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Today in British History

Leaving Tangiers must have pissed them off a bit as the year after they went postal on some uppity farmers.
'Kirke's Lambs' wasn't a comment on their cap badge, you know!!

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer

Yokel

LE
Today in 1830 was a day of naval action against the slave ships - something only possible because of British naval supremacy after victory at Trafalgar, and started before Napoleon was defeated. The campaign started just three years after Trafalgar and lasted until 1860.

 
23 October 1986
Conrad Fulke Thomond O’Brien-ffrench died in Colorado. He had an interesting life.

 
As well as Remembrance Sunday today is the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of the Sambre, The last major effort by the British Army on the Western Front. Almost unheard of now, apart from the death of Wilfred Owen, it was fought by the 3rd and 4th Armies and was larger than anything done by the British and Canadians in NWE in 1944-45.

The day’s objective for 3rd Army was a line of high ground three to five miles away that ran from just north east of Jenlain at the junction with 1st Army in the north, roughly south-east to just east of Frasnoy, then south within the forest of Mormal through Locquignol to les Grandes Pâtures and the junction with 4th Army. Corps objectives as set by themselves were up to a mile beyond the army ones. H hour was to be 6.15am on the far right and 5.30am for the rest.

For ground reconnaissance the three regiments of 4 Cavalry Brigade were split up between the corps in squadrons and troops.

On the left XVII Corps attacked with 19th (Western) and 24th Divisions supported by five RGA and six RFA Brigades. The army objectives were four lines across the corps front but patrolling over the last few days had cleared the first already. The 19th Division crossed the valley of the Petite Aunelle and captured Wargnies-le Grand but did not clear Eth and the final objective because the failure by XXII Corps of 1st Army to its left to keep up had left an exposed flank. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see German machine-gunners, usually the most stoical of defenders, abandoning their weapons in retreat. The 24th Division had a harder fight for Wargnies le Petit but still secured all of its objectives by 6pm.

The V Corps attack was made by the Guards and 62nd (2/West Riding) Divisions supported by eight MkV tanks, five RGA and five RFA Brigades. The army objectives continued the four lines on the XVII Corps front. The ground rose gently to the fourth being cut by the head of the Petit Aunelle on the Guards’ front and the Rhonelle on the right, both of which were easily crossed by infantry but channelled artillery and ammunition limbers to a few bridges. The two leading brigades of each division were lightly shelled but otherwise hampered more by smoke from the right than by the Germans until the fourth objective was reached at about 11am. Then congestion at the only available bridge over the Petit Aunelle and machine-gun fire from Gommegnies and Preux-au-Sart on the corps final objective prevented the third brigade of each division from exploiting further so the advance was called off for the day at 8.45pm.

The IV Corps sent forward the New Zealand and 37th Divisions supported by five MkV tanks, five RGA and eight RFA Brigades. Its objectives also continued the line of the first three of the four lines from the north but with a corps one half to a mile further east. The New Zealand objectives also included the Vauban fortress of le Quesnoy but 3 New Zealand Brigade, whose task it was, was only a thousand strong. The investment began with a barrage by Q Special Company RE of three hundred oil drums from Livens projectors. Artillery then worked over the ramparts with HE and smoke until 8.30am. Patrols from 2/NZ Rifle Brigade then crossed the dry ditch and climbed the wall and two prisoners were sent in with demands for its surrender. Refusal by the officers led to a heavy trench-mortar bombardment of the western rampart from 4pm, under cover of which a patrol of 4/NZ Rifle Brigade climbed the wall using a single ladder, followed by the rest of the battalion and a patrol of 2/NZ Rifle Brigade through an unguarded road gate. The garrison, seven hundred unwounded and two hundred and fifty wounded, then surrendered. Around le Quesnoy the two divisions had made excellent progress with the help of four of the tanks and another oil drum bombardment, of Louvignies, by Q Special Company RE. The final corps objective was reached nearly everywhere despite some resistance from fortified posts in villages and the undergrowth of the forest. The corps captured 3,500 prisoners in total and over a hundred artillery pieces including a battery of 203mm howitzers.

On the right V Corps attacked with 17th (Northern) and 38th (Welsh) Divisions with twelve Whippet tanks supported by five RGA and six RFA Brigades. The army and corps objectives continued those of 37th Division to the left. On the left 9/Duke of Wellington’s Regiment of 17th Division sustained the heaviest unit casualties of the day in taking their part of the first objective but thereafter the two divisions were held up more by the undergrowth than the enemy and reached their final positions by late afternoon. Patrols were sent out during the night, one from 13/Royal Welsh Fusiliers reaching Berlaimont, three miles further on and returning with sixty prisoners.

In the ten days that 4th Army had been in place it had reduced the German holdings west of the canal to a thin strip between Ors and Lock No1 south of Catillon. On the day the army objective was a line two to five miles away that ran from the junction with 3rd Army in the north at les Grandes Pâtures in the forest of Mormal south, curving around to the east of Landrecies then back south to meet the junction with the left flank of the French 1st Army on the Sambre just north of Oisy. Both corps set their own objectives just east of the army one. H hour was to be 5.45am.

For ground reconnaissance the three regiments of 5 Cavalry Brigade were split up between the two corps in squadrons and troops, and 1st Cavalry Division with a few Whippets was held in reserve for wider exploitation.

On the left XIII Corps was to attack with 18th (Eastern), 50th (Northumbrian but only in name) and 25th Divisions supported by thirty one MkV tanks, five RGA and seven RFA Brigades. Their front was complicated by the Sambre which crossed it from six miles away on the left to just one on the right, all of the ground to the north being within the forest of Mormal. Nevertheless, the corps objectives were optimistic. On the left 18th Division and in the centre 50th Division would be slowly pinched out to single brigade fronts as they closed with the river while on the right 25th Division attempted to put a brigade across at Landrecies. The divisional RE worked hard at improvised crossing aids and 75 Brigade, made up of three battalions returned from Italy, managed to both find an undamaged bridge at Landrecies and force the enemy away from the other bank with help from a few tanks. Across the river thirty seven year old Lance-Corporal William Amey of 1/8/Royal Warwickshire Regiment earned a VC for knocking out two machine-gun posts and taking seventy prisoners. Between 2pm and 6pm all of the corps own objectives had been taken and preparations for further crossings were being made.

On the right IX Corps attacked with 32nd and 1st Divisions supported by nine MkV tanks, a handful of armoured cars, fourteen RGA and twelve RFA Brigades. It had the most difficult set of objectives of the day in clearing the west bank of the Sambre and Oise canal then crossing it on all but the most northerly part of its front. On the left 32nd Division’s two leading brigades, each with its own Field Company RE, reached the canal with ease but attempts to lay improvised trackways over it were unsuccessful at first in the face of heavy fire. North of Ors thirty six year old Major Arnold Waters and thirty nine year old Sapper Adam Archibald of 218 Field Company RE won VCs for the laying of a floating trackway in the face of point-blank machine-gun fire. Thirty one year old Lieutenant Colonel James Marshall (Irish Guards) of 16/Lancashire Fusiliers and twenty one year old 2/Lieutenant James Kirk of 2/Manchester Regiment both won posthumous VCs in encouraging their men across the canal. One of Kirk’s fellow officers killed was the poet Wilfred Owen. After the crossing the corps objectives, a mile and a half beyond the canal, were all reached by mid-afternoon. On the right flank 1st Division, most of 3 Brigade was to attack Catillon and 1 and 2 Brigades were to make the main effort in the centre. At Catillon the leading battalion caught most of the garrison in their dugouts. The crossing was complicated by reservoirs either side of the canal but 2/Royal Sussex Regiment and 409 Field Company RE got first a platoon then the whole battalion across at Lock No1 by 6.10am. The two COs, thirty four year old Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Johnson and twenty nine year old Major George Findlay were both awarded VCs for their efforts in the crossing and clearing the lock-keeper’s house – in which most of the defenders were killed by revolver fire. Both crossings, and a third on the right by 2/Welsh Regiment, were consolidated quickly and by the evening all units were on the corps objectives.

To the right the French 1st Army had failed to cross the canal giving some credence to Rawlinson’s and Byng’s contention to Haig that the French were content to let the British do the fighting.

Although there had been severe fighting in places, whenever they were pushed hard the German infantry had surrendered or retreated. As noted by 3rd Army even their machine-gunners’ morale was suffering. Between them 3rd and 4th Armies captured something over seven thousand prisoners and about two hundred heavy and field artillery pieces.
 
As well as Remembrance Sunday today is the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of the Sambre, The last major effort by the British Army on the Western Front. Almost unheard of now, apart from the death of Wilfred Owen, it was fought by the 3rd and 4th Armies and was larger than anything done by the British and Canadians in NWE in 1944-45.

The day’s objective for 3rd Army was a line of high ground three to five miles away that ran from just north east of Jenlain at the junction with 1st Army in the north, roughly south-east to just east of Frasnoy, then south within the forest of Mormal through Locquignol to les Grandes Pâtures and the junction with 4th Army. Corps objectives as set by themselves were up to a mile beyond the army ones. H hour was to be 6.15am on the far right and 5.30am for the rest.

For ground reconnaissance the three regiments of 4 Cavalry Brigade were split up between the corps in squadrons and troops.

On the left XVII Corps attacked with 19th (Western) and 24th Divisions supported by five RGA and six RFA Brigades. The army objectives were four lines across the corps front but patrolling over the last few days had cleared the first already. The 19th Division crossed the valley of the Petite Aunelle and captured Wargnies-le Grand but did not clear Eth and the final objective because the failure by XXII Corps of 1st Army to its left to keep up had left an exposed flank. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see German machine-gunners, usually the most stoical of defenders, abandoning their weapons in retreat. The 24th Division had a harder fight for Wargnies le Petit but still secured all of its objectives by 6pm.

The V Corps attack was made by the Guards and 62nd (2/West Riding) Divisions supported by eight MkV tanks, five RGA and five RFA Brigades. The army objectives continued the four lines on the XVII Corps front. The ground rose gently to the fourth being cut by the head of the Petit Aunelle on the Guards’ front and the Rhonelle on the right, both of which were easily crossed by infantry but channelled artillery and ammunition limbers to a few bridges. The two leading brigades of each division were lightly shelled but otherwise hampered more by smoke from the right than by the Germans until the fourth objective was reached at about 11am. Then congestion at the only available bridge over the Petit Aunelle and machine-gun fire from Gommegnies and Preux-au-Sart on the corps final objective prevented the third brigade of each division from exploiting further so the advance was called off for the day at 8.45pm.

The IV Corps sent forward the New Zealand and 37th Divisions supported by five MkV tanks, five RGA and eight RFA Brigades. Its objectives also continued the line of the first three of the four lines from the north but with a corps one half to a mile further east. The New Zealand objectives also included the Vauban fortress of le Quesnoy but 3 New Zealand Brigade, whose task it was, was only a thousand strong. The investment began with a barrage by Q Special Company RE of three hundred oil drums from Livens projectors. Artillery then worked over the ramparts with HE and smoke until 8.30am. Patrols from 2/NZ Rifle Brigade then crossed the dry ditch and climbed the wall and two prisoners were sent in with demands for its surrender. Refusal by the officers led to a heavy trench-mortar bombardment of the western rampart from 4pm, under cover of which a patrol of 4/NZ Rifle Brigade climbed the wall using a single ladder, followed by the rest of the battalion and a patrol of 2/NZ Rifle Brigade through an unguarded road gate. The garrison, seven hundred unwounded and two hundred and fifty wounded, then surrendered. Around le Quesnoy the two divisions had made excellent progress with the help of four of the tanks and another oil drum bombardment, of Louvignies, by Q Special Company RE. The final corps objective was reached nearly everywhere despite some resistance from fortified posts in villages and the undergrowth of the forest. The corps captured 3,500 prisoners in total and over a hundred artillery pieces including a battery of 203mm howitzers.

On the right V Corps attacked with 17th (Northern) and 38th (Welsh) Divisions with twelve Whippet tanks supported by five RGA and six RFA Brigades. The army and corps objectives continued those of 37th Division to the left. On the left 9/Duke of Wellington’s Regiment of 17th Division sustained the heaviest unit casualties of the day in taking their part of the first objective but thereafter the two divisions were held up more by the undergrowth than the enemy and reached their final positions by late afternoon. Patrols were sent out during the night, one from 13/Royal Welsh Fusiliers reaching Berlaimont, three miles further on and returning with sixty prisoners.

In the ten days that 4th Army had been in place it had reduced the German holdings west of the canal to a thin strip between Ors and Lock No1 south of Catillon. On the day the army objective was a line two to five miles away that ran from the junction with 3rd Army in the north at les Grandes Pâtures in the forest of Mormal south, curving around to the east of Landrecies then back south to meet the junction with the left flank of the French 1st Army on the Sambre just north of Oisy. Both corps set their own objectives just east of the army one. H hour was to be 5.45am.

For ground reconnaissance the three regiments of 5 Cavalry Brigade were split up between the two corps in squadrons and troops, and 1st Cavalry Division with a few Whippets was held in reserve for wider exploitation.

On the left XIII Corps was to attack with 18th (Eastern), 50th (Northumbrian but only in name) and 25th Divisions supported by thirty one MkV tanks, five RGA and seven RFA Brigades. Their front was complicated by the Sambre which crossed it from six miles away on the left to just one on the right, all of the ground to the north being within the forest of Mormal. Nevertheless, the corps objectives were optimistic. On the left 18th Division and in the centre 50th Division would be slowly pinched out to single brigade fronts as they closed with the river while on the right 25th Division attempted to put a brigade across at Landrecies. The divisional RE worked hard at improvised crossing aids and 75 Brigade, made up of three battalions returned from Italy, managed to both find an undamaged bridge at Landrecies and force the enemy away from the other bank with help from a few tanks. Across the river thirty seven year old Lance-Corporal William Amey of 1/8/Royal Warwickshire Regiment earned a VC for knocking out two machine-gun posts and taking seventy prisoners. Between 2pm and 6pm all of the corps own objectives had been taken and preparations for further crossings were being made.

On the right IX Corps attacked with 32nd and 1st Divisions supported by nine MkV tanks, a handful of armoured cars, fourteen RGA and twelve RFA Brigades. It had the most difficult set of objectives of the day in clearing the west bank of the Sambre and Oise canal then crossing it on all but the most northerly part of its front. On the left 32nd Division’s two leading brigades, each with its own Field Company RE, reached the canal with ease but attempts to lay improvised trackways over it were unsuccessful at first in the face of heavy fire. North of Ors thirty six year old Major Arnold Waters and thirty nine year old Sapper Adam Archibald of 218 Field Company RE won VCs for the laying of a floating trackway in the face of point-blank machine-gun fire. Thirty one year old Lieutenant Colonel James Marshall (Irish Guards) of 16/Lancashire Fusiliers and twenty one year old 2/Lieutenant James Kirk of 2/Manchester Regiment both won posthumous VCs in encouraging their men across the canal. One of Kirk’s fellow officers killed was the poet Wilfred Owen. After the crossing the corps objectives, a mile and a half beyond the canal, were all reached by mid-afternoon. On the right flank 1st Division, most of 3 Brigade was to attack Catillon and 1 and 2 Brigades were to make the main effort in the centre. At Catillon the leading battalion caught most of the garrison in their dugouts. The crossing was complicated by reservoirs either side of the canal but 2/Royal Sussex Regiment and 409 Field Company RE got first a platoon then the whole battalion across at Lock No1 by 6.10am. The two COs, thirty four year old Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Johnson and twenty nine year old Major George Findlay were both awarded VCs for their efforts in the crossing and clearing the lock-keeper’s house – in which most of the defenders were killed by revolver fire. Both crossings, and a third on the right by 2/Welsh Regiment, were consolidated quickly and by the evening all units were on the corps objectives.

To the right the French 1st Army had failed to cross the canal giving some credence to Rawlinson’s and Byng’s contention to Haig that the French were content to let the British do the fighting.

Although there had been severe fighting in places, whenever they were pushed hard the German infantry had surrendered or retreated. As noted by 3rd Army even their machine-gunners’ morale was suffering. Between them 3rd and 4th Armies captured something over seven thousand prisoners and about two hundred heavy and field artillery pieces.
So if I understood that correctly, basically to make as much territory before the armistice took effect. The Germans being sensible to the futility of fighting so close to the end of hostilities.
 
10 November 1920
The Unknown Soldier made his final journey from France to the UK.

 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Imagine a time when there are 100 living VC holders!
 
11 November 1920

cenotaph.jpg


The unveiling of the Cenotaph in London​
 
14th-15th November 1940

80 years ago tonight. Operation Moonlight Sonata.


I was living in Coventry during the 50th anniversary commemorations, although commemorations might be the wrong word as the City Council used it as an excuse to open up a new shopping centre and it just seemed to be more of a big piss up.
 
19th November 1807

The Sinking of the Rochdale and Prince of Wales

Several troopships left the Pigeon House Harbour at Ringsend near Dublin with troops bound for Liverpool. Two of the ships were the Prince of Wales, a 20 year old sloop of 103 tons and a draught of 11 feet and the Rochdale, a 10 year old brig of 135 tons with a 10 foot draught. The two ships had recruits from the South Cork and South Mayo regiments of militia who had volunteered for overseas service with regiments of the line in this case the 97th Regiment, still referred to as The Queen’s Own Germans, and the 18th Royal Irish Regiment.

Off Bray Head the sea began to swell and the wind to rise quickly reaching hurricane force according to one of the few survivors, Captain Robert Jones of the Prince of Wales. Jones threw all his anchors out but the ship dragged them all along, the wind driving her without sail towards Dunleary Point. About 6 pm the Prince of Wales was driven on to the rocks at Dunleary. There was only one longboat aboard the ship and the ship’s crew- Robert Jones, the Captain, nine seamen, two soldiers, two women and two children, took to the long boat, getting safely ashore at Blackrock. Everyone else aboard the Prince of Wales was lost. Amongst the military were lost Lieutenant Maclean of the 18th foot, with 61 volunteers from the South Mayo militia, Lieutenant Foley 58th foot, Captain Gregory and Lieutenant Kilkelly of the 32nd Foot, a Sergeant of the 25th Regiment, Ensign Beaven of the 10th Foot, Ensign Baggot and Ensign Kidd of the 85th Foot, Lieut. Wasey of the 2nd Foot, Lieutenant Brown of the 62nd Foot. Each officer had a party of soldiers and servants. A total 120 officers and men were lost.

The Rochdale suffered a similar fate, driven on the rocks and wrecked at the Martello tower at Seapoint. There were no survivors from the Rochdale, two hundred and sixty five people perished including Major Gormoran, Lieutenants Long and Power, Ensign Way, 8 sergeants, 9 corporals and 173 rank and file of the 97th Regiment, Also lost were 44 women, and 29 children.

Subsequently the two soldiers who survived on the lifeboat- Privates Anthony McIntyre and Andrew Boyle of the 18th Royal Irish alleged that Captain Jones had locked the passengers below decks before taking to the lifeboat. Jones was tried for murder but the case was dismissed.

Two merchant ships were lost trying to enter Dublin Port that evening and around 400 bodies were washed ashore from the various wrecks.

 
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Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Not a good day.
 

joey88

Old-Salt
IMG_20201124_061530_037.jpg

On this day (24th November) 1941 the Danae class light cruiser, HMS Dunedin sunk by two torpedoes fired from U-124.
She was operating near St. Pauls Rocks, 900 miles west of Freetown, just south of the equator when she was struck, out of a crew of 486, 145 went into the sea. Only 4 officers and 63 men eventually survived.
The vessel sunk quickly, all of the life boats were destroyed, the men in the water were left clinging to basic flotation rafts and anything else they could use.
The men drifted for four days without much food or water , at the mercy of the tropical sun during the day and cold during the night.
Some died of their wounds, some became delirious and went mad due to the situation they were in. Others were described as drowning quite happily because of their delusions, others died from exposure.
They were attacked by sharks and other flesh eating fish causing the death of some.
On the fourth day of their ordeal , an hour before sunset they were sighted by a look out on the USA freighter S.S. Nismaha that was bound for Philadelphia.
At great risk the vessel stopped and the crew of the Nismaha spent a number of hours picking up a total of 72 survivors and conveyed them to safety. ( 5 men died after rescue).
HMS Dunedin had previously been involved in the recovery of top secret ultra equipment from German vessels.
The ships company are remembered with pride on this day.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
God rest their souls.
 
17th December 1916

The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was formed with the introduction in the Channel Islands of the Conscription Act and the suspension of the Channel Islands Militia. The militias of the Channel Islands, in which all male Channel Islanders were obliged to serve, had been embodied on the outbreak of war in 1914. Many of them had volunteered immediately to serve in the war and, in the absence of a unit to serve in at the time, had volunteered to serve in 6th Bn, Royal Irish Regiment. The 2nd Royal Irish had been in the garrison of Guernsey prior to the war. The Channel Islands volunteers had formed D Company of 6th RIR as well as a company of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. All the Guernsey Officers in 6th RIR & 7/8th RIF were transferred to the 1st Service Battalion, RGLI. By March 1918, those two Irish battalions will be disbanded and the enlisted personnel transferred also.

520 Channel Islanders served in the ranks of the Royal Irish Regiment and Royal Irish Fusiliers. Of those that served in the RIR, 59 died, with 38 dying while serving in the Irish Fusiliers. 269 men transferred from the Irish regiments to the RGLI.


 
17th December 1916

The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry was formed with the introduction in the Channel Islands of the Conscription Act and the suspension of the Channel Islands Militia. The militias of the Channel Islands, in which all male Channel Islanders were obliged to serve, had been embodied on the outbreak of war in 1914. Many of them had volunteered immediately to serve in the war and, in the absence of a unit to serve in at the time, had volunteered to serve in 6th Bn, Royal Irish Regiment. The 2nd Royal Irish had been in the garrison of Guernsey prior to the war. The Channel Islands volunteers had formed D Company of 6th RIR as well as a company of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. All the Guernsey Officers in 6th RIR & 7/8th RIF were transferred to the 1st Service Battalion, RGLI. By March 1918, those two Irish battalions will be disbanded and the enlisted personnel transferred also.

520 Channel Islanders served in the ranks of the Royal Irish Regiment and Royal Irish Fusiliers. Of those that served in the RIR, 59 died, with 38 dying while serving in the Irish Fusiliers. 269 men transferred from the Irish regiments to the RGLI.


The RGLI Museum is located in Castle Cornet, on an island just off St Peter Port. It was a lovely little museum which I visited about five years ago when Condor Ferries ran a day trip from Poole that actually gave you about sixteen hours in Guernsey. Recently their day trips only gave you about three hours ashore so we haven't bothered, especially since I tend to get quite seasick.

Castle Cornet holds the rather dubious distinction of being the only British castle ever to be deliberately attacked by the RAF. The Luftwaffe flak unit stationed in the castle at the time may have had something to do with that.
 

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