NB Under Review
Private Albert Alton DCM 8361
Gazetted 28/3/18 * “for Montauban action 1/7/16”. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During a heavy bombardment a trench was blown in in several places and several men were buried. He at once started to dig them out under a very heavy fire, and rescued two men single-handed. He behaved in a most cool and courageous manner throughout the bombardment. *Albert’s address was 69 Hilton Street and subsequently Hamilton Road, Higher Broughton. He had initially been rejected as too small (5 Ft 6 1/2″) by the Navy. Aged 19 years and 9 months Albert was a former Tailor’s Cutter who enlisted 3/9/14. He trained with I Platoon, and remained with A Company in France, holding a chequered record of discipline (42 Days C.B.) Listed as Missing, then PoW 10-11/7/16, Trones Wood. Notified to father, George on 17/8/16. Held at Cambrai and then transferred to Dulmen and Sprottau Camps. He was repatriated at Leith on 10/12/18. He was demobilised on12/3/19.
Private Albert Hall DCM 8616
Gazetted 26/9/16. For conspicuous gallantry. When and enemy shell set fire to a bomb and ammunition store he assisted and officer [Lt Robert Mansergh MC, to whom he acted as servant] although they had both been knocked over by the explosion of the shell, to organise a party for the removal of the ammunition. They carried out the work under the continual explosion of bursting bombs. Albert was subsequently wounded – possibly Flers in October 1916 – Having enlisted on 3/9/14 he was discharged with a Silver War Badge on 29/3/17. Albert trained with V Platoon of B Company, whereas Lt Mansergh was OC of III Platoon in A Company. A transfer will have taken place by the summer of 1916.
Sergeant Ernest Wallwork DCM 8323
Gazetted 26/9/16. For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He has been in charge of stretcher-bearers and has repeatedly done fine work bringing in the wounded under heavy fire. Originally a L/Cpl. in the Bugle Band, he had been promoted to Sergeant by the summer of 1916. At some stage Ernest was wounded and returned to Britain.
He received his Medal at a Ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Manchester at Platt Fields, 14/4/17. Having transferred to the 69th Training Reserve Battalion 25900, he was discharged with a Silver War Badge on 25/12/17.
CSM Harold Bingham DCM 8066
Gazetted 4/6/17 & 9/7/17 for action at Heninel, 23/4/17. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During operations he assumed command of his company, and carried out his duties with great courage and ability. Records show Harold as a Sergeant – likely X Pln. C Coy. on 9th July 1916, being wounded as the sole survivor from the northern part of Trones Wood. Harold was promoted to Sergeant Major of C Coy by October 1916. On the 12th of that month he had previously taken command of his Company at Flers, when all the officers had been lost. Harold was Demob. Fit WOI 17/3/19. He had been employed as a storekeeper in a shirt warehouse and lived a 10 Upper Moss Lane, Hulme. He was 23 years old in April 1917.
Private William Flaherty DCM 2729
Gazetted 18/6/17 for action at Heninel 23/4/17. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He displayed great promptness and initiative in the newly captured position. He caused a block to be made and brought forward a machine gun into action against enfilade fire, inflicting a large number of casualties. He set a splendid example throughout.***William lived at Stamford Street, Mossley and worked as a peiecer at Britannia Spinning Company. He was 48yrs old.
Sergeant Frederick Cowman DCM 8501
Gazetted 22/10/17 and 26/1/18 for action at Ypres 31/7/17. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in getting men forward and organising the firing line under intense artillery and machine gun fire. At a moment when it was necessary to send a report of the situation to brigade headquarters, and after two members had been killed on attempting to do so, he volunteered and successfully accomplished the task himself, under heavy fire of every description. Frederick had trained in D Company. He also served with 9th Battalion and was Mentioned in Despatches. Discharged fit 5/2/19.
Private Patrick Duffy DCM 28259
Died as PoW 21/10/2018. Husband of Mrs. Gorman (formerly Duffy), of 6, Broster St., Greengate, Salford, Manchester. Gazetted 22/10/17 and 26/1/18 for action at Ypres 31/7/17. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in taking charge of a section and rushing an enemy trench, capturing there a machine gun and five trench mortars. Although wounded he declined to leave the Battalion until it was relieved. He was conspicuous throughout for his pluck and devotion to duty. *8 Patrick and the 17th Battalion had attacked Polygon Wood. At first it went well, but as the dawn broke they came under heavy German fire, which slowed them down. It then began to rain and the battlefield turned to mud. The attack was brought to a halt and the 17th held on to their increasingly saturated positions until they were relieved the next day. He also served with Lincs. Regiment and at some stage he was captured and held in Germany. Patrick had been born and resident in Salford. NIEDERZWEHREN
Private Thomas Dunn DCM 33875 & Private Charles Pascoe DCM 43143
Gazetted 22/10/17 and 26/1/18 for action at Ypres 15/9/17. The two men had the same citation. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Accompanied by another man, he went out some 200 yards to a detached post to bring in a wounded man. They dressed and carried in the man 700 yards across the open in broad daylight, in spite of rifle, machine gun fire from an aeroplane, and in the latter stages very heavy shell fire. Had the wounded men been left until night he would undoubtedly have died. He set a splendid example of courage and devotion to duty. Charles Pascoe was formerly 5401 Royal Berks Regiment.
Lance Corporal J JONES DCM 302534
Gazetted 1/1/18 & 17/4/18. From Hengoed, S. Wales. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He volunteered to swim across a river to obtain information, and although he encountered an enemy patrol and a working party, he successfully returned with the information required.
Private James Dunn DCM 24357
Noted for ‘gallant & distinguished conduct’ in August 1917 (Ypres) and ‘Special’ Mention in Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatch 7/11/17 with 17th Manchesters. Gazetted 3/6/18 & 21/10/18. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. As a runner he has done excellent work, volunteering to take messages through heavy fire on many occasions and keeping up most important communications at critical times. *Former joiners apprentice, James was 19 years old when he enlisted in the Manchesters in April 1915. He had lived with his father Robert Dunn in Bolton, having been born in Leigh. After training with the 14th Bttn. James was Posted to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Egypt with the 11th Bttn. in September 1915. Following treatment in 21st General Hospital Alexandria from 2/2/16, James returned home in April 1916 on Hospital Ship Dunluce Castle, to be admitted in 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester with enteric fever – typhoid. Two months later he left hospital and completed his recuperation at home from early June to late 20th July when he was posted to the 3rd Bttn. at Cleethorpes. At the end of August 1916, James returned to France with the 2nd Battalion, being posted to the 19th Bttn on 12th September – in time for the support of the 90th Brigade at Flers when the 19th Bttn helped recover the wounded comrades of the 17th Bttn. on 13th October. On 6/2/18 the 19th troops were absorbed in 16th or in James’s case posted to 17th Bttn. James had been wounded at Heninel on 23/4/17, but only required treatment in the field. Many remaining men of 17th Bttn were absorbed in 1st Bttn Border Regiment on 6/6/18. James was allocated the new number 29745. He was wounded on 3/9/18. He was then permitted two weeks leave ending 2nd November and discharged, fit, in April 1919. James acknowledged his Victory and British War Medal in March 1922.
CSM J E Young DCM 43403
Gazetted 3/6/18 & 21/10/18. Born Hulme. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Although badly shaken and partially buried by a shell which killed the man next to him, he remained at duty and together with a sergeant reconnoitered a communication trench leading to a pill box from which our men had driven. His report was of the greatest assistance to the attacking party which captured the pill-box. His example and cheerfulness are always inspiring.
Private Robert Allen DCM 27318
DoW 07/05/2018. Son of Adam and Sarah Jane Allen, of 137, George St., Hyde, Cheshire. Gazetted 3/9/18 for action at Spoil Bank, Ypres, 30/4/18 [22/3/18 Goodman Redoubt]. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when acting as a stretcher-bearer. He managed to bring a wounded man back successfully from a front position under full fire from an advancing enemy, and during the following week he repeatedly brought in wounded men under heavy machine-gun fire. He was eventually wounded while attending to a case. *Resident with mother Sarah Jane Allen at 24 Wilson Street, Gorse Hill, Stretford earlier 14 Newton Street, Hyde. Former Horseman he was 23 years 2 months old at enlistment with 25th Reserve Battalion in December 1915. He entered France on 21/5/16 when he was posted to 17th. Accidentally wounded in right knee 14/9/16. Sent through 98th Field Ambulance, 37th Casualty Clearing Station and 8th General Hospital. Wounded again 28/6/17, treated at 98th Field Ambulance. Gunshot wound 30/3/18. Wrote to parents from CCS in Trouville on 5/4/18, indicating he had been in the same place before (37th?) ‘blessed by the same old luck’ and anticipating a fortnight convalescent leave. Killed in action aged 26. Commemorated on Stretford Monument. *6 Born 1892 in Hyde, son of Adam and Sarah Allen. CO Lt Col. Fearenside wrote to the family with a copy of the full recommendation for DCM ‘On the afternoon of the 22nd March 1918 together with three other stretcher-bearers, Pte Allen commenced to carry a wounded man from a forward position in full view of the advancing enemy. Owing to the heavy hostile machine gun and rifle fire the three other stretcher-bearers were wounded. This man immediately procured further assistance and brought out the wounded man from the midst of a hail of bullets. Meanwhile, the enemy had advanced considerably and had it not been for the resourcefulness, courage and devotion of Pte Allen the whole party must inevitably have become casualties. He continued to do exceptional work during the following six days, repeatedly bringing in wounded men from heavy machine gun fire when he showed an utter disregard for danger. He was eventually wounded on the 28th March while attending to a case. Tyne Cottage Memorial Pte. Robert Allen D.C.M 17th Bn, Manchester Regiment | Forces War Records.
Lance Sergeant George Royle DCM 9014
Resident Stockport. Gazetted 1/1/19 & 3/9/19. Since November 1915 he has acted as Signal Sergeant. In addition to his technical skill, which is of the best, he has proved himself in action to possess cool courage and devotion to duty, notably when mending lines in the Douve and Menin Road sectors, and maintaining communications during the battle of St Quentin in March 1918. From April until July 1918, he performed the duties of signal officer most successfully. Originally Private in XIV Pln. D Coy. Also received Military Medal – Gazetted 1/1/19. George was a resident of Stockport. He was born in 1893 and died in 1932.
Sergeant William Brookes DCM 11760
Born Sheffield. Gazetted 3/9/18 for action at Spoil Bank, Ypres, 30/4/18 [Probably Award date – Deed likely to have taken place on 26th April]. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. At a critical moment, when the enemy attempted to surround his flank, this NCO collected a mixed party of men, and with a Lewis gun rushed to the threatened position, exposing himself fearlessly throughout the action, and inspiring the men with confidence. His prompt and gallant action undoubtedly saved the situation, and all the time he was under heavy machine-gun fire. Also awarded Meritous Service Medal (29/8/18 Gazette). Previously served with 19th Battalion where he was wounded by a major explosion during training at Pommiers redoubt on 9/10/16.
Lance Corporal Charles F Carter DCM 9323
Gazetted 3/9/18 for action at Guerville 31/5/18 For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action. On one occasion he took and important message to a neighbouring battalion. The trench was blown in and he had to go in full view of the enemy. On the information obtained, his company was also able to proceed to that part of the line where it was most urgently needed. His attitude under fire was remarkable. This NCO showed an extraordinary example of courage, which had a wonderful effect on his comrades, and infected them with his own spirit of determination. Official Records indicate Charles received his award for a deed at Guerville on 31st May. This was the place where the remaining few members of the 17th Battalion spent time as cadre training US troops – a long distance from any hostilities. As such it is believed the deed took place on 26th April and the Award was announced at the end of May while he served in Guerville. On 26th April the remaining men of the 17th Bttn. formed composite companies the 16th Bttn near the Spoil Bank and Lock 8 of the Ypres canal. The Germans broke through the adjoining defensive lines, enveloping many of 17th Bttn men. A number of runners were sent to deliver messages, but failed to reach adjoin positions and it’s anticipated Charles Carter saved further troops being captured by successful communication and reinforcement with other units. Charles had enlisted 16/2/15. Entered France 25/12/15. Discharged from Depot Bttn as Corporal with Silver War Badge 19/9/19 aged 33. Resident 88 Mytton Street, Hulme.
Sergeant John Curran DCM MM 38544
Gazetted 3/10/18 for action on 5/6/18. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He went forward with two men and surprised and captured an enemy post of one officer and six men in broad daylight. Later he assumed command of his platoon, and under very heavy barrage held and isolated position till relieved. His conduct throughout was splendid, and inspired his men. *
John Curran lived with his mother Bridget at 32 Edgerton Street, Sale, having been born in Salford in 1885. As a 15 year old, John has lived with his mother and brothers James & Edward in Stockport, being employed as a Woolen Spinner. He had been a shoemaker with Macdonald of 53 Liverpool Road, Salford prior to enrollment from Reserve on 1/9/1916 aged almost 32.
Records show he had also been in the Navy on a minesweeper and spent two months in the Kings Liverpool Regiment as 39086 in 1916. In the early months of Service with 3rd Bttn in Cleethorpes, John faced repeated disciplinary action. He entered France on 28/3/17; soon posted to the 19th Bttn. He was Gazetted for a Military Medal 28/9/17 serving with 19th Bttn.
John was promoted Lance Corporal in May 1917, Corporal & Lance Sergeant ‘for good work in action’ in August 1917 and Sergeant in October 1917. The DCM was awarded for action with the 17th. He had been posted in 17th when the 19th Bttn was disbanded in February 1918. The service in 13th corresponds with the transfer of the final seven other ranks from 17th Bttn after the training cadre with the US Army finished on 30/7/18. John was posted in the 9th Battn a few days later.
After demobilisation in April 1919, John re-enlisted as 90232 in December 1919, indicating 8 years pre-war service with the Regiment.Following a series of crimes / infractions, he was sent to Liverpool Prison for 3 months hard labour in 1920 after a hearing at Chester Castle Sessions. The misdemeanours had started with absence from parade and developed to ‘stating a falsehood’ to his CO and culminating with his incarceration for ‘aggravated assault on a female’. The end of John’s service corresponded with the prison term.
John’s medals were forfeited in 1921. In a Pension form, John embellished the application referring to service in France a year before his arrival and gassing at Ypres; when he wasn’t in Belgium. The Application was unsuccessful.
He lived at 16 Back Water Street, Stockport.
Christies catalogue entry for the sale of his DCM & MM in May 2001 and DCM’s catalogue in September 2004 refer to a pseudonym as John Ryan. “A Metropolitan Police report from Albany Street Station (dated 25.5.1927) reveals further misdemeanours: ‘I beg to report that the above named ex-soldier, in the name of John Ryan, is awaiting sentence at County of London Sessions commencing 14 June 1927 on a charge of house-breaking. When arrested on 2 May 1927, the prisoner refused to give any particulars of himself. He now states that he served in the 17th Manchesters under Colonel MacDonald from 5 March 1916 till the end of the War, when he was discharged as a Sergeant. He also states that he was awarded the D.C.M. and M.M. and that his Army character was very good.’” The catalogue indicates the medals were credited to the 19th Bttn.
DCM’s catalogue also says “A letter written by Curran from Brixton Prison two weeks later requesting details of his service states: Dear Sir, I am in some trouble and should thank you ever so mutch (sic) if you can kindly let me have the deeds that I got my D.C.M. and M.M. for.’
In relation to the forfeiture of his medals it is clear that he was originally destined to lose his gallantry awards as well as his campaign medals. However, on 22 April 1922 a letter from the War Office cleared the whole issue up: ‘I am commanded to inform you that the Distinguished Conduct Medal awarded to No. 90232, Private J. Curran, Manchester Regiment, for service as No. 38544 Sergeant J. Curran, M.M., 19th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, vide the London Gazette dated 3 October 1918, and forfeited by him in consequence of his discharge on the 4th October 1920 (on conviction by the Civil Power) under Article 1236 of the Royal Warrant for pay, etc., of the Army which was in force on that date has been restored by the Army Council under Article 1240 of the above mentioned Royal Warrant.
The Army Council have also decided under the power delegated to them by the terms of the 9th Ordinance of the Royal Warrant dated 24 March 1919, governing the award of the Military Medal, that this decoration awarded to the above named man for service as No. 38544 Private, Manchester Regiment, vide the London Gazette dated the 28th September 1917, shall not be forfeited…
I am further to state that as the above mentioned decorations have not been returned to this Department it is presumed that they have been previously issued to Private Curran and are now in his posession.
I am to add however that the commemorative war medals earned by this man are forfeited under Article 1236(b) of the Royal Warrant.’ “
CSM Benjamin Green DCM 51290
Gazetted 3/9/18 for action at Guerville 31/5/18. Born Bedlington. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty throughout active operations, when he set a splendid example to the men going along the line and firing first with one section, then with another encouraging them to risk the incessant machine-gun fire. His energy and courage did much to raise the men’s moral and inspire them to further efforts when almost at the limit of their physical endurance. In common with other men of 17th Bttn, it is expected the Official Record is misleading in respect of the date and place of deed as Guerville and 31st May. Once again it is expected this is the date of the announcement of the award. As this was the final period of the Battalion, it’s quite possible Lt Col Fearenside was making provision to ensure his troops received recognition for their acts in their service with the 17th.
Private Charles Overton DCM 8781 was an original member of the 17th Battalion who received his Honour for action with the 2nd Battalion.
Thanks to contributions and particularly patience from members of The Manchester Regiment Group Forum
and Auction catalogues specified above.