first edition!

Perhaps a pal can naswer this question....

Thanks again. I'm not too far from London, so perhaps a day in the archives is what's called for. Anyway, that's always fun. I also note your comment on getting hold of a first edition. cheers Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the original, defintely with maps. Cost me £3 many years ago (but as I earned £14 a week at the time, it was more than it sounds). Late home tonight (Parish Council), but I'll have a dekko tomorrow if no-one beats me to it.

It's a great book, the 47th's History.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the original, defintely with maps. Cost me £3 many years ago (but as I earned £14 a week at the time, it was more than it sounds). Late home tonight (Parish Council), but I'll have a dekko tomorrow if no-one beats me to it.

It's a great book, the 47th's History.

Thanks Steven - much appreciated

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes indeed (managed to knock the PC meeting on the head because they all wanted to watch the footy). Map IX is the chap you want - has start line marked, divisional boundaries, etc. Trouble is, the bally thing folds out to over 1' high by 3' long, so I'm at a loss to know how to copy it (and don't suggest cutting it into small pieces, thank you very much!).

I could scan the bit that shows the start line, I guess, as that's the day you're particularly interested in. Would that help? Actually, I could try scanning it bit by bit by bit (copyright Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl") and e-mail the result.

Let me have an e-mail address and I'll add it to this weekend's list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes indeed (managed to knock the PC meeting on the head because they all wanted to watch the footy). Map IX is the chap you want - has start line marked, divisional boundaries, etc. Trouble is, the bally thing folds out to over 1' high by 3' long, so I'm at a loss to know how to copy it (and don't suggest cutting it into small pieces, thank you very much!).

I could scan the bit that shows the start line, I guess, as that's the day you're particularly interested in. Would that help? Actually, I could try scanning it bit by bit by bit (copyright Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl") and e-mail the result.

Let me have an e-mail address and I'll add it to this weekend's list.

Steven - that's brilliant. My email is richardp@comsine.co.uk - whatever you can scan in and send would be very much appreciated - just the start line or more if you can manage it.

Best wishes

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes indeed (managed to knock the PC meeting on the head because they all wanted to watch the footy). Map IX is the chap you want - has start line marked, divisional boundaries, etc. Trouble is, the bally thing folds out to over 1' high by 3' long, so I'm at a loss to know how to copy it (and don't suggest cutting it into small pieces, thank you very much!).

I could scan the bit that shows the start line, I guess, as that's the day you're particularly interested in. Would that help? Actually, I could try scanning it bit by bit by bit (copyright Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl") and e-mail the result.

Let me have an e-mail address and I'll add it to this weekend's list.

Hi Steven

I managed to make a visit to my father yesterday and it turns out his edition of the 47th hitsory does have the maps in it - he hadn't appreciated that until we looked at it. So, no need for the scaning you kindly offered - although I can see what you mean about the size of the maps and the practicality of making a digital copy. My task for the weekend!

I'm working through my grandfathers movements in France so I'm sure I'll be coming back with new queries about other places. One question you might be able to help with - how long on average after a soldier got presented his medal ribon did the actual event for which he won the award take place? The citation for my grandfather's DCM was in the LG in March 1918, but the 47th History has the date as the 31/12/1917 and the war diary for the 24th Btn has him being awarded the ribbon in early January 1918. I imagine that the event in which he won it would have taken place earlier - in December 1917 perhaps? Unfortunately there's no mention in the diary for that month (or indeed any other).

Many thanks for your kind offer of help

Richard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No problem, Richard - though I appear to have promised Mr Cherry a scan of the map, so I haven't got off that easily!

As for the award, you might find the War Diary tells you a bit more - I'm afraid I am unsure how promptly awards came through. Might be worth looking for actions in October/November.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Steven

I managed to make a visit to my father yesterday and it turns out his edition of the 47th hitsory does have the maps in it - he hadn't appreciated that until we looked at it. So, no need for the scaning you kindly offered - although I can see what you mean about the size of the maps and the practicality of making a digital copy. My task for the weekend!

I'm working through my grandfathers movements in France so I'm sure I'll be coming back with new queries about other places. One question you might be able to help with - how long on average after a soldier got presented his medal ribon did the actual event for which he won the award take place? The citation for my grandfather's DCM was in the LG in March 1918, but the 47th History has the date as the 31/12/1917 and the war diary for the 24th Btn has him being awarded the ribbon in early January 1918. I imagine that the event in which he won it would have taken place earlier - in December 1917 perhaps? Unfortunately there's no mention in the diary for that month (or indeed any other).

Many thanks for your kind offer of help

Richard

Richard,

I suggest a visit to the NA as in theory they should have his citation on their microfiche system...also I believe the process went along the lines of recommended for the medal, heard it had been approved, you got the ribbon first and then later the actual award of the gong.....

I seem to recall and perhaps a pal may confirn that there is a book on all the DCM winners of the Great War with citations????

Hope this helps....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Richard,

I suggest a visit to the NA as in theory they should have his citation on their microfiche system...also I believe the process went along the lines of recommended for the medal, heard it had been approved, you got the ribbon first and then later the actual award of the gong.....

I seem to recall and perhaps a pal may confirn that there is a book on all the DCM winners of the Great War with citations????

Hope this helps....

Many thanks for this. I have his citation from the London Gazette 28th March 1918; it reads:

720121 C..S.M. F. M. Proud, Loud. R.

(Crystal Palace Road, S.E.).

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when acting as R.S.M. He was untiring in carrying out his duties under very difficult conditions, and it was largely due to his energy and initiative that supplies to the front fine were maintained in spite of hostile barrages.

He was awarded the ribbon by their Divisional Commander on the 17th January 1918 along with a Corporal Theis. In the 47th London Division History it lists my grandfather as being awarded the DCM on the 31st December 1917, but in the History Corporal Theis is listed as being awarded his earlier in that month. I found Cpl Theis citation in an edition of the LG in early March 1918 and he is mentioned in the Battalions War Diary on 22nd November 1917 where it says Cpl Theis was awarded the DCM for his part in a raid made by the 24th on the 4th November 1917. There's no mention of my grandfather in the War Diary at all for the whole of 1917 until the ribbon award in January 1918.

Since the History lists their DCM awards on different dates in December 1917, I'm therefore wondering if my Grandfather got his for an action after the raid that involved Cpl Theis - perhaps at Bourlon Wood at the beginning of December when the 24th relieved the 17th, 18th and 20th battalions in the NE corner of Bourlon Wood and then took part in the retreat from the wood in the first few days of December. Prior to that in the last few days of November the 24th were held in reserve on the Hindenburg Line while the wood was taken by others. Both while in reserve and then in the wood they would have been under intense bombardment from the Germans, which could tie in with his citation text. Certainly his citation text doesn't seem relevant to the raid that involved Cpl Theis and the Battalion wasn't involved in any other action after the 4th November raid until the end of November.

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to say with certainty, but the above sounds plausible?

Is it possible to find out who were the senior NCO's in a Battalion? My grandfather was a CSM, but obviously was Acting RSM at the time of his DCM award. I was wondering about the circumstances in which he got this (acting) promotion - again no mention in the War Diary, History or my grand father's war records. The promotion doesn't seem to have lasted either as in the January 1918 War Diary when he gets the ribbon, he's listed as CSM Proud.

All interesting stuff - putting bits of puzzle together to make a (hopefully accurate) story!

Many thanks

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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...