This site was always intended to place a context to the places, events and particularly people referred to in Private Arthur Bell’s journal and his interview with Martin MIddlebrook. The necessity to consider obituaries for the men that died contrasts with the more positive aspects of addressing the Honours awarded to men of the Battalion. These Honours were awarded to a number of men referred to in Arthur’s journal, including Military Crosses to Lieutenants Alan Holt and Robert Mansergh.
It is not appropriate for the grandson of one of the men at the Somme to consider specific Awards that could / should have been made. However, two men stand out from Arthur’s journal as being individuals he held in high esteem for bravery. Having recently obtained photographs of these men, we can now place a face to the names. Only Victoria Crosses were awarded posthumously. We will never know how the following Pals would have been recognised if they hadn’t lost their lives so soon after their deeds.
Acting CSM Joseph McMenemy
Arthur recognised the bravery, leadership and humour of Joseph McMenemy at Montauban “Yer wanna be more careful” said newly promoted ex-Sergt. McM (McMenemy); he had been a heroic figure in the advance on the first. “Only another rush or two” he called as we lay, much cut up, just outside the perimeter at Montauban.”
2nd Lieutenant Ralph Marillier Miller
Ralph Miller led Arthur Bell in the rescue of a wounded Sergeant Major near Trones Wood. Arthur recounted his deep respect for the young subaltern “Brave Jockey! Not many days after that [Trones Wood rescue] came the report that he had got a gas shell ‘all to himself’ – killed of course. Would he have been one of Shakespeare’s ‘Even in the cannon’s mouth men’?”
Both men died in the Guillemont assault and have no know grave. They are commemorated at Thiepval.
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